NASA Releases Some Global Warming Images
Sep. 27, 2007 - KGO (KGO) -- NASA has released some thought- provoking images. They show an unprecedented amount of ice melting in the Arctic Ocean, the most since 1979 -- when the agency began using satellite pictures.
This is a time lapse satellite view of the Arctic ice cap. It always changes with the seasons, but this summer, it reached new known low. As much sea ice melted this summer, as we would normally see disappear in three.
"The record low for the summer does surprise me," said scientist Dr. Lenny Pfister.
Dr. Lenny Pfister, an atmospheric scientist at NASA Ames in Mountain View did not work on this particular study. But the new photos carry a broader message; that we're already beginning to deal with the effects of climate change.
"I am somewhat alarmed by the mechanisms involved in this," said Dr. Pfister.
He means the classic global warming chain reaction. Less ice means more heat absorbed, which leads to more melting.
This year for instance, most of the Northwest Passage between Canada and the Arctic Circle cleared.
"The problem is that the green house, out climate is going to respond in ways that are surprising to us. And one of those ways is as we disturb the system, we are going to find more stuff," said Dr. Dan Kammen from UC Berkeley.
Then there is the matter of oil deposits beneath the ice caps. Most experts agree that oil and fossil fuels at least helped contribute to global warming, and now there will be more of them.
"The irony is that our ability to find oil is being driven by the problems oil is causing," said Dr. Kammen.
The good news is that based on this latest evidence, the summer ice melt has not yet triggered a global tipping point. But if this summer was not a statistical fluke, and climate change continues accelerating, that moment of critical mass could come sooner than predicted.
"The consensus is that if we stabilize emissions, we can probably forestall the kind of dramatic melting of the ice cap," said Dr. Pfister.
- 1 dead, 2 injured from East Palo Alto shooting
- Man dies after fall during Bay to Breakers party
- Silver Creek HS sophomore killed in bike accident 5 min ago
- Brush fire at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland
- Startups use Netflix rental model for clothing, jewelry
- NFL set to vote if Bay Area will host Super Bowl
- Small Fla. city wonders who won Powerball jackpot
- abcnews: SEAL auctions bin Laden raid knife
- roundup: Fairfield shooting; Redwood City fire
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Monday
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed VideoMost Viewed Photos