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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 04:08 GMT 05:08 UK
'Warm wind' hits Arctic climate
Ice block (BBC)
Sun-reflecting Arctic ice has traditionally cooled the whole planet
The Arctic is being hit by melting ice, hotter air and dying wildlife, according to a US government report on the impact of global warming there.

A new wind circulation pattern is blowing more warm air towards the North Pole than in the 20th Century, scientists found.

Shrubs are now growing in tundra areas while caribou herds are dwindling in Canada and parts of Alaska.

The report stresses that the fate of the Arctic affects the entire planet.

It looks like the beginning of a signal from global warming
James Overland, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) report found that in 2007 winter and spring temperatures were "all above average throughout the whole Arctic and all at the same time" unlike in previous years.

"This is an unusual feature and it looks like the beginning of a signal from global warming," the Noaa's James Overland told reporters.

Scientists have expected polar regions to feel the first impacts of global warming, and the 2006 US State of the Arctic report provided a benchmark for tracking changes, the Associated Press news agency notes.

Wednesday's report was the first update on it.

Ice melt raises passage tension
08 Oct 07 |  Science/Nature
Arctic ice island breaks in half
01 Oct 07 |  Science/Nature
Ice withdrawal 'shatters record'
21 Sep 07 |  Science/Nature
Arctic sea ice 'faces rapid melt'
12 Dec 06 |  Science/Nature
Vast ice island trapped in Arctic
31 Aug 07 |  Science/Nature

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