Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's Happening

The data from this year's ice melt is in: the Arctic Ocean is melting faster than the experts had believed possible. There was a gaping wound in the icepack this summer--25% less ice than the previous record low in 2005. In the face of this huge acceleration, some now predict a blue Arctic Ocean within seven years.

Meanwhile, the Antarctic experienced a record maximum extent of ice this year. Climatologists are scratching their heads over all this, trying to put it together. None of the models in the recent IPCC report imagined or accounted for anywhere near this rapid a shift in the icepack. But one thing is clear: the system has been disturbed greatly.

At last week's conference on climate change, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called global climate change a "generational" problem. The time scale may be shorter than that.


USWest said...

What a profound statement.

Raised By Republicans said...

How typical of this administration. Get it wrong over and over again for years then get it half right way too late to do anything themselves.

Condy Rice is such a shill it's not even funny. But of course, Stanford's administrators will accept her (and Rummy) with open arms...GO BEARS!

The Law Talking Guy said...

An article in the NYTimes last week said that the ice pack was the smallest "in more than a century." That line was not explained, but it bears repeating: the implication is that in the late 1800s, a similarly small ice pack was observed. I do not doubt global warming as a problem, but it may be that there are cycles in ice production that just happen to be really high right now, and the ice may not be an indicator of permanent climate change.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I wish LTG's inference about the 1800s were correct, but it isn't. Satellite imagery only goes back to 1979, and other reliable ice pack records--reports from explorers and sailors--only go back a hundred years or so. The Arctic has the smallest ice pack ever recorded and the Antarctic has the largest.

Dr. Strangelove said...

To follow on my previous comment, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that, "At the end of the melt season, September 2007 sea ice was 39 percent below the long-term average from 1979 to 2000. If ship and aircraft records from before the satellite era are taken into account, sea ice may have fallen by as much as 50 percent from the 1950s."

They noted also that, "Arctic sea ice receded so much that the fabled Northwest Passage completely opened for the first time in human memory." They are predicting an ice-free Arctic may occur in 25 years... they have not gone as far as others.

The Law Talking Guy said...

"Over all, the floating ice dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more, by several estimates."

That's the quote. So that's why I wonder if this is a permanent ice melt or if it is not so permanent.

Dr. Strangelove said...

The NSIDC report (linked in my previous comment) clarifies that this year's Arctic ice pack is a record low. The Polar Research Group report (first link in the original article) concurs. They also note, "The character of 2007's sea ice melt is unique in that it is dramatic and covers the entire Arctic sector. Atlantic, Pacific and even the central Arctic sectors are showing large negative sea ice area anomalies."

The NY Times is merely being conservative in claiming only a century-old record, as we have no data from earlier years.

USWest said...

You look at ice, I look at wine. They are growing champagne in the UK. Bordeaux is harvesting earlier and earlier, and Germany may be too hot for Riesling now. What more proof do you need?