Sunday, June 13, 2010

U.S. Scientists Study Global Warming in the Arctic Ocean

"Warming of the Arctic continues to be widespread, and in some cases, dramatic. Linkages between air, land, sea, and biology are evident."---Arctic Report Card Update for 2009 (NOAA)

[See also NOAA's Arctic theme page and their new site Future of Arctic Sea Ice and Global Impacts]

This remarkable photo shows polar bears on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole. There is no land under the ice at the North Pole. The Wikipedia entry on the North Pole notes:

In recent years, a number of studies have predicted that the North Pole may become seasonally ice-free due to Arctic shrinkage, with timescales varying from a few years to fifty years or more.

The polar bears in the photo seem to be checking out a U.S. submarine, the USS Honolulu. Maybe they think the sub is some sort of supersized walrus! Wikipedia has a good article about the Arctic which covers the issue of climate change in this region. See also the entry on Arctic shrinkage and Arctic methane release.

The Arctic entry notes:

The Arctic is especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming, as has become apparent in the melting sea ice in recent years. Climate models predict much greater warming in the Arctic than the global average,[21] resulting in significant international attention to the region. In particular, there are concerns that Arctic shrinkage, a consequence of melting glaciers and other ice in Greenland, could soon contribute to a substantial rise in sea levels worldwide.[22] Climate models give a range of predictions of Arctic sea ice loss, showing near-complete to complete loss in September anywhere from 2040 to some time well beyond 2100. About half of the analyzed models show near-complete to complete sea ice loss in September by the year 2100.[5] More recently, the Catlin Arctic Survey concluded that summer ice loss would occur around 2029.[23]

Thirteen federal entities studying climate change and global warming comprise the United States Global Change Research Program. Representatives from each of these departments and agencies comprise the Subcommittee on Global Change Research of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources within the National Science and Technology Council.

The Arctic Report Card at the National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration (NOAA is an agency of the Department of Commerce) provides annual, peer-reviewed reports on environmental changes in the Arctic. According to the Arctic Report Card for 2009:

Warming of the Arctic continues to be widespread, and in some cases, dramatic. Linkages between air, land, sea, and biology are evident.

The Arctic Report Card includes a chart that tracks the following categories: atmosphere, sea ice, ocean, land, Greenland, and biology.

Another agency of the government, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), is about to embark on a voyage to the Arctic to proble the ocean and study climate changes. The NASA mission is called ICECAPE, and the scientists will be exploring the Arctic in an ocean-going ship on this voyage, not in a space ship! If you have cable T.V., you may even get the NASA channel.

You can read all about the historic ICESCAPE voyage on NASA's ICESCAPE blog, but it probably won't be covered by FOX News, because they don't have much news about science; they just have Glenn Beck airing his conspiracy theories about the plots of U.S. scientists.

What do global warming denialists like Glenn Beck, Senator James Inhofe and his sidekick Marc Morano, the "scientific" fabricator Lord Monckton, and the persecutor of scientists, Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, know about the science of global warming that the scientists in the world's professional scientific organizations don't know? The answer is nothing! Global warming denialists make money and climb to power by spreading denialist junk science; or they choose to remain ignorant, so all they have are vicious conspiracy theories about crafty scientists scheming to take over the world by scaring people with the "hoax" of global warming. Glenn Beck, Lord Monckton, and Ken Cuccinelli just put retreads on that old clown car, the anti-Semitic canard called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion ("Протоколы сионских мудрецов" or "Сионские протоколы"). This is a fabricated document about crafty Jews scheming about how to take over the world. The denialists' stupid conspiracy theories about the plots of crafty U.S. scientists are also reminiscent of the KGB's discredited AIDS propaganda.

The Russian newspaper Izvestiya (3-19-92) finally admitted during the Glasnost' era:

[KGB chief Yevgeni Primakov] mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists' 'crafty' plots were fabricated in KGB offices.

I used to watch FOX, but I got sick of not learning anything. When FOX attacked global warming scientists during the fake Climategate scandal, just like the KGB accused the Pentagon scientists of inventing the AIDS virus, I decided not to watch them. I still see what FOX says when I watch the Russian propaganda channel Russia Today (RT). They recycle the canards of global warming denialists like Lord Monckton, Fox News, and other conspiracy theorists.

Lord Monckton even claims that “arctic ice extent is just fine: steady for a decade,” a ridiculous statement that flies in the face of all the evidence and has been debunked by Dr. John Abraham in a post on Skeptical Science titled "Abraham shows Monckton wrong on Arctic sea ice."

An article titled "NASA Embarks on Arctic Voyage to Probe Ocean, Climate Changes" (6-9-10) reports that NASA will visit the Chukchi and Beaufort seas along Alaska's northern coast. According to NOAA, "Extensive open water has...been observed in the Chukchi Sea, the East Siberian Sea and north of the Barents Sea."

According to "NASA Embarks on Arctic Voyage to Probe Ocean, Climate Changes" (6-9-10):

NASA’s first dedicated oceanographic field campaign goes to sea next week to take an up-close look at how changing conditions in the Arctic are affecting the ocean’s chemistry and ecosystems that play a critical role in global climate change.

The ICESCAPE mission, which stands for "Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment," will investigate the impacts of climate change on the ecology and biogeochemistry of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas along Alaska's northern coast. ICESCAPE takes to sea onboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the United States’ newest and most technologically advanced polar icebreaker. The Healy conducts a wide range of research activities and is designed to break four-and-a-half feet of ice continuously at three knots.

A key focus of the mission is how changes in the Arctic may be altering the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is a leading cause of global warming.

Predictions of future climate change depend on knowing the details of how this carbon cycle works in different parts of the world. NASA’s Earth science program conducts research into the global Earth system using satellite observations. Identifying how Earth's ecology and chemistry are influenced by natural processes and by humans is a key part of this research. [Read the full text of this facinating article.]


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