2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007
-2008 - 2009 - 2010

compiled by Dee Finney



Pangnirtung, a village on Canada's Baffin Island, had rain and temperatures in the 40s last month,
 when minus-20 degrees is normal.


4-25-04 - DREAM :  I had a global warming dream this morning, you will find interesting:

 I was in my living room, which was sunken and I was trying clean while walking around in 4" of water, and water was falling from the ceiling and my hair was in my face and wet and I was a wreck, wet and cold and getting angry at not being able to control the water which was everywhere.

 Someone suggested I go shopping, so I went to buy a coat. They had an awesome black and white diamond patterned raincoat in a size 21 -  the only one one there was - The pattern was a swirling one - like a whirlwind. I held it up against myself and it only covered 1/4 of me. I was very upset that the only coats that would fit me were bright yellow.

 So, I went home and a friend suggested we go to the library. She left ahead of me and I followed her up a flight of stairs and along a long, long hallway with doors leading to other rooms along the way. When I got to the other end without catching up to her, there were people standing around, even standing inside the elevator, which wasn't moving - waiting to go home. So I headed back down the hallway, thinking I might have missed my friend in one of those rooms.  Half way back I came to an area where Christmas presents had been left for people but not picked up. Prominent amongst the gifts  was a large silver crock pot.  I reached out to pick up the crock pot and take it home and it started showing me messages which were:  

 "France cannot control warming."
 "US awards warming contract to INESCOE"
 "INESCOE cannot control warming."
 "US controls warming."
 End of Dream.
 My question: How can the US decimate warming?  What does that mean exactly?

SEE:  UNESCO: global warming links


EDITORS NOTE:  I believe the facts stated below, but California is not one of the 10 hottest states.  We have been 10 degrees below normal for at least a year, had the coldest winter in 14 years, and the coolest summer in 14 years.  I don't know how to account for that.

Summer from Hell: Our New Normal on a Warming Planet?

  • 10 U.S. states had their hottest summer on record and all but 7 states were above normal. And summer nighttime heat records were set in 37 states.
  • June-August global land surface temperature was the warmest on record, 1.80 F (1.00 C) above the 20th century average of 56.9 F (13.8 C) and surpassing the previous record of 1.66 F (0.92 C) set in 1998.
  • For only the third time in the satellite record and the third time in the last four years, the Arctic sea ice extent fell below 5 million square kilometers (1.93 million square miles). This summer's Arctic sea ice extent fell more than 25% below the 1979-2009 31-year average.
  • Arctic sea ice volume (extent and thickness) reached the lowest level ever recorded, prompting Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center to predict, "The Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It's not going to recover."
  • A record Russian heat wave caused massive wildfires and drought and may have killed up to 15,000 people, cost the Russian economy $15 billion, and destroyed a third of the Russian grain crop, causing global wheat prices to nearly double. Peat bog and forest fires filled Moscow's air with carbon monoxide levels reaching 6.5 times more than the maximum allowable levels.
  • Devastating floods inundated one-fifth of Pakistan, drove millions from their homes, and led to the deaths of more than 1,600 people. Up to a foot of rain fell in a 36-hour period and Ghassem Asrar, director of the World Climate Research Programme, pointed to climate change: "There's no doubt that clearly the climate change is contributing, a major contributing factor. We cannot definitely use one case to kind of establish precedents, but there are a few facts that point towards climate change as having to do with this."
  • Hundreds of walruses on Alaska's North Slope were stampeded to death when they beached themselves on land because there were no sea ice floes available.
  • This year's extreme heat is causing only the second known global bleaching of coral reefs. In oceans from Thailand to Texas, scientists fear this year's die-off may be as bad as or worse than in 1998 when an estimated 16% of the world's shallow water reefs were severely damaged. In the waters off the Philippines, 95% of the corals have died this year.



Antarctic Ice Shelf Falling Apart

, BERLIN — Massive ice chunks are crumbling away from a shelf in the western Antarctic Peninsula, researchers said Wednesday, warning that 1,300 square miles of ice — an area larger than Rhode Island — was in danger of breaking off in coming weeks.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf had been stable for most of the last century, but began retreating in the 1990s. Researchers believe it was held in place by an ice bridge linking Charcot Island to the Antarctic mainland.

A Crumbling Ice Mass


This satellite image taken Tuesday shows the disintegration of an ice bridge linking Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf with Charcot Island, which is visible in the upper left corner. A 1,300-square-mile piece of the shelf -- an area bigger than Rhode Island -- may break away in the next few weeks, researchers said.


The 127-square-mile (330-square-kilometer) bridge lost two large chunks last year and then shattered completely on April 5.

"As a consequence of the collapse, the rifts, which had already featured along the northern ice front, widened and new cracks formed as the ice adjusted," the European Space Agency said in a statement Wednesday on its Web site, citing new satellite images.

The first icebergs broke away on Friday, and since then some 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) of ice have dropped into the sea, according to the satellite data.

"There is little doubt that these changes are the result of atmospheric warming," said David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey.

The falling away of Antarctic ice shelves does not, in itself, raise sea levels, since the ice was already floating in the sea. But such coastal tables of ice usually hold back glaciers, and when they disintegrate that land ice will often flow more quickly into the sea, contributing to sea-level rise.

Researchers said the quality and frequency of the ESA satellite images have allowed them to analyze the Wilkins shelf breakup far more effectively than any previous event.

"For the first time, I think, we can really begin to see the processes that have brought about the demise of the ice shelf," Vaughan said.

He said eight ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula have shown signs of retreat over the last few decades.

"The retreat of Wilkins Ice Shelf is the latest and the largest of its kind," he said.

The Wilkins shelf, which is the size of Jamaica, lost 14 percent of its mass last year, according to scientists who are looking at whether global warming is the cause of its breakup.

Average temperatures in the Antarctic Peninsula have risen by 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 Celsius) over the past 50 years — higher than the average global rise, according to studies.

Over the next several weeks, scientists estimate the Wilkins shelf will lose some 1,300 square miles (3,370 square kilometers) — a piece larger than the state of Rhode Island, or two-thirds the size of Luxembourg.

One researcher said, however, that it was unclear how the situation would evolve.

"We are not sure if a new stable ice front will now form between Latady Island, Petrie Ice Rises and Dorsey Island," said Angelika Humbert of Germany's Muenster University Institute of Geophysics.

But even more ice could break off "if the connection to Latady Island is lost," she said, "though we have no indication that this will happen in the near future."



(CNN) -- A large ice shelf is "imminently" close to breaking away from part of the Antarctic Peninsula, scientists said Friday.

Scientists are investigating whether the ice breakup is caused by global climate change.

Satellite images released by the European Space Agency on Friday show new cracks in the Wilkins Ice Shelf where it connects to Charcot Island, a piece of land considered part of the peninsula.

The cracks are quickly expanding, the ESA said.

Scientists are investigating the causes for the breakups and whether it is linked to global climate change.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf -- a large mass of floating ice -- would still be connected to Latady Island, which is also part of the peninsula, and Alexander Island, which is not, said professor David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey.

The ice shelf experienced a great amount of changes last year, the ESA said.

In February 2008, the shelf dropped 164 square miles (425 square kilometers) of ice. In May it lost a 62-square-mile chunk.

That meant the "bridge" of ice connecting Wilkins to the islands was just 984 yards wide at its narrowest location, the ESA said.

Further rifts developed in October and November, said Angelika Humbert of the Institute of Geophysics at Germany's Muenster University.

"During the last year the ice shelf has lost about 1800 square kilometers (694 square miles), or about 14 percent of its size," Humbert said.

Antarctica's ice sheet was formed over thousands of years by accumulated and compacted snow. Along the coast, the ice gradually floats on the sea, forming massive ledges known as ice shelves, the ESA says.

Several of these ice shelves, including seven in the past 20 years, have retreated and disintegrated.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf had been stable for most of the past century before it began retreating in the 1990s.

"It had been there almost unchanged since the first expeditions which mapped it back in the 1930s, so it had a very long period of real stability, and it's only in the last decade that it's started to retreat," Vaughan said.

Wilkins is the size of the state of Connecticut, or about half the area of Scotland. It is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened.

If the ice shelf breaks away from the peninsula, it will not cause a rise in sea level because it is already floating, scientists say. Some plants and animals may have to adapt to the collapse.

The Antarctic Peninsula is the piece of the continent that stretches toward South America.

All About Antarctica Global Climate Change


Many glaciers will disappear by middle of century and add to rising sea levels, expert warns

January 19, 2009

• Melt rates for 2007 fall but still third worst on record
• Threat to livelihoods of 2bn dependent on rivers

Most of the planet's glaciers are melting so fast that many will disappear by the middle of the century, a leading expert has warned. Figures from the World Glacier Monitoring Service show that although melt rates for 2007 fell substantially from record levels the previous year, the loss of ice was still the third worst on record.

The total mass left in the glaciers is now thought to be at the lowest level for "thousands of years".

Even under moderate predictions of global warming, the small glaciers, which make up the majority by number, will not recover, said Prof Wilfried Haeberli, the organisation's director.

The warning will raise concern among those who say that glacier melting is one of the greatest threats of climate change because it raises the risk of sudden avalanches of rocks and soil released from the ice, threatening the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people who depend on melt-water to feed rivers in summer. Glacier melting will also add to rising global sea levels.

"If the climate is not really cooling dramatically, they'll retreat and disintegrate," said Haeberli. "This means many will simply be lost in the next decades - 10, 20, 30, 40 years.

"If you have a realistic, mid-warming scenario, then there's no hope for the small glaciers - in the Pyrenees, in Africa, in the Andes or Rocky mountains. The large glaciers in Alaska and the Himalayas will take longer, but even those very large glaciers will change completely; they will be much, much smaller, and many of them will disintegrate, forming lakes in many cases."

The WGMS, whose backers include UN agencies and scientific bodies, collects annual data for up to 100 glaciers around the world, including 30 "reference" glaciers in nine different mountain ranges on four continents, for which data goes back nearly three decades.

Figures for 2005-06 showed the biggest loss of ice in a single year since those records began, and based on historic reconstructions, it was thought to be the worst year for 5,000 years.

The latest data for 2006-07 shows that 22 of the 27 reference glaciers for which data has been supplied lost mass, as did 55 of a longer list of 74 glaciers. The total losses were half that of the previous year, but still the third largest on record. In Europe it is thought glaciers have lost one quarter of their mass in the last eight years alone, said Haeberli.

Although the mass balance of glaciers would fluctuate with natural changes in temperatures and snowfall, climate scientists believe the sustained losses of recent decades are partly due to man-made global warming, with the 10 hottest years on record coming in the last 11 years.

"The general trend to increased loss rates is continuing," Haeberli said. "The year was a little bit less terrible than [the previous] year ... but still a very heavy loss. It's still two times the average loss rate of the 20th century."

Although the data only covers some of the world's glaciers, its figures are mirrored by reports from experts from around the globe.

Two years ago the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast that if current trends continue, 80% of Himalayan glaciers will be gone in 30 years, although more recent estimates have suggested the 2060s or later.

Last year the UN environment programme and the WGMS jointly published data for 1,800 glaciers on all seven continents, which warned losses had been accelerating globally since the mid-1980s, so that the annual average decline for 1996-2005 was double that of the previous decade, and four times that of the decade before. Last week China Dialogue, a London-based organisation dedicated to debate on China's environment issues, launched a campaign to highlight the same trends in melting in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau.

Those glaciers feed all the main river systems in Asia, depended on by the estimated 40% of the world's population that lives in northern India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, said Isabel Hilton, China Dialogue's editor.

"In a region that is already fractured and unstable, the melting of the 'third pole' glaciers is one of the most important challenges facing humanity in the 21st century," she said.

In December the US Geological Survey also warned that sea-level rise could be even worse than feared, as much as 1.5 metres by the end of this century, partly due to increased melting of the volume of water stored in glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland.

Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for UNEP, said the latest findings should encourage more governments to follow moves by some politicians to invest billions of dollars in clean energy and efficiency as a way of curbing greenhouse gases.

He urged world leaders to agree a treaty to cut emissions. Water experts have also called for more investment in better water management.

  Alaska Glaciers Grew This Year, Thanks to Colder Weather

Two hundred years of glacial shrinkage in Alaska, and then came the winter and summer of 2007-2008. Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind of snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too.

Unusually large amounts of winter snow were followed by unusually chill temperatures in June, July and August.

"In mid-June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound," said U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia. "On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July. At Bering Glacier, a landslide I am studying, located at about 1,500 feet elevation, did not become snow free until early August.

In general, the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years.”

Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind of snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too

It’s been a long time on most glaciers where they’ve actually had positive mass balance,” Molnia said.

That’s the way a scientist says the glaciers got thicker in the middle.

Mass balance is the difference between how much snow falls every winter and how much snow fades away each summer. For most Alaska glaciers, the summer snow loss has for decades exceeded the winter snowfall.

The result has put the state’s glaciers on a long-term diet. Every year they lose the snow of the previous winter plus some of the snow from years before. And so they steadily shrink.

Since Alaska’s glacial maximum back in the 1700s, Molnia said, “I figure that we’ve lost about 15 percent of the total area.”

What might be the most notable long-term shrinkage has occurred at Glacier Bay, now the site of a national park in Southeast Alaska. When the first Russian explorers arrived in Alaska in the 1740s, there was no Glacier Bay. There was simply a wall of ice across the north side of Icy Strait.

That ice retreated to form a bay and what is now known as the Muir Glacier. And from the 1800s until now, the Muir Glacier just kept retreating and retreating and retreating. It is now back 57 miles from the entrance to the bay, said Tom Vandenberg, chief interpretative ranger at Glacier Bay.

That’s farther than the distance from glacier-free Anchorage to Girdwood, where seven glaciers overhang the valley surrounding the state’s largest ski area. The glaciers there, like the Muir and hundreds of other Alaska glaciers, have been part of the long retreat.

Overall, Molnia figures Alaska has lost 10,000 to 12,000 square kilometers of ice in the past two centuries, enough to cover an area nearly the size of Connecticut.

Molnia has just completed a major study of Alaska glaciers using satellite images and aerial photographs to catalog shrinkage. The 550-page “Glaciers of Alaska” will provide a benchmark for tracking what happens to the state’s glaciers in the future.

Climate change has led to speculation they might all disappear. Molnia isn’t sure what to expect. As far as glaciers go, he said, Alaska’s glaciers are volatile. They live life on the edge.

“What we’re talking about to (change) most of Alaska’s glaciers is a small temperature change; just a small fraction-of-a-degree change makes a big difference. It’s the mean annual temperature that’s the big thing.

“All it takes is a warm summer to have a really dramatic effect on the melting.”

Or a cool summer to shift that mass balance the other way.

One cool summer that leaves 20 feet of new snow still sitting atop glaciers come the start of the next winter is no big deal, Molnia said.

Ten summers like that?

Well, that might mark the start of something like the Little Ice Age.

During the Little Ice Age — roughly the 16th century to the 19th — Muir Glacier filled Glacier Bay and the people of Europe struggled to survive because of difficult conditions for agriculture. Some of them fled for America in the first wave of white immigration.

The Pilgrims established the Plymouth Colony in December 1620. By spring, a bitterly cold winter had played a key role in helping kill half of them. Hindered by a chilly climate, the white colonization of North America through the 1600s and 1700s was slow.

As the climate warmed from 1800 to 1900, the United States tripled in size. The windy and cold city of Chicago grew from an outpost of fewer than 4,000 in 1800 to a thriving city of more than 1.5 million at the end of that century.

The difference in temperature between the Little Ice Age and these heady days of American expansion?

About three or four degrees, Molnia said.

The difference in temperature between this summer in Anchorage — the third coldest on record — and the norm?

About three degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Does it mean anything?

Nobody knows. Climate is constantly shifting. And even if the past year was a signal of a changing future, Molnia said, it would still take decades to make itself noticeable in Alaska’s glaciers.

Rivers of ice flow slowly. Hundreds of feet of snow would have to accumulate at higher elevations to create enough pressure to stall the current glacial retreat and start a new advance. Even if the glaciers started growing today, Molnia said, it might take up to 100 years for them to start steadily rolling back down into the valleys they’ve abandoned.

“It’s different time scales,” he said. “We’re just starting to understand.”

As strange it might seem, Alaska’s glaciers could appear to be shrinking for some time while secretly growing. Molnia said there are a few glaciers in the state now where constant snow accumulations at higher elevations are causing them to thicken even as their lower reaches follow the pattern of retreat fueled by the global warming of recent decades.



GLOBAL WARMING: Envisat satellite observations from mid-August show that a new record of low polar sea-ice coverage in the Arctic could be reached in sometime in September. This follows last summer's record minimum ice cover in the same area. Current ice coverage in the Arctic has already reached the second absolute minimum since observations from space began 30 years ago. Because the extent of ice cover is usually at its lowest about mid-September, this year's minimum could still fall to set another record low. The direct route through the Northwest Passage - highlighted in the FIRST image BELOW by an orange line - is currently almost free of ice, while the indirect route, called the Amundsen Northwest Passage, has been passable for almost a month. This is the second year in a row that the most direct route through the Northwest Passage has opened up. --

Written by
Nancy Atkinson / Source: ESA




ALASKA - Downpours across Interior Alaska caused waterways including the Salcha and Tanana rivers to spill their banks Wednesday in a continuation of SOME OF THE WORST FLOODING HERE IN DECADES. The two-day rainfall totals were a combined 4 inches.
Many of Salcha’s 1,000 residents and their immediate neighbors are unfortunate enough to experience periodic flooding. It occurs almost exclusively when chunks of ice in the Tanana River become lodged at bends, forming dams that flood the riverbanks. But this flooding is the same stuff seen in warmer latitudes.
The four inches of rain that fell between Monday and Wednesday left soil across the region saturated. Rivers and sloughs rose, and many low lands transformed into huge puddles.
On Wednesday evening, the Salcha River was at ITS HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 1968. The Tanana River, at well over 26 feet Wednesday evening, had risen to ITS HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE THE FLOOD OF 1967. (photos)
CANADA - About 60 to 70 millimetres of rain fell on Gambo in just nine hours starting early Wednesday afternoon, causing flash flooding. The town in eastern Newfoundland says it could cost millions to repair the damage caused by the flooding. Most of the local roads in the town of Gambo were destroyed. Nearly 50 residents have reported flood damage to their homes so far.
COLORADO - Denver breaks HEAT WAVE RECORD - Scorching temperatures reached well above 90 degrees Thursday to put this day in the weather record books. By mid-afternoon the high in Denver was 95 degrees. That BREAKS THE 104-YEAR-OLD RECORD with 19 consecutive days of 90 degrees or higher. There's no break in the searing heat just yet. Temperatures are expected to remain in the 90s into next week.
ICELAND - Heat Wave hits Iceland, NEW RECORDS SET - Temperatures rose to 26.2°C in Reykjavík yesterday, which is an ALL-TIME RECORD for Iceland’s capital. In Reykjavík, IT HAS NEVER BEEN AS WARM SINCE TEMPERATURES WERE FIRST REGISTERED 150 YEARS AGO.
The heat record set in Reykjavík yesterday was of great significance. The previous record was 24.8°C. The heat wave was caused by interplay of warm air currents and clear skies. Other heat records were also broken yesterday - in Thingvellir National Park in southwest Iceland temperatures went up to 29.7°C, which is also a NEW RECORD. The last record was set in 2004 with 29°C. The Westman Islands saw a NEW RECORD with 21.6°C, as did Patreksfjördur in the West Fjords were the temperatures rose to 24.9°C.
CANADA - Flash flood fears forces evacuation of Baffin Island park - Thawing permafrost, eroding lakeshores, a melting glacier and fears of flash floods at a national park on Baffin Island have forced the evacuation of 21 tourists and led officials to declare much of the wilderness reserve off-limits until geologists and ice experts can assess what appear to be the latest dramatic effects of climate change in Canada's Arctic.
The 19,000-square-kilometre Auyuittuq National Park on the island's northeast coast has recently experienced "RECORD-BREAKING" WARMTH and substantial amounts of rain. "This summer's events are beyond anything we're used to. This is no doubt a result of climate change."
This week's crisis at Auyuittuq follows June flooding in the nearby community of Pangnirtung, where rain, melting ice and eroding riverbanks forced the shutdown of a key bridge linking the hamlet's two sides.
Auyuittuq's dominant feature, the Penny Ice Cap, has been shedding water for weeks and warm weather has destabilized the shoreline around Crater Lake, a popular site in the park. Officials, concerned that the lake could catastrophically drain into a nearby valley, arranged a helicopter evacuation of tourists from the area.
"Permafrost has melted in lots of areas. The lakes are held back by moraines that appear to be giving away. We need some advice."


The 8-square-mile-chunk of ice that has broken off Ward Hunt Island
on the Arctic Ocean is the biggest chunk of ice since 2005. The Arctic summer ice
melt keeps expanding and scientists expect open North Pole waters in summers.
Before global warming and the breaking up of the ice, Ellesmere Island was surrounded
by a single ice sheet that covered 3,500 square miles. Image courtesy Canadian Space Agency.

Recent extreme weather has left multiple thousands dead, injured or homeless. These disasters are part of a much wider trend developing in the weather.

related: Scientist: Recent Natural Disasters Perfectly Norma

May 28, 2008
By Eric Anderson
The Trumpet

Extreme storms, droughts, wildfires, cyclones, tornadoes, floods, and heat waves followed by unseasonable cold snaps, have left thousands dead and multiple thousands injured or homeless around the globe. But the climatic disasters seen so far this year are part of a much wider trend developing in the weather.

Photo: Rising floodwaters in Coraki, New South Wales, have caused residents to flee their homes. (Eddie Safarik/AFP/Getty Images)

During the past 100 years or so, global surface temperatures have gradually increased. This, together with a 50-year meteorological lull (1910 to 1960), helped produce greater worldwide agricultural yields at the start of the last century. By the mid-1950s, output had reached record levels. The 1960s saw the birth of the so-called Green Revolution, spurred on by new hybrid seed, expanded irrigation, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides that promised to alleviate world hunger.

But then something unexpected happened. World climates became more volatile in the ensuing four decades. Floods followed droughts. Indiscriminate tornados ripped through cities and farmlands. Hailstorms thrashed crops, and hurricanes lashed coastlines.

As a result of this shift in the weather, there has been a significant increase in economic losses, injuries and deaths. What is more, the promises of nonstop bumper crops underpinned by the agricultural miracles of the 1960s have clouded over.

Insurance companies and meteorologists generally accept that the weather is becoming progressively more unstable. Human efforts to improve farming methods, forecast and even manipulate the weather have redoubled. Yet, in the end, these efforts are of no avail.

When wild weather strikes, we suddenly realize that few things affect us more than our climate. History shows that whole societies have risen or fallen because of favorable or nasty weather.

What are the real causes behind today’s weather upsets? Why are climatic conditions worsening?

Climatologists know that climatic change results, in general, from innate variations in the naturally occurring phenomena that produce this Earth’s weather cycles. For years, scientists have studied signals such as oscillations in high-altitude jet streams and ocean currents, as well as solar radiation variation and volcanic activity.

However, many scientists and environmentalists now say human beings are agents of environmental change, though they are unclear as to what degree. There is a lot of debate on this issue at the moment, and quite a bit of conflicting data on both sides.

Current research has directly linked air pollution to weather upsets. There is indication that smog from industrial activity, smoke from slash-and-burn deforestation in developing countries, widespread replacement of green and open land surfaces by pavement, asphalt and buildings, and the exhaust of jets, cars, trucks, trains and ships have contributed to climatic variation.

There are many other suspected weather-modifying agents, such as crop irrigation and the creation of man-made lakes. The influence of diverted rivers, dams, drained swamps and underground aquifers may be significant too because of the effect the water-versus-land ratio has on the heat balance.

Not only that; now mankind is attempting to intentionally change weather through various experiments. For example, “cloud seeding” is intended either to produce needed rainfall or prevent cloud water from condensing into raindrops and snowflakes in an effort to head off severe storms and prevent flooding.

There is abundant evidence that we have abused, polluted, tarnished and ruined nearly everything our hands have touched on Earth.

In times past, when severe weather continually affected a particular area of the world, people simply migrated away from that area. But now, because of fixed borders and overpopulation, little new land is available anymore.

Today, the world is primarily dependent on the U.S., Canada, Australasia, Argentina and parts of Western Europe to supply the surplus foodstuffs to meet the deficits elsewhere in the world. Any time a bad year or two of weather affects these nations, it affects the rest of the world too.

Also, we have narrowed the number of plant species on which we depend for food. According to the World Resources Institute, humans have historically used about 5,000 species of plants as food, but only 150 or so have entered world commerce and less than 20 provide most of the world’s food. Just three grass crops—wheat, rice and maize (corn)—account for roughly 60 percent of the calories and 56 percent of the protein that we consume directly from plants. By narrowing our variety of world food crops, and by failing to store up enough excess grain for the future, we have increased our vulnerability to weather upsets. In addition, in the U.S. many corn crops are being sold for ethanol production, which could have an increasingly detrimental effect on the world food supply.

In addition, never before has there been such potential for human suffering due to climatic disasters. The tremendous rise in population the past century has placed more people at risk when an extreme weather event occurs. Rapid growth in coastal populations places more people in harm’s way when hurricanes or tropical storms strike. Also, a significant increase in the number of homes and businesses built in flood plains over the past 50 years increases the risk and frequency of high-cost flooding events.

Because of these societal trends, cost-per-disaster figures have risen. In the U.S. alone, 39 weather-related disasters occurred during the decade of 1991-2001 in which overall damages reached or exceeded $1 billion at the time of the event. The total damage costs exceeded $134 billion.

Since then, disasters have escalated, and many climatologists’ theories point to worse times ahead.

But, the question remains: Are the adverse weather phenomena that we are experiencing more frequently today than in the past due to the impact of the hand of man, or is there another power at work effecting changes in Earth’s climate?

Meteorologists may be able to predict the weather in the short term, but they still do not know the extent to which climatic changes or climatic variability may be accurately predicted in the long term. They admit they don’t know why major global-impacting weather forces, such as high-altitude jet streams or powerful ocean currents, shift as they do.

Weather experts are only able to rely on scientific observation, experimentation and reason—physical evidence—to forecast weather in the short term. But this tells only part of the story. There is another little-used source we can turn to for the other portion of the picture. It claims to pinpoint the causes of weather cataclysms, and to forecast long-term weather trends. Yet it is a source whose veracity most people would naturally question.

That source is the Book that most people have on their bookshelf, but few understand: the Holy Bible.

Can this Book of books really tell us the real cause of weather crises? Yes it can—and it does—though many would scoff at this claim.

The Creator God of the Bible clearly asserts that He controls the weather. And in His Word He challenges us to believe Him!

The Almighty Creator of the universe says He causes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. He sends the snow and ice as well as drought and heat. He bathes the Earth with gentle rain to show His loving concern, yet also sends flood and mildew to punish. Check it out for yourself in the following scriptures: Matthew 5:45; Job 37; Deuteronomy 28:22.

The Bible also reveals that God has set spiritual and physical laws in motion, and that He is presently allowing humans to develop their own ways of living—contrary to His laws—and to reap the natural consequences that result from those ways, including weather upsets.

Further, God, in His great purpose, also allows Satan the devil—the current (and temporary) god of this world, according to 2 Corinthians 4:4—to have a role in producing catastrophic weather, for man’s ultimate learning (see Job 1).

Mankind, in explaining weather, looks only to material causes—physical phenomena measurable by scientific instruments—yet the Bible shows that there is a spiritual dimension to this question!

Yet, most people today consider themselves too sophisticated to believe such a thing. Others swing to the opposite extreme and blame it on superstition.

Almighty God tells us that the real cause of our upset weather conditions involves sin—which is defined as the breaking of His laws (see 1 John 3:4). God uses weather to correct and discipline His creation—to help us realize the error in our lifestyle.

King Solomon understood the connection between the transgression of God’s law and bad weather. When he dedicated the temple of God, Solomon prayed, “When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance” (2 Chronicles 6:26-27).

Weathermen and news reporters would ridicule the idea that wrong ways of living—wrong lifestyles, morality and thinking—and chaotic weather are related. But in doing so, don’t they in effect consider themselves wiser than Solomon? In reality, they, along with the majority of mankind, have been deceived by the great unseen spiritual adversary of this world (Revelation 12:9), and will end up being victims of the very prophecies they reject unless they repent.

So what is the Bible’s weather forecast for the near future? The answer to that question is directly related to the moral and spiritual state of the world. Because that is prophesied to decay (a reality we already see around us), so too is the state of our weather.

The chaotic weather we have experienced in recent decades will soon seem tame by comparison, unless we alter our present course as a civilization. In the not-too-distant future, our weather is going to go completely haywire (see Revelation 6:5-8; 8:4-12). The powerful natural forces of weather are going to be unleashed upon a disobedient world, armed with terrorists and wmds, to bring it to its knees in repentance.

We should consider the worsening weather trend a warning from Almighty God—a warning to the nations today to turn from materialism, false religions and all the sundry sins that are leading us away from the true path of peace and abundant living. We can expect our weather to get worse until we acknowledge our Creator, get down on our knees and pray that God would grant us repentance and give us the power necessary to keep His law.

In Leviticus 26, God promises “rain in due season” and that “the land shall yield her increase” (verse 4)—“if ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them” (verse 3). Were the nations to do so, we would find ourselves blessed with beautiful weather and stable climates. We would not have to fear crop failures and famine, or being killed in a severe weather event.

We can experience prosperous living with pleasant, healthful weather—when mankind is willing to acknowledge and obey God, His laws and His benevolent rule. That will mean the dawning of a new age—a utopian time of perfect weather and peace and happiness everywhere.


Massive ice shelf on verge of breakup

  • Story Highlights
  • A large chunk of the Wilkins ice shelf in Antarctica broke away last month
    Only a narrow strip of ice is protecting the shelf from further breakup
    "I didn't expect to see things happen this quickly," scientist says
    Ice shelves are floating ice sheets attached to the coast

    (CNN) -- Some 220 square miles of ice has collapsed in Antarctica and an ice shelf about the size of Connecticut is "hanging by a thread," the British Antarctic Survey said Tuesday, blaming global warming.


    Scientists say the size of the threatened shelf is about 5,282 square miles.


    Satellite images of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in the West Antarctic Peninsula where a huge 160-square-mile-chunk of ice disintegrated between February 28 and March 8, 2008. The ice section that broke away measured 25-miles-long (41 kilometers) by 1.5-miles-wide (2.5 kilometers). All that's holding back the rest of the Wilkins Ice Shelf is a narrow band of ice, which might also give way in the near future. Image courtesy British Antarctic Survey.

    "We are in for a lot more events like this," said professor Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    Scambos alerted the British Antarctic Survey after he noticed part of the Wilkins ice shelf disintegrating on February 28, when he was looking at NASA satellite images.

    Late February marks the end of summer at the South Pole and is the time when such events are most likely, he said. Video Watch aerial footage of the area »

    "The amazing thing was, we saw it within hours of it beginning, in between the morning and the afternoon pictures of that day," Scambos said of the large chunk that broke away on February 28.

    The Wilkins ice shelf lost about 6 percent of its surface a decade ago, the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement on its Web site

    Another 220 square miles -- including the chunk that Scambos spotted -- had splintered from the ice shelf as of March 8, the group said.

    "As of mid-March, only a narrow strip of shelf ice was protecting several thousand kilometers of potential further breakup," the group said.

    Scambos' center put the size of the threatened shelf at about 5,282 square miles, comparable to the state of Connecticut, or about half the area of Scotland. See a map and photos as the collapse progressed »

    Once Scambos called the British Antarctic Survey, the group sent an aircraft on a reconnaissance mission to examine the extent of the breakout.

    "We flew along the main crack and observed the sheer scale of movement from the breakage," said Jim Elliott, according to the group's Web site.

    "Big hefty chunks of ice, the size of small houses, look as though they've been thrown around like rubble -- it's like an explosion," he said.

    "Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened," David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey said, according to the Web site.

    "I didn't expect to see things happen this quickly. The ice shelf is hanging by a thread -- we'll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be."

    But with Antarctica's summer ending, Scambos said the "unusual show is over for this season."

    Ice shelves are floating ice sheets attached to the coast. Because they are already floating, their collapse does not have any effect on sea levels, according to the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey.

    Scambos said the ice shelf is not currently on the path of the increasingly popular tourist ships that travel from South America to Antarctica. But some plants and animals may have to adapt to the collapse.

    "Wildlife will be impacted, but they are pretty adept at dealing with a topsy-turvy world," he said. "The ecosystem is pretty resilient."

    Several ice shelves -- Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and Jones -- have collapsed in the past three decades, the British Antarctic Survey said.

    Larsen B, a 1,254-square-mile ice shelf, comparable in size to the U.S. state of Rhode Island, collapsed in 2002, the group said.

    Scientists say the western Antarctic peninsula -- the piece of the continent that stretches toward South America -- has warmed more than any other place on Earth over the past 50 years, rising by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit each decade.

    Scambos said the poles will be the leading edge of what's happening in the rest of the world as global warming continues.

    "Even though they seem far away, changes in the polar regions could have an impact on both hemispheres, with sea level rise and changes in climate patterns," he said.

    News of the Wilkins ice shelf's impending breakup came less than two weeks after the United Nations Environment Program reported that the world's glaciers are melting away and that they show "record" losses.

    "Data from close to 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges indicate that between the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled," the UNEP said March 16.

    The most severe glacial shrinking occurred in Europe, with Norway's Breidalblikkbrea glacier, UNEP said. That glacier thinned by about 10 feet in 2006, compared with less than a foot the year before, it said.


"The authors lost," one participant told the AP. "A lot of authors are not going to engage in the IPCC process anymore. I have had it with them," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proceedings were supposed to remain confidential. An AP reporter, however, witnessed part of the final meeting.

 Incredible Ice Melt
Glaciers are melting in the Arctic and everywhere else, and now a huge ice sheet in Canada is melting as well! The level of the Mediterranean ocean is rising rapidly. Soon this will be common news, all over the world and it’s already affecting the weather right here in the US.

In, Jeanna Bryner reports that ice fields on Baffin Island in the Arctic have shrunk 50% percent in the past 50 years and will be gone in 50 more. Baffin is the fifth largest island in the world, larger than California, and some the ice fields there formed in pre-Medieval times and have lasted until now. Bryner quotes researcher Gifford Miller as saying, "That tells us right there that the warming of the 20th century is the warmest sustained period of warming in that time. It clearly says we're now warmer than we were in Medieval times. The general trend has been cooling for the past ten thousand years. The fact that they are now receding like mad just makes it even more unusual because the large-scale forcing, how much energy comes in from the sun during the summer months, is getting less and less."

In Canada, there is a massive crack in the Beaufort Sea ice pack, which is off the west coast of Banks Island in the Northwest Territories. This could lead to massive flooding in nearby coastal areas. CBC News quotes researcher David Barber as saying, "We're starting to think this is what the future's going to look like…It's been an extremely interesting year but kind of depressing. It’s interesting in a bad way."

Art credit: NOAA


Gone in Less Than a Week
An area of the Arctic the size of Florida has melted away in just the last six days as the  polar cap continues to melt at a record rate. And not surprisingly, polar bears are starting to disappear as well. There are a lot of mysterious events going on in the far North right now.

On the ABC News website, Clayton Sandell reports that "2007 has already broken the record for the lowest amount of sea ice ever recorded…smashing the old record set in 2005." In just the last six days, researchers say that almost 70,000 square miles of Arctic ice has disappeared, which is a piece the size of the state of Florida.

Sandell quotes polar ice expert Mark Serreze as saying, "If you had asked me a few years ago about how fast the Arctic would be ice free in summer, I would have said somewhere between about 2070 and the turn of the century. My view has changed. I think that an ice-free Arctic as early as 2030 is not unreasonable."

BBC News reports that two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be gone by the middle of the century, and says, “the US Geological Survey (USGS) says that parts of the Arctic are losing summer ice so fast that no bears will be able to live there within several decades."

Related Stories:
02-Oct-2007: Time to Re-Draw Our Maps
25-Sep-2007: What Needs to be Changed…FAST
14-Sep-2007: Is Ancient Bacteria Still a Threat?
29-Aug-2007: MORE Extreme Weather
22-Aug-2007: Coldest Lake is Heating Up
21-Aug-2007: Pole Problems
10-Aug-2007: Extreme Weather—Will it Get Better or Worse?
24-Jul-2007: Weather Woes Grip Planet
18-Jul-2007: Arctic: Still Cold, but Not Cold Enough
11-Jul-2007: Planting Trees Doesn't Always Help


Arctic Ice Continues Record Melting

Arctic Ice the Size of Florida Gone in a Week

Scientists report that arctic ice the size of the state of Florida has melted in the last six days. (ABCNEWS) By CLAYTON SANDELL
Sept. 10, 2007
An area of Arctic sea ice the size of Florida has melted away in just the last six days as melting at the top of the planet continues at a record rate.

2007 has already broken the record for the lowest amount of sea ice ever recorded, say scientists, smashing the old record set in 2005.

Currently, there are about 1.63 million square miles of Arctic ice, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. That is well below the record of 2.05 million square miles set two summers ago and could drop even lower before the final numbers are in.

North Pole's Ice Disappears

From September 3 to September 9, researchers say 69,000 square miles of Arctic ice disappeared, roughly the size of the Sunshine State.

Scientists say the rate of melting in 2007 has been unprecedented, and veteran ice researchers worry the Arctic is on track to be completely ice-free much earlier than previous research and climate models have suggested.

"If you had asked me a few years ago about how fast the Arctic would be ice free in summer, I would have said somewhere between about 2070 and the turn of the century," said scientist Mark Serreze, polar ice expert at the NSIDC. "My view has changed. I think that an ice-free Arctic as early as 2030 is not unreasonable."

Sea ice melt will likely reach the absolute minimum in the next few days as temperatures at the North Pole cool and refreezing begins.

Worldwide Climate Implications

Melting sea ice, unlike land-based glaciers like the ones in Greenland and elsewhere, does not raise sea level. But it does play a major role in regulating the planet's climate by affecting air and ocean currents.

"It will shift some of the weather patterns in ways that we are just beginning to understand," said Robert Correll, a scientist who chairs the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and is also the climate change director at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C.

Correll said that white sea ice also acts as a mirror at the top of the planet, reflecting much of the sun's energy back into space. As it melts, it reveals darker water that absorbs more energy from the sun -- further warming the ocean in a process scientists call a "feedback."

"If there is no ice, the ocean is going to continue to heat, and that is going to accelerate the global warming process," said Correll.

In coastal villages throughout the Arctic, less sea ice also means less protection from wind and waves that erode the shoreline. It also means less habitat for animals like polar bears and other marine animals.

Last week, the United States Geological Survey issued a report that found if the ice continued to decline at the current rate, two-thirds of the world's polar bear population will disappear by 2050.

"Our results do give me some concern," said Steve Armstrup, a Polar Bear Project Leader with the USGS. "In Northern Alaska, where I've been working for these years, there may not be polar bears. So as Polar bears go, that probably reflects to a great extent a lot of things that are happening to other organisms in the Arctic system."

Northwest Passage Opening

The melting ice continues to open up the fabled Northwest Passage, long-sought by explorers and shipping companies as a short cut between Europe and East Asia.

Historically, that debate has been largely theoretical because the passage has been frozen and impassable. But in August, satellite images showed the passage has now become more navigable than ever, fueling a hot debate between the United States and Canada over who should control it.

At a summit last month in Montebello, Canada, the leaders of the two nations expressed their disagreement.

"Canada's position is that we intend to strengthen our sovereignty in the Arctic area, not only military, but economic, social, environmental and others," said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"We believe it's an international passageway," President Bush countered a moment later.

The  latest satellite image shows a clear, wide path running through the Arctic that has major implications for global commerce.

For example, ships that must currently go around South America's Cape Horn because they are too big to traverse the Panama Canal could save about 10,000 miles out of their shipping route.

The passage also saves about 5,000 miles when shipping between Europe and Asia.

Canada, the United States and Denmark are also competing for resources as melting Arctic ice reveals potential deposits of oil and gas.

A mini-submarine placed a Russian flag at the North Pole last month in a symbolic claim to that country's share of Arctic resources.

Environmental groups worry that increased traffic through the Arctic could put the natural resources in jeopardy if there is an oil spill or other disaster in the remote region.




A sandbar rises above water level in a channel between the coal loading dock and grain elevators along St. Louis Bay in Superior, Wis. Lake Superior has 3 quadrillion gallons of water -- enough to submerge North and South America in a foot of water.

By Julia Cheng, AP

The case of the disappearing Great Lake

Ice from Lake Superior gathers near the lighthouse on Wisconsin Point near Superior, Wis. Even with warmer temperatures the ice still remains from this past winter.

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
BARAGA, Mich. — "Where did the water go?" asks Ted Shalifor, manager of a marina and campground on Lake Superior's Chippewa Indian Reservation.

The water on Lake Superior is so low that he couldn't put his docks in the water this year. Where he used to see water, he now sees sandbars.

Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, has dropped to its lowest level in 81 years. The water is 20 inches below average and a foot lower than just a year ago.

The dropping levels have had serious environmental and economic consequences. Wetlands have dried up. Power plants run at half capacity. Cargo ships carry partial loads. Boaters struggle to find a place to dock.

Marquette Parks and Recreation director Hugh Leslie gestures at what the water level used to be at in the Presque Isle Marina in Marquette, Mich.

The changes can be seen all along the 2,800-mile shore of Lake Superior, the coldest and deepest of the Great Lakes. The water has receded, sometimes 50 feet or more, from its normal shoreline.

Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are at low levels, as well, although not quite as extreme.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere study whether Lake Superior's low water levels are a result of global warming. The average water temperature of Lake Superior has risen 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1979.

A drought and warm weather are the immediate cause of the drop in water levels. In the past year, precipitation was 6 inches less than the average of 31 inches. The lake's southern shore had a green Christmas in 2006. The ice and snow pack that usually cover the lake arrived late, allowing water to evaporate.

"It's been a long time since we've been this low, but it has happened," says Tim Calappi, a hydraulic engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, which tracks water levels. "We still think this is within the range of what's normal, but we have to wait and see."

Superior isn't the only prominent North American lake or reservoir at a severely low level. Lake Mead near Las Vegas and Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border are about half full. Florida's Lake Okeechobee recently set a record low.

Many people living near Lake Superior don't buy drought or warm weather as the reasons for dropping water levels — a conspiracy theory is more popular. They say Lake Superior was drained through the St. Mary's River to raise the levels of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

"It's like the tide went out and didn't come back," says Dan Alexander, a commercial fisherman in Baraga. "We know what it is. They drained the lake." The water is so low he had to find a new place to dock his 38-foot boat.

Calappi says it's a myth that the Army Corps drains Lake Superior to help other lakes with presumably more powerful benefactors. He says the amount of water that flows out of Lake Superior is established by an international agreement with Canada. The water flow is regulated by how much water is permitted to pass through hydroelectric plants on the St. Mary's River, which connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron and, indirectly, Lake Michigan.

The Edison Sault Electric power plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., will operate at less than 50% capacity this year because its water flows have been slashed as a result of the low lake levels, the company said. That pushed the company to buy high-cost power elsewhere and increase rates.

Other problems:

•Cargo ships run partly empty, especially those that carry heavy materials such as coal and iron ore.

On a recent trip, the 1,004-foot freighter James R. Barker had to leave 7,000 tons of coal behind, so the boat would draft 26 feet under water, instead of 29 feet.

"We need more rain, and we need more dredging," says Robert Dorn, senior vice president of Interlake Steamship Co., which owns the ship.

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth (Minn.) Seaway Port Authority, says cargo ships have lightened loads about 5%. For ships averaging $6 a cargo ton and making 40 trips a year, that amounts to about $1 million in lost revenue per ship, he says.

•Large beds of wild rice that grow in wetlands have gone dry. Wild rice beds in the Kakagon Slough of Bad River in Wisconsin have been hit particularly hard.

•Recreational boaters find fewer berths everywhere along Lake Superior. Smaller boats compete for fewer spaces. Owners of big boats not suitable for shallow water are sometimes forced to move on or spend the night in deeper waters.

In Marquette, Mich., the water is so low, the city had to build two-step stairs for people to walk down to their boats. The landings are supposed to be level with the boats.

"It's a mess. There's not much to tell people with deep-keeled sailboats other than, 'There's no place for you anywhere,' " says Hugh Leslie, parks and recreation director in Marquette (pop. 20,714), the largest Michigan town on the lake.

'We're not really beach people'

In Marquette, boulders line the shore to prevent waves from washing out Lakeshore Boulevard. Today, the lake is more than 50 feet from the road.

The receding water has created wide swaths of scenic beach, but even this has created problems. Changing currents at South Beach in Marquette carved a 4-foot crevice in the popular family beach. "It cut the beach in half and exposed drainage pipes," Leslie says.

Elsewhere along Lake Superior, the beaches are wider than usual but they aren't expected to attract larger crowds. Because of the cold, "here in Duluth, we're not really beach people," says Ann Norris of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

Scott Brossart, engineer for the Army Corps in Duluth, says some dredging will be done to make the commercial channels in Lake Superior ports a little deeper. In Washington, Congress is considering more money for dredging. But the corps doesn't work in recreational harbors.

"We're getting requests to dredge from everywhere this year, but I have to tell them we don't do that," Brossart says.

Away from shore, Lake Superior is doing fine. A 19-inch drop doesn't make a big difference in a lake that is 1,330 feet at its deepest.

The fishing has never been better. Alexander says he's catching huge amounts of trout and whitefish. For now, he's waiting, like everyone else, for the water to rise.

"It seemed normal last October," Shalifor says. "Then it dropped and never came back."

Contributing: David Onze of the St. Cloud (Minn.) Times

Scientists, governments clash over climate report


Ice caves from the Perito Moreno glacier in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in Argentina. The Perito Moreno is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that are not retreating due to global warming, scientists say. Himalayan glaciers in Asia and Alpine glaciers in Europe are also expected to melt.

BRUSSELS — After a marathon session that saw angry exchanges between diplomats and scientists, an international global warming conference approved a major report on climate change Friday.

"We have an approved accord. It has been a complex exercise," conference chairman Rajendra Pachauri told reporters after an all-night meeting.

Several scientists objected to the editing of the final draft by government negotiators, the Associated Press reported, but in the end agreed to compromises. However, some scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change vowed never to take part in the process again, the AP reported.

The climax of five days of negotiations was reached when the delegates removed parts of key charts highlighting devastating effects of climate change that kick in with every rise of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and in a tussle over the level of confidence attached to key statements.

The charts have been called a "highway to extinction" because they show that with every degree of warming, the condition of much of the world worsens — with starvation, floods and the disappearance of species.

Those charts "tell us there's a danger in the future," said Belgian delegate Julian Vandeburie, who is in the science policy branch of his government.

The United States, China and Saudi Arabia raised the most objections to the phrasing, most often seeking to tone down the certainty of some of the more dire projections.

Still, "the bottom line is that climate change is having impacts on natural ecosystems, plants, animals and humans," said Sharon Hays, leader of the U.S. delegation.

Hays said that "not all projected impacts are negative," noting it is possible farming yields could increase in parts of the USA. However, "increasingly negative and significant impacts are possible" with rising global temperatures, she noted.

Despite the disagreements, the final report is the clearest and most comprehensive scientific statement to date on the impact of global warming mainly caused by man-induced carbon dioxide pollution.

It predicts that up to 30% of species face an increase risk of extinction if global temperatures rise 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the average in the 1980s and 90s.

Areas that now suffer a shortage of rain will become even more dry, adding to the risks of hunger and disease, it said. The world will face heightened threats of flooding, severe storms and the erosion of coastlines.

The summary of the report will be presented to the G-8 summit of the world's richest nations in June, when the European Union is expected to renew appeals to President Bush to join in international efforts to control emissions of fossil fuels.

Dispute before agreement

The conference had earlier lapsed into an unprecedented showdown between scientists and diplomats over authors' concerns that governments were watering down their warnings.

A dramatic dispute between the scientific authors of the report and its diplomatic editors erupted over a paragraph in the 21-page summary regarding how much confidence the scientists have in their findings, the AP reported.

The report concerns the effects global warming is already having and will have on life on Earth. The disputed paragraph centered on what has already happened.

The paragraph originally said scientists had "very high confidence" — which means more than 90% chance of accuracy — in the statement that many natural systems around the globe "are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases."

After days of intensive small group negotiations over this section, delegates from China and Saudi Arabia on Friday insisted that the confidence be reduced to "high confidence" which means more than 80% accuracy.

Three top scientists-authors formally objected to the change by the diplomats, including American scientist David Karoly of the University of Oklahoma. The scientists said it was an unprecedented weakening of the scientific confidence that was not raised when the report was circulated the past several months.

In the hurry to get the report finished before its 4 a.m. ET release and press conference, diplomats forced the last-minute removal and altering of parts of the iconic table, which shows the ill effects of warming with each 1.8 degree increase in temperature, scientists and other delegates told the AP.

Patricia Romero Lankao, a sociologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., confirmed to USA TODAY that delegates from the United States, China and Saudi Arabia forced the writers of the report summary to "downplay" the level of certainly about the damage to the environment and species by human-caused warming. "That was a really hard discussion," she said.

Stanford University biologist Terry Root, one of the impact report's writers, said: ?It is really of concern if governments are allowed to rewrite some of the science, changing some of what we know at a very high confidence level. I?m concerned. We?re jeopardizing the power that the IPCC report carries.?

Draft was 'diluted'

A final draft of the report obtained by the AP — written by scientists before government officials forced the changes — said "roughly 20-30% of species are likely to be at high risk of irreversible extinction" if global average temperature rises by 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

That part has been "diluted," said retired scientist Ian Burton, who attended the session on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Another delegate told the AP that the amended version hedged on the sweep of the original text, inserting a reference to species "assessed so far."

Guy Midgley of the National Botanical Institute in South Africa, a lead author of the chapter on ecosystems that includes extinctions, said the changes will be "commensurate with the science."

Another prolonged tussle emerged over whether to include estimated costs of damage from climate change — calculated per ton of carbon dioxide emissions, delegates told the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The entire final draft report, obtained last week by the AP, has 20 chapters, supplements, two summaries and totals 1,572 pages. This week's wrangling was over the 21-page summary for policymakers.

It is the second of four reports from the IPCC this year; the first report in February laid out the scientific case for how global warming is happening. This second report is the "so what" report, explaining what the effects of global warming will be.

Vandeburie compared the world's current situation to the Munich peace conference in 1938, when Britain and France had a choice between confronting Hitler and appeasing him: "We are at the same moment. We have to decide on doing something or not."

"This report will help us focus on significant negative impacts" in developing nations less resilient than the USA, James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said after it was released.

Root said the effect that warming already is having on Earth is critical. "The resilience of ecosystems are starting to be compromised and are going to continue to be compromised," she said, including likely extinction for 20% to 30% of the known wild species.

"If that doesn't wake people up, I'm not sure what will," she said.

Jonathan Patz, a University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist, said the report shows climate change will be "one of the most challenging environmental public health threats of this millennium." More frequent and worse heat waves will be exacerbated in urban areas because of the "heat island" effect of so much concrete, asphalt and construction and because of worse ozone pollution or smog.

"The average number of heat-wave days in Los Angeles could more than double in the next few decades," said Patz, a lead author of the impact report's chapter on North America. "Studies in the IPCC report, for the eastern United States, show that just with temperature warming alone the eastern U.S. may see a 68% increase in the number of red 'ozone alert' days by 2050."

Patz also said the particular American strain of the West Nile virus could thrive in a warmer climate. He said a recent study shows for that strain "a particularly sensitivity to warm temperatures, more so than other strains."

Contributing: The Associated Press; USA TODAY's Dan Vergano and Patrick O'Driscoll


LiveScience Staff

Tue May 15, 4:45 PM ET

Warm temperatures melted an area of western Antarctica that adds up to the size of California in January 2005, scientists report.

Satellite data collected by the scientists between July 1999 and July 2005 showed clear signs that melting had occurred in multiple distinct regions, including far inland and at high latitudes and elevations, where melt had been considered unlikely.

"Antarctica has shown little to no warming in the recent past with the exception of the Antarctic Peninsula," said Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado, Boulder. "But now large regions are showing the first signs of the impacts of warming as interpreted by this satellite analysis."

Changes in the ice mass of Antarctica, Earth's largest freshwater reservoir, are important to understanding global sea level rise. Large amounts of Antarctic freshwater flowing into the ocean also could affect ocean salinity, currents and global climate.

NASA's QuikScat satellite detected snowmelt by radar pulses that bounce off of ice that formed when snowmelt refroze (just as ice cream turns to ice when it is refrozen after being left out on the counter too long.)

Maximum high temperatures of 41 degrees Fahrenheit that persisted for about a week in Antarctica caused a melt intense enough to create an extensive ice layer.

Evidence of melting was found up to 560 miles inland from the open ocean, farther than 85 degrees south (about 310 miles from the South Pole) and higher than 6,600 feet above sea level.

Water from the melted snow can penetrate cracks and the ice, lubricating the continent's ice sheets, sending them toward the ocean faster and raising sea levels, the scientists said.

"Increases in snowmelt, such as this in 2005, definitely could have an impact on larger scale melting of Antarctica's ice sheets if they were severe or sustained over time," Steffen said.

No further melting has been detected through March 2007. 


By Elisabeth Rosenthal,
The New York Times, Sunday, May 6, 2007

EXTREME CLIMATE CHANGE FLASHPOINT: LAND LOSS at Benacre "HAS ACCELERATED DRAMATICALLY,"  said Mark Venmore-Roland, the estate's manager. "At first it was like a chap losing his hair — bit by bit, so you'd get used to it." But in the past few years, he said, "IT's BEEN REALLY FRIGHTENING."

BECCLES, England — This winter a 50-foot-wide strip of Roger Middleditch's sugar-beet field fell into the North Sea, his rich East Anglian lands reduced by a large fraction of their acreage. The adjacent potato field, once 23 acres, is now less than 3 — too small to plant at all, he said.

Each spring Mr. Middleditch, a tenant farmer on the vast Benacre Estate here, meets with its managers to recalculate his rent, depending on HOW MUCH LAND HAS BEEN EATEN UP BY ENCROACHING WATER. As he stood in a muddy field by the roaring sea recently, he tried to estimate how close he dared to plant this season.

"We've LOST SO MUCH THESE LAST FEW YEARS," he said. "You plant, and by harvest it's fallen into the water."

Coastal erosion has been a fact of life here for a century, because the land under East Anglia is slowly sinking. But the EROSION HAS NEVER BEEN AS QUICK  and cataclysmic as it has been in recent years, an EFFECT OF

To make matters worse for coastal farmers, the government has stopped maintaining large parts of the network of seawalls that once protected the area. Under a new policy that scientists have labeled "managed retreat," governments around the globe are concluding that it is not worth taxpayer money to fight every inevitable effect of climate change.

LAND LOSS at Benacre "HAS ACCELERATED DRAMATICALLY," said Mark Venmore-Roland, the estate's manager. "At first it was like a chap losing his hair — bit by bit, so you'd get used to it." But in the past few years, he said, "IT's BEEN REALLY FRIGHTENING."

A report this year from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that rising seas WILL FORCE 60 MILLION PEOPLE AWAY FROM THEIR COASTAL HOMES and jobs by the year 2080.

Another study, the Stern Report, released last December by the British government, projected hundreds of MILLIONS OF "ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES" by 2050. That category includes people whose land is ruined by floods and those whose pastures are parched by drought.

Most are expected to be poor people in developing countries, like fishermen in Asia or shepherds in Africa. Mr. Middleditch, a grizzled, balding man in Wellington boots, and Mr. Venmore-Roland, with his upper-class accent, plush yellow corduroy trousers and walking stick, are certainly not typical of this group. But their plight shows that even here in Europe, livelihoods are being affected, particularly in rural areas.

Walkers and birders who frequent these famous Broads, or salt marshes, will find that the hiking path through Benacre that once gently declined from a low grassy plateau toward the beach, now ends in a precipitous drop of 16 feet to the water; the rest fell into the sea in February.

The 6,000-acre Benacre Estate is losing swaths of land 30 feet wide along its entire two miles of coastline each year. Inland trees that were once sold for timber are dying or no longer commercially valuable, because the proximity to the salty sea air has left them stunted.

Farmers like Mr. Middleditch are losing fields and trying to adjust crops to an unpredictable climate. Mr. Middleditch is now planting hemp. In Cornwall, in southwestern England, warmer and wetter weather has led farmers to experiment with growing jalapeño peppers.

As climate change has accelerated erosion on the east coast of Britain, many scientists and politicians have decided that it no longer makes sense to defend the land. Under the policy of managed retreat, farms, nature preserves and villages are surrendered to the sea.

"This land is very sensitive to climate change because it is very low-lying and doesn't tolerate high temperatures like we've had the last few summers," said David Viner, a climate expert at the University of East Anglia.

"The government will only protect land it thinks of as economically important, and on an economic level you can say that makes sense, but of course that's not the whole picture."

A landmark scientific report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in February, predicted that warming caused by human activities could produce rises in sea level of 7 to 23 inches, accompanied by much stormier weather, by the end of the century.

In Indonesia, the environment minister predicted that 2,000 of the country's islands could be swallowed by the seas in 30 years and said that little can be done to defend them. In wealthier regions, vast engineering projects can often prevent the sea's encroachment, Mr. Viner said, but the cost is often so high that it becomes politically unacceptable.

Here in the Broads, there are conflicts about who deserves to be spared the effects of climate change, and what should be sacrificed to the advancing water. Local council meetings have pitted conservation groups against farmers; landowners against environmentalists; national politicians against villagers. Then there is the question of who, if
anyone, should compensate people for the land and income lost.

Farmers and landowner groups are calling for government payments and for a voice in deciding what must be saved. They would also like permission to build their own private sea defenses. Last year, Peter Boggis, a farmer whose land abuts Benacre, paid a contractor to add dirt to the bottom of the sea cliff that abuts his land. He was ordered to stop,
after conservation groups said he was tampering with a site of scientific interest.

Farther up the coast, four or five homes from the village of Happisburgh fall into the sea each year, as the cliff beneath them crumbles. While they appeal for help, the North Norfolk District Council and Coastal Concern Action Limited have started to shore up Happisburgh's cliff with rocks, financed in part by an Internet campaign,

"Buy a Rock for Happisburgh."

"The U.K. won't let London flood," Mr. Viner said, "but the national government's not going to worry about an odd village or farm."
© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Mars Is Warming, NASA Scientists Report

Data coincide with increasing solar output
Written By: James M. Taylor
Published In: Environment News
Publication Date: November 1, 2005
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

The planet Mars is undergoing significant global warming, new data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show, lending support to many climatologists' claims that the Earth's modest warming during the past century is due primarily to a recent upsurge in solar energy.

Martian Ice Shrinking Dramatically

According to a September 20 NASA news release, "for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars' south pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress." Because a Martian year is approximately twice as long as an Earth year, the shrinking of the Martian polar ice cap has been ongoing for at least six Earth years.

The shrinking is substantial. According to Michael Malin, principal investigator for the Mars Orbiter Camera, the polar ice cap is shrinking at "a prodigious rate."

"The images, documenting changes from 1999 to 2005, suggest the climate on Mars is presently warmer, and perhaps getting warmer still, than it was several decades or centuries ago," reported Yahoo News on September 20.

Solar Link Possible

Scientists are not sure whether the Martian warming is entirely due to Mars-specific forces or may be the result of other forces, such as increasing solar output, which would explain much of the recent asserted warming of the Earth as well.

Sallie Baliunas, chair of the Science Advisory Board at the George C. Marshall Institute, said, "Pluto, like Mars, is also undergoing warming." However, Baliunas speculated it is "likely not the sun but long-term processes on Mars and Pluto" causing the warming. However, until more information is gathered, Baliunas said, it is difficult to know for sure.

Pat Michaels, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, similarly expressed a desire for more information about the Martian climate. "What is the internal dynamic that is warming Mars?" asked Michaels. "Given the fact that there are not a lot of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions on Mars, and given the fact that new research indicates that 10 to 30 percent estimated conservatively of Earth's recent warming is due to increased solar output, the Martian warming may support that new research."

Models May Be Wrong

The new research mentioned by Michaels is the October 2 release of findings by Duke University scientists that "at least 10 to 30 percent of global warming measured during the past two decades may be due to increased solar output rather than factors such as increased heat-absorbing carbon dioxin gas released by various human activities."

"The problem is that Earth's atmosphere is not in thermodynamic equilibrium with the sun," Duke associate research scientist Nicola Scafetta explained in a Duke University news release. Moreover, "the longer the time period [that the Earth's atmosphere is not in thermodynamic equilibrium] the stronger the effect will be on the atmosphere, because it takes time to adapt."

Examining a 22-year interval of reliable solar data going back to 1980, the Duke scientists were able to filter out shorter-range effects that can influence surface temperatures but are not related to global warming. Such effects include volcanic eruptions and ocean current changes such as El Niño.

Applying their long-term data, the Duke scientists concluded, "the sun may have minimally contributed about 10 to 30 percent of the 1980-2002 global surface warming."

"[Greenhouse] gases would still give a contribution, but not so strong as was thought," Scafetta observed.

Several Forces Affect Temperature

"We don't know what the sun will do in the future," Scafetta added. "For now, if our analysis is correct, I think it is important to correct the climate models so that they include reliable sensitivity to solar activity."

Iain Murray, senior fellow and global warming specialist at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the Mars warming adds another level of uncertainty to claims that the Earth's modest recent warming is a result of human activity. "It is probably too much to claim that any one source is the principal driver of the warming trend on Earth," said Murray.

"The number of significant temperature forcings on the climate system grows yearly as we get to know more and more about it, but we really are at a very early stage of our exploration of this very complex system," Murray noted. "If all the estimates are true about the relative effects of forcings like the sun, black carbon, and greenhouse gases, then it is quite possible that we would have been in a sharply cooling phase over recent years were it not for these forcings. In which case, one might say, thank goodness for global warming!"

James M. Taylor ( is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

For more information ...

The September 30 news release announcing the findings of the Duke University research, "Sun's Direct Role in Global Warming May Be Underestimated, Duke Physicists Report," is available online at

  Subject: Svalbard ice melting
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2007

Svalbard ice melting

The glaciers on arctic Svalbard are melting faster than researchers believed and the pace has accelerated over the past five years.
Over 16 cubic kilometers of ice from the many Svalbard glaciers vanishes each year. At the same time record summer temperatures have been measured in Longyearbyen, and snowfall has declined.
The resulting changes have already been highly visible, with new islands appearing, and the Blomstrand peninsula being revealed as an island after the retreat of glacial ice.
"We see a clear and dramatic change," said Kim Holmén, research director at the Norwegian Polar Institute. He believes the reduction in ice is due to warmer climate and said that recent research indicates that the consequences of global climate change is first registered in the Arctic.
"Svalbard is now a greater contributor to the world's rising sea level than we previously believed," Holmén said.
"The volume of the glaciers is being reduced. One thing is that they retreat, at least as dramatic is that they are also becoming thinner," said glacier researcher Jack Kohler at the Norwegian Polar Institute. He has worked with the Svalbard glaciers for many years and can state that they are being reduced by 60-70 centimeters (23.6-27.5 inches) in thickness per year.
On Thursday the International Polar Year (IPY) begins, with thousands of researchers from over 60 nations concentrating on polar research. Climate changes and their consequences will be a central theme and much of the research will take place at Svalbard and in the adjacent region.
Aftenposten's Norwegian reporter
Ole Magnus Rapp
Aftenposten English Web Desk
Jonathan Tisdall

  Subject: Vanishing giant
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2007

The glacier is now clearly split, with the smaller piece just visible off to the left.

Vanishing giant

The bottom portion of Norway's Storbreen (Big Glacier) in Jotunheimen has split in two and is steadily melting.
This photo from autumn 2005 shows the glacier in retreat, one visible indication being the more prominent crag in the center of the photo.

A 3D model image that shows the glacier's range over time, with the lowest mark coming from around 1750, a period known as Norway's 'little ice age'.
Several years of warm summers and poor snowfall have left Bretunga, the lower part of the glacier, in poor shape.
"The glacier is now clearly divided in two. Less than ten years ago it was completely joined there at the bottom," Liss Marie Andreassen, glaciologist at the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), told
Andreassen's doctorate focused on Storbreen. She says that the glacier has retreated around 60 meters due to melting since 1997, and since measurements began in 1949, the ice has melted about 500 meters back from its previous edge.
More or less all of Norway's glaciers are now on the retreat according to the NVE. They are shrinking in both length and volume, and the trend has been clear since the beginning of the 20th century.
According to the research project RegClim, 1,600 Norwegian glaciers can be gone within the next hundred years, leaving only about 30. Andreassen would not give unconditional support to this prognosis.
"There is no doubt that many of the smaller glaciers will disappear if global warming continues. And many of the larger glaciers will greatly decrease in volume. But saying something about the situation in 100 years is difficult," she said.
"It depends on how warm it will be and how much precipitation falls. For example, it isn't unthinkable that there will be significantly more precipitation in the mountains in coming years. In this case it would lead to better conditions for coastal glaciers," Andreassen said.
According to the NVE about 98 percent of all electricity in Norway is generated from hydropower and the glaciers play a vital role in this process.
"About 15 percent of the water power comes from water systems with significant amounts of glacial water, and in drier years glaciers regulate water flow," said Andreassen, who also noted that glaciers are an important indicator of climate change.
"Glaciers react quickly to changes in temperature and precipitation, and provide much useful information to climate researchers," she said.
Aftenposten's Norwegian reporter
Kjetil Olsen
Aftenposten English Web Desk


Melting ice caps are forcing polar bears further inland
  Island people swallowed by the sea

This week saw the launch of International Polar Year, an initiative in which scientists from 60 countries will study the Arctic and Antarctic, with the major focus on climate change.

The BBC's David Willis travelled to the remote Alaskan island of Shishmaref, a community that is being destroyed by climate change.
It is not quite the end of the world but you could probably see it from here.
Shishmaref loomed as a dot on the landscape as our twin-engined Cessna cargo plane cut through snow-capped mountains.
We had flown to the edge of the Arctic circle, to a wilderness captivatingly beautiful yet inhospitably remote - a land where it seemed human beings were never meant to live.
At the cliff's edge
I was last here nearly three years ago to witness the effects of global warming on this community of nearly 600 people.
For several decades the people of this barrier island have been fighting a losing battle with nature.
Not only are the glaciers melting, causing sea levels to rise, but the frozen ground on which the village was built - also known as permafrost - is thawing, making the ground crumble like sand.
Shishmaref is a community that is literally being swallowed by the sea.
Village elder Tony Weyiouanna estimates the tide moves an average of 10 feet (three metres) closer to the land every year.
Two homes have already toppled into the sea, others have wilted and buckled and now teeter ominously at the cliff's edge.
Tony told me that since I was last here the village had decided - very reluctantly - to relocate.
What they had yet to agree on was where to.
This close-knit Inuit community has been here for generations. Where they live defines who they are - the fear is that relocation could leave their subsistence lifestyle under threat.
A greater concern, Tony told me, was that a heavy storm could sweep the entire community into the sea.
"We need to preserve our village before that happens," he told me, "right now we're living on borrowed time."
Washington delegation
Grocer Percy Nietpuck says anyone who doubts the existence of global warming should pay Shishmaref a visit.
Amid the frozen sea he has recently observed clouds of steam - a sign that the ice, once thick and stable, is cracking.
The fact that the village could disappear virtually at any moment has everyone worried - there have even been some suicides.
As we spoke the mercury was nudging -30C, bone chilling for a man of my warm-blooded Western sensibilities, positively tropical for the people here.
On the short plane ride from the nearby town of Nome (whose local newspaper bears the slogan: 'There's no place like Nome') we met Malcolm Henry.
He wore a baseball cap, loose-fitting jacket and Hawaiian shorts.
Protruding from the shorts were legs impressively devoid of goose-pimples.
"You must be freezing?" I suggested from beneath a balaclava and six layers of clothing.
"Man, this is warm for the time of year. I remember when it was -40C with a wind-chill factor of -60."
Everywhere we went the anecdotal evidence suggested that Alaska's winters are not only getting warmer but shorter, and its summers longer.
And the impact extends to wildlife as well: shortly after we arrived local television was carrying reports about efforts to have polar bears listed as an endangered species.
The ice caps on which they live are melting - no prizes for guessing why - causing them to come further inland to look for food and thus making them easier prey for local hunters.
Later this month a delegation from Shishmaref and other communities threatened by global warming (estimates suggest that more than 180 Alaskan villages are feeling the impact of flooding and erosion) will travel to Washington DC to provide evidence that climate change is destroying their way of life.
They will also argue that US energy policies - and the Bush administration's position on greenhouse gases - are to blame for the problem, and constitute an infringement of their basic human rights.
Whatever effect their efforts may have some believe it is already too late.
The impact of global warming is vivid. Just ask the people of Shishmaref.
  HOT! Global Warming: Warmest January ever recorded worldwide in 2007!

AFP, Monday, February 19,  2007

NEW YORK ˆ World temperatures in January were the highest ever recorded for that month of the year, U.S. government scientists said.

"The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the highest for any January on record," according to scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit (0.85 Celsius) warmer than the 20th-century average of 53.6 degrees F (12 C) for January based on preliminary data, NOAA said.

The figures surpass the previous record set in 2002 at 1.28 F (0.71 C) above average. Land surface temperature was a record 3.40 F (1.89 C) warmer than average, while global ocean surface temperature was the fourth warmest in 128 years, about 0.1 F (0.05 C) cooler than the record established during the very strong El Nino climate phenomenon in 1998.

A moderate El Nino started in September and continued into January before weakening, NOAA said. El Nino is an occasional seasonal warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that upsets normal weather patterns from the western seaboard of Latin America to East Africa, and potentially has a global impact on climate.

"The presence of El Nino along with the continuing global warming trend contributed to the record warm January," NOAA said. "The unusually warm conditions contributed to the second lowest January snow cover extent on record for the Eurasian continent," it said.

"During the past century, global surface temperatures have increased at a rate near 0.11 F (0.06 C) per decade, but the rate of increase has been three times larger since 1976, or 0.32 F (0.18 C) per decade, with
some of the largest temperature increases occurring in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere," it said.
© 2007 AFP / Yahoo! News
Sunday, 4 February 2007
Jakarta floods death toll rises Large swathes of Jakarta are under water
At least 20 people have been killed and 340,000 made homeless by massive floods that have swept through the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
Three days of torrential rain have caused rivers to burst their banks, sending muddy water up to 3m (10ft) deep into homes and businesses.  Authorities say the city of nine million people is now on its highest level of alert.
The floods are said to be the worst to hit Jakarta for five years.
Meteorologists have warned the downpour is likely to continue for another week, and with heavy rains falling on hilly regions to the south, more flooding is threatened.
Power cuts
Rising floodwaters have cut water supplies and communications to parts of the city and forced medical teams to use boats and helicopters to reach many of those left stranded.
More than 670,000 people have been left without electricity.
Staff manning a key floodgate in the east of the capital said it had failed and the water flowing in had caused the main canal to burst its banks.
Some main roads have been closed and patients in some hospitals moved to upper floors.
The death toll attributed to the floods has continued to rise since the downpour began at the start of the month.
"Twenty have died since the first day of flooding. Seven were dragged under by strong currents, nine were electrocuted and the others because of sickness," I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana, a Jakarta police spokesman, told Reuters news agency.
Many of the homeless are sheltering in schools and mosques, while others are refusing to leave their partially flooded homes.
Melissa Whyte told the BBC that houses in her area, Cilandak, were "totally washed out and... flooded with up to three metres of water".
"After living here for 12 years I have never seen the floods as bad as this," she said.
Roof-top rescue


Glacial ice is melting across the Arctic Circle. Dennis Schmitt, a 60-year-old explorer, discovered an island in Greenland that had been bound to the mainland. The mainland of Greenland is visible just over his head in the background. (JEFF SHEA / The New York Times)

An ominous discovery

Islands appear off Greenland as polar ice melts away

LIVERPOOL LAND, Greenland — Flying over snow-capped peaks and into a thick fog, the helicopter set down on a barren strip of rocks between two glaciers. A dozen bags of supplies, a rifle and a can of cooking gas were tossed out onto the cold ground. Then, with engines whining, the helicopter lifted off, snow and fog swirling in the rotor wash.

When it had disappeared over the horizon, no sound remained but the howling of the Arctic wind. "It feels a little like the days of the old explorers, doesn't it?" Dennis Schmitt said.
Schmitt, a 60-year-old explorer from Berkeley, Calif., had just landed on a newly revealed island 645 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in eastern Greenland. It was a moment of triumph: He had discovered the island on an ocean voyage in September 2005. Now, a year later, he and a small expedition team had returned to spend a week climbing peaks, crossing treacherous glaciers and documenting animal and plant life.
Despite its remote location, the island would almost certainly have been discovered, named and mapped almost a century ago when explorers like Jean-Baptiste Charcot and Philippe, Duke of Orleans, charted these coastlines. Would have been discovered had it not been bound to the coast by glacial ice.
Maps of the region show a mountainous peninsula covered with glaciers. The island's distinct shape — like a hand with three bony fingers pointing north — looks like the end of the peninsula.
Now, where the maps showed only ice, a band of fast-flowing seawater ran between a newly exposed shoreline and the aquamarine-blue walls of a retreating ice shelf. The water was littered with dozens of icebergs, some as large as one-fifth of a hectare; every hour or so, several more tons of ice fractured off the shelf with a thunderous crack and an earth-shaking rumble.
All over Greenland and the Arctic, rising temperatures are not simply melting ice; they are changing the very geography of coastlines. Nunataks — "lonely mountains" in Inuit — that were encased in the margins of Greenland's ice sheet are being freed of their age-old bonds, exposing a new chain of islands, and a new opportunity for Arctic explorers to write their names on the landscape.
"We are already in a new era of geography," said the Arctic explorer Will Steger. "This phenomenon — of an island all of a sudden appearing out of nowhere and the ice melting around it — is a real common phenomenon now. "With 44,400 kilometres of coastline and thousands of fjords, inlets, bays and straits, Greenland has always been hard to map. Now its geography is becoming obsolete almost as soon as new maps are created. The sudden appearance of the islands is a symptom of an ice sheet going into retreat, scientists say. Greenland is covered by 630,000 cubic miles of ice, enough water to raise global sea levels by almost seven metres.
Carl Egede Boggild, a professor of snow-and-ice physics at the University Center of Svalbard, said Greenland could be losing more than 80 cubic miles of ice per year.
"That corresponds to three times the volume of all the glaciers in the Alps," Boggild said. "If you lose that much volume you'd definitely see new islands appear."
He discovered an island himself a year ago while flying over northwestern Greenland. "Suddenly I saw an island with glacial ice on it," he said. "I looked at the map and it should have been a nunatak, but the present ice margin was about 10 kilometres away. So I can say that within the last five years the ice margin had retreated at least 10 kilometres."
The abrupt acceleration of melting in Greenland has taken climate scientists by surprise. Tidewater glaciers, which discharge ice into the oceans as they break up in the process called calving, have doubled and tripled in speed all over Greenland. Ice shelves are breaking up, and summertime "glacial earthquakes" have been detected within the ice sheet.
"The general thinking until very recently was that ice sheets don't react very quickly to climate," said Martin Truffer, a glaciologist at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. "But that thinking is changing right now, because we're seeing things that people have thought are impossible."
A study in the Journal of Climate last June observed that Greenland had become the single largest contributor to global sea-level rise.
Until recently, the consensus of climate scientists was that the impact of melting polar ice sheets would be negligible over the next 100 years. Ice sheets were thought to be extremely slow in reacting to atmospheric warming. The 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, widely considered to be an authoritative scientific statement on the potential impacts of global warming, based its conclusions about sea-level rise on a computer model that predicted a slow onset of melting in Greenland.

"When you look at the ice sheet, the models didn't work. Which puts us on shaky ground," said Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University.

There is no consensus on how much Greenland's ice will melt in the near future, Alley said, and no computer model that can accurately predict the future of the ice sheet. Yet given the acceleration of tidewater-glacier melting, a sea-level rise of a foot or two in the coming decades is entirely possible, he said. That bodes ill for island nations and those who live near the coast.

"Even a foot rise is a pretty horrible scenario," said Stephen P. Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University in Miami.

On low-lying and gently sloping land like coastal river deltas, a sea-level rise of just a third of a metre would send water hundreds of metres inland. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide make their homes in such deltas; virtually all of coastal Bangladesh lies in the delta of the Ganges River. Over the long term, much larger sea-level rises would render the world's coastlines unrecognizable, creating a whole new series of islands.

"Here in Miami," Leatherman said, "we're going to have an ocean on both sides of us."

Such ominous implications are not lost on Schmitt, who says he hopes that the island he discovered in Greenland in September will become an international symbol of the effects of climate change. Schmitt, who speaks Inuit, has provisionally named it Uunartoq Qeqertoq: the warming island.
Global warming has profoundly altered the nature of polar exploration, said Schmitt, who in 40 years has logged more than 100 Arctic expeditions. Routes once pioneered on a dogsled are routinely paddled in a kayak now; many features, like the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf in Greenland's northwest, have disappeared for good.
"There is a dark side to this," he said about the new island. "We felt the exhilaration of discovery. We were exploring something new. But of course, there was also something scary about what we did there. We were looking in the face of these changes, and all of us were thinking of the dire consequences."




15 January 2007

World faces hottest year ever, as El Niño combines with global warming

By Cahal Milmo

Published: 01 January 2007

A combination of global warming and the El Niño weather system is set to make 2007 the warmest year on record with far-reaching consequences for the planet, one of Britain's leading climate experts has warned.

As the new year was ushered in with stormy conditions across the UK, the forecast for the next 12 months is of extreme global weather patterns which could bring drought to Indonesia and leave California under a deluge.

The warning, from Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, was one of four sobering predictions from senior scientists and forecasters that 2007 will be a crucial year for determining the response to global warming and its effect on humanity.

Professor Jones said the long-term trend of global warming - already blamed for bringing drought to the Horn of Africa and melting the Arctic ice shelf - is set to be exacerbated by the arrival of El Niño, the phenomenon caused by above-average sea temperatures in the Pacific.

Combined, they are set to bring extreme conditions across the globe and make 2007 warmer than 1998, the hottest year on record. It is likely temperatures will also exceed 2006, which was declared in December the hottest in Britain since 1659 and the sixth warmest in global records.

Professor Jones said: "El Niño makes the world warmer and we already have a warming trend that is increasing global temperatures by one to two tenths of a degrees celsius per decade. Together, they should make 2007 warmer than last year and it may even make the next 12 months the warmest year on record."

The warning of the escalating impact of global warming was echoed by Jim Hansen, the American scientist who, in 1988, was one of the first to warn of climate change.

In an interview with The Independent, Dr Hansen predicted that global warming would run out of control and change the planet for ever unless rapid action is taken to reverse the rise in carbon emissions.

Dr Hansen said: "We just cannot burn all the fossil fuels in the ground. If we do, we will end up with a different planet.

"I mean a planet with no ice in the Arctic, and a planet where warming is so large that it's going to have a large effect in terms of sea level rises and the extinction of species."

His call for action is shared by Sir David King, the Government's chief scientific adviser, who said that 2006 had shown that the "discussion is now over" on whether climate change is happening. Writing in today's Independent, Sir David says progress has been made in the past year but it is "essential" that a global agreement on emissions is struck quickly. He writes: "Ultimately, only heads of state, working together, can provide the new level of global leadership we need to steer the world on a path towards a sustainable and prosperous future. We need to remember: action is affordable - inaction is not."

The demands came as the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the United Nations agency that deals with climate prediction, issued a warning that El Niño is already established over the tropical Pacific basin. It is set to bring extreme weather across a swath of the planet from the Americas and south-east Asia to the Horn of Africa for at least the first four months of 2007.

El Niño, or "the Christ child" because it is usually noticed around Christmas, is a weather pattern occurring every two to seven years. The last severe El Niño, in 1997 and 1998, caused more than 2,000 deaths and a worldwide damage bill of more than £20bn.

The WMO said its latest readings showed that a "moderate" El Niño, with sea temperatures 1.5C above average, was taking place which, in the worst case scenario, could develop into an extreme weather pattern lasting up to 18 months, as in 1997-98. The UN agency noted that the weather pattern was already having "early and intense" effects, including drought in Australia and dramatically warm seas in the Indian Ocean, which could affect the monsoons. It warned the El Niño could also bring extreme rainfall to parts of east Africa which were last year hit by a cycle of drought and floods.

Its effect on the British climate is difficult to predict, according to experts. But it will probably add to the likelihood of record-breaking temperatures in the UK.

The return of El Niño

* Aside from the seasons, El Niño and its twin, La Niña, are the two largest single causes of variability in the world's climate from year to year.

Both are dictated by shifts in temperature of the water in the tropical Pacific basin between Australia and South America. Named from the Spanish words for "Christ child" and "the girl" because of their proximity to Christmas, they lead to dramatic shifts in the entire system of oceanic and atmospheric factors from air pressure to currents.

A significant rise in sea temperature leads to an El Niño event whereas a fall in temperature leads to La Niña.

The cause of the phenomenon is not fully understood but in an El Niño "event" the pool of warm surface water is forced eastwards by the loss of the westerly trade winds. The sea water evaporates, resulting in drenching rains over South America, particularly Peru and Ecuador, as well as western parts of the United States such as California.

Parts of the western Pacific, including Indonesia and Australia, suffer drought. The effects can last for anything from a few weeks to 18 months, causing extreme weather as far afield as India and east Africa.

The co-relation with global warming is as yet unclear. Archaeological evidence shows El Niños and La Niñas have been occurring for 15,000 years. But scientists are investigating whether climate change is leading to an increase in their intensity or duration.


Over 4.5 Billion people could die from Global Warming-related causes by  2012

Hydrate hypothesis illuminates growing climate change alarm

Compiled by John Stokes

A recent scientific theory called the "hydrate hypothesis" says that historical global warming cycles have been caused by a feedback loop, where melting permafrost methane clathrates (also known as "hydrates") spur local global warming, leading to further melting of clathrates and bacterial growth.

In other words, like western Siberia, the 400 billion tons of methane in permafrost hydrate will gradually melt, and the released methane will speed the melting. The effect of even a couple of billion tons of methane being emitted into the atmosphere each year would be catastrophic.

The "hydrate hypothesis" (if validated) spells the rapid onset of runaway catastrophic global warming. In fact, you should remember this moment when you learned about this feedback loop-it is an existencial turning point in your life.

By the way, the "hydrate hypothesis" is a weeks old scientific theory, and is only now being discussed by global warming scientists. I suggest you Google the term.

Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing the Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to when we will pass the tipping point and be helpless to stop the runaway Global Warming.

There are enormous quantities of methane trapped in permafrost and under the oceans in ice-like structures called clathrates. The methane in Arctic permafrost clathrates is estimated at 400 billion tons.

Methane is more than 20 times as strong a greenhouse gas as CO2, and the atmosphere currently contains about 3.5 billion tons of the gas.

The highest temperature increase from global warming is occurring in the arctic regions-an area rich in these unstable clathrates. Simulations from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) show that over half the permafrost will thaw by 2050, and as much as 90 percent by 2100.

Peat deposits may be a comparable methane source to melting permafrost. When peat that has been frozen for thousands of years thaws, it still contains viable populations of bacteria that begin to convert the peat into methane and CO2.

Western Siberia is heating up faster than anywhere else in the world, having experienced a rise of some 3C in the past 40 years. The west Siberian peat bog could hold some 70 billion tonnes of methane. Local atmospheric levels of methane on the Siberian shelf are now 25 times higher than global concentrations.

By the way, warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons have caused microbial activity to increase dramatically in the soil around the world. This, in turn, means that much of the carbon long stored in the soil is now being released into the atmosphere.

Releases of methane from melting oceanic clathrates have caused severe environmental impacts in the past. The methane in oceanic clathrates has been estimated at 10,000 billion tons.

55 million years ago a global warming chain reaction (probably started by volcanic activity) melted oceanic clathrates. It was one of the most rapid and extreme global warming events in geologic history.

Humans appear to be capable of emitting CO2 in quantities comparable to the volcanic activity that started these chain reactions. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, burning fossil fuels releases more than 150 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes.

Methane in the atmosphere does not remain long, persisting for about 10 years before being oxidized to CO2 (a greenhouse gas that lasts for hundreds of thousands of years). Chronic methane releases oxidizing into CO2 contribute as much to warming as does the transient methane concentrations.

To summarize, human activity is causing the Earth to warm. Bacteria converts carbon in the soil into greenhouse gasses, and enormous quantities are trapped in unstable clathrates. As the earth continues to warm, permafrost clathrates will thaw; peat and soil microbial activity will dramatically increase; and, finally, vast oceanic clathrates will melt. This global warming chain reaction has happened in the past.

Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rose by a record amount over the past year. It is the third successive year in which they have increased sharply. Scientists are at a loss to explain why the rapid rise has taken place, but fear the trend could be the first sign of runaway global warming.

Runaway Global Warming promises to literally burn-up agricultural areas into dust worldwide by 2012, causing global famine, anarchy, diseases, and war on a global scale as military powers including the U.S., Russia, and China, fight for control of the Earth's remaining resources.

Over 4.5 billion people could die from Global Warming related causes by 2012, as planet Earth acellerates into a greed-driven horrific catastrophe.

Bibliographic reference courtesy of Brad Arnold who has an extensive research background on Global Warming.

Make comments about this article in The Canadian Blog.

Giant Ice Shelf Snaps Free Near North Pole

TORONTO (Dec. 29, 2006) - A giant ice shelf has snapped free from an island south of the North Pole, scientists said Thursday, citing climate change as a "major" reason for the event.

The ice shelf, at center of this satellite photo, was one of six major shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic. 
They are packed with ice that is more than 3,000 years old.

The Ayles Ice Shelf - all 41 square miles of it - broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 500 miles south of the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic.

Scientists discovered the event by using satellite imagery. Within one hour of breaking free, the shelf had formed as a new ice island, leaving a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake.

Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed ice island and couldn't believe what he saw.

"This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years," Vincent said. "We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead."

The ice shelf was one of six major shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic. They are packed with ancient ice that is more than 3,000 years old. They float on the sea but are connected to land.

Some scientists say it is the largest event of its kind in Canada in 30 years and that climate change was a major element.

"It is consistent with climate change," Vincent said, adding that the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were first discovered in 1906. "We aren't able to connect all of the dots ... but unusually warm temperatures definitely played a major role."

Laurie Weir, who monitors ice conditions for the Canadian Ice Service, was poring over satellite images in 2005 when she noticed that the shelf had split and separated.

Weir notified Luke Copland, head of the new global ice lab at the University of Ottawa, who initiated an effort to find out what happened.

Using U.S. and Canadian satellite images, as well as seismic data - the event registered on earthquake monitors 155 miles away - Copland discovered that the ice shelf collapsed in the early afternoon of Aug. 13, 2005.

Copland said the speed with which climate change has effected the ice shelves has surprised scientists.

"Even 10 years ago scientists assumed that when global warming changes occur that it would happen gradually so that perhaps we expected these ice shelves just to melt away quite slowly," he said.

Derek Mueller, a polar researcher with Vincent's team, said the ice shelves get weaker and weaker as temperatures rise. He visited Ellesmere Island in 2002 and noticed that another ice shelf had cracked in half.

"We're losing our ice shelves and this a feature of the landscape that is in danger of disappearing altogether from Canada," Mueller said.

Within days of breaking free, the Ayles Ice Shelf drifted about 30 miles offshore before freezing into the sea ice. A spring thaw may bring another concern: that warm temperatures will release the new ice island from its Arctic grip, making it an enormous hazard for ships.

"Over the next few years this ice island could drift into populated shipping routes," Weir said.

12/29/06 06:40 EST


Copyright 2006 The Associated Press


Inhabited Island Vanishes Beneath the Waves; Global Warming Blamed

Sunday, December 24, 2006

An inhabited island has been wiped off the face of the Earth due to global warming, Britain’s The Independent site reported on Sunday.

The remote Lohachara Island was part of the Sundarbans Island Chain near the Bay of Bengal in India. Rising sea levels have swallowed the island whole, according to the report. It was once home to 10,000 people.

Lohachara’s disappearance wasn’t easy to discover. Satellites monitored it until it finally disappeared.

Two-thirds of a neighboring island, Ghoramara, has also been claimed by water.

The disappearance of Lohachara Island comes eight years after uninhabited islands in the Pacific were overtaken. As a result of their going under, the people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated.

Researchers at Calcutta’s Jadavpur University studying the phenomenon for six years say there are now about a dozen “vanishing islands” in the region.

Click here to read the report in The Independent.

  Sea Levels May Rise Suddenly

Scientists have determined that the Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic could collapse without warning in a matter of days, causing a disastrous worldwide sea level rise of sixteen feet. If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet behind it were to then slide into the sea, the increase in sea levels would reach a catastrophic level of over fifty feet, and essentially destroy every coastal city in the world.

Evidence obtained from Antarctic ice cores indicates that the Ross Ice Shelf will collapse, and that the disaster will be sudden, as has happened in the past when, for natural reasons, earth has experienced global warming events such as the one we are causing now. It is not clear when the shelf will fail, but the Larsen Ice Shelf disintegrated in 2002 virtually without warning. The melting of the Larsen shelf did not cause an increase in sea levels because the ice was already floating. This is not true of the entire Ross Shelf, and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is on land, and thus would add its over eighteen million cubic miles of water to the oceans.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the Ross Ice Shelf is a huge piece of ice the size of France. An ice drilling team from New Zealand has discovered that cores from the ice shelf contain three million years of climate history. They reveal that the Ross Ice Shelf has suddenly collapsed in the past.

SUV's On Jupiter?
Are humans responsible for climate change on the outer reaches of the solar system, or is it the sun?

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kofi Annan today slammed global warming skeptics as being "out of step" and "out of time," but how will altering human activity halt climate change when the evidence clearly indicates that the sun itself and not SUV's is heating up the entire solar system?

"The U.N. chief lamented "a frightening lack of leadership" in fashioning next steps to reduce global emissions. "Let us start being more politically courageous," he urged the hundreds of delegates from some 180 member nations of the 1992 U.N. climate treaty," reports Forbes.

But how do we square the fact that almost every planet in our solar system is simultaneously undergoing temperature change and volatile weather patterns. Does this not suggest that global warming is a natural cycle as a result of the evolving nature of the sun? Can Al Gore fill me in on this one?

- Global Warming on Pluto Puzzles Scientists
In what is largely a reversal of an August announcement, astronomers today said Pluto is undergoing global warming in its thin atmosphere even as it moves farther from the Sun on its long, odd-shaped orbit.

- New Storm on Jupiter Hints at Climate Change
The latest images could provide evidence that Jupiter is in the midst of a global change that can modify temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit on different parts of the globe.

- Current Science & Technology Center: Global Warming on Mars?
A study of the ice caps on Mars may show that the red planet is experiencing a warming trend. If both Mars and Earth are experiencing global warming, then perhaps there is a larger phenomenon going on in the Solar System that is causing their global climates to change.

- United Press International: NASA looks at a monster storm on Saturn
NASA says its Cassini spacecraft has found a hurricane-like storm at Saturn's South Pole, nearly 5,000 miles across -- or two-thirds Earth's diameter.

- Science Agogo: Global Warming Detected on Triton
There may not be much industrial pollution on Neptune's largest moon, but things are hotting up nonetheless. "At least since 1989, Triton has been undergoing a period of global warming," confirms astronomer James Elliot, professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. "Percentage-wise, it's a very large increase."

- Associated Press: Study says sun getting hotter
Solar radiation reaching the Earth is 0.036 percent warmer than it was in 1986, when the current solar cycle was beginning, a researcher reports in a study to be published Friday in the journal Science. The finding is based on an analysis of satellites that measure the temperature of sunlight.

- London Telegraph: The truth about global warming - it's the Sun that's to blame
Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research.

The simple fact is that throughout the ages the earth has swung wildly between a warm, wet, stable climate, to a cold, dry and windy one - long before the first fossil fuel was burned. The changes we are now witnessing are a walk in the park compared to the battering that our planet has taken in the past.

This is not a defense of the oil cartels or the Neo-Con wreckers, who would have every motivation to ignore global warming whether it is man-made or not.

Nor is it a blanket denial of the fact that the earth is getting very gradually hotter, but how do we reconcile global warming taking place at the farthest reaches of the solar system with the contention that it is caused by human activity? Have our exhaust fumes left earth's atmosphere and slipped through a black hole to Triton?

The assertion that global warming is man made is so oppressively enforced upon popular opinion, especially in Europe, that expressing a scintilla of doubt is akin to holocaust denial in some cases. Such is the insipid brainwashing that has taken place via television, newspapers and exalted talking heads - global warming skeptics are forced to wear the metaphoric yellow star and only discuss their doubts in hushed tones and conciliatory frameworks, or be cat-called, harangued and jeered by an army of do-gooders who righteously believe they are rescuing mother earth by recycling a wine bottle or putting their paper in a separate trash can.

Fearmongering about an imminent climate doomsday also hogs news coverage and important environmental issues like GM food, mad scientist chimera cloning and the usurpation and abuse of corporations like Monsanto flies under the radar.

Global warming is cited as an excuse to meter out further control and surveillance over our daily lives, RFID chips on our trash cans, GPS satellite tacking and taxation by the mile, as well as a global tax at the gas pump.

The extremist wing of the environmentalist movement, characterized by people like Dr. Erik Pianka, advocate the mass culling of humanity via plagues and state sanctioned bio-terrorism, in order to "save" the earth from the disease of humanity. Nazi-like genocidal population control measures and the environmental establishment have always held a close alliance.

The orthodox organized religion of global warming and its disastrous consequences for our freedom of speech, freedom of mobility and our right to remain outside of the system, needs to be questioned on the foundational basis that the phenomenon is solar-system wide and it is mainly caused by the natural evolution of the sun and not human activity.
Scientists See Arctic Melt
Passing 'Tipping Point'
Meltdown Fear As Arctic Ice Cover
Falls To Record Winter Low
The Guardian - UK
Record amounts of the Arctic ocean failed to freeze during the recent winter, new figures show, spelling disaster for wildlife and strengthening concerns that the region is locked into a destructive cycle of irreversible climate change.
Satellite measurements show the area covered by Arctic winter sea ice reached an all-time low in March, down some 300,000 square kilometres on last year -an area bigger than the UK.
Scientists say the decline highlights an alarming new trend, with recovery of the ice in winter no longer sufficient to compensate for increased melting in the summer. If the cycle continues, the Arctic ocean could lose all of its ice much earlier than expected, possibly by 2030.
Walt Meier, a researcher at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, which collected the figures, said: "It's a pretty stark drop. In the winter the ice tends to be pretty stable, so the last three years, with this steady decline, really stick out."

Experts are worried because a long-term slow decline of ice around the north pole seems to have sharply accelerated since 2003, raising fears that the region may have passed one of the "tipping points" in global warming. In this scenario, warmer weather melts ice and drives temperatures higher because the dark water beneath absorbs more of the sun's radiation. This could make global warming quickly run out of control.
Dr. Meier said there was "a good chance" the Arctic tipping point has been reached. "People have tried to think of ways we could get back to where we were. We keep going further and further into the hole, and it's getting harder and harder to get out of it."

The Arctic is rapidly becoming the clearest demonstration of the effects of mankind's impact on the global climate. The temperature is rising twice as fast as the rest of the planet and the region is expected to warm by a further 4C-7C by 2100. The summer and winter ice levels are the lowest since satellite monitoring began in 1979, and almost certainly the lowest since local people began keeping records around 1900. 

The pace of decline since 2003, if continued, would see the Arctic totally ice-free in summer within 30 years - though few scientists would stake their reputations on a long-term trend drawn from only three years.
Experts at the US Naval Postgraduate School in California think the situation could be even worse. They are about to publish the results of computer simulations that show the current rate of melting, combined with increased access for warmer Pacific water, could make the summertime Arctic ice-free within a decade. Dr. Meier said: "For 800,000 to a million years, at least some of the Arctic has been covered by ice throughout the year. That's an indication that, if we are heading for an ice-free Arctic, it's a really dramatic change and something that is unprecedented almost within the entire record of human species."

The winter ice has declined all around the region - bad news for polar bears, which spend summer on land before returning to the ice in spring to catch food.
May 8, 2006

Monster Rogue Iceberg Bites Drygalski's Tongue Off

An enormous iceberg, C-16, measuring 393 square miles, rammed into the well-known Drygalski Ice Tongue, a large sheet of glacial ice and snow in the Central Ross Sea in Antarctica.  It happened on 30 March 2006, breaking off the tongue's easternmost tip and forming a new iceberg.

Now, Mark Drinkwater of ESA's Ocean and Ice Unit, reports of "(C-16) being carried quickly to the north."

The National Ice Center (NIC), located in Maryland, USA, named the new iceberg, the piece of the ice tongue which broke off as a result of the C-16 collision, C-25, which measures 13 kilometres by 11 kilometres.

As seen in ASAR imaging photos, C-25 appears to be heading north as well.  Environmentalists tracking the iceberg have ...>>

Antarctic on thin ice


TWO weeks ago, a satellite far above the Antarctic recorded the collision of iceberg C-16 with the high, frozen walls of the glacial Drygalski Ice Tongue.

In the ghostly, black-and-white satellite images the impact looked silent, neat and almost surgical as C-16 cut the end from the 80km spear jutting into the Ross Sea.

But the thunderous meeting of the city-sized C-16 with the Drygalski made scientists sit up and pay attention.

C-16, a vast mass of ice measuring 55km - 19km, smashed away the eastern-most tip of the Drygalski Tongue to create another ocean-roaming behemoth, a 13km - 11km iceberg dubbed C-25.

Little over a year earlier, the world's biggest iceberg, B-15A, also slammed into the Drygalski Tongue, tearing away a 25sq km chunk. The gigantic B-15A, a 27km  161km iceberg, is itself only a fragment of the superberg B-15, which broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000.

Events such as these have not been witnessed before. It is only through technology that scientists have been able to see such enormous developments in remote areas.

Lou Sanson, chief executive of the New Zealand Government scientific agency, Antarctica New Zealand, says the largest icebergs ever recorded are now drifting through the oceans.

"None of these events have been seen in our lifetime. These are the biggest icebergs ever seen," he says.

But with more icebergs calving from the Antarctic ice shelf than ever recorded, scientists are wondering not only what's going on in the frozen southern continent, but what it means for the rest of the planet.

Global warming and melting of the polar ice caps is a familiar doomsday scenario at the movies, but scientists are only now starting to understand how polar regions are changing.

The ocean currents which circulate around the planet, re-oxygenating water and affecting the temperature of the atmosphere, are another area of concern.

The life-cycle of the Antarctic is one of gradual growth and renewal ended by occasional and violent destruction, and CSIRO marine research scientist Stephen Rintoul says he is not concerned by the repeated impacts on the Drygalski.

"We know that these long ice tongues wax and wane," he says.

"They push out into the ocean until they become unstable or something comes along and clips off the end. Some ice tongues are retreating and more are expanding."

But the number and size of icebergs is causing some researchers to think hard, even if they're not worried just yet.

Concerns about the impact of human-induced global warming on the Antarctic surfaced in 2002 when a huge ice shelf broke away from the northernmost part of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula.

Glaciologists such as Ian Allison, of the Australian Antarctic Division, believe climate change is not having an impact yet.

"In the 30 years or so of satellite records we have not seen as many bergs calving but we're pretty sure there's nothing wrong," he says.

"There is concern about what will happen long-term if global warming goes on."

Mr Sanson believes the iceberg calving in the Antarctic is a natural phenomenon, although when asked if global warming could be playing a part, he says: "We honestly don't know the answer to that."

Recent iceberg activity has been on a mind-boggling scale.

"The original B-15 iceberg had enough water in it to run the Nile River for 100 years. These are the biggest moving things on the planet," Mr Sanson says. "If you spread all that water across the world's agricultural land it would come to about 10cm of water everywhere."


Scientists Confirm Unexpected Gulf Stream Slowing

Gulf Stream
Scientists from Cambridge University have confirmed that the Gulf Stream is weakening, and this is likely to bring much colder temperatures to Europe within a few years. The weakening is significant: the Gulf Stream is flowing at a quarter of the strength that was present five years ago.

This is happening because gigantic chimneys of cold water that were sinking from the surface to the sea bed off Greenland have disappeared. These chimneys are the key engine of world climate as we know it today, and their disappearance signals the beginning of a great catastrophe. There will be a special report about this important story on this week's Dreamland!

This is the first research to show unequivocal evidence of the phenomenon, which was originally predicted in the Coming Global Superstorm, published in 1999.

In Superstorm and in the film based on it, the Day After Tomorrow, the event unfolds over the course of a week. The Cambridge scientists are predicting now that there will be clear water at the North Pole as early as 2020, and that temperatures in Britain are likely to drop by 5-8 degrees Celsius, from an average of 22 at present to 14 to 17 in the future. An average as low as 17 (62 Fahrenheit) will mean that the summer growing season will be catastrophically curtailed in Europe, leading to huge declines in production from one of the world's primary surplus production zones.

It will also mean that winters similar to those in Finland will extend far south into France, and that there is a possibility that a series of "no-melt" summers across the northern latitudes could cause the reflectivity of the planet to increase to the point that new glaciation will begin.

The weakening of the Gulf Stream is destabilizing currents worldwide, and will lead to radical climate changes in other areas. The nature of these changes is not known, and the current US administration has blocked US environmental agencies from studying the phenomenon, so the severity of its effect in this country is not under study. However, it is likely that the eastern US and eastern Canada will experience climate change as radical as that in Europe, as the Gulf Stream drops south. At the least, food production and liveability in the eastern half of North America will be severely challenged.

Scientists are currently assuming that the Gulf Stream will slow and stop over a period of years, not suddenly, as predicted in Superstorm and portrayed in the Day After Tomorrow.

However, there is ample evidence that sudden and extreme changes have taken place worldwide in the past. reported on this phenomenon in December of 2004 and earlier in November of 2003.

There is a mechanism that changes a process of climate change that seems to be unfolding over a period of years into a violent event that takes just hours or days to develop, and then remains in a radically changed condition. This happened 5,200 years ago, as has amply been revealed in the fossil record.

Why it happened remains unknown, but it certainly had to do with the very sort of spiking of temperatures that the world has experienced over the past fifty years, and a reversal.

The changes that are taking place in the Gulf Stream are unstoppable. They will unfold. How that will happen, and whether or not the process will involve sudden and violent worldwide storms such as those that took place 5,200 years ago remains unknown.

It is, however, essential that planning for the change begin at once. At the least, the world faces dramatic economic upheavals and a decline in food production at a time when both energy and food needs are at the highest they have ever been in history.

So far, the only other media outlet that has picked up this story is the Sunday Times of Great Britain, and they have not provided the true perspective, or discussed the scale of the changes that are on their way. For the Times story, click here.

We need to concentrate on cleaning up our problems here on Earth so future generations can inherit a world worth living in, before The Day After Tomorrow arrives. Read the novella based on the hit movie!

 It is an event so large that the best seat in the house is in space: a massive iceberg is on a collision course with a floating glacier near the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica. NASA satellites have witnessed the 100-mile-long B-15A iceberg moving steadily towards the Drygalski Ice Tongue. Though the iceberg's pace has slowed in recent days, NASA scientists expect a collision to occur no later than January 15, 2005.
It's a clash of the titans, a radical and uncommon event," says Robert Bindshadler, a researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and if the two giant slabs of ice collide, we could see one of the best demolition derbies on the planet. "Even a 'tap' from a giant can be powerful. It will certainly be a blow far larger than anything else the ice tongue has ever experienced," says Bindshadler.

When the iceberg and the ice tongue collide, the impact will likely "dent their bumpers," says Bindshadler. The edges could crumple and ice could pile or drift into the Ross Sea. But if the B-15A iceberg picks up enough speed before the two collide, the results could be more spectacular. The Drygalski Ice Tongue could break off.

The ice tongue is thick ice that grows out over the Ross Sea from a land-based glacier on Antarctica's Scott Coast. "Ice tongues do break off on occasion," says Bindshadler. "It would only take one thin area on the ice tongue to make it break off." There's no guarantee that the Drygalski Ice Tongue will break off, but "this is the toughest blow it has ever had to deal with."

"That Ice tongue has no reason for staying intact" says Waleed Abdalati, researcher with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, but Bindshadler points out, it may not break up either. The results depend on the movement of the B-15A iceberg.

The B-15A iceberg is a 3,000-square-kilometer (1,200-square-mile) behemoth that has a history of causing problems. It is the largest fragment of a much larger iceberg that broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000. Scientists believe that the enormous piece of ice broke away as part of a long-term natural cycle (every 50-to-100 years, or so) in which the shelf, which is roughly the size of Texas, sheds pieces much as human fingernails grow and break off.

The berg initially drifted toward McMurdo Sound and grounded near Cape Crozier on Ross Island. It has since broken into pieces, the largest of which is B-15A.

This year, B-15A has trapped sea ice in McMurdo Sound. The currents that normally break the ice into pieces and sweep it out into the Ross Sea have not been able to clean out the Sound, so winter's thick ice remains intact.

The build-up of ice presents significant problems for Antarctic residents. Penguins must now swim great distances to reach open waters and food. Adult penguins may not be able to make the trip and return with food for their young. As a result, many chicks could starve, says Antarctica New Zealand, the government organization that oversees New Zealand's Antarctic research, in the Associated Press.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) officials said that the B-15A iceberg and the frozen Sound will not interfere with supply ship access to McMurdo Station, the U. S. logistics hub for much of the nation's research activity in Antarctica. Forty miles of ice typically separate the pier at McMurdo from the open sea, but this year the ice stretched 80 miles from the station. So far, the extra ice has not been a problem. The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star left Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 4 and docked at McMurdo in early January after cutting a channel through the ice for supply ships.

Ironically, a collision between the iceberg and the ice tongue could make things easier for both penguins and ships. If the ice tongue collapses, the way may be opened for sea ice to escape the Sound.

There is no guarantee that satellite will see a great demolition because the berg's fate is unclear. The berg's future depends on unpredictable winds, tides and other forces, but possibilities include colliding with the floating Drygalski Ice Tongue, or continuing north, eventually melting.

If the collision occurs as predicted, this could be an event that we witness again and again. The tides that drive the iceberg's motion tend to push it in circles. "If B-15A bangs the ice tongue once, it could bang it again," says Bindshadler. With multiple daily views of the Ross Sea, NASA satellites will be there to watch the show.




Growing Evidence of Scary Change
By David Stipp,15114,582593,00.html

Scientists used to think that major climate changes, like the onset of an ice age, took thousands of years to unfold. Now they know such dramatic transitions can occur in less than a decade. The probable trigger of abrupt climate changes, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, is the shutdown of a huge ocean current in the Atlantic Ocean. The current is driven by dense, salty water that flows north from the tropics and sinks in the North Atlantic. If fresh water is pumped into the northerly part of the current--which can occur as global warming melts Arctic ice--its salinity drops, making it less dense. This diminishing density can prevent the water from sinking in the North Atlantic, stopping the current's flow. Much of Europe and the U.S. could become colder and drier if that happened.

Many details of this big picture remain hazy, including whether recent global warming threatens to shut down the Atlantic current. But over the past few years, scientists have detected disquieting trends:

* In tandem with rising average temperatures across the globe, 3% to   4% of the Arctic ice cap has melted per decade since about 1970.

* Recently the Arctic's largest ice shelf broke up near Canada's Ellesmere Island, releasing an ice-dammed freshwater lake into the ocean. (Scientists believe that the similar melting of an Arctic ice dam 8,200 years ago triggered an episode of abrupt climate change.)

* The North Atlantic's salinity has declined continuously for the past 40 years--the most dramatic oceanic change ever measured.

* The flow of cold, dense water through a North Atlantic channel near Norway--part of the great ocean current that warms northern Europe --has dropped by at least 20% since 1950, suggesting that the current is weakening.

Scientists still don't know whether a climate disaster is on the way. But taken together, these changes appear strikingly similar to ones that preceded abrupt climate shifts in the past. Many researchers now believe the salient question about such change is not "Could it happen?" but "When?"

From the Feb. 9, 2004 Issue

Record retreat in Swiss glaciers in 2003 due to climate change: scientists
GENEVA (AFP) Jan 13, 2004

Switzerland's glaciers melted by a record amount during 2003 under the onslaught of long-term climate change, a top Swiss science academy said Tuesday.

The retreat of the glaciers in the Swiss Alps reached up to 150 metres, with an overall melting exceeding that observed in any year since measurements began in the 19th century, according to the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences. And the shrinkage of the mountain ice was not the direct result of record hot summer temperatures in Switzerland and Europe last year, it added. "The overall view that emerges is of a clarity never seen before since annual measurements started in 1880. None of the glaciers progressed or were stationary," the academy in Bern said in a statement. "These observations should not be associated directly with the extreme summer heat, the length of the glaciers reacts with a delay to the change in climate," it added.

One of the academy's scientists explained that the overall length of the glaciers reflected a warming of the climate over several years rather than immediate shifts in temperature. More complex measurements of the thickness of the ice cover -- which is affected by short-term heat -- on three glaciers also showed melting last year exceeding the levels measured through the 1990s, said Andreas Bauder. "The length change sums up all the climatic influences," he told AFP. 

"The glacier measurements are one of the best ways of documenting climate change," Bauder added. The academy also cautioned that the advance of some glaciers occasionally observed in recent years was caused by residues of old snow, and was not due to the freezing of new rainfall during cold weather.

Overall, glaciers in the heart of Europe's biggest mountain range stopped advancing about 50 years ago, Bauder pointed out. The Swiss length measurements were based on regular data recorded on 96 Alpine glaciers.

Climate change has been blamed on global warming caused by the rise in air pollution from greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
Bauder said scientists were not able to predict longer term trends for the ice floes but felt confident enough to forecast that the Swiss glaciers would again shrink in 2004. "The glaciers will retreat, just on the signals we had in the last couple of years," he observed.


  Earth Brightens After Years of Dimming 
  Associated Press Writer

  May 27, 2004, 3:14 PM EDT

  WASHINGTON -- Scientists studying earthshine -- the amount of light reflected by the Earth -- say the planet appeared to dim from 1984 to 2001 and then reversed its trend and brightened from 2001 to 2003.

  The shift appears to have resulted from changes in the amount of clouds covering the planet. More clouds reflect more light back into space, potentially cooling the planet, while a dimmer planet with fewer clouds would be warmed by the arriving sunlight.

  That means the changes in brightness could signal climate change, though it's too early to tell.

  Steven Koonin, a California Institute of Technology physicist and co-author of the paper, said that "at the moment, the cause of these variations is not known, but they imply large shifts in the Earth's radiative budget. Continuing observations ... will be necessary to learn their implications for climate."

  "This work is probably going to be used in arguments for and against global warming. Our paper neither proves or disproves the carbon dioxide effect," said Enric Palle, lead author of the report appearing in Thursday's issue of the journal Science.

  "Our results are only part of the story, since the Earth's surface temperature is determined by a balance between sunlight that warms the planet and heat radiated back into space, which cools the planet," said Palle, of the Big Bear Solar Observatory in California, operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

  Climate change "depends upon many factors in addition to (reflected light), such as the amount of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. But these new data emphasize that clouds must be properly accounted for and illustrate that we still lack the detailed understanding of our climate system necessary to model future changes with confidence."

  The researchers used two sets of records to establish the amount of light reflected from the Earth.

  The records, which partly overlap, include measurements of cloud cover taken by satellites and an analysis of earthshine, which was determined by studying how much it illuminates the dark portion of the moon.

  But the use of two separate types of measurements gave pause to James A. Coakley Jr. of Oregon State University, who studies climate change and satellite cloud data.

  Observations of "sunlight reflected by the Earth are far from being well understood. At this stage, it's too early to tell how useful such observations might be as a measure of climate variability and climate change," said Coakley, who was not part of the research team.

  Philip R. Goode of the New Jersey institute, a co-author of the paper, contended that the moon analysis is in fact quite accurate.

  "Our method has the advantage of being very precise because the bright lunar crescent serves as a standard against which to monitor earthshine, and light reflected by large portions of Earth can be observed simultaneously," said Goode.

  Earthshine brightening the face of the moon, he noted, was first described by Leonardo da Vinci.

  Regular earthshine observations began in 1997, and the researchers suggested that the changes they observed may be part of a natural variation. Continuing the observations through an entire 11-year cycle of solar variability will be important to better understand the changes, they said.

  The research was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Climate Change Rises on Global Agenda

May 23, 2004


FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (AP) - The rising sea is eating at the shores of low-slung Funafuti, a spit of coral and coconut palms in the remote Pacific. Unseen fingers of ocean even reach beneath the sands, surfacing inland in startling places, among nervous islanders. "It used to be puddles. Now it's like lakes," said Hilia Vavae, local meteorologist.

Far to the north in the Marshall Islands, 1,250 miles away, trees are toppling before aquamarine waves. Watching, perplexed, from the edge of a lagoon, teenager Ankit Stephen asked a visitor, "Why is this happening?" Six hundred miles west, on tiny Kosrae, Alokoa Talley pondered the same question. Neighbors are moving their homes up the lush slopes, away from the encroaching Pacific. "I don't know," the government worker said, "but I think it's because of 'green' something." The "greenhouse effect," climate change, has languished on the world's agenda since the 1970s, a seemingly distant threat. But year by year, inch by inch, it is rising to the top - as ocean islets flood, glaciers retreat, Arctic permafrost melts, and leading voices raise new alarms. "We may already be seeing - in the increased incidence of drought, floods and extreme weather events that many regions are experiencing - some of the devastation that lies ahead," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in March, when he urged all governments to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to reduce the world's "greenhouse gas" emissions.

That long-stalled 1997 accord is opposed in Washington, where U.S. government and industry object that emission controls would handicap the U.S. economy. Now only ratification by Russia can revive it, making this a critical year on the political front in a long, difficult debate over what to do about climate change.

On the scientific front, meanwhile, signs of global warming mount. Like the glass of a greenhouse, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and some other gases in the atmosphere let sunlight in but tend to warm the Earth by trapping heat it emits back toward space. That's scientific fact; the scientific puzzle involves other factors that might lessen - or worsen - the warming and what it does to the planet. Concentrations of carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fossil fuels burned in everything from automobiles to electricity plants, reached record levels in the atmosphere this past winter, a Hawaii observatory reported in March.

Then, in April, other U.S. scientists reported NASA satellite readings showed an average increase in the globe's land surface temperatures of 0.77 degrees Fahrenheit between 1981 and 1998. This reinforced earlier findings, from ground stations, that global temperatures rose 1 degree over the 20th century. These rising curves, of greenhouse gas and global temperature, parallel the analysis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N.-organized network of hundreds of climatologists and other scientists worldwide.

In a pivotal 2001 report, the IPCC listed as a key finding: "Most of observed warming over last 50 years likely due to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activities." If emissions are brought under control too slowly, temperatures could rise an additional 10.4 degrees by the year 2100, the IPCC said. Even with quick rollbacks in smokestack, tailpipe and other emissions, temperatures could rise 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, the scientists said.

Warming is expected to be unevenly distributed and to change regional climates in powerful ways, shifting climate zones hundreds of miles, possibly making farmlands drier, deserts wetter; melting ice caps; intensifying storms; spreading diseases to new areas; and raising ocean levels - by anywhere from 3.5 inches to almost 3 feet by 2100, depending on emission controls, the IPCC said.

The seas would rise because water expands as it warms, and because of the runoff of ice melt from the continents. In fact, the oceans have expanded, rising an average 1 to 2 millimeters a year - up to one inch every 12 years - during the 20th century, as measured by tide gauges. More recently, satellites show "the rise has been highly accelerated," to 3 millimeters a year, said Walter Munk of San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Pacific islanders aren't alone. Rising seas are a growing threat from Alaska, where Eskimos are relocating an Arctic island village, to New Orleans and to Shanghai, China - near-coastal cities already below sea level, sinking on their own, and further endangered by expanding oceans. Prevailing winds, tidal peculiarities and other factors can make sea levels vary from place to place. Here at Funafuti, capital of a mini-nation midway between Hawaii and Australia, the gauges have shown the sea rising 5 to 6 millimeters a year since 1993, meteorologist Vavae said.

But some islands also are subsiding, sinking under their own weight. "In many islands, I think the answer is that both are happening - subsidence and rising levels," said University of Hawaii oceanographer Roger Lukas.

Similarly uncertain: What will a swelling ocean do to a Funafuti? One rule of thumb, disputed among specialists, holds that each millimeter rise in sea level can claim 1.5 meters - 5 feet - of shallow ocean beach. Some theorize, however, that a moderately higher Pacific would "rearrange," but not obliterate, an atoll like Funafuti - a ring of islands around a central lagoon. Rearrangement would be bad enough for Lototele Malie, 75, whose pastel-blue concrete house, with 15 adults and children inside, sits at the edge of Funafuti's dwindling ocean beach.

"A month ago the tide came right here," the sarong-clad old man said, pointing 3 feet away to the lip of his concrete-slab patio. "It's getting dangerous," he said, with the thunder of waves as a backdrop. The Malies and others along Funafuti's fringe have little room to maneuver. Just 300 yards from their rear doors, the choppy waters of the 9-mile-wide lagoon are rising. In between sit other salt-caked plywood or cinderblock houses, beside gaping pits dug in the island's coral foundation long ago, by U.S. troops in World War II. Those pits, filling now with seeping seawater, supplied the crushed material for Funafuti's airport, where today some of Vavae's "lakes" have begun to appear at peak tides. "People got especially worried when the runway flooded. That's new," Margaret Bita, 45, told a visiting reporter after Sunday church services.

The church and little airport lie on the broadest part - 600 yards across - of slender, steamy, 7-mile-long Funafuti, home to about half the 11,000 people of Tuvalu, an impoverished nation getting by on fees from foreign fishing fleets, international aid and money sent home by Tuvaluan merchant seamen.

This main island narrows elsewhere to a mere 50 yards of sand, swaying palms and roadway between lagoon and sea. Its elevation is seldom more than a few feet. When February's "king" tides washed out a small causeway, children swam to school. "I think it would be better if my kids were somewhere else," said hospital worker Beia Fetau, 40, preparing to help with Sunday school in shirt, tie and traditional male "sulu," or skirt.

As recently as the 1980s, Vavae said, the peak king tides came only in January and February. Now, she said, they crash ashore from September to May. But it's the quiet seepage from below that most alarms Tuvaluans. Because of intruding saltwater, many have abandoned their gardens of deep-rooted "pulaka," a tuber crop grown in pits here for centuries. On the nearby islet of Vasafua, the coconut trees are dying. Another small uninhabited island, Tepuka Savilivili, has vanished beneath the waves. "It went under water in the cyclone in 1997," Vavae said. 

Disentangling long-term climate change from short-term natural variability is a challenge at the local level, especially in the Pacific, where the periodic climatic phenomenon El Nino raises and lowers ocean levels, causes droughts and stirs up severe storms. But people across the Pacific feel sure something unusual is happening. 

In Kiribati, another mini-state north of Tuvalu, they've also lost an islet in the main atoll of Tarawa. On Majuro, the Marshalls' capital, the lagoon outside Ankit Stephen's home has undercut dozens of towering coconut palms, as islanders futilely try to stop the waves with piles of debris.

On Kosrae, a "high island" of volcanic peaks in the Federated States of Micronesia, the people have always lived along a flat coastal strip, but some are now dismantling their simple homes and heading for the hills, as recommended by the government. "Nobody remembers such tides before. The sea is actually moving inland," said Simpson Abraham, head of Kosrae's Resources Development Authority. Some offshore islets have vanished, he said. Here in Tuvalu, devoutly Christian since missionary days, many talk not of greenhouses, but of Genesis, reminding each other of God's promise to Noah: As long as rainbows cross the sky, there will be no more great floods. "God will protect us," one woman churchgoer assured a visitor. Saufatu Sopoanga, as Tuvalu's prime minister, must look into the future, not the Bible. He is talking to New Zealand about a kind of 21st century Noah's ark - a standby plan for a mass migration there. "In 50 or 100 years, the islands are expected to go under water. What can we do?" Tuvalu's leader asked, on a day when a tropical morning downpour soon gave way to a rainbow in a blue, very warm sky.

May 3, 2004

SYDNEY - Environmental activists from Pacific nations threatened by rising sea levels have called on Australia to recognise "environmental refugees"
who try to escape the effects of global warming.

The conservationists currently visiting Australia say climate change is raising sea levels and increasing the frequency of events like cyclones
which will one day make some low-lying Pacific island nations uninhabitable.

Fiu Mataese Elisara-Laulu of Samoa said Australia, as the region's biggest producer of the greenhouse gases which cause global warming, has a special responsibility for the environmental damage caused.

"We have a genuine case for being affected as environmental refugees if they don't do anything," he said on Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

"But unfortunately Australia seems to be a very poor leader in the Pacific," he said. "From our point of view, they want to assume leadership but they don't want to take responsibility."

The conservative government of Prime Minister John Howard joined the United States in 2002 in refusing to ratify a UN treaty on lowering the production of greenhouse gases, saying the pact, known as the Kyoto Protocol was flawed.

Five weeks ago a group of Australian government researchers reported an alarming increase in global greenhouse gas emissions since 2002, due almost entirely to the burning of fossil fuels.

Greenhouse gases have been blamed for a steady warming of the earth's atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution.

If left unchecked, global warming is projected to cause a significant rise in sea levels over the next century through the melting of polar ice caps and thermal expansion.

It is also blamed for an increase in extreme weather events like floods, droughts and storms and damage to coral reefs and other sensitive ecosystems.

Elisara-Laulu was in Australia along with Siuila Toloa of Tuvalu's Island Care group on a "climate justice tour" to lobby Australia to take a more active role in tackling climate change.

The tour was sponsored by charity Oxfam, AID/WATCH and Friends of the Earth.

Iceberg Melt, Near South Georgia

Astronauts on board the International Space Station took this detailed view of melt water pooled on the surface of iceberg A-39D, an iceberg measuring 2 km wide by 11 km long and currently drifting near South Georgia Island. The different intensities of blue are interpreted as different water depths. From the orientation of the iceberg, the deepest water (darkest blue) lies at the westernmost end of the iceberg. The water pools have formed from snowmelt—late January is the peak of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

This iceberg was part of the original A-38 iceberg that calved from the Ronne Ice Shelf in October 1998. Originally the ice was between 200 and 350 meters thick. This piece of that iceberg is now probably about 150 meters thick, with around 15 m sticking up above the surface of the water.

The top photograph was taken by astronauts looking south over the south Atlantic Ocean from the International Space Station on January 22, 2004. Above, an accompanying oblique view shows all three large remnant pieces of A-38 close to South Georgia Island.

More melt water had formed on the surface of the iceberg when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured two additional images on February 7 and February 9, 2004. The false-color image from February 7 shows the entire top of the iceberg covered in a dark blue pool of liquid water in contrast to the bright blue ice.

Both photographs were taken from the International Space Station using a Kodak DCS760 digital camera and a 400-mm lens on January 6, 2004. ISS008-E-12555 was taken first, and ISS008-E-12564 was taken 2 minutes and 37 seconds later. Information provided by Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center; image provided by the Earth Observations Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.


Warming climate disrupts Alaskan natives' lives
Anyone who doubts the gravity of global warming should ask Alaska's Eskimo, Indian and Aleut elders about the dramatic changes to their land and the animals on which they depend.

Native leaders say salmon are increasingly susceptible to warm-water parasites and suffer from lesions and strange behaviour. Salmon and moose meat have developed odd tastes and the marrow in moose bones is weirdly runny, they say.

Arctic pack ice is disappearing, making food scarce for sea animals and causing difficulties for the natives who hunt them. It is feared polar bears, to name one species, may disappear from the northern hemisphere by mid-century.

As trees and bushes march north over what was once tundra, so do beavers, and they are damming new rivers and lakes to the detriment of water quality and possibly salmon eggs.

Still, to the frustration of Alaska natives, many politicians in the lower 48 US states deny global warming is occurring or that a warmer climate could cause problems.

"They obviously don't live in the Arctic," Patricia Cochran, the executive director of the Alaska Native Science Commission, said.

The Anchorage-based commission, funded by the National Science Foundation, has been gathering information for years on Alaska's thawing conditions.

The climate changes are disrupting traditional food gathering and cultures, Larry Merculieff, an Aleut leader from the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, said.

Indigenous residents of the far north are finding it increasingly difficult to explain the natural world to younger generations.


Sunday, March 28, 2004
2003 Likely Europe's Hottest in 500 Years

WASHINGTON (AP) - Last year's deadly summer in Europe probably was the hottest on the continent in at least five centuries, according to researchers who analyzed old records, soil cores and other evidence. More than 19,000 people died.

Researchers at the University of Bern, Switzerland, collected and analyzed temperature data from all over Europe, including such climate measures as tree rings from 1500. They found that the climate has been generally warming and last summer was the most torrid of all.

``When you consider Europe as a whole, it was by far the hottest,'' said Jurg Luterbacher, climatologist and the first author of a study appearing this week in the journal Science.

Luterbacher said the study showed that European winters are also warmer now. The average winter and annual temperatures during the three decades from 1973 to 2002 were the warmest of the half millennium, he said.

Some studies have linked rising average temperatures in North America and elsewhere to global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels, but Luterbacher said his team did not attempt to make such a connection.

``We don't make any analysis of the human influence,'' he said. ``We don't attempt to determine the cause. We only report what we find.''

Other climatologists, however, say the new study agrees with models that have predicted a steady rise in global temperature as the result of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and other sources.

Stephen Schneider, a climate expert at Stanford University and a prominent advocate for the theory of human-caused global warming, said the Luterbacher paper is consistent with what climate modelers have been predicting for 20 years.

``The data is starting to line up showing that those projections were correct,'' Schneider said. ``We warned the world that this was likely to happen because we believed the theory, but couldn't actually prove it was happening. Now the data is coming in.''

In the study, Luterbacher and his team analyzed the temperature history of Europe starting in 1500 to the present. For the earliest part of the half millennium, the figures are estimates based on proxy measures, such as tree rings and soil cores. But after about 1750, he said, instrumented readings became generally available throughout Europe.

During the 500 years, there were trends both toward cool and toward hot. The second hottest summer in the period was in 1757. That was followed by a cooling trend that continued until early in the 20th century. The summer of 1902, for instance, was the coolest of the entire record.

Starting in 1977, the record shows ``an exceptionally strong, unprecedented warming,'' the researchers report, with average temperatures rising at the rate of about 0.36 degrees per decade.

Then came last summer.

``The summer of 2003 exceeded 1901 to 1995 European summer temperatures by around 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit),'' the study said. ``Taking into account the uncertainties (in the study method), it appears that the summer of 2003 was very likely warmer than any other summer back to 1500.''

Record temperatures were recorded in most of the major cities of Europe last summer, with many readings over 100 degrees. Authorities have attributed thousands of deaths to the excess heat, making the heat wave one of the deadliest weather phenomena in the past century.

In France, the toll was estimated at about 14,802 dead. About 2,000 more than normal died in August in England and Wales. On Aug. 11, Britain's hottest day on record, there were 363 more deaths than average and the temperature reading reached 101.3 in Brogdale in southeastern England.

Altogether in Europe, based on official numbers collected by The Associated Press, there were more than 19,000 excess deaths in the summer months. France was hardest hit, but the average number of summer deaths increased by 4,175 in Italy, 1,300 in Portugal and more than 1,000 in the Netherlands.

The intense heat also wilted crops, caused wildfires and continued a centurylong trend of melting the continent's glaciers.

Luterbacher said some mountain glaciers have shrunk by 50 percent in the past century in Europe, and some ice fields lost 10 percent of their mass last summer alone.

In addition, he said, the long trend of warming temperatures is now melting the high altitude permafrost - the soil that usually remains frozen year-round - and that some buildings, bridges and roadways are now threatened with unstable foundations.

And it may get worse, said Luterbacher. He said some studies forecast that if the warming trend continues, Europe may have summers like 2003 every other year starting late in this century.

On the Net:



 Damage from Warming Becoming 'Irreversible,' Says New Report

Mon Mar 15, 2004 9:50 AM ET

Jim Lobe, OneWorld US

WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar 15 (OneWorld) -- Ten years after the ratification of a United Nations treaty on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming are still on the rise, signaling a "collective failure" of the industrialized world, according to the Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI), a leading environmental think-tank.

"We are quickly moving to the point where the damage will be irreversible," warned Dr. Jonathan Pershing, director of WRI's Climate, Energy and Pollution Program. "In fact, the latest scientific reports indicate that global warming is worsening. Unless we act now, the world will be locked into temperatures that would cause irreversible harm."

WRI researchers estimate that greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide rose 11 percent over the last decade, and will grow another 50 percent worldwide by 2020. Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement that sets out specific targets to follow up on the treaty, 38 industrialized countries were supposed to reduce their emissions by an average of seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

The administration of former President Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol, but President Bush  withdrew the U.S., which currently emits about 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, from negotiations over Kyoto's implementation.

Russia, which indicated initially that it intended to ratify the Protocol, remains undecided. As a result the Protocol--which must be ratified by countries whose greenhouse emissions totaled more than 55 percent of global emissions in 1990 in order to take effect--remains in limbo.

WRI decided to make a relatively rare public statement now, both because the tenth anniversary of the UNFCCC's ratification will take place next weekend and because of the growing pessimism surrounding the international community's ability and will to deal with the problem.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which called for voluntary reductions in greenhouse emissions, was signed by, among others, then-President George H.W. Bush, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and took formal effect March 21, 1994. Today, 188 countries are signatories.

The Kyoto Protocol grew out of the UNFCCC when it became clear that plans for voluntary reductions would not meet the initial targets, and as climate and atmospheric scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have become increasingly convinced that the rise in global temperatures of about one degree Fahrenheit over the last century is due primarily to artificial emissions, notably the combustion of fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and gas.

Studies over the past decade have shown that the warming trend continues. "The five warmest years in recorded weather history have taken place over the last six years," noted WRI's president, Jonathan Lash.

"The ten warmest years in recorded weather history have taken place since 1987. Whether it's the retreat of glaciers, the melting of the permafrost in Alaska, or the increase in severe weather events, the world is experiencing what the global warming models predict," he said.

Europe, the main champion of the Kyoto Protocol, suffered its hottest year on record last year. Some 15,000 people in France alone died due to heat stress in combination with pollution, while European agriculture suffered an estimated $12.5 billion in losses.

Britain's most influential scientist, Sir David King, recently excoriated the Bush administration for withdrawing from the Protocol and ignoring the threat posed by climate change. "In my view, climate change is the most severe problem we are facing today," he wrote in Science magazine, "more serious even than the threat of terrorism."

Even the Pentagon  recently issued a warning that global warming, if it takes place abruptly, could result in a catastrophic breakdown in international security. Based on growing evidence that climate shifts in the past have taken place with breathtaking speed, based on the freshening of sea water due to accelerated melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps.

Given enough freshening, the Gulf Stream that currently warms the North Atlantic would be shut off, triggering an abrupt decline in temperatures that would bring about a new "Ice Age" in Europe, eastern Canada, and the northeastern United States and similar disastrous changes in world weather patterns elsewhere--all in a period as short as two to three years.

Wars over access to food, water, and energy would be likely to break out between states, according to the report. "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life," according to the report. "Once again, warfare would define human life."

Even if climate change is more gradual, recent studies have argued that as many as one million plant and animal species could be rendered extinct due to the effects of global warming by 2050. A recent report by the world's largest reinsurance company, Swiss Re, predicted that in 10 years the economic cost of disasters like floods, frosts, and famines caused by global warming could reach $150 billion annually.

"Accelerated development of a portfolio of technologies could stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, enhance global energy security, and eradicate energy poverty," noted David Jhirad, WRI's vice president for research. "We urgently need the political will and international cooperation to make this happen."


Global warming has gone to the bogs

By Robert C. Cowen

Forget the melting glaciers. Global warming is revealing itself in subtler ways. Think methane. Swedish bogs are releasing more methane as climate warms and permafrost melts. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with 25 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide (CO2). With more methane in the air, climate warming could accelerate.

Meanwhile, just as global warming theory predicts, the atmosphere's highest layers are getting colder and thinner. Contrary to expectations, high atmospheric cooling is the way greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and methane, interact with infrared (heat) radiation. At low altitudes, they absorb heat coming up from below and radiate some back downward.

But where astronauts live, these gases release most of their heat out into space, which cools the higher altitudes. The outer atmosphere contracts as it cools, thinning out its density.

Satellites orbiting a few hundred miles out would feel less drag as the air through which they travel becomes thinner.

That's how John Emmert and colleagues with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington found evidence that this long-expected global warming effect is under way.

They report in the Journal of Geophysical Research that 30 years of tracking data for 27 satellites and space junk show a steady decline in outer atmospheric density.

That's good news for satellite owners who can use less rocket fuel to keep their birds aloft. The news from Sweden is more troubling.

Bacteria in wetlands release methane as they break down organic matter. It's the marsh gas that sometimes ignites to make spooky lights in the night. This activity slows down when bogs freeze.

Northern peat bogs - especially in subarctic Eurasia - are major sources of methane, which spreads throughout the world. Scientists have wondered what will happen as permafrost continues to melt and bogs become even more biologically active.

An international research team recently provided a window into that future. The group, led by Torben Christensen and colleagues at Lund University's GeoBiosphere Science Center in Sweden, studied 30 years of changes in Sweden's Abisko region. Their results, published in Geophysical Research Letters, show Sweden's sub-arctic bogs are losing permafrost rapidly. It's completely gone in some areas. And Dr. Christensen says that, at the Stordalen site, methane emission is up "at least 20 percent, but maybe as much as 60 percent, from 1970 to 2000."

His team report warns that if its findings are typical of the northern subarctic, global warming could accelerate as bogs thaw.

Laurence Smith at the University of California at Los Angeles and colleagues with a joint Russian-American research team expressed a similar concern last January in Nature.

Their studies of vast peat lands in Siberia show the bogs currently absorb a lot of CO2 from the atmosphere while releasing methane. But this could change. If global warming continues, the researchers warn that chemical and biological activity in the bogs could break down organic matter that now stores CO2, releasing a major new source of the gas back into the atmosphere.

The bottom line is that we have to pay attention to subtle effects. We're not going to be drowned by melting glaciers, but we might be bitten by what's sneaking up on us.

2003 Likely Europe's Hottest in 500 Years
Fri Mar 5, 5:55 PM ET

By PAUL RECER, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON - Last year's deadly summer in Europe probably was the hottest on the continent in at least five centuries, according to researchers who analyzed old records, soil cores and other evidence. More than 19,000 people died.

Researchers at the University of Bern, Switzerland, collected and analyzed temperature data from all over Europe, including such climate measures as tree rings from 1500. They found that the climate has been generally warming and last summer was the most torrid of all.

"When you consider Europe as a whole, it was by far the hottest," said Jurg Luterbacher, climatologist and the first author of a study appearing this week in the journal Science.

Luterbacher said the study showed that European winters are also warmer now. The average winter and annual temperatures during the three decades from 1973 to 2002 were the warmest of the half millennium, he said.

Some studies have linked rising average temperatures in North America and elsewhere to global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels, but Luterbacher said his team did not attempt to make such a connection.

"We don't make any analysis of the human influence," he said. "We don't attempt to determine the cause. We only report what we find."

Other climatologists, however, say the new study agrees with models that have predicted a steady rise in global temperature as the result of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and other sources.

Stephen Schneider, a climate expert at Stanford University and a prominent advocate for the theory of human-caused global warming, said the Luterbacher paper is consistent with what climate modelers have been predicting for 20 years.

"The data is starting to line up showing that those projections were correct," Schneider said. "We warned the world that this was likely to happen because we believed the theory, but couldn't actually prove it was happening. Now the data is coming in."

In the study, Luterbacher and his team analyzed the temperature history of Europe starting in 1500 to the present. For the earliest part of the half millennium, the figures are estimates based on proxy measures, such as tree rings and soil cores. But after about 1750, he said, instrumented readings became generally available throughout Europe.

During the 500 years, there were trends both toward cool and toward hot. The second hottest summer in the period was in 1757. That was followed by a cooling trend that continued until early in the 20th century. The summer of 1902, for instance, was the coolest of the entire record.

Starting in 1977, the record shows "an exceptionally strong, unprecedented warming," the researchers report, with average temperatures rising at the rate of about 0.36 degrees per decade.

Then came last summer.

"The summer of 2003 exceeded 1901 to 1995 European summer temperatures by around 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)," the study said. "Taking into account the uncertainties (in the study method), it appears that the summer of 2003 was very likely warmer than any other summer back to 1500."

Record temperatures were recorded in most of the major cities of Europe last summer, with many readings over 100 degrees. Authorities have attributed thousands of deaths to the excess heat, making the heat wave one of the deadliest weather phenomena in the past century.

In France, the toll was estimated at about 14,802 dead. About 2,000 more than normal died in August in England and Wales. On Aug. 11, Britain's hottest day on record, there were 363 more deaths than average and the temperature reading reached 101.3 in Brogdale in southeastern England.

Altogether in Europe, based on official numbers collected by The Associated Press, there were more than 19,000 excess deaths in the summer months. France was hardest hit, but the average number of summer deaths increased by 4,175 in Italy, 1,300 in Portugal and more than 1,000 in the Netherlands.

The intense heat also wilted crops, caused wildfires and continued a centurylong trend of melting the continent's glaciers.

Luterbacher said some mountain glaciers have shrunk by 50 percent in the past century in Europe, and some ice fields lost 10 percent of their mass last summer alone.

In addition, he said, the long trend of warming temperatures is now melting the high altitude permafrost — the soil that usually remains frozen year-round — and that some buildings, bridges and roadways are now threatened with unstable foundations.

And it may get worse, said Luterbacher. He said some studies forecast that if the warming trend continues, Europe may have summers like 2003 every other year starting late in this century.


On the Net:


Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004
The Observer

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.

'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'

So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.

Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'

Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.,6903,1153513,00.html

Global warming: Carbon dioxide levels highest for 650,000 years

 Levels of carbon dioxide, the principal gas that drives global warming, are now 27 percent higher than at any point in the last 650,000 years, according to research into Antarctic ice cores published on Thursday.

The study, adding powerfully to evidence of human interference in the climate system, appears in the runup to a key conference on global warming which opens in Montreal next Monday.

The evidence comes from the world's deepest ice core, drilled at a site called Dome Concordia (Dome C) in East Antarctica by European scientists who battled blizzards and an average year-round temperature of minus 54 Celsius (minus 65 Fahrenheit) and made a thousand-kilometer (650-mile) trek to bring up supplies.

The core, extracted using a 10-centimetre (four-inch) -wide drill bit in three-metre (10-feet) sections, brought up ice that was deposited by snows up to 650,000 years ago, as determined by estimated layers of annual snowfall.

Analysis of carbon dioxide trapped in tiny bubbles in the ancient ice showed that at no point during this time frame did levels get anywhere close to today's CO2 concentrations of around 380 parts per million (380 ppm).

CO2 levels began to rise with the Industrial Revolution, when coal began to be burned in large quantities, and have surged in recent decades as more countries become industrialised and millions more cars take to the road.

As a result, billions of tonnes of CO2 are now being released into the air each year from fossil fuels that previously were underground. In pre-industrial times, the CO2 concentration was just 278 ppm.

Today's rising CO2 concentrations are 27 percent higher than at the highest level seen over the 650,000-year time scale, according to the study, which appears in the weekly US journal Science.

The Dome C core, extracted by the 10-country European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), outstrips by 210,000 years the previous record-holder, drilled at an Antarctic site called Vostok.

"We have added another piece of information showing that the time scales on which humans have changed the composition of the atmosphere are extremely short compared to the natural time cycles of the climate system," said lead author Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern's Physics Institute in Switzerland.

Skeptics about man-made global warming point out that Earth has been through many periods of higher and lower temperatures in its history as a result of natural processes.

Volcanic eruptions that disgorge CO2 and other greenhouse gases, oscillations in the planet's axial spin and minor changes in its orbit can have a major impact on surface temperatures, sometimes plunging Earth into prolonged Ice Ages, the last of which ended some 11,000 years ago.

But over the past decade, a mountain of scientific evidence has accumulated about Man's impact on temperatures through the unbridled burning of fossil fuels.

In the past five years, the average global temperature has risen by 0.2 C (0.36 F) -- 100 times higher than is normal for such a short time scale -- and 2005 is on course for being the hottest year on record.

Glaciers in the Alps, Greenland and the Himalayas are shrinking and ice shelves are cracking in the Antarctic peninsula in what appear to be early signs of dangerous climate change, according to recent studies.

The 12-day Montreal talks, gathering members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will focus on the future of the Kyoto Protocol after this pact, aimed at curbing carbon pollution, runs out in 2012.

Scientists say political progress for tackling the problem falls miserably short of what is needed to avoid long-term damage to the climate system.

In the most extreme scenarios, global warming could drive up sea levels and drown coastal cities, cause floods, droughts and freak storms, and create tens of millions of "climate refugees."

© 2005 AFP

Inuit alarmed by signs of global warming

'Sentries for the rest of the world' report massive changes to Arctic life

By Doug Struck
The Washington Post
Updated: 8:33 a.m. ET March 22, 2006

PANGNIRTUNG, Canada - Thirty miles from the Arctic Circle, hunter Noah Metuq feels the Arctic changing. Its frozen grip is loosening; the people and animals who depend on its icy reign are experiencing a historic reshaping of their world.

Fish and wildlife are following the retreating ice caps northward. Polar bears are losing the floes they need for hunting. Seals, unable to find stable ice, are hauling up on islands to give birth. Robins and barn owls and hornets, previously unknown so far north, are arriving in Arctic villages.

The global warming felt by wildlife and increasingly documented by scientists is hitting first and hardest here, in the Arctic where the Inuit people make their home. The hardy Inuit -- described by one of their leaders as "sentries for the rest of the world" -- say this winter was the worst in a series of warm winters, replete with alarms of the quickening transformation that many scientists believe will spread from the north to the rest of the globe.

The Inuit -- with homelands in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and northern Russia -- saw the signs of change everywhere. Metuq hauled his fishing shack onto the ice of Cumberland Sound last month, as he has every winter, confident it would stay there for three months. Three days later, he was astonished to see the ice break up, sweeping away his shack and $6,000 of turbot fishing gear.

In Nain, Labrador, hunter Simon Kohlmeister, 48, drove his snowmobile onto ocean ice where he had hunted safely for 20 years. The ice flexed. The machine started sinking. He said he was "lucky to get off" and grab his rifle as the expensive machine was lost. "Someday we won't have any snow," he said. "We won't be Eskimos."

‘It's getting very strange up here’
In Resolute Bay, Inuit people insisted that the dark arctic night was lighter. Wayne Davidson, a longtime weather station operator, finally figured out that a warmer layer of air was reflecting light from the sun over the horizon. "It's getting very strange up here," he said. "There's more warm air, more massive and more uniform."

Doug Struck / Washington Post
Noah Metuq, right, and Alukie Metuq bring up a seal they shot through the ice. The Inuit rely on wildlife for food and clothing such as the sealskin parka worn by Alukie.

Villagers say the shrinking ice floes mean they see hungry polar bears more frequently. In the Hudson Bay village of Ivujivik, Lydia Angyiou, a slight woman of 41, was walking in front of her 7-year-old boy last month when she turned to see a polar bear stalking the child. To save him, she charged with her fists into the 700-pound bear, which slapped her twice to the ground before a hunter shot it, according to the Nunatsiaq News.

In the Russian northernmost territory of Chukotka, the Inuit have drilled wells for water because there is so little snow to melt. Reykjavik, Iceland, had its warmest February in 41 years. In Alaska, water normally sealed by ice is now open, brewing winter storms that lash coastal and river villages. Federal officials say two dozen native villages are threatened. In Pangnirtung, residents were startled by thunder, rain showers and a temperature of 48 degrees in February, a time when their world normally is locked and silent at minus-20 degrees.

"We were just standing around in our shorts, stunned and amazed, trying to make sense of it," said one resident, Donald Mearns.

Confirmed by science
"These are things that all of our old oral history has never mentioned," said Enosik Nashalik, 87, the eldest of male elders in this Inuit village. "We cannot pass on our traditional knowledge, because it is no longer reliable. Before, I could look at cloud patterns, or the wind or even what stars are twinkling, and predict the weather. Now, everything is changed."

The Inuit alarms, once passed off as odd stories, are earning confirmation from science. Canada's federal weather service said this month that the country had experienced its warmest winter since measurements began in 1948. Some of the larger temperature increases were in the arctic north.

"That is entirely consistent with the long-range forecasts that indicate the effects of global warming will be most felt in the north," said Douglas Bancroft, director of Oceanography and Climate Science for Canada's federal fisheries department.

"What we see is very clear. We are going to see a reduction in the overall arctic ice. It doesn't mean it goes away. But it brings profound changes," he said by telephone from Ottawa, the Canadian capital. "Weather will get stormier because the more open water you have, the easier it is for storms to brew up."

Bancroft said there would also be significant changes in the region's ecosystems.

Warming could push sea levels up six meters by 2100

Polar ice sheets are melting faster than expected and could push sea levels up as much as six meters by 2100, scientists warn in two new studies.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Polar ice sheets are melting faster than expected and could push sea levels up as much as six meters by 2100, scientists warn in two new studies.

Based on current warming trends, average temperatures could jump at least 2.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, resembling the last great global warming surge 129,000 years ago when seas rose that much.

"This is a real eye-opener set of results," said Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona, co-author of the studies with Bette Otto-Bliesner of the Colorado National Center for Atmospheric Research. "The last time the Arctic was significantly warmer than the present day, the Greenland Ice Sheet melted back the equivalent of two to three meters of sea level."

Overpeck and Otto-Bliesner used a powerful climate modeling computer, ice sheet simulation and paleoclimate data to create a picture of Earth's climate 129,000 years ago.

"These ice sheets melted before and sea levels rose. The warmth needed isn't that much above present conditions," Otto-Bliesner said. Overpeck warned "serious measures to reduce greenhouse gases" must start within the next decade.

Their studies are published in the latest issue of Science magazine.

Shawn Marshall, a glaciologist at Canada's University of Calgary who took part in the research, said warming 130,000 years ago was caused by an increase in solar radiation after changes in Earth's tilt and orbit. Today's warming, scientists say, is caused mainly by greenhouse gases.

Overpeck pointed out another apparent difference is that, in the previous period, the warmer temperatures were mostly in the Arctic and only during the summers.

Now, he said, Earth is warming year-round and at both poles.

He said that the warming danger in the Antarctic is not the overall melting of the ice cover, as would happen in Greenland.

Instead, he foresees that the Antarctic ice sheet would fracture, plunging more icebergs into the sea and raising the sea level "just like throwing a bunch of ice cubes into a full glass of water."

Recent studies have noted an accelerating melting of ice sheets and glaciers surrounding the two poles.

In a separate study, seismologists say they have detected an increase in glacial earthquakes - temblors up to a magnitude of 5.1, which they believe result from melting.

The earthquakes, many of them in the summer, involve rapid shifts in chunks of ice "as large as Manhattan." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

New Study Offers Evidence Of Global Warming

POSTED: 4:56 pm EST March 23, 2006
The Earth is already shaking beneath melting ice as rising temperatures threaten to shrink polar glaciers and raise sea levels around the world.

By the end of this century, Arctic readings could rise to levels not seen in 130,000 years -- when the oceans were several feet higher than now, according to new research appearing in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

Even now, giant glaciers lubricated by melting water have begun causing earthquakes in Greenland as they lurch toward the ocean, other scientists report in the same journal.

In principal findings:

- At the current warming rate, Earth's temperature by 2100 will probably be at least 4 degrees warmer than now, with the Arctic at least as warm as it was 130,000 years ago, reports a research group led by Jonathan T. Overpeck of the University of Arizona.

- Computer models indicate that warming could raise the average temperature in parts of Greenland above freezing for multiple months and could have a substantial impact on melting of the polar ice sheets, says a second paper by researchers led by Bette Otto-Bliesner of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Melting could raise sea level one to three feet over the next 100 to 150 years, she said.

- And a team led by Goeran Ekstroem of Harvard University reported an increase in "glacial earthquakes," which occur when giant rivers of ice -- some as big as Manhattan -- move suddenly as meltwater eases their path. That sudden movement causes the ground to tremble.

Otto-Bliesner and Overpeck wrote separate papers and also worked together, studying ancient climate and whether modern computer climate models correctly reflect those earlier times. That allowed them to use the models to look at possible future conditions. The researchers studied ancient coral reefs, ice cores and other natural climate records.

"Although the focus of our work is polar, the implications are global," Otto-Bliesner said. "These ice sheets have melted before and sea levels rose. The warmth needed isn't that much above present conditions."

According to the studies, increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the next century could raise Arctic temperatures as much as 5 to 8 degrees.

The warming could raise global sea levels by up to three feet this century through a combination of thermal expansion of the water and melting of polar ice, Overpeck and Otto-Bliesner said.

Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University, who was not part of the research teams, said, "One point stands out above all others and that is that a modest global warming may put Earth in the danger zone for a major sea level rise due to deglaciation of one or both ice sheets."

Ekstroem and colleagues reported that glacial earthquakes in Greenland occur most often in July and August and have more than doubled since 2002.

"People often think of glaciers as inert and slow-moving, but in fact they can also move rather quickly," Ekstroem said. "Some of Greenland's glaciers, as large as Manhattan and as tall as the Empire State Building, can move 10 meters in less than a minute, a jolt that is sufficient to generate moderate seismic waves."

Melting water from the surface gradually seeps down, accumulating at the base of a glacier where it can serve as a lubricant allowing the ice to suddenly move downhill, the researchers said.

"Our results suggest that these major outlet glaciers can respond to changes in climate conditions much more quickly than we had thought," said team member Meredith Nettles of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.



Increasing carbon dioxide levels disturb scientists  Quake unblocked distant geysers





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