Search Results for Tag: weather
This week’s Arctic news has been pretty drastic. The current autumn temperature is five degrees higher than the average. 2007 was the warmest year ever in the Arctic, since people started to record the temperature. The sea ice, as we know, has decreased dramatically.
This is all based on figures from NOAA, the US climate research body (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
NOAA statistics and reports
The Polarstern (translates as Pole Star), the research vessel belonging to the German polar agency AWI (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research) returned to base after being the first research vessel to sail right round the north pole because the north-west passage was open as well as the north-east.
The Polarstern voyage around the North Pole
White ice and snow reflect heat back into the atmosphere. Water,open because the ice has melted, is darker and absorbs heat, warming the ocean further. The Arctic is heating up at an alarming rate.
“Rudy” sent a comment in to the Ice Blog. He still isn’t convinced about global warming, it seems. I’m still trying to understand how that can be and what his point of view is.
Rudy, forgive me for not publishing the comment, but it contains abridged quotes from people without the context. Without being able to check the context, I can’t put them up here.
I’m happy to pick up on some of your points, though.
You’re right. Thankfully, the Arctic was not ice-free in 2008.(I didn’t think it would be, neither did most reliable sources I follow). But sea-ice cover hit a record low in 2007 and is not recovering. The North-West passage has been open. And the warming trend is continuing. Changes in flora and fauna are being witnessed and recorded. This is happening. And things are changing fast.
You say winds and circulation are causes of sea-ice melting, not global warming. Sure, winds and circulation play an important role. Nobody would dispute that. But these factors are all connected. And the climate is changing. I’ve talked to scientists from all over the world who are desperately trying to make predictions for the future. Nobody has a crystal ball. But we know humankind is pumping masses of CO2 into the atmosphere, melting permafrost is releasing methane, an even more powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere at an increasing rate. Of course there are natural climate cycles. But we are having our own effect.
I was talking to some British friends this weekend, who suggested we should really get away from the misleading “global warming” talk and refer to “climate change”. Apart from the jokes about the British wanting warmer weather anyway – of course climate change manifests itself in colder weather in some places at some times. Is it just the “global warming” term that bothers you?
What bothers me right now is that our EU countries are thinking about reducing their commitment to climate-saving measures because of the global financial crisis. If we don’t take action now, we might not have a globe we can live on, let alone finances to worry about.
I wish someone could convince me that’s too pessimistic?
DateOctober 22, 2008 | 6:27 am
TagsArctic, AWI, CO2, economics, EU, NOAA, north pole, Polarstern, science, sea ice, Warming, weather
The Liberty to Rant…
When members of my family in the UK talk about somebody “ranting on”, they’re normally not being flattering. The suggestion is that they get carried away with a particular “hobbyhorse” kind of issue. That’s probably why I was surprised the first time (quite a long time ago) I heard colleagues at the BBC use the term to mean a “form of journalistic expression”. It doesn’t have an exact equivalent in German (or in the German media?) – correct me if you can come up with one! There are political commentaries, the “Glosse” (anybody got a good translation for that)but not one single word for the right to go on at length in a very personal manner about something you feel strongly about. Right,blogs are the ideal place for that. Ha! Found my medium.
I’ve been reading a German book called “Öko” (translates as eco)- “Al Gore, the New Fridge and Me”, by journalist Peter Unfried. It’s all about how Al Gore’s film, amongst other things, inspired him to try to live a sustainable lifestyle without becoming a fanatic or a “green weirdo”. (I came across an interesting climate blog as I was looking at other opinions on the book. Most of the entries are in German, but not all. Here’s the link:)
Climate Blog by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, “the green political foundation”
I can sympathise with a lot of Peter Unfried’s experiences. One of the issues is plane travel. I got an email from my sister this week about our problems trying to find a weekend for a family reunion. She mentions, kind of tongue-in-cheek, something about me trying to save polar bears but flying around the world for conferences and reporting trips. It’s a tough one. Of course you can say you compensate by paying into the funds that plant forests etc. And it is my job to report on things and draw attention to global warming, endangered species etc. But she has got a point and, yes Sis, I have got a guilty conscience. Her other point (equally tongue-in-cheek sister, I assume?!) was the summer in northern England was so bad maybe a bit of warming wouldn’t do any harm. Well that brings me to the summer here in Bonn, Germany, which has just come to an end – from the meteorological point of view. It was something like 1.6 degrees warmer than the long-term average. But we had far less sunshine than in other years. And there was a shortage of rain. Now I still managed to get enough water for my garden from the rain barrels, and water warm enough to shower – MOST of the time from the solar collectors. But this is making us think whether our project of putting photovoltaic cells on the roof is really going to be a good idea. A lot of people think climate change will just mean better weather for countries in northern and central Europe. In fact it’s much more complicated than that, as this summer’s statistics for my own region here could seem to indicate. In degrees Centigrade it was warmer, but subjectively we feel it was a poor summer with so many dull days.
Meanwhile, I’m still watching the US election campaigns with interest and concern. My colleague Nancy Greenlease gives an interesting assessment after watching last week’s Democratic Congress.
Listen to Nancy’s report
Public attention has turned to the story of Sarah Palin’s daughter’s teenage pregnancy. Well, these things happen. What’s worrying me is that the governor of Alaska and candidate for the vice-presidency supports oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
DateSeptember 17, 2008 | 10:03 am