I found this article in the New Scientist and it would appear that not only are the birds and the fish acting weirdly, even the mountains are melting
down. Is this all an indication that we are in for a huge change on Earth, is this change really as rapid as it appears or do we still have 100s of
thousands of years before anything drastic will happen? I have posted this article in complete as it is not available to anybody but subscribers
online. I apologise if its long.
Mountains face meltdown
New Scientist vol 183 issue 2457 - 24 July 2004, page 6
"If the ice that glues rocks together is thawing, rock faces will disintegrate
ROCK faces on high mountains could start crumbling at alarming rates if summers get hotter as global climate models predict. Higher temperatures could
destabilise rocks by thawing the permafrost beneath them.
In Europe, concern about disintegrating rock faces was heightened last year when at least 50 people died in the Alps as a result of falling rock. Many
mountain paths, including classic routes on Mont Blanc, were closed because of the danger of rockfalls, and nearly 100 climbers had to be rescued from
the normal route on the Matterhorn when part of the ridge collapsed.
"Our model suggests that higher summer temperatures will heat some rock faces to such an extent that the permafrost, which glues the cracks and
joints together, will melt and decrease the stability of the rock face," says Gruber. The high temperatures of 2003 would have been enough to do this
(Geophysical Research Letters, vol 31, pL13504).
In the past month, at least four massive rock formations have come crashing down in the Italian Dolomites. Local scientists have argued that natural
thermo-elastic erosion is largely to blame. This happens when daytime temperatures melt the snow and ice, which then seeps into cracks in the rock,
expanding and dislodging the rocks when it freezes at night. But given the size of the rockfalls, including nearly 1000 cubic metres in one case,
Gruber argues that it is an unlikely explanation. The rocks must have cracked several metres below the surface. "Day-night cycles don't reach [down]
that far," he says. "But it could well be connected to last year's extreme summer."
A quarter of Earth's land surface is permanently frozen, with some of this permafrost in mountain ranges. If global mean temperatures rise by as much
as 1.3 °C over the next 20 years, as predicted, "mountain ranges from the Himalayas to the Andes will all be affected if permafrost starts to thaw,"
says Lorenz King, a geographer at the University of Giessen, Germany.The article was edited. If anybody would like to have more details on this please
[edit on 30-7-2004 by Mynaeris]