Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ice Shelf Loses Much More Ice in Northern Canada

Another sign that a great melting period is underway in the Arctic region was detected as a satellite photo revealed that an 8-square-mile chunk of ice had broken away from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf on the northern coast of Canada. An article from BBC News reports that research scientists think the end is quite near for the entire Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, which is 170 square miles and 130 feet thick, as evidence grows that its stability has been lost. One member of the research team, Derek Mueller, from Trent University, Ontario, noted that for awhile ice appeared to be reforming but in more recent years this new ice broke up. Dr. Mueller believes the ice shelves in this region can no longer regenerate. This may be good news for corporations seeking to exploit any resources in this region but loss of ice, which reflects solar radiation, suggests that global warming could be accelerated in the near future as the dark ice-free water absorbs solar radiation. This is the positive feedback circuit of warming melting more ice and more melting ice resulting in increased warming and so on. Nations rushing to drill for oil or gas in the Arctic now that everything is melting seem oblivious to all this scientific stuff about positive feedback mechanisms since if their efforts are successful it will all simply result in burning more fossil fuel and therefore releasing more greenhouse gases which will further increase the warming. How dumb can you get?

No comments: