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Earth Science

Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low 370

Titus Andronicus writes "Angela Fritz and Jeff Masters of Weather Underground analyze this year's record ongoing Arctic ice melt. Arctic sea ice extent, area, and volume are all at record lows for the post-1979 satellite era. The ice is expected to continue melting for perhaps another couple of weeks. Extreme sea ice melting might help cause greater numbers of more powerful Arctic storms, help to accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and help to accelerate global warming itself, due to the increased absorption of solar energy into the ocean."
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Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low

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  • Or... (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:07AM (#41256955)

    Or melting ice could cause massive algae blooms [stanford.edu], pull staggering quantities of carbon from the ocean and perpetuate our 800,000,000 year old oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere.

    Nah. There can't be any mechanisms in the biosphere to prevent the Earth going Venus. It has been surviving by pure luck all this time until we came along and ruined it.

  • Re:Ice Tea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:10AM (#41256963) Journal

    Well the problem with AGW in a nutshell is we are given NO options other than do nothing or carbon credits, which considering the ones that came up with credit default swaps [nakedcapitalism.com] or the ones writing the rules on carbon credits and cap & trade? uhhh...I think if that is the only choices i'll choose do nothing, thanks anyway.

    The bitch is there are thing we can do WITHOUT using crap and trade that could make a difference, but because people like Al Gore, who just FYI has set himself up to be a a carbon billionaire [telegraph.co.uk], can't profit from it? Its never mentioned. for example painting roofs white to reflect more sunlight, last study i saw had that simple thing dropping temps 5 degrees, if you likewise paint the streets white instead of leaving them black IIRC it would take another 15 degrees off, which anybody who has walked across pavement in the summer knows how much energy they absorb from the sun.

    In the end the thing that proves to me the current AGW "leaders" are lying leeches is you have NEVER, not even once, seen Al Gore and pals talking about restricting trade with China, even though they are throwing so much pollution into the sky we can detect it in California...why? Because rev Al and pals make crazy monies from cheap Chinese labor, you stupid peasant you!

    The current leadership has hijacked AGW and turned it into a massive scam. They want the corps to bail for China (where they can get the benefits of cheap labor and no environmental laws) while they raid what's left in your pocket with carbon taxes, which they will then avoid by going overseas or like Rev Al fucking scam by buying credits from HIS OWN COMPANY and then having the brass balls to say fucking off in a Lear jet is "carbon neutral" because he PAID HIMSELF TO DO IT!!! This would be like you or I moving money from our left to right pocket, calling it "wealth redistribution" and getting a fucking tax break for it!

    If you want to cut down the pollution, or use cleaner tech? All for it, right there with ya, we do live in a closed system after all. But don't let the scammers fleece your pockets by saying "We're doing something!" when that something is about as productive as a game of three card monty for the player. in the end crap & trade and carbon credits will do NOTHING to help the environment, it'll simply reward the scammers.

  • Re:Its Happening (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dakohli ( 1442929 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:13AM (#41256985)

    This is not the first time climatic [foxnews.com] change [sunysuffolk.edu]has had profound effects on the human race.

    There will be "Population Adjustments" in the future regardless of what measures we take now. The earth can only support so many of us.

    Our increasing population [arewetoast.com] has been cited by some to be the cause of climate change. I think they may well be inter-connected.

    Let's face it, if the uber-hard-core folks had their way, we would be living a lifestyle from the 1700s. No electricity, no cars, no burning massive amount of fossil fuels. There would be no global economy because there would be no global transportation network. In fact our population would not only have to redistribute out of the urban centres, it would have to suffer a major reduction in numbers. Without modern farming techniques, you can only feed so many mouths.

    However you slice it, there will be fewer people on the planet in the future, and it won't be a pleasant transition.

  • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:19AM (#41257017)

    No, it's just one more brick in the wall of evidence for global warming. That wall has plenty of bricks in it already.

    At the time of the IPCC AR4 report in 2007 the best estimates were that the Arctic Ocean would be ice free sometime after 2040. At the rate we're going it's going to happen before 2020.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:29AM (#41257059)

    Uh...based on 33 years worth of data.

    Based on ice cores and seabed cores going back thousands of years.

    Okay there, I guess the next time a severe winter storm comes up ...

    This wasn't caused by one storm. There are nearly two million square kilometers of open water where there was sea ice a few decades ago, and that understates the problem because the ice is getting thinner by a bigger percentage than the extent is shrinking.

  • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:55AM (#41257187)

    As the Arctic Ocean summer ice declines there is developing evidence it is having an effect on the northern polar jet stream, slowing it down and causing the meanders to get larger. This has the effect of bringing colder weather further south and warmer weather further north and slowing down the speed at which the weather moves through. That would explain why a few years ago when Florida was having freezing weather Greenland was practically balmy.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:09AM (#41257271)

    Yes but it is identical to three and a half decades ago.

    Where did you get that? Did you pull it out of your ass?

    Citation please.

  • Mod Parent Down (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:38AM (#41257389)

    He actually proves the GP's point.

    Per Capita (which is the graph he links to) shows the US trending down, and China trending up. That's nice, but considering that China has a population of around 1.3 billion versus the US population of around 305 million, even a moderate trend upwards has to be multiplied by over 4.

    All of the other CO2 graphs show that China has put out more pollution than the US for a very long time. However 3 of them show that like the US, China too has been reducing their pollution as well. The only one showing an upward trend is the graph showing the kg of CO2 per kg of oil energy equivalent use.

    captcha: illusion
    I swear someone, somewhere has a really weird sense of humour.

  • by PerMolestiasEruditio ( 1118269 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:57AM (#41257461)

    http://www.webcitation.org/6AKKakUIo [webcitation.org]
    There was almost a million km more ice over last winter than there was in the previous low year of 2007.

    There was also an exceptionally strong summer storm this year in early August (the time when ice is thinnest) that led to a lot of ice breaking up - hence the relative ice low.
    http://earthsky.org/earth/powerful-summer-storm-in-arctic-reduces-sea-ice-even-more [earthsky.org]

    Result is an at least 30 year low, but it is pretty consistent with the 60 year AMO/PDO ocean cycle:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticIce/Images/arctic_temp_trends_rt.gif [nasa.gov]

    So it doesn't actually look like this is a "death spiral" at least in the short term, more like a bit of seasonal variability in an otherwise 5 year upwards trend.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:16AM (#41257523) Journal
    Humans could have no greater nor swifter impact on the CO2 balance than the evolution of white-rot fungus. That fungus ended the carboniferous era by evolving a species that could metabolize cellulose. Before then dead trees just sat until they could become coal. When this fungus evolved though, it quickly encompassed the Earth and consumed all of the cellulose available to the depths it could reach, releasing untold billions of tons of C02 and methane into the air before it ran out of readily available cellulose to consume. And that's why coal seams have well-defined borders. White-rot fungus is also why there will be no more coal. Life has found a way to prevent it.
  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:42AM (#41257621)

    Skeptics or no skeptics, harm is still done by human activity. It's just that talk and speculation here is pointless. We can't really do much about it, when CO2 emissions exceed even pessimistic estimates, governmental decisions increase CO2 emissions, nuclear power is removed and replaced with coal power plants. In my mind, the race to limit CO2 emissions is lost, now someone had better figure out how to remove it from the atmosphere...

    Take a look at this article about Germany's electricity situation. This is a country where greens have had good success with getting rid of nuclear power, and riding the Fukushima wave. They are starting 25 new coal power plants that are even hyped as "clean" (because they have "high" electrical energy efficiency of 43%).


    "We usually give the Germans credit for being rational, but this coal plant will emit over one million times more carbon this year than all of their nuclear plants would have over the next 20 years, and cost over twice as much to run as any one of the them."

    There is also some speculation what this rise in the cost of electricity will do to the renewable-support...

  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:54AM (#41257663) Homepage Journal

    Well great. We can assume that human beings can't affect the environment any worse than a fungus that altered that altered the ecosphere beyond all recognition. Hey, that makes me feel a lot better.

    BTW, my Googling about WRF (I do thank you for telling me about it) gives me a rather more ambiguous picture than the one you offer. Most science stories describe it as "an interesting theory" but not yet universally accepted. I admit that it's a really plausible theory, but not one you can cite with such religious certainty.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:32AM (#41260649) Journal

    The real reason it's too late is that without getting China and India onboard, the best anyone can do is spit in the wind; We've already met the Kyoto Protocol objectives for the US even without ratifying the treaty,, but somehow that doesn't seem to satisfy anyone.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:46AM (#41260809) Homepage

    "We are not dependent on fossil fuels"

    Wow. Just wow. And to buttress your argument you point to a completely speculative, disorganized, unprovenanced blog.

    Go hang out on the Oil Drum [theoildrum.com] for a week to see how staggeringly incorrect you are.

    Can we get off of fossil fuels without crashing civilization as we know it? That's a very interesting question. Theoretically we can. We have the technology to create energy from much safer sources. Any practical chance of this happening?

    No, not really.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27