Saturday, December 30, 2006

From the "oh, shit, which Horseman is that, again?" files:

"Ancient ice shelf breaks free from Canadian Arctic"

"TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has snapped free from Canada's Arctic, scientists said.

The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north.

Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake. (Watch the satellite images that clued in ice watchers)

Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed ice island and could not believe what he saw.

"This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead," Vincent said Thursday.

In 10 years of working in the region he has never seen such a dramatic loss of sea ice, he said.

The collapse was so powerful that earthquake monitors 250 kilometers (155 miles) away picked up tremors from it.

The Ayles Ice Shelf, roughly 66 square kilometers (41 square miles) in area, was one of six major ice shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic.

Scientists say it is the largest event of its kind in Canada in 30 years and point their fingers at climate change as a major contributing factor.

"It is consistent with climate change," Vincent said, adding that the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were first discovered in 1906.

"We aren't able to connect all of the dots ... but unusually warm temperatures definitely played a major role."

Laurie Weir, who monitors ice conditions for the Canadian Ice Service, was poring over satellite images in 2005 when she noticed that the shelf had split and separated.

Weir notified Luke Copland, head of the new global ice lab at the University of Ottawa, who initiated an effort to find out what happened.

Using U.S. and Canadian satellite images, as well as data from seismic monitors, Copland discovered that the ice shelf collapsed in the early afternoon of August 13, 2005.

"What surprised us was how quickly it happened," Copland said. "It's pretty alarming.

"Even 10 years ago scientists assumed that when global warming changes occur that it would happen gradually so that perhaps we expected these ice shelves just to melt away quite slowly, but the big surprise is that for one they are going, but secondly that when they do go, they just go suddenly, it's all at once, in a span of an hour..."


In other news, Saddam is dead. Guess we can all breathe a big sigh of relief, eh? Mission Accomplished! We got the Bad Guy. I'm sure the world will be better...oh. hm.


hedonistic pleasureseeker said...

But . . . are you drunk?

belledame222 said...

sadly, no. i am a bit sleep-deprived, though, and suspect i am subtly chemically altered in some as yet undetermined way, possibly chronic caffeine overload. You?

R. Mildred said...


Vanessa said...

Remember in the 80s when all the dystopic environmental fear was about what would happen to the planet in the future?

Ever get the feeling that the future is NOW!

After the environment is totally destroyed (in like, five minutes...) I wonder which post-apocalyptic movie it will be like? I vote for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, just so I can dress like Tina Turner.

hedonistic pleasureseeker said...

Remember the KILLER BEES?

I ought to be drunk, I probably took 16 shots of whatever tonight, mixed with an antidepressant. Come to think of it I should be dead. But I'm more lucid than ever and typing 65 wpm. WTF.

belledame222 said...

you know, i had a similar experience some months back, when i was (briefly, it didn't work out) on ADD meds. no sleep+ speed=woooOOOOOooo!

i do think this blasted machine is druglike all by itself, yes, i do, i said it. goddamit.

word verification: ykepts.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Darn it, Canada is getting smaller - we are known worldwide as a country where size doesn't matter (except to us) because we are large, but very flaccid. I have heard that the US is "thinking" about putting polar bears on the endangered list - ya think?

As for Saddam, I find it sad that though tried for "Crimes against Humanity" he was not tried in the court system the world came together and agreed would be for the "Crimes against Humanity" which the US....I guess Iraq are exempt from. But since the US said it was a good and fair thing to do - huzzah, huzzah! As one blogger in Iraq blogged that from the capture and all through the trial the local stations have shown cartoon and puppet hangings of Saddam during commercial breaks so, I am sure this is the "right" thing to do - excuse me, I have to go watch tv now, in case it wants to tell me who to hang next.

Cassandra Says said...

But of course nobody will admit that global warming exists. The ice isn't melting, it's diversifying. Keeping it's options open.
Sorry, I have to laugh. It beats the hell out of crying.
About Hussein - wonder what they're going to say the next time al Qaeda or some other group hits another major city? Are they goign to suggest that he's influencing things from beyond the grave?

meva said...

hm, indeed.

Save me from the safeguarders.

R. Mildred said...

Are they goign to suggest that he's influencing things from beyond the grave?

Well osama supposedly died a while ago too, so I dunno, sex and the city and metrosexuality may turn out be the real driving force behind the violence in iraq.

Andrea said...

This stuff scares the crap out of me.

I'm definitely gonna have to learn how to be self-sufficient for when the shit hits the fan and civilisation crumbles.

*worries about the polar bears