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Earth Headed for Global Warming Catastrophe

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    This is what will happen if we don t get more carfree cities in America, and elsewhere, like now! Mike Neuman ...
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2005
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      This is what will happen if we don't get more carfree cities in America,
      and elsewhere, like now!

      Mike Neuman
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------
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      http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/26626

      The following article has been sent to you by mtneuman@....

      Earth Headed for Global Warming Catastrophe
      by Michael T. Neuman
      04 Oct 2005

      Summary: A leading worldwide climate research institute in Hamburg,
      Germany predicted last week that the Earth is heading for a climate
      catastrophe in the next 100 years, with sea ice in the North Pole
      region predicted to completely melt in summer and extreme weather
      events increasing in both frequency and strength.

      The study is being followed up this week by the release of a report
      from the UK's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
      to the presidency of the European Union, on the impact of climate
      change on migratory species. The report details and predicts major
      losses in many of the world's animal populations with continued
      global warming.

      The releases come on the heels of another release issued by National
      Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), a part of the Cooperative Institute
      for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado,
      Boulder, which has reported that summer Arctic sea ice fell far below
      average for the fourth year, with winter ice seeing sharp declines,
      and spring melts beginning much earlier that even 10 years ago.

      Meanwhile, the U.S. mainstream media and government continue to
      abdicate their responsibility to appropriately inform and alert
      Americans to the growing threat of global warming, as well as the
      need for timely and responsive change to slow global warming through
      massive reductions in fuel burning and other greenhouse gas releasing
      sources.

      Text: According to the climate prediction calculations of scientists
      at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, over the next
      century the climate will change more quickly than it ever has in the
      recent history of the earth.

      Researchers from the institute said computer simulation at the German
      High Performance Computing Center for Climate and Earth System
      Research has shown that average global temperature would increase
      rise by 4.1� Celsius (�C) by 2100, or roughly 7 times the
      global average surface warming rate over the 20th century of 0.6�C.

      Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse
      gases originating from human activities including fossil fuel burning
      are changing the radiation budget of the earth. The accumulation of
      such gases in the atmosphere is predicted to continue rising for the
      foreseeable future.
      http://www.dkrz.de/images/gallery/Emissions_800.jpg?
      dkrzsid=bc52981cb59a1c7855ffae3f467f506f

      As a consequence of the higher buildup of greenhouse "heat-trapping"
      gases in the atmosphere, the global mean temperature rises. The
      scientists expect that under certain conditions, sea ice in the
      arctic will completely melt. In Europe, summers will be drier and
      warmer, and this will affect agriculture. The winters will become
      warmer and wetter. Another consequence of the heated atmosphere will
      be extreme events like heavy precipitation with floods. Sea level
      could rise on average by as many as 30 centimeters.

      Expressing concern at the findings, Klaus Toepfer, who heads of the
      United Nations Environment Program, said that the study's results
      underlined the need to address the issue immediately, especially in
      wake of recent anomalies shown by the weather throughout the world.

      The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology is one of the leading
      worldwide climate research facilities. The results of the research
      were presented to media representatives at a press conference held
      September 29, 2005 in Hamburg.
      http://www.mpg.de/english/illustrationsDocumentation/documentation/pre
      ssReleases/2005/pressRelease200509301/index.html

      The National Snow and Ice Date Center (NSIDC) says Arctic
      temperatures have increased significantly in recent decades. Compared
      to the past 50 years, average surface air temperatures from January
      through August, 2005, were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4 degrees
      Fahrenheit) warmer than average across most of the Arctic Ocean. In
      Alaska last week, satellite images released by two US universities
      and the space agency NASA revealed that the amount of sea-ice cover
      over the polar ice cap has fallen dramatically over the past four
      years.
      http://nsidc.org/news/press/20050928_trends_fig2_3.html

      The persistence of near-record low extents leads the group to
      conclude that Arctic sea ice is likely on an accelerating, long-term
      decline.
      http://nsidc.org/news/press/20050928_trends_fig1.html

      This summer, the legendary Northwest Passage through the Canadian
      Arctic from Europe to Asia was completely open except for a 60-mile
      swath of scattered ice floes. In earlier centuries, whole expeditions
      were lost as their crews tried to beat through thick ice and bitter
      cold. The Northeast Passage, north of the Siberian coast, was
      completely ice-free from August 15 through September 28.
      http://nsidc.org/news/press/20050928_trends_fig6.html

      Global sea level is strongly influenced by atmospheric and ocean
      water temperatures. Aside from precipitation, the melting of large
      ice sheets over land (Greenland, Antarctic, mountain glaciers) and
      thermal expansion of sea water are cited as the two main reasons why
      increasing sea levels are predicted with global warming.

      Since the ocean is able to store large amounts of heat, the sea level
      will continue to rise even after the concentrations of the different
      greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are not increasing any more.
      http://www.dkrz.de/images/gallery/Sealevel_Change_2100_800.jpg

      Regional differences in the sea level changes are caused by changes
      of the ocean circulation and the hydrologic cycle (precipitation
      minus evaporation). In the high southern latitudes changes of the sea
      level during the 21st century are comparatively small; in the Arctic
      Ocean, however, sea level rises more than twice as much relative to
      the global mean, due to an increasing fresh water influx from rivers
      and precipitation.
      http://www.dkrz.de/dkrz/science/IPCC_AR4/scenarios_AR4_Sealevel

      Almost mirroring predictions made by the Union of Concerned
      Scientists for various regions of the U.S., the Max Planck Institute
      for Meteorology predicts summers in Europe will be drier and warmer,
      while winters will become warmer and wetter. It is expected that the
      sea ice in the North Pole region will completely melt in the summer.
      http://www.mpg.de/bilderBerichteDokumente/multimedial/bilderWissenscha
      ft/2005/09/Roeckner0501_engl/Web_Zoom.jpeg

      Since 2002, satellite records have also revealed that springtime
      melting is beginning unusually early in the areas north of Alaska and
      Siberia. The 2005 melt season arrived even earlier, beating the mean
      melt onset date by approximately 17 days, this time throughout the
      Arctic.
      http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003200/a003267/index.html

      The reports show a remarkable consistency with "Earlier in the Year
      Snowmelt Runoff and Increasing Dewpoints for Rivers in Minnesota,
      Wisconsin and North Dakota", by Twin Cities area hydrologist Patrick
      J. Neuman, who found the date of first annual snowmelt in 3 major
      river basins in the Northern Great Plains and the headwaters of the
      Upper Mississippi River System has jumped back 3 weeks, on average,
      in the last 50 years.
      http://www.mnforsustain.org/climate_snowmelt_dewpoints_minnesota_neuma
      n_table_figure1.htm

      The trend in sea ice decline, lack of winter recovery, early onset of
      spring melting, and warmer-than-average temperatures suggest a system
      that is trapped in a loop of positive feedbacks, in which responses
      to inputs into the system cause it to shift even further away from
      normal, claims Roger Barry of the National Snow & Ice Data Center
      located at the University of Colorado.

      One of these positive feedbacks centers on increasingly warm
      temperatures. Serreze explained that as sea ice declines because of
      warmer temperatures, the loss of ice is likely to lead to still-
      further ice losses. Sea ice reflects much of the sun's radiation back
      into space, whereas dark ice-free ocean absorbs more of the sun's
      energy. As sea ice melts, Earth's overall albedo, the fraction of
      energy reflected away from the planet, decreases. The increased
      absorption of energy further warms the planet.

      "Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold," argues NSIDC
      Lead Scientist Ted Scambos. Moreover, these feedbacks could change
      our estimate of the rate of decline of sea ice. "Right now, our
      projections for the future use a steady linear decline, but when
      feedbacks are involved the decline is not necessarily steady�it
      could pick up speed."
      http://nsidc.org/news/press/20050928_trendscontinue.html

      "Almost everywhere on earth, the forestry industry will have to
      husband different types of trees than it has until now", says Dr.
      Erich Roeckner, the project leader of the model calculations in
      Hamburg.

      Of even more significance than the impacts of global warming on
      forestry will be the impacts on the world's animal populations. A
      report that's being presented to the UK Presidency of the European
      Union this week in Aviemore, Scotland by the UK Department for the
      Environment, Food and Rural Affairs finds that: four out of five
      migratory birds listed by the UN face problems ranging from lower
      water tables to increased droughts, spreading deserts and shifting
      food supplies in their crucial "fuelling stations" as they migrate;
      one-third of turtle nesting sites in the Caribbean - home to
      diminishing numbers of green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles -
      would be swamped by a sea level rise of 50cm (20ins); shallow waters
      used by the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, dolphins, dugongs and
      manatees will slowly disappear; whales, salmon, cod, penguins and
      kittiwakes are being affected by shifts in distribution and abundance
      of krill and plankton, which has declined in places to a hundredth or
      thousandth of former numbers because of warmer sea-surface
      temperatures; and fewer chiffchaffs, blackbirds, robins and song
      thrushes are migrating from the UK due to warmer winters while egg-
      laying is also getting two to three weeks earlier than 30 years ago,
      showing a change in the birds' biological clocks.

      John Keogak, 47, an Inuvialuit from Canada's North-West Territories,
      hunts polar bears, seals, caribou and musk ox. "The polar bear is
      part of our culture," he said. "They use the ice as a hunting ground
      for the seals. If there is no ice there is no way the bears will be
      able to catch the seals." He said the number of bears was decreasing
      and feared his children might not be able to hunt them. He
      said: "There is an earlier break-up of ice, a later freeze-up. Now
      it's more rapid. Something is happening."

      Stranded polar bears are drowning in large numbers as they try to
      swim hundreds of miles to find increasingly scarce ice floes. Local
      hunters find their corpses floating on seas once coated in a thick
      skin of ice.

      It is a phenomenon that frightens the native people that live around
      the Arctic. Many fear their children will never know the polar
      bear. "The ice is moving further and further north," said Charlie
      Johnson, 64, an Alaskan Nupiak from Nome, in the state's far
      west. "In the Bering Sea the ice leaves earlier and earlier. On the
      north slope, the ice is retreating as far as 300 or 400 miles
      offshore."

      Last year, hunters found half a dozen bears that had drowned about
      200 miles north of Barrow, on Alaska's northern coast. "It seems they
      had tried to swim for shore ... A polar bear might be able to swim
      100 miles but not 400."

      "Global warming is a reality for the Inuit. They see major changes
      affecting their lifestyle, with earlier springs, warmer summers and
      later falls", says Arctic explorer Will Steger. "They used to dry
      their meat and fish in the summer, but now it gets so warm that the
      meat rots. There also is the migration of southern species
      �animals, fish, even insects.
      http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display/26418/index.php

      And now there is evidence that polar bears are facing an unusual
      competitor - the grizzly bear. As the sub-Arctic tundra and
      wastelands thaw, the grizzly is moving north, colonizing areas where
      they were previously unable to survive. Life for Alaska's polar bears
      is rapidly becoming very precarious.

      Already listed as "critically endangered", only about 700 mountain
      gorillas, including the distinctively marked adult male silverbacks,
      migrate within the cloud forests of the volcanic Virunga mountains of
      the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. After a
      century of human persecution it faced extinction. Now its unique but
      marginal mountain forests - already heavily reduced by forestry - are
      shrinking, because of climate change. It will be forced to climb
      higher for cooler climates, but will effectively run out of mountain.

      Across Africa, habitats are shifting as temperatures rise, or
      disappearing in droughts, affecting the migrations of millions of
      wildebeest, and savannah elephant and Thomson's gazelle.

      The number of male green turtles is falling because of rising
      temperatures, threatening their survival. Turtle nests need a
      temperature of precisely 28.8C to hatch even numbers of males and
      females.

      The migration of the sperm whale, one of the earth's largest mammals,
      made famous by Herman Melville's epic Moby-Dick, is closely linked to
      the squid, its main food source. Squid numbers are affected by warmer
      water and weather phenomena such as El Ni�o. Adult male sperm
      whales
      up to 20 m long like cold water in the disappearing ice-packs. Warm
      water cuts sperm whale reproduction because food supplies fall.
      Around the Galapagos Islands, a fall in births is linked to higher
      sea surface temperatures. Plankton and krill, key foods for many
      cetaceans such as the pilot whale, have in some regions declined 100-
      fold in warmer water.

      Europe's most senior ecologists and conservationists are meeting in
      Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands, this week for a conference on
      the impact of climate change on migratory species, an event organized
      by the British government as part of its presidency of the European
      Union. Aviemore's major winter employer - skiing - is a victim of
      warmer winters. Ski slopes in the Cairngorms, which once had snow
      caps year round on the highest peaks, have recently been closed down
      when the winter snow failed. The snow bunting, ptarmigan and
      dotterel - some of Scotland's rarest birds - are also given little
      chance of survival as their harsh and marginal winter environments
      disappear.

      The report being presented this week in Aviemore reveals this is a
      pattern being repeated around the world. In the sub-Arctic tundra,
      caribou are threatened by "multiple climate change impacts". Deeper
      snow at higher latitudes makes it harder for caribou herds to travel.
      Faster and more regular "freeze-thaw" cycles make it harder to dig
      out food under thick crusts of ice-covered snow. Wetter and warmer
      winters are cutting calving success, and increasing insect attacks
      and disease.

      The same holds true for migratory wading birds such as the red knot
      and the northern seal. The endangered spoon-billed sandpiper, too,
      faces extinction, the report says. They are of "key concern". It says
      that species "cannot shift further north as their climates become
      warmer. They have nowhere left to go ... We can see, very clearly,
      that most migratory species are drifting towards the poles."

      "The habitats of migratory species most vulnerable to climate change
      were found to be tundra, cloud forest, sea ice and low-lying coastal
      areas", the report states. "Increased droughts and lowered water
      tables, particularly in key areas used as 'staging posts' on
      migration, were also identified as key threats stemming from climate
      change."
      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/article316604.ece

      In many areas, it is the increase in extreme weather events that has
      posed the greatest environmental as well as economic threat.
      Scientists nationwide have recently compiled evidence suggesting the
      intensity and frequency of hurricanes are related to global warming.
      Several studies recently published by the Massachusetts Institute of
      Technology and Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric
      Sciences show that there is a significant statistical relationship
      between the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the past few
      decades and the overall rising temperature of the ocean.

      The decimation Hurricane Katrina has brought to Louisiana,
      Mississippi and parts of Alabama has sparked increasing scientific
      concerns about the threat of global warming to the United States.
      According to the National Climate Data System, Hurricane Katrina was
      one of the strongest storms to impact the coast of the United States
      during the last 100 years. Katrina's losses, in terms of human lives
      and social-economic property loss, have yet to be fully tabulated. As
      of Monday, the death toll in Louisiana alone stood at 964.

      http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/articles.asp?id=34319
      http://madison.indymedia.org/feature/display/26152/index.php

      Yet many people in the U.S. remain uninformed or misinformed about
      the threat of global warming and the urgency of dramatically reducing
      greenhouse gas emissions from all sources in the U.S., which emits
      fully one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gases from human
      activity. The American corporation funded media and government at all
      levels in the U.S. have abdicated their responsibilities to properly
      inform citizens of the United States of the growing crisis of global
      warming and the need for swift and magnanimous action to slow it
      before the grave threats associated with it become reality. Corporate
      controlled media and government in the U.S. have become overly
      influenced by lobbyists for the oil, coal and fossil fuel dependent
      industries who have a vested interest in not slowing down fuel
      burning. As a result, many Americans have been misled into believing
      the severity of the global warming problem is less than what the
      scientific community has been predicting since 1995 when the
      International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its first
      report that recognizes the problem.

      "Unless we change direction, we are likely to end up where we are
      headed."
      - Chinese proverb
      See also:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClimateArchive/message/229
      http://www.geocities.com/mtneuman/tribute_flag.html
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