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Glaciers a canary in the coal mine of global warming

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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:15 AM
Original message
Glaciers a canary in the coal mine of global warming
Source: CNN

August 8, 2009 -- Updated 0323 GMT (1123 HKT)

(CNN) -- U.S. scientists monitoring shrinking glaciers in Washington State and Alaska reported this week that a major meltdown is under way.

A 50-year government study found that the world's glaciers are melting at a rapid and alarming rate. The ongoing study is the latest in a series of reports that found glaciers worldwide are melting faster than anyone had predicted they would just a few years ago. It offers a clear indication of an accelerating climate change and warming earth, according to the authors.

Since 1959, the U.S. Geological Survey, which published the study on its Web site, has been tracking the movements of the South Cascade glacier in Washington State and the Wolverine and Gulcana glaciers in Alaska. The three glaciers are considered "benchmarks" for the conditions of thousands of other glaciers because they're in different climate zones and at various elevations.

<snip>

In a telephone interview with CNN, Josberger called the unprecedented glacial melt the "canary in the coal mine."


Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/08/07/global.w...
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. "More lib-rul, fact-based crapola. Smirk." - Rush 'DraftDodger' Limbaugh (R)
"The corporate payola for lying about this shit is just too damn good for me, or any other Republicon propaganda pimp, to want to pay any attention at all to these 'librul' facts. Smirk."

- Rush 'DraftDodger' Limbaugh (R)
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks Spiral for the reality check
That asswipe is so smug. I guess he owes it all to the bigoted sheep he preaches to daily.
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NeoConsSuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:38 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Of course.
That's why CNN posted this story on Saturday morning. Nothing must stand in the way of capitalism.
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Aragorn Donating Member (784 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:38 AM
Response to Original message
3. thanks for posting
this article. It is not new of course but I want to add a little chemistry to the info. Remember "phase change" thermodynamics. If you don't, or didn't take any chemistry here's a simple explanation. It takes a certain amount of energy change (warming in this case) to make ice increase in temperature, or water increase in temperature. But when you get to 32 F it takes a huge additional amount of energy to go from solid to liquid.

Once you add enough of that huge additional amount, the ice seems to go to liquid quickly - in fact it DOES go to liquid quickly.

It should be obvious that getting it back to ice takes a huge reduction in energy once it gets back to 32 F.

(Same thing applies to water-to-steam but I hope the earth does not get there soon.)

So it is past the canary-in-a-coal-mine stage. Not that anything which might get people to use less carbon is a bad thing. But let's all understand that we are way past the canaries dying. We are getting close to the point where most higher animal life is doomed. It takes a big reduction in warming to turn things around.

We must act, not just post.

Turn your computer off when you are done. Thanks.
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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Thank you for this, Aragorn.
We know in Switzerland how quickly the glaciers are melting; we can see it from year to year. Agree with your assertion that we're "way past the canaries dying."

Good morning! :hi:
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. It's also lubrication
As a bit more ice turns to water, it trickles down to the interface of the ice and the soil or rock below it - and the extra water lubricates the ice that gradually slides over the rock, speeding it up. So the glacier reaches lower altitudes faster, and melts faster still.
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
6. tick, tick
nt
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
7. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, Heidi.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
8. one more rec for additional exposure on the Greatest.
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vkkv Donating Member (41 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
9. GOP = RePigLickin' "Policy Of Obstruction Party" = Pig POOP !
- kind of says it all..
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nilram Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
11. "melting faster than anyone had predicted..."
sh!t
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Joe Bacon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
12. Millions of idiots don't care about this one bit!
They're convinced that the Rapture will come in a week or 2!
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