It seems obvious to me that temperatures at various points on our globe are increasing, although I'm not sure if the warming is due to natural or man-made causes, or a combination of both. In this part, I discuss a few of the research projects about global warming. I do not, however, discuss possible causes for the temperature increases. Persons wishing to discuss the causes are invited to visit my blog on Climate Change. That blog has a greater coverage of global warming than this blog.
The Arctic Sea
The Arctic Ocean is usually covered with ice, and the amount of ice decreases during summer months. Satellites have been used since 1979 to measure this ice mass. ScienceDaily reported on satellite measurements that show that the ice coverage during 2010 was the third lowest coverage since Satellite-measurements have been taken. Other researchers reported that "A critical minimum for Arctic sea ice can again be expected for late summer 2010, according to researchers." More news about Arctic sea ice came from Australia. "Melting sea ice has been shown to be a major cause of warming in the Arctic according to a University of Melbourne, Australia study. Findings published in Nature reveal the rapid melting of sea ice has dramatically increased the levels of warming in the region in the last two decades." Not only is the Arctic sea ice diminishing, ice shelves near the Arctic Ocean are fracturing or "calving" into smaller pieces. In fact, ice shelves in the Antarctic are calving, too.
During the summer of 2008, more sea ice melted than researchers had expected. However, the sea ice increased during the winter, but the new ice is of inferior quality.
The area of ocean covered by sea ice isn't the only factor in the "health" of the Arctic ice. Arctic sea ice comes in two types: older, thicker perennial ice that has survived at least one summer melt season and younger, thinner seasonal ice that forms in the winter and melts again in the summer.
Seasonal ice melts more easily because it is thin and salty, and so "it's flexible and crushable and more susceptible to winds and currents," said Seelye Martin of NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Program.
Colder temperatures in parts of the Arctic increased the amount of thin, seasonal ice that formed this winter. So while Arctic sea ice was dominated by multiyear, perennial ice in past decades , it is mostly now younger, newly-formed ice.
Global Warming is affecting the Environment
Increasing temperatures in the Arctic are affecting our environment. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have reported on this.
When the summer sea ice goes, the Arctic will lose the ivory gull, Pacific walrus, ringed seal, hooded seal, narwhal and polar bear—all animals that rely on the ice for foraging, reproduction or as refuge from predators. And the sea ice is going, faster and faster: In the past 30 years, minimum sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean has declined by 45,000 square kilometers annually*—an area twice the size of New Jersey is lost each year.
Researchers in Sweden reported that Global Warming is changing the landscape in Sweden.
Sweden's mountains are growing greener. At the border between woods and bare mountain, trees that require warm temperatures, such as oak, elm, maple, and black alder, have become established for the first time in 8,000 years. This is shown in current studies led by Leif Kullman, professor of physical geography at Umeå University in Sweden.
“Most noticeable, alongside the melting of glaciers, is an elevating of the timberline by 200 meters. Bare alpine areas are shrinking, and typical Nordic mountain birch forests are losing ground to spruce and pine, which are more competitive in a warmer and drier climate,” says Leif Kullman.
Glaciers are Melting
Glaciers in China are melting. Glaciers in Alaska are melting. Glaciers all around the globe are melting.
Rising Ocean Levels
As Arctic and Antarctic ice melts, the water from the melt flows into the oceans, and this causes ocean levels to rise. This means that cities built near ocean fronts are in danger of being flooded. Builders are devising ways of combating these floods. One creative way is floating houses.
For more information...
The information presented in this post is but a small part of the information available in the scientific literature. For additional scientific reports about Global Warming, see my my blog on Climate Change.