The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) Wednesday 2 February 1972
Scientists fear for Arctic Sea ice
Scientists fear that man, voluntarily or accidentally, may melt the Arctic Sea ice, leading to irreversible climatic changes.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation says in its latest bulletin that a group of 30 scientists from 14 countries have called for an international agreement concerning experimentation in the Arctic. The group met at the Study of Man's Impact on Climate held recently in Stockholm.
A report issued after the study singled out the Arctic ice as the feature on the earth's surface most sensitive to man-made changes. Once melting began in this area it was unlikely that it would stop, the report said.
Several proposals had already been made to eliminate the ice, one suggestion being to spread soot or black dust on the frozen sea to absorb the sun's heat and increase melting in the summer and spring.
While these were only suggestions they pointed to the possibility that man could modify the global climate in a very substantial way if he chose to.
The melting would lead to large-scale modification of the climate but it would not affect the level of the ocean, the Unesco bulletin said.
However, if the Greenland icecap melted the sea level would rise 7 metres and a number of coastal cities would be under water.
Even without experimentation there was a possibility that global temperature increases produced by man's injection of heat and carbon dioxide into the environment could greatly reduce or even eliminate the Arctic Sea ice.
Some background to the Study of Man's Impact on the Environment