Iceberg off the west coast of Greenland, © Joan Z. Rough, 2007My husband heard on NPR yesterday afternoon that the the Northwest Passage is open for the first time. Scientists will have to redo their estimates of the speed of ice melt in the Arctic region. It is happening much more quickly than they believed it would.
The iceberg in the photo above is made of very old, frozen fresh water. The blue coloring is caused by a lack of oxygen in the ice. It is drifting very slowly toward the south.
The geologists on board the Explorer told us that they believe the sun is in an active cycle and producing more heat. They say that the most recent ice age is ending and the activity of the sun is much more responsible for global warming than our dumping of carbon into the atmosphere. However, they think that we are definately contributing to the problem and must act to change our dependence on gas and oil.
On Nova, aired on PBS a few weeks ago, another theory was explained in which clouds of pollution caused by jet travel and other pollutants are actually keeping the sun from doing as much damage as it could by reflecting heat back up above and away from the earth. When we begin to clean up the polution, we will be hit by massive heating from the sun and temperatures will rise at a much more rapid rate than has been modeled by computers.
Regardless of what is causing our global climate change, the fact is that it IS happening. We must take action as quickly as possible to change our oil, coal and gas habits to find a way to keep the planet livable for our children and grandchildren. While we can agree to disagree on the cause, we cannot assume that the problem is not ours.