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Arctic ice is melting at record-breaking speeds, report finds


A fisherman sails on the Ice Fjord of Ilulissat, Greenland on July 3, 2009. The Ilulissat glacier lost 94 square kilometres (60 square miles) of surface area from 2001 to 2005 due to global warming, according to a US study published last year.


Slim Allagui

The Arctic's ice is melting at record speeds, according to a new study by Norwegian scientists. 

The icy top of the planet is at its lowest surface area since satellite monitoring of the region began in 1979, and perhaps the lowest in almost 1,500 years, according to research by the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), the Christian Science Monitor reported

"This year's melting season is a Goliath," geophysicist Marco Tedesco, director of the Cryospheric Processes Laboratory at City University of New York, told the Wall Street Journal. "The ice is being lost at a very strong pace."

More from GlobalPost: Arctic Sea ice melt hits record low, NASA reports

The ice, which will continue to melt through September, was at less than 1.54 million square miles on September 7, 45 percent less than the average for August through the 1980s and '90s, according to the Christian Science Monitor. 

"It is a greater change than we could even imagine 20 years ago, even 10 years ago," Dr Kim Holmen, international director of NPI, told BBC News. "It has taken us by surprise, and we must adjust our understanding of the system, and we must adjust our science, and we must adjust our feelings for the nature around us."

The melt's surprising scale could have a big impact on European climate, researchers said. It may change the path of the jet streams or winds that influence the weather, UPI reported

More from GlobalPost: The Arctic is melting, and we're going to cover it

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