Sunday, February 19, 2006

And now for some disturbing environmental items:

  • I'm sure you've already read that Greenland's glaciers are melting at a faster rate than originally thought.
    Those faster-moving glaciers now dump in a year twice as much ice into the Atlantic as they did in 1996, researchers said Thursday. The resulting icebergs, along with increased melting of Greenland's ice sheet, could account for nearly 17 percent of the estimated one-tenth of an inch annual rise in global sea levels, or twice what was previously believed, said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA...."It's likely that Greenland is going to contribute more and faster to rising sea levels than previously estimated."
  • And as for the arctic:
    An extensive international study on the effects of climate change in the Arctic has reached some startling conclusions on issues ranging from how fast polar ice is melting to the impact on Inuit communities. About 120 scientists from 11 countries involved in the Canadian-led research project, which started in 2002, are meeting in Winnipeg this week to present and discuss their findings.

    One of the most surprising for David Barber, a sea ice specialist at the University of Manitoba, was the fact polar ice is melting at a rate of about 74,000 square kilometres each year - an area about the size of Lake Superior - and has been for the last 30 years....Barber added there is increasing concern in the scientific community that there are factors actually speeding up the melt, but he cautions it's too late to reverse the trend. "The time to act actually was a few decades ago," he said. "We're not going to be able to shift the economies of the planet to get off this fossil fuel addiction in a week, a year or a decade. But we have to start the process now to have some stability for future generations."
  • Once again, a state feels the need to sue the EPA, this time it's New York for simply desiring data on pollutants released into the air by paint companies. BushCo's EPA has been - surprise -- siding with paint companies.

  • Here's some classic Bushian logic: they've been slashing the US Forest Service's budget for years. Now they claim that this smaller Forest Service is too thin to effectively manage its lands, so the solution is to shrink the national forests by selling off the land to private interests. Incredible. Rather than up the budget of the Service to better handle its workload, nope, better to simply shrink our national forests (by 300,000 acres).

  • Another in what's becoming all-too-frequent 1984-ish news item:
    Top political appointees in the NASA press office exerted strong pressure during the 2004 presidential campaign to cut the flow of news releases on glaciers, climate, pollution and other earth sciences, public affairs officers at the agency say.

    The disclosure comes nearly two weeks after the NASA administrator, Michael D. Griffin, called for "scientific openness" at the agency. In response to that, researchers and public affairs workers at the agency have described in fresh detail how political appointees altered or limited news releases on scientific findings that could have conflicted with administration policies.
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