Sunday, May 25, 2008

Canadian researchers discover more evidence of global warming in Arctic

By Michael J.W. Stickings

More bad news:

Dramatic evidence of the break-up of the Arctic ice-cap has emerged from research during an expedition by the Canadian military.

Scientists travelling with the troops found major new fractures during an assessment of the state of giant ice shelves in Canada's far north.

The team found a network of cracks that stretched for more than 10 miles (16km) on Ward Hunt, the area's largest shelf.

The fate of the vast ice blocks is seen as a key indicator of climate change.

When sea ice melts, the seas rise, and, as I put it last October, there are potentially dramatic changes to the earth's hydrologic cycle, including to the so-called Ocean Conveyor, which regulates the Gulf Stream, the flow of warm water up into the North Atlantic. If the Conveyor slows down significantly as a result of more and more fresh water coming down from the north (melted sea ice), temperatures would cool significantly in Europe and elsewhere in the region, and, more dramatically, much of the Northern Hemisphere could be plunged back into another ice age. (Researchers have already discovered remarkable changes in oceanic salinity levels.)

That's simple enough to understand, isn't it?

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