Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More News on Antarctic Melting

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The picture above technically has nothing to do with climate change, but it did remind me that I wanted to link to yet another story about the rate of Antarctica's melting. One day we're hearing that the melt is probably going to be less than predicted earlier. The next, it appears that the continent is melting faster than thought. According to a presentation at a conference hosted by the New Zealand government's Antarctic program by researcher Peter Barrett, the current rate of melting is not only outpacing predictions, it is also increasing. Unfortunately, Dr. Barrett additionally reported that based on his team's research, keeping the global rise in temperature to two degrees celsius by keeping carbon dioxide concentrations below 450 parts per million may be unrealistic. Ice cores show that the global temperature was three degrees warmer when carbon dioxide concentrations were below 400 ppm.

Back to the picture: it reminds me of the continued obstinancy over climate change even when compelling evidence is right there. How many times will scientists have to present data like Dr. Barrett's before concrete action is achieved? When climate change worsens, it seems unlikely that it will sneak up on us as adorably as this penguin. Will we be as blind as the photographer? [Yes, I know he's probably taking pictures of other penguins, but the fact remains that he's likely completely unaware that one of his desired subjects has sauntered up behind him.]

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