Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Warning Signs To Ignore

The signs of global warming are growing more numerous everyday. Scientists all around the world are finding more and more evidence that human activity is harming our world. So it comes as no surprise that a recent study found evidence that emissions from human activity are causing an increased melting in Antarctica.
In 2002, a chunk of ice the size of Rhode Island broke off from Antarctica and moved off into the ocean. The name of that ice shelf was Larsen B and its break has now been linked to global warming caused by human activity. According to a scientific study out this week, "Shifts in winds whipping around the southern ocean, tied to human emissions of greenhouse gases, had warmed the Antarctic peninsula jutting up toward South America and contributed to the break-up of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002." Another warning sign ignored.
This warming is a result of a changed in meteorological patterns along the Antarctic Peninsula. For the past 40 years the mountains of the Antarctic peninsula have shielded it from warmer winds. But because of a climate change, summer-time temperatures on the peninsula have risen 9 degrees in the last 40 years. Average daytime temperatures on the peninsula in the summer are around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That fact alone is unbelievable. How can you deny evidence like that?
While the rest of the continent is safe from severe warming at the moment, the trend is for that to change soon. According to one of the scientists on the study, Dr Chris Rapley, "yes, I think that's bound to be the case ... We've seen this southward migration as the wave of increased temperatures has penetrated further and further south." And if the main continent starts to heat up, a different kind of ice will start falling in the ocean.
In 2002, the world dodged a bullet. Because Larsen B was an ice shelf, it did not raise sea levels. It was already floating on the water. This is different from the ice that makes up the glaciers of the continent. If they begin to melt, sea levels will rise because this ice will sink in the ocean. According to the study, this is already beginning. Rapley said, "recent data had revealed for the first time that two major glaciers in eastern Antarctica were also starting to discharge ice into the sea." One warning sign after another. But our leaders will tell you that this is all junk science. There is nothing to worry about. And maybe in their own lifetime, they will be right. But our kids will pay for everything we have ignored and continue to ignore.

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