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Baltic Sea Ice At Lowest Levels Since Measurements Began

Sweden’s meteorological agency SMHI has reported that ice in the Baltic Sea reached the lowest levels since records began in the beginning of the 20th century. A maximum of 49,000 square kilometers of the Baltic—about 27% of the surface area that is expected to freeze over in an average winter—were covered in ice during the 2007-2008 ice season.

As much as 400,000 square kilometers or more of the Baltic can be covered in ice during cold winters.

SMHI announced this week that the 2007-2008 ice season has concluded for the region, approximately one to two weeks ahead of normal. The only remaining Baltic ice lies in the far north of the Gulf of Bothnia, which is itself the northernmost part of the Baltic Sea, near the Arctic Circle. Water in that area is low in salinity and freezes at lower temperatures than most seawater.

The southern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, as well as the Gulf of Finland, did not have any ice during the winter, with the exception of some harbors and bays near the coast.

—Jack Rosebro

Comments

aym

Before this thing gets filled up with people denying global warming, like to get some chops, in. It's real.

Insects are hatching earlier and migrating northwards. Plants are able to grow in more northern regions. Ice is lasting shorter. Growing seasons longer. The evidence comes from multiple fields of study.

Governments certainly do believe in it. They are already making and denying various claims in the arctic, anticipating the ability to exploit the untapped resources while ignoring the cost to everything else.

Now I'm sure that people will write that it will just refreeze over or that in the past it did the same thing. It's not just about a single event. It's about multiple interrelated events occuring over and over.

This bodes ill just because last year the arctic ice was at it's lowest recorded levels. Given that, someone can easily think that it will likely be a shorter less icy artic this year. It most like won't be another record breaker but then it doesn't have to be. It will be another contiuation of gradual yearly overall ice loss. Just another signpost I'm sure some will ignore like all the others.

Jer

@ aym:
I don't think the issue is whether or not people believe that there is 'something' going on (climate change or uncertainty or industrial activities that are affecting the environment), (i certainly believe it and am not arguing with you) but they think:

1) That it just isn't going to be that bad - 1m or 3m of sea-rise, who cares? build dykes - holland does. Too dry? -> get desalination plants. We can engineer our way out of anything.

2) It is going to be so gradual or so far off in the future - the 'win for everyone' technology is not ready yet. We want our high lifestyle AND a perfect/comfortable environment and we are not going to compromise by sacrificing lifestyle now.

3) There is nothing we can do - so lets learn to adapt and continue to live a high lifestyle because: why be poor and unhappy just so the environment can be protected.

Anyway, these are the arguments that I have consistently heard. The question is how muck risk tolerance and how much adversity are we willing to put up with to protect our high lifestyles. It seems that people value their high-emission lifestyles over other things. They have weighed the alternatives and honestly have come to the conclusion that they just don't care. What can you do as long as they are a significant part of the voting public?

It's not an argument of weather or not global warming is hapening it's weather or not human activity is causing it.

Charles S

3) There is nothing we can do - so lets learn to adapt and continue to live a high lifestyle because: why be poor and unhappy just so the environment can be protected.

I have a slight different take on the above. I think most will end up with the sentiment above.

The right thing to do is plan ahead and quickly adopt new alternatives. But because of the category of people above, alternatives will gain little support, until it's too late. Once a negative event occur, few can get their hands on alternatives, thus the status quo will continue. Worse, desperate people will start hording and ravaging other resources and alternatives will likely only be reserved for the rich...

... so in the end, we are all going to be stuck in the "nothing we can do" category, no matter if one believes in Climate Change or not.


I'll say that I'll be more than happy to be proven wrong over the long run. In the meanwhile, I feel that the best I can do is prepare for the downturn, as I see little chance that fellow citizen (in a global sense) will do much about the problems at hand anyways...


P.S. before someone get all agitated, I'm doing my part to "combat" Climate Change. I'm doing what I can to minimize my consumption, both for my belief in conservation, and to prepare for the downturn. I invest greatly into energy-efficiency improvements for my home (I used half as much energy as I did 2 years ago); buy 100% wind energy, and I drive sensible cars. The money saved will reinvested into other preparation/conservation efforts. I'd never pay $30,000+ for a car before, but with extra money in the bank, I can afford an EV/PHEV when the right one comes along.

So in summery: talk is cheap, there's no point in convincing people about Climate Change. Learn and prepare for a sustainable lifestyle before it's too late.

Garth

I don't understand why that debate of:
"is it human-caused climate change or not?" is relevant to any discussion anywhere.
If it is nature-only-caused (which i don't believe, but anyway), but it is still going to wreak havoc on civilization, why would we not try to avert it? Human-made or nature-made - who cares? If people believe that it is going to cause floods, uncertain weather patterns, and generally more frequent disasters - then why does it matter if it is human-caused or not - fix it.
If a herd of bears comes out of the woods and kills your kid - are you going to say, "no that was nature-caused murder, nothing to worry about. That wasn't human-caused murder." No, of course not. You will go into the woods and eliminate that threat.

Charles S

@Garth:

What do you mean by "eliminating (bear) threat?" In both scenarios, it does matter who caused it.

For the bears, if they developed a taste for humans, then we'd want to eliminate them. But if it's the kid wondering around and throwing rocks into bear caves, then I think the solution will be different.

For Climate Change, if people do not believe it's caused by humans, then it means we cannot do a thing about it. People would not support carbon-reduction measures. If all people believe that humans driving fossil fuel cars is one of the reasons for Climate Change, then for a solution, we'd see more non-ICE vehicles on the road.

Garth

@ Charles S
I have to disagree on both counts...
If a herd of bears is so close to town that my child (even in the extreme case that that child had an air rifle (and was aggressive), even shooting the young of a naturally protective Mother Bear) is attacked by them - the bears have to be culled. Any fatal attack on a human by any animal, domestic or wild, will almost always result in the local authority destroying that creature. There have been several civil cases where an owner or environmentalist has sued to save an animal and it has always (as far as I am aware in westernized countries) resulted in the animal(s) being put down.

I cannot believe that a nature-only-based threat would be allowed to happen to affect civilization as much as 'climate change' allegedly will - unimpeded. Witness other 'civilization-endangering' natural phenomena such as possible asteroid impact, eruptions, flooding, run-away forest fires, hurricanes - all have had engineering contingency plans drawn up and in some cases implemented. All are natural phenomena that have been happening throughout history. Though, it may be that (believing that it is nature only) it may cause 'some delay' in accepting measures to prevent the threat (which you seem to imply)- in the long run humanity will attempt to overcome all threats (natural or man-made) to it. Just because nature does it, doesn't mean humanity will accept it as inevitable.
If you're saying that people will not act just because they believe 'it is only nature doing it and we'll be fine' - well that's crazy -> history is full of cases where people banded together to overcome a common natural threat. You ask those same people whether they would help evacuate/prevent frequent things such as natural flooding (i.e. spring thaw) or forest fires -and- whether they would ignore it, in denial, and allow it to sweep them, their family and their home away - nonsense. It is more likely that these people are REALLY sticking with points 1) through 3) from that other commenter guy above - other reasoning is just a smoke screen.

Charles S

What I see is that you're looking at the problem more in a "reactionary" perspective; regardless of the cause, you just build everything like it is the end of days...

What I'm arguing is that there would never be a reactionary response like that in the first place.

One concept of hurricane patterns is that energy is release like boiling water over a pot. Instead of year after year of strong hurricanes, there will be a build up to one devastating hurricane season, and the system will reset a bit and build up for the next big one.

Now, if people do not accept the CAUSE of such a phenomenon, how can there ever be any real consensus on any engineering projects? Bears and rivers are much more tangible than elastic weather patterns.

Climate Change scientists believe that carbon in the atmosphere is the cause, and that the increase is human related. If people do not accept that responsibility, there will never be enough concrete in the world to fortify all the buildings in the world.

Garth

@Charles S
My point is that it doesn't (shouldn't) matter where the emissions are coming from Nature or Man-made or both. People should act (only) on the fact that Climate Change is coming.
(As an example only) If the total emissions is 1000 tonnes from nature and 1000 tonnes from humans, equaling 2000 tonnes (as an example only) -- and it only takes 1500 tonnes to make the Climate change, then we only need to reduce overall emissions by more than 500 tonnes (in the simple case, i'm not concerned about ppm counts or time lag or anything like that). If we reduce man's emissions by 250 by reducing excess car driving and nature's emissions by 250 by stopping permafrost from off-gassing - then we will have reached our goal. It doesn't matter (logically) where the emissions are coming from or whose get reduced. I'm just saying that argument of 'where in particular it came from is 'fluff'' - and that it is a smoke screen for the 'real (and only)' issue that it is Climate Change is happening.
However, if your point is that we can only 'convince' people to reduce their emission activity by saying that 'manmade emissions are causing Climate Change' because they won't react if we tell them the strict truth, which is 'emissions come from everywhere' and not breaking it down for them - well, then whatever - people are denser than i thought.
It is important to note, however, that nature has its own emissions and they are, as well, contributing to Climate Change. And that, as an option, we can reduce nature's emissions as well (or even instead of).

Charles S

Well, I'd hope you'd agree that if we are simply reacting to Climate Change and not address the cause, then it is probably a losing battle.

I'm not sure I care so much about cutting emissions from nature versus humans, but rather that if there is little participation from humans in general, there will be little change.

Nature release of methane from frozen regions on earth we can't really do much about, but I believe people can do a lot more with their cars and cutting energy usage at home and office. Since I see that it is likely not going to happen, I guess I may just have to believe that we all have to be "reactionary" in the end anyways. I know that if I have an opportunity to build a new home, I'd have to spec it for extreme tolerances...

Jer

it seems that the unfortunate thing about many of the predictions made for climate change is that they will disproportionately affect those who are least able to adapt with them - ie Africa and South-East Asia (haha and the south-west US) - and who were the least cause of it all.

Interesting times ahead... we'll probably ending up doing something - not enough - and things will change a little bit -- and then we'll adapt- and others will suffer but eventually adapt... we won't be able to tell much difference from previous disasters to those influenced by the Change, except by the frequency and intenseness.. and who keeps track of that stuff?
kind of reminds me of the Y2K thing - so much behind-the-scenes work and then... no climax.. no big win - no noticeable loss (and we will never really know what could've happened - and what we avoided)
I guess that nothing is so unsatisfying as a victory quietly won or a loss-avoided without attention..

bah.. where's my a/c unit, its over 70.

Lance

The flailing death throws of a dieing religion. When your doom predictions don’t materialize you tell them GOD(Computer models) told you, and god is mad because you don’t have faith.
In pops the Sun( of GOD) and spoils the prophecy predicted from the goracle and his best scientists of doom and gloom and end of the world predictions since the 70’s. The flat earth science’s (computer model climatology) debunked. Busy punching numbers and calculations into the holy box to predict whatever is really happening after the fact. Cold is hot, hot is cold and then cold is hot again. Predicting cold is weak, you’re just trying to match up your computers with the drop in temperature and the CO2 going up.

Pray for sunspots or feel real temperture on the earth... cold.

aym

As I said, the constant drone of the deniers who take out their dear to their heart beliefs fanned by people who easily manipulate them, deny the fact that warming is happening.

Lance, you think that your belief in the non-existance of GW makes people who have evaluated it zelots. Look in the mirror.

As of this date
"Dirk Kempthorne, the U.S. Interior Secretary, said he ordered a geological survey that shows even less sea ice this year than earlier models had predicted." If it isn't caused by warming, then what?

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