Sunday, March 18, 2007

More Climate Change Nonsense

We're at a tipping point on climate change they say, the Arctic ice is going:

A catastrophic collapse of the Arctic sea ice could lead to radical climate changes in the northern hemisphere according to scientists who warn that the rapid melting is at a "tipping point" beyond which it may not recover.

The scientists attribute the loss of some 38,000 square miles of sea ice - an area the size of Alaska - to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as well as to natural variability in Arctic ice.

Ever since satellite measurements of the Arctic sea ice began in 1979, the surface area covered by summer sea ice has retreated from the long-term average. This has increased the rate of coastal erosion from Alaska to Siberia and caused problems for polar bears, which rely on sea ice for hunting seals.

However, in recent years the rate of melting has accelerated and the sea ice is showing signs of not recovering even during the cold, dark months of the Arctic winter. This has led to even less sea ice at the start of the summer melting season.

Mark Serreze, a senior glaciologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said the world was heading towards a situation where the Arctic will soon be almost totally ice-free during summer, which could have a dramatic impact on weather patterns across the northern hemisphere.

"When the ice thins to a vulnerable state, the bottom will drop out and we may quickly move into a new, seasonally ice-free state of the Arctic," Dr Serreze said.

Personally I think it's excellent. Think of all that oil we can drill for now the ice has gone!

Hotter, Smaller Sheep

Climate change is changing the size of sheep on a Scottish isle:

While every physics pupil knows that heat can usually be relied on to make objects expand, for the semi-wild sheep of the Outer Hebrides it appears to have the opposite effect.

Observations of Soay sheep on Hirta island have shown that the warmer temperatures associated with global warming allow more smaller animals to survive the winter. And with greater numbers of smaller sheep living through the cold months, the average size of the animals falls.

Research led by Imperial College London, published in the journal Science, is the first to establish a direct link between the genetic changes of an animal population and climate change. It indicates that mankind, on top of the ecological legacy of causing species to become extinct or vastly reduced in number, is leaving an evolutionary legacy by affecting natural selection.

On Hirta, the researchers used a combination of population data and field observations to track the size of individual sheep and how their survival rates influenced their numbers.

It's the mass to surface ratio there, smaller sheep just couldn't control their temperatures in the colder winters. So who says climate change is all bad then?