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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

Arctic oil exploration 2015 – a changing climate?


(Frozen over Chukchi Sea)

Did it make you sit up and listen when you heard that particular little item of news? You could be fogiven if you missed it, hidden away in the business news somewhere. BP and the Russian state oil company Rosneft have signed an agreement which will let them join forces to exploit the oil and gas resources of Russia’s Arctic region – and the date envisaged is 2015.
With the Gulf of Mexico disaster just nine months past, I’d say there is every reason to be concerned about the fragile Arctic environment.
And the increasing interest, not just in this particular case, seems to me a clear indication that the climate is changing – and some of those changes are coming fast.
From this weekend onwards, I’ll be looking into the situation of the Arctic in particular at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso, in Arctic Norway. I’ll keep you posted on what the politicians, scientists and environmentalists are saying.”Arctic Tipping Points” is the title of this year’s Arctic conference. It looks as if they might not be as far in the future as people once thought.

Date

January 18, 2011 | 9:23 am

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2010 ties for “warmest year on record”

(Greenland 2009)

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has released figures confirming that 2010 tied with 2005 for the warmest global surface temperatures ever recorded. According to the analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007.The GISS records go back to 1880.
“If the warming trend continues as is expected, if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the 2010 record will not stand for long”, says the Institute’s director James Hansen.
NASA says their temperature record is a close match with those of others, independently produced, including the UK’s
Met Office Hadley Centre
and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.
Hansen says the records show a rise in temperature over the last ten years in spite of year-to-year fluctuations associated with the El Nino – La Nina cycle of tropical ocean remperature. There is also a possibility that the cold spell which had us diving for the snow shovels here in northern Europe could have been influenced by the decline of Arctic sea ice and linked to warming temperatures at more northern latitudes. The sea ice helps insulate the atmosphere from the ocean’s heat.
The GISS experts say winter weather patterns are “notoriusly chaotic”. Well, climate is certainly a complex business. But whatever way you look at it, it looks like we all have our work cut out for us to have any chance of halting the worrying upward trend in temperature.

Date

January 13, 2011 | 1:18 pm

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“When the snow lay round about” – because of global warming?


Snow on trees – beautiful, if you ask me, and appropriate weather for this time of year. Of course not everybody sees it that way. Most of the people supposedly always “Dreamin’ of a white Christmas…” have been whinging non-stop since the snow started, admittedly a good bit ahead of the feast itself.
And then, yes, off we went. They’re at it again. Newspapers, people on the (much delayed) train, friends on the telephone… the same old story… “so much for climate change. Do you know how much snow is on my doorstep…?”
Well I was in a way relieved to know that George Monbiot has been encountering the same problem – and has a suitable explanation to hand. Let me direct you to “That snow outside is what global warming looks like” in a recent edition of the Guardian.
“The cold has reason in a deathly grip” – does that sound a bit drastic?

Date

December 28, 2010 | 3:44 pm

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Merry Christmas from the IceBlogger

“He’s cute” – is the response I’ve been getting to this Svalbard reindeer, pictured at Ny Alesund earlier this year.
Well reindeer and I would like to wish all iceblog readers all the very best for the Christmas holidays. In case you won’t be reading again until 2011, I’ll wish you a happy new year when it comes. But I am planning to be posting again before the turn of the year.
But do take time now for a quick click to another blog I’d like to draw your attention to. I’ve just contributed a post and will do so again on occasion.
The Global Ideas Blog and the whole project is all about finding solutions to our climate problems.”Thinking for a cooler world”. What do you think?
All the best for now.

Date

December 22, 2010 | 3:23 pm

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Optimism, despair or business as usual?


(Thinking hard, walking on the Chukchi Sea, Alaska, 2008)

Do you ever find yourself in the situation where somebody talks about a meeting you’ve been to – and you wonder whether you were really in the same room? People’s subjective perceptions of what was said can be so different.
Well, at least with international climate meetings there is no shortage of documentation in black and white. But there’s plenty of room to disagree in assessing it.
Following my own conclusion (based admittedly on reading mostly German media, but across the political spectrum from left to right or vice versa)that it was being viewed positively because expectations had been talked down to a minimum beforehand, I was interested to read a comment in the British Guardian from Michael Jacobs, a climate and environment expert currently at the London School of Economics, saying reactions to Cancun had been “almost universally downbeat”. He also quotes Friends of the Earth International as calling it a “slap in the face”.
Well, I suppose it comes back to the old idea of the glass being half-full or half-empty. There’s one idea which pops up in English and German in various comments from journalists and ngos,though, which is that Cancun saved the talks – but not, by a long chalk, the climate. The show is on the road, but there’s a long way to go. And who knows if we can make it in time?
Jacobs himself says Cancun gives us hope. His ideas are worth a read. “The real danger is that pessimism becomes self-fulfilling”. He’s got a point there. “Optimism”, he says, “is not just an essential psychological condition; it’s a vital political posture”. Food for thought?

Date

December 16, 2010 | 10:43 am

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