Arctic Ice Melting Much Faster Than Thought: maybe they'll make amphibious SUVs

lause at lause at
Sat Nov 30 22:06:50 MST 2002

The real problem will be the temperature and saline content of the oceans.
Remember that "conveyor belt" that keeps the ocean currents going?  Warm water,
like warm air tend to ride over the colder.  Given the present configuration of
the continents, very large warm currents move through the Atlantic from the
south to north on the surface, until it chills sufficiently in the polar regions
to plunge down, which pulls more warm water along in its wake.

According to the Greenland ice core samples, the world was coming out of the
last ice age rather steadily until it was suddenly plunged back into global ice
age conditions in the "Younger Dryas."  This happened in a 50-100 year period
and lasted for 1,000-1,300 years.  Best guess is that this was the result of
nasty Chicago weather.  There was a large lake of meltwater resting roughly over
the present Great Lakes, held back by the ice.  At a certain point in the
warming, the ice barrier failed and all that icy fresh water poured into the
North Atlantic. That "conveyor belt" would have screached to a halt.

Worse, insofar as weather patterns are not entirely governed by chaotic
butterflies, they are generally formed by the interaction between the atmosphere
and the surface, most of which is water.

Mark L.

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