Thursday, August 9, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd August 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury

During only four days in July this year, nearly the whole surface layer of ice over Greenland melted. This is faster than at any time since satellite data collection started. The most immediate effect of this melting is, of course, sea level rise which could be catastrophic for some countries. About one-fifth of the annual sea level rise can be attributed to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Further effects of the melting ice mean that there is more open water which absorbs more radiation so the oceans continue to get warmer.

There is a natural cycle of warming and cooling in the North Atlantic which is responsible for the varying amounts of Arctic ice and which repeats every 65 to 80 years. Since the 1970s it has been in a warming phase. Scientists have been able to attribute only 30% of the Arctic ice loss to this warming and the conclusion must be that the remaining 70% is due to man made climate change. This has been shown in a new study led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading.

The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is not only worrying for its own sake but for the fact that resource hungry nations are waiting to exploit its vast mineral deposits. This exploitation will go hand in hand with environmental degradation unless measures are taken to ensure that any mining is done in a sensitive and sustainable way

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