Russians Studying Ice Flee Their Melting Home

By Andrew Moseman | July 14, 2008 12:48 pm

North Pole 28Earlier this month, we wrote that Santa Claus might have no home this summer as scientists speculate that the Earth could see an ice-free North Pole. Now Russian scientists trying to study Arctic warming have had to abandon their work to keep from ending up all wet.

In September, the Russian team set up North Pole 35, an Arctic headquarters where they could study pollution levels the how fast the ice was melting. Unfortunately for them, and the world in general, the ice melted faster than they anticipated: Their ice floe home, which was almost four miles wide in September, shrank to only one-third of a mile across this summer. Russia evacuated, and the last 20 scientists and their dogs climbed aboard a rescue ship yesterday.

The station’s studies are now on hold, and the retreat to more solid ground has thrown another gloomy setback in the face of scientists trying to study global warming. As DISCOVER noted, some American ships that study climate change can no longer afford their voyages because of escalating fuel prices. Now, it seems, researchers can’t study the melting Arctic because the Arctic is melting too fast.

Image: iStockphoto


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