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Melting Arctic Ice Has Consequences 466

Posted by kdawson
from the darn-it-I-really-liked-polar-bears dept.
OriginalArlen writes to tell us about some compelling global warming coverage in the Washington Post. First there is an article about a study indicating that melting Arctic ice is threatening polar bears with extinction. The article quotes an environmentalist: "This study is the smoking gun. Skeptics, polluting industries and President Bush can't run away from this one." And the polar melting is opening new shipping lanes. The second article details a trip late in October through the Northwest Passage by a Canadian icebreaker. Never before in history could this trip have been accomplished so late in the year; ice would have choked off the passage. Estimates of when the passage might be navigable by commercial shipping range from 2020 to the end of the century. The indigeneous people are not looking forward to this development.
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Melting Arctic Ice Has Consequences

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  • "polluting industries and President Bush can't run away from this one."

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you've been frozen in arctic ice the past 6 years, were recently thawed out as a result of the melting ice, and have no knowledge of Bush's presidency or how powerful corporations are.

    Welcome to the world of 2006!!

    • Although Bush has done [epa.gov] much [whitehouse.gov] to harm [ens-newswire.com] the environment, denying anthropogenic global warming is not in his toolbox [sciencemag.org]. I mean, as much as I hate to defend the man, we should be clear about the few things he hasn't done wrong. :)
  • How dare they question the Holy Religion of America, as revealed by our Almighty God the Dollar!

    Repeat after me: There is no global warming!

    And even if there is, it's not caused by humans!

    And even if it is, there's no need to do anything about it!
    • And even if there is, it's not caused by humans!

      Ok, so...there have been past dramatic climate changes on the earth that have happend and were certainly not caused by humans.

      I think an open minded person would have to say there are only two or three ways to go here. It is getting hotter, as it has done in the past, and people aren't causing it. It is getting hotter and people are the cause of it. It is getting hotter and it partly a normal cycle of the earth, and people do play some part in it, as well.

      • Re: How dare they! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by transporter_ii (986545) * on Sunday November 05, 2006 @06:39PM (#16728841) Homepage
        http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2006-09-13 -hottest-summer_x.htm [usatoday.com]

        The USA sweated this year through its hottest summer in 70 years, with temperatures not seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, according to a government report.

        From June 1 to Aug. 31, as summer is defined by the National Climatic Data Center, the continental USA had an average temperature of 74.5 degrees, based on readings from hundreds of weather stations nationwide. It was the second-hottest summer temperature the government has recorded since it started keeping track in 1895. The only one warmer -- by about two-tenths of a degree -- was in 1936.

        Ok, seriously, what made it so hot back in 1936? Was it just a natural occurrence, or was it man made way back then?

        Transporter_ii

        • The poor practices of landowners [wikipedia.org] led the way to the dust bowl, and to the local increases in temperatures here in the US.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DiamondGeezer (872237)
            They may have made the Dustbowl worse, but the temperatures were not caused by the Dustbowl. All the way to the Arctic the temperatures of the late 1930s were the highest of the 20th Century.

            I think you're confusing cause and effect.
            • The highest global temperatures of the 20th century were in the 1990's, not the 1930's. I'm definitely no expert on the dust bowl, however, and I could easily have some of my facts wrong.
              • Sorry but you're talking about an alternate Earth.

                Here are the Arctic temps for the 20th Century for everywhere above 70N [tcsdaily.com]

                Here is Polyakov et al, 2004 [tcsdaily.com]

                Funnily the polar bears didn't go through a big decline in numbers during the 1930s. The great scare about polar bears clinging on to ever dwindling clumps of ice is just that: a great scare. The polar bear populations (there are at least 13 or 14 distinct groups of them in North America) have, if anything, increased over the last 20 years with only one group d
      • by Duhavid (677874)
        It's hard to make out what you are trying to say in your last line.

        Are you saying that only a moronic fool would believe that people
        are the problem, or are part of the problem because there have been
        dramatic climatic changes in the past?

        If so, that seems to be ignoring that we might be part of the problem.
        Climatic changes happened in the past without human input does not mean
        *necessarily* that *this* set of changes do not have a human component.
        Shouldnt we find out?

        Also, lets say, for argument, that people
      • Given that the earth has had dramatic climate changes well before people could have possibly had anything to do with it...why is that anyone who believes this could be the case here must be some type of moronic fool?

        Anyone who can't grasp the concept of rate of change is rather likely to be a moronic fool.

      • Given that the earth has had dramatic climate changes well before people could have possibly had anything to do with it...why is that anyone who believes this could be the case here must be some type of moronic fool?

        I think an open minded person would have to say there are only two or three ways to go here. The person is some type of "moronic fool" who doesn't understand the science despite their best efforts. The person is actually a shill whose livelihood depends on him and/or others not understanding

        • Maybe I'm getting sick from natural causes and this food is just a factor in it. Maybe this food is killing me." Would you still have that blasé approach after someone told you that there was poison in it?

          Point taken. Now let me ask this. Suppose throughout recorded history, there was records of dramatic shifts in the toxicity of a certain food. And this certain food suddenly started making people sick again. Would it make it automatically true if someone told you that this food shifted from edible to

      • by geobeck (924637)

        You're right: the Earth has experienced dramatic climate change in the past. But every time it has experienced dramatic climate change, it has also experienced mass extinctions.

        And considering how close most of the world's population lives to the ocean coasts, and how much we rely on a relatively small number of dwindling species for survival, can we really say that we're not going to be on the extinction list this time around?

        • by krell (896769)
          "And considering how close most of the world's population lives to the ocean coasts, and how much we rely on a relatively small number of dwindling species for survival, can we really say that we're not going to be on the extinction list this time around?"

          Considering all the people who already live inland (look at all the dense red inside Europe, India, and China on this map [maps.com]), and considering the slowness of the ocean rising (so those on the coast can move inland), we're not talking extinction. Unless ma
      • Ok, so...there have been past dramatic climate changes on the earth that have happend and were certainly not caused by humans.
        ...
        Given that the earth has had dramatic climate changes well before people could have possibly had anything to do with it...why is that anyone who believes this could be the case here must be some type of moronic fool?

        You have to look at the scale of the change. In the last 600'000 years the CO2 levels never exceeded a certain threshold. We are now over that threshold roughly 2-

    • People ignore their health until they have a heart attack. They ignore their finances until they are deep in credit card debt. They ignore their car until it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Why should they start worrying about this either? Just ignore it and deal with it later!
  • Just like the governments of the world didn't already know this. NOBODY GIVES A SHIT, don't you know? Its so far into the future nobody cares, nobody thinks of the children so stop posting all this shit on slashdot. I gladly await our deserved destruction.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      Well, excuse us for disturbing your complacent nihilism. But you must have noticed by now that most Slashdotters still suffer from the illusion that their lives matter!
    • Its so far into the future nobody cares
      Like um 20 years? If your five minute attention span can't handle events that far in the future you might want to reconsider visiting a website for geeks.
  • by thewiz (24994) * on Sunday November 05, 2006 @06:13PM (#16728607)
    "Baked Alaska" a whole new meaning.
  • I mean, didn't we send those polar bears the memo about global warming? Oh wait... it wasn't congressionally approved.... =P
  • Political Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @06:16PM (#16728631) Journal
    On both sides.

    This has been presented before, and debunked before. This study [ncpa.org] shows that while ice is thinning in some parts of the arctic, it is thickening in others and the temperature change isn't uniform.

    It also shows that the majority of polar bear populations are steady, with an equal number on the increase and decrease.

    That shipping lane has been there before, and guess what -- there were polar bears around back then. Amazingly enough, polar bears aren't the hot-house flowers these people are making them out to be.

    The climate is changing, that is for certain. The only thing more certain is that politicos and people who want gov't grants are going to exaggerate and hype every little anomaly beyond belief in order to garner attention and eventually money. What they hell ever happened to science for the sake of actual knowledge?
    • by minus_273 (174041)
      but damn it! an environmentalist said it was as smoking gun! bush cant deny that wikiality!
    • and the temperature change isn't uniform.
      You know, that is why it is called global warming, not local warming on a global scale.
    • by uncadonna (85026) <mtobis@gmail. c o m> on Sunday November 05, 2006 @07:22PM (#16729211) Homepage Journal
      > What they hell ever happened to science for the sake of actual knowledge?

      How do you tell science and political bullshit apart, other than by whether you like the result?

      It happens that the "report" you quote is scientifically incoherent. I don't know much about polar bears, but I am very familiar with sea ice trends.

      Arctic sea ice summer extent minima are rapidly retreating, and the best evidence is that perennial ice has shrunk by 40% ion the last forty years. It is reasonable to expect that all the perennial Arctic sea ice will go away in this century, both by extrapolation and by careful consideration of the thermodynamics and radiation budgets involved.

      Real scientists talk about one issue at a time, and their opinions have a logical consistency rather than a political one. No one who is an expert on polar bears is an expert on sea ice mechanics.

      The statement about Antarctica is a particlar howler.

      "Moreover, while sea ice has decreased in the Arctic, it has remained relatively constant (or even increased slightly) in the Antarctic since 1978."

      It's true enough but completely irrelevant. Have a glance at a globe. It might be worth considering that Antarctic sea ice has completely different origins than Arctic sea ice. If Antarctica melts, what happens to southern summer sea ice extent?

      And why should polar bears care about the Antarctic anyway?

      The paper you quote comes from a group that invariably highlights evidence against global warming and minimizes evidence supporting it. I don't know who funds it, but I have run into it before. I promise you it is not considered a scientific source; but go ahead an check the citation index and prove me wrong.

      So, as someone who knows some of the scientists, who seem to me to be very serious people, I would say you have your bullshit and your science swapped.

      I'm sure you won't take my word for it, but consider this. How, exactly, would you know?
    • by mochan_s (536939)

      This has been presented before, and debunked before. This study shows that while ice is thinning in some parts of the arctic, it is thickening in others and the temperature change isn't uniform.

      OK. The article you linked says,

      A new NCPA study by Dr. David Legates, director of the University of Delaware's Center for Climatic Research and state climatologist, examines the claim that global warming threatens to cause polar bear extinction and finds little basis for fear. By and large, the study finds that

  • OriginalArlen writes to tell us about some compelling global warming coverage in the Washington Post.

    Send some of that global warming up here to Canada will ya? It is fracking cold up here at this time of year. Could use it right about now. Natural gas/taxes are lower when it is warmer too.

  • ...to go watch The Inconvenient Truth [wikipedia.org].

    Part of the documentary deals with the disappearing/melting ice on the polar ice caps and at Greenland.
  • by GigsVT (208848)
    So .. less man-killing polar bears... and more new trade routes.

    Hell, I might go set a few gallons of crude oil on fire just to help out the cause!
  • "Skeptics, polluting industries and President Bush can't run away from this one."

    Wanna bet?
  • I recently had the pleasure of attending a conference in Minnesota where Will Steger gave a talk. Some of the pencil necked may not know it, but his outward personna is that of the explorer that has crossed both poles by dogsled...the long way. Not the short trips across, just to say it was done, but the long way.

    Actually, Steger impresses me as a scientist first, with unsurpassed real leadership and planning ability for the great outdoors. He made the comment that in the future he will not be remembered
  • The polar bears just need to adapt to their changing environment. Instead of roaming around on the ice, looking for people to eat, they should go back to school, and try to find a way to get some of the new jobs with the shipping industry that will presumably be opening up there. We should let the bears know that these guys [pacprod.com] have been successful, and that the rest of them can be too
  • I don't like Bush, I didn't vote for him. I don't like the war in Iraq.

    But my understanding is that this global warming thing has been known for decades. Besides, what is Bush supposed to do? Tax gasoline up to $20 a gallon?
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Besides, what is Bush supposed to do? Tax gasoline up to $20 a gallon?

      Over a decade or two, this might not be a bad idea while we transition to most sustainable modes of transportation i.e. electric vehicles, electrified freight railroads, and perhaps a bit more walking and/or biking. The energy can come from nuclear, wind, hydro, solar - there are plenty of viable sources other than fossil fuels.

      To the naysayers that say that global warming hasn't been proven to be a problem:

      (a) do we really want to

  • What about the medieval warm period? [wikipedia.org] From Climate chaos? Don't believe it [telegraph.co.uk] by Christopher Monckton:

    So to the scare. First, the UN implies that carbon dioxide ended the last four ice ages. It displays two 450,000-year graphs: a sawtooth curve of temperature and a sawtooth of airborne CO2 that's scaled to look similar. Usually, similar curves are superimposed for comparison. The UN didn't do that. If it had, the truth would have shown: the changes in temperature preceded the changes in CO2 levels.

    Next, the UN
    • What about the medieval warm period?
      What about it? There were actually three small periods like that. Temperature strongly correlated with CO2 levels. So? We have change on a much bigger scale now. CO2 is way way up and temperature with it. Forgive me for not subscribing to the conspiracy theories about falsification and sticking to the data...
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      It's not that we're discounting the possibility of global warming, we're just skeptical of the idea of man-made global warming. Especially when it's elevated to the status of a pseudo-religion.

      As I've said before, the use of fossil fuels carries enough other problems with it (air pollution, spills, wars over oil, etc) that their elimination would be a net gain for society even if they're not a culprit in global warming.

      -b.

  • Jesus is coming! and in fact wants us all to get rich and consume more!

    So just ignore those pinko hippie, gay marriage loving, America hating enviromentalists! They all will be thrown in the lake of fire anyway!

  • There is only one solution to Global Warming and that is we must increase the number of pirates immediately! I mean just look at this graph [seanbonner.com], it obviously shows the correlation.

    Maybe I need to put together a power point presentation, or something...

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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