Melting Arctic Sea Ice And Global Warming Hype
by James William Smith
There can be no dispute that the ice over the Arctic is melting pretty fast. Satellite pictures clearly show the extent of the decrease in Arctic ice during the last several years. In fact, observations from instruments on the ground, balloons, and satellites indicate that the Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet.
Last year's seasonal ice shrinkage set records, reaching a September minimum of 2.6 million square miles, some 23 percent smaller than the previous record, set in 2005. If it sets another record this year, it would mark the fifth season of record declines since 1998.
In fact, preliminary data in June 2008 from University of Colorado researcher Sheldon Drobot does show that the vast expanse of ice at the top of the world is some 55,800 square miles smaller than it was on the same date last year.
The proponents of man-made global warming now point to the melting Arctic sea ice as proof that the planet is in immediate dire peril. Their climate models show that the Arctic sea ice is melting nearly three times faster than global warming computer models had previously projected.
Of course, melting Arctic Sea ice linked to the warming of the planet seems like an easy public relations correlation to make. Ice melts when temperatures rise. Arctic temperatures are rising fast apparently due to man-made global warming. The faster the ice melts, the faster the impact on the planet. So, everyone needs to spend more money and change behavior to eliminate CO2 gas to save the planet.
It all seems so logical until you think about it for awhile and do some research. Then, it really begins to not make much sense. Ultimately, I find that when things don't make sense then they are usually not true. Here is what bothers me about melting Arctic sea ice caused by man-made global warming from an increase in CO2 gas.
First, no study has ever directly linked the increase in global temperatures of the last several decades with melting Arctic ice. There is no scientific evidence of a direct connection, only media hype. In fact, with the climate projection models predicting only one third of the Arctic ice melt that is actually occurring, then maybe another reason outside of global warming is really at work.
Next, there has been a record melt in Arctic ice each year since 1999. However, the average global temperature has not increased and has actually started to decrease in the last few years while that Arctic ice has been melting at an increased pace. Ice melting faster when the planet's actual average temperature is going lower? Doesn't seem to make much sense, does it?
Now, consider that in 2008 ice between Canada and southwestern Greenland reached its highest level in 15 years according to Denmark's Meteorological Institute. The Institute used satellite images to track the southward expansion of the ice.
In fact, on a global basis, NOAA had this to say about world sea ice in April 2008. “Global sea ice reached levels that were “unprecedented” for the month of April in over 25 years. Levels are the third highest (for April) since the commencement of records in 1979, exceeded only by levels in 1979 and 1982."
So, if global warming is creating melting Arctic ice, then why is ice not melting everywhere? In fact, the world had more global sea ice in April 2008, than it had for over the last twenty five years. Again, if it doesn't seem to make much sense, it probably is not true.
So, the actual reason for melting Arctic ice may well have nothing to do with global warming. There have been several recent studies and discoveries in the Arctic that would suggest as much.
Recently, a team of scientists led by Dr. Robert Sohn of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts got a first-ever glimpse of the ocean floor (13,000 feet) beneath the Arctic pack ice. Indeed, they were astonished with what they saw.
Massive volcanoes had risen from the ocean floor deep under the Arctic ice cap, spewing plumes of fragmented magma into the sea. The eruptions took place in 1999 along the Gakkel Ridge, an underwater mountain chain snaking eleven hundred miles from the northern tip of Greenland to Siberia.
Remember, that the record Arctic sea ice melt began in 1999 the same year as these volcanic eruptions began on the ocean floor. The truth is if you overlay the area of melting Arctic sea ice over the area of these massive volcanic eruptions on the ocean floor, a compelling circumstantial case can be made that volcanic eruptions may indeed be the cause of Arctic ice melt.
Other studies also indicate that global warming may not be the cause of melting Arctic sea ice. Last year, a team led by Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., studied trends in Arctic perennial ice cover by combining data from NASA’s Quick Scatterometer (QuikScat) satellite with a computing model based on observations of sea ice drift.
The conclusion of the NASA team was as follows: "Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic". So, in effect, polar wind patterns changed and blew the sea ice further south to warmer waters leading to the record Arctic ice melt.
The fact is that there is so much that is unknown about how our climate changes over many thousands of years of time. This lack of knowledge makes it very easy for environmental alarmists to use melting Arctic ice and blame it on global warming due to a man-made increase in CO2 gas.
The point is that the cause of all that melting Arctic sea ice may have many different explanations. Indeed, melting Arctic Sea ice may well turn out to be just more misguided man-made global warming hype.
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