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On a recent expedition from Norway to the North Pole, a group of scientists and tourists aboard a Russian icebreaker found about a mile of open water right at the North Pole. This caused great alarm for the passengers, including paleontologist Malcolm McKenna, because it indicated the harsh reality of global warming. McKenna took photographs and spoke to the media about the finding. Since that startling report, scientists at Lamont Doherty Observatory have suggested that the polar ice was broken apart by wind, and not melted by rising temperatures, but stressed that thinning of polar ice is real and should not be ignored. A number of research teams have been recording the changing sea surface temperatures and thickness of polar ice using satellite imaging and other technology. Findings show that average winter surface temperatures in the Arctic have increased by two degrees centigrade during the past century, melting ice caps, glaciers, sea ice, and permafrost. This week's In the News observes the thinning polar ice, investigates the technology behind climate study, and visits clearinghouses for information on global warming.
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