The North Pole could melt this year

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Chris, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. Chris
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    Chris VIP Member

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    North Pole could be ice-free this summer, scientists say

    By Alan Duke
    CNN

    (CNN) -- The North Pole may be briefly ice-free by September as global warming melts away Arctic sea ice, according to scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.


    Scientists say it's a 50-50 bet that the thin Arctic sea ice will completely melt away at the geographic North Pole.

    "We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is 'does the North Pole melt out this summer?' and it may well," said the center's senior research scientist Mark Serreze.

    It's a 50-50 bet that the thin Arctic sea ice, which was frozen last autumn, will completely melt away at the geographic North Pole, Serreze said.

    The ice retreated to a record level in September when the Northwest Passage -- the sea route through the Arctic Ocean -- opened up briefly for the first time in recorded history.

    "What we've seen through the past few decades is the Arctic sea ice cover is becoming thinner and thinner as the system warms up," Serreze said.

    Specific weather patterns will determine whether the North Pole's ice cover melts completely this summer, he said.

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    "Last year, we had sort of a perfect weather pattern to get rid of ice to open up that Northwest Passage," Serreze said. "This year, a different pattern can set up so maybe we'll preserve some ice there. We're in a wait-and-see mode right now. We'll see what happens."

    The brief lack of ice at the top of the globe will not bring any immediate consequences, he said.

    "From the viewpoint of the science, the North Pole is just another point in the globe, but it does have this symbolic meaning," Serreze said. "There's supposed to be ice at the North Pole. The fact that we may not have any by the end of this summer could be quite a symbolic change."

    Serreze said it's "just another indicator of the disappearing Arctic sea ice cover" but that it is happening so soon is "just astounding to me."

    "Five years ago, to think that we'd even be talking about the possibility of the North Pole melting out in the summer, I would have never thought it," he said.

    The melting, however, has been long seen as inevitable, he said.

    "If you talked to me or other scientists just a few years ago, we were saying that we might lose all or most of the summer sea ice cover by anywhere from 2050 to 2100," Serreze said. "Then, recently, we kind of revised those estimates, maybe as early as 2030. Now, there's people out there saying it might be even before that. So, things are happening pretty quick up there."

    Serreze said those who suggest the Arctic meltdown is just part of a historic cycle are wrong.

    "It's not cyclical at this point. I think we understand the physics behind this pretty well," he said. "We've known for at least 30 years, from our earliest climate models, that it's the Arctic where we'd see the first signs of global warming.

    "It's a situation where we hate to say we told you so, but we told you so," he said.

    Serreze said the Arctic sea ice will not be the same for decades.

    "If we had a few cold years in a row, we could put sort of a temporary damper on it, but I think at this point going to an ice-free Arctic Ocean is inevitable," he said. "I don't think we can stop that now."

    Reduced greenhouse gas emissions could "cool things down a bit," he said.

    "It would recover fairly quickly, but it's just not going to happen for a while," he said. "I think we're committed at this point."

    There are some positive aspects to the ice melting, he said. Ships could use the Northwest Passage to save time and energy by no longer having to travel through the Panama Canal or around Cape Horn.

    "There's also, or course, oil at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean," he said. "Now, the irony of that is kind of clear but the fact that we are opening up the Arctic Ocean does make it more accessible."
     
  2. Abelian Sea
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    Abelian Sea o_O

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    Nuuuu! Poor Santa :(

    [​IMG]

    "There's also, or course, oil at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean," he said. "Now, the irony of that is kind of clear but the fact that we are opening up the Arctic Ocean does make it more accessible."

    So that's how he's been funding his operation all these years :eusa_think:
     
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  3. nomdeplume
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    nomdeplume Member

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    What's next a "save the ice campaign" from greenpeace? Bombing of refrigerator factories that subjugate the poor endangered ice within it?

    When antarctica starts melting(instead of thickening like its been doing for years), give me a call. Until then, this is all pointless bullshit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  4. Chris
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    Chris VIP Member

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    Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica
    Sheets Melting in an Area Once Thought to Be Unaffected by Global Warming

    By Marc Kaufman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, January 14, 2008; A01



    Climatic changes appear to be destabilizing vast ice sheets of western Antarctica that had previously seemed relatively protected from global warming, researchers reported yesterday, raising the prospect of faster sea-level rise than current estimates.

    While the overall loss is a tiny fraction of the miles-deep ice that covers much of Antarctica, scientists said the new finding is important because the continent holds about 90 percent of Earth's ice, and until now, large-scale ice loss there had been limited to the peninsula that juts out toward the tip of South America. In addition, researchers found that the rate of ice loss in the affected areas has accelerated over the past 10 years -- as it has on most glaciers and ice sheets around the world.

    "Without doubt, Antarctica as a whole is now losing ice yearly, and each year it's losing more," said Eric Rignot, lead author of a paper published online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

    The Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking despite land temperatures for the continent remaining essentially unchanged, except for the fast-warming peninsula.

    The cause, Rignot said, may be changes in the flow of the warmer water of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that circles much of the continent. Because of changed wind patterns and less-well-understood dynamics of the submerged current, its water is coming closer to land in some sectors and melting the edges of glaciers deep underwater.

    "Something must be changing the ocean to trigger such changes," said Rignot, a senior scientist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We believe it is related to global climate forcing."

    Rignot said the tonnage of yearly ice loss in Antarctica is approaching that of Greenland, where ice sheets are known to be melting rapidly in some parts and where ancient glaciers have been in retreat. He said the change in Antarctica could become considerably more dramatic because the continent's western shelf, an expanse of ice and snow roughly the size of Texas, is largely below sea level and has broad and flat expanses of ice that could move quickly. Much of Greenland's ice flows through relatively narrow valleys in mountainous terrain, which slows its motion.

    The new finding comes days after the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the group's next report should look at the "frightening" possibility that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could melt rapidly at the same time.

    "Both Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheet are huge bodies of ice and snow, which are sitting on land," said Rajendra Pachauri, chief of the IPCC, the United Nations' scientific advisory group. "If, through a process of melting, they collapse and are submerged in the sea, then we really are talking about sea-level rises of several meters." (A meter is about a yard.) Last year, the IPCC tentatively estimated that sea levels would rise by eight inches to two feet by the end of the century, assuming no melting in West Antarctica.

    The new Antarctic ice findings are based on mapping of 85 percent of the continent over the past decade using radar data from European, Japanese and Canadian weather satellites. Previous studies had detected the beginning of ice loss in West Antarctica and substantial loss along the peninsula, but the current research found significantly greater changes.

    Rignot and his team found that East Antarctica, which holds a majority of the continent's ice, has not experienced the same kind of loss -- probably because most of the ice sits atop land rather than below sea level, as in the west. In several coastal areas of East Antarctica, however, small but similar losses have been detected, he said.

    In all, snowfall and ice loss in East Antarctica have about equaled out over the past 10 years, leaving that part of the continent unchanged in terms of total ice. But in West Antarctica, the ice loss has increased by 59 percent over the past decade to about 132 billion metric tons a year, while the yearly loss along the peninsula has increased by 140 percent to 60 billion metric tons. Because the ice being lost is generally near the bottom of glaciers, the glacier moves faster into the water and thins further, as a result. Rignot said there has been evidence of ice loss going back as far as 40 years.

    The new findings come as the Arctic is losing ice at a dramatic rate and glaciers are in retreat across the planet. At a recent annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Ohio State University professor Lonnie Thompson delivered a keynote lecture that described a significant speed-up in the melting of high-altitude glaciers in tropical regions, including Peru, Tibet and Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya.

    Thompson, who has studied the Quelccaya glacier in the Peruvian Andes for 30 years, said that for the first half of that period, it retreated on average 20 feet per year. For the past 15 years, he said, it has retreated an average of nearly 200 feet per year.

    "The information from Antarctica is consistent with what we are seeing in all other areas with glaciers -- a melting or retreat that is occurring faster than predicted," he said. "Glaciers, and especially the high-elevation tropical glaciers, are a real canary in the coal mine. They're telling us that major climatic changes are occurring."

    While the phenomenon of ice loss worldwide is well documented, the dynamics in the Antarctic are probably the least understood. Glaciers and ice sheets are sometimes miles deep, and researchers do not know what might be happening at the bottom of the ice -- but it clearly is being lost along the peninsula and West Antarctic coast.

    Rignot theorizes that the warmer water of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is the cause. Douglas Martinson, a senior research scientist fellow at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, has studied the issue and agrees.

    Martinson said the current, which flows about 200 yards below the frigid surface water, began to warm significantly in the 1980s, and that warming in turn caused wind patterns to change in ways that ultimately brought more warm water to shore. The result has been an increased erosion of the glaciers and ice sheets.

    Martinson said researchers do not have enough data to say for certain that the process was set in motion by global warming, but "that is clearly the most logical answer."

    Pachauri, the IPCC's chief of climate science, will visit Antarctica this week with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to get a firsthand view of the situation.

    "You can read as much as you want on these subjects, but it doesn't really enter your system. You don't really appreciate the enormity of what you have," Pachauri said.
     
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  5. nomdeplume
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    nomdeplume Member

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    I'm not even reading whatever you posted because I know it's not true. Sure, some parts of antarctica are melting, but others are thickening. When it's all melting, then there is some ground for concern. The north pole's ice melting is nothing. And its bullshit to claim that it has never happened before. We know the north pole, in the past, has existed without ice. Sorry that we didn't have a historian sitting on the north pole to "record it in the historical record". Nothing but a bunch of intellectual dishonesty.
     
  6. Chris
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    Chris VIP Member

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    It is obvious you are not reading.

    Facts interfere with your world view.
     
  7. nomdeplume
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    nomdeplume Member

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    I talk to a geologist at least 2-3 times a week. They share and use all the analystical chem labs at my university, and all have PhD. North pole's ice is a complete "non issue" according to all I've spoken to.
     
  8. Chris
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    Chris VIP Member

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    Wow! You talked to a geologist who thinks that the North Pole melting is a non issue. How convincing an argument is that?

    The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by one third in the last 200 years. CO2 is now at the highest level ever tested, and the Antarctic ice core record goes back 600,000 years. Half the North Polar Ice Cap has melted in the last 50 years, and the rate of melting is accelerating. Fortunately for us, Antarctica has so much land based ice, that it is much harder for rising temperatures to effect it.But now Antarctica has begun to melt. If Antarctica melts then global seal levels will rise 20 feet. Ask your geologist friend if that will be a problem.
     
  9. nomdeplume
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    nomdeplume Member

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    Nice non-sequitur. What, you think the north pole is made of DRY ice? ROFL
     
  10. Chris
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    Chris VIP Member

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    CO2 is not a "non-sequitur?"

    Greenhouse gases are warming the planet, and you have no facts to refute that.
     
  11. nomdeplume
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    nomdeplume Member

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    Yes, your comment was non-sequitur. Take a basic logic class and you will know why, though you are probably too stupid to get it even then.

    Run chicken litte, run. I hear mars is nice this time of year. Oh, but wait. Its ice caps are melting, too. Last I checked there weren't any martian SUVs out there.
     
  12. Chris
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    Chris VIP Member

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    Insults are not convincing arguments.

    We are pumping millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. This is warming the earth. Not too hard to figure out.
     
  13. nomdeplume
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    nomdeplume Member

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    Sure it is. But how much? That's the question. Is it of any significance or consequence? What is warming mars? The hot air global warming alarmist are always blowing?
     
  14. BrianH
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    BrianH Senior Member

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    water vapor is more of a green house gas than CO2, and the sun has the most affect on our globe. The ice caps of mars are retreating as well....
     
  15. BrianH
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    BrianH Senior Member

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    Kirk, what warmed the earth at the end of the Ice Age as well as the Little Ice Age that peaked in the 1700s? What caused the ice? There is no doubt that we are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere and we should clean up our act. But do not jump on the first GW wagon you see and claim that the earth is warming because of humans. Sure, we pollute and we put CO2 in the air, but it's not even close to being the main cause.
     
  16. Chris
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    Chris VIP Member

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    The Little Ice Age was caused by the eruption of volcanoes near the earth's equator, but no one disputes this because the oil and coal companies don't own any volcanoes.
     
  17. BrianH
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    BrianH Senior Member

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    And the other things I addressed?
     
  18. Chris
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  19. Chris
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  20. nomdeplume
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    I think the point is a bit lost on you. People point to Mars to demonstrate that's not just greenhouse gasses that cause climatic change. It would be nice to write it off to "wobble" effects, except that the entire planet has warmed over .5 Centigrade in the last thirty some years. The global warming notballs are busy tripping over themselves trying to explain it. yes, turbo-lava flows causing wind and dust to migrate. Uh-huh. The whole fucking planet is a dustball. There is dust blowing in from where you just blew it away. Junk science. No one is saying GW isn't real, just that it's much bigger than humans and our role may be negligible

    Maybe we have too many non-white people being born on planet earth and they are reflecting too much light back into the atmosphere. Doh! Just using a little GW nutball logic. Don't mind me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2008

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