Friday, November 20, 2009

Climatologists baffled by global warming "time out"

A Sunny Mystery. Could the sun be responsible for the apparent "pause" in global warming? Perhaps. The lack of sunspots on the surface of the sun has been striking in recent years. A lack of sunspots often correlates with colder periods here on the Earth. Could there be factors beyond man-made greenhouse gases to explain what's happening on a global scale? Absolutely.

Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.

At least the weather in Copenhagen is likely to be cooperating. The Danish Meteorological Institute predicts that temperatures in December, when the city will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be one degree above the long-term average.

Otherwise, however, not much is happening with global warming at the moment. The Earth's average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.

Ironically, climate change appears to have stalled in the run-up to the upcoming world summit in the Danish capital, where thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, business leaders and environmental activists plan to negotiate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Billions of euros are at stake in the negotiations.

(It's true that - averaged over the entire planet - global temperatures appear to have plateaued for the first decade of the 21st century, although profound changes continue to be witnessed in far northern latitudes - from Greenland to Alaska and the depth/quality of arctic ice). To read the entire article in Germany's premier investigative news magazine, "Der Spiegel" click here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In nod to global warming, Navy prepares for an "ice-free" Arctic

The dwindling Arctic ice cap has launched an international race for control of northern waters: Russia, Canada, Denmark, and even China are hustling to expand their military presence, plant flags and eye those 90 billion barrels of natural gas under the cap. Now the U.S. Navy’s getting ready for the thaw, with a strategic plan to maximize the U.S. stake up north.

The Navy’s Arctic Roadmap (.pdf), written by the recently launched Navy Task Force Climate Change (TFCC), opens with an acknowledgment that worldwide temperatures are on the rise — especially up north. “The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. While significant uncertainty exists in projections for Arctic ice extent, the current scientific consensus indicates the Arctic may experience nearly ice-free summers sometime in the 2030s,” the document notes.

Then the Arctic Roadmap sets out a three-phase plan to secure U.S. interests in the Arctic. Because there’s a lot at stake under that melting cap: energy reserves, transport lanes and potential territory disputes.

(With a son at the U.S. Naval Academy this article definitely caught my eye. I wonder how much oil might be lurking under the North Pole? I fear we may soon find out. The complete article can be found at by clicking here).