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Reader questions – Part 4 of 4

This is the last of my series of articles based on the questions of one of my readers, Brittany.  Brittany sent me an email and asked 4 questions. I have broken up each of these questions into 4 different articles.  If other readers have specific questions regarding global warming, please drop me a note (you can find my contact information in the About page).

Question 4: I read that it will take hundreds of years for Arctic/Greenland glaciers to melt and close to a 1,000 years for West Antarctica to melt.  I don’t know if those facts are correct.  But if they are correct, why would the earth’s temperature increase 6 egress Celsius in the next 100 years?  That’s a very scary proposition if it’s true. 

New Study: Global Warming Not The Only Factor In Arctic Ice Shelf Collapse

AHN – February 7, 2008

More studies and more contradictory conclusions! I feel like a broken record sometimes in this discussion of global warming and causality. As soon as one scientist puts out a hypothesis, another puts out a contradictory or modifying hypothesis. Perhaps the key thing to understand is that these aren’t facts but conclusions that have been reached by individuals.

A hypothesis (according to Dictionary.com) is:

a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.

Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica

Washington Post – January 14, 2008

Changes to the ice mass on Antarctica could be the tipping point for a wide range of calamities caused by global warming. This news of escalating ice loss is very disconcerting. We need to monitor this situation closely to understand if it is within the realm of variability or if this is significant on-going trend.

I don’t typically jump on to the sky is falling bandwagon. However, significant changes in this ice mass or so concerning that caution is called for. Even if the root cause of global warming is not man but rather it is nature, the events of Antarctica are extremely noteworthy and anything that we can do to reverse this trend is likely to be worthwhile.

Antarctica’s penguins threatened by global warming

Reuters – December 11, 2007

Penguins are especially appreciated by humans, at least in the US.  There are countless movies which feature them as interesting and cute animals.  Due to their coloring, they are often depicted as uppity butlers in many children cartoons.  Even Batman had a few battles with Penguin.

So when a study suggests that harm has come to these animals, many people take notice.  They are much more attractive to us than polar bears which, while cuddly as stuffed animals, are fairly ferocious animals.It is a little unfortunate though that the penguins are getting the attention since it appears that the penguins are reducing in numbers because krill are reducing in numbers.  Why isn’t this article entitled: “Antarctica’s krill threatened by global warming” rather than the one that was chosen.  Krill are kind of ugly so that must be the reason. At least Nemo appears to be safe!

35 Inconvenient Truths: The errors in Al Gore’s movie – Part 3 of 5

This is the third of a 5 part series reviewing the comments of the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) in regards to “An Inconvenient Truth” (AIT).

You can read Part 1 of 5 here.
You can read Part 2 of 5 here.
You can read Part 4 of 5 here.
You can read Part 5 of 5 here.

ERROR 18 – I can’t find evidence for SPPI’s statement that the Arctic has increased decreased in temperature 1 deg C in the last 60 years. SPPI falls victim here to the common Gore affliction of pointing out individual instances of information (ice bound ships) and assuming that this is conclusive data. I have called AIT out on this and I need to do the same with SPPI. Unless they can point to a reference for the temperature increase, I need to call this one spin.

Mathematics Of Ice To Aid Global Warming Forecasts

ScienceDaily – September 11, 2007

Once again, I am impressed that our body of knowledge regarding our world is increasing. I also wonder at how someone can say that we understand all of this well enough to use climate models that are based on 1970s and 1980s technology and assumptions.

This short article discusses how sea ice melts and what happens to it as it moves through the ice and the sea. Understanding the mathematics of this is incredibly important for analysis and prediction of how Earth responds to changing climates.

University of Utah mathematicians have arrived at a new understanding of how salt-saturated ocean water flows through sea ice — a discovery that promises to improve forecasts of how global warming will affect polar icepacks.

HERETICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

Edge – August 8, 2007

There are two recent articles on the climate change in the edge.  The great thing about these two articles is that they give opposing viewpoints of the issue which allows the curious reader to evaluate the arguments given and then make an informed decision. It is also not required that you agree with only one argument, but instead you can take pieces and parts from both sides to arrive at your own conclusion. This is in perfect keeping with my goal of being fair and balanced.

Today, I will reference the first article. I will follow up later with the second article. I can only take a few small snippets from each so I encourage you to click through and read more.

South Africa: Marion Island Clue to Global Warming Threat

allAfrica.com – August 8, 2007

An extremely interesting article even though I think the title is making a basic claim that is not proven by the article!

I have written about the adaptability of species on this site before (see here and here and here). I found this article to have a unique spin. I am not convinced though that this article is about the dangers of global warming or the dangers of man introducing new species into another environment.  Wikipedia has a great write-up and other links on the dangers of species invasion and you may want to do some background reading there as well as check out their references.

Why global climate models do not give a realistic description of the local climate

RealClimate – May 27, 2007

I have written about this excellent site often (here and here and here and here and here) but I really must encourage all of my regular readers to read this article on climate models.  As you know, I regularly have called for more effort to be done in this area of computer technology as I honestly believe that the climate scientists need a concerted effort for a rapid increase in capability in handling massive amounts of numbers and equations in parallel.

1.2M trees to be planted in S. Mindanao vs global warming

SunStar – May 1, 2007

If the areas that are covered by ice (principally Greenland and Antarctica) appreciably warm and that ice melts, the oceans will surely rise. The estimates vary as to the level of this rise in ocean level but islands and coastal areas will see the brunt of this change.

This article concerns the reforestation of parts of the Philippines in an effort to reverse years of denuding as well as a mission to stop the climate change.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here has allocated more than P10 million for its reforestation program in Southern Mindanao.

Calderon said they expect to plant more than 1.2 million seedlings all over the region before the end of the year.