Wednesday, May 2, 2012

As Antarctica melts...


Antarctica is losing its ice.  The only question is why.

A European research program called Ice2Sea is busy studying this pattern of Antarctic melting as it will be a predictor of future global sea levels.  There are two basic schools to thought as to how this is happening.  One states that warm winds shifted southward are the cause.  Another is the rise in ocean temperatures, acting much the same way that liquids melt ice cubes due to the fluid’s comparatively warmer temperature.  This is currently thought to be the most likely of the two.

This of course raises the warning flags for both Antarctica and the world in general.  Out of the 54 ice shelves monitored, 20 are being melted by ocean currents that are rising in temperature.  As the ice shelves melt away, the inner glaciers head toward the sea.  This has already been observed. 

"In all the cases where ice shelves are being melted by the ocean, the inland glaciers are speeding up,"  Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement. "It's this glacier acceleration that's responsible for most of the increase in ice loss from the continent and this is contributing to sea-level rise."

Rising sea levels.  Yeah, nobody buy beachfront property.  Well, maybe if you’re middle-aged it would work out.  My age bracket will be gone before the real heaviness comes down.  This almost renders the argument over the veracity of Global Warming to the role of an academic one.  The idea that conservatives oppose environmentalism in order to kowtow to corporations or that liberals are pushing a “green” agenda are both nigh irrelevant.  The melting of Antarctica and the rise in sea levels are facts…as is the rise in ocean temperatures.  We will soon face the consequences of these facts.

Not just us, by the way.  A number of living organisms will lose their habitat due to this, namely the penguins of Antarctica and the polar bears of the north.  Yeah, yeah, fuck you.  I care about other living things besides humans.  Deal with it.  Most likely, you’ll be too busy dealing with the results of global climate change as you lose your own habitat.

If there’s any good from this, it’s purely based on my own selfish reasons.  The absence of ice may allow for new finds in dinosaur fossils.  It may also kibosh or…gasp…verify the way-out theory that another civilization preceded ours and structural remains might be found in Antarctica.  If nothing else, it makes my short story Nothing Left But the Cockroaches all the more timely for having a city in newly-melted Antarctica.


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3 comments:

  1. If you want some perspective on global warming watch the documentary 'The Great Global Warming Swindle'

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  2. Thanks for the tip. I do try to read arguments from "the other side." I just find them harder and harder to sympathize with.

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  3. No problem, I was shocked to realize that the 'green' movement has a sinister side to it and that buying into the global warming idea as a human cause is far more complex than I would have imagined. The way Africa is influenced by 'fighting' global warming was especially nauseating. The documentary is definitely an eye opener that doesn't argue against the reality of global warming, but against the information used to form our perception of how it is caused. I support a greener way of living, but after watching the documentary I realized that once again an apparent global movement for good is motivated by greed and disinformation.

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