The melting of ice sheets and glaciers around the world accelerated during the 1990s, the warmest decade on record, and the melting is now happening at the fastest rate since record-keeping began, according to a new report by the Worldwatch Institute. Many scientists believe the increased melting is one of the first observable signs of human-induced climate change. For example, Arctic Ocean sea ice has shrunk by 6 percent since 1978, with a 14 percent loss of thicker, year-round ice, and in the Tien Shan mountains of central Asia, 22 percent of the glacial ice volume has disappeared in the last 40 years. Retreating ice can have serious effects on wildlife, the report notes, altering the habitats as well as feeding and breeding patterns of penguins, seals, polar bears, and other animals.