Monday, December 16, 2013

Climate change is moving the North Pole

Climate changes.  Temperatures rise.  Ice melts.

Yes, ice melts.  Then what?  The location of the North Pole shifts.

I will restrain myself from making a chintzy holiday joke.

Scientists at the University of Texas are making the argument (rather well, I might add) that continued greenhouse emissions have led to this ice melt and thus the shift.  So what's the big deal?  For one thing, it's causing the Earth to wobble.  That can have an affect on how and when seasons change.  Maybe not a major one right now that should start the klaxons blaring, but it is a factor.

More than anything, the findings are an indicator of what climate change is doing to the world in which we live.  Ice melts away, fresh water flows into the ocean, sea levels rise, and whole habitats are forever altered by this.

But it can't be that big of a deal, right? To quote the article linked above from New Scientist:

"Chen's [lead author of the study] team calculated that the biggest contribution is coming from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which is losing about 250 gigatonnes of ice each year. Another big factor is the melting of mountain glaciers, which contributes about 194 gigatonnes per year. The contribution from Antarctica adds up to 180 gigatonnes per year, but there is considerable uncertainty here because changes in the gravity field due to Earth's crust rebounding are less well understood over Antarctica than elsewhere."

Hey, who doesn't want a little good news for the New Year?
Just keep pumping out greenhouse gases.  I'm sure it will all work itself out for the best.

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