by Maya del Mar
In Alaska, where I just spent a week, I found a fatalism about global warming, along with a day by day attitude towards life. In fundamentalist Christiansand there are manyit combines with a belief in Armageddon.
The warming is obvious in Alaska. Alaska is the glacier state, and the glaciers are melting very quickly and visibly. There are disruptions all over due to permafrost melting. The thermoclines are moving northward, This is noticeable in plants and animals as they shift habitats and migration and nesting patterns. The seasons, both summer and winter, are warming rapidly.
The Northwest Passage, always frozen, is expected to be completely open to shipping by 2020. The latest report is that at the present rate of melting, the Polar Ice Cap will be gone by 2050. The polar ice cap is likely the single most important circumstance which has kept our climate so stable for thousands of years.
Scientists are desperately trying to predict what, where, and when climate changes will occur. This is very difficult when an uncountable number of variables are interacting in ever-changing ways. The climate station at Prudhoe Bay, in Alaskas far north, is expanding both facilities and personnel daily. This is surely true of climate stations around the world.
What they can say is that there will be more and more storms and extreme weather conditions worldwide. We have been experiencing this over the last few years.
And as Im leaving Alaska, the huge storm named Katrina is devastating the Gulf of Mexico areafrom oil rigs to New Orleans to Biloxi to the hundreds of chemical plants in between.
In Alaska I saw the film Day After Tomorrow, a fictional drama about sudden climate change. Many parts of it were similar to what I heard the scientists saying on TV.