Never let it be said that we at the Green Options network only focus on promoting the idea of 100% man-made global warming. As a recent study has shown, man may not be the only one to blame, although without a doubt we haven’t helped matters all that much.
We all saw what happened to the Arctic this past Northern summer, and were shocked and dismayed. Regardless of who did it, the opening of the Northwest Passage is not a good omen for the future of our environment.
But according to new information the abnormal warming of the Arctic ice is not entirely man’s fault. In fact, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Nature, fingers are being pointed at a natural and cyclical increase in the amount of atmospheric energy.
Atmospheric energy accumulates as a result of storms. With the ocean current’s pushing more storms northward, the amount of atmospheric energy shifting from south to north increases, thus providing this shot in the arm to the already warming of the Arctic (although, scientists cannot agree on which is the shot in the arm, and which did the most damage).
The northern summer of 2007 was one that will go down in history as the worst – to date. In September the Arctic Ocean had 23 percent less sea ice than the previous record low, which itself was already low. In addition, Greenland’s own ice-sheet melted 19 billion tons more than its previous record.
But Rune Graversen, the Nature study co-author and a meteorology researcher at Stockholm University in Sweden, concludes that in addition to the increase in energy transfer above the Arctic which bumped up atmospheric temperatures, man-made global warming has contributed as well. The unexpected thawing is explained fully by combining man-made global warming with this energy transfer.
Oceanographer James Overland, who reviewed Graversen’s study for publication in Nature said that the research conducted dovetails with an upcoming article of his which concludes that the unexpected Arctic thawing is a combination of the two.
“If we didn’t have the little extra kick from global warming then we wouldn’t have gone past the threshold for the change in sea ice,” said Overland, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s lab in Seattle.
But other researchers believe that Graversen didn’t give global warming enough credit. Apparently his study relied on older data that stopped at 2001, and thus detracted from its accuracy.
AP via PhysOrg – Nature and Man Jointly Cook Arctic