19 December 2008

1.5 to 2 trillion tons

Don't be misled by the cold weather this winter -- the overall trend of rising temperatures and melting ice caps is still accelerating:

Between 1.5 trillion and 2 trillion tons of ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted at an accelerating rate since 2003, according to NASA scientists.....In the past five years, Greenland has lost between 150 gigatons and 160 gigatons each year, (one gigaton equals one billion tons) or enough to raise global sea levels about .5 mm per year.....

The ice loss in recent years has become more serious than in the 1990s:

In the 1990s, Greenland took in as much snow and water as it let out, Zwally said. But now, about 15 years later, sea levels are rising about 50 percent faster, making the global climate situa-tion even more unpredictable.

These data are from NASA -- other scientific groups concur:

The past year, according to the NASA group (the “meteorological year” from December through November), is between the 7th and 12th warmest (because of the range of uncertainty in readings) since systematic meteorological record-keeping began in 1880.... the decades-long global warming trend and patterns of warming remain consistent with a growing influence on climate from the planet’s building blanket of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.....if all the world’s countries fail by 2030 to move away from burning coal for power (at least without capturing the emitted CO2), it will be impossible to avoid a long slide toward Earth becoming “a different planet” from the one human societies have experi-enced for thousands of years.

This is one of the most important things that will change on the 20th of January: With the end of the denialist administration of Bush (who also rejects evolution), the government of the world's leading industrial and technological nation will no longer be at war with the consensus of the world scientific community and most other major governments, but will start actively working to deal with the problem. Note that this would have been true regardless of the outcome of the election, since McCain also acknowledges the reality of anthropogenic global warming and the need for action against it.

Update: See here for interesting information and links. I should also note that the NASA link above was sent by Ranch Chimp.

(Note: as always, denialists need not bother trying to post their nonsense in the comments. A collection of the standard denialist talking points and scientists' responses can be found here.)


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

What amaze's me some about all this is that there are still folk's out there who are wondering who's to blame about this Global Warming and it's new title "Climate Change". Which I see as nothing more than that great American classic...duel's between the left and the right that is. I wonder if those who try to deny Global Warming actually think that all the ton's and ton's of toxic pollutant's (human made)that we dump into the atmosphere and water's 24/7 dont have any effect on the atmosphere or water or anything else? Even a country boy can see that with..when he goes fishing or whatever..and has to look at the comtaminated water's. I first wondered about pollution and such without any knowledge of it...while hunting as a kid and fishing back in the 60's,because I would go back into the city when done...and look around..and say..something is wrong here. And back then...I just concluded...it was human's that were the destructive species. Thank you guy.

20 December, 2008 07:04  

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