10 September 2007 at 2:32 am #4374
From long article in the Independent, showing grim things are happening up north:
Polar bears – the very symbol of the Arctic’s looming environmental disaster – are crashing towards extinction as a result of global warming, the US government has found. The admission, the result of a massive investigation by the Bush administration, could force the President finally to take action against climate change. The development comes at the end of the most momentous week in the human history of the Arctic, which is warming faster than anywhere else in the world. Satellite observations have revealed that its ice has shrunk to much its lowest ever level, raising fears that it had reached a "tipping point" where it would melt irreversibly, disappearing altogether in summer in less than 25 years, with incalculable global consequences, And a separate Independent on Sunday investigation has found that polar bears are being shot in alarming numbers by rich trophy hunters … The speed of the melting has taken everyone by surprise; computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict sea ice should not retreat so far until around 2050. Traditionally the ice reaches its annual minimum in the first week of September, so it should soon start increasing again for the winter. But another record low is expected for next summer. Dr Mark Serreze of the Snow and Ice Data Centre describes the ice as being in a "death spiral… If this is not at or near a tipping point right now, then I’d hate to see what that looks like." A couple of years ago he would not have expected the Arctic to lose all its ice until the end of the century; now he expects it by 2030. This is predicted to have massive global consequences, disrupting the monsoon and bringing prolonged drought to the American midwest, which helps to feed 100 nations.