Half of Arctic ice cover has melted since 1960s

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Half of Arctic ice cover has melted since 1960s

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Correspondent

12 March 2000

Nearly half the ice covering the Arctic has melted, warns an authoritative report to be published in May. An alarming disappearance of ice is occurring at both poles and from glaciers worldwide as global warming proceeds, and in decades there could be none left at all on the Arctic ocean.

The report, from the Worldwatch Institute, in Washington, describes how entire ice shelves have already disintegrated in the Antarctic and how a fifth of the glaciers in the eastern Himalayas have vanished.

"Earth's ice cover is melting at an astonishing rate," it says. The melting had "accelerated rapidly" over the past decade as more and more polluting "greenhouse gases" contaminated the atmosphere, increasing global warming and preparing the way for raisedsea levels and more flooding.

Last week, the Government announced a radical programme to cut Britain's emissions of the gases to a level that goes beyond what is legally required, in an attempt to breathe new life into faltering international negotiations over combating climate change.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, warned ofmore disasters, like the recent floods in Mozambique, as global warming increases. The Worldwatch report says that every two years an area the size of Denmark vanishes from the ice sheet that covers the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole.

Meanwhile, the remaining ice has lost nearly half its thickness. The overall volume of the ice has shrunk by 40 per cent over the past 30 years, and it could all be gone "in a matter of decades". Three Antarctic ice sheets have "fully disintegrated" and two more are "expected to break up soon".

The World Glacier Monitoring Service has also reported "extreme" losses of ice from the world's mountains over the past few years.

-- Frosty (@ .), March 11, 2000


Yep, it's happening. This evening on the news, I heare about worst winter in years in Mongolia (I think) wiping out the livestock of the people. Mozambique, flooding. Alabama flooding. California, houses sliding off hillsides from rain. Here where I live was covered with fire for two days until the snow. Florida also suffering from wild fires. And of course the hottest summer last year in 105 years. Get ready for a wild ride.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), March 11, 2000.

Jesse Ventura Endorses Gore = 5 answers Debating Y2K = l5 answers Regulars reunited = 37 answers Lady Logic = 300 answers

Your post = 1 answer

Y2K made me VERY uneasy.

Posts like yours SCARE the S**T out of me.

Seems like everyone has their collective heads in the sand.

I wonder why?

-- Yes (I@see it.too), March 11, 2000.

Gotta remember to add hip-waders to the ol' prep list...

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeed@yahoo.com), March 11, 2000.

Total nonsense. The whole bering sea freezes and melts each year.

-- jth (jthres@hotmail.com), March 12, 2000.

In November '99, at the Continental President's Club at San Francisco Airport ... I met a "top level" guy involved with this. Apparently most research has been concentrated in Antartica ... and very little in the Artic. Apparently the ice in the Artic has been melting at a faster rate than most realize. Last year a substantial amount of money was allocated, and people and equipment were finally put in place ... to try and figure out what's going on.

Wish I remembered more details. Wasn't that important to me last year when we were discussing this. But this article now, and my conversation with this guy in November ... is quite disconcerting.

-- Cheryl (Transplant@Oregon.com), March 12, 2000.

I'm more than a little leary about the "unbiased" reporting that comes from the Worldwatch Institute. I've also never heard of the World Glacier Monitoring Service and have no idea what an "extreme" loss of ice from the wrold's mountains translates to.

Climate is a tricky issue. We've been actively monitoring world weather for just about a hundred years. We've only had any knowledge of the world's ice caps since about 1960. Climate operates in long span cycles where the earth has alternate periods of heating an cooling that have happened long before man had any influence. I'm still not convinced that man actually has the ability to affect the climate in any long term way, even if he wants to.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 12, 2000.

I agree with Uncle on this one. Where is the coastal flooding?

-- KoFE (your@town.USA), March 12, 2000.

Right KoFE,

Where is the flooding???? If half of the ice has melted where is the rise in the water level? According to predictions I should be under water right now!

-- Mr. Pinochle (pinochledd@aol.com), March 12, 2000.

Actually, the Pacific Island Nation of Kiribati, the first country to enter the year 2000, is, if you've been reading the news, suffering from rising ocean levels right now. High tides are destroying homes, contaminating fresh water sources with sea water... they are, and rightfully so, concerned that in less than a generation, the entire nation of atolls will sink beneath the ocean.

Guess it doesn't matter unless you happen to live there.

-- Carl (clilly@goentre.com), March 12, 2000.

For those of us who have lived near glaciers it is not really news that many glaciers are retreating. For example, Juneau Alaska was under a glacier 10,000 years ago. And early explorers described where glaciers ended, many folks have made comparisons to easily accessable glaciers. If you live near one, you can see it for yourself easy enough. Its just a continuation of what has been going on for ages.

The report is overdramatic, on doubt playing with the numbers somehow.

-- jth (jthres@hotmail.com), March 13, 2000.

half the ice has melted and the beach is still where it has always been?? not going to sweat this one. nice try.

-- david moore (davidmoore01@excccite.com), March 13, 2000.

Thank God I live at 5000+' above sea level...


The Dog

-- The Dog (dogdesert@hotmail.com), March 13, 2000.

Arctic ice, unlike ice sitting on the Antarctic land mass, is floating. It could be melting from the bottom up, but I'd certainly like to see the raw data before drawing such a conclusion.

And even if true, of course that won't raise water levels. Water levels rise by *adding* water (that used to be on land), NOT by simply changing the phase of water that's already there.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), March 13, 2000.

Carl, The island nation that you are thinking of is not Kiribati, its Tuvalu, just south of Kiribati. You yourself posted an article on the effects of the high tides on the atoll. However it isn't global warming, or melting ice caps or anything similar that is the cause of Tuvalu's problems. It is that the high tides this year are coinciding with the alignment of the earth, moon and sun, at the same time as all three are as close together as we have seen in our lifetime. In other words it is the gravitational effect on the tides that is causing this phenomenon.

What a lot of people are not acknowledging is that along with these record high tides, the same island is also seeing record low tides. ie When the high tide is one meter above normal, the corresponding low tide is also one meter below normal.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 13, 2000.

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