Thursday, September 29, 2005

Dumb Awesome Frightening Technology = Daft

On September 21, 2005, the measured Arctic sea ice extent was the lowest ever observed during satellite records. - NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) report released yesterday.

-Ever observed means during only the last 32 years of making satellite records, and only 32/20,000 = 16/100ths of 1 percent of the history of the ice sheet. Statistically, this is useless information for predictive puposes.

-During the present ice age, which began about 3 million years ago, glaciers have advanced and retreated more than 20 times, often blanketing North America with ice. Our climate today is actually a warm interval between the latest periods of glaciation. The most recent period of glaciation, which many people think of as the "Ice Age", was at its maximum cold about 20,000 years ago.

- Ominously for mankind, glacial periods last an average of 100,000 years and the shorter, warmer interglacials only about 10,000 – so we are nearing the end of our current warm period. The start of Earth's next ice age could be up to 1,000 years or more away (or 600 years sooner) – a very short period in climatology, but comfortably long even for your great-great-grandchildren. No one can yet predict what effect the greenhouse effect may have on arresting the return of glacial conditions. Thank goodness for regular global warming, right?


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