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30 years of sea ice data. The red line indicates deviation from the seasonally-adjusted mean.  (Source: Arctic Research Center, University of Illinois)
Rapid Rebound Brings Ice Back to Levels from the 1980s.

An abnormally cool Arctic is seeing dramatic changes to ice levels.  In sharp contrast to the rapid melting seen last year, the amount of global sea ice has rebounded sharply and is now growing rapidly. The total amount of ice, which set a record low value last year, grew in October at the fastest pace since record-keeping began in 1979.

The actual amount of ice area varies seasonally from about 16 to 23 million square kilometers. However, the mean anomaly-- defined as the difference between the current area and the seasonally-adjusted average-- changes much slower, and generally varies by only 2-3 million square kilometers.

That anomaly had been negative, indicating ice loss, for most of the current decade and reached a historic low in 2007. The current value is again zero, indicating an amount of ice exactly equal to the global average from 1979-2000.

Bill Chapman, a researcher with the Arctic Climate Center at the University of Illinois, says the rapid increase is "no big deal". He says that, while the Arctic has certainly been colder in recent months, the long-term decrease is still ongoing. Chapman, who predicts that sea ice will soon stop growing, sees nothing in the recent data to contradict predictions of global warming.

Others aren't quite so sure. Dr. Patrick Michaels, Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, says he sees some "very odd" things occurring in recent years. Michaels, who is also a Senior Fellow with the Cato Institute, tells DailyTech that, while the behavior of the Arctic seems to agree with climate models predictions, the Southern Hemisphere can't be explained by current theory. "The models predict a warming ocean around Antarctica, so why would we see more sea ice?" Michaels adds that large areas of the Southern Pacific are showing cooling trends, an occurrence not anticipated by any current climate model.

On average, ice covers roughly 7% of the ocean surface of the planet. Sea ice is floating and therefore doesn't affect sea level like the ice anchored on bedrock in Antarctica or Greenland. However, research has indicated that the Antarctic continent -- which is on a long-term cooling trend -- has also been gaining ice in recent years.

The primary instrument for measuring sea ice today is the AMSR-E microwave radiometer, an instrument package aboard NASA's AQUA satellite. AQUA was launched in 2002, as part of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS).



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RE: Pace vs. Quantity
By foolsgambit11 on 11/10/2008 5:38:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and what about Harrison - Benjamin, not William Henry. I mean, that guy did nothing. Nothing!

I agree that it may be hyperbole to call Bush the worst President ever (we need more historical perspective before we can really put him in his right place). But it seems evident that he'll be in the lower half of the list.

Really? What about Johnson? The man who pushed through two major civil rights bills? Granted, his foreign policy may have been poor. But I'm not used to people who give Bush a break being against the containment principle. It's funny, he's like the reverse of Nixon, who had a really good foreign policy, and fell short domestically. Bush has fallen short domestically for sure - No Child Left Behind is a good idea poorly implemented, the Medicare prescription drug plan was something, but nowhere near what needs to be done in modernizing the 'social contract' departments of the federal government. He's gutted the EPA, FDA, and made the IRS focus on people getting the EITC instead of wealthy people using overseas tax havens. Oh, yeah, and the economy isn't doing too hot. He's expanded clandestine service activity beyond its legal limits, especially by spying on U.S. persons (although this is now legal, I understand). His foreign policy agenda seems mixed. It is possible that Iraq will turn out okay, but since the war was 'unnecessary' to begin with, that's something of a Pyrrhic victory. Al-Qaeda has been weakened, but the War on Terrorism has resulted in nearly 5000 dead U.S. service members between Iraq and Afghanistan, and hundreds of billions spent. The U.S. committed human rights violations (i.e., torture) during his watch (whether he specifically authorized it or not, the blame falls on him). Our hard power is entangled, our soft power has waned to unheard-of post-WWII levels. But it's possible that this is something of a nadir, and these policies will result in a safer, more peaceful, more democratic world in the long run.

As for the causes of this recession, it was not just bipartisan support for the housing industry and home ownership. There was also the bipartisan support for free-market capitalism. (I'm not ragging on capitalism in general; there are more stable, more equitable flavors of capitalism that I prefer to any other economic system.)

By the way, I'm not vulnerable to the draft either (too old), but I served in the Army (including a tour in Iraq) for most of my eligible years. And I have no hurt feelings, but many of my fellow service members do have some immense psychological trauma. You're right, though, that this doesn't effect enough people to really carry weight in evaluating Bush's legacy.


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