Friday, September 9, 2011

Melting ice, and FOCS

The ice in the Arctic is melting. The total ice area has been decreasing steadily for years. There were many articles about it in 2007, when there was a sudden plunge to previously unseen values. The minimum of the year is usually reached some time in September. The 2007 minimum has just been passed, but I have not seen many articles about it.

The consequences:
- local: loss of habitat for various animals
- changing wind patterns, therefore changing climate worldwide
- great savings in transportation by having boats, in late summer, go through the Bering straight and the NorthWest passage to transport goods from one side of the world to the other.
- possible exploitation of oil reserves in the area
- unlocking of methane in the thawing arctic seabed, possibly triggering other mechanisms that might accelerate global warming

If I was a college student now and was interested in the sciences, I would go into climatology. The scope of the changes will make the next 50 years really "interesting"!

Meanwhile I fly across continents and oceans many times every year, grumbling about travel woes, suffering jet lag, and contributing a hefty individual amount of CO2 in the high atmosphere, large enough that commuting by bike instead of car is a negligible effort to curb my consumption.

Time to revisit plans to go to FOCS?

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