Global warming is well underway

Even as sceptics do way too good a job of befuddling people re global warming, evidence is that

Climate Change is real, it's happening, and it ain't gonna be pretty as the next few decades unfold

Much has been written re impacts on polar regions - where global warming has been more evident than in many places. Now, news of changes in the tropics:

Alarming new satellite evidence of the effects of global warming comes as forecasters predict more severe hurricanes By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor The world's tropical zones are growing, threatening to drive the world's great deserts into southern Europe and other heavily populated areas, alarming new research suggests. The study - based on satellite measurements over the past quarter of a century - shows that the tropics have widened by 140 miles since 1979. Scientists suspect that global warming is to blame. ...

the areas just outside the tropics, at around 30 degrees north and south - running through China, North India, the Middle East, North Africa, Florida and the US Gulf Coast, and through Australia, Southern Africa and Argentina - are warming particularly fast. The zones immediately outside the tropics are often very dry - containing many of the world's great deserts - and these are also expected to move towards the poles as part of the tropical shift. The scientists believe that this may explain the recent droughts in southern Europe and the south-western United States. They say that if the process continues it could move the deserts into heavily populated areas, with devastating results. ...

But the evidence that global warming is causing more severe hurricanes grew stronger last week as the annual season for them opened. ...

Two new studies last week confirmed research which indicated that rising sea temperatures, caused by global warming, are increasing the strength of hurricanes. On Wednesday Jeb Bush - the Governor of Florida and the brother of the President - met some of the scientists who had conducted the research, saying that he found their information "compelling".

Widening tropics 'will drive deserts into Europe

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From the Observer:
[quote]The world's glaciers are melting faster than at any time since records began, threatening catastrophe for hundreds of millions of people and their eco-systems.

The details are revealed in the latest report from the World Glacier Monitoring Service and will add to growing alarm about the rise in sea levels and increased instances of flooding, avalanches and drought.

Based on historical records and other evidence, the rate at which the glaciers are melting is also thought to be faster that at any time in the past 5,000 years, said Professor Wilfried Haeberli, director of the monitoring service. 'There's no absolute proof, but nevertheless the evidence is strong: this is really extraordinary.'

Experts have been monitoring 30 glaciers around the world for nearly three decades and the most recent figures, for 2006, show the biggest ever 'net loss' of ice. Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), told The Observer that melting glaciers were now the 'loudest and clearest' warning signal of global warming.

The problem could lead to failing infrastructure, mass migration and even conflict. 'We're talking about something that happens in your and my lifespan. We're not talking about something hypothetical, we're talking about something dramatic in its consequences,' he said[/quote]
[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/mar/16/glaciers.climatechange... melt 'at fastest rate in past 5,000 years'[/url]

[quote]Satellite imagery from the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder reveals that a 13,680 square kilometer (5,282 square mile) ice shelf has begun to collapse because of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad plate of permanent floating ice on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula, about 1,000 miles south of South America. In the past 50 years, the western Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the biggest temperature increase on Earth, rising by 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 degree Fahrenheit) per decade. NSIDC Lead Scientist Ted Scambos, who first spotted the disintegration in March, said, "We believe the Wilkins has been in place for at least a few hundred years. But warm air and exposure to ocean waves are causing a break-up."

Satellite images indicate that the Wilkins began its collapse on February 28; data revealed that a large iceberg, 41 by 2.5 kilometers (25.5 by 1.5 miles), fell away from the ice shelf's southwestern front, triggering a runaway disintegration of 405 square kilometers (160 square miles) of the shelf interior. The edge of the shelf crumbled into the sky-blue pattern of exposed deep glacial ice that has become characteristic of climate-induced ice shelf break-ups such as the Larsen B in 2002. A narrow beam of intact ice, just 6 kilometers wide (3.7 miles) was protecting the remaining shelf from further breakup as of March 23.

Scientists track ice shelves and study collapses carefully because some of them hold back glaciers, which if unleashed, can accelerate and raise sea level. Scambos said, "The Wilkins disintegration won't raise sea level because it already floats in the ocean, and few glaciers flow into it. However, the collapse underscores that the Wilkins region has experienced an intense melt season. Regional sea ice has all but vanished, leaving the ice shelf exposed to the action of waves."

With Antarctica's summer melt season drawing to a close, scientists do not expect the Wilkins to further disintegrate in the next several months. "This unusual show is over for this season," Scambos said. "But come January, we'll be watching to see if the Wilkins continues to fall apart." [/quote]
[url=http://nsidc.org/news/press/20080325_Wilkins.html]Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration Underscores a Warming World[/url]
there's video clip showing the disintegration at:
http://nsidc.org/news/images/20080325_wilkins_animation_low.mov

From a bloomberg item:
[quote]Global warming is hitting the Arctic harder and faster than scientists expected, causing unforeseen changes to the frigid region's ice, wildlife, atmosphere and oceans, the conservation group WWF said.

The most prominent differences observed over the last three years include a ``massively accelerated'' decline in summer sea ice and ``much greater'' shrinking of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the environmental campaign group, known in the U.S. as the World Wildlife Fund, said in a 123-page report today.

``We're seeing more rapid temperature-warming,'' Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, said by phone. The best explanation is ``a trigger from greenhouse gases,'' he said. Scambos wasn't involved in the WWF report.[/quote]
[url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=afoaNpuF4BcM&refer=c... Warming Is Affecting Arctic Faster, WWF Says[/url]

From National Geographic website:
[quote]Temperatures are warming throughout Antarctica, especially in winter and spring, according to new weather station and satellite data.
The evidence contradicts studies showing that only the Antarctic Peninsula was warming while the rest of the continent has cooled.
The previous data has, in a least one case, fueled skepticism about global warming.
The new study also reveals that western Antarctica may actually be warming faster than the Antarctic Peninsula, "the biggest surprise" to study lead author Eric Steig, a climate researcher at the University of Washington.[/quote]
Antarctica Heating Up, "Ignored" Satellite Data Show
 

Climate change is already reshaping the United States, according to a new federal report that predicts global warming could have serious consequences for how Americans live and work.

Hotter temperatures, an increase in heavy downpours, and rising sea levels are among the effects of "unequivocal" warming, concludes the report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Winters are now shorter and warmer than they were 30 years ago, with the largest temperature rise -- more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit -- observed in the Midwest and northern Great Plains.

The changes are already affecting human health, agriculture, coastal areas, transportation and water supplies. And climate change will intensify over the next century even with significant action to limit greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

U.S. Study Projects How 'Unequivocal Warming' Will Change Americans' Lives