More interest in the ice cap:
The state of the Arctic ice cap is so unstable that even the SCIENFIC AMERICN notices.  (Peter Wadhams The Arctic “Death Spiral” SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN vol. 307 no. 6 December 2012 page 12 and Charles H. Greene The Winters of our Discontent page 51 of the same issue) 

Before I go over this, let me assure you that I am a global warming enthusiast and have been since childhood when I saw pictures of Alpine glaciers taken from the same place over many years.  I couldn’t imagine why no one was worried.  Nor am I a CO2 skeptic.  I have always had my reservations about it.  There were so many other things that seemed to matter.  Most of the energy from the sun arrives as visible light – that’s why we use it to see by – so it always seemed that if you could see something it was more likely to have an impact on the climate than if you could not see it.  Hence when I look up and see the sky tainted with what looks like the burnt nitrogen you see behind a jet plane, I think, “Oops.  If that were the level where the earth equilibrates between solar input and dumping heat to space, we’d be about a hundred degrees hotter down here, and it looks like it’s getting there.”  And when I look at glaciers now, they seem dirty.  That can’t be good for keeping them from melting.  Live in a snowy climate and you know how much faster dirty snow goes away than clean snow.  And China puts an enormous amount of coal dust into the air, much of which has to be dirtying the arctic ice cap, even if it’s hard to see.  (Pictures don’t do much good.  There is nothing to compare.  You’d have to see purpose made maps of the albedo of the ice made over decades, and I haven’t.)

The thing about CO2 is we just might be able to do something about it.  Whoever said digging up all that fossil fuel and burning it was safe anyway?  Nobody asked.  We just did it, and continue to.

The Arctic ice cap is melting.  The first article above predicts it will be gone by 2015.  I have thought something like that for a long time, just running numbers other people have developed.  That article also says that we must start doing something about it right away.  Painting roads and rooftops white seems to be a good enough idea to me.  Tampering with clouds and the other atmosphere seems hazardous to me.  How do you do a trial run?

The second article refers to a weakening of the jet stream.  All right.  So they are onto that, at least.  As long as the North Pole is a lot colder than points south, air will fall there, drawing in high altitude air behind itself.  The coriolis effect is that since air farther south is traveling east faster than the surface is farther north, there is a wind out of the west.  When the ice cap is gone the jet stream will weaken.  That will let cold air from the Arctic in the winter get farther south, as it has done occasional and rather locally in recent years. 

So they say; ah but nay.  That stream will not weaken.  It will reverse.  The North Pole, because of the tilt of the earth’s axis and the exposed sea water, will be soaking up more energy from the sun than anyplace else.  Air will be rising.  The consequences of that are yet to be discussed; one could go alarmist, which is a temptation when nobody else wants to mention it at all. 

Another thing the first article does is to give an estimate of how much heat we can expect to gain from the ice cap melting compared with how much we gain from our old friend CO2.  The answer is 25 years worth. 

Mind you, as time goes by I worry less and less.  Either there is or there is not a threshold for disaster, an amount of ice loss that will really mess up the climate worldwide.  As each year leaves less ice left to lose, the likelihood of that threshold falls.  Sure we are getting closer if it exists.  We should know in a couple or three years.

The Godaddy service I use for this site is no longer supporting the statistics package I bought.  I hope I can get something going to replace it. 

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