the way we live

ice cap goodbye

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the other day i spotted an even scarier assessment of the current climate crisis our planet is facing.  treehugger had an article in which they were citing a new calculation that claimed the arctic ice cap could be gone by as earlier as this summer.  while earlier estimates ranged from 5 to 100 years, two of the more well known are 2013 and 2030.  of course the process by which the polar ice caps disintegrate is exponentially sped up by increasingly lower and lower local and global albedo levels.  that is to say, as the ice melts by means of a hotter climate due to global warming, less and less bright white, reflective ice remains on the globe to reflect large quantities of sunlight.  in turn, more and more dark bodied water is exposed that absorbs more and more of the sun’s heat, thus speeding the process exponentially.  when the polar ice caps disappear there will be little to nothing left to stem the tide of global warming: fears of dramatically rising sea levels inundating coastal cities, desertification of the subtropics, unpredictable and violent weather patterns (not to mention the exposure to increasingly vast amounts of ultraviolet rays and heat in general), and biological effects galore such as species collapse.

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of course not everything is doom and gloom; no arctic ice cap means the opening of the famed northwest passage including increased coastlines at the poles.  the world’s food producing locations and robust economies will surely shift poleward as well.  of course, the precious few benefits come at devastatingly alarming costs.  regardless, let’s all hope we can get our acts together and stem the tide of global warming.

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5 March 2008 - Posted by | green, society, technology

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