Thursday, December 13, 2007

Arctic Melting

As many of the world's nations are presently talking about how to combat global climate change in Bali, Indonesia, new data from this past summer (the 2nd warmest on record, behind 2005) indicate record melting of the summer ice sheets in the Arctic Circle. Scientists who study climate and climate change tend to rely on advanced computer modeling in order to make predictions based on earlier years and measurements, and in the past many skeptics have often mentioned that computer models were unreliable and tended to overestimate the long-term effects of climate change, to the point that some have stated humans play no role at all in what is happening to our global climate. Unfortunately, those skeptics are correct - 'over-estimates' of the models are not accurate. Instead, they were under-estimates based on this year's data. The melting is now taking place at staggering rates, so much so that some have estimated that if this rate remains the norm, the summer ice will be gone by 2012! This is only 5 years away. Previous estimates had the ice gone in a few decades.

Regrettably, the U.S. and some other nations are remaining stubborn at the Bali talks. Al Gore has publicly stated the U.S. is blocking any progress at these talks, and the Europeans are threatening to leave the talks. Bureaucrats are bickering about whether or not certain emissions targets are acceptable or not, all the while the climate continues to change. We are flirting with a level of change that may soon become irreversible, and future generations will be forced to deal with the consequences. Let's hope that someone steps up now to get nations agreeable to some plan NOW, and not years later when the Arctic summer ice is entirely gone.

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