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June 25, 2006

Greenland's ice sheet is slipping

The LA Times reports that Greenland's ice sheet is melting much faster than expected. Worse still, melting water is lubricating the ice sheets, causing them to slip. This, coupled with an increase in seismic activity poses a grave threat to the integrity of the polar ice, and by extension, to the world's climate.

The Greenland ice sheet — two miles thick and broad enough to blanket an area the size of Mexico — shapes the world's weather, matched in influence by only Antarctica in the Southern Hemisphere.

[...]The ice is so massive that its weight presses the bedrock of Greenland below sea level, so all-concealing that not until recently did scientists discover that Greenland actually might be three islands.

Should all of the ice sheet ever thaw, the meltwater could raise sea level 21 feet and swamp the world's coastal cities, home to a billion people. It would cause higher tides, generate more powerful storm surges and, by altering ocean currents, drastically disrupt the global climate.

Climate experts have started to worry that the ice cap is disappearing in ways that computer models had not predicted.

By all accounts, the glaciers of Greenland are melting twice as fast as they were five years ago, even as the ice sheets of Antarctica — the world's largest reservoir of fresh water — also are shrinking, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Kansas reported in February. [LAT]

Al Gore discusses the implications of melting Greenland ice in an Inconvenient Truth.

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Comments

I just read that story yesterday. STILL some people refuse to allow the reality of global warming to sink into their thick skulls, including that massive shit-for-brains sitting in the Oval Office. If sea level rises 21 feet, would that be enough to flood the White House? Because the only way Commander Codpiece might believe it is if he has to roll up his pant legs to wade to the West Wing.

How the hell did someone so fucking retarded and sociopathic become President?!

By stealing the election.

Oh, and btw - we're doomed.

Oh yeah, that's right. I almost forgot, mudkitty. Thanks for reminding me to slip back into my catatonic depression.

Well, we're doomed, and that's that. What more is there to say?

Eat, drink, be merry and seek justice.

I knew there was a reason why I live in the Midwest...

OT: Love the photo change. HA HA HA HA HA HA! Fucking brilliant.

I worry most about Venice.

An Inconvenient Truth did surprise me by taking a positive tone during its last half. http://www.climatecrisis.net/>climatecrisis.net has suggestions as to what individuals can do about it. We have nothing to lose but the Hummer stretch.

I just heard a huge portion of ice sheet break off and crash when I registered the change of portrait, but it was closer than Greenland, and may have roused me from catatonic depression.

Judging from Amanda's comment there is almost certainly something I'm missing about the photo change. I rather liked the old photo:

"I know what you're thinking. "Did she use six theorems or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as I am an Analytic Philosopher, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

A bunch of us went to see "An Inconvenient Truth" the other night here in Oakland...and, yeah, the graphic of what a 23ft rise in sea level would do to the San Francisco Bay is sobering as hell.

The final graph in the film, however, about how when we combine all the various "what we can do about" strategies...was a ray of hope.

Imo, in the face of climate change, it's time to revisit the concept of the categorical imperative:

Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law.

Kant has never been so apropos.

>I worry most about Venice.

Interesting: Salon.com has an article today about cities like Venice, advising "see it before it's gone"

'K, I just read the article--turns out it has more to do with literary Venice. It was still weird seeing it right after I posted that.

re Photo:
Ye Gods, I'm even more in love than before. I must rescue you from that firing squad you face so bravely!

If sea level rises 21 feet, would that be enough to flood the White House? Because the only way Commander Codpiece might believe it is if he has to roll up his pant legs to wade to the West Wing.

Oh, how I wish it were just him. Then it'd be over in 2008. But no, this stupidity is endemic to a few nations in the world, including the US, where people think it's beneath their dignity to support schemes to combat sprawl or give up their 3-ton SUVs.

As for the new pic, the main thing that's weird about it is that unlike the previous one, it's pretty close to how Lindsay really looks (at least how she looked at Yearly Kos).

Climate change? Who cares?
The geniuses in the White House have combined willful ignorance, hatred of science, and public relations for their gullible, nit-wit base by canceling programs at NASA that might measure effects of global warming in favor of another pointless moonshot. Not that I think it’s an entirely bad idea, as long as the men sent to the moon are Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

From the Boston Globe June 9, 2006:
NASA is canceling or delaying a number of satellites designed to give scientists critical information on the earth's changing climate and environment.
The space agency has shelved a $200 million satellite mission headed by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor that was designed to measure soil moisture -- a key factor in helping scientists understand the impact of global warming and predict droughts and floods. The Deep Space Climate Observatory, intended to observe climate factors such as solar radiation, ozone, clouds, and water vapor more comprehensively than existing satellites, also has been canceled. … Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

I liked the old Lindsey self portrait!

Nah! In the old portrait she looked like she had amoebic dysentery. In this one she finally looks like a human being.

Well, if we're going to discuss the new photo... I have to say I like the spare, mug-shot quality.
Just the facts, mam, just the facts.

What was the joke, anyway?

The global warming skeptics insist that long term climate predictions can be very tricky, and that therefore those nighmare scenarios can be way off. Left unsaid is that those scenarios can also be understated.

As for the new picture, I have to admit that one of the main reasons I originally bookmarked your site is that first photo; such an attitude it reflected! The new one makes you looke a little sweeter (which everyone who has met you seems to think). I'm not choosy; it's possible to like both.

Well, lets be psuedo-rational about this whole thing. There's a non-negligible probability that global warming will result in a catastrophe for humans. (so far as the planet is concerned, a 20+ foot rise in sea levels is no big deal) There's also a non-negligible probability that global warming will make life easier for humans. (witness the Roman era and the Medieval Warm Period)

What's a person to do? How about... act responsibly given your own convictions, and don't even think about trying to coerce anybody else into acting like they share your convictions.

Bob, that's just ignorant, unless you really don't value the lives of all those humans who live in low-lying coastal areas.

Steve - Unless you leave the realm of (at least) non-negligible probability, and enter the sphere of wild imaginability, sea level rise isn't going to happen so quickly that it threatens the lives of all those humans. They'll have plenty of time to move themselves and their worldly goods to higher ground. If they are prevented from doing so, it will be other people, rather than shifting climatic conditions that does the preventing.

And remember, this is only one side of the non-negligible probabilities coin. Global warming might benefit just as many people as now reside in those coastal areas.

Right, how many Bangladshsis do you plan to invite as permanent guests at your place? Sea leve doesn't have to rise nearly as much as under discussion here, for a lot more Bangladeshis to drown a lot more frequently than they already do.

To pretend that warming is a mix of drawbacks and benefits is a despicable evasion of reality. End of story. Stop reading whatever garbage right-wing propaganda you've been imbibing.

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