Thursday, March 01, 2007

Polar year starts with worries of rising seas

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent for Reuters

OSLO (Reuters) - More than 60 nations started the biggest
scientific investigation of the Arctic and Antarctic on
Thursday amid new evidence that global warming is thawing polar
ice and raising sea levels.

About 3,000 children made slushy snowmen and waved bannerssaying "give us back the winter" in Oslo, scientists met in Paris and other experts gathered on a research vessel in CapeTown to mark the start of International Polar Year (IPY).

"The polar year is important for everyone on the planet,"
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters when
asked if people living in places such as Africa or Asia should
be interested in science at the icy ends of the earth.

"We are seeing climate change most clearly in the polar areas and research there can give us decisive knowledge in the fight against global warming," he said.

During the U.N.-backed year, about 50,000 experts will be
involved in 228 projects such as studying marine life in the
Antarctic, mapping how winds carry pollutants to the Arctic, or
examining the health of people, polar bears or penguins.

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