Monday, May 05, 2008

Warning: watery martinis imminent

Summer is coming and we're heading into an ice shortage:

The Arctic will remain on thinning ice, and climate warming is expected to begin affecting the Antarctic also, scientists said Friday.

"The long-term prognosis is not very optimistic," atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University said at a briefing.

Last summer sea ice in the North shrank to a record low, a change many attribute to global warming.

But while solar radiation and amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are similar at the poles, to date the regions have responded differently, with little change in the South, explained oceanographer James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

What researchers have concluded was happening, was that in the North, global warming and natural variability of climate were reinforcing one another, sending the Arctic into a new state with much less sea ice than in the past.

"And there is very little chance for the climate to return to the conditions of 20 years ago," he added.

Until, of course, nature finishes this cycle of warmer weather (it may be already) and it gets darn cold in June again.

Given the geological history of Wisconsin, I think when the ice shelf starts growing again is the time for me to get nervous. In the meantime, I think we should be grateful for the savings of fossil fuels as shipping takes advantage of the clearing Northwest passage. I'm also talking to my real estate guru about taking advantage of some beach front property on Hudson Bay. Stupid weak dollar.

(ht: Fred Dooley)