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Gore issues warning over record melting of the Arctic ice cap

COPENHAGEN: Al Gore has warned delegates at the climate change summit that record melting of polar and Himalayan ice could deprive more than 1 billion people of access to clean water.Adding to an avalanche of bad scientific news over the past two years, the former US vice-president cited new research showing that the Arctic ice cap may have shrunk to record low levels last year.New computer modelling suggests the Arctic Ocean may be nearly ice-free in the northern hemisphere summer as early as 2014, Mr Gore said.This new projection, following several years of dramatic retreat by polar sea ice, suggests that the ice cap may be close to vanishing in the summer months much sooner than the year 2030, as was forecast by a US Government agency eight months ago. But Mr Gore’s office later qualified that claim, saying that ice would be expected to survive in island channels and other locations.A leading NASA ice scientist, Jay Zwally, said last year that the Arctic could be essentially ice-free within ”five to less than 10 years”.Mr Gore joined Scandinavian officials and scientists to present two new reports updating fast-moving developments in Antarctica and the Arctic.One report, on the Greenland ice sheet, was issued by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, an expert group formed by eight Arctic governments, including the US.The other, commissioned by Mr Gore and the Norwegian Government, was compiled by the Norwegian Polar Institute on the status of ice melt worldwide.”There are more than a billion people on the planet who get more than half of their drinking water – many of them all of their drinking water – from the seasonal melting of snow melt and glacier ice,” Mr Gore said.AP, AFP
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