Jump to content
The Corroboree
Evil Genius

The Great Global Warming/Cooling Thread Part 2

Recommended Posts

Alright, i reconsidered and will be giving you guys one last chance to keep this discussion on track. Therefore you get the oportunity for a fresh clean start! But this Thread is only the CONTINUATION of the old Thread and i dont want you guys to repost all the stuff that was already discussed months ago.

This is the old Thread: http://www.shaman-au...showtopic=26444

Please make sure to check if what you wanna say was already discussed there before hitting the post button here.

If this thread will look like the old one in a few days, i will not make another one. If someone trolls your Thread, report it and we will make sure the Thread stays on track. bye Eg

Edited by Evil Genius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My intuition is that human populations have very few positive effects on our environment, doesn't the Bible tell us to dominate the Earth? We will expand until something BIG backfires and then it will be too late. Our whole mode of living treats nature as the enemy, something to be "tamed" and overcome, chopped down and farmed, we can't help it, this is "civilization" as we know it, this is the price of bad organisation and everyone (all those Indians and Chinese) also wanting a car, fridge, house, big screen etc. I am insecure and afraid, lacking in trust, selfish, insular and ultimately very destructive, because this is the only way of living that I know. For temporary, false security I conform to the great lie. I think most of my modern life is shit, with very little able to be identified as good (eg medical care). I am angered at the smallest of things, trying desperately to be a good man in a world where so much is counterfeit. I only have control of myself (a fraction of the time) so this is the only place I can make a difference, to encourage people who try and avoid ones who bring out the bad in me.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the problem with the human vs nature argument is that we ARE nature, this makes anything that comes of us natural. how is my mud brick house different from a birds nest? (i really do live in a mud brick house, at least mostly (there is a regular old fibro extension on it).

i agree that we need to change our actions though, to make natural things that are of a little nicer standard in a way that may not be detrimental to our future, recent wind/solar programs have looked promising, hopefully some opf the bigger polluters (like us) join in,

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just when we start to take some action, the big polluters spend millions to convince us to go back against it all, and vote for the polluters again.

Humans are easily manipulated.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are quite easily sucked in.............

........to a new tax!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm proud to put the planet before profits and we should always strive to achieve a better world.

We only enjoy the wonders of the modern world thanks to people who made sacrifices in the past.

Shouldn't we do our little bit too? It's not like the sky is going to fall in thanks to a tax on pollution.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we are all hostages to oil.

The cost of oil will always go higher while the price of renewables will always get cheaper. Investing in renewables is an intelligent move, letting China get there first is like missing out on a gold rush.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all for looking after the planet, reducing pollution etc.

I agree we all should do our little bit.

I just don't reckon taxing is the answer.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the experts do... Besides, it beats doing nothing which is basically what the opposition is proposing.

Surely something is better than nothing, right?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

like i said in the other thread, global mass hemp industry.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Politicians....... on both sides.....do a fine job of fucking things up without encouragement from me.

Surely something is better than nothing, right?

Thats why I'll just keep doing my own thing....planting lots of trees, reducing waste, growing my own food, teaching my kids to nurture nature - not destroy it!

And yes,yes,yes....

....global mass hemp industry
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

like i said in the other thread, global mass hemp industry.

I totally agree, but that would be political suicide for those that dare.

Bit by bit we can get there, but Big-Oil will fight us all the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the problem with the human vs nature argument is that we ARE nature, this makes anything that comes of us natural. how is my mud brick house different from a birds nest? (i really do live in a mud brick house, at least mostly (there is a regular old fibro extension on it).

Cancer is natural too, and so is oil. Trouble is, nature isn't always nice to other bits of nature. The question is, is are we hell-bent on dominating everything to the point where it is all mechanical / GM and we have ruined the very thing that gave birth to our species and allowed it to thrive, or do we take a step back and decide whether what we have is the best thing for longevity?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certain oil and gas operations that involve injecting wastewater underground can cause earthquakes, but the risk from hydraulic fracturing is generally low, said a US scientific report Friday.

The report by the National Research Council found that the most significant risk of earthquakes is linked to secondary injection of wastewater below ground to help capture remaining hydrocarbons from a petroleum reservoir.

Also, a technique called carbon capture and storage that aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere by capturing, liquefying and injecting them below ground at high volumes, "may have potential for inducing larger seismic events," the report said.

But fracking, which offers the potential to unlock vast quantities of natural gas from shale formations and has come under intense scrutiny from environmentalists, was not a major risk factor for quakes that would be strong enough for people to feel, or above 2.0 magnitude, it said.

"The process of hydraulic fracturing a well as presently implemented for shale gas recovery does not pose a high risk for inducing felt seismic events," said Murray Hitzman, a professor of economic geology at the Colorado School of Mines and chair of the committee that authored the report.

A spokesman for the National Academy of Sciences said the committee members all passed a screening process to rule out potential conflicts of interest, and all agreed with the conclusions in the report.

There are 35,000 wells for shale gas development in the United States today, and only one case has been documented worldwide in which hydraulic fracturing for shale gas was confirmed as the cause of nearby earthquakes, it said.

That case was in the Blackpool area of England in 2011. Fracking was found to have caused a 2.3 magnitude quake in April and a 1.5 quake in May.

graphicshale.jpg

Explanation of the controversial technique of shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (130 x 128 mm)

Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas production was cited as the possible cause of felt seismic events in Oklahoma in 2011, the largest of which was a 2.8 magnitude temblor, it added.

A total of 13 states have reported "seismic events caused by or likely related to energy development," the report said.

But it noted that a frequent problem in studying such events involves the small size of the quakes and data collection that is poor or lacking, often making confirmation of a link between fracking and earthquakes difficult.

Earthquakes related to primary oil and gas production were more frequent than in fracking -- such cases have been documented at 20 sites in the United States and 18 internationally.

But still, the number of cases was "uncommon relative to the large number of operating oil and gas fields worldwide," said the report.

A key factor in the potential to cause a quake appears to be related to the total balance of fluid introduced below the surface and removed from it, and technologies that control this balance are best, said Hitzman.

"Injection or disposal of wastewater derived from energy technologies into the subsurface does pose some risk for induced seismicity but very few events have been documented over the past several decades," he said.

The study did not examine water quality changes or any potential damage caused by such earthquakes.

Hitzman also noted that the committee found there are no specific regulations against oil and gas operations engaging in fracking over a fault in the Earth, and there are no US laws against causing an earthquake.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) was singled out because proposed projects would involve injecting the largest volumes of fluids below the surface for long periods and therefore may cause bigger earthquakes.

However, there are no major CCS projects underway so the actual risk is difficult to assess, and more research is needed, the report said.

"Human activity, including injection and extraction of fluids from the Earth, can induce seismic events," it said.

"While the vast majority of these events have intensities below that which can be felt by people living directly at the site of fluid injection or extraction, there is potential to produce significant seismic events that can be felt and cause damage and public concern."

The report urged more research to address the gaps in current knowledge, more work on techniques to help predict such events, and better use of seismic instrumentation to collect data on risky earthquake sites in the future.

http://phys.org/news/2012-06-fracking-earthquakes.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Phys.org) -- A new computer model developed in Switzerland shows that the pH of the ocean waters off the west coast of the US will fall over the next four decades faster than previously thought. The region studied is on the eastern boundary of an upwelling zone, and is important for commercial fishing and for its diversity in marine life.

An upwelling zone is one in which waters from the deep ocean well up to replace water displaced by summer surface winds, which push water away from the coast. The upwelled deep water tends to contain high concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) from the respiration of microbes on the ocean floor, and this adds to the dissolved atmospheric CO2, which is rising, producing a region of marked decreases in pH.

When CO2 dissolves in seawater it reduces the pH by the production of carbonic acid and release of H+ ions, a process known as “acidification.” According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the mean pH of open ocean surface water is 7.9-8.3, and even with reducing pH will still be slightly basic. Even very small changes in the pH can affect marine ecosystems, but the effects are poorly known. A reduction of 0.1 in pH corresponds to a 30% increase in H+ concentration.

A reduction in ocean surface pH reduces the amount of carbonate ions in seawater, and these are used by many shell-building creatures in building their shells. A reduction in the carbonate concentration also reduces the saturation state of the mineral aragonite, which is a form of calcium carbonate also commonly used in shell building.

The computer model was developed by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and concentrated on the California Current System, the upwelling region off the western coast of the USA. The aim of the research team, led by ocean biogeochemist Professor Nicolas Gruber, was to examine the effects of linking rising atmospheric levels of CO2 and the CO2 already dissolved in the seawater.

The model looked at two different scenarios of atmospheric CO2 levels over the next four decades and how these emissions would add to the CO2 levels in the upper 60 meters of seawater. The scenarios used in the modes were the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2 and B1. The results showed that in both scenarios the aragonite saturation rate drops rapidly and the pH falls.

The model predicts the saturation rate of aragonite may drop to below 1 (an undersaturated state) for over half the year by 2050. When aragonite is at undersaturated levels shells made of calcium carbonate would begin to dissolve. At present, Gruber estimates undersaturated levels exist in the region around 2-4% of the time. When the saturation rate is below 1.5, as it would be for much of the year by 2050, shell-building animals such as oyster and mussel larvae and sea snails such as the tiny pteropods (sea butterfly) may find it difficult to harvest sufficient calcium carbonate to build their shells.

The paper was published in the journal Science.

More information: Rapid Progression of Ocean Acidification in the California Current System, Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1216773

ABSTRACT

Nearshore waters of the California Current System (California CS) already today have a low carbonate saturation state, making them particularly susceptible to ocean acidification. Here, we use eddy-resolving model simulations to study the potential development of ocean acidification in this system up to 2050 under the SRES A2 and B1 scenarios. In both scenarios, the saturation state of aragonite Ωarag is projected to drop rapidly, with much of the nearshore regions developing summer-long undersaturation in the top 60 m within the next 30 years. By the year 2050, waters with Ωarag above 1.5 have largely disappeared and more than half of the waters are undersaturated year-round. Habitats along the seafloor become exposed to year-round undersaturation within the next 20 to 30 years. This has potentially major implications for the rich and diverse ecosystem that characterizes the California CS.

Press release

Journal reference: Science

http://phys.org/news...ng-rapidly.html

Edited by qualia
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Research shows the response of the carbon cycle to climate change

June 20, 2012

Marine and freshwater environments have the potential to release more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere in a warmer climate than their land counterparts, scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have found.

In the largest ever analysis of rates of respiration, published online in the journalNature today, scientists compared the temperature dependence of respiration between aquatic and land ecosystems.

Lead author, Dr Gabriel Yvon-Durocher from Queen Mary, University of London explained the context of the research: "In the carbon cycle, photosynthesis by plants absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) while respiration by animals returns CO2 to the atmosphere. Understanding how rates of respiration of entire ecosystems respond to changes in temperature will be crucial for forecasting future climate change as the planet warms in the coming decades."

In analysing annual rates of respiration across different ecosystems around the world, they found that aquatic ecosystems had a stronger response to temperature changesthan land ecosystems.

"Respiration has a higher 'activation energy' than photosynthesis, meaning that it increases more rapidly with increasing temperature. But over a longer time period, the carbon fixed by photosynthesis limits respiration on the land. However, many aquatic ecosystems receive additional carbon from the land, which washes into lakes, rivers, estuaries and the sea from rainfall. This extra carbon means that respiration in aquatic ecosystems is not limited by photosynthesis and can have a stronger response to temperature than ecosystems on the land," explained Dr Yvon-Durocher.

"These findings demonstrate that aquatic ecosystems have a greater potential to release CO2 to the atmosphere as the climate warms, over long periods of time."

The authors warn that there are many other factors that need to be considered when analysing the links between global warming and changes in the carbon cycle.

"Our research has highlighted the potential of aquatic ecosystems to contribute more CO2 to the atmosphere as global temperatures rise, but we can not definitively say that this will exacerbate the effects of climate change - it merely highlights a new mechanism that must be considered when making future predictions," Dr Yvon-Durocher said.

"Further research should be done to characterise the temperature sensitivities of the other key fluxes mediated by ecosystems that control the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to make more accurate predictions of future climate change."

More information: 'Reconciling the temperature dependence of respiration across time scales and ecosystem types' will be published online in the journal Nature on June 20, 2012.

Journal reference: Nature img-dot.gif

http://phys.org/news...on-climate.html

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems like we are producing some of our finest collective science ever.

Yet people are still talked out of taking action.

Edit: trimmed the politics

Edited by Halcyon Daze
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking. This is an ethnobotany site, maybe to keep the trolling to a minimum we should focus our attention on the damage done to plants and ecosystems generally rather than the human sphere? I think it would be interesting to keep the topic more manageable this way, and it means we can imbue it with the peculiar passion reserved to plant nuts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There one hell of a lot of evidence out there that suggests that increased CO2 has a big impact on the toxic substances in the leaves, creating increases in levels of cyanogens, which doesn't bode well for Koala's which are already being impacted by loss of habitat, and is likely to have a strong impact on the feeding habits of insects.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thefrimmersd.jpg

The Frimmersdorf power station is seen in 2010 in Grevenbroich, western Germany. A proposed method of cutting harmful carbon emissions in the atmosphere by storing them underground risks causing earthquakes and is unlikely to succeed, a US study said.

A proposed method of cutting harmful carbon emissions in the atmosphere by storing them underground risks causing earthquakes and is unlikely to succeed, a US study said Monday.

The warning came in a Perspective article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, just days after another independent US study warned that carbon capture and storage (CCS) risked causing earthquakes.

CCS is currently considered a "viable strategy" by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for pollution control from coal-based electrical power generation and other industrial sources of carbon dioxide, said the PNAS study.

But while no large-scale projects are yet under way, the huge volume of fluid that would need to be stored below ground for long periods of time make the notion unrealistic, argued the study by experts at Stanford University in California.

"There is a high probability that earthquakes will be triggered by injection of large volumes of CO2 into the brittle rocks commonly found in continental interiors," said the article by Mark Zobacka and Steven Gorelick, professors in the departments of Geophysics and Environmental Earth System Science.

"Because even small- to moderate-sized earthquakes threaten the seal integrity of CO2 repositories, in this context, large-scale CCS is a risky, and likely unsuccessful, strategy for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

graphicthema.jpg

Graphic showing the main options for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide.

The technique aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere by capturing, liquefying and injecting them below ground at high volumes.

For CCS to work on a global scale, it would need to eliminate about 3.5 billion tons of C02 per year, or about the same volume as 28.6 billion barrels, said the study, noting that about 27 billion barrels of oil are produced yearly worldwide.

"Before embarking on projects to inject enormous volumes of CO2 at numerous sites around the world, it is important to note that over time periods of just a few decades, modern seismic networks have shown that earthquakes occur nearly everywhere in continental interiors," said the study.

CCS would also require an underground leak rate of less than one percent per thousand years "to achieve the same climate benefits as renewable energy sources," it said.

Underground injections of wastewater have already been linked to small to moderate earthquakes in the United States in recent years, it said, citing one apparent case as early as 1960 in Colorado and others last year in Arkansas and Ohio.

"The situation would be far more problematic if similar-sized earthquakes were triggered in formations intended to sequester CO2 for hundreds to thousands of years."

A separate study by the US National Research Council on Friday found that CCS "may have potential for inducing larger seismic events," while the earthquake potential from hydraulic fracturing was low.

CCS was singled out because proposed projects would involve injecting the largest volumes of fluids below the surface for long periods -- more than in fracking or traditional oil and gas operations -- and therefore may cause bigger earthquakes, it said.

However, there are no major CCS projects underway so the actual risk is difficult to assess and more research is needed, the NRC report said.

More information: “Earthquake triggering and large-scale geologic storage of carbon dioxide,” by Mark D. Zoback and Steven M. Gorelick, PNAS, 2012.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences img-dot.gif img-dot.gif

© 2012 AFP

http://phys.org/news/2012-06-carbon-capture-risky-earthquake-prone.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Full datalog here

source: guardian.co.uk

World carbon emissions: the league table of every country

The US has seen the first rise in carbon dioxide emissions since the 2008 recession, new data shows. Meanwhile China has sped into the lead as the world gathers for the Rio+20 summit.

Carbon-emissions-interact-008.jpg

The world emits 48% more carbon dioxide from the consumption of energy now than it did in 1992 when the first Rio summit took place.

The new data shows the rise of Asia, big increases in emissions in Africa, how Europe has plateaued - and how Iran has shot up the league table.

China - the world's biggest emitter of CO2 - has increased by 240%

The new data, published by the US Energy Information Administration this week, is the most comprehensive carbon emissions data with statistics for over 200 countries around the world since 1980.

The world emitted 31.8bn tonnes of carbon from the consumption of energy in 2010 - up 6.7% on the year before. The figure is up by 48% on 1992, when the first Rio summit took place.

China - which only went into first place in 2006 - is racing ahead of the US, too. It emitted 8.3bn tonnes of CO2 in 2010 - up 240% on 1992, 15.5% on the previous year.

Meanwhile, US emissions are up for the first time since recession hit in 2008, in a sign of how closely pollution is linked to economic success.

Here are some of the key facts:

• China now emits 48% more CO2 than the USA - and is responsible for a quarter of the world's emissions

• The UK's emissions are down 8% on 1992, and it has moved from 7th to 10th place since 1992

• In contrast, Iran has moved from 21st place to 8th place in 2010, overtaking the UK and Canada

• Gibraltar has the highest per capita emissions in the world - 135.3 tonnes per person per year, compared to 8.5 tonnes in the UK and 6.3 tonnes in China

There are other sources of emissions data too, if you want to compare - albeit not as up-to-date:

• The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathers the data on world carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This is only available up to 2008.

• the International Energy Agency (IEA) has global carbon emissions data up to 2009

Edited by whitewind

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG!!! the finally put the 2 together

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120501134327.htm

Global Warming: New Research Blames Economic Growth

ScienceDaily (May 1, 2012) — It's a message no one wants to hear: To slow down global warming, we'll either have to put the brakes on economic growth or transform the way the world's economies work. That's the implication of an innovative University of Michigan study examining the most likely causes of global warming.

See Also:

Earth & Climate

Science & Society

Reference

The study, conducted by José Tapia Granados and Edward Ionides of U-M and Óscar Carpintero of the University of Valladolid in Spain, was published online in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Policy. It is the first analysis to use measurable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to assess fluctuations in the gas, rather than estimates of CO2 emissions, which are less accurate.

"If 'business as usual' conditions continue, economic contractions the size of the Great Recession or even bigger will be needed to reduce atmospheric levels of CO2," said Tapia Granados, who is a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

For the study, the researchers assessed the impact of four factors on short-run, year-to-year changes in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, widely considered the most important greenhouse gas. Those factors included two natural phenomena believed to affect CO2 levels -- volcanic eruptions and the El Niño Southern oscillation -- and also world population and the world economy, as measured by worldwide gross domestic product.

Tapia Granados and colleagues found no observable relation between short-term growth of world population and CO2 concentrations, and they show that incidents of volcanic activity coincide with global recessions, which may confound any slight volcanic effects on CO2.

With El Niño outside of human control, economic activity is the sole modifiable factor. In years of above-trend world GDP, from 1958 to 2010, the researchers found greater increases in CO2 concentrations. For every $10 trillion in U.S. dollars that the world GDP deviates from trend, CO2 levels deviate from trend about half a part per million, they found. Preindustrial concentrations are estimated to be 200-300 parts per million.

To break the economic habits contributing to a rise in atmospheric CO2 levels and global warming, Tapia Granados says that societies around the world would need to make enormous changes.

"Since the mid 1970s, scientists like James Hansen have been warning us about the effects global warming will have on the Earth," Tapia Granados said. "One solution that has promise is a carbon tax levied on any activity producing CO2 in order to create incentives to reduce emissions. The money would be returned to individuals so the tax would not burden the population at large.

"What our study makes clear is that climate change will soon have a serious impact on the world, and the time is growing short to take corrective action."

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the experts do... Besides, it beats doing nothing which is basically what the opposition is proposing.

Surely something is better than nothing, right?

You bet...I had a hang nail and couldn't find my nail clippers..it's okay as my neighbour come over with his chainsaw. We took it off at the knee. Well it was better than doing nothing....wasn't it?

Maybe you need to read the oppositions climate change policy. Are you also denying they have one? Are you not misleading people when you say they are going to do nothing? Here you go...found it for you.

http://www.liberal.o...nvironment.aspx

I would love to see this country given the benefit of the coalitions clean-up funds and lucky for me I think my wish is not too far from coming true. A great big wealth distribution tax or boots on the ground cleaning up our bloody mess and replanting the country side? Action or tax? I too am prepared to pay my share but not so those poorer than me can be a little better off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seams pretty fitting and apt...

PREDICTION- Global warming will cause every thing..

The following news headline appeared on the internet last week: "Scientists warn global warming will fuel spread of ticks that carry Lyme disease."

The corresponding article begins this way:

Another effect of climate change may be crawling up your leg this summer as you frolic in the woods.

Scientists say our warming world is speeding the spread of ticks that carry potentially debilitating Lyme disease.

Okay, given that many in the climate change fraternity -- including, famously, Phil Jones of East Anglia University -- have been forced to concede that global warming has been on "pause" since 1995, how exactly is it "speeding the spread" of disease-carrying ticks?

Don't read this news article for an answer. In fact, from the third paragraph on, the article is a straightforward discussion of the slow spread of the tick population into various southern regions of Canada, and the new risk of Lyme disease that this brings. There is no further mention of global warming, and no attempt is made to establish a significant relationship -- or even a coincidental one -- between the movements of the ticks and changes in mean annual temperatures in the relevant regions.

So why mention global warming in this context at all? Because the first rule of all modern discourse related to weather, disease, happiness, poverty, famine, wildlife, or almost anything else is that tribute must be paid to the god Climate Change Theory. One cannot discuss the spread of disease without mentioning climate change. So the article mentions it. No further reason is required. It is simply a matter of faith, of public policy, and of good breeding to acknowledge climate change as a preface to any observation about anything.

http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/home/10286-prediction-global-warming-will-cause-everything

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Arctic sea-ice levels at record low for June

Scientists say that the latest observations suggest that Arctic sea ice cover is continuing to shrink and thin

Actic-sea-ice-006.jpg

Sea ice in the Arctic has melted faster this year than ever recorded before, according to the US government's National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC).

Satellite observations show the extent of the floating ice that melts and refreezes every year was 318,000 square miles less last week than the same day period in 2007, the year of record low extent, and the lowest observed at this time of year since records began in 1979. Separate observations by University of Washington researchers suggest that the volume of Arctic sea ice is also the smallest ever calculated for this time of year.

Scientists cautioned that it is still early in the "melt season", but said that the latest observations suggest that the Arctic sea ice cover is continuing to shrink and thin and the pattern of record annual melts seen since 2000 is now well established. Last year saw the second greatest sea ice melt on record, 36% below the average minimum from 1979-2000.

"Recent ice loss rates have been 100,000 to 150,000 square kilometres (38,600 to 57,900 square miles) per day, which is more than double the climatological rate. While the extent is at a record low for the date, it is still early in the melt season. Changing weather patterns throughout the summer will affect the exact trajectory of the sea ice extent through the rest of the melt season," said a spokesman for the NSIDC.

The increased melting is believed to be a result of climate change. Arctic temperatures have risen more than twice as fast as the global average over the past half century.

arctic-sea-ice-001.png

Map and chart showing extent of Arctic sea ice.

Shipping companies said they would be able to send more ships to China and Japan through the previously impassable waters north of Russia if the ice continued to melt so fast. The "northern sea route", which normally requires ice breakers, cuts about 4,000 nautical miles off a journey from Europe to China and can save tens of thousands of pounds in fuel bills.

"This year we expect to send six to eight vessels through the north-east passage, compared to none just a few years ago. There are advantages but there are extra costs and it needs special ships," said a spokesman for Copenhagen-based Nordic Bulk Carriers, the first company to use the northern sea route in 2010.

More open water during the summer is expected to help Russian, US and European oil companies to move into the Arctic. This week Norway announced plans to issue oil and gas exploration permits for up to 86 offshore tracts, most of them in Arctic waters, by the end of 2013. Russian companies have already drilled exploratory wells and Shell is preparing to sink two exploration wells in US Arctic Ocean waters – one between Alaska and Siberia and north of the Bering Strait, the other in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska.

The record speed of ice melt in the Arctic this year coincides, but is not necessarily linked to heatwaves in Siberia, record temperatures in eastern US and some of the most extreme weather ever recorded in the UK and northern Europe. The link between melting Arctic ice and extreme weather in the northern hemisphere is not established, but the UK Met Office and recent scientific reports have suggested that declining sea ice is linked to colder winters.

Marine biologists this month said that the warming Arctic could be having major ecological effects. Scientists funded by Nasa working 100km from the nearest unfrozen waters reported in the journal Science that they had last year unexpectedly found vast concentrations of microscopic phytoplankton – the foundation of the marine food chain – under the ice, which they described as like finding a rainforest in the desert. Until now, they had believed phytoplankton grew only in open water.

The massive sub-glacial "algal bloom", they said, could be a sign that as the that the ice may now be thin enough to allow sunlight to catalyse algal blooms without it melting completely. "We were astonished. It was completely unexpected. It was literally the most intense phytoplankton bloom I have ever seen in my 25 years of doing this type of research," said Prof Kevin Arrigo, a scientist at Stanford University in California.

The findings, if confirmed, could affect the global carbon cycle because phytoplankton absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/27/arctic-sea-ice-melt-rate

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×