3/27/2012

Geology: Arctic erosion

The Arctic sea ice may have passed crucial tipping point, Fred Pearce tells us in a very interesting article he wrote on the New Scientist, this Tuesday 27 March.
"The sea ice has not recovered since this low in summer 2007. The Northwest Passage opened
for the first time, between the Atlantic Ocean (top) to the Pacific Ocean (bottom right" New Scientist.
Image: NASA/GSFC/Scientific Visualization Studio/Studio Photo Library/
Originally appeared on New Scientist.

In addition to worrying consequences such as the possible shift of ice-free summers into a regular feature across most of the Arctic Ocean, Pierce enumerates a series of issues that will have affect directly European countries, in particular the UK but with scary feedback to the rest of the world.
Map: IBRU
Originally appeared on Treehugger.


One among many other risks due to warming trends that would affect the Arctic region is tsunami risk along with sea level rise and, consequently, flooding events. In the conference Planet Under Pressure, Euan Nisbet, a researcher of the University of London, warns us that warming ocean currents east of Greenland were melting ice in the seabed.

Suggested article: Carol Stevenson, Arctic Erosion, 03 April 2009, New Scientist (note that you need to sign in to read the full article).

As a result, this would have serious impact on landscape patterns in the Northern Europe including Iceland and the UK. Fred Pearce writes:
This could trigger landslides on steep submarine slopes in the area, unleashing tsunamis capable of hitting the UK.

Other risk is the threat of Arctic erosion as Carol Stevenson wrote on New Scientist in 2009 along with air circulation issue as consequences of climate change.

Suggested article: Mat McDermott, New Arctic shows just what boundaries we'll be fighting over for oil, Treehugger, 6 August 2008.

Additionaly, due to warming threats, observers put us on guard of risk of methane leaks from melting permafrost. Fred Pearce continues reporting Euan Nisbet's words:
[This would] release buried methane that could amplify global warming. Something similar happened off Norway 8000 years ago in a similar geological setting.

Admittedly, round about 3000 BC, a first collapse concerned Northern Europe due to Climate change translated into soils that blew away changing the forest and the woodland nature of Britain and most parts of Northern Europe, as Theologian Martin Palmer said to The Ecologist.

Suggested article: Tom Levitt, Humanity has already had four major ecological collapses: How can we avoid a fifth?, an interview with Theologian Martin Palmer, The Ecologist, 27 February, 2012.

In this context, in a geological era dominated by human species, it is urgent to reengineer solutions to do with warming threats as the first concerned would be the local habitats. But which solutions?

Source: The New Scientist

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