VANCOUVER -- A new study by Environment Canada says the spring snow pack in the Arctic is disappearing faster than anticipated by climate change models.

Researchers looked at four decades of spring snow cover data for the Arctic and found a significant reduction for the May-to-June period.

The recently published study found the five lowest levels for June all occurred in the past five years, and the decline affects wildlife, vegetation and ground temperatures.

Research scientist Chris Derksen points out that other recent research shows a warming permafrost, shrinking sea ice and thinning of the Canadian ice shelves.

He cautions that a decade is a short period of time in terms of climate, but there is increasing evidence of an accelerated effect from global warming.

Derksen says increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are driving the change.