Monday, October 8, 2012

Record Low Levels of Arctic Ice

A while back PBS covered the issue in the interview below.

In this article from Chomsky called Issues that Obama and Romney Avoid Chomsky talks about how prior projections had been that we might see summers without Arctic ice by the end of this century.  Now it could be as early as 2020?  And the response is not alarm from our politicians and world leaders.  It's how do we exploit newly exploited territory for more oil and other materials.  This will accelerate the problem.

As discussed in the interview, the ice caps are like the earth's air conditioners.  They reflect tons of solar radiative heat.  With the ice gone and water in its place more heat will be absorbed.  We're in big trouble here.  Things are already grim for the poor in Africa thanks to the drought from this year.  Meanwhile our politicians are focused on who can talk the toughest about Iran.


Chad said...

Jon said...

I would really like to believe there's nothing to be worried about. I'm afraid not though. I'm afraid our kids are in big trouble, and really we are in big trouble. This is happening much more quickly than was predicted even by the worst case estimates from the IPCC.

Go here to see what scientists are saying about the Antarctic ice. Man, they have been right all along, accurately predicting things. We have got to stop ignoring what they've been screaming at us for the last 40 years.

Examinator said...

The NZ article is only half true see
climate skeptic and real climate.
Among the issues the movement of ice is
a releasing methane from the melting permafrost, decreasing the area to reflect the suns rays...and there are severe questions about Ocean current strength and directions this WILL change the climate.
The point is that it the changes in Ice in the Antarctic and Arctic are only part of the story, for those who actually read the scientific reports the context gives an entirely different consequence.
Never believe news journalists as their job is to sell papers/advertising not to impart OBJECTIVE information the latter requires specific expertise. Conflict/controversy sells to the uninformed.

Chad said...

Do I think we have done some good and damage to the earth - yes. Do I think our contributions (minus nuclear war) will single handedly destroy earth absolutely not. My evidence? How about things like the ice age or when the earth was covered with erupting volcanoes - not too many people around back then. Mother earth will do what mother earth will do. I read somewhere that if the earth shifts off axis just a few hundred miles the change would be dramatic.

Besides of my choices are living in a mud hut, riding bikes, carrying water and living that way then I choose death to the earth - eventually over that for sure.

Examinator said...

The option are never as extreme as you depict them to be.
Mud hut etc is not the consequences of a less profligate life style, However it maybe the consequences if we don't change to one soon.
There were no multi cellular life forms when the world was 'covered by volcanoes'.

During the last Ice age there is scientific evidence to suggest that Homo sapiens were down to about 600 breeding couples. hence the lack of genetic diversity between humans today 1-2%. By comparison dogs have between (sub)species 5- 15%.

I can't think of one thing man has done to improve the world for it's sake only for *their* own sake.

There is no doubt that 'mother earth will do what it will' but the changes we are doing in the biosphere is beyond what she would do naturally.
No we aren't damaging the world ...just changing the biosphere to the point we as a species may not survive least of all in anything like a society or lifestyle we recognize.

History has shown multiple times that when human societies under pressure of collapse revert to our primitive state. Brutally survival of the fittest, bizarre religious practices and even both exo/endo cannibalism.
One only needs to look et Stalingrad in the 1930s...cannibalism was practised so too was it practised in the second world war in dire situations.

But like I say your choice is your choice and I have no interest in converting you to anything. I merely quote scientific facts.

Chad said...

Ex - what an incredibly odd observation. Unless mankind never existed how wouldn't the earth be affected? Just incredibly odd and confusing thought to discount human advancements that may or may not be helpful to earth (debatable from both sides).

I choose to believe that earth was given to us as a nearly endless resource to grow and prosper as a species. If that was not the case then we just lucked out that it is here for the time we are allowed on this earth.

I have little doubt that mankind will either grow to consume all natural resources or through war/disease will eventually have to go through a major reduction/rebirth - it seems like a very natural progression. Or there may be an outside force that will eliminate huge numbers of the population - meteor hitting earth or some other unnatural - natural event.

Change is what is coming - when is another matter. Some think in Decemberof this year - I happen to think it won't come for a very very long time.

Examinator said...

Chad says I have an odd view, in the context of the generally expressed human emotional bias (aka human arrogance) probably.
However it is largely a scientific (aka Objective) one based on fact not emotion.

We haven't change the world per se merely the minute (by comparison 30/12756 kilometres )outer layer.And all we've done is progressively changed its state but not changed our narrow range of environmental conditions in which WE can survive.

Every thing that was on the earth (excluding meteors/comets and satellites) is still there.

It is WE who are the agent for change in that critical layer..not natural changes.

Natural changes to the environment generally happen over lengthy periods
of time allowing for adaptation to the changes(evolution). When those changes are rapid there are MASS extinctions. Palaeontologists tell us that there have been three such mass extinctions...after each one the variation of life reduces. Ergo a fair question what will be left after AGW? Will it be so severe to reduce life to single cell extremophiles (heat thriving bacteria)

The last catastrophic change was the Ice age and the subsequent thawing. That saw the end of mega flora/fauna.i.e. their habitats disappeared. Fortunately at catastrophes goes it was a relatively mild one.

At current rates of change to 'our habitat' evidence suggests that it won't be long enough for us to evolve. The laws of physics has it's limits and our science which has further limitations therefore our options aren't that many.
It's currently unknown precisely how AGW will turn out.. all we know it won't be good. It's like drug resistant malaria. You catch it may or may not survive it's a die roll. 6 you live, 'snake eyes' you don't. The other numbers well a coin flip as to how long you suffer.

Given that that on previous history we have perhaps another 1000+ years before the next natural catastrophe....and who knows what advances there would be in our knowledge and science by then.
Chad etc may be prepared to roll the die for their grand children's future but will the children? The moral question for his ilk are they entitled to play 'god ' with everyone else's children and for...what is at the end of the day boils down to a self indulgent/ profligate life style?

Sorry Jon, just thought the topic need a kick along to the perspective.
PS no pejorative intentions.