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Arctic ice shelf breakup reported (was solid for 3,000 years) MSNBC

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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 07:30 PM
Original message
Arctic ice shelf breakup reported (was solid for 3,000 years) MSNBC
<snip>

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 The largest ice shelf in the Arctic, a solid feature for 3,000 years, has broken up, scientists in the United States and Canada said Monday. They said the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, on the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canadas Nunavut territory, broke into two main parts, themselves cut through with fissures. A freshwater lake drained into the sea, the researchers reported.

LARGE ICE ISLANDS also calved off from the shelf and some are large enough to be dangerous to shipping and to drilling platforms in the Beaufort Sea.

Local warming of the climate is to blame, they said adding that they did not have the evidence needed to link the melting ice to the steady, planet-wide climate change known as global warming.

<snip>

Link: http://www.msnbc.com/news/970325.asp?0cv=CB10

So if I'm gettin this right, this may be due to 'regional warming' not global warming, and they're basing this on a 150 year trend cycle, but the friggin ice shelf has existsed for 3000 years, so.....

:wtf: :wtf: :wtf:

:shrug:

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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. The kiss-asses forget the official line...
"Global warming is a fact - Caused by human activity is a theory".

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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I'm Positively Enjoying The Sweet Irony Of:
'LARGE ICE ISLANDS also calved off from the shelf and some are large enough to be dangerous to shipping and to drilling platforms in the Beaufort Sea.'

Maybe there IS a god.

:shrug:

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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
3. Fire, then Ice
This is troubling.

First, we have the reports that the Arctic's ice sheet broke up, in 1999.

Over the last five years, we've seen a dramatic reduction in the salinity of the subsidiary currents to the northern Gulf Stream flow, which will soon lead to the "collapse" of these currents.

Now, the Ward Hunt ice is breaking up. By itself, it's not that bad, but it's an indicator of "global warming", whether caused by humans or not.

Once the subsidiary Gulf currents collapse, we get colder winters. If a couple of cold winters aren't enough to re-establish the ice pack and re-salinate the northern currents, I'd expect a generalized collapse of the Gulf Stream current "any time".

That means "Ice Age".

Surf to this link:
http://www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/currenttopics/ct_ab...

--bkl
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I've been noticing warmer waters off of Newfoundland...
From what I understand, the currents take about 2,000 years to cycle. Would this mean that if the salinity driven currents stop or slow down, the effects may take a while to show up? Interesting experiment, huh?
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Current Cycle Times
2000 years pretty much corresponds to what I've read. A complete cycle of the Gulf Stream takes on the order of centuries. I've heard a lot of different figures from 200 to 5000 years, but I'm a layman, and don't know if that matter has been settled yet.

However, the northern part of the Gulf Stream could collapse in a matter of a decade, or less, since it separates into many subsidiary streams, some of which refresh in the course of a few years, even months in the smaller ones. These streams provide heat to Europe. Without them, Europe cools off immediately, by about 20F.

If the salinity of part of the ocean changes radically, this will get "spread out" a lot faster than in centuries' time. The Gulf Stream depends on something technically known as thermohaline hydrodynamics (literally, "salt-heat water-power"). If the salinity of the surrounding ocean drops too much, the current won't hold together.

The breakdown of even the northern part of the Gulf will dramatically reduce ocean heat transfer, allowing the north to cool us down into a Little (or even possibly Major) Ice Age; the south would heat up, which means more hurricanes. The oceanic heat will then be transferred by the weather more than when the Gulf Stream was doing most of the work.

Anyway, read some of the stuff from Woods Hole. These guys aren't exactly pseudoscientists. We may have no cause for worry after all, but a little concern for the planet is long overdue.

--bkl
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Well, if the water off Newfoundland stops sinking...
I would expect the short-term effect would be to warm those waters as the Gulf Stream, as it were, backs up. Since Europe gets much of it's warmth by Westerlies blowing over this water, Europe may heat up faster than the US. Say, wasn't there a problem in France this summer...
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Crazy Weather
Short term, exactly, we'd tend to have hotter summers, and more "extreme" weather all around.

For instance, Europe didn't suffer under that heat wave as a unit. On June 9th (I think), it was over 100F in Paris and Lisbon, but they had a freak snowstorm in Moscow.

Long term, if the freshening of the North Atlantic currents is ongoing, they will start to collapse and block the warm water from getting in, and the cold water from getting out. This would not be too noticeable in the summer, but in the winter, it would get much more intense.

VERY long term, we are "overdue" for an Ice Ace. Since the Miocene period, the Earth has been in an Ice Age for about 100,000 years at a time, followed by a 10,000 year interglacial period. We've had 13,000 years of warm weather. Of course, this "clock" isn't exact, and we might actually have several more millenia of warm weather coming.

OR, Toronto and Boston might be under a kilometer of ice by the end of this century.

We should really start thinking about these things immediately, especially since we won't have cheap petroleum to burn for much longer. (And THAT is another problem that we've been ignoring, probably to our peril.)

Gloom and doom? I prefer to think, "Be Prepared!"

--bkl
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david_vincent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. This is an intriguing subject...
but as for that last bit about petroleum, you don't really think we've been ignoring it, do you? Isn't that precisely why PNAC wants to control the world's remaining oil reserves, and therefore, the very reason that we have troops in Iraq right now?
Of course you could argue that putting a little money into R&D and conservation efforts might be another course we could take, but the grey eminences have decided not to move in that direction, opting instead for global empire based on oil, a resource that will only becoming increasingly valuable - to that end, in fact, postponing research into alternative fuels and ignoring conservation serves the purpose of hurrying closer to us the magnification in oil's value, and thereby the size of the lever with which they propose to move the world.
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SaintLouisBlues Donating Member (755 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Your not bad for a layman
n/t
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GreenGreenLimaBean Donating Member (395 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Don't you mean European Ice Age
We'll be baking here in Texas, while Europe freezes over for lack
of the gulf stream.
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Homer12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 08:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. We are all witnessess to the last great Glaciel Ice Melt.
Hello warmer weather, sunken costal cities, and a higher sea level.
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trogdor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #5
20. I think they made a movie about that once.

It was killer.
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NewYorkerfromMass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #5
22. These are ice shelfs, NOT glaciers
Ice Shelf changes will not raise the ocean levels 'cause they are already IN the ocean. Glaciers on the other hand......
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. They Couldn't Link Cigarette Smoking To Cancer Either
For the longest time...

"Local warming of the climate is to blame, they said adding that they did not have the evidence needed to
link the melting ice to the steady, planet-wide climate change known as global warming."
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:22 PM
Response to Original message
12. Regional warming
Some months back I read something that said that the higher latitudes were showing more warming that mid-latitudes. Didn't say why or why the thought that might be the case, just that that's what they noticed.

Eloriel
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young_at_heart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-03 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
13. Bill Moyers last show was about the EPA's horrible record
After watching Christie Todd Whitman's pathetic performance and listening to *'s 'discussion' about global warming, I don't see the US getting involved in environmental issues any time soon........sad!
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wellst0nev0ter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. That Cause Is Still "Under Dispute"
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN: This was really just an instance of we couldn't get all the scientists from all these different venues to agree on what we could say on climate change.

ROBERTA BASKIN: But internal EPA documents refer to a quote "scientific consensus" within the agency on global warming. So who exactly was opposed?

It turns out it was the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Its offices are across the street from the West Wing. And how many scientists are on its staff? None.

It's headed by James Connaughton, and who is he? A former lobbyist for power and electric utilities, the same industries who once opposed the very idea of global warming. That's where the ultimatum came from.

http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_clearingth...

Bastards
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Emillereid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
15. Too much fresh water getting dumped in the North Atlantic
is theorized to turn off the gulf stream 'conveyor' belt which keeps part of North America and Europe 'warm' -- without those areas could plunge back into an ice age pretty damn quick. See: http://www.discover.com/archive/index.html
The New Ice Age
Worried about global warming? Talk to a few scientists at Woods Hole. Oceanographers there are seeing big trouble with the Gulf Stream, which warms both North America and Europe
By Brad Lemley

<snip>
But it may again. Soon. And ice-choked scenes, similar to those immortalized by the 16th-century Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder, may also return to Europe. His works, including the 1565 masterpiece "Hunters in the Snow," make the now-temperate European landscapes look more like Lapland.
Such frigid settings were commonplace during a period dating roughly from 1300 to 1850 because much of North America and Europe was in the throes of a little ice age. And now there is mounting evidence that the chill could return. A growing number of scientistsincluding many here at Curry's base of operations, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod in Massachusettsbelieves conditions are ripe for another prolonged cooldown, or small ice age. While no one is predicting a brutal ice sheet like the one that covered the Northern Hemisphere with glaciers about 12,000 years ago, the next cooling trend could drop average temperatures 5 degrees Fahrenheit over much of the United States and 10 degrees in the Northeast, northern Europe, and northern Asia.
"It could happen in 10 years," says Terrence Joyce, who chairs the Woods Hole Physical Oceanography Department. "Once it does, it can take hundreds of years to reverse." And he is alarmed that Americans have yet to take the threat seriously. In a letter to The New York Times last April, he wrote, "Recall the coldest winters in the Northeast, like those of 1936 and 1978, and then imagine recurring winters that are even colder, and you'll have an idea of what this would be like."
A drop of 5 to 10 degrees entails much more than simply bumping up the thermostat and carrying on. Both economically and ecologically, such quick, persistent chilling could have devastating consequences. A 2002 report titled "Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises," produced by the National Academy of Sciences, pegged the cost from agricultural losses alone at $100 billion to $250 billion while also predicting that damage to ecologies could be vast and incalculable. A grim sampler: disappearing forests, increased housing expenses, dwindling freshwater, lower crop yields, and accelerated species extinctions.
The reason for such huge effects is simple. A quick climate change wreaks far more disruption than a slow one. People, animals, plants, and the economies that depend on them are like rivers, says the report: "For example, high water in a river will pose few problems until the water runs over the bank, after which levees can be breached and massive flooding can occur. Many biological processes undergo shifts at particular thresholds of temperature and precipitation." ....
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Robin Hood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 03:16 AM
Response to Original message
17. Here's proof that it's global warming.
Edited on Tue Sep-23-03 03:21 AM by Liberal_Guerilla
http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/ScienceTechno/Ozo...

Ozone hole three times size of US

The huge size of the hole in the ozone layer is at a record level measuring 28 million square kilometres, according to the World Meterological Organisation.


Three times the size of the United States, the ozone hole has continued to grow over the last few weeks and is set to reach a maximum size in late September.

The consequences are likely to be serious and far-reaching.

WMO Professor Obasi warned on Wednesday that the most immediate threat to humankind relate to increased variability in the intensity and frequency of storms floods and droughts, heat waves in major urban areas and the impact of sea-level rise on low-lying coastal regions.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/rdonlyres/66B18D0C-16C1... -


How much evidence do we need. Time to buy stock in suntan lotion and intertubes.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 03:40 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Sorry to burst your bubble...
However, the ozone hole, while human made, is not an indication of global worming. The ozone layer (O3) is to protect us from UV radiation, the cause of sunburn. It does not deflect IR rays (heat). Just a minor correction in the case of science. BTW: the ozone in the upper atmosphere is produced by interaction between cosmic rays and oxygen, which means that it will repair itself eventually over time. Just be glad that the nations of the world banned CFC's.
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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Aren't CFC's Still Available On The Black Market ???
I mean, they're still out there, right? Smaller quantities, but still there.

:shrug:
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-23-03 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. Actually, unless the silicon chip industry has changed recently
CFC's are used in vast quantities to clean computer microchips after they are made.

They aren't exactly sprayed out of an aerosol, but they still evaporate and get into the atmosphere.

I believe there are alternative solvents/methods available, but I'm not sure how widespread the use of them is.
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