I know I’ve talked a lot about arctic melt on this blog but the information just keeps rushing in and I can’t ignore it. I guess just saying it’s a problem may be all that I should invest my time in but I am beginning to think I have to say it over and over again because there are so many people just ignoring this. Scientists are the source of this information, I didn’t get it from a novel. And new research is showing even more alarming information: they have found that some 10 cubic km of ice has already been lost from 1500 glaciers over the past nine years. Now, that’s what I call a fast melt.

So predictions have been revamped and they are now saying that the Swiss glaciers should be gone by the end of the century. That is Swiss glaciers. When we talk about the Swiss glaciers we are talking about a practical continent, a vast area of land. I mean, 1500 is a substantial sum of these peaks and 10 cubic kilometers is equal to about 6.2 square miles. Another study, based on a sample of only 30 of these glaciers indicates that these peaks are now losing a full meter of thickness every single year. A meter is equal to a little over 3 feet.

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This is what I have read around the net. That a much respected scientist at NASA has declared that Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. This scientist is Jim Hansen, who is known to be a leading expert in the climate and has been looked to here in Florida many times over during our weather calamities, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Hey, this assessment is pretty bleak and I admit it startled me. This man, Hansen, is not known for being in the pockets of anyone in particular, especially not any biofuel company nor is he known to be friends with Al Gore.. or any Democrat that I know of. So this, I can safely say, is not some crazy conspiracy or business scheme. But I just not kidding when I say that he has warned that only urgent action by the new President could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. And he puts the window at four lousy years, meaning that action will have to be taken within Obama’s first administration to be effective. No waiting around, pals. No dragging them disbelieving feet.

According to Hansen (and other scientists like him), soaring carbon emissions are already melting the ice caps and threatening to trigger global flooding, widespread species extinctions and major disruptions of weather patterns in the near future. “We cannot afford to put off change any longer,” warns Hansen. “We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”

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In a report from Barcelona, Spain, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the results of it’s study of Penguin colonies in the Antarctic. According to the study, 1/2 to 3/4 of major colonies could be damaged or wiped out if global temperatures are allowed to climb by more than 2C (3.6F). This hike in temperature would also threaten as much as 50% of breeding grounds of Emperor Penguins and as much as 75% of Adelie Penguin colonies. These results from their study were released at the World Conservation Congress, held this year in Spain.

Since the UN’s panel of climate change Scientists has already warned that the average temperature on Earth could increase even more than 2C by the end of the century, this threat to the Penguin population is serious and real. The UN claims this change will occur regardless of major efforts that may be made to curb greenhouse gases and would occur even faster if no changes were made. In other words, it’s way to late for the Penguins.

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From ABC News online:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I have already brought you an awful lot of it from the Arctic already. So here it. More grim news on the sea ice levels and what it means to us. Experts at the National Show and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado believe the overall volume of Arctic sea ice has reached the lowest level since satellite measurements began in 1979. Although the numbers are still coming in, the data was collected by measuring the area covered and the thickness of the ice there.

“We’re pretty confident this is a record low,” said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the center.

Scientists at the center monitor the health of the ice by looking at many factors, including how much of it can be seen from space, the thickness of ice hidden underwater and the overall volume of existing ice. Their study has revealed that sea ice at the top of this planet has apparently reached the lowest volume ever recorded. This is scary enough but conditions are declining towards a point where the Arctic Ocean may soon be completely without ice in the summer.

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I got this recent article from SeattlePi . According to this article, the north pole is getting closer and closer to having no ice at all. I can’t imagine “Santa’s Workshop” being on mud and grass, can you? Anyways, the article sites a scientist from the University of Washington named Ignatius Rigor. This man has been studying the quirks of the north pole for years and has known, as early as this past spring, that the ice up there was getting very thin and brittle. He says he knows the planet is warming. He is willing to bet that the area of ice would have shrunk to a record low this summer, even beating the amount already lost last year.

Rigor was absolutely sure, following the record losses of the past year or so, that the ice would disintegrate. In fact, the area of the Arctic ocean usually covered in ice has shrunk 1/3 below what has always been normal for the past 30 years. This is actually the first year that both the northwest passage over the top of North America and Russia’s northeast passage are free of ice. This astonishing and frightening fact has been pointed out by environmentalists while researchers are still waiting to see if last years’ dismal record will be surpassed. So far, it looks like 2008 will fall behind.

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