----By CCTV correspondent Jay Gray
Scientists have released the newest data on changing conditions in the Arctic. Even though the frozen region is a long way from populated areas, experts believe changes there are already affecting conditions in many countries.
There is an almost haunting beauty to the barren fields of snow and ice. That stretch for miles across the Arctic. But scientists say the picture here is changing. The landscape slowly but steadily melting away.
Martin Jeffries, co-editor of Arctic Report Card, said,"If we are not already there, we are surely on the verge of seeing a new Arctic."
In an on-line web conference this afternoon, NOAA released it’s latest data on Arctic condition, which shows a continuing increase in water temperatures.And all-time record lows in the amount of snow and ice in the region.
Martin Jeffries said,"We are surely on the verge of seeing a new Arctic. We can expect to see continued widespread and sustained change, with new record highs and new record lows - depending on the variable you are looking at throughout the Arctic environment system."
97 percent of the ice sheet covering green land thawed this July. Another record. That area is losing ice 5 times faster than it was in the early 90s.
Jane Lubchenco, US Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, said,"We know that melting ice in green land can contribute to sea level rise around the world"
In the last two decades, those levels have grown by 20 percent. A trend that scientists say long-term could be devastating.
Thomas Wagner, NASA Cryosphere Program scientist, said,"Most of the people around the world live in coastal areas it’s where most of your major cities are because that’s where ports are and they are at sea level so even small changes in sea level rise can displace millions of people."
A group that includes more than half of the US population which lives within 50 miles of the coast.