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Arctic melting forces researchers on floating station to evacuate


A glacier is seen off the coast of Kraushavn, Greenland, July 22, 2012. Kraushavn sits at the beginning of the Northwest Passage, a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


Stefano De Luigi/VII

There is a research station in the Arctic that is floating. In theory, it could eventually become a drowning research station, and now researchers have to abandon it. 

The Russian Arctic research station is drifting because the ice field around it is rapidly melting, Moscow's environment ministry says. The ministry gave researchers stationed there three days to evacuate, BBC News reported

The cause is, obviously, global warming. Ice in the arctic melted at a record pace in 2012, also one of the hottest years on record. 

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"The ice floe has crumbled into six pieces," Arkady Soshnikov, spokesman for the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, told Agence France-Presse.  "The people are not at risk but it is not possible to work in these conditions. The ice may disintegrate so a decision has been taken to evacuate."

However, Russia's environment ministry paints a more dire picture. Officials say that the decaying ice does pose a threat to personnel. As Itar-Tass news agency explains, the station was located in the Arctic in the first place to monitor pollution impacts.

So the good news is that the researchers can now confirm that pollution really is causing the Arctic to melt.