Monday, August 11, 2008

Ice Warning

I've been following news about the Artic ice pack, and this year it appeared we were going to get a break from the rapid melt that resulted in a record ice minimum last September. This optimism was expressed as recently as July. Alas, apparently it is not to be. The Beaufort Sea was the site of dramatic change according to this article at The Guardian, and now all bets are off.

The scientists are very concerned that this year's sea ice minimums may indeed reach or exceed that of last year, which is not good news. It continues to nourish a feedback loop as the sea stays warmer than usual, leading to less new winter ice and more melting of multi-year ice. From reading the article, the scientists were shocked at what they saw and are now predicting an ice-free summer Arctic as early as 2013. That may work for the oil and gas prospectors, but it will play havoc with the rest of us. Over at The Oil Drum one wag speculated that the weather event that led to the breakup of the sea ice was also responsible for the very cool temps we are seeing now.

Remember, Global Warming doesn't necessarily mean it will get extremely warm in your part of the world. It's all about the global temperature average, not specifically what is being recorded in your back yard. However, weather extremes are expected, and I think it's fair to say that we have experienced some of that over the past few years. Australia in particular is in deep trouble. The Murray-Darling river system is in serious condition leading to possible Federal intervention. We haven't seen anything like that, except perhaps in California.

In any case, a sobering read about the Arctic's current condition.

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