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Published July 17, 2008 11:02 AM

Russian Research Team Pulls Up Stakes and Gets the Heck Out Due to Melting Ice

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Station “North Pole-35” consists of 21 researchers and two dogs living in huts on an ice flow in the western Arctic Ocean, or at least it did until the project was cut short by about six weeks due to the unexpected extent of the sea ice melt.

When the team set up their camp early last September, they fully expected to remain until late August of this year. But then their ice flow, which was originally 1.2 by 2.5 miles, shrank to a mere 1000 by 2000 feet after drifting more than 1550 miles.

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The evacuation is ahead of schedule because of global warming” said Sergei Balyasnikov of the Arctic and Antarctic Institute in St. Petersburg.

The nuclear powered ice-breaker Arktika will escort the research vessel Mikhail Somov to pluck the researchers from their shrinking home of nearly a year.

Many polar scientists believe there is a greater than 50:50 chance the Arctic will be ice-free this summer, decades ahead of predictions of only a short while ago.

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