Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Climate Change: end of year round up

The studies regarding climate change just keep coming. I've been amazed at the number of studies released this year. Seems to have become a weekly occurrence. Everyday is, for me, a fluctuation between extreme anger and sadness at our lack of reaction regarding climate change. The studies pile up. Real life observations seem to back it up... today I saw a frog in our little garden pond. I see green plants everywhere that have yet to die off because, like the two previous winters, we've had only brief cold spells. Everyday I wonder, how much evidence do people need before they will show real concern? My own family seem to be fairly representative of the mainstream and to put it simply they don't seem to care. Not even a little.

I don't want to live in this world. I don't want to participate in a culture... in a society of people like this. It sickens me. We have become monsters concerned only with our entertainment and our next purchase at the mall or Walmart.

CNN reports on a study by the journal Geophysical Research Letters released 12/17:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Climate change could thaw the top 11 feet of permafrost in most areas of the Northern Hemisphere by 2100, altering ecosystems across Alaska, Canada and Russia, according to a federal study.

Using supercomputers in the United States and Japan, the study calculated how frozen soil would interact with air temperatures, snow, sea ice changes and other processes.

The most extreme scenario involved the melting of the top 11 feet (3.35 meters) of permafrost, or earth that remains frozen year-round.

"If that much near-surface permafrost thaws, it could release considerable amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and that could amplify global warming," said lead author David Lawrence, with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "We could be underestimating the rate of global temperature increase."

Greenland
SAN FRANCISCO Dec 7, 2005 — Two of Greenland's largest glaciers are retreating at an alarming pace, most likely because of climate warming, scientists said Wednesday.

One of the glaciers, Kangerdlugssuaq, is currently moving about 9 miles a year compared to 3 miles a year in 2001, said Gordon Hamilton of the University of Maine's Climate Change Institute.

The other glacier, Helheim, is retreating at about 7 miles a year up from 4 miles a year during the same period.

"It's quite a staggering rate of increase," Hamilton said at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting.


Alaska
Alaska's rapidly disintegrating Columbia Glacier, which has shrunk in length by 9 miles since 1980, has reached the mid-point of its projected retreat, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Tad Pfeffer, associate director of CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, said the glacier is now discharging nearly 2 cubic miles of ice annually into the Prince William Sound, the equivalent of 100,000 ships packed with ice, each 500 feet long. The tidewater glacier -- which has its terminus, or end, in the waters of the Prince William Sound -- is expected to retreat an additional 9 miles in the next 15 years to 20 years before reaching an equilibrium point in shallow water near sea level, he said.

Kazakhstan

The political stability of a key central Asian state could be imperilled by climate change, researchers say.

They say glaciers are melting so fast in parts of Kazakhstan that the livelihoods of millions of people will be affected.

They found the area's glaciers were losing almost two cubic kilometres of ice annually during the later 20th Century.

South America:
The Patagonia Icefields of Chile and Argentina, the largest non-Antarctic ice masses in the Southern Hemisphere, are thinning at an accelerating pace and now account for nearly 10 percent of global sea-level change from mountain glaciers, according to a new study by NASA and Chile's Centro de Estudios Cientificos.


CO2 'highest for 650,000 years'
By Richard Black
Environment Correspondent, BBC News website
Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years.

That is the conclusion of new European studies looking at ice taken from 3km below the surface of Antarctica.

The scientists say their research shows present day warming to be exceptional.

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