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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

North Pole summers virtually ice-free in 10 years: survey




A group of British researchers known as the "Catlin Arctic Survey", have stated that they believe the North Pole will be devoid of ice during the summer months,within the next ten years!! The group took measurements of ice and snow in an expedition to the Arctic over a three-month period,and determined that most of the ice is presently in the Arctic is first year ice that measures about 1.8 metres thick.Peter Wadhams who is Professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge said Wednesday the ice is too thin to survive next summer's ice melt. 

In March 2007 Wadhams went under the Arctic again in HMS Tireless and found that the winter ice had been thinning even more quickly; it was now 50% of the 1976 thickness. 
“This enormous ice retreat in the last two summers is the culmination of a thinning process that has been going on for decades, and now the ice is just collapsing,” Wadhams said. 
The scale of the ice loss has also been shown by other satellite-based observations that are used to measure the area of the Arctic ice cap as it grows and shrinks with the seasons. 
In winter it normally reaches about 5.8m square miles before receding to about 2.7m square miles in summer. 
In 2007, however, the sun shone for many more days than normal, raising water temperatures to 4.3C above the average. By September the Arctic icecap had lost an extra 1.1m square miles, equivalent to more than 12 times the area of Britain. 
That reduced the area of summer ice to 1.6m square miles, 43% smaller than it was in 1979, when satellite observations began. 
At the heart of the melting in the Arctic is a simple piece of science. Ice is white, so most of the sunlight hitting it is reflected back into space. When it melts, however, it leaves open ocean, which, being darker, absorbs light and so gets warmer. This helps to melt more ice. It also makes it harder for ice to form again in winter. The process accelerates until there is no more ice to melt. 
Wadhams said: “This is one of the most serious problems the world has ever faced.”


Peter Wadhams was interviewed in  June 2008, and this is what he stated to a reporter of "The Independent"
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/peter-wadhams-every-time-i-visit
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/peter-wadhams-every-time-i-visit 
-the-arctic-the-ice-gets-thinner-855407.html



 




"In 1971, as a young graduate student, I was immensely excited to be sailing under the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean in a Navy submarine. In those days she was a diesel submarine, HMSOracle, accompanying the Navy's nuclear sub, HMSDreadnought, part-way towards the North Pole. The Navy saw that data collected from submarines could be of enormous scientific value, and so began an association which has lasted to the present day."
"My fifth voyage in a polar submarine was last year, aboard HMSTireless, in a survey that took her across the Arctic from Greenland towards the north coast of Alaska. Despite an accident under the ice, which killed two sailors, she accomplished a huge scientific programme including obtaining the first 3D maps of the ice underside with a multibeam sonar."




"As I revisited the underside of the ice every few years, I could see big changes going on. The ice has been getting much thinner – a change of more than 40 per cent in the past 20 years. Sea ice has a rugged underside, with deep pressure ridges pushing blocks of ice down to 50 metres or more. These are disappearing – there are only a quarter as many now as there were 20 years ago."
"This makes it much easier for ships to traverse the Arctic; tourists can travel to the Pole in summer aboard icebreakers which in the past were confined to the Arctic's fringes. But most important is the retreat of the Arctic ice."
"At first the area dropped by only 3 per cent per decade. But recently it has begun to speed up, as the reduced ice growth in winter allows the ice to break up completely under increased summer warming."
"Last summer was a record; only 4 million sq km of ice was left in September compared to the normal 8 million, and a huge area of the central Arctic, which has never been ice-free before, became blue ocean. This year, all the signs are that a greater retreat is in progress, which may for the first time make the North Pole part of an ice-free ocean. This is the biggest signal of climate change that has yet happened, and is visible from space – our blue planet is now blue right up to the North Pole, instead of having a white cap."
 What can the average person do to try and help the world's climate return to what it was? Plenty!


According to sources I have found online,these are some of the things you and I should be doing to reduce global warming:


1.We should demand our governments and businesses  rely more on wind, solar, and other safe, clean sources of power instead of fossil-fuel energy sources.


2.Cut your  electricity use by being more efficient Make conserving energy a part of your daily routine. Each time you choose a compact fluorescent light bulb over an incandescent bulb, for example, you'll lower your energy bill and keep nearly 700 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air over the bulb's lifetime. By opting for a refrigerator with the Energy Star label -- indicating it uses at least 15 percent less energy than the federal requirement -- over a less energy-efficient model, you can reduce carbon dioxide pollution by nearly a ton in total. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. (source:http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/f101.asp )





3."People should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change, the world's leading authority on global warming stated.
Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize, said that people should then go on to reduce their meat consumption even further.


Pachauri, who was re-elected the panel's chairman for a second six-year term last week, said diet change was important because of the huge greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems - including habitat destruction - associated with rearing cattle and other animals. It was relatively easy to change eating habits compared to changing means of transport, he said.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation has estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. These are generated during the production of animal feeds, for example, while ruminants, particularly cows, emit methane, which is 23 times more effective as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide. The agency has also warned that meat consumption is set to double by the middle of the century.
 (source:http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/07/food.foodanddrink)

4."The idea of painting our roofs and roads white to offset global warming is not new, but a recent study has calculated just how significantly white surfaces could impact greenhouse gas emissions."





 If" the 100 largest cities in the world replaced their dark roofs with white shingles and their asphalt-based roads with concrete or other light-colored material, it could offset 44 metric gigatons (billion tons) of greenhouse gases, the study shows. That amounts to more greenhouse gas than the entire human population emits in one year, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. The strategy could also offset the growth in carbon dioxide emissions, which account for about 75% of greenhouse gases, for the next 10 years."
"The reason for white is simple: white reflects the sun´s rays more than black does. The study´s coauthor, LBNL physicist Hashem Akbari, explained that it takes about 10 square meters of white roof to offset 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide. In warm climates, white roofs have the additional benefit of lowering the cost of air conditioning by up to 20% in hot months."
"It´s this second reason of reduced cooling costs that prompted the state of California to require in 2005 that flat-roofed commercial buildings have white roofs. In 2009, the state will require that new and retrofitted residential and commercial, with both flat and sloped roofs, be installed with heat-reflective roofing. The requirements are part of California´s energy-efficient building code."
 (source: Lisa Zyga at http://www.physorg.com/news140875649.html

"Economically, the scientists estimate that white roofs and roads could save billions of dollars per year in reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Besides offsetting global warming and reducing cooling costs, white surfaces offer a third benefit: they could cool a city by a few degrees, which dramatically reduces smog."(source: Lisa Zyga at http://www.physorg.com/news140875649.html )





5. Recycle. Every dorm and apartment has at least one recycling basket, so use it. Collect soda and beer cans leftover from the weekend, take them down to the grocery store and make a little extra money.
Minimize your use of disposable products. Many greenhouse gases are created during the production of plastics, so instead of buying plastic cups or plates for a party, use the ones you already have. And you should try and buy recycled producs such as paper:
(Sources:http://theithacan.org/am/publish/news/200702_How_to_curb_global_warming.shtm and

6. Install low-flow showerheads and faucets and you'll use half the water without decreasing performance. Then turn your hot water heater down to 120°F and see hot-water costs go down by as much as 50 percent.


7.Plant a tree in your yard:

Protecting forests is a big step on the road to curbing global warming. Trees "breathe in" carbon dioxide, but slash-and-burn farming practices, intensive livestock production, and logging have destroyed 90 percent of the native forests in the United States. And you can take action in your own backyard—planting shade trees around your house will absorb CO2, and slash your summer air-conditioning bills.






sources:http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20091014/
ice_explorers_091014/20091014?hub=SciTech and http://www.independent.co.u
k/opinion/commentators/peter-wadhams-every-time-i-visit-the-arctic-the-ice-gets-thinner-855407.html

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.