Friday, September 07, 2007

Artic sea ice melting at a tremendous rate!

I just saw a horrific thing. I was looking at the Weather Underground site and clicked on Tropical weather to check on tropical depression 99L to see if it would affect our weather soon and break this dry spell. I clicked on Dr. Jeff Master's Wunderblog and as I scrolled down the page he had information on the lastest Artic sea ice studies and it doesn't look good.

Here's the link to his blog. The entry is dated September 07, 2007 if you click this link later than today.

Here's an excerpt from the site:
"Polar ice cap gone by 2030?
July's huge drop in Arctic sea ice extent continued into August 2007, according to figures released this week by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. August 2007 sea ice extent plunged 31% compared to the average from 1979-2000. As of September 4, 2007, the sea ice extent was a full 17% below the record minimum that occurred on September 20-21, 2005. Although the rate of melting is starting to slow down as the days grow shorter, more melting is expected this month." He has two images that graphically show the extent of the loss from 1979 to present.

and,
"The difference in sea ice extent between August 1979 (the beginning of the data record) and August 2007 was a startling 37%."

further,
"The biggest concern about Arctic sea ice loss is the warmer average temperatures it will bring to the Arctic in coming years. Instead of white, reflective ice, we will now have dark, sunlight-absorbing water at the pole, leading to a large increase in average temperature. Warmer temperatures will accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which holds enough water to raise sea level 20 feet. The official word on climate, the 2007 IPCC report, predicted only a 0.6-1.9 foot sea level rise by 2100, due to melting of the Greenland ice sheet and other factors. I believe these estimates will need to be revised sharply upwards in light of the unexpectedly high Arctic sea ice loss this summer."

I believe we will be in for some rough times in the future.

4 Comments:

Blogger Entangled said...

I read that same Wunderblog post, and had a similar reaction. Eli Rabett also posted about the same thing a couple of days ago. For real irony, the Guardian reports that there will be political jockeying to see who gets to develop the oil and gas fields that were previously covered by ice. I'm speechless.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi entangled,
You probably read that the Russians recently sent a deep sea sub to plant their flag under the North Pole. From Reuters: "Russian explorers have dived deep below the North Pole in a submersible and planted their national flag on the seabed to stake a symbolic claim to the energy riches of the Arctic." dated Aug. 4, 2007.

Maybe we were programmed to create our own extinction. In geologic time we are doing it pretty quickly. Certainly much faster than the dinosaurs whose bodies are furnishing the means to our demise. How ironic. So who's the intelligent one now?

We live in a speedy world. Sort of interesting to watch things go all to hell.

6:25 PM  
Blogger kate said...

Pretty horrific to read ... but it seems as if there isn't much action being taken to make changes that might hold the tide at bay.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kate,
Unfortunately the best estimates claim that the warming would continue for the next 20-30 years even if we stopped using all fossil fuels now. So the cards have been dealt and played. But who knows how quickly the earth can recover? You may be able to grow zone 6 plants one day.

Oddly enough all the pollution is actually keeping the earth cooler than it should be because it shields some of the sun's rays from hitting the earth in a process called global dimming. But it's a double edged sword because eventually all the green house gases only further warm the earth by acting as a blanket to keep the warmth from escaping. So if we completely stopped polluting the atmosphere now, ironically it will actually warm the earth even faster and the effects would be catastrophic. But...if we don't stop, the effects would last longer and be more devastating.

4:19 AM  

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