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According to scientists at the University of Colorado, the average summer temperature of the entire Arctic Ocean, in 2002, was warmer than usual. The extent of sea ice melt was greater than in previous years, reaching its lowest level in the satellite record. They linked the accelerate melting to changes in the Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation patterns. A very stormy season that year also contributed to increase break up of the arctic ice.

"It is likely that sea ice extent will continue to decline over the 21st century as the climate warms... With these trends, we may see an approximate 20 percent reduction in the annual mean sea ice by 2050, and by then we might be approaching no ice at all during the summer months" (Lazaroff, 2005).

The reduction and possible elimination of the arctic ice has many consequences. This could lead to increased warming of the earth, and further warming of the oceans that would be highly detrimental to marine ecosystems. Also, this would mean the destruction of many species' arctic habitat.

In order to preserve our earth and its ecosystems, we must slow the rate of change. Climate does change naturally. The problem is that it doesn't naturally change this fast.

 
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