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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 08:59 AM
Original message
Scientists shocked as Arctic polar route emerges

Photograph at site also:


http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060920/sc_afp/climatewarm...

Scientists shocked as Arctic polar route emerges

2 hours, 36 minutes ago

PARIS (AFP) - European scientists voiced shock as they showed pictures which showed Arctic ice cover had disappeared so much last month that a ship could sail unhindered from Europe's most northerly outpost to the North Pole itself.

The satellite images were acquired from August 23 to 25 by instruments aboard Envisat and EOS Aqua, two satellites operated by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Perennial sea ice -- thick ice that is normally present year-round and is not affected by the Arctic summer -- had disappeared over an area bigger than the British Isles, ESA said.

Vast patches of ice-free sea stretched north of Svalbard, an archipelago lying midway between Norway and the North Ple, and extended deep into the Russian Arctic, all the way to the North Pole, the agency said in a press release.

"This situation is unlike anything observed in previous record low-ice seasons," said Mark Drinkwater of ESA's Oceans/Ice Unit.

"It is highly imaginable that a ship could have passed from Spitzbergen or Northern Siberia through what is normally pack ice to reach the North Pole without difficulty."
...........
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
1. The pic looks like the Research station is/will be floating also.





Hand out picture dated August 2003 shows the North Pole-32 meteorological research station. European scientists voiced shock as they showed pictures which showed Arctic ice cover had disappeared so much last month that a ship could sail unhindered from Europe's most northerly outpost to the North Pole itself.(AFP/HO/File)
AFP/HO/File Photo: Hand out picture dated August 2003 shows the North Pole-32 meteorological research station. European scientists...
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. and countries jockey for transpolar passage rights:


Ice, being white, reflects the Sun's rays. Less ice therefore means the sea warms, which in turn accelerates the shrinkage.

The shrinkage of the Arctic icecap is viewed with alarm by scientists, as it appears to perturb important ocean currents elsewhere, notably the Gulf Stream, which gives western Europe its balmy climate.

It also threaten animals such as polar bears and seals that depend on ice.

There are geopolitical implications, too, as Canada, Russia and the United States jockey to claim rights over transpolar passages that open up within their newly ice-free waters.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Oh, it's far worse than that
When you warm the Arctic up, you revive countless microorganisms in the frozen seas and peat bogs that have active respiration cycles during the long, leisurely Arctic summer.

And when plants respire, they give off a potent greenhouse gas -- carbon dioxide.

Then, too, a warmer Arctic lofts a lot of the #1 greenhouse gas, water vapor. So the Arctic is a veritable greenhouse mechanism. Losing the polar bears would be tragic, but destroying the climatic balance at the poles would be disastrous.

Global warming in general is still running around a degree Fahrenheit. At the North Pole, it's more like five or six degrees. There is strong evidence that during a warm spell 18,000 years ago, the warm-up amounted to over 50F -- briefly. Right after that era, the ice age retrenched and reached its maximum.

If there is open warm water in the Arctic Ocean this winter, it will have definite effects on the weather. Just what those effects will be, no one knows.

--p!
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
2. We're not losing our polar ice caps so much as we're gaining
the legendary Northwest Passage. Just think of it--a whole new trade route is opening up between Newfoundland and Kamchatka! Oh it's a very exciting time to be an entrepreneurial capitalist, or a polar bear.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. "Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage...
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea."

By the late Stan Rogers. Quite a stirring song.

But the actual situation is pretty grim. The polar bears are NOT happy.


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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
28. It is a great song
But, as you say, best kept as a song.
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BrotherBuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. Sir Francis Drake was right, there was a Northwest passage...
He was simply 400 years to early to find it. I often wonder what the source for the persistent rumor for the passage was. Someone had to have inside information. Where did it come from? Secret ancient text? Inquiring minds want to know.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. wishful thinking -- and the hope of more expedition funding?
J. Wreford Watson's article in the 1969 Canadian Geographer noted that early explorers frequently "mapped in" an entrance to the Northwest Passage, just beyond the area they had visited. The entrance "moved" progressively westwards ... as if to suggest that just a bit more effort would reveal it! Apparently cartographers also drew an imaginary river or lake in, on maps of Australia, because they assumed that an area of land that big would just HAVE to have a body of water in it somewhere!
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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-21-06 03:41 AM
Response to Reply #16
33. Ancient maps is the correct answer
Some of the old portolans are amazing.

There are occasional errors but they were copied & recopied centuries
before GPS made life easy for the mariner!
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
4. Holy CRAP!
This is the North Pole now?

Can we please hold a re-do of the 2000 eleciton please??

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seriousstan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. No this is NOT the North Pole.
North Pole-32 research unit was launched in spring 2003 by initiative of St Petersburg Research Institute. He also said that the polar station mission was coming to the end: the station drifted 2,750 kilometers in 9 months.

The North Pole is a drifting ice pack.

"After having crossed the Greenland icefield with five men in 1888, the Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen decided to investigate the unexplored inner waters of the Arctic by letting a ship freeze into the ice near the Bering Strait. He was convinced that a strong north-westerly current ran from Siberia to the North Pole and from there southwards along the coast of Greenland, and he now set out to prove the truth of his theory. He further calculated that the current would bring him within reach of the North Pole, and that within three years he would be the first to set up the Norwegian flag there."

http://odin.dep.no/odin/engelsk/norway/history/032005-9...
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
22. Nansen damned near made it, too
He's one of my heroes - a scientist, statesman, and explorer. The last of the true Vikings.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
6. This sucks,
too bad our leadership is corrupted at this critical time. :( It's as if the captain of the Titanic saw the iceberg ahead and did not change course, because the first class passenger's martini drinks might have turned over. :grr: It's such a helpless feeling, being led by stupidity.
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Straight Shooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
8. I'm sure they are shocked by the images.
I cannot imagine they are shocked by the reality of what has happened. Many of us have seen this coming for a long, long time.

We can't unring the bell of global warming. We can attempt to mitigate the damage, but if people don't wake up and pay attention, it will be like putting a Band-Aid on an arterial wound.

I have no answers. I'm mystified, and this time I don't think either science or any religious entity will save the human race. It's just a matter of time. Perhaps humans will adapt, perhaps not.
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Kablooie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
10. Oh boy! Luxury cruise vacations to Siberia! I can't wait!
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tex-wyo-dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
11. We are very quickly heading towards a very bad situation...
Edited on Wed Sep-20-06 10:31 AM by tex-wyo-dem
much faster than scientists previously thought...

Related link:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Um, I think we're already there. Now it is a question of where we end up.
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
12. Did The Imbecile sign the Kyoto Protocol yet?
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. maybe now, it will be 'under review' -- election season, ya know
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Chico Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
14. We're doomed
Thats all I have to say.
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
15. Everybody thought I was crazy.
Edited on Wed Sep-20-06 10:57 AM by Gregorian
I screamed about combustion for decades. Nobody would listen. In 1990 I was embarrassed by talking about no blood for oil in my office. In both cases, I didn't know what I was talking about. I only had that intuition. In many ways, I'm an idiot. But each person has something. I have a feeling. An overwhelming one.

Just now I was reading an email from someone in another forum. "Are you going to the GEAR tradeshow in Portland?" We're both engineers. He has a business doing optical equipment design and prototyping for universities. As usual I repelled another person by not being willing to leap into my car and drive all over the country. He has no problem with driving a thousand miles.

And last night I was looking at my other favorite forum, the biking forum. And this guy has an awesome mountain bike. I love bikes. More than just about anything. But on his website I noticed he either owns, or flies for someone, a private jet. 13,000 horsepower. 13,000 horsepower!


Well, at this point I don't have much to say. I will say this, in a modern society we can, and I will, equate each human with a number of BTU's. It's not a categorization. It's a fact. In a MODERN society. It's the modern style of living combined with the number of people. Six billion is a very very large number of users. Some use more. Some use less. I fill two garbage cans each YEAR. I drive to the grocery store once a week, and I would ride my bike if I weren't worried about getting hit by a car. We lost a bicyclist in my forum this week to a car. In a modern society each person is consuming energy in an intense way. We can change that. But we can't engineer our way out of it in time. We either change our habits, or it's over.
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goforit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
17. Well What will the Minority GOP in power do? Burn more Coal!!
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
18. The Open Polar Sea
over 100 years after everyone gave up searching for it, it finally appears.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Charles Francis Hall would doubtless be pleased!
And then he'd have a cup of :donut: . . .

:evilgrin:
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Mendocino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Seems to be some Polar Exploration Historians here.
What took Amundsen three years to do (NW Passage), might now be done in a eight weeks or so. Perhaps Franklin's Erebus and Terror could now be found? How far could Fram have sailed with no icepack?
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #21
30. Interesting - Fram's drift took it within, what, 350 miles of 90N?
Not bad for entering truly unknown territory way back then.

Don't know about Erebus and Terror, though - if they were crushed in the pack, they'd be a lot harder to find than the relatively intact wrecks from Belcher's expedition that the Canadians dove to. Be cool if they did find them, though!
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Mendocino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. The Fram was never expected to be seen again.
Nansen was truly amazing and visionary. His adventure with Johansen after leaving Fram is perhaps the greatest journey ever undertaken.

Regarding Franklin, from Captain Crozier's message at Cape Felix cairn, the approximate location is known (about 14 miles NNW of Cape Felix). Also it is known that the ships were abandoned while beset but not yet crushed, so they may have sunk at least somewhat intact in the relatively shallow waters of the McClintock Channel. So while it isn't likely, it is possible the wrecks could be found. Let us hope so.

A question, do you believe Peary reached the North Pole?
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
23. Big oil loves it. A melting polar ice cap mean access to
north shore oil fields by tankers. It will mean Alaskan oil could be shipped directly to Europe. It means a longer period for ice free waters.
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. That would explain a lot
GOP would have no qualms about letting global warming progress even further if it would help fatten someone's bottom line. Some years ago, the level of Lake Erie (and some of the other Great Lakes) was allowed to rise in order to accomodate bigger, heavier ore ships. It wiped out many beach areas along the shoreline.

Amazing how much they are willing to destroy for some company's narrow self interest.

Any DLC'er who tries to sell us on the idea that corporations should continue to exercise control of our government needs to be reminded of these examples where corporations put short term profit first.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. Remember the Repugs were telling us that global warming was
Edited on Wed Sep-20-06 05:20 PM by alfredo
good for us. The models showed the warming would stop the gulf stream and throw our enemies, the europeans, into a mini ice age. The US climate would be altered, the grain belt would move north deeper into Canada. Deserts would spring up where there once was productive land. Rising sea levels and disappearing snow pack (that recharges the aquifer) will enable salt water to migrate into fresh water aquifers that supply the San Juanquin Valley farms in California.

That doesn't matter as long as we stick it to those frogs, krauts, and those west coast queers*. :sarcasm:. (*that's what a right wing Christian co worker used to call Californians)

Oh yeah, those roads built over permafrost in Alaska will turn into a sea of mud. Let's see how easy it will be to service the oil fields and pipelines.


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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
25. The polar bears are f*cked
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Pithy Cherub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. We're all polar bears now...
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
31. An ice block the size of Turkey has melted away.
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