September 18, 2006 If there’s any good news from the NASA release earlier this week detailing the rapid and dramatic melting of the artic icecap, it’s well disguised – perhaps that the property you bought with ocean views might soon become beachfront is all we can think of to reflect the upside. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the news is very concerning nonetheless. Data from NASA's QuikScat satellite shows that Arctic perennial sea ice, which normally survives the summer melt season and remains year-round, shrunk abruptly by 14 percent between 2004 and 2005. According to researchers, the loss of perennial ice in the East Arctic Ocean neared 50 percent during that time as some of the ice moved from the East Arctic to the West. The overall decrease in winter Arctic perennial sea ice totals 280,000 square miles - an area the size of Texas. "Recent changes in Arctic sea ice are rapid and dramatic," said Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "If the seasonal ice in the East Arctic Ocean were to be removed by summer melt, a vast ice-free area would open up. Such an ice-free area would have profound impacts on the environment, as well as on marine transportation and commerce."