Melting ice prompts station evacuation

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MOSCOW - A spokesman for a Russian scientific institution said global warming is causing Arctic sea ice to melt earlier than it normally does, forcing the evacuation of a research station in the Western Arctic.

Sergei Balyasnikov of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute said on Monday that the North Pole-35 station and its 21 researchers will be pulled out this week instead of late August.

He said a nuclear icebreaker will take a research vessel to the station that is currently drifting between the Franz Josef Land archipelago and the Novaya Zemlya island in the western Arctic.

Over the last 60 years, Russia has organized dozens of research stations that drift westwards from the Bering Strait near Alaska and collect data on weather and Arctic flora and fauna.

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