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Ice, News, Presidents, Carbon

By: Dr. Ricky Rood, 7:58 PM GMT on October 13, 2008

Ice, News, Presidents, Carbon: I want to change the subject from the last series. Thank you for the recent comments on the blog. In this blog I just want to bring forward a couple items that I think are salient for the moment.

Several of you have been writing about this years's Arctic sea ice. As noted, it was not quite as “low” in 2008 as in 2007, but examination of the details of ice melt and recovery suggest serious melting and continuing evolution of the sea ice to a situation that is new in the era of civilized man. Here is a recent link from NASA that provides some more information about sea ice. Arctic Sea Ice Retreat in August. There is a professional quality video on this link. The decline in August was the most rapid that has been observed since we have had satellite observations. Here is another link that discusses the disintegration of fringe of ice on Canada’s Ellesmere coast. As we go forward, it will be important to focus our attention not only of coverage, but ice thickness and age of ice. The multi-year ice is decreasing; there is more open ocean. Open ocean absorbs more solar heat than an ice covered ocean, and it heats more. Remember, since its dark up there in the winter, ice does not reflect away solar radiation in the winter.

Figure 1: Ice shards from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf float into Disraeli Fjord in August 2008. Rising water temperatures at sea and in the fjords behind the ice shelves may contribute to ice shelf break up. (Photo courtesy Denis Sarrazin, ArcticNet/Centre d’Etudes Nordiques.) (From NASA Earth Observatory)

Climate change is sitting in its relationship to politics and economics. It’s an important time of global shifts in our world. Science never makes or breaks a presidential election, but scientific research is increasingly important to our societal success. Here is a site form the American Association for the Advancement of Science that includes candidates statements about science. Similarly, here is a like to Physics Today from the American Physical Society. Where do they Stand?

Finally, Gabriel Thoumi and I have published a piece on the development of a carbon market to control atmospheric carbon dioxide. It’s on Mongabay.com. Here it is: Don't "Sell Short" the Earth: Carbon tax will ease transition to sensible climate policy.


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.