Archive for February 23, 2010

Climate Change: Now the South Pole

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

As I have said before and often, I am not convinced it’s man or industry that’s at fault. I have no clue what’s causing it and I am not certain an air-tight case can be made that global climate change is our doing. But more evidence is gathering that our climate is changing, and more specifically- that it is warming.

The well documented shrinking of the Arctic ice shelf is now being matched by developments in the Antarctic. Check out this press release just issued by the United States Geological Survey today.

In a nutshell, it says that climate change is causing ice shelves in the southern section of the Antarctic Peninsula to retreat. The possible effects are glacier retreat and a serious rise in sea levels, “threatening coastal communities and low-lying islands worldwide.”

This is directly from the USGS report:

Research by the U.S. Geological Survey is the first to document that every ice front in the southern part of the Antarctic Peninsula has been retreating overall from 1947 to 2009, with the most dramatic changes occurring since 1990. The USGS previously documented that the majority of ice fronts on the entire Peninsula have also retreated during the late 20th century and into the early 21st century.

The ice shelves are attached to the continent and already floating, holding in place the Antarctic ice sheet that covers about 98 percent of the Antarctic continent. As the ice shelves break off, it is easier for outlet glaciers and ice streams from the ice sheet to flow into the sea. The transition of that ice from land to the ocean is what raises sea level.

The U.S. Geological Survey is not a political organization. Driven by the need to document the topographical characteristics of the largest addition of land mass in the nation’s history- the Louisiana Purchase of 1809- an act of Congress created the USGS on March 3rd, 1879. Their scientific disciplines include biology, geography, geology, and hydrology. The USGS is about science in its purest form.

They will continue watching this situation because it a very big deal. The Antarctic ice sheet contains 91% of earth’s glacier ice. If it melts, purchasing beachfront property would not be advisable.  Or just buy 100 miles inland- it will become beachfront property.

Oh, that’s right. It snowed a lot this winter. Never mind.