Next American President of global importance

The United States will elect a new President on November 4 this year, and he will be sworn into office in January 2009. However this President will be of global importance more so than any other simply because of what is happening with the earth.

Global warming is at a critical stage being very close to the tipping point. In fact so close we may have already passed it, and that most definitely is not a good thing. The tipping point is when global warming is out of control and a significant cooling of the planet will be needed to stop it. It is like bending a steel coat hanger. You must bend it past where you want it for it to stay.

Out going President George Bush has done little or nothing to stop global warming. In fact he has simply found excuses saying it is impossible to do, while other countries are already doing it.

There is no need to explain who Al Gore is, and Al Gore has thrown his support behind Barack Obama, not because they are of the same party, but because Barack Obama will make the right choices for the planet. This alone makes this election more important than any past election. This election will be felt by every living thing on the planet from insects to plants to humans.

Greenland is a place few people live but it’s importance is global. Very simply the bulk of the northern hemasphere land bound ice that will cause sea levels to rise is in Greenland. Ice that is in an iceberg will only have minor change in the sea level as only the roughly 12% of the iceberg that is out of the water will contribute. However 100% of land bound ice will contribute. If Greenland melts completely the sea level will rise 7.2 meters (23.6 feet). If the ice sheet in Antarctic melts the sea level will go up 61.1 meters (200.4 feet). Both are melting as you read this.

The story below talks about Northern Greenland and that is a concern. If northern Greenland is being effected then all of Greenland’s ice is melting, and as previously reported global warming is 30 years ahead of where they thought it would be. If you read between the lines as a whole, the scientists are not coming right out and saying it is part of global warming, but they are implying normal and sea level rise in almost the same breath. Needless to say sea level rise is not normal.

At top of Greenland, new worrisome cracks in ice

WASHINGTON – In northern Greenland, a part of the Arctic that had seemed immune from global warming, new satellite images show a growing giant crack and an 11-square-mile chunk of ice hemorrhaging off a major glacier, scientists said Thursday.

And that’s led the university professor who spotted the wounds in the massive Petermann glacier to predict disintegration of a major portion of the Northern Hemisphere’s largest floating glacier within the year.

If it does worsen and other northern Greenland glaciers melt faster, then it could speed up sea level rise, already increasing because of melt in sourthern Greenland.

The crack is 7 miles long and about half a mile wide. It is about half the width of the 500 square mile floating part of the glacier. Other smaller fractures can be seen in images of the ice tongue, a long narrow sliver of the glacier.

“The pictures speak for themselves,” said Jason Box, a glacier expert at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University who spotted the changes while studying new satellite images. “This crack is moving, and moving closer and closer to the front. It’s just a matter of time till a much larger piece is going to break off…. It is imminent.”

The chunk that came off the glacier between July 10 and July 24 is about half the size of Manhattan and doesn’t worry Box as much as the cracks. The Petermann glacier had a larger breakaway ice chunk in 2000. But the overall picture worries some scientists.

“As we see this phenomenon occurring further and further north — and Petermann is as far north as you can get — it certainly adds to the concern,” said Waleed Abdalati, director of the Center for the Study of Earth from Space at the University of Colorado.

The question that now faces scientists is: Are the fractures part of normal glacier stress or are they the beginning of the effects of global warming?

“It certainly is a major event,” said NASA ice scientist Jay Zwally in a telephone interview from a conference on glaciers in Ireland. “It’s a signal but we don’t know what it means.”

It is too early to say it is clearly global warming, Zwally said. Scientists don’t like to attribute single events to global warming, but often say such events fit a pattern.

University of Colorado professor Konrad Steffen, who returned from Greenland Wednesday and has studied the Petermann glacier in the past, said that what Box saw is not too different from what he saw in the 1990s: “The crack is not alarming… I would say it is normal.”

However, scientists note that it fits with the trend of melting glacial ice they first saw in the southern part of the massive island and seems to be marching north with time. Big cracks and breakaway pieces are foreboding signs of what’s ahead.

Further south in Greenland, Box’s satellite images show that the Jakobshavn glacier, the fastest retreating glacier in the world, set new records for how far it has moved inland.

That concerns Colorado’s Abdalati: “It could go back for miles and miles and there’s no real mechanism to stop it.”

If you want to see what this means, click here to see an interactive map of sea level rise.

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