Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Are we too late?

Arctic ice cap melting 30 years ahead of forecast

The Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than expected and is now about 30 years ahead of predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.S. ice expert said on Tuesday.

No ice on the Arctic Ocean during summer would be a major spur to global warming, said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Center in Colorado.

"Right now ... the Arctic helps keep the Earth cool," Scambos said in a telephone interview. "Without that Arctic ice, or with much less of it, the Earth will warm much faster."

Often in the discussions of climate change, one hears the term 'tipping point.' This is when we cross a point of no return. When too much carbon is released from the permafrost, for example. Or, in this case, when too much ice near the poles has melted.

Have we reached a 'tipping point'? I surely don't know. But I'm worried.

This news adds to the worry:

Netherlands records the hottest April in 300 years

The previous record, April 1794, was exceeded by almost two degrees.

I'm not sure we can expect to pay the price of continued inaction.

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