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Melting Arctic Ice Has Consequences 466

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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  • by benhocking ( 724439 ) <> on Sunday November 05, 2006 @06:48PM (#16728913) Homepage Journal
    The poor practices of landowners [] led the way to the dust bowl, and to the local increases in temperatures here in the US.
  • by DiamondGeezer ( 872237 ) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @07:12PM (#16729119) Homepage
    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.
  • by uncadonna ( 85026 ) <mtobis AT gmail DOT com> 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 Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @12:47AM (#16731485) Homepage Journal
    >increased the fuel econemy rating for a good portion of vehicles on the road.

    Why not raise it across the board? Googling for "CAFE mpg 2000" and "CAFE mpg 2006" is revealing.

    >The fact is that bush hasn't run away from environmental issues at all.

    Correct. The "Healthy Forests Initiative" is hardly running away from an issue. Neither is the "Clear Skies Act", which if Wikipedia has their facts straight

            * Allows 42 million more tons of pollution emitted than the EPA proposal.
            * Weakens controls on mercury pollution levels compared to what would be achieved by enforcing the Clean Air Act stringently.
            * Weakens the current cap on nitrogen oxide pollution levels from 1.25 million tons to 2.1 million tons, allowing 68 % more NOx pollution.
            * Delays the improvement of sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution levels compared to the Clean Air Act requirements.
            * Delays enforcement of smog-and-soot pollution standards until 2015.
            * Exempts major stationary emissions sources from installing modern pollution control as required under New Source Review when making major capacity upgrades or renovations.

    The endless attempts to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge are not "running away", either.

    November 2004, changed the standard for allowing sewage to be dumped without complete treatment from "emergency" to any time it rains.

    May 2002, tore up existing standards to allow Appalachian coal miners to bury mountain streams in waste.

    Bush is not running away from the environment, he's making a frontal attack on it.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.