Tuesday, October 2, 2007

NY Times Science Issue on Arctic Ice Melt

Andrew C. Revkin has written and assembled a large report on the unexpectedly summer icecap melt in the Arctic in the Tuesday Oct. 2, 2007 The New York Times, section D. The story is called "Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts", with the link here. There are multiple photographs, and maps showing meterological explanations for the melt. But it seems unquestionable that fossil fuel burning has led to a much more rapid summer melt of the arctic ice cap (including Greenland) than had been expected, even in Al Gore's and Leonardo Di Caprio's films. The rise in sea level could occur even more rapidly. The refreeze in the autumn will take longer (although at the North Pole the sun sets for six months around Sept. 22). The lack of ice can increase global warming and approach the "tipping point" because blue water does not reflect summer sunlight the way ice does. On the other hand, a sudden melt could affect ocean currents (the Gulf Stream and feedback loop) in such a way as to compromise western Europe's relatively mild winters. All pretty sobering stuff.

Update: Oct. 7, 2007

Bjorn Lomborg has a large pragmatic essay in the Outlook Section of The Washington Post today, "Chill out. Stop fighting over global warming -- here's the smart way to attack it," link here.

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