Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Friday, 17 February 2006


Reports in the UK's Telegraph newspaper and BBC News make alarming, but unsurprising, reading. A NASA-led team has found that Greenland's glaciers are melting 150% faster than they were ten years ago, which led them to say that official estimates of a 100-900mm rise in the level of the earth's oceans by 2100 might be too low. Might! Look at the image of the glacier in the BBC article, a glacier that alone drains 4% of the Greenland icecap.

Those official estimates for 2100 are based on very conservative readings of the computer modelling, readings that have failed to take into account the fact that the actual readings of global temperature are tracking along the high end of the modelling--not the middle. So the models are conservative, which has been shown by the far wider range of runs done in the Climate Prediction Project, which divided up the task amongst thousands of PCs, in contrast to the expensive, and thus limited, number of runs done on official supercomputers. So of course things are going to be far worse than the optimists want to believe.

An avid betting man offered odds-on that most of the Greenland icecap will be gone by 2100 would, if shown the scientific evidence from myriad sources, take the bet eagerly. He would turn down flat the notion that it will take 1000 years. When that ice is gone the world's oceans will be 7 metres higher. If we lose most of the world's ice they will be 50m higher. Florida's highest point is 50m. If you think that such talk is doomsaying nonsense see the BBC's outline of studies of global ice.

The woe predicted from melting in Greenland comes hard on the heels of research, published on Science Daily, into the famous snows of Kilimanjaro, the mountain in equatorial Africa, which shows that they are, as predicted, vanishing.

Today Kilimanjaro, tomorrow Greenland, the next day the whole world.

Other numbers continue to get worse. For example, the latest figures for the stratosphere show that in January it was the coldest ever measured--see NOAA-NCDC site.

As the troposphere warms (the lower atmosphere, the layer we live in), the stratosphere cools (the stratosphere is the next layer, 15-23km up). If that gets too cool the hole in the ozone layer will spread and spread and spread, because the CFCs that are destroying the ozone do it much more efficiently when the fine ice-clouds form in the stratosphere, which happens at -78 degrees Celsius.