Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Slightly fresher lake, cont.

The Northeast and Northwest passages are both open for the first time in history, making the Arctic ice cap an island for the first time in observed human history.
Prof Mark Serreze, a sea ice specialist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in the US said the images suggested the Arctic may have entered a "death spiral" caused by global warming.

Shipping companies are already planning to exploit the first simultaneous opening of the routes since the beginning of the last Ice Age 125,000 years ago. The Beluga Group in Germany says it will send the first ship through the north-east passage, around Russia, next year, cutting 4,000 miles off the voyage from Germany to Japan.
To reiterate: there is no scenario in which the Greenland ice sheet survives when we get ice-free summers in the Arctic. Giving Greenland a nice, long, summer bath isn't a great idea.

Oh, and it gets better:
OTTAWA (Reuters) - A huge 19 square mile (55 square km) ice shelf in Canada's northern Arctic broke away last month and the remaining shelves have shrunk at a "massive and disturbing" rate, the latest sign of accelerating climate change in the remote region, scientists said on Tuesday.

They said the Markham Ice Shelf, one of just five remaining ice shelves in the Canadian Arctic, split away from Ellesmere Island in early August. They also said two large chunks totaling 47 square miles had broken off the nearby Serson Ice Shelf, reducing it in size by 60 percent.

... Mueller said the total amount of ice lost from the shelves along Ellesmere Island this summer totaled 83 square miles -- more than three times the area of Manhattan island.

The figure is more than 10 times the amount of ice shelf cover that scientists estimated on July 30 would vanish from around the island this summer.
Why? Because we've totally failed to do anything remotely close to what's necessary.
The pledge from G8 countries to cut global emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, in an effort to cut global warming to 2ÂșC, could lead to ‘dangerously misguided’ climate change adaptation policies, according to new research from The University of Manchester.

Stabilising greenhouse gas emissions at a level that will avoid dangerous climate change is no longer viable without an immediate reframing of current climate policy, according to scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Manchester.
So, uh, good night and good luck everyone.

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