Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reference: Melting ice to spur new climate deal, Bangkok Post, April 30, 2009

An article on global warming (Melting ice to spur new climate deal, Bangkok Post, April 30, 2009) says that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have caused the following alarming changes to our planet: (1) ice covering the Arctic Ocean shrank in 2007 to its smallest since satellite records began, (2) In Antarctica, a section of the Wilkins Ice Shelf has broken up in recent days, (3) glaciers in the Himalayan mountains are shrinking and threatening to disrupt water supplies to hundreds of millions of people, (4) melting permafrost in Siberia will release large quantities of methane into the atmosphere and hasten global warming, and (5) if all of the land based ice in Antarctica melted it would raise the sea level by 80 meters. The artcle fails to take note of the following data freely available in the public domain: (1) Arctic sea ice suffers a summer melt in every northern summer and that melt was greater than normal in 2007 and it encouraged global warming scientists to speculate that the sea ice would not fully recover in the following winter and thereby the Arctic would begin a non-linear process of forming less and less ice each winter until it became fully ice free. This speculation has been proven wrong as the Arctic ice has now fully recovered. (2) the observed melting in the Wilkins ice shelf is a natural and insignificant event in the vast ice continent of Antarctica where the total mass of ice is increasing and not decreasing. (3) the Himalayan glacial melt is a reference to the data that the Gangotri glacier there had retreated by several hundred meters from 1780 to 2005 and global warming scientists predicted that the rate of retreat would accelerate and cause water supply devastation downstream. The predicted acceleration did not occur. Instead the rate of retreat actually slowed in 2007 and in 2008 it stopped altogether, (4) they have been telling us for more than five years now that the Siberian permafrost is about to melt and release methane devastation but there has been no sigh of this activity and Russian scientists have disputed these claims, and (5) if all the ice in Antarctica melted it would likely raise the sea level by 80 meters as claimed but this computation is purely a hypotherical and trivial conjecture for the subsumed melt has not started and if and when it does start, it will take many thousands of years to complete and the next ice age will surely intervene for the geological history of the earth shows that it is mostly an icy planet with brief interglacial balmy periods like the one in which we now find ourselves.

Cha-am Jamal

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