Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Melting Ice, Sounds Good

More than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003, according to new NASA satellite data that show the latest signs of what scientists say is global warming.
Now, I make no claim to being a geologist nor a climate scientist. But in my lowly ignorance, this sounds like very good news to me. Assuming NASA has it right this time, not a given, who wouldn't want Greenland to be green again? Would the Alaskans freezing their buns off right now really be disappointed if it were warmer there?

The story goes on to report, "Scientists studying sea ice will announce that parts of the Arctic north of Alaska were 9 to 10 degrees warmer this past fall"

So, is that from, say -20F to -10F, or 0C to 10C, or what? Neither sounds like a bad thing, but it would be helpful to know.

But the most curious part of the whole report has to be this:
"The pace of change is starting to outstrip our ability to keep up with it, in terms of our understanding of it," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., a co-author of the Arctic amplification study."
Now, that I definitely believe. Get back to me when the pace of your understanding has caught up. Maybe then I'll be alarmed. Right after I've finished typing up that "Thank You" note to the grape growers in Greenland.

As always, we have to remember that even if the mean temperature of the Earth (if such a thing can be defined) is rising over the longer term, that doesn't provide evidence that human activity has much if anything to do with it. So, I'm still not sure whether to be grateful to Exxon or old Sol.

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