It has taken just three centuries for human growth and rising industrial economies to bring the delicate relationship between ice and humans to a dangerous precipice. Ice carved Earth's landscape to its present state - the sharp Alpine peaks of Europe, the vast Great Lakes of North America, the majestic valleys of Yosemite National Park and the deeply incised fjords of Norway.
But as the climate change debate becomes more heated, are we at risk of losing these precious formations? Dr. Henry N. Pollack, author of A World Without Ice, explains why our cold natural wonders are disappearing while humans are prospering.
Dr. Henry N Pollack
Dr. Henry N. Pollack and his colleagues on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore. Pollack has been a professor of geophysics at the University of Michigan for more than forty years, travels regularly to Antarctica, and has conducted scientific research on all seven continents.
He now serves as a science adviser to Al Gore’s Climate Project. Also the author of A World Without Ice, he lives in Ann Arbor.
Increase in the global average surface temperature resulting from enhancement of the greenhouse effect, primarily by air pollution. In 2007 the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecasted that by 2100 global average surface temperatures would increase 3.27.2 °F (1.84.0 °C), depending on a range of scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions, and stated that it was now 90 percent certain that most of the warming observed over the previous half century could be attributed to greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activities (i.e., industrial processes and transportation). Many scientists predict that such an increase in temperature would cause polar ice caps and mountain glaciers to melt rapidly, significantly raising the levels of coastal waters, and would produce new patterns and extremes of drought and rainfall, seriously disrupting food production in certain regions. Other scientists maintain that such predictions are overstated. The 1992 Earth Summit and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change attempted to address the issue of global warming, but in both cases the efforts were hindered by conflicting national economic agendas and disputes between developed and developing nations over the cost and consequences of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Wow! I thought this site would attract some intelligent comments, instead it's full of climate denier crapola recycled from James Inhofe and Glenn Beck. The anti-science flat-earth committee is out in force with all their James Inhofe talking points memorized. NO LINKS to ACTUAL science... NO DATA from any Scientific Journals or sources, just the same old "It's Al Gore's Fault" nonsense. These idiots show up to a post from A REAL SCIENTIST DOING REAL RESEARCH and respond with 2nd Grade level drivel. My apologies to those who bothered to contribute informed comments.
"There are in fact a broad number of glaciers world-wide that have increased in size over the past 50 years."
An even broader number of glaciers world-wide has decreased over the past decades.
"Sea ice has increased the past two years."
Sea ice volume has decreased significantly over the past decades.
"Sea level rise has not yet increased at dramatically higher rates."
So you agree that sea level rise is increasing.
Sea level is more than 6 inches higher than it was 100 years ago
What a fraud! The weather experts can't predict the temperature in 5 days BUT they will tell you about the temperatures in 2120 when they will all be dead. There's also a strong correlation between lack of knowledge (you can be a PhD and still be naive) and strong belief in Global Warming... sorry, Climate Change. However, messianic Hillarious Clinton is much better than Mr. Pollack: she talks with great passion about rising sea levels and surnatural catastrophes that will happen soon. She's so good I nearly believe the whole crap.
Nope! The Himalayas aren't going anywhere but their glaciers are melting faster than originally predicted. These glaciers are a key water source for 1-2 Billion people in Asia..
or http://www.asiasociety.org/onthinnerice Watch the excellent video. See for yourself. balanceact
Atom 299 You make some statements that are true and some that aren't. Climate Change is a natural process that has been going on since the planet formed, billions of years. Natural Climate Change is not cyclical in the sense that you think. Just because there was a cool period doesn't necessarily mean that there will be a warm period to follow. Look at this temp graph of the last 65 million years.
Over this large time period there is no obvious oscillation between warm and cool. If anything the general trend has been down since the Eocene Optimum. Whatever factors have caused this cooling, it is not caused by the Sun getting cooler as all stars get warmer as they age (although fortunately this happens very slowly until late in a star’s life).
In the last couple of million years slight variations in the orbit of the Earth around the Sun (Google Milankovitch Cycles) are thought to have become prevalent over other factors and set the planet into the current cycle of Ice Ages with short warm periods in between. The relationship between temperature and CO2 is more complex that you state although it is assumed that initially temperature is the leading factor, but CO2 was shown by Tyndall in 1859 to absorb and then re-emit the radiant energy that escapes from the earth. Since some of this energy is re-emited back to the Earth, it tends to warm the Earth. This is why CO2 is called a Green House Gas. GHGs are naturally important as they help keep the surface temperature some 57 degrees F warmer than if there were no GHGs. Arrehnius in 1894 worked almost a year hand calculating how much the temperature of the earth would be raised if CO2 in the atmosphere doubled. His calculations came up with 5-6 degrees Celsius. After more than a 100 years of further studies with better instruments and computers, the consensus among climate scientists is that doubling CO2 would raise the temperature 2-4.5 degrees Celsius.
Of the Natural Climate Cycles of the last 2 million years, the last 650,000 to 450,000 years can be looked at in some detail through ice core analysis (Google EPICA or Vostok). During theses 4-6 ice ages, the natural atmospheric CO2 has never risen above roughly 300ppmv. Currently, we are at 387ppmv CO2, so with some reasonable justification (and a lot of hard data) we can assume that the 87ppmv above the 300ppmv natural high concentration is human induced. Presently we are adding 2ppmv CO2/yr., but that rate is continuing to increase…
Simply put Atom 299 we are in uncharted territory. Now CO2 is clearly leading temperature!!
Though early humans developed some 1.5 -2 million years, homo sapiens has been around only for about 250,000 years and life has been a real struggle for us until the last 12,000 years or so. Only in this current interglacial period, known as the Holocene, has Civilization blossomed. In that short time we have grown from small numbers in the low millions to 6.8 Billion and we are changing both the Face and Atmosphere of the planet, and we are doing it at FEROCIOUS pace compared to the relative snail like changes of natural geological time.
The fastest temperature change in recent geological time was from the depth of the last Ice Age to the beginning of the Holocene, from roughly 18,000 to 12,000 years ago. This rapid geological period of change raised the average Global temperature some 6 degrees Celsius in 6,000 years. In the last 200 years or so, the Global temperature has increased by roughly almost 1 degree Celsius. There is nothing natural about that rate of change , and the more we burn forests for farmland, and the more we use fossil fuels that emit CO2 into the atmosphere, the faster the temperature will rise and the larger the consequences will be for..us.
These are hard changes to think about Atom299. But they are coming, and Pollack points out, the first major change that we will have to deal with is the loss of the worlds glaciers, which are the repository of drinking water for some 2-3 million people. Without glaciers Winter waters will not be held and then get fed into mountain streams in Summer. The whole hydrological cycle will be severely disrupted.
In my opinion we are heading towards WWIII. If we do nothing about Anthropogenic Climate Change, we will fight that war among our selves, dog eat dog. We have to fight this War as One Species, not separate countries. We need all of Humanity to join in this struggle together, or we shall surely fight each other. Not an easy task ahead, but a time of great opportunity IF we can come together. balanceact
"Climate Change" has become the catch-all enviro response to regulate people and make money. It covers everything from extinction of species to earthquakes. Whatever the problem, it was caused by "Climate Change". This is the "devil" of the evironmentalist's religion. Climate change is no more of a threat now than it has been in the past.