Arctic ice cap melting 30 years ahead of 2050 IPCC forecast

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Arctic ice cap melting 30 years ahead of 2050 IPCC forecast

Arctic ice cap melting 30 years ahead of forecast
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than expected and is now about 30 years ahead of predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.S. ice expert said on Tuesday.

This means the ocean at the top of the world could be free or nearly free of summer ice by 2020, three decades sooner than the global panel's gloomiest forecast of 2050.

No ice on the Arctic Ocean during summer would be a major spur to global warming, said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Center in Colorado.

"Right now ... the Arctic helps keep the Earth cool," Scambos said in a telephone interview. "Without that Arctic ice, or with much less of it, the Earth will warm much faster."

That is because the ice reflects light and heat; when it is gone, the much darker land or sea will absorb more light and heat, making it more difficult for the planet to cool down, even in winter, he said.

Scambos and co-authors of the study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used satellite data and visual confirmation of Arctic ice to reach their conclusions, a far different picture than that obtained from computer models used by the scientists of the intergovernmental panel.

"The IPCC report was very careful, very thorough and cautious, so they erred on the side of what would certainly occur as opposed to what might occur," Scambos said in a telephone interview.

ICE-FREE SUMMER

The wide possibility of what might occur included a much later melt up north, or a much earlier one, Scambos said.

"It appears we're on pace about 30 years earlier than expected to reach a state where we don't have sea ice or at least not very much in late summer in the Arctic Ocean," he said.

He discounted the notion that the sharp warming trend in the Arctic might be due to natural climate cycles. "There aren't many periods in history that are this dramatic in terms of natural variability," Scambos said.

He said he had no doubt that this was caused in large part by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which he said was the only thing capable of changing Earth on such a large scale over so many latitudes.

Asked what could fix the problem -- the topic of a new report by the intergovernmental panel to be released on Friday in Bangkok -- Scambos said a large volcanic eruption might hold Arctic ice melting at bay for a few years.

But he saw a continued warm-up as inevitable in the coming decades.

"Long-term and for the next 50 years, I think even the new report will agree that we're in for quite a bit of warming," Scambos said.

"We just barely now, I think, have enough time and enough collective will to be able to get through this century in good shape, but it means we have to start acting now and in a big way."

(c) Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

This article: http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=674132007

Last updated: 01-May-07 20:28 BST
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=674132007


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Very sad, I read this today

Very sad, I read this today on bloglines.


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I heard that so much ice had

I heard that so much ice had melted that a new island had been discovered.  I wonder how many million refugees it will take before our executive branch acknowledges a problem.


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I am skeptical of Global

I am skeptical of Global warming being human induced.  There have been multiple reports of the ice caps on the planet Mars melting.  I am not saying humans are not somewhat to blame but my hunch and I have actually spoken to some scientists directly who, quietly will say that they think about 80% of it is due to solar activity with solar flares.  I am not going to say that it is not, but at this point, I take the attitude that some people are taking the approach of theists do their gods and I will remain skeptical.  Nothing personal.  There is cottage industries making money in this debate and I am dubious of people on both sides if they are in it for the money. 


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So, has anyone determined

So, has anyone determined how much of the earth we can put under water if we melt all the ice caps? I'd like to see a graphic if anyone knows where I can find one.

YOU shut the fuck up! WE'LL save America!


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Vastet wrote: He said he

Vastet wrote:
He said he had no doubt that this was caused in large part by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which he said was the only thing capable of changing Earth on such a large scale over so many latitudes.

 

The ONLY thing? GAAA! This makes me crazy. What an un-scientific statement. How about impact with a meteor? How about increased solar activity? If the ice cap is melting decades in advance, then the computer models are all wrong. This is a BIG wrong, not a little oops. So don't they have to go back and adjust the models to match observation before they can use them to conclude anything? Instead of trumpting - Yup, it's global warming, shouldn't he be trotting back to the lab and figuring out why the prediction is so wrong?

Don't get me wrong. I think it's stupid to pump the atmosphers with crap and fill the world with our detritus. And I'm cool with regulating pollutants. Preserve the environment, all that - rah! rah!


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Solar activity plays

Solar activity plays basically no role in global warming.

http://solar-center.stanford.edu/sun-on-earth/glob-warm.html

[MOD EDIT - fixed link] 


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D-cubed wrote: Solar

D-cubed wrote:

Solar activity plays basically no role in global warming.

http://solar-center.stanford.edu/sun-on-earth/glob-warm.html

 

I didn't say that it did. I'm saying that the absolute statement "the only thing that could cause <blah>..." is un-scientific.  The models did not predict such a rapid decrease in the ice pack. The models are not accurate in that respect. Until the models are adjusted to correlate with the new data, you can't make stronger statements about the cause, you can only make weaker ones. 


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wavefreak wrote: D-cubed

wavefreak wrote:
D-cubed wrote:

Solar activity plays basically no role in global warming.

http://solar-center.stanford.edu/sun-on-earth/glob-warm.html

 

I didn't say that it did. I'm saying that the absolute statement "the only thing that could cause <blah>..." is un-scientific.  The models did not predict such a rapid decrease in the ice pack. The models are not accurate in that respect. Until the models are adjusted to correlate with the new data, you can't make stronger statements about the cause, you can only make weaker ones. 

...

Article wrote:
"The IPCC report was very careful, very thorough and cautious, so they erred on the side of what would certainly occur as opposed to what might occur," Scambos said in a telephone interview.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Great evidence for the

Great evidence for the scientists being wrong about Global Warming. (capital letters GW because it is so damn important) If they cannot even figure out the rate of ice capes melting, why would they be able to figure out the rate of warming or the causes of it?

 

Of course, this is not the first time the ice caps has experienced massive melting, nor will it be the last.


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I think this will mean less

I think this will mean less land, right?  Well, conservatives will be happy because property values will rise.

By the way, this isn't going to effect my ability to get a sno-cone is it?

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer