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Monday, July 7, 2008

Are the ice caps melting?


The better question is...

"So what?"

The Register has a good article countering the scare going 'round about the North Pole melting.

Firstly, the story is neither alarming nor unique.

In the August 29, 2000 edition of the New York Times, the same NSIDC [National Snow and Ice Data Center] expert, Mark Serreze, said:

"There's nothing to be necessarily alarmed about. There's been open water at the pole before. We have no clear evidence at this point that this is related to global climate change."

During the summer of 2000 there was "a large body of ice-free water about 10 miles long and 3 miles wide near the pole". Also in 2000, Dr Claire Parkinson at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center was quoted as saying: "The fact of having no ice at the pole is not so stunning."

Secondly, the likelihood of the North Pole being ice free this summer is actually quite slim. There are only a few weeks left where the sun is high enough to melt ice at the North Pole. The sun is less than 23 degrees above the horizon, and by mid-August will be less than 15 degrees above it. Temperatures in Greenland have been cold this summer, and winds are not favorable for a repeat. Currently, there is about one million km2 more ice than there was on this date last summer.
Read the whole article

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