Saturday, December 30, 2006

And then there were four...

Just this week, polar bears finally ruled by the Bush administration to be "threatened" (not quite as serious as "endangered," which is a crock. When you see polar bears swimming for miles and miles, then drowning, in search of ice floes, I'd call that "endangered," wouldn't you??).

Now, an ice shelf 25.5 square miles in area and several millennia old has broken off near Greenland. Before, there were five ice shelves. Now one has broken free.

Here's the weird thing: The vibration from the shelf breaking was so intense that earthquake-detecting instruments 150 miles away picked it up when this happened -- in August of 2005, and the scientists are JUST NOW reporting it. Apparently, they felt they had to make absolutely sure why it had happened before reporting it. WHY?

Giant Ice Shelf Breaks Off in Canadian Arctic
Richard A. Lovett
for National Geographic News
December 29, 2006

A huge Canadian ice shelf 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the North Pole has disintegrated, leaving a large floating island of ice stranded 30 miles (48 kilometers) offshore, scientists reported yesterday. . . .

Sixteen months of study led Copland and colleagues to the conclusion that several factors were at work, mostly related to global warming. . . .

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