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Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming 378

Posted by Soulskill
from the melting-ice-and-plunging-albedo dept.
The Grim Reefer sends this news from an Associated Press report: "The Arctic isn't nearly as bright and white as it used to be because of more ice melting in the ocean, and that's turning out to be a global problem, a new study says. With more dark, open water in the summer, less of the sun's heat is reflected back into space. So the entire Earth is absorbing more heat than expected, according to a study (abstract) published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That extra absorbed energy is so big that it measures about one-quarter of the entire heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide, said the study's lead author, Ian Eisenman, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California. The Arctic grew 8 per cent darker between 1979 and 2011, Eisenman found, measuring how much sunlight is reflected back into space." The same decrease in ice contributes to the weather circumstances that led to extremely low temperatures across parts of the United States this winter.
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Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming

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  • by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @07:04PM (#46280675) Homepage

    And increased heat in the oceans can (and likely will) lead to increased cloud formation, which will alter the planet's albedo in the opposite direction. How much and how soon? Nobody knows. But the planet has been both warmer and cooler than it is now during it's long history. Each time it's damped out cycles of extreme warming and extreme cooling all by itself.

  • by deathcloset (626704) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @07:11PM (#46280747) Journal
    Looking on the bright side - thanks to all our wanton climate changing industrial activity and glacial public acceptance of the situation, we are getting our first experiences with terraforming. Admittedly, these experiences are like one's first experiences with learning how to paint - finger painting and messy, but with much larger existential consequences and no actual paint.

    Hopefully "soon" we get a good foothold on Mars, and hopefully, and this sounds weird I know, there is NO life on Mars. Because that would give us a nice "sterile planetary lab" on which to experiment as we find ways to control global climates without operating on the only global climate we have available - which we happen to depend on completely and utterly for our survival.

    Better to start experimenting on another one as soon as possible, because even when we get a handle on our climate changing activities, nature is standing by with a much larger list of climate changing activities which we will have to confront.

    Maybe Venus too - if we can fix that place we can fix anywhere! So Mars would be like our lab and Venus is like our final exam.

    And I think we really need to pass this course.
  • Re:Small problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @07:21PM (#46280821)

    Arctic ice rebounded somewhat from the all-time record low of 2012.

    However It was still the 6th lowest level on record. []

    The problem is the lack of context in whatever warped source you are reading.

  • Re:nope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chas (5144) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:51PM (#46281613) Homepage Journal

    Nowhere did I say the issue was one-dimensional.
    That was you, putting words into my mouth and trying to skew the scope of the issue and maximize argument potential while minimally helpful in working towards a working, palatable solution.

    Yes, the climate IS changing. Anyone denying that the climate is changing pretty much has blinders on.
    NO, we're NOT going to render the planet uninhabitable tomorrow. Acting like we're going to wake up at the end of this month and it's going to be 150 in the shade and only get hotter is unwarranted.
    Yes, we, as a species, need to live cleaner in a multitude of ways. Yeah, humans have been pretty frickin' nasty to the environment in the last thousand or so years, and in the last 2-300 years especially.
    NO, we should NOT simply dump millions/billions into trying whatever harebrained "band-aid" idea happens to float into the public consciousness today without extensive study. We need to KNOW that any massive changes we try to impose are going to work how we want and NOT further damage the environment.
    Yes, there are going to be changes in how people live. It's inevitable. But not ending human civilization in a heat crisis is probably worth it (depends on how I'm feeling about humanity on a given day).
    NO, we should NOT be reverting to living in caves, eating grass and rooting for grubs. And we really need to start shooting dickheads who scream about how horrible others are to the environment, yet are first class environmental nightmares themselves.

  • by operagost (62405) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @11:33PM (#46282583) Homepage Journal
    No. All proposed initiatives have been backed by increased governance, resulting in the destruction of the middle class and most human rights.
  • by jovius (974690) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @02:20AM (#46283301)

    But the planet has been both warmer and cooler than it is now during it's long history.

    Yes that's true, but never in the planet's history has one species dominated in such sudden and strong force.

    Each time it's damped out cycles of extreme warming and extreme cooling all by itself.

    Precisely, because the changes have been relatively slow and there has been plenty of time for the feedbacks to occur. At the moment humanity is acting like a once per 100 000 years super volcano in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. Every year. On top of that we are sustaining a ridiculously big cattle population, which wouldn't be able to sustain itself while cutting trees down (and thus one negative feedback loop).

    If an alien species started to pour greenhouse gases to atmosphere, inserts billion strong alien cattle population and cuts rain forests down etc I guess you would be fucking furious. So why aren't you now?

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."