We are told that polar ice is melting. Predictions of this becoming a reality in the Arctic by the middle of this century have been around for a while now. These predictions have been based upon various models, all of which require consideration of many complex factors. There are a number of people now saying that the warming we are seeing is just a part of the normal cycles of the earth and that we should not be concerned. Most people I have spoken to say that they disagree, but do they really? How worried are they? This week a friend directed me to an article by National Geographic declaring that the “North Pole May Be Ice-Free for First Time This Summer“. Yes, THIS SUMMER, not in 40 or 50 years from now. New Scientist, Fox News, Live Science, London’s The Independent and other news sources all reported similarly. According to one of the reports, last year an unexpectedly massive 65% of the remaining Arctic ice melted!
If the Arctic is ice free this year, 2008, then it will be the first time in human history that this has happened. The first time!
I have mentioned this to many people over the last couple of weeks and I have to say that the reaction, or more accurately, the lack of reaction of all but a few, is almost as amazing as this potential event itself. We are more worried about jobs, water saving shower heads and Sarah Jessica Parker appearing in public without her signature mole! What is the matter with us all? What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world. While acknowledging that if we act quickly we could turn things around, NASA scientist James Hansen told scientists at the American Geophysical Union scientific in San Francisco that the Earth has already passed some predicted tipping points. The effects are already being felt. National Geographic reported that last October, due to a lack of sea ice, over 6000 walruses came ashore in north west Alaska for the first time in recorded history.
We are in trouble. How quickly or exactly in what way can be debated, but that we are looking at significant and dramatic global changes over the next few decades, or sooner, seems certain. Anyway enough of that, Sarah Jessica Parker’s mysterious mole disappearance is much more important!