Now NASA Says It's Getting Warmer


The short story: it's melting!!
Meltwater stream flowing into a large moulin in the ablation zone
(area below the equilibrium line) of the Greenland ice sheet.
Photo by Roger J. Braithwaite, The University of Manchester, UK.

Well, despite the fact that the George Bush Gang has been shushing scientists who dare to disagree with his administration's fantastical world view, now an entire governmental agency has come out and stated that global warming is occurring.

Two studies were recently published, documenting changes in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, confirming that climate warming is changing how much water remains locked in Earth's largest storehouses of ice and snow (Greenland pictured at top and right). As if there could be any doubt regarding their conclusions, NASA recently published a satellite study of both regions and goes so far as to directly tie these changes to global warming, describing the survey as "the most comprehensive" ever for both regions.

Based on satellite mapping of ice sheets, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Glaciology, the survey validated computer models projecting the effects of global climate change on Earth. In the NASA press release, the study's lead author, Jay Zwally said of the data;

If the trends we're seeing continue and climate warming continues as predicted, the polar ice sheets could change dramatically. The Greenland ice sheet could be facing an irreversible decline by the end of the century.

Unfortunately, NASA did not go so far as to directly link global warming to human burning of fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas. As a result, it is possible that the Bush Gang will claim that warming is due to cow farts, echoing claims from an earlier administration.

My question; how long it will take to silence NASA?

Thanks, Dawn!

Note: As is always the case, the top featured photograph is linked to the site where the original is located. In this case, the featured image is linked to an archived NASA story about ice sheet movement in Greenland that you will find to be quite interesting.

More like this

But if cow farts were to blame, we could so justify eating those donut burgers.

Non-educated question: In addition to raising sea-level, does the melting of glaciers have a significant effect on salinity of oceans? And, if so, would that cause problems for marine life?

The BBC reports CO2 levels are at 381 ppm, 100 ppm above the "pre-industrial average." And these data come from that other global-warming alarmist body, NOAA.

So now W will need to shut up the weather guys, too.

In answer to Karl... increased carbon dioxide levels are blamed directly for massive, worldwide destruction of coral reefs. CO2 dissolves in the upper layer of ocean, acidifying it and killing the coral. Now that the ocean's upper layer is nearly saturated, thus not absorbing (much) CO2 any more, CO2 concentration is shooting up at the rate atmospheric models had predicted. The delay while the coral reefs were being eliminated left the false impression that the crisis was not so bad as was feared.

By Nathan Myers (not verified) on 13 Mar 2006 #permalink

I'm NOT on board with the bush agenda or anything (in fact, I spend most of my waking hours combatting it, which is how I found your website), but I just want to grasp that graphic of Greenland above a bit better.

Because to me it looks as if some parts of Greenland are melting fast, but OTHER parts of Greenland seem to be adding quite a bit of ice, if I understand the graphic properly. Yes, there's more extreme melting afoot on the coasts, up to 60 cm/yr, but there are much wider swaths of +20 in the middle. Could this be relevant to any arguments about sea level rises? I'm not a scientist, and am just curious.

Another answer to Karl-

First of all, very insightful question.

Changing salinity is a potential factor in additional climate effects in the North Atlantic. The sinking of cold, highly saline water in the North Atlantic is part of what drives the Gulf Stream and its extension, the North Atlantic drift. If the water in the North Atlantic loses too much of its salinity it won't sink as much when it gets cold and there's a chance that the Gulf Stream will reduce its flow and northern Europe will get much COLDER. Interesting side-effect of global warming.

If you're interested in this, try doing some searches on:

North Atlantic Deep Water, Wally Broecker and Thermohaline circulation.



Another answer to your question - Sea water is denser than glacial freshwater. Dense means it sinks more readily. To put it simplest, ocean currents run in a global loop powered by equatorial heat. The heated surface oceanwater follows this 'convection' loop, looking somehwat like this: â

The Americas/Atlantic are on the left of the â, the Horn of Africa is nestled above the midpoint join, and Asia and the Pacific containing the rightmost part of the â. The heated, and slightly less dense surface layers of seawater travels the circuit headed toward Greenland and the Arctic Ocean where it cools and dives/drops, following the ocean floor headed back to the Pacific side of the loops, where it warms as it travels, rises and begins again. That's your water and weather cycle, transfering heat energy globally and maintaining a sort of equlibrium.

The answer to your question is that if polar/glacial melts of fresh water accelerate and dump into the existing flow cycle, you decrease salinity and therefore seawater density which removes the impetus for all that North Atlantic flow to drop/dive. The engine slows or stops.

The long and short of that scenario seems to be that Earth's hot bits lose ocean heat transfer and so their temperatures would rise and Nathan's ecosystems suffer stagnation and heat damage. The colder bits lose the influx of heat from gulfstream currents and lose their seasonal variability creating the potential for localized cold-related ecosystem failures. Some say this is what has caused Ice Ages. Sounds right to me. When the engine slows or stops, the end result of global warming is, ironically, overall global chill or freeze.

But if cow farts were to blame, we could so justify eating those donut burgers.

No you couldn't, because you couldn't justify keeping so many cow herds, and chopping down so many forests to provide grazing land for them. When you pay to buy burgers, you're paying to increase the number of cows there are. It's not like fishing, where you're paying to decrease the number of fish.

In addition to raising sea-level, does the melting of glaciers have a significant effect on salinity of oceans? And, if so, would that cause problems for marine life?

Globally, no way. Several metres of sea level rise will do nothing to substantially increase the several kilometres depth of sea there already is. The marine life won't even notice.

Locally, though, scientists worry that the increasing fresh water pouring off Greenland and the Siberian rivers due to global warming will produce just enough reduction in salinity to disrupt the Atlantic's thermohaline circulation (THC) system. If it shuts down completely, we in north western Europe are in a world of frozen hurt, which would be an ironic consequence of global warming for us.

It wouldn't be fun for the southern states of the USA either, because our winter heating is your summer "air conditioning", and without it, the hurricanes of 2006 are the least you can expect from a superheated Gulf of Mexico that will have no way to lose that warm water.

Also, some climate simulations done by the UK's Meteorological office have suggested that the shutdown of the THC could drive the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the band of rain over the equator, southwards, making the southern USA and Central America much more arid than present.

One explanation for the increase in the middle is the combination of the meting glacier and warmer air increases the humidity level. This leads to more snow storms. Since the middle of the ice sheet is more insulated, the snow lasts the longest, and we see an increase due to the higher snowfall. Think of an ice cube floating in a glass of water, and as the ice melts, you sprinkle small amounts of ice chips on top. Temporarily, you'll see an increase in the middle, but eventually you'll be out of ice.

Strident naysayers frequently mention volcanoes as a significant contributor to greenhouse gas buildup. Is there data that compares the amount and influence of volcanic gasses (or from other significant natural sources) to those of man made origin?

Just wait, it gets even better. The permafrost in Siberia is also melting. Basically it's a huge frozen peat bog and when it melts the methane that is usually traped in the ice is released thus adding to the problem.

Strident naysayers frequently mention volcanoes as a significant contributor to greenhouse gas buildup. Is there data that compares the amount and influence of volcanic gasses (or from other significant natural sources) to those of man made origin?

Look at the Mauna Loa atmospheric CO2 analyses, e.g. here and here. These show a gradual rise in CO2 over time with a small annual cycle associated with photosynthesis.

If volcanoes erupting were the main cause of the increase, you'd see two things: (1) big jumps in CO2 shortly after an eruption, and (2) changes in CO2 proportional to the size of the eruptions (e.g. Mt. St. Helens gives you more than, say, Stromboli, and Pinatubo dwarfs both).

You don't see either of those -- instead you see a smooth curve regardless of how active the Earth's volcanoes are. Ergo, volcanoes aren't the main cause of CO2 increases.

This argument isn't quantitative, but I'm sure a little Googlewhacking will turn up more.

By ColoRambler (not verified) on 14 Mar 2006 #permalink

I'm surprised, and pleased, to get answers to my question. Thanks to Nathan, T-ball and fouro.
I have read about the Thermohaline circuit. I understand that. But that was not my question. Perhaps I was not clear in specifying that I was asking about OCEAN creatures - that live in a saline environment as opposed to fresh-water. What effect will decreasing salinity have on (ocean)marine life in the area (or the whole ocean, or all oceans) where it occurs. After all marine creatures evolved in the saline environment, not in fresh water. (I think that) marine creatures cannot survive if captured and moved to a freshwater environment. Don't aquaria have to salinate the tanks that have ocean creatures in them. Do aquaria have displays with both ocean and fresh-water creatures in them?

Yawn. Has NASA ever denied that the climate has gotten warmer? Here's NASA in January 2002, back when they were "silenced":

Measurements from a NASA Langley Research Center satellite instrument dispute a recent
theory that proposes that clouds in the Tropics might cool the Earth and counteract predictions of
global warming. The Langley instrument indicates these clouds would instead slightly strengthen
the greenhouse effect to warm the Earth.

Or maybe NASA has never really been silenced, and you guys are all a bunch of suckers for the media.

Yes, unfortunately NASA didn't link global warming to humans - since that really would be NEWS.

karl, marine biology's out of my scope for sure but my understanding is that free-ocean species are less hardy than freshwater ones, with tolerance to variance in salinity being a mostly one-way street thing. (Now I want to go do some googling.) What I do understand is the effects of global warming on habitat and saline balance is worse news for freshwater and brackish populations due to searise. Ches Bay and similar weatersheds like Puget Sound would face chemistry problems as well as loss of those boundary areas due to rise and groundwater innundation. Bacterial/Algae blooms are becoming more prevelant in these areas bringing all kinds of weird CO2 and Ph-related effects. Those domino into tidewater biomes and legged-critter biology, and therefore human economics too, obviously.

The way that I see it, global warming is increasing at a astonishing rate. It is felt almost every where on this planet. Floods were reported in equatorial regions, due to rising sea level. In some temperate countries, the temperature has become so warm that it did not even snow in winter, and areas where skiing takes place find little snow.

Words are such wonderful things. Of course the climate is warming. Everyone agrees that is true. The arguement is mans contribution.

I will personally get worried when it is warmer than we know it was just 1500 years ago and it is a long long way from that yet. The ice sheets of Iceland and Greenland were further from the coast then than they are now in 800 A.D. The Vikings had freaking dairy farms in Iceland and grew crops. When you can support crops and dairy farms in Iceland with Dark Age technology.

Come on people. Who do you think finances these huge efforts to scare us? It is the Oil companies you morons. By sending the Left off chasing the Ghost of Global Warming (or more correctly Human induced Global Warming) they do not focus their efforts on the real threat to their bottom line. Alternative fuels and new technology.

It is all smoke and mirrors and they are laughing their way to record profits.

By Jeff Stuckey (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink

Greenland becoming green?! Oh no!!! Next thing you know, people might actually decide to live in the gazillions of acres that were once a frozen wasteland.

Global Warming is a natural phenomenon, as is Global Cooling. In the 1970's, the scientific community was convinced in an astonishing global cooling occurring ( read the source articles for some sober perspective on "scientifically accepted fact". Yes, now the spin is that there was no concensus regarding the cooling trend, but that has been retroactively applied.

This is not a Bush agenda issue (whom I despise whole heartedly). Warming is occurring, so while we need to lower ghg emissions, we better also get used to the fact that our climate is volatile.

To be the current devils advocate, consider this: Scientists are always searching for funding. If climate researchers find "nothing provacative" will they get continued funding for the research they are doing? This is a real factor, since it is the acedemic world's version of marketing.

I know the popular idea is that scientists are all noble ethicists who could not possibly conceive of distortion, but in reality, it just ain't so. (Present company excepted, of course, no offense ;) )

With regard to salinity tolerances -

The point was already made that the total volume added to the oceans wouldn't be enough to noticably change the salinity. Most saltwater fish react very poorly to sudden change in salinity (minutes or hours) and thrive best at a certain salinity. However, the salinity change will happen over years and will not be drastic.

I keep a small saltwater aquarium, and weekly I add freshwater equal to about 1/20 of its volume to replace evaporation. This is a far larger and faster salinity change than the oceans will see, and my fish and other sealife don't show any ill effects. Non-CO2 pollution and environment degradation, and overfishing, are what you need to focus your attention on if you want the oceans alive in the next decade. Check my URL.

Gee I just went to work this morning and it was 5 degrees. I would like to see this global warming. Gee, Atlanta was only 34 degrees this morning. I dont call this global warming, I call it climate change which has been proven to have happened over the entire life span of the earth. We warm, we cool, we warm again and on the cycle goes.

SO, when the ice sheet melts and there is all this wonderful new land available (probably as many islands since the ocean will rise), I wonder if the U.S. Government will want to invade Greenland? Right new Denmark has claims to Greenland with Greenland being given home-rule. But these seem like not enough to stop the U.S. from taking it.

Maybe W wanted to melt the ice so he'd have a country to conquer!

Just a few years ago we had people ranting about the ozone layer. Where are they now that the hole has closed? Only idiots believe that our climate isn't changing. Another larger group of idiots think they know why.

NASA has been recording the temperature on Mars for a good while now. They are currently seeing the highest temperatures ever recorded. Maybe the martians are to blame OR MAYBE OUR STAR IS SIMPLY HOTTER.

Considering that the greenhouse effect can be mostly blamed on water vapor levels (95% infact, which us humans really have no impact on) can we blame Co2 as is popular these days?

Indeed man made green house gasses reach a pitiful 0.28%, versus 99.72% for natural.

Am I missing something?

(numbers are from )

Can one of you tree huggers explain why we have had several ice ages and why they dissapeared ? Surely it wasn't global warming caused by humans. Could this be happening now ?

Don' forget, global warming does not mean Warmer! Global Warming means climatic change. the Gulf stream may drop
in intensity due to the drop in salinity from the glaciers
melting. So, England, Ireland, Scotland, and all of eastern
europe will get much colder. The temperate regions in the United States will get much colder since the Jet Stream will
shift .. as it has. Every now and then you'll get a cold push
from the artic like we are experiencing on January 16th.
It's possible that we did this to ourselves over the years, it's also possible it's a combination of man-made and natural occurances. Either way I don't think we can stop this, possibly we can mitigate the effects by cutting back on greenhouse gasses. We should learn how to recycle, conserve energy, and produce cleaner energy. We are not
going to be able to stop this, I believe in 40 years, our
climate is going to look different. Also our magnetic poles are beggining to show signs of flipping. Our sun does this every 11 years during solar minimum and solar maximum. Earth core samples have show this also happens here. On
a much differnt timeline. But it does happen.

By Jerry Normandin (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink

I'll believe humans cause global warming when the Flying Spaghetti Monster tells me so.

Hi all,

Wonderful discussion going on.

I also agree that the earth is warming but I am not in agreement with the alarmist point of view. It seems there are so many theories for and against mans impact on it.

One point: The earth is not a snow globe. Many studies I read that support our impact tend to imply this. Does anyone have any knowledge of how much of our emissions escape our atmosphere.

By CeaMonkey (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink


How about none? Remember all those wonderful gases like nitrogen and oxygen that you love to breathe? Turns out (you won't believe this) gravity and the earth's rotation keep them solidly cemented around our little planet. Good thing too!

By jonnyonthespot (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink

As usual the conversation devolves to two points. We are causing global warming or it is natural and has all happened before. Pity that both arguments miss the point that global warming IS occurring and we are doing nothing to accommodate it.

We are not preparing for the time when tropical pests start moving north (southern Italy has had its first ever cases of indigenous malaria), when seasons shift(migratory birds are missing out on primary food sources for breeding), when receding glaciers threaten both flooding and dwindling water supply(Andean glaciers have lost over 50% of their volume), when wide-scale desertification causes mass migrations of human population.

As long as the conversation is about cause we avoid talking about the response to effect.

By MuglyWumple (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink

Now is the time!!! We neeed to go grab this ice and clean water to use, before it runs into the oceans and makes them rise!! this war really screwed us from getting more important issues taken cared of. It's stilll not too late... We're still alive! What's it gonna take total plant devastation, total water pollution, air pollution to finally get someone to decide that something is wrong. Or are we going to ride it out as if nothing is going to happen unitl it really is too late! There are actions to be taken!!! What nobody knows how to develope solar and wind power systems to help filter the air and water and what not! We're just going to watch the waters rise and not make any attempt to teeraform this planet for such disasters! Open your fucking hearts and minds people before your all dead and it's too late!

I would think ASPHAULT BLACK TOP is a major unrecognized culprit, as well as the worldwide clear cutting to make fields in the last century. Yes, burning of fossil fuels by millions of cars and equipment releases lots of heat, but all that pavement really captures heat passively, continously, all the time, and that is a lot of surface area. Instead of absorbing it and storing it in chemical reactions, it is reradiated out right at ground level throughout the day and night.

Yes its very true, Al gore's movie did a very good job summarizing this data.
Obviously, we need to stop releasing CO2, mostly from autos.
A new very hopeful development is the Chevrolet Volt concept car.
For further discussion and information, go to:

If you look at the tempature graph from the Washington post you could easily place a sine wave over it and it appears pretty close, I am with the temp cycle crowd.
We we just can't prove it because Jesus and the disciples didn't write down the global tempatures at the time.

The earth has been going through swings like this since the atmosphere was in place. Its not due to fossil fuels. Its due to where the earth is in relationship to galaxy. Every 250,000 years, the earth inside the solar system completes a revolution around the galaxy. For 1000 years, the earth with experience a change like we have never seen. This theory exists with and coincides will all major religions, and ancient cultures. The Christians believe Christ will set up his kingdom and rule for 1000 years. The Mayans believed that time as we know it will stop in 2012, and the world will enter a spot in the galaxy where the law of physics as we know them now will cease to exist, where mere thoughts can manifest and a euphoric society will exist for 1000 years. Heaven on earth? Kinda sounds like it to me. I could go on. The point is, life is short, and make the best decisions for those coming ahead now. There are better ways of powering cars. There are better ways of generating and transmitting electricty. Lets get to it!

@ mike.

I would agree with your sentiment. Does it really matter if we are not causing it. We do have the technology to change so let us change. If we can improve let us do so.

By CeaMonkey (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink


Gases do escape our atmosphere. It is called Atmosphereic leakage and happens on planet earth.

After doing some reasearch it appears you are right in regards to Nitogen and oxygen. These molecules are to large to reach escape velocity. I did not find a list of gases that do escape yet though.

By CeaMonkey (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink

Everyone seems to agree that Global Warming and Ice Ages have been a natural cycle of disaster in the past. Some ask, can mankind can trigger natural disasters? The answer is yes. There were forest fires long before man was on the scene. What was once solely a natural disaster is now commonly caused by man. There's no reason to believe mankind can't trigger a Global Warming disaster.

In the picture we see a huge frozen landscape with very little life on it.

If global warming can (with a little help from landscapers importing the right species) turn this into a rainforest with monkeys swinging from trees; couldn't this end up to do more good than harm?

The worlds eyes need to be turning towards China and other developing Eastern countries.
China alone is planning to build over 500 additional COAL fired power stations over the next 8 years. FIVE HUNDRED !!. Thats an average of 1 additional power station every 6 days!!
No-one can deny them the right to power their ever expanding population and technology, but to use coal is just irresponsible to the enviroment.
Each station will produce an additional 5 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
In addition to this India has plans for over 200 additional power stations and the U.S an additional 70.
Please dont blame the motorist (easy scapegoat - as always). In 1990 the U.K had 23 million cars. In 2006 we now have over 30 million cars, yet our annual C02 emmissions have dropped by 5.7% since 1990.
Car manufacturers are at least trying to be more responsible to our enviroment. (being held back by oil companies doesn't help). I dont see the power generation industry being being anywhere near as 'green'.

By Lateknight (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink

Karl the lessing of salinity in the oceans is small and localized, mostly in the north atlantic. Even though it is small it will mean a difference in some of the currents. It is not enough of a change to effect plants and animals.

Physical oceanographers examine salinity in much greater detail than marine biologists. Marine biologist measure salinity in parts per thousand because anything below that has no effect, physical oceanographers measure salinity in parts per million because differences in salinity that are that small do effect the physical processes.

By Joseph O'Sullivan (not verified) on 17 Jan 2007 #permalink

You kids it's called Greenland for a reason! Solar activity is up for the last 350 years,a small peak of long wave cycle.Yes it going to get warmer for awhile but when solar activity falls it will take many years ..1000's for the melting to stop and then ice up again.Long term this is normal for the last few 100,000 years or so.Long term the sun will cool.This is the result of normal star aging but dont worry to much the sun will grow as it cools so we're ok for at least 1 or 2 billion years.Most of the green revolution has been attribited to more atmospheric co2 and longer wetter growing seasons.Our new foods have less nuitrients and more carbs.Now your overweight and malnurished,no wonder you dont see the error of small short term thinking.

The moral of the story....put your party association aside and vote for the most enviro friendly candidate in 2008....because frankly who gives a shit about abortion, religion, taxes, and stem cell research when some of our major cities are underwater and the earth becomes uninhabitable.

Zap the necralous clouds with lasers and microwaves. Dissasciate ozone depleting bonds with swaths of RF beams. Seed the oceans with iron powder to accelerate photoplankton. Eosin dye powder spread librally on icepack and glaciers to accelerate melt, where needed.

The little branch of the thermohaline on western Greenland is a twisty anomally. If 1600 year cycle time is right for the thermohaline, just how does this cycle fit to climate change history?

A bit off topic, but the heavy elements in the solar system mean a few stellar system cycles came and went already. Lets get off this extinction cycle and go to space. Once we have a viable off-world abode, it would be fine to start experimenting with terraforming sciences. Till, then, we had better adapt, or die like the rest before us.

In 10 years the USA will be like California... pleasant all year round! I LOVE GLOBAL WARMING! What's the big deal?


except the fact that the last week i have left my front porch to see ice covering my lawn, porch, etc in sunny socal.

Sorry, Mike.

You wrote: "Every 250,000 years, the earth inside the solar system completes a revolution around the galaxy."

What would Jesus do? I'll tell you. He was a good carpenter. He measured things correctly.

"The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. Solar System (sun and planets) orbits MW every 225000000 years"

"The Milky Way rotates around an axis joining the galactic poles. Viewed from the north galactic pole, the rotation of the Milky Way is clockwise, and the spiral arms trail in the same direction. The period of rotation decreases with the distance from the center of the galactic system. In the neighborhood of the solar system the period of rotation is more than 200 million years. The speed of the solar system due to the galactic rotation is about 270 km/sec (about 170 mi/sec)."

Distant objects outside the Milky Way, and therefore not participating in the rotation of our galaxy, will change position dramatically, yet consistently, with respect to galactic coordinates. For example, consider a galaxy that lies on the galactic equator opposite the Milky Way's axis of rotation today (say b of 0° and l of 180°). In approximately 110 million years from today the co-ordinate system would rotate so that that galaxy was at a point opposite its current position (b of 0° and l of 0°). As measured in this rotating frame, everything outside the Milky Way revolves around the Milky Way in a period of 220 million years.

Our Sun, together with the whole Solar System, is orbiting the Galactic Center at the distance given, on a nearly circular orbit. We are moving at about 250 km/sec, and need about 220 million years to complete one orbit (so the Solar System has orbited the Galactic Center about 20 to 21 times since its formation about 4.6 billion years ago).

I ask you again: what would Jesus do? He would know the truth, and preach it. If you don't want to read Astronomy books, at least read your Bible and be more sure of the value of Truth.

Can one of you tree huggers explain why we have had several ice ages and why they dissapeared ? Surely it wasn't global warming caused by humans. Could this be happening now ?

Changes in solar insolation, due to Milankovitch cycles. Solar insolation has been heavily monitored, and has not changed significantly since about 1980, and there has been no trend since about 1955. Furthermore - the total variance in solar insolation over the last 250 years is no more than 0.6 watts per square meter (and possibly as small as 0.4 watts per square meter) Man-made changes in levels of well-mixed greenhouse gasses (primarily CO2) reached that level of effect in about 1910. Today, human emitted GHGs warm the earth by 2.3 watts per square meter - nearly 4 times the total variance in solar over the last 250 years. See these graphs from the IPCC TAR.

More importantly, the stratosphere has cooled. If the sun was the cause of global warming, the stratosphere would warm along with the rest of the atmosphere. The fact that the lower atmosphere has warmed while the upper atmosphere has cooled unambiguously rules out the sun.

In the picture we see a huge frozen landscape with very little life on it.
If global warming can (with a little help from landscapers importing the right species) turn this into a rainforest with monkeys swinging from trees; couldn't this end up to do more good than harm?

Glaciers scrape up soil and push it out in front of them. Nearly all of Greenland's soil was pushed into the ocean over 70,000 years ago, as the warm Eemian interglacial ended and the Wisconsonian glaciation (more commonly known as the most recent ice age) began. The rest was pushed into Greenland's southern coastal areas. There's no soil under that ice, so once the ice is gone, most of Greenland will be bare rock for thousands of years. Note the Canadian Shield was scraped clean of its soil during the Wisconsonian glaciation. It has been ice-free for about 10,000 years, but it still has very thin soils, suitable only for a few kinds of pine. In the 1960s, soil mismanagement in Sudbury, Quebec, left much of the surrounding area barren rock - so much so that NASA selected it as a one of several training grounds for astronauts who would travel to the moon. Since then, most of the area has been restored to its normal soil thickness.

The rapid climate changes shown in the geological and ice core records are often followed by extinctions. The more rapid the changes, the more widespread the extinctions. CO2 is at the highest level reached in over 400,000 years - having risen from the preindustrial level of 280 ppm in 1750 to about 310 by 1960, and thence to over 380 ppm today. This is the fastest CO2 rise in at least 400,000 years, and quite possibly the fastest since the PETM (a severe warming event that caused a severe extinction). It would be incredibly foolish to assume that more than a tiny minority of animals could adapt to the climate shift implied by such a rapid rise in CO2. Nearly all primates (most likely excepting humans) are far more likely to face extinction due to global warming rather than expansion into Greenland.

In human history, local climate shifts have played important roles in the causes of many famines, some costing thousands or even millions of human lives. This does not bode well for a global climate shift.

Actually, what is happening is that the penguins use their feathers to warm up and melt the ice. They do it on purpose, in order to make us think we are responsible for the global warming thing and to destabilize democratic economies. It is all a farse, we are not responsible for anything!

"Just a few years ago we had people ranting about the ozone layer. Where are they now that the hole has closed?"

There's still several big freaking holes in the ozone layer. Burn time here was only 9 minutes today. We're told to stay out of the sun between 11am and 4pm when the sun's about. But I gather that it is predicted that the situation will improve, thanks to environmental regulations, less CFCs etc.

26 million square kms of ozone hole at the moment:

I mean 26 million square kms of ozone hole on average this year... not at the moment. Basically it's as big as it's ever been...

Jonathan Vos Post-

While you may have the time to look up the gritty details, (and I learned a lot from your post, ty) I do not. I was not preaching religion or science, but trying to show that there are several theories and possible causes, however off the wall. But, I see I failed to make my point to the MBA types out there like yourself.

Therefore, since you so grossly missed my point - let me put it so an even an MBA (and caveman - sorry GEICO) can understand it. We are using old technology to do everyday things, regardless of what temperature it is outside.

That better, or do I need to further simplify?

Global warming = Second coming = Hidden Mahdi = Messiah = end of Mayan calendar.

Aigh! the sky is falling get out your underwear - I mean umbrellas

Everyone has to have an apocalypse....

By Ted Sbardella (not verified) on 18 Jan 2007 #permalink

soy de ensenada baja mexico y me preocupa mucho lo que esta pasando con el planeta,es alarmante y desolador.adonde vamos a terminar,la destruccion avanza mas rapido que la tecnologia,y la poca tecnologia esta en manos de los que mas dinero tienen,entonces,ACEMOS TECNOLOGIA PARA SALVAR AL PLANETA? O ACEMOS TECNOLOGIA PARA TENER MAS DINERO?Yo creo que estamos en maos de Dios,pero al parecer estamos en manos de nosotros mismos,.ya mejor no le sigo porque voy a terminar mas molesto de lo que estoy.y no es bueno para el planeta.

By nestor gutierrez (not verified) on 30 Jan 2007 #permalink

soy de ensenada baja california mexico y me preocupa mucho lo que esta pasando con el planeta,es alarmante y desolador.adonde vamos a terminar,la destruccion avanza mas rapido que la tecnologia,y la poca tecnologia esta en manos de los que mas dinero tienen,entonces,ACEMOS TECNOLOGIA PARA SALVAR AL PLANETA? O ACEMOS TECNOLOGIA PARA TENER MAS DINERO?Yo creo que estamos en manos de Dios,pero al parecer estamos en manos de nosotros mismos,.ya mejor no le sigo porque voy a terminar mas molesto de lo que estoy.y no es bueno para el planeta.

By nestor gutierrez (not verified) on 30 Jan 2007 #permalink

2/3 of the earth is covered by water, the other 1/3 is land. Ice masses such as the one in Greenland make up less than 5% of the land. So if we lose a 12 inches of thickness of all these iced over areas every year, then the oceans will rise 0.3 inches per year. That is assuming that none of it ends up as vapor (humidity) in the warmed area. For every dollar spent to combat this effect, we will relize $100 in benefit due to the reduction in costs associated in dealing with winters. Rainfall will increase in aired areas and people will be able to grow crops where they currently can't. All in all being warmer isn't that bad!

It sure beats going back to the last ice-age! Wjich come and go, but unfortunately a human especially the stupid ones won't be around to observe this natural phenomonon.

Great article & I really like the info on glacier melt, what a huge subject to be talking about.

Even though ice melt is a big concern, I'd like to see more people discussing the impact of CO2s getting dumped into the ocean. Does anyone really know the consequences to humans if we lose a substantial part of sea life? Plankton, for example, is at the bottom of the food chain. A ton of species depend on it. The more ACIDIC the ocean becomes the less plankton will exist.

* is under construction at present


By Deathridesahorse (not verified) on 18 Nov 2007 #permalink

Beyond present and near future effects of global warming on the glacial ice, oceanic salinity, atmospheric composition and on earth's plant and animal constituency, etc., has there been results from study of planetary shifting? When do I need to pack my bags for Alaska?

By coppertop098 (not verified) on 11 Feb 2008 #permalink

i think wat is happening to alska and antartica is very serious. . . umm i guess i should start a kool project about it.... shut i kant lie i dont like projects but i do kare about what is happening to our planet i think everyone should kuz its going to affect our planet!!!!!![â¥][â¥][â¥] well i think im going to try not to do anything bad to our planet. . i said try. . .!!!!=)

By converse freak[â¥] (not verified) on 31 Aug 2008 #permalink