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Arctic spring's 'rapid advance'

The Arctic

June 18, 2007

Spring in the Arctic is arriving "weeks earlier" than a decade ago. Ice in north-east Greenland is melting an average of 14.6 days earlier than in the mid-1990s, bringing forward the date plants flower and birds lay eggs. The observed changes could disrupt the region's ecosystems and food chain, affecting the long-term survival of some species. "We were particularly surprised to see the trends were so strong when considering that the entire summer is very short in the High Arctic - just three or four months from snowmelt to freeze-up." The warming in the region, which is occurring at twice the rate of the global average, could affect the future stability of the region's ecosystem. "There could be positive consequences in the short term, and potentially negative consequences in the long term."

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