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Thread: Exclusive: No Ice at the North Pole

  1. #1

    Exclusive: No Ice at the North Pole

    [SIZE="6"][COLOR="Red"]Exclusive: No ice at the North Pole[/COLOR][/SIZE]

    [SIZE="3"][COLOR="red"]Polar scientists reveal dramatic new evidence of climate change[/COLOR][/SIZE]


    [url]http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/exclusive-no-ice-at-the-north-pole-855406.html[/url]

    [IMG]http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00035/polar_35097t.jpg[/IMG]

    It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.


    The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

    "From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

    If it happens, it raises the prospect of the Arctic nations being able to exploit the valuable oil and mineral deposits below these a bed which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea ice above.

    Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally icefreeNorth Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by hugeswathes of thinner ice formed over a single year.

    This one-year ice is highly vulnerable to melting during thesummer months and satellite data coming in over recent weeksshows that the rate of melting is faster than last year, when therewas an all-time record loss of summer sea ice at the Arctic.

    "The issue is that, for the first time that I am aware of, the NorthPole is covered with extensive first-year ice – ice that formed last autumn and winter. I'd say it's even-odds whether the North Pole melts out," said Dr Serreze.

    Each summer the sea ice melts before reforming again during the long Arctic winter but the loss of sea ice last year was so extensive that much of the Arctic Ocean became open water, with the water-ice boundary coming just 700 miles away from the North Pole.

    This meant that about 70 per cent of the sea ice present this spring was single-year ice formed over last winter. Scientists predict that at least 70 per cent of this single-year ice – and perhaps all of it – will melt completely this summer, Dr Serreze said.

    "Indeed, for the Arctic as a whole, the melt season startedwith even more thin ice than in 2007, hence concerns that we may even beat last year's sea-ice minimum. We'll see what happens, a great deal depends on the weather patterns in July and August," he said.

    Ron Lindsay, a polar scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, agreed that much now depends onwhat happens to the Arctic weather in terms of wind patterns and hours of sunshine. "There's a good chance that it will all melt awayat the North Pole, it's certainly feasible, but it's not guaranteed," Dr Lindsay said.

    Thepolar regions are experiencing the most dramatic increasein average temperatures due to global warming and scientists fear that as more sea iceis lost, the darker, open ocean will absorb more heat and raise local temperatures even further. Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, who was one of the first civilian scientists to sail underneath the Arctic sea ice in a Royal Navy submarine,said that the conditions are ripe for an unprecedented melting of the ice at the North Pole.

    "Last year we saw huge areas of the ocean open up, which hasnever been experienced before. People are expecting this to continuethis year and it is likely to extend over the North Pole. It isquite likely that the North Pole will be exposed this summer – it's not happened before," ProfessorWadhamssaid.

    There are other indications that the Arctic sea ice is showingsigns of breaking up. Scientists at the Nasa Goddard Space Flight Centre said that the North Water 'polynya' – an expanse of open water surrounded on all sides by ice – that normally forms near Alaska and Banks Island off the Canadian coast, is muchlarger than normal. Polynyas absorb heat from the sun and eat away at the edge of the sea ice.

    Inuit natives living near Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland are also reporting thatthe sea ice there is starting to break up much earlier than normal and that they have seen wide cracks appearing in the ice where it normally remains stable. Satellite measurements collected over nearly 30 years show a significant decline in the extent of the Arctic sea ice, which has become more rapid in recent years.

    [SIZE="2"][COLOR="DarkSlateBlue"]______________________________________[/COLOR][/SIZE]

    [SIZE="3"][COLOR="Navy"]Amazing. Al Gore was right all along....[/COLOR][/SIZE]

  2. #2
    In other news, there has been VERY little solar activity in the last year or so (research Solar Cycle 24). We have been in a cooling trend over the last decade (0.06 degrees per year) and some scientists believe we will begin cooling more rapidly the longer this solar "dead" cycle lasts.

    Stay tuned.


    Good read -> [URL="http://www.warwickhughes.com/agri/Solar_Arch_NY_Mar2_08.pdf"]http://www.warwickhughes.com/agri/Solar_Arch_NY_Mar2_08.pdf[/URL]

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=YellowSubmarine;2624502][SIZE="6"][COLOR="Red"]Exclusive: No ice at the North Pole[/COLOR][/SIZE]

    [SIZE="3"][COLOR="red"]Polar scientists reveal dramatic new evidence of climate change[/COLOR][/SIZE]


    [url]http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/exclusive-no-ice-at-the-north-pole-855406.html[/url]

    [IMG]http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00035/polar_35097t.jpg[/IMG]

    It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.


    The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

    "From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

    If it happens, it raises the prospect of the Arctic nations being able to exploit the valuable oil and mineral deposits below these a bed which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea ice above.

    Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally icefreeNorth Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by hugeswathes of thinner ice formed over a single year.

    This one-year ice is highly vulnerable to melting during thesummer months and satellite data coming in over recent weeksshows that the rate of melting is faster than last year, when therewas an all-time record loss of summer sea ice at the Arctic.

    "The issue is that, for the first time that I am aware of, the NorthPole is covered with extensive first-year ice – ice that formed last autumn and winter. I'd say it's even-odds whether the North Pole melts out," said Dr Serreze.

    Each summer the sea ice melts before reforming again during the long Arctic winter but the loss of sea ice last year was so extensive that much of the Arctic Ocean became open water, with the water-ice boundary coming just 700 miles away from the North Pole.

    This meant that about 70 per cent of the sea ice present this spring was single-year ice formed over last winter. Scientists predict that at least 70 per cent of this single-year ice – and perhaps all of it – will melt completely this summer, Dr Serreze said.

    "Indeed, for the Arctic as a whole, the melt season startedwith even more thin ice than in 2007, hence concerns that we may even beat last year's sea-ice minimum. We'll see what happens, a great deal depends on the weather patterns in July and August," he said.

    Ron Lindsay, a polar scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, agreed that much now depends onwhat happens to the Arctic weather in terms of wind patterns and hours of sunshine. "There's a good chance that it will all melt awayat the North Pole, it's certainly feasible, but it's not guaranteed," Dr Lindsay said.

    Thepolar regions are experiencing the most dramatic increasein average temperatures due to global warming and scientists fear that as more sea iceis lost, the darker, open ocean will absorb more heat and raise local temperatures even further. Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, who was one of the first civilian scientists to sail underneath the Arctic sea ice in a Royal Navy submarine,said that the conditions are ripe for an unprecedented melting of the ice at the North Pole.

    "Last year we saw huge areas of the ocean open up, which hasnever been experienced before. People are expecting this to continuethis year and it is likely to extend over the North Pole. It isquite likely that the North Pole will be exposed this summer – it's not happened before," ProfessorWadhamssaid.

    There are other indications that the Arctic sea ice is showingsigns of breaking up. Scientists at the Nasa Goddard Space Flight Centre said that the North Water 'polynya' – an expanse of open water surrounded on all sides by ice – that normally forms near Alaska and Banks Island off the Canadian coast, is muchlarger than normal. Polynyas absorb heat from the sun and eat away at the edge of the sea ice.

    Inuit natives living near Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland are also reporting thatthe sea ice there is starting to break up much earlier than normal and that they have seen wide cracks appearing in the ice where it normally remains stable. Satellite measurements collected over nearly 30 years show a significant decline in the extent of the Arctic sea ice, which has become more rapid in recent years.

    [SIZE="2"][COLOR="DarkSlateBlue"]______________________________________[/COLOR][/SIZE]

    [SIZE="3"][COLOR="Navy"]Amazing. Al Gore was right all along....[/COLOR][/SIZE][/QUOTE]

    I wonder if all the money that people like Rush Limbaugh have enjoyed over the years telling people that this was all a myth is enough for their conscience. I am curious, as these next 15 years unfolds, if all the people who knowingly pushed propaganda for big oil will be able to sleep soundly.

    Will these people tell their kids and grandparents that ther sold their soul for the money they made. Was it enough?

  4. #4
    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2624539]I wonder if all the money that people like Rush Limbaugh have enjoyed over the years telling people that this was all a myth is enough for their conscience. [B]I am curious, as these next 15 years unfolds, if all the people who knowingly pushed propaganda for big oil will be able to sleep soundly[/B].

    Will these people tell their kids and grandparents that ther sold their soul for the money they made. Was it enough?[/QUOTE]


    Well, at least you look at both sides of an issue before making up your mind.:rolleyes:


    It doesn't matter if you're employed by ExxonMobileShellTexaco or you're a college student --- the data speaks for itself.

    And bad science is bad science. Just google the "hockey stick controversy" for an example of bad science. Unfortunately, this stupid graph has been front and center (and larger than other graphs -- hmmm) in the IPCC reports.


    [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy[/URL]

  5. #5
    [QUOTE=SanAntonio_JetFan;2624547]Well, at least you look at both sides of an issue before making up your mind.:rolleyes:


    It doesn't matter if you're employed by ExxonMobileShellTexaco or you're a college student --- the data speaks for itself.

    And bad science is bad science. Just google the "hockey stick controversy" for an example of bad science. Unfortunately, this stupid graph has been front and center (and larger than other graphs -- hmmm) in the IPCC reports.


    [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy[/URL][/QUOTE]

    I did look at both sides of the issue :rolleyes:

    And the amount of evidence that shows how the big oil companies paid millions to make up their own "science" is long and real. They spent millions on a propaganda campaign to confuse the public.

    The data does, indeed, speak for itself.

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2624562]And the amount of evidence that shows how the big oil companies paid millions to make up their own "science" is long and real. They spent millions on a propaganda campaign to confuse the public.

    The data does, indeed, speak for itself.[/QUOTE]



    Like I said, it doen't matter if you work for Exxon or the Sierra Club, if your science is not REPRODUCEABLE or it has MATHEMATICAL ERRORS, then it is bad science.


    Google the "Hockey stick controversy".

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=SanAntonio_JetFan;2624568]Like I said, it doen't matter if you work for Exxon or the Sierra Club, if your science is not REPRODUCEABLE or it has MATHEMATICAL ERRORS, then it is bad science.


    Google the "Hockey stick controversy".[/QUOTE]


    I took a look at the study as well. What I'm trying to sort out is how to correlate them with the Woods Hole data below:

    [url]http://www.whrc.org/resources/online_publications/warming_earth/scientific_evidence.htm[/url]

    Take the sea ice issue, for example. Woods Hole points out that with gobal warming, the Actic should melt but that the Antarctic ice sheet might increase due to increased precipitation causing added ice to the sheet. If one conflates the data and merely looks at totals, this effect would be totally missed or neutralized. That seems to be what the warwickhughes guy is doing. On the other side, if the current warming is a temporary state which could be replaced over time by significant cooling, the ice would form in the Arctic once again and the cycle would reverse. Of course, then one has to look at the CO2 data. It's pretty obvious even to the most recalcitrant global coolist that levels have essentially sky-rocketed since the advent of the industrial revolution.... what does warwick hughes guy make of that?
    Last edited by long island leprechaun; 07-12-2008 at 12:42 PM.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=long island leprechaun;2624620]I took a look at the study as well. What I'm trying to sort out is how to correlate them with the Woods Hole data below:

    [url]http://www.whrc.org/resources/online_publications/warming_earth/scientific_evidence.htm[/url]

    [/QUOTE]


    What's always puzzled me about the CO2/Temperature graph is that, if you plot the lines one atop the other, the CO2 change LAGS the temperature changes, sometimes by thousands of years? I've never gotten a clear explanation as to why that is the case if CO2 drives temperature changes.

    Another significant temperature anomaly is the global cooling between the early 1940's and the mid 1970's. Wasn't that a time of massive industrialization?

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=SanAntonio_JetFan;2624524]
    Stay tuned[/QUOTE]

    Ice reflects sunlight back to space which does more to cool the planet than anything else.

    Stay tuned, indeed.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2624539]I am curious, as these next 15 years unfolds, if all the people who knowingly pushed propaganda for big oil will be able to sleep soundly.

    Will these people tell their kids and grandparents that ther sold their soul for the money they made. Was it enough?[/QUOTE]

    Yes I will sleep soundly.

    No, I will have no kids to tell about the money I didn't make off of my disbelief in climate change propaganda and "debate is over, stop researching other options" groupthink.

    And next time, please do not double post. This theory of an ice-less pole is old and has already been discussed.

  11. #11
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    Global Warming is a myth. I guess you guys also believe in the Easter Bunny, or that Bill Belichick cheated at football.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=VincenzoTestaverde;2625045]Global Warming is a myth. I guess you guys also believe in the Easter Bunny, or that Bill Belichick cheated at football.[/QUOTE]

    It may be because I'm tired as hell, but I believe this post contradicts itself at least three times.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=VincenzoTestaverde;2625045]Global Warming is a myth. I guess you guys also believe in the Easter Bunny, or that Bill Belichick cheated at football.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, it must be a myth: no ice on the North Pole makes it a myth alright! :rolleyes:

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=Black Death;2625078]Yeah, it must be a myth: no ice on the North Pole makes it a myth alright! :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

    Exactly!

    And cigarette smoking doesn't cause cancer and it's cool as hell. Just like the tobacco companies have been telling us all along. Why we don't listen to them and take their word for it is beyond me....

  15. #15
    In the 70's, the chicken little liberals were running around screaming GLOBAL COOLING!! Another ice age is on the way...

    Then came the 80's and it was ACID RAIN! All the northern forests and lakes were going to die off....

    Then came the 90's and it was A HOLE IN THE OZONE!. The sun was going to fry us all....

    Now it's GLOBAL WARMING! We're all going to die!....

    If nothing more, the chicken little liberals are a good source of entertainment.......

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2625028]Yes I will sleep soundly.

    No, I will have no kids to tell about the money I didn't make off of my disbelief in climate change propaganda and "debate is over, stop researching other options" groupthink.

    [B]And next time, please do not double post. This theory of an ice-less pole is old and has already been discussed[/B].[/QUOTE]

    Does that mean that every post bashing Obama or McCain should not be allowed? After all, they're not telling us anything new, and they have become very old. In fact, probably 75% of the posts in the politics thread are a repetition of a previous post. You must be getting tired of politics, Warfish. It's largely people saying the same thing over and over only more stridently as they go along...

  17. #17
    [B]Global Warming Led To Black Hawk Down[/B]


    [url]http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=32291[/url]

    [QUOTE]Global Warming Led to ‘Black Hawk Down,’ Congressman Says
    Friday, July 11, 2008



    Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.)
    On the Spot (CNSNews.com) – A top Democrat told high school students gathered at the U.S. Capitol Thursday that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina and the conflict in Darfur, which led to the “black hawk down” battle between U.S. troops and Somali rebels.

    Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House (Select) Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee, also equated the drive for global warming legislation with the drive for women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    But one global warming expert from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) told Cybercast News Service that such a remark reveals Markey’s ignorance on the subject of global warming.

    “In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine,” said Markey.

    “That famine translated to international aid we sent in to Somalia, which then led to the U.S. having to send in forces to separate all the groups that were fighting over the aid, which led to Black Hawk Down. There was this scene where we have all of our American troops under fire because they have been put into the middle of this terrible situation,” he added.

    Markey was referring to the battle of Mogadishu in 1993, when 18 members of a U.S. military team were killed in a helicopter crash and a resulting firefight. The battle was made famous by a 2001 Academy Award-winning film, “Black Hawk Down.”

    Markey was speaking to 25 students from the World Wildlife Fund's Allianz Southeast Climate Witness Program. The students had come to the Capitol to brief members of Congress on the risks of global warming. The students were from the Gulf States.

    But Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming Policy at CEI, told Cybercast News Service that Markey’s remarks reveal his ignorance about the science of global warming.

    “Yes, that part of the world is subject to drought at times, but it has very little to do with global warming,” said Ebell. “It is subject to drought whether the global average temperature is going up, down, or staying the same. To say you know the conflict was caused by global warming is to show how really ignorant you are of the scientific issues involved.”

    The students who testified at the event, most of whom had lived in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, described the difficulties they faced after the storm and blamed global warming for the disaster.

    “Katrina woke me up and made me pay attention,” said 17-year-old Danielle Wold from Harvey, La. “One of the worst disasters in history made me want to do something. In 100 years, New Orleans could just be another Atlantis.”

    Fifteen-year-old Stephen Bordes from New Orleans called on lawmakers to do something to end global warming. “Cutting carbon emissions is mainly in your hands since you pass the laws,” he said. ‘You basically control climate change. We should have changed yesterday, but it’s too late to change yesterday so we should start now.”

    Bordes said that he thinks the warming of the atmosphere could lead to a situation in which his home, which is near the superdome in New Orleans, could become permanently inundated with water.

    Markey also told the students that there no longer exists any debate about whether or not disasters like Katrina are caused by climate change.

    “There now is no question that this harm is being caused by human activity,” said Markey. “It’s warming up the planet and melting the glaciers. There is an underwater heat wave going on. The waters get warmer and warmer and that intensifies the storms and creates even greater havoc when those storms reach land.”

    “The planet is running a fever. It’s heating up but there is no emergency rooms for planets,” he said. “The worst consequences affect the planet -- not only New Orleans -- but the whole planet.

    “The same thing is true by the way with Darfur,” Markey added. “Darfur is really about water. This is an issue which really goes to the heart of the incredible impact that climate change is having upon our planet. “

    But Ebell said that droughts in Darfur are probably not an effect of global warming. “In that region, droughts have been going on for hundreds of years and before human beings started to burn coal and gas,” he said. “They will continue because of precipitation patterns. Again, I think Chairman Markey has revealed the extent of his ignorance on this issue.”

    Markey finished his talk by comparing the debate against global warming to the 20th century fight for women suffrage. “Back 100 years ago, women rose up and said we want the right to vote, and they were successful,” he said. “Now, you are like the green generation and you are rising up and saying we must ensure the planet does not suffer the worst consequences of climate change.”[/QUOTE]

    Can liberals get any dopier?

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=DeanPatsFan;2625096]In the 70's, the chicken little liberals were running around screaming GLOBAL COOLING!! Another ice age is on the way...

    Then came the 80's and it was ACID RAIN! All the northern forests and lakes were going to die off....

    Then came the 90's and it was A HOLE IN THE OZONE!. The sun was going to fry us all....

    Now it's GLOBAL WARMING! We're all going to die!....

    If nothing more, the chicken little liberals are a good source of entertainment.......[/QUOTE]

    No ice at the North Pole. How does that fit into your schema?

  19. #19
    [QUOTE=Black Death;2625103]No ice at the North Pole. How does that fit into your schema?[/QUOTE]

    [url]http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5huPkYk4bGVvo1Sa1tWeH-tgENiFw[/url]

    The same way the first snow in Baghdad in over 100 years fits into yours.

  20. #20
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    Well, as much as I find DeanPatsFan annoying 90% of the time, he does have a point. Here's an article from Newsweek in 1975. Not the last few paragraphs... Ironic to say the least:

    The Cooling World
    Newsweek, April 28, 1975

    [url]www.denisdutton.com[/url]
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Here is the text of Newsweek’s 1975 story on the trend toward global cooling. It may look foolish today, but in fact world temperatures had been falling since about 1940. It was around 1979 that they reversed direction and resumed the general rise that had begun in the 1880s, bringing us today back to around 1940 levels. A PDF of the original is available here. A fine short history of warming and cooling scares has recently been produced. It is available here.

    We invite interested readers to vist our new website: Climate Debate Daily. — D.D.



    There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

    [B]The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.[/B] In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.

    To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. [B]The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. [/B]If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”

    A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.

    To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras – and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average. Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the “little ice age” conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 – years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.

    Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. “Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.”

    Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. [B]They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases – all of which have a direct impact on food supplies. [/B]

    [I]How is this different than global warming effects?[/I]

    “The world’s food-producing system,” warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, “is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago.” Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.

    Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. [B]They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, [/B]might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

    —PETER GWYNNE with bureau reports

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