Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Glaciers Doing What All Life Does - Change

Researchers funded by NASA have been monitoring what you may've heard things about - Greenland's J-Isbrae glacier, and their latest report tells us a 7-square kilometer (that's 2.7 miles!) section has been broken to pieces as seen in above images.

e've been monitoring changes in the arctic glacial sheets for some time, and while this new one isn't unusual, the amount of ice lost is roughly 1/8th the size of Manhattan. Gives you a different outlook.

What makes this noteworthy is because it occurs on the heels of a warm winter which saw no ice forming. Also, it lends credence to the theory that the warming of the oceans is responsible for ice-loss. This is not unnatural for the planet as it's happened long before life got a foothold here. Heating and cooling, over and over. Complex life was billions of years in the future. But it exists now, so consider: When sheet ice from snow, or fresh water, mixes with salted sea water, ocean fish exposed to this mixture swell up and die.
Yet it's actually a good/bad condition. Some marine life will benefit for awhile from the thick pad of phytoplankton (food for whales among others) and animals from all over the globe feast on the salad bar. Yet it's out of natural order, which has handled the cycles of life and death in its perfect geological time for eons. Our marine life will be the first to be effected by the dangers of this imbalance in life and its food. Watching the seas is a wise predictor of what lies ahead for earth.

Life also exists because predators do. They exist because of prey, keeping herds healthy, numbers in balance. No life should have to starve because there's too many of them and not enough natural predation. Worse, when there is more life because of an over-abundance of a food source, a harmonious balance is disturbed. It will, of course, affect humans, for a very long time.


Big Mark 243 said...

Were we talking about a few numbers changing because of a decimal point placement, you would have the attention of those who are adding to the unnatural warmth.

I find it odd how folks don't belief in climate change believe in things like the change that comes from multiculturalism and how they can see a future being altered, but when you apply that logic to climate change, the get dumb.

Species that exist before us will be the first to suffer from the environmental change. That is something that a kindergartener could understand. Why don't titans of industry or politicians get it?

It may be due to the mortality of man. We live long enough to not notice the frightfully small changes but long enough to grow up condition to the change.

We really wouldn't know that the earth's temp changed a few degrees because we don't live long enough for it to be of any notice.

All in all, it is quite maddening. Even though we can see the changes in the polar regions, even in the span of one lifetime, we still ignore the evidence.

It is pitiful.

A. K. said...

This is scary! Seriously we all should help Mother Earth if we want this planet to sustain!

DB said...

The hope held out is adaptability, that endemic trait of all creatures, not just humans. Since few changes in nature are rapid cannot nature also provide means to adjust to the ends?

ADB said...

Climate has changed since the world began, 4 billion years ago. Some of the present day's changes may be attributable to human activity for sure; some of it is part of the on-going cycle of change.

Cathy said...

MARK: A few degrees change either way would decimate this planet. It evolved with the life that got a foothold here and nowhere else, mostly because of our climate, over the eons. This atmosphere is intrinsic to earth alone. Life itself may be a complete accident, even a mutation. Anyway you mention the "titans of industry" who do nothing. Of course not. These are empowered, elitist overly rich whose interest is served by keeping certain myths alive and well - i.e., the earth will always heal itself and life goes on. Or that if you don't "go green" you're selfish and a problem. The money is pouring in from people who fear that guilt and are shelling out in the millions for these "green" products. Don't expect the changes we need to come from the industrial or political arena. It's OUR job. Thanks!

Cathy said...

DB: Good point! To adapt, isn't that how life evolved, the life that is still with us having made changes to survive its environs. Like land iguanas who crawled into the ocean and evolved flattened snouts so they could graze the seabed. Still, I've noticed that life evolves not in a slow crawl of time but in great spurts of change - like the cretaceous when life suddenly bloomed into all kinds of oddities - gone extinct now. No adaptability to predation or inability to get nourishment from the available food source. That environment changed in only millions of yrs (quick order!), and so will ours if earth history is any measure. So I'm leery of nature taking its time to reform and adapt to what is basically toxic anyway. It may be that the process is flawed, and earth has to go through its 6th extinction, starting over from what makes it through. If humans do, it'll be because of our huge brains, the very thing that got us into this mess anyway. Irony of ironies!

Cathy said...

ADB: Agreed - since the galaxy is only about 4.6 billion years young it's still constantly shifting, splitting apart, erupting, subduction and tectonics changing the face of the globe, yes you're right. Heating, cooling, freezing, then ice sheets retreating to expose new mountains, canyons. Then warming again. We're in a fast-changing climate of no sunlight because 150 years ago humans gave it a kick-start with the industrial revolution.