Friday, June 27, 2008

Today's GW Scare Story

Aren't you just shivering with climatic terror?

PASS IT ON. The Super Big Headline at Drudge this morning was about how there won't be any ice at the North Pole this summer. I guess it's supposed to beat down all the silly deniers of anthropogenic Global Warming. Here's the lede in the Independent story Drudge linked to:

Exclusive: No ice at the North Pole

Polar scientists reveal dramatic
new evidence of climate change

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Friday, 27 June 2008

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic and worrying examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

What the article leaves out and NRO's Jonah Goldberg points out is that the Arctic has been making science news in another way as well.

Volcanic eruptions reshape Arctic ocean floor: study

Wed Jun 25, 4:13 PM ET

Recent massive volcanoes have risen from the ocean floor deep under the Arctic ice cap, spewing plumes of fragmented magma into the sea, scientists who filmed the aftermath reported Wednesday.

The eruptions -- as big as the one that buried Pompei -- took place in 1999 along the Gakkel Ridge, an underwater mountain chain snaking 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) from the northern tip of Greenland to Siberia.

Scientists suspected even at the time that a simultaneous series of earthquakes were linked to these volcanic spasms.

But when a team led of scientists led by Robert Sohn of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts finally got a first-ever glimpse of the ocean floor 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) beneath the Arctic pack ice, they were astonished.

What they saw was unmistakable evidence of explosive eruptions rather than the gradual secretion of lava bubbling up from Earth's mantle onto the ocean floor.

Previous research had concluded that this kind of so-called pyroclastic eruption could not happen at such depths due to the crushing pressure of the water.

"On land, explosive volcanic eruptions are nothing exceptional, although they present a major threat," said Vera Schlindwein, a geologist with Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute for Sea and Polar Research, which took part in the study.

But the new findings, published in Nature, showed that "large-scale pyroclastic activity is possible along even the deepest portions of the global mid-ocean ridge volcanic system."

I don't suppose massive amounts of hot lava being spewed into the Arctic Ocean could have anything to do with the melting of ice on the surface. But if you're having a hard time getting past The Independent's shocking front page, there is video of an ocean floor volcanic event.

Just so you know underwater eruptions really do occur. Although it's easy to predict that there will be some kind of dismissive explanation after a few more skeptics start putting two and two together. Maybe they aren't eruptions after all. Just the exhaust belchings of some Hummer that wandered a little too far off-road. That kind of thing.

Anyway, let's be positive about all the skewed reporting. Maybe it'll enable us to put together a junket to go water-skiing in the Arctic Circle this August. Interested?

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