A new study has revealed that the Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than earlier computer models had projected. Researchers from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center say they have discovered that the September ice coverage actually declined at a rate of about 7.8 percent per decade during the 1953-2006 period. That is more than three times the 2.5 percent average that climate models had predicted for the same period. This means that the Arctic Ocean could be free or nearly free of summer ice as early as 2020 — three decades sooner than earlier projections. “Right now … the Arctic helps keep the Earth cool,” said glaciologist Ted Scambos.

Source: The Intelligencer