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Earth Science

North Pole Ice On Track To Melt By September? 978

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the new-swimming-holes dept.
phobos13013 writes "Recently released evidence is showing the North Pole ice is melting at the highest rate ever recorded. As a result, the Pole may be completely ice-free at the surface and composed of nothing but open water by September. As reported in September of last year, the Northwest Passage was ice-free for the first time known to man. The implications of this, as well as the causes, are still being debated. Are global warming experts just short-sighted alarmists? Are we heading for a global ice age? Or is the increase in global mean temperature having an effect on our planet?"
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North Pole Ice On Track To Melt By September?

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  • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdotNO@SPAMexit0.us> on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:13PM (#23971927) Homepage
    The Polar Bears. No place to go any more.
  • santa? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:13PM (#23971931) Journal

    Oh no! What will happen to santa and his elves, and the reindeer? Won't someone think of the reindeer?

  • by cthulu_mt (1124113) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:13PM (#23971937)
    That we carpet bomb the damn thing just to be safe.
  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:15PM (#23971969)

    It's about fucking time those damn penguins get what they deserve.

  • by Kohath (38547) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:16PM (#23971977)

    This is not news. This is a prediction that there might be news in September.

    If it doesn't happen, will we get an apology for misleading us?

  • From TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by FireStormZ (1315639) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:17PM (#23972011)

    "The melt would be mostly symbolic--thicker ice, pushed against the Canadian continental shelf by weather and Earth's rotation, would still survive the summer."

    So when we say the North Pole will melt we are talking about a point not the whole Artic ocean which is what impression one might get from the title.

    • Re:From TFA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:25PM (#23972155)

      The climate changes we are experiencing will likely take millions of lives. Few people realize how easily diseases like malaria might thrive if we go up even one or two degrees in average temperatures. Florida already has a few cases of malaria every year. The fear that other tropical plagues might become common inside the US mainland is very real.

    • Re:From TFA (Score:5, Informative)

      by TrevorB (57780) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:30PM (#23972249) Homepage

      That's correct. The last estimate (2006) for a complete summer Arctic melt was the year 2013.

      Before that it was 2038, and before that it was the year 2100...

  • Natural? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Comtraya (1306593) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:19PM (#23972047)
    Has anyone thought that this is just the planet recovering from the ice age?
    • Re:Natural? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amRadioHed (463061) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:34PM (#23972319)

      Yes. No one credible believes that we are entirely responsible for the climate change, on the other hand no one credible disputes that we are contributing to it. No matter what the cause, the increased global temperature is a bad thing for us and thus it is in our best interest to stop contributing to the change ASAP.

      • Re:Natural? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mckorr (1274964) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:59PM (#23972739) Homepage
        Not only that, but leaving the question of climate change aside, doesn't "green" make sense?

        Adding insulation, better windows, more efficient air conditioner, florescent lights, and so on makes my home more valuable. It also reduces my electric bill, which means more money in my pocket. Same for cars. Less pollution is a side effect, albeit a good one. More to the point it lowers my gasoline consumption, again, more money in my pocket. And I happen to like clean air, so bonus!

        Argue climate change all you want, green makes sense, if only from an economic standpoint. And why would anyone be against clean air and water?

    • Re:Natural? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gat0r30y (957941) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:34PM (#23972329) Homepage Journal
      You are probably right, man made global warming is just a vast conspiracy engineered to reduce pollution, achieve energy independence, secure our natural resources, and rile up oil executives.
    • Re:Natural? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Josh Booth (588074) <joshbooth2000&yahoo,com> on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:47PM (#23972525)

      I rather agree with you--people should stop kidding themselves. Global warming is not about saving the planet--this stuff has happened repeatedly and all this life is still here--its about saving humanity. Because if the other species out there that we require start dying off because there's too much C02 or its too hot or the ocean is to acidic, then we're screwed unless we can evolve fast enough. It gives a lot of credence to the idea of being stewards of the planet, since at this point we are realizing that what we do /can/ have an effect on the planet as a whole. At this point, we've already worried about polluting the world's oceans, causing worldwide nuclear winter, and now global warming. Either way, it seems to me that carbon is too good of an energy transport to give up, so we should leverage it. Biofuels anyone? What if I said we genetically engineered algae to make them for us? Well, sure, not yet, but that's the logical next step.

  • by thule (9041) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:20PM (#23972065) Homepage

    Maybe the melting ice could have something to do with this:

    AFP Volcanic eruptions reshape Arctic ocean floor: study [yahoo.com]

    Arctic Volcanoes Found Active at Unprecedented Depths [nationalgeographic.com]

    Some analysis at:

    Global Warming - Or Simply Massive Under Sea Volcanoes? [strata-sphere.com]

    • by Snocone (158524) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:50PM (#23972583) Homepage

      That's a possibility, but I don't think it's an overly likely one.

      My bet is that the difference between Northern and Southern ice cover trends is a lot more obvious if you care to look for it: Soot.

      http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=impure-as-the-driven-snow [sciam.com]

      Money quote: "and may be responsible for as much as 94 percent of Arctic warming."

      Not that this is Scientific American talking here, which is hardly a hotbed of AGW skepticism, to put it extremely mildly.

      So "just" clean up all those dirty soot-emitting Chinese factories, and the Arctic will start freezing more.

      This policy has the advantage of being A Really Fucking Good Idea(TM) whether you're a true believer in AGW all the way over to denying it completely.

      Of course, in the real world, not only do we not discuss China's possible particulate-based contribution to GW, we even exempt them from even discussions about adhering to Kyoto, despite the fact that they've been the largest global C02 emitter two years running now and the rate of increase is accelerating...

  • It's almost like mother nature is giving humanity some 'gentle' urging to move-out and get our own place.

    Pretty soon, however, if we don't get our ass in gear I have a feeling we might find all our stuff thrown out on the front lawn...if you follow the analogy.

  • Whitewash. (Score:4, Funny)

    by I(rispee_I(reme (310391) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:24PM (#23972131) Journal

    It is comical to me that in the past decade, I've seen the headlines purchased by oil company spin doctors go from:

    Global Warming: Fact or Fiction?

    to

    Global Warming: Are We Causing It?

    to

    Global Warming: What Can We Do About It?

    to

    Antarctica: The New Hawaii

  • by tomtomtom777 (1148633) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:24PM (#23972141) Homepage

    What surprises me is that there has not been any significant change in sea level [grida.no] even though the sea level rose about 130m [wikipedia.org] since the last ice age.

    I thought flooding was one of the major dangers of global warning. Where did the ice go?

  • Probably Not (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrMunkey (1039894) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:31PM (#23972273) Homepage

    According to this article [nytimes.com] the information was really extended beyond what the reporter had received from the scientist.

    In fact, the Independent's story -- the opening sentences and headline at least -- go way beyond what Mark Serreze of the National Snow and Ice Data Center tells the reporter.

    It was also suggested that the ice may have been flushed out due to the movement of water rather than melting so much. This flow of water might be caused by greenhouse gasses though.

  • Cryosphere Chart (Score:5, Informative)

    by ViperOrel (1286864) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:31PM (#23972283)
    This is where I look to keep track of what's happening with the north pole:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/ [uiuc.edu]

    Best graph is :
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg [uiuc.edu]

    My friends refer to it a climate-porn...

    Can't say I strongly disagree since it has the feel of watching a loooong slow train wreck...
  • Cyclic? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ATestR (1060586) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:42PM (#23972463) Homepage

    Mod me down if you will, but I heard one report that ice levels right now are higher than at the same time last year.

    The NW Passage [wikipedia.org] has been open in the recent past from (1905 [wikipedia.org] - 1948 [hnsa.org]). Accurate measurement of the "melting" began in 1979, probably about the time ice coverage peaked. [newsbusters.org] As a cursory search will show, it has also been open in the more distant past as well.

    The freeze/thaw of the arctic is clearly cyclic. Whether it is clear evidence of global warming or not is a question to be considered. Man's impact on this warming, if the warming is actually happening, is another question altogether.

  • by sjs132 (631745) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:43PM (#23972473) Homepage Journal

    After the ice melts, the poles flip. Eventually we'll be in the next iceage... It has nothing to due with my SUV or your solar panels, it is the nature of the cycle of destruction. After the mass extinction, the strong will survive and slowly rebuild. Our Children and generations more will forget what came before. They will worship our relics and call God by his new name: ComPewTur

    Am I kidding? Maybe, Maybe not...

  • Not so fast... (Score:4, Informative)

    by j.e.hahn (1014) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:44PM (#23972489)

    The NY Times' environmental blogger has a bit of an analysis of this including a great animation of sea ice growth and melt from 1980 to 2007.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/whats-really-up-with-north-pole-sea-ice/index.html [nytimes.com]

    From my read of his post, it sounds like the Independent may have over-stated its case and mis-represented the words of the experts they interviewed. Which isn't to say things aren't bad...

  • The Cyrosphere Today (Score:5, Informative)

    by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:51PM (#23972599) Journal
    The Cryosphere Today [uiuc.edu] is a web site run by the University of Illinois. It gives daily information on the extent of polar sea ice.

    As shown here [uiuc.edu] and here [uiuc.edu] and here [uiuc.edu], the arctic ice extent is actually greater than last year, although lower than historical averages.

    We seem to have conflicting data.
  • Yeah, except that... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bobby Mahoney (1005759) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:55PM (#23972665)
    right now the cap is 10.5mm square kilometers, vs. 7.5mm this time last year. Hacks.
    • by MyNymWasTaken (879908) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @01:25AM (#23978239)

      Yep, you are smarter that all those stupid scientists. They didn't realize that 10.5 is bigger than 7.5. You sure showed them!

      It couldn't have anything to do with that larger figure being primarily thin one-year ice that melts quicker than normally thick ice formed over many years like the article said, now could it?

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