Monday, December 17, 2007

Some Thoughts on Global Climate Fluctuations

It seems that a variety of factors have now been shown to have contributed to the massive melting this summer of the Arctic ice cap. There is the counterclockwise current in the Arctic Ocean that brought in more warm water since about 1990, resulting in the trend toward more and more melting each year. They are predicting a return to the clockwise pattern soon, which could make for a cooler current and thus a retention of more ice.

Further, there is a report that fewer clouds meant more sunlight got through, which contributed to the melting.

In the meantime, NatureNews reports that, "Increased snowfall over a large area of Antarctica is thickening the ice sheet and slowing the rise in sea level caused by melting ice. A satellite survey shows that between 1992 and 2003, the East Antarctic ice sheet gained about 45 billion tonnes of ice." Why is this? Well, increased global temperatures have increased water vapor, which falls as snow in cold climates such as the Antarctic. The Antarctic is usually pretty dry, but more snow has been falling lately, causing the ice sheet to expand. This is the kind of feedback one would expect, but which Leftist environmentalists won't talk about. This expansion is important because it could be balancing out the albedo loss in the Arctic, keeping the reflectivity of the earth overall the same.

And then there is the issue of the sun (you know, that place where all our heat comes from in the first place). It seems that we were in an exceptionally high sunspot cycle there for a while, and, well, high-sunspot cycles mean more energy output from the sun. It seems that in most of the 20th century was in this cycle, and now we are looking at a sun with almost no sunspots. Now, the last time this happened was between 1645 and 1715, when "sunspots were rare. About 50 were observed; there should have been 50,000." The result? The "Little Ice Age" that resulted in the "Year Without Summer." While it resulted in some spectacular literature -- such as the writing of Frankenstein -- I don't think it's really something most people would look forward to, especially farmers.

On the other hand, the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, is questioning the motives of the Greens as well, suggesting that"The movement against global warming has turned into a new religion, an ideology that threatens to undermine freedom and the world's economic and social order." If anyone knows what "an ideology that threatens to undermine freedom and the world's economic and social order" looks like, it's the Czechs.
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