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Ice Caps Gone In 80 Years?

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The ice cap covering the North Pole will vanish in less than 80 years as climate change melts it away, say British meteorological researchers.

The area covered by ice has shrunk by 20 per cent since the 1950s and its average winter thickness has reduced by 40 per cent since 1970. From detailed measurements of the rate of melting, the Met Office's Hadley Centre for monitoring climate change predicts the ice-cap will disappear around September 2079.

The Met Office research, to be published next year, assumes emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will continue to rise at their current rate. Many believe this will happen since the U.S. rejected the Kyoto climate treaty that would have cut emissions. Canada ratified the treaty Monday.

Geoff Jenkins, head of climate change prediction, said only a few icebergs would be left. "Our figures suggest that virtually all the ice will be gone," he said.

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