Wednesday, September 05, 2007

An ice-free Arctic

The Guardian has published an article entitled "Ice-Free Arctic Could Be Here in 23 Years". It's very sobering to realize that, conceivably, I could live to see this:

The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said last night. Experts said they were “stunned” by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this summer that the north-west passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia’s Arctic coast could open later this month. If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030.

Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver which released the figures, said: “It’s amazing. It’s simply fallen off a cliff and we’re still losing ice.” The Arctic has now lost about a third of its ice since satellite measurements began 30 years ago, and the rate of loss has accelerated sharply since 2002.

And here's something I found in the comments section:

I give up. The human race deserves this hell we’ve made for ourselves. Global warming won’t kill us fast enough; let’s just nuke each other to hell.

I really do understand that person's mixture of deep cynicism and utter despair. There's every reason to feel the way he or she does. I don't wish it on the human race, mind you, but I think it's highly likely that things are going to play out that way.

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