Study: Arctic Ocean level is decreasing

Scientists say they've discovered the Arctic Ocean's sea level is falling by about 2 millimeters a year, despite a global trend of rising water levels.

A Dutch-British research team made the discovery after analyzing radar altimetry data gathered by the European Space Agency's ERS-2 satellite, the BBC reported Thursday.

The falling level has puzzled scientists since global warming has been resulting in rising sea levels around the world.

"We have high confidence in the (study's) results," said the study's leader, Netherlands scientist Remko Scharroo of the Delft Institute for Earth-Oriented Space Research. "It's now down to the geophysics community to explain them."

Several oceanographic research expeditions are scheduled for 2007 -- International Polar Year -- and might provide clues to explain the water level drop.

Researchers told the BBC the trend might be the result of changes in temperature and salinity of Arctic waters.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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