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Thread: Arctic to be ice free by 2012 says NASA

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Arctic to be ice free by 2012 says NASA

    WASHINGTON - An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.

    Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press.

    "The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo.

    Just last year, two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.

    This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."

    So scientists in recent days have been asking themselves these questions: Was the record melt seen all over the Arctic in 2007 a blip amid relentless and steady warming? Or has everything sped up to a new climate cycle that goes beyond the worst case scenarios presented by computer models?

    "The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming," said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. "Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."

    It is the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, responsible for man-made global warming. For the past several days, government diplomats have been debating in Bali, Indonesia, the outlines of a new climate treaty calling for tougher limits on these gases.

    What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world. Faster melting there means eventual sea level rise and more immediate changes in winter weather because of less sea ice.

    In the United States, a weakened Arctic blast moving south to collide with moist air from the Gulf of Mexico can mean less rain and snow in some areas, including the drought-stricken Southeast, said Michael MacCracken, a former federal climate scientist who now heads the nonprofit Climate Institute. Some regions, like Colorado, would likely get extra rain or snow.

    More than 18 scientists told the AP that they were surprised by the level of ice melt this year.

    "I don't pay much attention to one year ... but this year the change is so big, particularly in the Arctic sea ice, that you've got to stop and say, 'What is going on here?' You can't look away from what's happening here," said Waleed Abdalati, NASA's chief of cyrospheric sciences. "This is going to be a watershed year."

    2007 shattered records for Arctic melt in the following ways:

    552 billion tons of ice melted this summer from the Greenland ice sheet, according to preliminary satellite data to be released by NASA Wednesday. That's 15 percent more than the annual average summer melt, beating 2005's record.

    A record amount of surface ice was lost over Greenland this year, 12 percent more than the previous worst year, 2005, according to data the University of Colorado released Monday. That's nearly quadruple the amount that melted just 15 years ago. It's an amount of water that could cover Washington, D.C., a half-mile deep, researchers calculated.

    The surface area of summer sea ice floating in the Arctic Ocean this summer was nearly 23 percent below the previous record. The dwindling sea ice already has affected wildlife, with 6,000 walruses coming ashore in northwest Alaska in October for the first time in recorded history. Another first: the Northwest Passage was open to navigation.

    Still to be released is NASA data showing the remaining Arctic sea ice to be unusually thin, another record. That makes it more likely to melt in future summers. Combining the shrinking area covered by sea ice with the new thinness of the remaining ice, scientists calculate that the overall volume of ice is half of 2004's total.

    Alaska's frozen permafrost is warming, not quite thawing yet. But temperature measurements 66 feet deep in the frozen soil rose nearly four-tenths of a degree from 2006 to 2007, according to measurements from the University of Alaska. While that may not sound like much, "it's very significant," said University of Alaska professor Vladimir Romanovsky.

    - Surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean this summer were the highest in 77 years of record-keeping, with some places 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, according to research to be released Wednesday by University of Washington's Michael Steele.

    Greenland, in particular, is a significant bellwether. Most of its surface is covered by ice. If it completely melted something key scientists think would likely take centuries, not decades it could add more than 22 feet to the world's sea level.

    However, for nearly the past 30 years, the data pattern of its ice sheet melt has zigzagged. A bad year, like 2005, would be followed by a couple of lesser years.

    According to that pattern, 2007 shouldn't have been a major melt year, but it was, said Konrad Steffen, of the University of Colorado, which gathered the latest data.

    "I'm quite concerned," he said. "Now I look at 2008. Will it be even warmer than the past year?"

    Other new data, from a NASA satellite, measures ice volume. NASA geophysicist Scott Luthcke, reviewing it and other Greenland numbers, concluded: "We are quite likely entering a new regime."

    Melting of sea ice and Greenland's ice sheets also alarms scientists because they become part of a troubling spiral.

    White sea ice reflects about 80 percent of the sun's heat off Earth, NASA's Zwally said. When there is no sea ice, about 90 percent of the heat goes into the ocean which then warms everything else up. Warmer oceans then lead to more melting.

    "That feedback is the key to why the models predict that the Arctic warming is going to be faster," Zwally said. "It's getting even worse than the models predicted."

    NASA scientist James Hansen, the lone-wolf researcher often called the godfather of global warming, on Thursday was to tell scientists and others at the American Geophysical Union scientific in San Francisco that in some ways Earth has hit one of his so-called tipping points, based on Greenland melt data.

    "We have passed that and some other tipping points in the way that I will define them," Hansen said in an e-mail. "We have not passed a point of no return. We can still roll things back in time but it is going to require a quick turn in direction."

    Last year, Cecilia Bitz at the University of Washington and Marika Holland at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado startled their colleagues when they predicted an Arctic free of sea ice in just a few decades. Both say they are surprised by the dramatic melt of 2007.

    Bitz, unlike others at NASA, believes that "next year we'll be back to normal, but we'll be seeing big anomalies again, occurring more frequently in the future." And that normal, she said, is still a "relentless decline" in ice.

    Ominous Arctic melt worries experts - Yahoo! News
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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    This is fucking frightening.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
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    Last edited by twitchy; December 12th, 2007 at 02:48 PM.

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    Elite Member carrie2008's Avatar
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    The mere idea of the arctic becoming ice free and the predictions for the world to end in 2012 are pretty scary.

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    /typicalrepublicandumbass/but...but...but Global Warming is a myth by the Gore and his liberal elite allies. There's nothing wrong with the Artic melting because that'll provide more water for the earth and water is God's greatest gift to us all and it'll wash out those dirty commie Canadians and Europeans. AMEN!!!11!11elventy!!/typicalrepublicandumbass/

    *sigh* Is it really to late to stop global warming?

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    Elite Member Rondette's Avatar
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    sadly it probably is. we're too lazy to stop using cars and dishwashers and all the other comforts that we've become accustomed to.

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    Elite Member Icepik's Avatar
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    Some alien-enthusiasts, along with some new-agers, believe 2012 to correspond approximately with the return of alien "watchers" or "caretakers" who might have helped the first human civilizations with developing their technology and may have been waiting for us to reach a higher level of technological and/or social advancement. Beliefs range from the extra-terrestrials having benevolent purposes -- such as to help human society evolve -- to malevolent purposes -- such as enslavement of mankind and/or manipulation. (Armageddon Online - 2012 - Speculation and Theories concerning the year 2012)

    Tom?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I wouldnt mind aliens coming to earth and wagging their fingers at it.

    Not so much for the enslavement.. why would they bother to wait until we had developed enough technology for that? lol

    Seems like it would be a much harder job for them then.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Silver Member SophieOrangeBerry's Avatar
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    *shudder*

    This has creeped me out.

    *makes a time machine to the 15 hundreds and becomes a hag eyed wench*

    aah, thats better.
    Darling... Stop confusing me with your wishful thinking....
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    Elite Member Dixie Normos's Avatar
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    That's the first thing I thought of Alice!
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    that Heaven is a stranger place than than one I've left behind." - SM

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icepik View Post
    Some alien-enthusiasts, along with some new-agers, believe 2012 to correspond approximately with the return of alien "watchers" or "caretakers" who might have helped the first human civilizations with developing their technology and may have been waiting for us to reach a higher level of technological and/or social advancement. Beliefs range from the extra-terrestrials having benevolent purposes -- such as to help human society evolve -- to malevolent purposes -- such as enslavement of mankind and/or manipulation. (Armageddon Online - 2012 - Speculation and Theories concerning the year 2012)

    Tom?
    "Lucy" to Homo Sapiens...
    awesome! i totally believe this too; i mean how the fuck did we jump from grunting cavemen to the pryamids of Egypt in just a few thousands years?!!!! meanwhile dinosaurs stayed reletively the same for millions and millions of years! ........... well, to an open-minded person like me, the possibilities are endless!!! (except I dont think there was a "god" involved ) sorry, guess im not so open-minded.

    oh well, i always knew i'd die at 29 and thats how i know the end is 2012! (except ill be barely 30 so maybe my theory doesn't pan out)

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rondette View Post
    sadly it probably is. we're too lazy to stop using cars and dishwashers and all the other comforts that we've become accustomed to.
    True. I'm probably the only one in my apartment complex that walks to the grocery store that's 100feet away than drive and waste gas to go for a carton of milk. People are'nt gonna change unless it's too late and global warming is sadly and issue that was dealt with too late.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I can smugly say I've never driven a car in my life
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Dixie Normos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliceInWonderland View Post


    oh well, i always knew i'd die at 29 and thats how i know the end is 2012! (except ill be barely 30 so maybe my theory doesn't pan out)
    Weird, I always knew (since about age 16 or so) that if I didn't have kids by age 32, I'd never have them at all.

    in 2012 I will be 32
    "In the face of the blinding sun, I wake only to find
    that Heaven is a stranger place than than one I've left behind." - SM

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