Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Arctic Ice Melt and Climate Change

Well when you think about it the whole idea of global warming isn't something that most people are intimately familiar with but most people know something about it. Now whether they know that it's a potential problem that we're going to need to deal with in the not to distant future or whether it's something that's already impacting us and will continue to do so is mostly irrelevant. People have argued for and against global warming for decades now and the grim reality is that we don't know nearly enough about our planet to know for certain that we have warmed the planet up and at the rate we're going we'll continue to do so. The environment is such an intricate system that any one thing could have a million and one effects.

But with all that said some things are starting to become stronger and stronger evidence that we are infact helping warm the planet up. One of the side effects of a warmer climate is a stronger hurricane season in the Atlantic. The current status of the hurricane season is that the NHC (National Hurricane Center) is at risk of running out of names and the season still has a ways to go. The next clear indicator will be that the polar caps will start melting and this article by the BBC clearly supports the fact that the Arctic ice sheet has been receeding for 4 straight years now and is at it's smallest area since at least the time we started observing it by satalite and quite likely longer. Granted the area the ice is covering isn't totally indicative of global warming but the smaller the surface area of the polar caps the more sunlight will be kept to warm the earth (since the white caps actually refelct sunlight).

Personally I beleive that human activity is altering the climate and ecological environment that we humans collectively live in. We've been abusing this planet for a long time and the last 150 odd years have probably been quite damaging. I beleive that things are going to get worse before they get better, sadly most global governments aren't really concerned with the current state of the environment but in time I beleive they will. When a handfull of category 5 hurricanes rip up a few costal cities similar to what could have happened so far this year people will take notice. When the weather becomes more and more erratic and the temperatures start to rise putting more pressure on strained resources the more powerful nations on the planet will simply have to decide to stop hurting the planet and find a way to fix the problem. Hopefully it won't be too late by then.

Until that time I really hope that big business heeds the warnings that scientists the world over are giving and they adjust their ways to not necessarily fix the problem but reduce the impact they're having. That at least would be a step in the right direction (that could be profitable if correctly done)

Arctic ice 'disappearing fast' (BBC)
Arctic heads into warmer future (BBC)
Alaskan people tell of climate change (BBC)

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