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World Bank, Pentagon: global warming red alert
Weather of mass destruction bigger threat than terrorism
Sun 22 February 2004
UNITED STATES/Washington, DC
A world thrown into turmoil by drought, floods, typhoons. Whole countries rendered uninhabitable. The political capital of the Netherlands submerged. The borders of the US and Australia patrolled by armies firing into waves of starving boat people desperate to find a new home. Fishing boats armed with cannon to drive off competitors. Demands for access to water and farmland backed up with nuclear weapons. Sound like the ravings of doom-saying environmental extremists? It's actually from a report commissioned by the Pentagon on how to ready America for the coming climate Armageddon.
IS ARCTIC SEA ICE RAPIDLY THINNING?
Greg Holloway and Tessa Sou
Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney BC, Canada
Reports based on submarine sonar data have suggested Arctic sea ice has thinned nearly by half in only recent decades. Such rapid thinning is a concern for detection of global change and for Arctic regional impacts. Re-examining the inferred thinning while including atmospheric timeseries, ocean currents, rivers runoff, and modelled physics of ocean-ice-snow, we find that inferred rapid thinning was unlikely. Varying winds, which rapidly redistribute Arctic ice, create a difficult sampling problem, dominated by a recurring pattern where ice is expelled from the central Arctic while thickening in the Canadian sector. Timing and cruise tracks of then submarine surveys missed this mode of Arctic variability.
As fresh water dilutes the salt in the North Atlantic, the water becomes less dense. And if the water arriving from the south can't sink even after it cools off, it won't make room for the next batch. By putting the brakes on this circulation, "fresher water in the North Atlantic could be real trouble," says Dan Seidov of Pennsylvania State University.
Igor Yashayaev, a Canada-based researcher working with Dickson, figures the lowered salinity is equivalent to adding a layer of fresh water 12 feet deep to the North Atlantic. Experts are unsure whether it is coming from heavier rain and river runoff or melting of Arctic glaciers and sea ice. Nor do they know whether the cause is a natural climate cycle, global warming due to human activity, or some mix of the two. And they don't know exactly how much additional fresh water it would take to push the Atlantic over the edge and cause its circulation to collapse.
YANRAKYNNOT, Russia The native elders have no explanation. Scientists are perplexed as well. The icy realm of the Eskimo the tundra and ice of Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland has started to thaw.
Thunder and lightning, once rare, have become commonplace. An eerie warm wind now blows in from the south. Hunters who prided themselves on their ability to read the sky say they no longer can predict the sudden blizzards.
In recent years, seabirds have washed up dead by the thousands and deformed seal pups have become a common sight. Whales appear sick and undernourished. The walrus, a mainstay of the local diet, is becoming scarce, as are tundra rabbits.
The elders, who keep thousands of years of history and legend without ever writing it down, have long told children this story: If the ice that freezes thick over the sea each winter breaks up before summer, the entire village could perish.
Even Zoya Telpina, the schoolteacher in this outpost of 350 Chukchi reindeer herders and marine mammal hunters, said a winter sea without ice seemed like "a fairy tale."
But last winter, when Telpina looked from her kitchen window toward the Bering Sea, she saw something she'd never seen in her 38 years: the dark swell of the open ocean, water where there had always been ice.
The most alarming trend yet is that of global warming. Though it has seen its share of denial, its very obvious in the measurable fact that the tundra and ice of Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland has started to thaw. In the last century, parts of the Arctic have warmed by 10 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 times the global average. Sea ice covers 15% less of the Arctic Ocean than it did 20 years ago, and that ice has thinned from an average of 10 feet to less than 6. The U.S. Navy is already planning for an ice-free Arctic, exploring ways to defend the previously ice-clogged Northwest Passage from attack by sea! This years drought, which affected 46 counties in New York, New York City, and all of New Jersey is our most palpable example of this alarming climate change.
The Pentagon predictions come as early as 2007... a mere three years from now.
"By 2007 violent storms smash coastal barriers rendering large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable. Cities like The Hague are abandoned. In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento River area are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south," the report read.
Mega-droughts will affect the world's major breadbaskets, including America's Midwest, where strong winds bring soil loss, is also among the report's warnings.
The Discovery of Rapid Climate Change
Physics Today ^ | March 2004 | Spencer Weart
Posted on 03/07/2004 2:20:49 AM PST by BabaOreally
How fast can our planet's climate change? Too slowly for humans to notice, according to the firm belief of most scientists through much of the 20th century. Any shift of weather patterns, even the Dust Bowl droughts that devastated the Great Plains in the 1930s, was seen as a temporary local excursion. To be sure, the entire world climate could change radically: The ice ages proved that. But common sense held that such transformations could only creep in over tens of thousands of years. In the 1950s, a few scientists found evidence that some of the great climate shifts in the past had taken only a few thousand years. During the 1960s and 1970s, other lines of research made it plausible that the global climate could shift radically within a few hundred years. In the 1980s and 1990s, further studies reduced the scale to the span of a single century. Today, there is evidence that severe change can take less than a decade. A committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has called this reorientation in the thinking of scientists a veritable "paradigm shift." The new paradigm of abrupt global climate change, the committee reported in 2002, "has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policymakers."1
Much earlier in the 20th century, some specialists had evidence of abrupt climate change in front of their eyes. The evidence was meaningless to them. To appreciate change occurring within 10 years as significant, scientists first had to accept the possibility of change within 100 years. That, in turn, had to wait until they accepted the 1000-year time scale. The history of this evolution gives a good example of the stepwise fashion in which science commonly proceeds, contrary to the familiar heroic myths of discoveries springing forth in an instant. The history also suggests why, as the NAS committee worried, most people still fail to realize just how badly the world's climate might misbehave.
Puzzling Pluto Observations Reveal 'Drastic' Changes Atmosphere
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 03:25 pm ET
16 August 2002
Clever new observations of Pluto as it passed in front of a distant star reveal that the planet's thin atmosphere has cooled over the past 14 years while the surface seems to be getting warmer.
Astronomers are puzzled by the changes, which have occurred during a time when Pluto is moving farther from the Sun during its 248-year orbit. They said the results could only be fully explained by a robotic mission to Pluto, a project many astronomers are lobbying for but which NASA has put on the back burner.
The martian ice caps are shrinking. As they are made mostly of frozen carbon dioxide, this evaporation could trigger an increase in Mars' own greenhouse effect.
Images from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft show that ice ridges and escarpments have retreated over the past two years or so. The orbiting probe has also captured the ice thickening and thinning with the passing seasons.
The reason for the change is not yet clear. But it means that Mars' climate may be changing. "These observations," say Michael Malin and co-workers at Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California, "suggest that the present martian environment is neither stable nor typical of the past."
Mars Ski Report: Snow is Hard, Dense and Disappearing
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 02:00 pm ET
06 December 2001
Mars would make a lousy host for the Winter Olympics. Yes, there's the lack of air to consider. But more important, Martian snow turns out to be rock hard. Worse, it is melting away at an alarming rate.
In fact, Mars may be in the midst of a period of profound climate change, according to a new study that shows dramatic year-to-year losses of snow at the south pole.
Amazing Blue Band Around Jupiter!
Presenter: Mike Corkill
Researcher: Kate Follington
Wednesday, 3 March 2004
Strange blue band around Jupiter (courtesy NASA)
An Amazing Disturbance In Jupiter's Clouds.....
It is a very elongated, bluish streak that runs along the interface of the dark South Equatorial Belt.
The first hint that that something unusual was taking place in the cloudy Jovian atmosphere came from Spanish amateur when he reported that a small, bicolored feature was formingt in the Southern Hemisphere a little over2 weeks ago. NOW, this disturbance has stretched, what looks like, right around the planet!
At the moment it's too early to be sure of the nature of this disturbance or its potential evolution. The wide band shown on the photograph could, quite easily measure, 3-4 times the diameter of the Earth!
Although Jupiter has, in the past, produced some unusual upper cloud features, nothing like this has ever been seen before!
Very, very few people are aware of the work that is being done in the Russian National Academy of Sciences in Siberia, specifically in Novosibirsk, where they are doing this research. Theyve come to the conclusion that the only possible thing that could be causing this energetic change all throughout the solar system is that we are moving into an area of energy that is different - that is higher. The glowing plasma at the leading edge of our solar system has recently increased 1000 percent.
SUN: The Suns magnetic field is over 230 percent stronger now than it was at the beginning of the 1900s, and its overall energetic activity has sizably increased, creating a frenzy of activity that continues to embarrass NASAs official predictions.
VENUS: Venus is now glowing in the dark, as is Jupiters moon Io.
EARTH: In the last 30 years, Earths icecaps have thinned out by as much as 40 percent. Quite inexplicably, just since 1997 the structure of the Earth has shifted from being slightly more egg-shaped, or elongated at the poles, to more pumpkin-shaped, or flattened at the poles. No one at NASA has even bothered to try to explain this yet. www.gsfc.nasa.gov...
MARS: The icecaps of Mars noticeably melted just within one year, causing 50-percent changes in surface features. Atmospheric density had risen by 200 percent above previous observations as of 1997.
JUPITER: Jupiter has become so highly energized that it is now surrounded by a visibly glowing donut tube of energy in the path of the moon Io. The size of Jupiters magnetic field has more than doubled since 1992.
SATURN: Saturns polar regions have been noticeably brightening, and its magnetic field strength increasing.
URANUS: According to NASAs Voyager II space probe, Uranus and Neptune both appear to have had recent magnetic pole shifts 60 degrees for Uranus and 50 for Neptune.
NEPTUNE: Neptune has become 40 percent brighter in infrared since 1996, and is fully 100-percent brighter in certain areas. Also, Neptunes moon Triton has had a very large percentage increase in atmospheric pressure and temperature, comparable to a 22-degree Fahrenheit increase on Earth.
PLUTO: As of September 2002, Pluto has experienced a 300-percent increase in its atmospheric pressure in the last 14 years, while also becoming noticeably darker in color.
New Study Links Ocean Salinity to Climate Change
Mar 14, 2004, 18:21
New Study Links Ocean Salinity to Climate Change
Image Credit: US Global Change Research Program
Scientists from the University of California Davis have released a report showing salinity levels have decreased in the North Atlantic and increased in the tropical Atlantic in the last 50 years. This would indicate a slowing of the ocean circulation system which transports salt water and heat to the Northern Hemisphere. The scientists suggest this trend could reach a threshold which would produce radical climate changes.
From the UC Davis press release:
Geology graduate student Matthew Schmidt, left, and Professor Howard Spero of UC Davis are studying elevated Caribbean salinity levels to understand bigger issues of global warming. (Mary Graziose/UC Davis Department of Geology photo)
A new study from the University of California shows, for the first time, that the deep-ocean circulation system of the north Atlantic, which controls ice-age cycles of cold and warm periods in the Northern Hemisphere, is integrally coupled to salinity levels in the Caribbean Sea.
This research reinforces concerns that global warming, by melting the glacial ice of Greenland, could quickly and profoundly change salinity and temperatures in the north Atlantic Ocean. One consequence might be much colder weather in northern Europe and Britain and perhaps even in eastern Canada and the U.S. northeast.