June 14, 2007

The Big Thaw

National Geographic Magazine has posted their latest cover story online: The Big Thaw, on the Earth's vanishing icepack. That the world's glaciers and permanent snowfields are melting is certainly not news. What is surprising is how fast the ice is melting.

The loss of polar ice and glaciation has been predicted for years. But scientists are now finding themselves astonished by the rate of melt. Says Eric Rignot, at NASA's JPL, "We see things today that five years ago would have seemed completely impossible, extravagant, exaggerated."

National Geographic's article offers an alarming explanation of the discrepancy (hint: are you familiar with the 'Tipping Point' theory?). If you are interested in that vast, uncontrolled human experiment known as Global Warming, I recommend reading the entire article.

It is a preview, I fear, of many more surprises to come.

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About SierraDescents

When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

Pray for snow.