tagged w/ Arctic Meltdown
Marine scientist Ken Dunton talks about what the disappearing ice means for humans and animals in the "new" Arctic.
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Published on Mar 29, 2013Marine scientist Ken Dunton talks about what the disappearing ice means for humans and... more
On the morning of July 16, 2010, a hunk of ice four times the size of Manhattan cracked away from the tongue of Greenland’s Petermann Glacier and drifted to sea as the largest iceberg since 1962. Just two years later, another massive section of ice calved from the same glacier. Icebergs like these don’t stay put in the Arctic–they get picked up by currents and ushered to warmer climates, melting along the way.
According to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Greenland’s melting glaciers and ice caps sent 50 gigatons of water gushing into the oceans from 2003 to 2008. This comprises about 10 percent of the water flowing from all ice caps and glaciers on Earth. The research comes on the heels of a study last year that showed the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are disappearing three times faster than in the 1990s, and that Greenland’s is melting at an especially accelerated rate. In the new study, scientists were able to put an even finer point to the ice-melt situation by separating out the glaciers and ice caps from the ice sheet, which blankets 80 percent of the island. What they discovered is that Greenland’s glaciers are actually melting more quickly than the ice sheet.
Read more: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/03/greenlands-glaciers-are-hemorrhaging-ice-best-seen-by-photos-from-space/#ixzz2PESdefrlOn the morning of July 16, 2010, a hunk of ice four times the size of Manhattan... more
Published on Dec 5, 2012 by NOAAPMEL
Tracking recent environmental changes, with 20 essays on different aspects of the environment, by a international team of 141 scientists from 15 different countries, with an independent peer-review organized by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Arctic Council.
More information and PDF of entire report at http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcardPublished on Dec 5, 2012 by NOAAPMEL
Tracking recent environmental changes, with 20... more
One of the world's foremost climate scientists has warned that vulnerable island states may need to consider evacuating their populations within a decade due to a much faster than anticipated melting of the world's ice sheets.
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said the latest evidence shows that models have underestimated the speed at which the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets will start to shrink.
Mann, who was part of the IPCC team awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2007, said it had been expected that island nations would have several decades to adapt to rising sea levels, but that evacuation may now be their only option.
His warning comes just weeks after the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado disclosed that sea ice in the Arctic shrank a dramatic 18% this year on the previous record set in 2007 to a record low of 3.41m sq km.
"We know Arctic sea ice is declining faster than the models predict," Mann told the Guardian at the SXSW Eco conference in Austin, Texas. "When you look at the major Greenland and the west Antarctic ice sheets, which are critical from the standpoint of sea level rise, once they begin to melt we really start to see sea level rises accelerate.
"The models have typically predicted that will not happen for decades but the measurements that are coming in tell us it is already happening so once again we are decades ahead of schedule.
"Island nations that have considered the possibility of evacuation at some point, like Tuvalu, may have to be contending those sort of decisions within the matter of a decade or so."
Mann says the Pacific islands, which are only 4.6 metres above sea level at their highest point, are facing the imminent prospect of flooding, with salt water intrusion destroying fresh water supplies and increased erosion.
Suggesting evacuations would accelerate a change in public consciousness around the issue of climate change, he said: "Thousands of years of culture is at risk of disappearing as the populations of vulnerable island states have no place to go.
"For these people, current sea levels are already representative of dangerous anthropogenic interference because they will lose their world far before the rest of us suffer.
"I think it is an example, one of a number, where the impacts are playing out in real time. It is not an abstract prediction about the future or about far off exotic creatures like polar bears. We are talking about people potentially having to evacuate from places like Tvulu or the Arctic's Kivalina, another low lying island which is already feeling the detrimental impacts of sea level rise."
Mann, who is one of the primary targets for attacks by "climate deniers," said that there is still uncertainty about the speed of global warming as it is not clear what the impact of feedback mechanisms could be. In particular, he pointed to the release of methane that will come as the permafrost in the arctic melts.
"We know there is methane trapped and as it escapes into the atmosphere it accelerates the warming even further," he said. "But we don't know quite how much of it there is, but there is definitely the potential to lead to even greater warming than the models predict."
Mann said it was not only island states that were feeling the impacts of climate change and warned that the terrible drought and wildfires suffered by the US this year were just the precursor of far worse to come.
"If you look at the US, some of these things are unfolding ahead of schedule and we are already contending with climate change impacts that were once theoretical," he said.
"We predicted decades ago that this might eventually happen. We are watching them unfold and there are very real consequences to our economy and to our environment.
"The climate models tell us that what today are record breaking levels of heat will become a typical summer in a matter of 20-30 years if we carry on with business as usual. Not only will this become the new normal but we will have to change the scale because we will see heat and drought far worse than anything we have seen before."
The silver lining in all the bad news is that while the political system is gridlocked when it comes to confronting climate change, public attitudes are starting to change.
"It is going to take a little while to sink in," says Mann "but there is evidence of a dramatic shift in awareness and the public increasingly recognises climate change is real and if the public becomes convinced of this, they will demand action and they are connecting the dots because we are seeing climate change playing out in a very visible way.
"I think we are close to a potential tipping point in public consciousness and what will tip it, you never quite know, but another summer like the one we just witnessed we will see a dramatic shift in public pressure to do something about this problem."
One reason that attitudes are changing slowly, according to Mann, is that scientists are tending to be conservative in their forecasts out of fear that they will be attacked for overstating evidence.
He said the tactics of those who question climate change was not only to intimidate scientists already in the public arena, but also to warn off others from taking part in the public discourse.
But Mann believes the power of the Koch brothers and others in the fossil fuel lobby, whom he believes have been responsible for poisoning the whole climate change debate, is on the wane.
"I am optimistic," he says. "The forces of denial will not go down with a whimper and as the rhetoric becomes more heated and the attacks become more concerted, we see the last vestiges of a movement that is dying. The effort to deny the problem exists will have set us back decades but it is still possible to avoid breaching 450 parts of per million of CO2 if concerted action is taken."
While he is severely critical of those private business that are seeking to deny climate change exists, he said there were other businesses who were starting to wake up to the need to change behaviour.
"I personally don't believe captains of business are villains and who don't care about the legacy of the world, even though there are a few bad apples," he says. "Just look at the reinsurance industry where they face devastating losses if climate change moves.
"There are an increasing number of companies like Walmart which are ideologically conservative but have a real commitment to sustainability as they realise that as people become more concerned, they will reward companies that are part of the solution."One of the world's foremost climate scientists has warned that vulnerable island... more
When Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest level ever recorded this August, the ice covered an area 45 percent smaller than it did in the 1990′s. The amount of ice that melted in the Arctic this year is roughly the size of Canada and Texas combined.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released a video illustrating the record melt.
NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center also released its latest data on Arctic ice on Monday. The previous record for Arctic ice melt was in 2007; however, as the data show, this year brought an additional loss of ice equivalent to the size of Texas. During August of 2012, Arctic ice disappeared at a rate of 35,400 miles per day.
Researchers are calling the melt “astonishing” and “urgent.” One prominent scientist, Cambridge University’s Peter Wadhams, is now projecting that summer sea ice in the Arctic may entirely disappear in the next four years — calling the implications “terrible.”
“As the sea ice retreats in summer the ocean warms up (to 7C in 2011) and this warms the seabed too. The continental shelves of the Arctic are composed of offshore permafrost, frozen sediment left over from the last ice age. As the water warms the permafrost melts and releases huge quantities of trapped methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas so this will give a big boost to global warming,” he told the Guardian newspaper.
The National Climatic Data Center also released data showing this summer was the third-warmest ever recorded globally, with August marking the 330th consecutive month when temperatures were above the 20th century average.
By Stephen Lacey on Sep 18, 2012 at 9:39 amWhen Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest level ever recorded this August, the ice... more
YOKOSUKA, Japan (AP) — To the world's military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts.
By Arctic standards, the region is already buzzing with military activity, and experts believe that will increase significantly in the years ahead.
Last month, Norway wrapped up one of the largest Arctic maneuvers ever — Exercise Cold Response — with 16,300 troops from 14 countries training on the ice for everything from high intensity warfare to terror threats. Attesting to the harsh conditions, five Norwegian troops were killed when their C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed near the summit of Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain.
The U.S., Canada and Denmark held major exercises two months ago, and in an unprecedented move, the military chiefs of the eight main Arctic powers — Canada, the U.S., Russia, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland — gathered at a Canadian military base last week to specifically discuss regional security issues.
None of this means a shooting war is likely at the North Pole any time soon. But as the number of workers and ships increases in the High North to exploit oil and gas reserves, so will the need for policing, border patrols and — if push comes to shove — military muscle to enforce rival claims.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped natural gas is in the Arctic. Shipping lanes could be regularly open across the Arctic by 2030 as rising temperatures continue to melt the sea ice, according to a National Research Council analysis commissioned by the U.S. Navy last year.
What countries should do about climate change remains a heated political debate. But that has not stopped north-looking militaries from moving ahead with strategies that assume current trends will continue.
Russia, Canada and the United States have the biggest stakes in the Arctic. With its military budget stretched thin by Iraq, Afghanistan and more pressing issues elsewhere, the United States has been something of a reluctant northern power, though its nuclear-powered submarine fleet, which can navigate for months underwater and below the ice cap, remains second to none.
Russia — one-third of which lies within the Arctic Circle — has been the most aggressive in establishing itself as the emerging region's superpower.
Rob Huebert, an associate political science professor at the University of Calgary in Canada, said Russia has recovered enough from its economic troubles of the 1990s to significantly rebuild its Arctic military capabilities, which were a key to the overall Cold War strategy of the Soviet Union, and has increased its bomber patrols and submarine activity.
He said that has in turn led other Arctic countries — Norway, Denmark and Canada — to resume regional military exercises that they had abandoned or cut back on after the Soviet collapse. Even non-Arctic nations such as France have expressed interest in deploying their militaries to the Arctic.
"We have an entire ocean region that had previously been closed to the world now opening up," Huebert said. "There are numerous factors now coming together that are mutually reinforcing themselves, causing a buildup of military capabilities in the region. This is only going to increase as time goes on."
Noting that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe, the U.S. Navy in 2009 announced a beefed-up Arctic Roadmap by its own task force on climate change that called for a three-stage strategy to increase readiness, build cooperative relations with Arctic nations and identify areas of potential conflict.
"We want to maintain our edge up there," said Cmdr. Ian Johnson, the captain of the USS Connecticut, which is one of the U.S. Navy's most Arctic-capable nuclear submarines and was deployed to the North Pole last year. "Our interest in the Arctic has never really waned. It remains very important."
But the U.S. remains ill-equipped for large-scale Arctic missions, according to a simulation conducted by the U.S. Naval War College. A summary released last month found the Navy is "inadequately prepared to conduct sustained maritime operations in the Arctic" because it lacks ships able to operate in or near Arctic ice, support facilities and adequate communications.
"The findings indicate the Navy is entering a new realm in the Arctic," said Walter Berbrick, a War College professor who participated in the simulation. "Instead of other nations relying on the U.S. Navy for capabilities and resources, sustained operations in the Arctic region will require the Navy to rely on other nations for capabilities and resources."
He added that although the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet is a major asset, the Navy has severe gaps elsewhere — it doesn't have any icebreakers, for example. The only one in operation belongs to the Coast Guard. The U.S. is currently mulling whether to add more icebreakers.
Acknowledging the need to keep apace in the Arctic, the United States is pouring funds into figuring out what climate change will bring, and has been working closely with the scientific community to calibrate its response.
"The Navy seems to be very on board regarding the reality of climate change and the especially large changes we are seeing in the Arctic," said Mark C. Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences University of Colorado. "There is already considerable collaboration between the Navy and civilian scientists and I see this collaboration growing in the future."
The most immediate challenge may not be war — both military and commercial assets are sparse enough to give all countries elbow room for a while — but whether militaries can respond to a disaster.
Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the London-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said militaries probably will have to rescue their own citizens in the Arctic before any confrontations arise there.
"Catastrophic events, like a cruise ship suddenly sinking or an environmental accident related to the region's oil and gas exploration, would have a profound impact in the Arctic," she said. "The risk is not militarization; it is the lack of capabilities while economic development and human activity dramatically increases that is the real risk."YOKOSUKA, Japan (AP) — To the world's military leaders, the debate over... more
Scientists have tied the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, caused by global warming pollution, to the recent extreme winters that hit the United States last year and Europe this year. In “Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on winter snowfall,” a new report published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers find that the loss of polar ice has changed atmospheric circulation and increased atmospheric water vapor, driving the popularly-dubbed “snowpocalypse” conditions:
“We conclude that the recent decline of Arctic sea ice has played a critical role in recent cold and snowy winters.”
Sea ice decline is contributing to catastrophic, deadly winters in two ways, the researchers find. The loss of ice changes wind patterns over the northern oceans, which in turn disrupts the jet stream, allowing cold polar air to plunge across the northern hemisphere. “If there is a dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice, the westerly winds that blow across the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans are weakened,” lead author Jiping Liu, a senior research scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told Climatewire. “This means we will have a wavier jet stream.”
The loss of ice and warmer temperatures mean that there is much more evaporation from the Arctic Ocean, leading to a higher moisture content in the polar air that is pulled south. That means that intense snowfall is more likely, especially as the polar air collides with warm, moist air from the south.
In 1999, Kevin Trenberth explained how global warming would lead to more intense precipitation events, including snow storms.
The decline in Arctic sea ice is one of the primary indicators of man-made global warming. Arctic sea ice cover began shrinking decades ago, with a rapid acceleration in the last decade. Sea ice decline has been much more rapid than projected by climate models. Some scientists now expect the Arctic to be effectively ice-free during the summer in less than 30 years. The United States and other nations have responded to this troubling collapse of the planetary thermostat by making plans to drill for fossil fuels in the Arctic oceans. That decision hastens our march into a “no-analogue world,” in the words of NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco.
By Brad Johnson on Feb 28, 2012 at 11:17 am
Ignorant And Proud: Northeast Snowstorm Brings Out the Worst in the Climate Denial Punditocracy
Colbert mocks Fox News for using snowstorm to deny global warming
Bingaman Says Snowmaggedon 'Makes It More Challenging' To Argue Global Warming Is Dangerous
Hannity: Snow Storms 'Seem To Contradict Al Gore's Hysterical Global Warming Theories'
Inhofe's Grandchildren Build Igloo To Mock Killer Snow Storm: 'Al Gore's New Home'
Virginia GOP Mocks Epic Snow Storm As '12 Inches Of Global Warming'Scientists have tied the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, caused by global warming... more
CO2 is termed the Earth's biggest control knob. It hadn't been until now, because a knob implies something that someone can turn to control things. In a normal, natural world and on relatively short timescales, say tens of thousands of years, carbon dioxide is interlocked with global mean temperature and other variables. Temperatures can drive carbon dioxide levels up or down, which in turn drive temperatures further up or down.
Carbon dioxide acts as a feedback that enhances temperature changes.
This is most obvious during the transitions between glacial and interglacial periods, when temperatures rise or drop and CO2 seems to follow along like a happy puppy. What is not obvious when looking at the readings is that while orbital forcings cause the initial change in temperatures, and CO2 levels rise or fall in accordance with that initial change, the subsequent temperatures themselves also rise and fall in accordance with the changing CO2 levels.
The basic formula behind a glacial termination is that something (orbital forcings) starts the increase in temperature. Actually, what really starts it is a change in the length and severity of northern hemisphere summers, without changing the overall amount of radiation reaching the planet at all. That stays fairly constant.
These seasonal changes in turn cause the ice sheets covering the northern hemisphere land masses to begin to melt. This reflects less sunlight back into space, and that really does change the amount of energy that the planet receives from the sun, which leads to warming. It also results in the release of methane, another powerful greenhouse gas, which warms the planet even further.
Then CO2 kicks in. The oceans warm. Warmer water cannot hold as much dissolved carbon dioxide and so the oceans release some CO2 into the atmosphere. CO2 in the atmosphere causes warming. The increased warming causes the ice sheets to retreat further, and the oceans to warm further, and more CO2 to be released.
This continues, but with limits. There is (or had been) only so much CO2 that could make its way into the atmosphere. The system only pushes this cycle so far. The many previous glacial terminations in the past 2.5 million years (a period known as the Pleistocene Epoch) have seen lows of about 180 ppm of CO2, and highs between 250 ppm and 300 ppm.
The main point is that temperatures and CO2 are interlocked, or at least had been until now. Temperature changes had to get the ball rolling, so on a graph they will lead the way, but the two work in concert. One is not pulling a leash to drag the other along. They each push and pull the other, working their way from low to high, or high to low, as an integrated system.
CO2 does not "lag" temperature. That's a simplistic, inaccurate and indiscriminate view of a complex interaction.
Turning the Knob
Unfortunately, contrary to recent natural history, man has learned how to remove the regulator and to dial up a far higher level of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 has become the climate's biggest control knob in the last two centuries or so, in the sense that it is in fact a control that mankind can twist, turn, tweak and, sadly, overdo.
A glacial termination happens on very, very long timescales relative to man. What we have done in the past two centuries, however, applies a change to CO2 levels — implying an equivalent change in climate — that would otherwise take nature 10 to 12 thousand years.
CO2 was once interlocked with temperature. In the past 200 years we have instead taken 337 gigatonnes of carbon out of the ground and injected it into the atmosphere and the oceans. Nature spent the better part of several hundred million years converting that carbon into new forms (coal, oil, gas) and sequestering it deep under the surface of the earth.
Man will be able to undo in 200 years what took nature hundreds of millions of years to accomplish, and in so doing, in that same time frame, we are duplicating a feat that normally takes nature 10,000 years to accomplish (i.e. increasing atmospheric CO2 levels by two thirds).
And, as an important point, we have no idea if we are capable of duplicating nature's feat of again sequestering that carbon underground. We have far too easily turned the knob in one direction, but with no capacity whatsoever to turn it in the other.
More at the linkCO2 is termed the Earth's biggest control knob. It hadn't been until now,... more
PHOTO: The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E), a high-resolution passive microwave Instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows the state of Arctic sea ice on September 10 in this file image released September 16, 2008. Arctic nations are promising to avoid new “Cold War” scrambles linked to climate change, but a thaw may allow new shipping routes. REUTERS/NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
Two German ships set off on Friday on the first commercial journey from Asia to western Europe via the Arctic through the fabled Northeast Passage – a trip made possible by climate change...PHOTO: The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E), a high-resolution passive... more
The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles (square kilometers) of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.
From the barren Arctic shore of this village in Canada's far northwest, 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) north of Seattle, veteran observer Eddie Gruben has seen the summer ice retreating more each decade as the world has warmed. By this weekend the ice edge lay some 80 miles (128 kilometers) at sea.
"Forty years ago, it was 40 miles (64 kilometers) out," said Gruben, 89, patriarch of a local contracting business.
Global average temperatures rose 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degree Celsius) in the past century, but Arctic temperatures rose twice as much or even faster, almost certainly in good part because of manmade greenhouse gases, researchers say.
In late July the mercury soared to almost 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) in this settlement of 900 Inuvialuit, the name for western Arctic Eskimos.
"The water was really warm," Gruben said. "The kids were swimming in the ocean."
As of Thursday, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported, the polar ice cap extended over 2.61 million square miles (6.75 million square kilometers) after having shrunk an average 41,000 square miles (106,000 square kilometers) a day in July -- equivalent to one Indiana or three Belgiums daily.The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles (square kilometers)... more
Mercury Levels in Seals Rising - Reverse the Trend
Target: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
Sponsored by: Care2
Global warming is changing the ecology of the Arctic Ocean - and the effects on the inhabitants of the Arctic are just starting to come to light. A just-released research report links vanishing sea ice to a shocking rise in mercury levels in ringed seals.
Cod are a very mercury-contaminated species - and a favorite of ringed seals during the ice-free season. Because the ice-free season is becoming longer and longer due to global warming, researchers say, the feeding season for ringed seals is also becoming longer - and as a consequence, the seals are taking in too much mercury.
The mercury contamination will only get worse for the Arctic ringed seal unless we start to seriously address global warming! More research is needed to see just how the transfer of mercury in the food web is being affected by global warming. Urge Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to ensure his department puts resources behind investigating the impact of global warming on seals and other marine life.Mercury Levels in Seals Rising - Reverse the Trend
Target: Interior Secretary Ken... more
Photo: "Losing their home"
Today, Washington Post reporters Juliet Eilperin and Mary Beth Sheridan have a piece on the alarming decline of Arctic sea ice. In and of itself the story isn’t that surprising: scientists have known for a while that the ice is declining; new data just confirms that it’s happening faster than originally estimated. That’s consistent with all sorts of new observational data on the effects of climate change, which across the board seem to be exceeding scientists’ most pessimistic predictions.
What jumped out at me is this bit, toward the bottom of the piece:
The new evidence—including satellite data showing that the average multiyear wintertime sea ice cover in the Arctic in 2005 and 2006 was nine feet thick, a significant decline from the 1980s—contradicts data cited in widely circulated reports by Washington Post columnist George F. Will that sea ice in the Arctic has not significantly declined since 1979. [my emphasis]
Hard to read it as anything but a rebuke from the news team to Post editor Fred Hiatt and his editorial page’s “multi-layer editing process,” which allowed Will to lie and mislead on climate change three times just in the last few months, even after being corrected, publicly, by multiple sources.
Along the same lines, see this new piece on the Post’s weather blog, by Andrew Freeman: “Will Misleads Readers on Climate Science - Again.”
In response to the Will controversy, numerous people have made the point that people who work for the Post—the ones who aren’t full of shit—have a responsibility to speak out about their employer’s willingness to mislead readers.
It appears some of them are trying.Photo: "Losing their home"
Today, Washington Post reporters Juliet... more
Boyd Warner TREASURES the memory of killing his 1st polar bear. It was 2003. For days he had stalked his prey on the frozen wastelands north of Pond Inlet, one of Canada's most isolated Inuit communities deep inside the Arctic Circle. His dog team picked up the scent of an 8ft adult male & they hurtled over the ice: the hunt was on.
"It was one of those beautiful Arctic days," recalled Mr Warner. "We'd had about 14 hrs of sunlight and were completely surrounded by nature. "The moment of death comes QUICKLY for the bear"... USUALLY with a shot to the heart just behind the bear's fore leg. "You might track one for days through the ice but a single shot to the heart kills IT instantly."
For WEALTHY modern-day TROPHY hunters, 'bagging' a polar bear is the ultimate kill.
14 days in harsh conditions, requiring dog-sleds, Inuit guides & a heated tent camp, does not come cheap: the minimum bill comes to $35,000 (£24,000).
Mr Warner is the man who helps them do it. Earlier this week, the 45-year-old Canadian, whose company Adventure Northwest is based in Yellowknife, sent this season's 1st group of hunters north to Pond Inlet, where they will track & kill up to 6 bears. "This is probably the toughest hunt you can ever do," he said. "The weather conditions are appalling & it takes a huge amount of patience. You're living in the Arctic where it can drop to -50C at night & everything is done with sled dogs. It's incredibly gruelling."
"This year we have a lot of Mexicans & Americans but you get hunters from Europe, mainly Norwegians & Poles. They are just GENUINE, ORDINARY folk with a LOT of cash. THEY RESPECT the ANIMALS ENORMOUSLY."
There are few animals more symbolic of the perils of climate change than the polar bear, which faces destruction as the Arctic sea ice melts away – the bears starve or drown because the distances they have to swim to find prey become too vast. Yet, every year scores of wealthy hunters from around the world pay tens of thousands of dollars to travel into the frozen Arctic and bag themselves a coveted polar bear hide.
Canada, home to about 60% of the world's 22,000 polar bears, is the only one of the 5 polar bear "range states" which allows outsiders to hunt them as a TROPHY SPORT. America, Greenland & Russia only allow their native Arctic populations to kill a quota each year whilst Norway has outlawed stalking altogether.
"I don't ENJOY killing animals but I enjoy the hunt," said Mr Warner. "People find that difficult to understand but for me there is no paradox."
The kill quotas – known as "tags" – are also allotted for Canada's Inuit communities, many of whom choose to legally sell them onto outsiders willing to part with enough cash.
"Those 20 bears are going to get killed one way or another because the Inuits depend on them for food during the winter," Mr Warner insisted. "So it shouldn't really matter whether it is the indigenous population that is shooting them or outsiders."
Most hunters are then allowed to take their polar bear hides back to their own country. Last year the US banned the importation of polar bear hides but most countries, including Britain, place no restrictions on the skins. Mr Warner reports that his business has been hit by the US restrictions. "The American ban on importing polar bear skins has definitely hit the Inuit communities hard. You're not going to part with 1000'S of dollars if you can't bring your trophy back."
The latest US-led scientific surveys suggest that up to 2/3 of ALL POLAR BEARS could be LOST by 2050 – bringing the sustainability of hunting into question.
PHOTOS: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/bag-a-polar-bear-for-35000-the-new-threat-to-the-species-1649547.Boyd Warner TREASURES the memory of killing his 1st polar bear. It was 2003. For days... more
| Environment | guardian.co.uk
PHOTO: A breaking ice shelf in Antarctica ... many scientists fear the world is close to a tipping point. Jim Elliott/British Antarctic Survey/AP
Sea level rise due to global warming will "substantially exceed" official UN projections and could top 150cm by the end of the century, according to a report from the US Geological Survey on the risks of abrupt climate change. Such a rise would be catastrophic, seeing hundreds of millions of people affected by flooding.
Many scientists now fear the warming world is on the verge of "tipping points", in which climate change and its effects accelerate rapidly. The science is evolving quickly and the new report updates the most recent findings of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was released in 2007.
Some observers have called for an update of the science before the UN talks on a global deal on greenhouse gases emissions reach their finale in December 2009. The US report considers four scenarios for abrupt change, and delivers bad news on two.
On sea level, the report found models used by the IPCC in 2007 do not take into account recent information on how fast glaciers slide into the oceans, particularly from Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheets. The report says the south western states of the US will enter a "permanent drought state".
But the risk of the ocean circulation in the Altantic shutting down – freezing the coasts of America and Europe, as in the film The Day After Tomorrow – is rated as low by the report. It predicts a slowdown of around 25% to 30%. The chance of a catastrophic release of methane from frozen sub-sea stores at high latitudes is also rated low. The report is part of a series by the US Climate Change Science Program, which collates all US federal research on the subject. It was presented tonight at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
The IPCC predicted that sea level would rise by 28cm to 42cm by the end of the century. ,The authors cite a 2007 study by Prof Stephan Rahmstof at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Research which predicted a sea level rise of between 40cm-150cm by 2100. But even this much higher estimate will "likely need to be revised upwards" because it does not fully capture the ice flow processes.| Environment | guardian.co.uk
PHOTO: A breaking ice shelf in Antarctica ... many... more
PLEASE TAKE ACTION!
GreenpeaceOffshore Oil = Increased Risk for Polar Bears
Polar bears are hanging on for dear life. They are faced with a rapidly shrinking arctic environment due to global warming. And now the Senate is poised to drive another nail in polar bears' coffins by voting for more drilling off of America's shores.
More oil drilling will do nothing to lower gas prices. It will, however, increase global warming pollution and put the polar bear on an even faster track towards extinction. To solve our dead-end dependence on fossil fuels we need legislation that immediately ends the massive tax breaks for Big Oil; doubles the average fuel efficiency of existing cars to at least 50 miles per gallon; substantially invests in public transportation so people have more and better choices; and provides robust incentives for renewable energy investments to transition us to a clean energy future.
Tell your Senator today! A vote to protect our coastal waters from more drilling is a vote the polar bears desperately need right now.
Please follow the link below to sign a pre-written letter or you can personlize & edit the letter.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION!
GreenpeaceOffshore Oil = Increased Risk for Polar Bears... more
Sarah Palin may have seen the light - sort of - on climate change but that did not spare her from being singled out yesterday as America's environmental enemy of the year.
The Centre for Biological Diversity awarded Palin its Rubber Dodo award for her insistence - despite evidence to the contrary - that the polar bear population was rising across the Arctic. The Arizona thinktank condemned the Alaska governor as a "global warming denier".
"Governor Palin has waged a deceptive, dangerous, and costly battle against the polar bear," Kieran Suckling, the centre's director, said. "Her position on global warming is so extreme, she makes Dick Cheney look like an Al Gore devotee."
The slap comes less than a week after Palin belatedly admitted the possibility of a human factor in climate change, in her first television interview since she was chosen as John McCain's running mate.
The conversion was followed by further revelations of Palin's tenuous relationship with scientific fact. News reports yesterday said that Palin bought a tanning bed and moved it into the governor's mansion soon after her election. A few months later, in May 2007, she issued a proclamation during skin cancer awareness month urging Alaskans to take preventive measures. "Skin cancer is caused, overwhelmingly, by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and from tanning beds," she said in a press release.
McCain had skin cancers removed in 1993 and 2000, and is religious about using sun screen and wearing a hat outdoors.
Sarah Palin may have seen the light - sort of - on climate change but that did not... more
Don’t miss the hilarious point/counterpoint debate between Palin and a suprisingly articulate and snarky polar bear.
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Polar bears and other rare species are in danger of dying out, scientists fear, as latest figures show the Artic sea ice is at record lows.
Scientists from the World Wildlife Fund, who are recording the ice cover over the North Pole, said less ice is predicted in the Arctic this year than in any other.
Experts say this not only means a loss of habitat to species like polar bears and loss of livelihood for indigenous peoples but could speed up global warming as water absorbs heat rather than reflecting the sun's rays back into space.
Dr Martin Sommerkorn, senior climate change advisor at WWF International's Arctic Programme, said: "We are expecting confirmation of 2008 being either the lowest or the second-lowest year in terms of summer ice coverage.
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Polar bears and other rare species are in danger of dying out, scientists fear, as... more