Friday, March 03, 2006

Arctic Exploration: "The Ice Is Melting Incredibly Fast" - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Nowhere is climate change as dramatic as in the Arctic. The German explorer Arved Fuchs has undertaken a number of expeditions up north. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he explains why time is running out.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You have led quite a number of exhibitions to the Arctic since 1979. In your lectures you stress how much the region has changed in the last few years, and put this down to climate change. Many scientists say this is not a credible position -- don't they have a point?

Fuchs: No. The information we are collecting agrees with what all the climate models and satellite data are showing. The Arctic is warming up quickly and the ice is melting incredibly fast. In previous expeditions, there were three occasions in a row when the Northeast Passage was so frozen over that it prevented us from getting through. But then in 2002 we had no problems sailing from the North Pole along the Siberian coast all the way to Alaska.
PHOTO GALLERY: WATCHING THE ARCTIC ICE MELT
DPA Arved Fuchs Expeditionen Torsten Heller/Universit├Ąt Bremen

Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (11 Photos).


SPIEGEL ONLINE: And you believe that is without doubt a consequence of global warming?

Fuchs: In 2002 experts said the thawing of the Northeast Passage was simply the result of a natural extreme in weather conditions. Today we know that this wasn't an exception. Everywhere on our travels, we have seen melting permafrost. It is a terrible feeling to see how fast the Arctic is changing.

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