North of 60, soon to look more like 50.

There have been multiple reports (New Scientist, very good Canadian television series and the boundary between Canadas’ provinces and northern territories.).

There has been a lot of talk of “global warming” lately, and many people dismiss it out-of-hand when ever they hear that phrase. But for those living and studying in the North the rise in temperatures over the past 30 years has been obvious, and dramatic.

In Alaska, whole towns are moving (see CNN above) because the rock solid perma-frost they were founded on is melting, turning the ground to mush.

On the seaways, ice flows are breaking up 16 days earlier than they did 30 years ago… that’s a full 2 weeks. It has disrupted the habits of Polar Bears and other animals that rely on the sea ice to search for food and move from place to place.

And if you think this will only affect a few animals and some crazy hippies in the bush.. think again, this could have a major effect on Big Business. ie. The Oil, Gas, and Mining industries. Many of the companies operating in the north rely on permafrost to build roads and company towns. As the permafrost melts, new roads, requiring much more massive amounts of investment due to the “soupy” nature of the earth, will have to be built. This will of course have major environmental impacts.

Also, ice roads over frozen lakes are often used to transport goods and material throughout the north. If the ice in those lakes isn’t thick enough, or it doesn’t stay as long as usual, or it simply isn’t there.. then that could again spell trouble for industry.

This is a real problem that can and will affect all facets of society and the economy. Are humans responsible? It’s still hard to say.. but what is clear is that we’re definitely not helping.

2 thoughts on “North of 60, soon to look more like 50.”

  1. Here’s some interesting history regarding hurricanes, both number and severity to hit the US going back to 1860s:

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml

    While I agree we don’t know for sure what is causing warmer weather lately, the hurrican history in recent decades shows a decline in number and severity of storms.

    decade all categories major (3,4,5 cat)

    1871-1880 20 7
    1881-1890 22 5
    1891-1900 21 8
    1911-1920 21 7
    1931-1940 19 8
    1941-1950 24 10
    1951-1960 17 8
    1961-1970 14 6
    1971-1980 12 4
    1981-1990 15 5
    1991-2000 14 5
    2000-2004 9 3

    go to the site and read the whole thing. I only listed the worst years versus the last 60 years. The current decade is obviously only about 1/2 over so the stats are reflective of only 4 years of this decade. But looking back, it seems obvious that if global warming is having any effect on hurricane activity since 1951, it has been to reduce the number of storms overall and the number of cat 3,4 and 5 in particular.

    I for one don’t want to ignore anything that is bad for our planet but I am amazed that so many people accept any claim of environmental weather adversity with no demand for scientific data to back it up. It was shoulted from the rooftops in Europe the week after Hurricane katrina that failure to sign the Kyoto treaty had brought about this natural disaster upon the US. I wonder what the real agenda is for those who are eager to blame bad weather on global warming when it’s so obvious that the weather appears to be improving as far as these major storms go.

  2. Sorry, my columns didn’t stay lined up. The first number is the decade followed by the number of all hurricans in the decade and finally the last number is the cat 3,4 and 5 storms occurring in that decade.

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