Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Global Warming Conundrum

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A fine group of global warming folks have a bit of a riddle on their hands:

Arctic sea level has been falling by a little over 2mm a year - a movement that sets the region against the global trend of rising waters.

A Dutch-UK team made the discovery after analysing radar altimetry data gathered by Europe's ERS-2 satellite.

It is well known that the world's oceans do not share a uniform height; but even so, the scientists are somewhat puzzled by their results.

Global sea level is expected to keep on climbing as the Earth's climate warms.

But how can that be? The world is going to ecological hell and Gaia is soon to take her revenge on us...or not. I love it when environmentalists get all confused when the data they are hoping for turns out to be the opposite. I also love this:

To find the Arctic out of step, even temporarily, emphasises the great need for more research in the region, the team says.

Translated into layman terms, they're saying "we need more money so we can support our research for another two years." Why you ask? Because next year is a very special year:

Next year has been designated International Polar Year, and major oceanographic expeditions are planned to take research vessels into the northern region to sample its icy waters.

Anyone worth their salt in the oceanographic expedition industry would be laughed at by their fellow expeditionists if they didn't travel to the Arctic during such an event. What happens after hours on an Arctic expedition, sorry I asked that.

"This may provide clues as to what is causing the changes we're seeing," explained co-researcher Dr Seymour Laxon, from University College London (UCL). "I think it's a true statement to say the Arctic Ocean is the least well understood body of water out there."

Well then, shove off, dude. Go to the ends of the earth to find out why the Arctic actually fell two whole millimeters.

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