Time to buy that tropical oceanfront property in the Dakotas.

In a Melting Trend, Less Arctic Ice to Go Around - New York Times

Published: September 29, 2005

The floating cap of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to what is probably its smallest size in at least a century of record keeping, continuing a trend toward less summer ice, a team of climate experts reported yesterday.

The Cryosphere Today (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign)

That shift is hard to explain without attributing it in part to human-caused global warming, the team's members and other experts on the region said.

The change also appears to be headed toward becoming self-sustaining: the increased open water absorbs solar energy that would otherwise be reflected back into space by bright white ice, said Ted A. Scambos, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., which compiled the data along with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

"Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold," Dr. Scambos said.

The data was released on the center's Web site.

On the positive side, that elusive Northwest Passage may finaly be open and useable.

The findings are consistent with recent computer simulations showing that a buildup of smokestack and tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases could lead to a profoundly transformed Arctic later this century, when much of the once ice-locked ocean would routinely become open water in summers.

Expanding areas of open water in the summer could be a boon to whales and cod stocks, and the ice retreat could create summertime shipping shortcuts between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

But a host of troubles lie ahead as well. One of the most important consequences of Arctic warming will be increased flows of meltwater and icebergs from glaciers and ice sheets, and thus an accelerated rise in sea levels, threatening coastal areas. The loss of sea ice could also hurt both polar bears and Eskimo seal hunters.

Ok, so it's not ALL good news. But if you hurry, you can still get a great deal on land around the soon-to-be-tropical North Dakota. (Maybe Maxbass or Antler or Scurls)


eXTReMe Tracker