Sunday, September 16, 2007

Disappearing Sea Ice Will Change A Climate, And Politics, Near You

Disappearing sea ice in the Arctic continues to make news.

As temperatures rise, the oceans warm up, too, and the ripple effects will be:

Smaller or vanished polar ice caps.

Stronger summer storms.

Higher ocean levels.

Less polar ice means less sunlight reflected, and more sunlight and heat absorbed in the water, meaning less sea and polar ice - - so the cycle continues.

For people living in coastal zones, stronger storms and rising ocean levels will certainly effect daily life due to higher rainfall totals and altered shorelines.

For those of us in the Great Lakes, the impacts are most likely stronger rainstorms and more evaporation from surface waters.

How these factors will interact can't fully be predicted, but it is known that Lake Superior's documented and historic drop is related to warmer air temperatures, less ice cover, and drought.

The heavy rains of a few weeks ago in Wisconsin and Minnesota did not alleviate years of drought around Lake Superior; all the trends are a cause for concern and underscore the need for strong water conservation and resource management planning - - key elements in the pending Great Lakes Compact and certainly reasons for its quick adoption by all eight Great Lakes states.

Minnesota and Illinois have adopted it; Wisconsin is the only state without a bill under consideration.

2 comments:

Chicago Train Stories said...

James,

While I agree with you that global warming is an important issue, don't blame everything on it.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not deny that they accidentally dug a hole in the bottom of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in the early 1960s when they dredged a shipping channel in the St. Clair River.

The Army Corps of Engineers pulled the plug out of the bathtub.

James Rowen said...

This blog has certainly posted information about the Corp of Engineers' dredging. It's a real factor.