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Frascati, Italy, October 23, 2007— The International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG), meeting at ESRIN in Frascati, issued the following statement today:
“In September 2007, the Arctic sea ice reached the minimum extent in the history of ice charting based on satellite, aircraft and surface observations, continuing a recent trend of diminishing sea ice that began in the 1980’s and has accelerated. While there will still be natural inter-annual variability, the decline is likely to continue.
“The Arctic is already experiencing an increase in shipping, primarily for oil and gas development and tourism, and we can expect to see further increases as diminishing ice extent makes Arctic marine transportation more viable. The IICWG members are working with national and international authorities to help ensure that Arctic navigation develops with the utmost regard for the safety of people, property and the environment.
“The IICWG cautions that sea ice and icebergs will continue to present significant hazards to navigation for the foreseeable future. The Arctic will still have a winter ice cover that will linger into summer for varying lengths of time depending on a range of conditions.”
The International Ice Charting Working Group was formed by the ice charting nations of the world in 1999 to provide a forum for coordination of ice matters, including icebergs. Members of the IICWG include the ice services of Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, United States and the International Ice Patrol.
For more information on the IICWG, see http://nsidc.org/noaa/iicwg/.
For more information, please contact:
Canadian Ice Service
Tel: +1 819-934-8008 or +1 888-908-8008
Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 381 4563-782
Leif Toudal Pedersen
Danish Meteorological Institute
Tel: +45 391577500
U.S. National Ice Center
Tel: +1-301-394-3100 x3105