Biggest recorded melt in the Arctic
Sat, 15 Sep 2012 6:22p.m.
By Tom McRae
This year will be the biggest ice melt ever recorded in the Arctic.
Scientists mapping the shrinking ice flows predict that in only a few years time the North Pole will be nothing but open water in summer.
That's meant oil companies have been able to move in and begin drilling for the first time in decades.
Scientists have been gathering data to put together the first 3D map of the Arctic ice-flows.
“What we're trying to do is using sonar, looking up to map the underside of the ice,” says Hanumant Singh of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “At the same time other researchers are going to walk out on the ice and map it in lots of detail with laser scanning.”
There's an urgency to their work.
“Under the present trend all of that will disappear very quickly, within about three or four years,” says William Trossell of Scanlab Projects.
“This is way beyond what anyone expected to be seeing in 2012,” says Simon Boxer of Greenpeace. “We're probably 20 years ahead of what the science expected for the melt, due to climate change, and now there's a great concern that we're watching the death spiral of the Arctic in the next few years.”
In only four years, all the ice at the North Pole could be gone during the summer months for the first time in thousands of years.
“The poles are the most sensitive to temperature warming, and obviously if you see them falling over first that gives you an indication that the warming is global, is significant and is starting to reach the point of no return,” says Mr Boxer.
As the ice melts, the oil companies have moved in. Shell has been given permission to begin exploratory drilling for the first time in two decades, but has already run into rather large obstacles.
“They drilled for one day and a large iceberg came past and they had to abandon the area,” says Mr Boxer. “That shows the great risks that they're taking because not only are they creating more climate change, but of course if we have a deep-sea oil disaster in the Arctic we're talking about an inability of cleaning up the oil there.”
It's the same oil rig Greenpeace activists, including Lucy Lawless, occupied when it was berthed in Taranaki in February.
“The Arctic is very much the canary in the mineshaft of the world's climate,” says Mr Trossell. “Changes out here are rapid and dramatic.”
While the changes to the ice are rapid, everyone's hoping nothing dramatic happens on the rigs before they're due out of the Arctic at the end of the month.
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17/09/2012 7:13:34 p.m.
It could also be that the worst carbon polluters are the EU, and guess which pole it is closer too?Kyoto was all about high-jacking the enviromentalists for trade gain to protect the EU's right to pollute.Take Germany which was 460 tonne/sq km when the UK was 430 tonne, and NZ was around 200 tonne and the USA about 150 tonne, even china at the time was closer to 120 tonne.In terms of air quality for carbon pollution, the EU is the worst. so how does Kyoto handle it? It uses man made emissions and ignores carbon soaks. NZ forrestry was mostly planted pre-1990, so for Kyoto purposes, its excluded. NZ farming is mostly pre 1990, but livestock breathe, and methane production of livestock is included for NZ. If we exclude pre 1990 forrestry, then surely we should also exclude pre 1990 farm livestock levels?We also use EU growth rates when NZ forrests grow faster and will soak carbon quicker than EU. Now isn't that biased for EU favour?We penalise methane around 17x the rate of carbon dioxide. Okay, what does that actually mean? Well in farming, it makes farming more polluting than a dessert. If take the amazon jungle, it is the biggest methane producer in the world. anything decaying, be it plant or animal, or decay in digestion, produces methane. This means that if apply methane rates for natural decay, not even a forrest in the world can be 'green'. If apply NZ forrests (carbon soak) excluded because pre 1990, use NZ rowth rates, then NZ around carbon neutral. If dont penalise livestock for methane, then we are much better than carbon neutral and one of the cleanest/greenist countries in the world when it comes to net man made carbon emmisions per sq km. but we cant have that, as it might tax the polluters and reward mostly less developed countries that pollute less carbon. While the US is large, and has a large total population, its population density is even lower than NZs, hence its carbon emissions per sq km low. The US also has huge forrestry excluded under Kyoto ...
17/09/2012 7:25:35 a.m.
Which Way is UP wrote:
But more ICE in Antarctica since 1979, Its then obvious science to suggest the CO2 is a heavy Gas so goes to the bottom of a contained vessel, So The South pole MUST at the TOP of the World, NIWA is right again. Wow
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