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Weather Board : Climate change
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Reply
 Message 1 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nicknamebreeze_tioga  (Original Message)Sent: 2/17/2006 1:15 PM

Climate change: On the edge

Greenland ice cap breaking up at twice the rate it was five years ago, says scientist Bush tried to gag

By Jim Hansen

Published: 17 February 2006

A satellite study of the Greenland ice cap shows that it is melting far faster than scientists had feared - twice as much ice is going into the sea as it was five years ago. The implications for rising sea levels - and climate change - could be dramatic.

Yet, a few weeks ago, when I - a Nasa climate scientist - tried to talk to the media about these issues following a lecture I had given calling for prompt reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases, the Nasa public affairs team - staffed by political appointees from the Bush administration - tried to stop me doing so. I was not happy with that, and I ignored the restrictions. The first line of Nasa's mission is to understand and protect the planet.

This new satellite data is a remarkable advance. We are seeing for the first time the detailed behaviour of the ice streams that are draining the Greenland ice sheet. They show that Greenland seems to be losing at least 200 cubic kilometres of ice a year. It is different from even two years ago, when people still said the ice sheet was in balance.

Hundreds of cubic kilometres sounds like a lot of ice. But this is just the beginning. Once a sheet starts to disintegrate, it can reach a tipping point beyond which break-up is explosively rapid. The issue is how close we are getting to that tipping point. The summer of 2005 broke all records for melting in Greenland. So we may be on the edge.

Our understanding of what is going on is very new. Today's forecasts of sea-level rise use climate models of the ice sheets that say they can only disintegrate over a thousand years or more. But we can now see that the models are almost worthless. They treat the ice sheets like a single block of ice that will slowly melt. But what is happening is much more dynamic.

Once the ice starts to melt at the surface, it forms lakes that empty down crevasses to the bottom of the ice. You get rivers of water underneath the ice. And the ice slides towards the ocean.

Our Nasa scientists have measured this in Greenland. And once these ice streams start moving, their influence stretches right to the interior of the ice sheet. Building an ice sheet takes a long time, because it is limited by snowfall. But destroying it can be explosively rapid.

How fast can this go? Right now, I think our best measure is what happened in the past. We know that, for instance, 14,000 years ago sea levels rose by 20m in 400 years - that is five metres in a century. This was towards the end of the last ice age, so there was more ice around. But, on the other hand, temperatures were not warming as fast as today.

How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today - which is what we expect later this century - sea levels were 25m higher. So that is what we can look forward to if we don't act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth's history and my own eyes. I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself.

It's hard to say what the world will be like if this happens. It would be another planet. You could imagine great armadas of icebergs breaking off Greenland and melting as they float south. And, of course, huge areas being flooded.

How long have we got? We have to stabilise emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade, or temperatures will warm by more than one degree. That will be warmer than it has been for half a million years, and many things could become unstoppable. If we are to stop that, we cannot wait for new technologies like capturing emissions from burning coal. We have to act with what we have. This decade, that means focusing on energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy that do not burn carbon. We don't have much time left.

Jim Hansen, the director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, is President George Bush's top climate modeller. He was speaking to Fred Pearce

A satellite study of the Greenland ice cap shows that it is melting far faster than scientists had feared - twice as much ice is going into the sea as it was five years ago. The implications for rising sea levels - and climate change - could be dramatic.

Yet, a few weeks ago, when I - a Nasa climate scientist - tried to talk to the media about these issues following a lecture I had given calling for prompt reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases, the Nasa public affairs team - staffed by political appointees from the Bush administration - tried to stop me doing so. I was not happy with that, and I ignored the restrictions. The first line of Nasa's mission is to understand and protect the planet.

This new satellite data is a remarkable advance. We are seeing for the first time the detailed behaviour of the ice streams that are draining the Greenland ice sheet. They show that Greenland seems to be losing at least 200 cubic kilometres of ice a year. It is different from even two years ago, when people still said the ice sheet was in balance.

Hundreds of cubic kilometres sounds like a lot of ice. But this is just the beginning. Once a sheet starts to disintegrate, it can reach a tipping point beyond which break-up is explosively rapid. The issue is how close we are getting to that tipping point. The summer of 2005 broke all records for melting in Greenland. So we may be on the edge.

Our understanding of what is going on is very new. Today's forecasts of sea-level rise use climate models of the ice sheets that say they can only disintegrate over a thousand years or more. But we can now see that the models are almost worthless. They treat the ice sheets like a single block of ice that will slowly melt. But what is happening is much more dynamic.

Once the ice starts to melt at the surface, it forms lakes that empty down crevasses to the bottom of the ice. You get rivers of water underneath the ice. And the ice slides towards the ocean.

Our Nasa scientists have measured this in Greenland. And once these ice streams start moving, their influence stretches right to the interior of the ice sheet. Building an ice sheet takes a long time, because it is limited by snowfall. But destroying it can be explosively rapid.

How fast can this go? Right now, I think our best measure is what happened in the past. We know that, for instance, 14,000 years ago sea levels rose by 20m in 400 years - that is five metres in a century. This was towards the end of the last ice age, so there was more ice around. But, on the other hand, temperatures were not warming as fast as today.

How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today - which is what we expect later this century - sea levels were 25m higher. So that is what we can look forward to if we don't act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth's history and my own eyes. I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself.

It's hard to say what the world will be like if this happens. It would be another planet. You could imagine great armadas of icebergs breaking off Greenland and melting as they float south. And, of course, huge areas being flooded.

How long have we got? We have to stabilise emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade, or temperatures will warm by more than one degree. That will be warmer than it has been for half a million years, and many things could become unstoppable. If we are to stop that, we cannot wait for new technologies like capturing emissions from burning coal. We have to act with what we have. This decade, that means focusing on energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy that do not burn carbon. We don't have much time left.

Jim Hansen, the director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, is President George Bush's top climate modeller. He was speaking to Fred Pearce



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Reply
 Message 2 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameSmigChickSent: 2/17/2006 7:56 PM
Why does this make me feel as if I've been dropped smack-dab in the middle of "The Day After Tomorrow", only it's not a movie set??
 
 
You should post this on the general board, too - this is important, and I don't think everyone checks the weather board. We need people to start paying closer attention to this stuff.
 
Where the hell is Torty? He's always good for an argument on this topic, lol, and that would draw a crow. Ha!
 
But really....serious stuff here....
 

Reply
 Message 3 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_AmesSent: 2/20/2006 8:44 PM
There was something about this on CBS News last night and .  They showed a space image of the north pole in 79 and now.  Good shit.

Reply
 Message 4 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_AmesSent: 2/20/2006 8:47 PM
Actually it was on 60 minutes..
 
 
However the space images aren't there but there are a number of other photos.

Reply
 Message 5 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameZelfrieda1Sent: 2/20/2006 8:49 PM
This was on 60 Minutes last night.
SCARY!
 
The scariest part was when they said even if we all stopped our cars/buses/planes and all today - it would still continue to warm for the next 100 years!  I have a really big urge to buy a boat or build an ARK!

Reply
 Message 6 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nickname_AmesSent: 2/20/2006 8:51 PM
LOL, no kidding Zel.  I was thinking...well horse and buggy is a good mode of transportation.

Reply
 Message 7 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameZelfrieda1Sent: 2/20/2006 8:52 PM
I always wanted a horse - now I'm thinking..........I NEED a horse!

Reply
 Message 8 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nicknamebreeze_tiogaSent: 2/22/2006 1:41 PM
Report Draws Apocalyptic Panorama For The Year 3000 PDF Print E-mail
Contributed by Nelson Tembra   
Monday, 20 February 2006

Numerous coastal areas of the planet will arrive flooded to next millennium. The level of the oceans will have arisen more than 11 meters and the medium temperature will have increased in 15 degrees due to the heating of the Earth, second a study elaborated by the Center Tyndall. This is the apocalyptic panorama of the future of the Earth, if the humanity doesn't adopt urgent and drastic measures, according to scientists.

The study, elaborated by the Center Tyndall of Climatic Researches, of the University of Manchester, and entitled the climatic change in a millenarian scale"; it is the first to analyze in a complete way the impact of the heating of our planet besides the 21st century.

The report indicates that in the year 3000 the heating of the planet will have increasing in more than four times if we continue burning fossil fuels, and the level of the seas will have arisen in 11,4 meters. Starting from two meters of elevation of the level of the oceans, a lot of areas of Bangladesh, Florida and other coastal areas will be flooded, what will force the displacement of millions of people.

According to the study, it can continue having abrupt climatic changes, besides if the emissions of the gases that they contribute now to the greenhouse effect end, because there are certain processes that, once initiate, they cannot be stopped. The acidity of the oceans will decrease in a significant way, what will represent a problem for the marine organisms, as the corals and the plankton, which it will affect the group of the ecosystem negatively.

Those changes could still be more dramatic if the climate of the planet reveals more vulnerable to the emissions of gas it stews of what suspect the scientists now. The solution, according to the report, is to reduce that type of emissions to zero up to 2200.

The message of the document is that the world should be limited to just burn a fourth of the known reservations of fossil fuels. For that, it would only be permitted a very light increase of the global emissions to the year 2025 for, starting from that date, to begin to reduce them.

 
 
 
 
 

Reply
 Message 9 of 10 in Discussion 
From: JagSent: 7/22/2006 7:52 AM
Makes me think I really WILL build a castle that has storerooms and stuff to protect me and my family... and will let us live safely if all this comes to pass...
 
Of course, I won't be moving to Idaho, but maybe creating my own cult/whatever they are called, militias? isn't such a bad idea. lol

Reply
 Message 10 of 10 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameSmigChickSent: 7/27/2006 7:44 PM
I think all that melting ice is responsible for the horrendous weather in the northern hemisphere this summer. It's already happening.
 

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