This followed a 1000 sq km calving in 1998. The British Antarctic Survey group warned that very little that could stop the additional loss of thousands of square kilometers of the Shelf.
A few important notes and the relevance to Colorado follows.
Note 1: This collapse has few implications for sea levels because it was already floating.
Note 2: David Vaughan, of the British Antarctic Survey, predicted in 1993 that the Wilkins shelf would break off
in correction: within 30 years. The events to date have occurred at twice the predicted rate. The events to date have occurred well within the predicted time-frame. Given the current state of conditions, I think the prediction will come all too true.
Note 3: The rate of melting at both poles have occurred much more quickly than glaciologists and climatologists have predicted. Indeed, numerous warnings identified in the lastest IPCC report were out-of-date by the time the report was published.
The Colorado tie-ins:
1) Twice in the past week, Independence Institute staff publicly spread global warming misinformation. Once by Amy Oliver on radio and once by Jon Caldara and James Taylor (of the Heartland Institute) on public television.
2) Responses to local right-wing bloggers have been written recently about other Colorado-centered efforts to misinform the public on the facts surrounding climate change.
The public perception of climate change has recently moved further toward reality: more people recognize the potential and actual dangers of continuing to emit greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, the screeching from the right will only get louder and more obnoxious. As real-world events continue to provide evidence of predictions, it’s important to tally who has the judgment on this issue.
Update: Good imagery of the Ice Shelf from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (in Boulder).
Update 2: Ed Schultz had this story at the top of his news. And get this, he’ll actually get a scientist on air to discuss it. Schultz asked how conservatives are going to spin this. I have my suspicions and will track things.
Ah, conservatives never cease to amaze me. I’ve written (partly in jest) before that the only way thousands of scientists and diplomats could be wrong is if they were all somehow involved in a conspiracy of massive proportions. Think about it: everybody involved would not only have to completely buy into the conspiracy but they couldn’t allow anyone inside the conspiracy that would rat out their plans. Well, shortly after Schultz’s interview with an NSIDC scientist, a conservative called in and claimed that the conspiracy was an attempt to subvert our market economy. Which comes close to what Prof. Hayden said in his newspaper interview: people wanted to establish a carbon market and make money. Say what? Since when did conservatives dislike a plan because someone would make money off of it?
Here’s the rub: Republicans fight from their weak points. Look closely at this situation and it becomes apparent that a shift toward decreasing CO2 emissions would include transitioning our economy from a fossil-fuel based paradigm to something new. Something that the oil/gas/coal companies wouldn’t necessarily control. Which mean they’re hard at work trying to spread as much disinformation as possible so that the transition takes longer. There are no big monied interests behind climate change research. There are behind denialists. Thus, that’s the tack they work from: trying to get the public to not trust real scientific research. And I have to hand it to them: they’ve largely been successful so far. That’s why I’ll keep writing about the research and the disinformation working against it. The tide is turning, but the denyers aren’t giving up. Neither am I.