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Larsen Ice Shelf Collapses 1250

Posted by michael
from the bigger-than-luxembourg dept.
Cally writes in: "The BBC reports that the Larsen B Ice Shelf in Antarctica, a 200m thick ice floe covering 3,250 sq km, has disintegrated. This is terrible news. The widely respected British Antarctic Survey are quoted as saying "We knew what was left would collapse eventually, but the speed of it is staggering[...] [It is hard] to believe that 500 billion tonnes of ice sheet has disintegrated in less than a month." As a Greenpeace member who's been following the debate for over a decade, it's hard not to feel aggrieved at those with their own agenda who have pushed the theory that global climate change isn't happening. Risk = probability x consequence..." The big iceberg is a separate event.
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Larsen Ice Shelf Collapses

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  • Mirror (Score:4, Funny)

    by Alan_Thicke (553655) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @08:56AM (#3186305) Journal
  • In that case, we'll destroy 500 million billion tonnes!
  • by Sc00ter (99550) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @08:58AM (#3186314) Homepage
    Get over it. The earth will change if we do anything or not. In fact what most enviromentalists want is for it to stay exactly the same and never change, or so it seems. They don't want species to die, yet they do on their own even when we leave them totally alone, the want the climate to stay the same, yet that changes to if we were using our cars and factories or not.

    Would it happen as fast? Probably not, but the fact is that the earth will change if we do anything or not.

    • by sql*kitten (1359)
      The earth will change if we do anything or not. In fact what most enviromentalists want is for it to stay exactly the same and never change, or so it seems. They don't want species to die, yet they do on their own even when we leave them totally alone, the want the climate to stay the same, yet that changes to if we were using our cars and factories or not.

      You are correct. Geological changes take place on timescales in which a thousand years is insignificant. Don't forget that maybe 30 or 40 years ago, the thing that had environmentalists worried was global cooling - the risk of a new Ice Age. I remember reading somewhere that 2001 was the warmest year since 1653 (or thereabouts) which begs the question, exactly who or what was emitting CO2 at present day levels back then?

      For more of this sort of common sense, see this book [amazon.co.uk] in which the author systematically demolishes most of the non-scientific arguments of the "green" lobby.

      These days, Greenpeace aren't a charity or a lobby in any meaningful sense of the word. They are in the entertainment business for Western teenagers, and they have to keep their name in the news to keep the donations rolling in. Cynical? Perhaps. But their dodgy science has done a lot of harm to the idea that anyone with something to say on the environment doesn't have a radical left-wing axe to grind.
      • by gowen (141411)
        For more of this sort of common sense, see this book [amazon.co.uk] in which the author systematically demolishes most of the non-scientific arguments of the "green" lobby.
        And while you're at it, why not read this book [amazon.com], which "comprehensively debunks" evolution. Even you admit Lomborg can't debunk the scientific arguments of climatologists and climate modellers, any more than creationists can do anything about radio-carbon-dating than close their ears and say "Don't believe you."

        As has been gone over in almost tedious [gristmagazine.com] detail, practically everyone with any experience, gathered in, amongst other places, a dedicated issue of Scientific American disagree with Lomborg. Contrary to Lomborg's assertions, very few of these attacks are ad hominem, and take issue only with his application of the scientific method, and selective, self-serving use of statistics.
        • by Alomex (148003)
          Contrary to Lomborg's assertions, very few of these attacks are ad hominem, and take issue only with his application of the scientific method, and selective, self-serving use of statistics.

          Actually I read a random sample of them and most of them were, to a certain extent, ad hominem. Also the rebutals were not at all definitive. They left a lot of room for further debate, as Lomborg's reply in his website show. Quite strikingly, the magazine denied the right of reply to Lomborg.

          All in all the scientific community has done a very shoddy job at debunking Lomborg (which is not to say he's right).

      • by zmooc (33175)
        In februari or march American Scientist (the magazine) had a huge article om Lomborg (the author of the book you mention). In the article a few important scientists on some of the fields he discusses say what they think about his research. He is critisized heaviliy because he's not done his homework well; he leaves out a lot of important facts, draws conclusions which aren't based on any facts and leaves out a lot of references. American Scientist basicly sais he's a crook. He's wrong. Buy the magazine. It's a better read than the book itself.
        • by Zoop (59907) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:17AM (#3186757)
          As a subscriber to SciAm, I was very disappointed in that article (or rather, series of articles). Many of them contained about a third or more ad hominem or "you aren't in the club, therefore you don't have anything to say" whines. Several of them spent time downplaying environmentalists' reliance on Paul Erlich--and then went on to quote him extensively. This despite science is supposed to be about testable predictions, and Paul Erlich has made several predictions (such as running out of most industrial metals by the mid-80s) that were demonstrably false and lost a famous bet with an economist (which to his credit he paid). Several of them spent a lot of masturbatory time self-aggrandizing, which is not unheard of in SciAm, but was worse by several orders of magnitude. Those articles needed a very good editor, and they didn't get one.

          Ultimately, the articles convinced me that Lomborg had some severe problems in his methodology, but the way they did it left such a bad taste in my mouth that it will lend credence to people who are far more of a crackpot than Lomborg (Duesberg's HIV-doesn't-cause-AIDS theories, for example).

          In particular, environmentalists need to shut up and let the climatologists speak, even if they don't put things as strongly as GreenPea$e would like. Using Paul Erlich is becoming a criteria for baloney detection, and not admitting that the reason more scientists agree about climate change in general, and, to a slightly lesser extent, anthropogenic causation in particular is because science has come a long, way baby since a bunch of former commies became Green for propoganda's sake and argued we should emulate the eco-hostile economies of the dying communist world in 1990. The hasty action they proposed in many early "but we've got to DO SOMETHING" proposals would have worsened the problem, and they were rightly rejected.

          Environmentalists and environmental scientists should stop poo-pooing everyone who has had doubts, and start engaging them in civilized debate. I'm now on the side of doing something about climate change, but doing so purely on the basis of a few (no-longer-used) computer models was a silly idea. I wanted science to come up with something more. Now they have, and we can begin to reasonably discuss how to do something without condemning billions of humans to eternal poverty or destroying freedom.

          In short, let's emulate the 1/3 of those articles that didn't indulge in snide comments and self-aggrandizement and further communicate exactly how the problem is occurring, what effects it is having, and how things can be done in the short and long term--while still realizing that you're not going to get the soccer moms who send checks to GreenPea$e to give up their SUVs overnight (much as I would like to).
      • by alistair (31390)
        " I remember reading somewhere that 2001 was the warmest year since 1653 (or thereabouts) which begs the question, exactly who or what was emitting CO2 at present day levels back then? "

        I think you will find that 1653 corresponds to the earliest date reasonably accurate temperature measurements were taken and recorded, so the quote should probably have read "2001 was the warmest year in the last 350 years". Ironically, it is this misunderstanding of statistics that Bjorn Lomborg goes to some length to discuss in the book you reference.

        To study before that we have to look at tests such as lake bed pollen sediment analysis, to see now plant species have migrated in response to changing local climates. Climatic change is definitely occurring at present at a much faster rate than the past 1000 years. However, the link between this and CO2 is far more complex and difficult to prove.
      • by MtViewGuy (197597)
        BINGO!!

        I think too many environmentalists ignore the fact that human activity is nothing compared to what Nature can do. Do you know that a single hurricane can cause destruction on a scale that makes even our biggest nuclear bombs look puny? Look at what hurricane Camille did in 1969--destruction on an unimaginable scale. Or the fact that a single major volcanic eruption can cause climate changes, as witnessed by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991, which actually cooled the atmosphere for over a year? We know that the eruption of Mt. Tambora in what is now Indonesia in 1815 (which sent 15 cubic miles of volcanic ash into the atmosphere) caused much of the Northern Hemisphere to cool quite rapidly--indeed, there are records of blizzards in the upper Hudson River Valley in early July 1816!
      • by mikosullivan (320993) <miko@idocs . c om> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:00AM (#3186658)
        in which the author systematically demolishes most of the non-scientific arguments of the "green" lobby

        ... only for certain values of "demolish" and "most". Be sure to look at these opposing views as well as the book itself:

        As a long time skeptic on many issues myself (just ask my friends who have asked me what sign I am) skepticism is a good thing. Just remember that it goes both ways.

        -Miko

      • These days, Greenpeace aren't a charity or a lobby in any meaningful sense of the word.

        Bullshit. You are assuming no one has a view of the world other than yours. Some people are capable of altruism. That has nothing to do with whether or not you think they are.


        They are in the entertainment business for Western teenagers, and they have to keep their name in the news to keep the donations rolling in


        I have absolutely no comment for this - it's a result of your biased opinion, not an issue of substance.

        Cynical? Perhaps.
        I think it is a significantly more complex problem than 'cynicism'.

        But their dodgy science has done a lot of harm

        Take a car, close yourself in a garage and see let us know what effect this has on you. While your at it, whip up a nice pre-cocktail of the water down the river from %insert_big_chemical_company_factory_near_you%. Let us know the result of your experiment... how about a little "common sense" eh?

        to the idea that anyone with something to say on the environment doesn't have a radical left-wing axe to grind.

        What does the "Left" have to do with expressing concern for having a healthy environment? It sounds like your trying to rally the "useful idiots of the Right" by suggesting the Green Movement is employing the forces of the "left leaning usefull idiots"...really, lets give the rhetoric a break... (oh, btw, please see site [politicalcompass.org] saying "Left" and "Right" means nothing - except in places with unhealthy political duopolies - Republican and Democrat do not political philosophies make...)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:08AM (#3186350)
      People will die whether we help them or not. Therefore we might as well not help people by providing food to the starving or medical aid to the sick or injured.

      Would people die as fast if we helped them? Probably not, but the fact is that people will die if we do anything or not.

    • by TheGreenLantern (537864) <thegreenlntrn@yahoo.com> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:16AM (#3186387) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, and it will continue to change when the Earth has a climate that more closely resembles Venus than it does now.

      What the hell kind of logic is this? "I'm going to beat my kid and call him a psychopath every day, and when he grows up to become a psychopath; well, kid's change, there's nothing I could have done about it".

      We are abusing the fuck out of this planet, and anyone who can't see that is either stupid or naive.
      • by WolfWithoutAClause (162946) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:25AM (#3186800) Homepage
        OF COURSE anyone that disagrees with you is stupid or naive.

        There's absolutely no way that Earth can turn into Venus. For one thing there isn't enough carbon to make the carbon dioxide to push up the greenhouse effect to that degree. For another Venus is simply closer to the Sun.

        And further, the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced by man is dwarfed by the amount produced by volcanoes; by more than ten times. Even if we deliberately tried we can't influence the environment that much. Some, but nothing like you are implying.

    • by th3rd (238782)
      Sorry, but as one of said "environmentalists", I feel compelled to set you straight here. The earth and it's systems do change; on this point you are right. But the change that occurs is nearly always slow and balanced. Balance is a key word for the environment, because what we see in events like this ice melt is the result of imbalance. The natural systems of the earth are very complex. I think that actually you are wrong about what "most environmentalists want". What they want is to keep these systems balanced for a little longer in an attempt to understand the way they work, and perhaps to devise ways of living that allow the balance to continue.

      I suggest that, if the future of the earth and human existance on it is at all important to you, you take this into consideration when you next start to slander environmentalists or others with strong views.

      Apologies for the tangent, but I couldnt let this one go.
      • by TandyMasterControl (136043) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:45PM (#3190310) Homepage
        Ahem, not to disagree with you about the necessity of reining in greenhouse gasses emission or other forms of dangerous pollution, but....


        Your assertion that the earth's climate and ecosystems normally change very gradually is sort of wrong. It's sort of right and sort of wrong. It's very true that over the entire period that there have been human civilizations, global climate has been extremely stable, and it's also true that ranges of hot to cold temperature have been very narrow and mild; but over the long term, (long term ideas being based on analysis of the Vostok ice cores and other long scale records) catastrophic changes in global climate appears to have been really common. Viciously wide ranges of temperature appear to have been really common.


        The danger is that we're doing the exact things that may push our wonderfully stable, basically benign, late Holocene climate out of its comfortable groove and back into wild swings like the earth has seen before in the past 300,000 years that we know something about. Not just that the atmosphere will heat up a bit but that the MIRACULOUS balance we enjoyed for the last 10,000 years will give way to instability.


        The irony of the screamers' chant that "climate change is normal" is that they assume that the word "normal" means good. Normal is NOT GOOD -not from a human point of view! For millions of years it was quite normal for latitudes we call temperate now to have a climate that would tax the limits of human survival to say nothing of civilization with intense heat and humidity. It was both normal and good only for giant reptiles. Large mammals like homo sapiens wouldn't have been able to avert overheating long enough to avoid being eaten by the lizards, hence they never evolved in that period. If the screamers and the flatearthers had a sincere curiosity in the subject and had been keeping up with the lay science, it would have occurred to them all sooner or later that what has been normal for earth in the long ago past, and for most of its history, would be absoultely fatal to any and all human civilizations we have ever lived in or can live in. To discover the relevance of radical climate change to civilization and the incredibly large populations of humans our modern civilization sustains and all one has to do is ponder the term "growing season".

        Scientists tell us that in ages preceding the modern humans' tenure on earth, climate change could occur so fast that woodlands could become savannahs in the space of just a couple of human generations, grasslands could become deserts. That's 60 growing seasons the human residents of earth would have no idea how to plan for -across much of the planet's surface all at the same time. Climatologists studying the Vosotok ice cores tell us not only that it was common for earth's climate to change more rapidly than anything we have ever seen, but that local conditions could stay in a state of radical flux for a long time. Now as long as a region still got some rainfall plants would still grow, (all which is "normal" and "in balance" and "natural"). On a map that area might be represented as green and stay that way when observed from a distance, but you'd have a damn hard time predicting exactly what plants would grow where one five year peiod or decade to the next, and predictability is everything as far as humans are concerned. The chances that Farmer Lee could know when to move the rice seedlings to the paddy or that Farmer Brown could know when to sow corn to get a good yield would dwindle to nothing. Moreover, the chances that an entire crop begun well enough could be lost to drowning rains or burning drought multiply beyond what we're used t dealing with.
        Modern homo sapiens came into being about 100,00 years ago we're told, and for three quarters of our existence on earth we were not farmers. For the greater portion of our existence it was normal for human beings not to have agriculture and it was normal for us to have no surplus of food that could be stored and traded for nonfood items. It was normal and not good.
        Why did it take us so long to invent agriculture? As far as we can tell the human brain came to its present form way back then. Genetically we have nothing on our ancestors. People 95,000 years ago 85,000 years, 65,000 years ago 55,000 years ago, 45,000 years ago were no less intelligent than we are today. They never ate a single slice of bread. They never put away baskets of rice in clay urns to store for use in bad times. They never had a single drop of barley beer! What made them persist in such a nasty brutish and short way of life? How could they go for tens of thousands of years without figuring out that putting the seeds of edible plants in the ground provided you with a concentrated supply of that food several weeks later if you stuck around or came back to the area. I can only guess that humans were constantly dabbling and experimenting as they always do, but that on balance chasing down food on the hoof, migrating with the animals, gathering yams and nuts and berries on the side, was a more predictable way to make a living until we get to 10,000 years ago when the last Ice Age ended. As soon as the Ice Age is over, we know for a fact that humans begin to go agricultural with a vengeance. Civilization is declared open for business the next day. Climate change triggered the development of agriculture and civilization, I'd bet climate flux was responsible for suppressing the development of agriculture before the Ice Age too. People did not live for 80,000 plus years before suddenly discovering out of the blue that having more food in a more reliable way would be more desireable than chasing down meat, one steak at a time. Until about 10,000 years ago, they could not make the transition from experimenting with seeds to settled agriculture because they would have died trying. Just as climate forbade the evolution of large mammals during the dinosaur era, it forbade agriculture also until damn recently.


        When the climate stabs one country or county in the back you have what are called shortages or local famine. To a limited extent, staple crops can be redistributed politically nowadays from a country with a surplus to a country with failed crops, so as to avert famine. When it happens on a global scale - well it has never happened to us on a global scale so we don't have a word for it. But if it did there would be little possibility of spreading the surplus around to help out those with failed crops. A global return to true climatic normalcy will destroy the agricultural surplus in many places at once. This surplus of food we get from the humble dirt is the basis of ALL civilization no matter how technological and advanced. If we were to leave the Holocene Era with its mild ranges of temperatures, predictable rainfalls and stable growing seasons with the same abruptness with which Earth initially entered it, I would bet the word for the effect on agriculture and civilization would be "mass extinction event".

    • "During the last 50 years the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by 2.5C, much faster than mean global warming." -- that would indicate that it's not global warming causing this.

      Not to mention what someone else said, that even in the 80's there were concerns about a "New Ice Age".

      Personally, I think global warming is due to there being 6 _billion_ people producing heat.
      • "During the last 50 years the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by 2.5C, much faster than mean global warming." -- that would indicate that it's not global warming causing this

        That's why it says mean (average) global warming. There's no reason to expect temperatures to rise evenly on a planet where temperatures are uneven to begin with. Dozens of factors could lead to the poles warming up faster than other regions, the ozone layer being thinner there, for instance.

    • by severian (95505) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:53AM (#3186608)
      You're right, the earth does change. And over the grand scale of geologic time, the forces of Mother Nature are far greater than our own. But the point about the environmental movement is not the preservation of the Earth per se, but the preservation of us. The belief is that good stewardship of our planet will allow our species to thrive and continue to prosper.

      For example, let's take the most extreme form of environmental damage we could do today: we could blast every single nucler weapon in the entire global stockpile at once. What would happen to the Earth? In truth, it will survive. Think about it. It's survived asteroid collisions far, far more damaging than all our nuclear weapons combined.

      Will life survive? Of course it will. There will probably be numerous species of bacteria and tiny cockroaches and the such that will survive such a nuclear holocaust and then bloom in the aftermath to fill the world now emptied of the once dominant lifeforms. That's how mammals expanded after a meteor collision killed off the dominant reptiles (dinosaurs) of the day.

      Will we survive? Most assuredly not. And there's the point. To be an environmentalist advocating the banning of nuclear weapons is to advocate for the continuation of our species.

      Similarly, when we talk about global warming, you're correct that the Earth will survive. There have been periods of time when the world has been much hotter, and much colder than it is now. And life in general will continue and evolution will over time create new ecosystems that have adapted to the new reality. But our society as we know it right now will be significantly affected. Entire coastal regions will be submerged under rising sea levels. Once fertile farms that support our population will become deserts, etc. etc. You bet that will make our life more miserable.

      So that's the rub. People tend to think of environmentalists as putting the life of some endangered dung beetle above the life of a human being. Although there are perhaps extremists who do so, they're not the majority. The environmental movement acknowledges that by making it a priority to preserve our current environment and taking care of our planet as best we can, we can continue to enjoy its fruits for a long time yet to come.

    • The earth will change if we do anything or not. In fact what most environmentalists want is for it to stay exactly the same and never change, or so it seems. They don't want species to die, yet they do on their own even when we leave them totally alone, the want the climate to stay the same, yet that changes to if we were using our cars and factories or not.

      We have created an unnatural-external force on the planets ecosystems. Nature doesn't build concrete barriers on waterways. Nature doesn't make pop-can rings that choke birds and fish. Nature doesn't dump PCPs in rivers. Nature has ebb and flow, variation. Humans act very specifically -- with distinct purpose. We do always take, we rarely give. Do lions prey on our babies? No, we cut back their habitat and kill any we contact. Do birds pick at our dead-bodies? No, we chop down their nesting areas and poison them to death.

      Nature does things in balance - it does them slowly. We are waging chemical warfare on everything on the planet. We are changing the total environment for everything on the planet - without respect or care for other things..

      If a single species goes extinct through natural selection thats one thing - it provides opportunity for something in its place - if we pollute and destroy the natural world so that ALL things cannot cling onto survival that is another.

      Humans are very capable (and well on the way) to removing everything else that is alive from the planet. On our present course, only humans will be able to survive here (and the things we eat). Nothing else. All life will have us at the top of the food chain. All other life will live as a result of our waste - and thats it.

      I mean, really, do you REALLY believe we can cover everything with pavement and dump toxins into the environment and still have life on this planet?

      Eventually, we will not be able to live here. We will be responsible to completely control the environment we ourselves live in.

      I am purposefully trying to sound severe, because it is. There is a limit to the amount we can pollute. When taken in total, our actions are slowly(?) (literally) killing the planet.

      Im not your 'touchy feely, wook at the pretty puppy' type environmentalist, I am looking at our actions, and their real effects on other life, and Im seeing that we are destroying the bio-diversity of this planet. I don't really want to live in a concrete-covered, glass domed, climate-controlled planet. I believe that we are really on our way to killing off every-other thing (outside our food and our parasites) on the planet. Nature's capacity for "change and adaptation" cannot cope with the kind of scale, speed and specificity modern-humanity is capable of..

      And no, I don't think im overreacting and making a bigger-deal than it is. Saying "hey it was gonna happen sooner-or-later." is completely untrue.

    • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:14PM (#3188700) Homepage
      You are relying on a weak, ungrounded stereotype of what an environmentalist is, as a basis for an agenda of essentially ignoring environmental problems.

      Just like there is a gamut of Christians, Open Source and operating system advocates, Jews, Muslims, and business, there's a gamut of people who could be described as environmentalist that includes such embarassments as Julia Butterfly, some excellent scientists, the Nature Conservancy, conservation-oriented hunters and sportsmen, and the like. Most do not advocate a return to primitive past, and are not antitechnology - most *do* advocate taking environmental factors into account in places that they haven't been.

      I agree with a non-teleological attitude towards the environment - that nature doesn't exist just to make a nice place for humans, and that change occurs naturally. However, this can be applied to the health of a human body, too. The human body isn't "meant" to live much past 40, and a lot of the natural stuff that happens to it is unpleasant, and many of the artificial interventions we perform on it help (surgery, orthodontry, vaccination.) However, translating that into "oh, nothing I really do to my body matters, anyway - I can eat whatever, breath whatever, no problem" would be the height of stupidity.

      I'm willing to bet your own description of an environmentalist is largely informed by your experiences with hippie sophomores in college.

  • by pcx (72024) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:03AM (#3186337)
    The Earth's temperature has ALWAYS fluctuated -- massively. Only in the past thousand years or so has the temperature leveled out at a rather warm plateau. But if you look at a statistical chart of the earth's history over the past few million years you'll see wide temperature swings that have absolutely nothing at all to do with humanities actions or inaction.

    I know it's nice to think we've become so powerful we can disintigrate millions of billions of tons of ice just by driving to the quick-e-mart, but in reality it's probably nothing more than the sun outputting a little more energy than normal.

    • Yeah, of course you're absolutely right. The problem seems to be that we should be entering another ice-age any day now ;), but it just doesn't look like it.
      • by mwillis (21215) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:47AM (#3186569) Homepage
        Actually, another ice age has been theorized. Europe could enter another ice age because of global warming.

        Worldwide ecology is a complicated system, and Europe owes much of its warmth to actions of salty atlantic ocean currents. We don't know if the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation locations will move farther from europe... but if it did, let's just note that in Canada, there are polar bears at Edinburgh's latitude. Of course, it might also move closer, and europe could get even warmer.

        Some more information: Natural Science Article [naturalscience.com], The Atlantic Online [theatlantic.com]

        ps - I'm not sure if I really buy all this, but the lack of certainty does inspire some concern.
    • The Earth's temperature has ALWAYS fluctuated -- massively.

      Quite. Even if we assume (because unless someone knows better there is still no proof either way) that humanity is responsible for the CO2 emissions, that led to the destruction of the ozone layer, that led to increased sunlight melting the Antarctic icecap, so what?

      The earth has experienced periods that saw much of the northern hemisphere covered in ice, and unless I'm mistaken that isn't the case at present. Also, it has had periods where the Antarctic land mass (the rock currently under the icecap) has supported a temperate climate, which again, there doesn't seem to be a present. So, humanities collective ego aside, we don't seem to have pushed "Gaea" outside her normal tolerances just yet.

      It might just be a really good idea not to try and do so though...

    • by Cally (10873) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:17AM (#3186756) Homepage

      but in reality it's probably nothing more than the sun outputting a little more energy than normal.


      And your evidence for disagreeing with almost every reputable scientist who's worked in the field?

      You know it's amazing how, with our hacker hats on, we laugh our asses off when a PHB tries to tell us how to program, or what software to run. But when it comes to telling climate modellers what their work REALLY means, why! we can sort thsat stuff out over lunch!

      • by ajs (35943) <ajs&ajs,com> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:37AM (#3186870) Homepage Journal
        In this case, reputable scientist is defined how? Media coverage? There is massive debate in all of the sciences that this touches. A good friend of mine, a solar astrophysicist, has been pointing out for nearly a decade that we have HARD EVIDENCE in the ice records that a massive up-swing in temperature happened in the roughly 500-800AD period, and damaged much of the world's species (there are many human communities that were hurt badly by this).

        This change in temperature could have had several causes, but the simplest explanation is that the power output of the sun fluctuates over time. We are most likely seeing the same sort of effect now. Will it get so hot that human civilization suffers? Possibly. Is there anything we can do about it? Probably not.

        As the original poster said, it would be nice to think that we're so powerful that we can affect the climate more than the sun, but it's just not a very practical point of view.
        • In this case, reputable scientist is defined how? Media coverage? There is massive debate in all of the sciences that this touches. A good friend of mine, a solar astrophysicist, has been pointing out for nearly a decade that we have HARD EVIDENCE in the ice records that a massive up-swing in temperature happened in the roughly 500-800AD period, and damaged much of the world's species (there are many human communities that were hurt badly by this).

          This change in temperature could have had several causes, but the simplest explanation is that the power output of the sun fluctuates over time...

          It was obviously due to human activity... the evilly prosperous Byzantine Empire generated metric tonness of horse dung (and incedental gasses) daily. My computer model (Age of Empires II) demonstrates that it was clearly so.

      • And your evidence for disagreeing with almost every reputable scientist who's worked in the field?

        Actually, any reputable scientist in the field of meteorology or climatology will tell you that it's hard to pin down where climate changes come from. In fact, it's a working hypothesis RIGHT NOW that the increase in temperature right now is a return to a more natural state of the planet. You have to remember that the dinosaurs lived for hundreds of millions of years in a climate that was thought to be tropical or sub-tropical at least as far north as mid-Alberta, Canada. Nothing has quite been the same since the K-T impact, and there's no hard evidence that our current climate is anything but entirely anomalous. It's very possible that we're RETURNING to a stable climate as opposed to living in one.
    • As you say, global climate shifts have always happened, and our piddly couple hundred years of records are nothing against the overall patterns, which probably have more to do with orbital wobbles and variations in the sun's output than anything that happens on the microcosm of the Earth's surface. Even relatively massive surface events like Krakatoa (which IIRC put out more dust and "greenhouse gasses" in one swell foop than all of humanities' efforts combined) don't have a lasting effect against the overall patterns of climate.

      Not only that, but per studies that didn't have an axe to grind, it turns out natural sources of "greenhouse gasses" -- swamps and such -- outstrip humanity's production by several orders of magnitude.

      Furthermore, that the biggest human-caused waste-gasses and general-atmospheric-pollutants production spike took place about 1890 (during the major spasms of the Industrial Revolution) and has dropped ever since.

      Methinks coincidence is being taken for causation again.

      • "Even relatively massive surface events like Krakatoa (which IIRC put out more dust and "greenhouse gasses" in one swell foop than all of humanities' efforts combined)".

        This "volcanos are worse greenhouse emitters than humanity" bit keeps popping back up ever since Rush was spouting about it for a while in the early/mid 90's. In fact, total global volcanic C02 output is estimated to be about 1/150th that of athropogenic C02 output [Gerlach, T.M., 1991, Present-day CO2 emissions from volcanoes: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union (EOS), v. 72, p. 249, and 254-255.]

        Sulfer is a slightly different story -- volcanos actually make up around 50% of natural sulfer emmisions! This is still only about 1/10 as much as human activity produces, however.

        About the only area of concern in which volcanos outstrip human emissions are stratospheric injection of various aerosols and dusts during explosive erruptions (rare!) and emmissions of certain heavy metals like selenium. Not lead though -- we still win there :)

        Going beyond that to your several orders of magnitude swamps... anthropogenic C02 emmissions total somewhere around 5 to 10Gigatons of carbon per year... gross terrestrial biosphere carbon release is somwhere around 60GT/year, which is in fact less than one order of magnitude. Couple that with the fact that gross terrestrial biosphere _uptake_ of carbon is quite close the emissions, and the net effect on the atmosphere from anthropogenic sources is greater.

        -Ethan O'Connor
  • by laetus (45131) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:05AM (#3186342)
    let's break out the Tequila and margarita mix!

    That's a lot of ice we've got to down!

    :)
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:09AM (#3186354) Journal
    A PR comapny if ever there was onr. Greenpeace's only motivation is the continuation of itself.

    A few years ago they created a huge amountof havoc over plans to decommision an oil platform. They cited the huge environmental damage caused by the radioactivity, without actually considering that this was natural radioactivity. The net result of the media misinformation was that the platform had to be dismantled at great cost, and actually caused considerably more pollution, and took up a great deal of landfill spcae when otherwise it would have served as a habitat for lots of rare marine life.

    And I get a bit fed up of them giving me the hard sell for donations. I would have much more of an urge to do this if their salepeople weren't on commision.
    • by pmc (40532) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:12AM (#3186728) Homepage
      they created a huge amountof havoc over plans to decommision an oil platform

      Ah. A wonderful story of the triumph of show business environmentalism over rational thought. A search for Brent Spar on google will give the details.

      Brent Spar was an oil storage platform in the North Sea used, in the early days of the development of the North Sea fields, for storage of oil before loading into tankers and shipping. It had been phased out by pipelines and was due to be decommisioned. After 3 years of consultation with interested parties (including environmental groups) it was decided to dump it in a deep ocean trench. The reasons were: occupational risk in dismantling it on land; technical difficulty; expense; and risk of contamination.

      Enter Greenpeace. They climbed aboard and, according to thier scientific tests, the rig was riddled with heavy metals, oils (5,500 tonnes was the figure mentioned), PCBs, radioactive materials, and would be an act of extreme irresponsibility to dump it at sea.

      The stage was set, and the drama unfolded. Greenpeace occupied the rig. Shell tried to get them off, petrol stations in Europe were firebombed and shot at, boycotts were started. In all, there was a huge media frenzy: David and Golith; a huge faceless bureacracy (and oil company at that) versus people who are trying to save the earth.

      Shell decided to abort the sinking, and the rig was towed to a deep water fjord in Norway to await an alternative. Round 1 to Greenpeace.

      Round 2 was conducted by a Norwegian Consultancy, who actually did a very detailed inventory of the rig. They published figures that agreed with the Shell figures, and were completely at odds with the Greenpeace figues (the actual ammount of oil, for example, was 50 tonnes). The only conclusions were that Greenpeace were either lying, or hopelessly incompetent. This was not so much a defeat for Greenpeace as a catastrophy. Their role was as a scientifically based environmental pressure group. Their main asset was a good relationship with the media, which they harmed greatly during the Brent Spar campaign.

      Now, Greenpeace is certainly seen as a more fringe, hardcore organisation, and I think that it all traced directly from that campaign. They may have won a victory with Brent Spar, but it has turned out to be a Pyrric victory.

    • ...and by the way the quotes are from the British Antarctic Survey who, as I said in the story, are respected around the world - what with having been there since 1912, and all. THEY are not sandal-wearing hippie museli munchers: they'r PhDs, grad students, professors etc who spend 6 months a year living on the ice.
  • Weather patterns (Score:3, Informative)

    by reachinmark (536719) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:09AM (#3186355) Homepage
    It bothers me that people think they can make assumptions about the Earth's weather patterns based on roughly 100 years (NASA: Surface Temperature Analysis [nasa.gov]) of temperature data.

    Given that we are constantly learning about various cycles in global climate, some of which seem to span over thousands of years ( E.g. NASA: The Sun-Weather connection [nasa.gov]), you can't possibly claim for certain that any temperature fluctuations over the past 10, 20 or 50 years are due exlusively to our behaviour.

    I'm not against cleaning up the earth, I just think that global warming isn't a good argument.

  • 500 million billion tons? Let's go metric because that is easier. 200 m thick by 3250 km square = 6.5e11 m^3. Ice is about 1/3 the density of water which is 1000 kg/m^3, so we are talking about ~2.2e9kg. Just 2.2 billion kg.

    For comparison, how much water is in Lake Titicaca? About 9 trillion kg. Over a thousand times as much. And how much would global sea levels rise if Titicaca drained into the ocean? Negligible.

    It seems as though Slashdot has expanded from making wild-eyed, tinfoil-hatted claims about technology and privacy to making wild-eyed, tinfoil-hatted and non-mathematical claims about the environment.

  • Greenhouse Gasses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aglassis (10161) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:19AM (#3186397)
    It always ticks me off that the Greenpeace people oppose anything that creates greenhouse gasses while at the same time protesting nuclear power which is the only real way to get free of greenhouse gas emmisions. That is unless we decide to go back into the stone age as many of them suggest. If they weren't such jackasses about the nuclear power situation public opinion might be much different and greenhouse emmission might be significantly less.

    The alternative power that they keep on trying to push is a myth. When you look at actual output, it is trivial to any real source. You aren't going to run a 60 MWe silicon refining plant in the northwest with solar panels and windmills. It isn't going to happen. Not unless the price is increased 10-fold. Sure you can power your house as they always point out. But your house is 2 KW load. Industry takes up far more power than housing.

    The only way to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses is to stop burning coal and gas. Thats it. And it has to be done now instead of 30 years from now when the alternative power myth becomes useful (probably more like 50).
    • Re:Greenhouse Gasses (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KristoferP (551795) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:38AM (#3186879)
      Well, the problem is, as far as I have understood it, that nuclear energy is not a sustainable source of energy since it uses a fuel, uranium, that is limited and we have a very short supply of. If we were to exchange all the coal and oil powered powerplants to nuclear power plants, we only have about ten years supply of uranium left in the world that could be extracted in a reasonably economical way (and lets not forget that mining uranium is not easy and NOT environmentaly friendly). If you count the total resources of uranium we have maybe 15-20 years of supply. What do you propose we do then?

      Even if we just count the amount of uranium that it takes to run the curren about 500 reactors in the world, we only have enough uranium to run them for 40-60 years. And lets not forget that no one in the world has a really good plan on what to do with the radioctive restproducts from nuclear powerplants.

      We most likely have to switch to renewable energy sources. And the sun provides us with a lot of energy everyday. We only need to figure out a good enough way to extrac it and store it.
      • by crawling_chaos (23007) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @11:06AM (#3187046) Homepage
        This argument is specious. I would suggest that you Google the term "breeder reactor" before worrying too much about limited Uranium supplies. If we were building fast breeders and a reclamation infrastructure we could go a very long time on the Uranium we've already extracted from the ground.

        The problem is that we'd be switching to reactors that use bomb-grade Plutonium. Security around the plants (both power and reprocessing) would need to be draconian. You can also forget trying to transfer the technology to less stable parts of the world for this reason.

        We're going to need a combination of conservation and judicious use of all energy technologies if we intend to get out of this mess.

    • Re:Greenhouse Gasses (Score:5, Informative)

      by suitti (447395) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:40AM (#3186887) Homepage
      For any heat base power generation system, like nuclear, gas, coal, oil, the best efficiency that thermodynamics allows is 50%. So, a 1 Gigawatt power plant must produce at least 1 gigawatt of heat. We used to dump this into our rivers. But a 10 megawatt plant on the Connecticut river would raise the temperature of the river by 10 degrees F, forever. This is an ecological disaster, not because it's 10 degrees, but because it's instant. Ecosystems require more time than instant to adapt.

      Dumping the heat into the air gets rid of the heat pretty well. That's what the hyperbolic towers are for. Most of the heat radiates into space.

      A Nuke plant's pollution is thus mainly a little waste heat. Of course, the gigawatt of electrical power eventually is turned into heat, too.

      Nuke plants are pretty expensive to operate. You have to be extremely careful, which costs money. The cost of fuel is quite low - nearly insignificant, like $10/megawatt hour.

      There is a hidden cost, and I'm not sure that it has been paid yet. Once the fuel is consumed, it must be disposed of. At the moment, we're storing the spent fuel at the Nuke plant. This is a short term stopgap proceedure. We need a longer term solution. The current proposed solution in the US is very late, and way over budget. Since you must store the spent fuel for a million years, you must store it in a geologically benign place. Since a million years is a long time, I'd argue that no such place exists. So, you have to design it so that it is possible to move the fuel from time to time. This will provide us with an additional cost stream forever.

      The other cost is that, statistically, there will be other 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl, etc., incidents. The more plants you run, the higher the chances.

      The UK is talking about ramping up to 10% of their power derived from wind energy. It is expected to be competitive with other power types.

      Solar power isn't currently considered viable, but should become so pretty soon.

      At the moment, we heat our houses by burning more fossile fuels. We could heat them by using waste heat from electrical power plants. Purdue University runs it's own electrical power plant, and heats the campus as a side effect. It's not a new idea.

      Conservation provided the US most of the way out of the 70's energy crisis. Reducing the highway speed limit saved about 15% in fuel. And, it happens instantly - despite what President Bush said.

      We don't really have to drive gas guzzling SUVs. My primary car averages about 33 MPG. It's a 4 door sedan, about 14 years old. I'd like to replace it with something more efficient. Several products are available and affordable.

      I've started replacing incandescant lights in the house with screw-in flouresant bulbs. These last longer, produce the same light but use much less power and produce less heat. I'm finding that I can't use them everywhere, but they work in most places. My electric bill is lower.

    • I work in Energy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tacokill (531275) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:41AM (#3186897)
      I just got done serving a client in a VERY large Energy company. While there, I learned that 'alternative' energy sources (excluding coal, gas, and nukes) account for only 2% of US energy. 2%. That's all. This parent post is dead-on. The only way to reduce greenhouse gasses is to stop burning things up.
    • Re:Greenhouse Gasses (Score:5, Informative)

      by dgroskind (198819) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:43AM (#3186907)

      The only way to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses is to stop burning coal and gas. Thats it.

      That's not it. Emission controls reduce greenhouse gasses. In 1997 [enn.com], for example, coal-fired utility boilers spewed out more than 12 million tons of sulfur dioxide. Without any environmental controls, the number would have been 20 million tons. With high-tech controls, the pollution would be cut to 2 million tons.

      The reason that more pollution controls aren't used is because the cost is borne by the polluter while the consequence is borne by the society at large.

  • Blame the sun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CausticPuppy (82139) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:21AM (#3186408) Homepage
    Why do the environmentalists insist that if it weren't for us humans, the Earth's climate would be a completely stable system, in harmony with all the happy birds, dolphins, and squirrels?

    Don't they realize that the sun is quite hotter than "normal" right now, at the peak of its sunspot cycle? Don't they know that the sun's output fluctuates considerably, and a cooler sun (with virtually no sunspots) was responsible for the "mini ice-age" that occurred from the 13th to 16th centuries?

    Or maybe those are just the claims of radicals with an anti-sun agenda.

  • by sillysally (193936) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:22AM (#3186415)
    consult any standard text: risk is absolutely not probability*consequence. probability times consequence is "expected value". risk is the variance in expected outcomes.
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FinnishFlash (414045) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [oleknut.ikkieh]> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:22AM (#3186416) Homepage
    Did you read the article before submitting ?

    Quote:

    "However, the picture generally in Antarctica is a complicated one with temperatures in the interior actually falling over the same period. "


    And Greenpeace doesn't have it's own agenda ?
  • by e_lehman (143896) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:28AM (#3186449)

    If you're unsure where you stand on the issue of global warming, you might want to look at the following two graphs. The first shows that carbon dioxide levels are rapidly rising. [ornl.gov] There is no real question that this is much human induced. At the same time, global temperatures are also dramatically rising. [noaa.gov] Here the extent of human influence is more debatable. It is possible that an apparent cause (rising CO2) and an apparent effect (rising temperatures) are both happening independently but, coincidentally, at the same time. And, also at the same time, there is some other, unknown force causing the entire planet to heat. It truly is possible. But I wouldn't personally bet the world on that.

    • Cut to the chase: human population is rapidly rising. Everything else is just a byproduct. Seriously, just look at population statistics for the root cause. Now who'se going to stand up and advocate killing off a couple billion in order to improve the lives of those left? What's really ironic (if that's the proper word) is that it's modern greenhouse gas emitting industry that is extending life support to the growing population! We can't all revert to a pastoral, agrarian, earth friendly communal lifestyle w/o losing a bunch of folks. What's the limiting factor in population, particularly in latin america and asia anyway? Self control, or war, famine, pestilence, disease?

      Anyway, I always view these chicken little reports as a communist "Lets screw the US!" ploy - reguardless of the facts about Mexico pollution (including continued production of ozone depleting freon there, while it's controlled in the US), Brazilian slash and burn, Iraqui oil well fires, Indonesian fires, etc etc etc. US industry is much cleaner than any developing 3rd world or former Soviet industry, yet it's always the US they want to screw over! Lets see Russia or Japan sign the Kyoto accords, don't hand us the hari kiri knife.

    • One should also consider the fact that obsesity in the United States is climbing along with the rate of consumption of diet cola. Conclusion: Diet cola causes obesity.


      Sadly, correlating any two lines may be amusing for agitprop, but hardly forms the basis of any predictive ability. A second example is the stock market boom of 1996-2000 -- people just followed the trend blindly because it looked like a trend. Whoops!


      I also take issue with "betting the world." Firstly, it isn't yours to bet with. Its mine too, so please don't make my choices for me. Secondly, even if the global climate changed, it is hard to believe life on earth would be wiped out. Good grief, we can't even get rid of cockroaches, and the doomsayers get all in a tizzy about their favorite collections of spores, molds, and fungus (thanks, Egon).

      • "Secondly, even if the global climate changed, it is hard to believe life on earth would be wiped out. Good grief, we can't even get rid of cockroaches, and the doomsayers get all in a tizzy about their favorite collections of spores, molds, and fungus (thanks, Egon)."


        This is a line of reasoning that has always baffled me. I'll quickly agree that we'll never be able to get rid of the cockroaches or the bacteria, no matter how many pesticides we spray or how many asteroids we smack into the planet. So what? Not every species is as tenacious as the cockroach.

        Take mammals, for example. There is no species of mammal, humanity included, that could survive the sorts of climate changes that cockroaches could handle.

        The trick isn't keeping some form of life around to repopulate the planet once we're through destroying it. The trick is to keep ourselves alive and do so in a way that leaves us all healthy and happy for generations to come. That doesn't mean squandering our natural resources in a two-century economic orgy. Nor does it mean everyone should slash the tires on their SUVs, switch to veganism, and start worshipping the Earth Mother. Just be interested in understanding the consequences of our current lifestyles, and willing to make adjustments when necessary.
    • by Cally (10873) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:11AM (#3186722) Homepage
      greetings, I'm the submitter.

      At the end of the day, the only people qualified to describe what's happening and where it's going over the next few decades have spent many, many years in the field. (I'm an interested lay observer, with a reasonable science educational background, & been following the debate, new findeings etc., for the last 10 - 15 years.) I'm sure the majority of the posts here (apart from the trolls and the jokes) are going to be arguing the case one way or the other. Well frankly I think none of us (those of us who aren't in the field) are qualified to say "this study's right, that model's wrong"; thus we can only make a judgement about the credibility of the people advanccing the various cases. And the the IPCC [www.ipcc.ch] have the most credible findings - if anything, they err on the conservative side so as not to freak out certain wobbly 'Western' nations with shakey commitment to doing anything. (The IPCC was set up to establish the global consensus amongst eveyone working in the field.)

      Who are you going to believe - fat cats with strong financial interest in doing nothing to halt CO2 production, or imkpartial scientists whose career and reputation rests on the validity of their findings, models, and predictions?

    • Those are short-term graphs when thinking in geological time. I think the National Academy of Sciences report to President Bush pretty much admitted that 1) people think something is going on, and 2) nobody knows if it is dangerous.

      For example, suppose the warming averts another ice age. Do we WANT an ice age? At what point will the warming be dangerous? Hard to say given that the middle ages were warmer than we are now. (The recent trend prior to the middle of this century was a long-term gradual cooling trend.)

      While we don't want to bet the world, it is far from clear that a 1 degree C increase in average temperature IS betting the world. It isn't even clear that the world is a worse place 1 degree C warmer than what we have now.

      (Please note, re Antarctica -- polar ice is still melting from the last ice age. Unless we get much closer to ice age temperatures, it will keep melting, only the speed of melting is in question.)
  • by gewalker (57809) <Gary.WalkerNO@SPAMAstraDigital.com> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:30AM (#3186461)
    According to most scientistics, the retreat in the West Antarctic ice sheet has been occuring for 10,000 years [bbc.co.uk].

    Also on BBC, Ice thickens in West Antarctica [bbc.co.uk]

    Sun is hotter [lubbockonline.com], but shrinking [stanford.edu] (mass energy conversion, you know).

    Maybe we should realize that perhaps some of the global warming hype is just hype. Everytime there is a heat wave on the news coasts, there a new round of global warming stories. Normal climate variability is large, and modern winters are not the warmest ever (or even in modern history). Check out Minnesota 1877 [umn.edu]. The observed long-term warming trend since 1900 is not unusual in terms of climate history.

    BTW, risk of Kyoto protocol is followed in 100% of the expected cost, because it is certain damage to world economy.
  • Devil's Advocate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moonless (550857) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:51AM (#3186594)
    The majority of the posts I've seen seem to scoff at the idea the collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf has any global signifigance, or that global warming is a problem. And they have some valid points - sure, the Earth's temperature has fluctuated wildly in the past; sure, not all of the recent increase in average global temperature is due to humans. But that doesn't make us innocent, or safe. The Earth and life as a whole may have weathered huge climactic shifts before - look at the end of the Ice Age. But such shifts tend to cause a lot of extinctions, and it is undeniable that the effects of human industry, territorial expansion, etc. have already caused many extinctions/endangered species/etc. So this climactic change is coming at a point when the global ecosystem is already stressed.

    Global warming, whether caused by humans or not, is nothing to scoff at, either. Many people, particularly in third world nations, live on the coastline, in areas that would (and will) be innundated if and when a higher global temperature causes ocean levels to rise. This is a serious threat to the lives and livelihoods of many people. People in the third world can't simply move and buy another house, nor can they afford to maintain a system of dikes like those of the Netherlands. Whether or not humans caused global warming, it exists, as the collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf indicates, and it is a threat.

    In addition, it's true that a certain amount of melting, calving of icebergs, and such occurs with the change of seasons in Antartica. Thank you, whoever noted that sun causes ice to melt, for stating the obvious. But the Larsen Shelf was not noted for being susceptible to such seasonal oscillations - indeed, it was incredibly stable, and old. Ice sheets that are 200 meters thick and more than 3000 square miles big don't form or melt overnight. The instability which caused the collapse was a relatively recent development. That such a stable chunk of the Antarctican ice should disintegrate is of great concern.

    Finally, while man may not have created global warming, our industrial revolution has certainly contributed. A previous poster listed these [ornl.gov] graphs [noaa.gov]. A temperature spike and carbon dioxide spike, coinciding with the industrial revolution, are clearly visible. We have contributed to global warming. Sure, we can't stop industry, and sure, we don't have effective alternative energy sources. But we can adopt less wasteful methods of doing things, and cleaner manufacturing processes. And if we never start seriously investigating alternative energy sources, we will certainly never make any progress in that realm. So don't dismiss global warming as a liberal joke, or a tool for Greenpeace. Perhaps humans didn't create it, but the Larsen Shelf's collapse joins a growing bank of data suggesting that warming does exist, and that humans have contributed to some extent. We should be concerned, because this does affect us, and our future.

  • Disaster???? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by selectspec (74651) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:44AM (#3186917)
    However, the picture generally in Antarctica is a complicated one with temperatures in the interior actually falling over the same period. There is also some evidence that the retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, on the other side of the peninsula to the Larsen B shelf, has halted.

    Why is this a disaster? The shelf displaced the same amount of water when it was solid that it does now melted because it was floating in the first place. Considering that the interior recessions have appeared to stop, the dire predictions of a sealevel rise are totally unsubstantiated.

  • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:47AM (#3186942)

    I am really fed up with listening to all those whining european liberals. The USA leads the world in science and technology. Why don't they just listen to us and trust what we say? Global warming is just hippy crap.

    I think we're absolutely right to tell those whining Europeans to stuff their Kyoto protocol. It is obviously just political and not based on scientific research, like the USA's policy.

    And the Japanese! What are they doing agreeing with the Euros? And those South Americans. Of course they don't have many scientists there, so they probably don't understand what they've signed up to. Even the Chinese have implemented reforms of their energy sectors to cut Co2 emmissions and have cut them by over 6 percent over the last five years. What are they thinking? I guess they must be just sucking up to the Europeans.

    I just don't get it. When will the Euros (and the Japanese, Chinese, South Americans and the rest of them) stop falling for that environmentalist rubbish and start listening to informed, scientific, and unbiased view of our great leader, G W Bush?

    Yes, this is sarcasm.
  • by cluge (114877) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @11:07AM (#3187056) Homepage
    From the article;

    'However, the picture generally in Antarctica is a complicated one with temperatures in the interior actually falling over the same period. There is also some evidence that the retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, on the other side of the peninsula to the Larsen B shelf, has halted'

    Add to that there is this gem 'Scientists hope the data gathered on site will help them determine when such an event last happened and which ice shelves are threatened in future.'

    Oh, so we don't even know if this is a cyclical event and if so how often it happens..... From 1947 to the late 1960's or early 1970's (depending on who you believe) there was a global cooling. At that time some scientists were predicting another ice age.

    This is a serious event that warrants study and careful scientific examiniation. It does not warrant people running about screaming at the top of your lungs "The sky is falling".

    Doing so just makes people disbelieve you when/if you do have the hard evidence to back up your claims.

  • by dcigary (221160) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @12:02PM (#3187592) Homepage
    "...the earth will shake us off like a bad case of fleas..."

    And it's true! The earth has been and WILL around for much longer than us, and it's completely arrogant of the human race to think that we can do anything about it. Our pollution isn't ruining the earth, it's ruining human life. Once we poison ourselves to death, Mother Earth will take over and heal whatever superficial wounds we've inflicted and create life again...this time maybe lifeforms with a little more intelligence...

    Save the earth, hell. We have to be concerned about saving OURSELVES!
  • Assumptions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shokk (187512) <ernieoporto@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:24PM (#3188792) Homepage Journal
    You assume that our human actions are what is causing this. We are in a warming period between ice ages and this could very well be completely natural. Without data from the previous ages, we have nothing to base these opinions on other than direct data for the past few decades and some guesswork on geological surveys.

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