The Melting of the Polar Ice Caps

If you don’t think it could happen, you need to wake up. Nature is calling our number and some people still don’t see it. The weather this year of 2010 has been very weird. Tornadoes and Hurricanes are popping up everywhere. The Heat Index rises like Mother Nature has a bone to pick with us. My question is am I right?

The pictures have been everywhere. Their images are both sad and troubling. I’m referring to the pictures of the Polar Bears trying to find a comfortable place to sit. Their discomfort isn’t due to the fact of being overcrowded, it’s actually because they are running out of icebergs. Running out of Icebergs, you may say to yourself. It does sound like a James Cameron film, but it is slowly becoming reality. If the Polar Ice Caps melt, we are all in trouble. A flood of that capacity would be devastating to our world.

The only upside to most of this, is that our society has finally become environmentally involved. Now, we have not only entertainers but politicians as well joining the fight. This includes advertisements and telethons. We may have finally discovered just how precious our Natural Resources are to all of us. No matter, the nation, color, creed, religion or continent, we are all at risk. It’s inspiring to see the whole world began to unite for this worthy cause. The spill in the Gulf has increased our recycling awareness, I just hope that it’s not too late.

Animals and The Melting Arctic Ice Cap

The arguments for global warming can sound a bit vacuous when discussing temperature changes of only one degree. The impact of the melting Arctic ice cap on animals is much more tangible.

There is little dispute that the Arctic ice cap is melting. Since 1979, it has definitively shrunk by 20 percent. The issue amongst most people debating global warming is whether this is because of global warming or just a natural cycle of the planet.

From a common sense point of view, it is difficult to imagine global warming is having no impact on the ice caps. The rising temperature of the planet would seem to be a common sense cause of the melting ice. Alas, common sense rarely seems to be used in debates these days.

As the cap melts, the impact on animals in the area is readily apparent. The primary problem is the reduction of habitat. Polar bears are the most obvious animals suffering from this situation. The habitat of the polar bears is the ice flow areas around the edges of the caps. As the caps melt, the flows are disappearing and pulling back to the extent that there is no ice on the shores. The extent of the melting is such that a Russian ship was able to reach the North Pole in 2005 without the use of an ice breaker. This lost habitat is pushing the polar bears to the edge of extinction. Various estimates put the total population at 20,000 and dropping.

There are, however, positive developments for some species. Recent empirical evidence shows the various seal populations of the Arctic are exhibiting growing population numbers. The exact reason is unclear, but they are appearing more and more in southern regions of the cap, which leads to the conclusion that their habitat is actually expanding.

The receding caps are also opening up extensive new habitats for fish. The melting ice is full of nutrients and fish migration to the new opening seas is astounding. Pink salmon, in particular is being seen spawning in rivers far to the north of their usual spawning grounds.

In general, the impact of the melting Arctic ice caps is a mixed situation. The polar bears certainly don’t see anything to be happy about.

Global Warming – Myth Or Reality?

Global warming. For the last few years it has become a very much talked about and hotly debated topic. Is it real or is it just so much hogwash generated by uninformed scare tacticians trying to suppress free enterprise? Changing weather patterns around the globe seem to indicate that the earth may in fact be in the midst of a global warming cycle. Scientific data shows that the earth’s temperature is gradually rising and climate changes are being seen in areas all around the world as a result. We are already seeing moderate rising of sea levels. Storms are becoming more severe. Areas which don’t normally receive much precipitation are documenting higher than normal rainfall. Areas which would normally experience good rainfall levels are receiving less and less.

The ozone layer over the south pole is being depleted allowing more radiation from the sun to enter earth’s atmosphere helping to raise global temperatures, causing the arctic and antarctic ice caps to melt to levels not known of in thousands and thousands of years. Glaciers in various locations around the world once thought to be semi permanent are melting off and receding at alarming rates. The implications to mankind are enormous and potentially devastating. One half to two thirds of the worlds population live in coastal or low lying areas which could be totally eliminated by rising sea levels brought about by the melting of earth’s polar ice caps. Society as we know it could be totally devastated. Major coastal cities totally wiped out or at the very least made partly or completely uninhabitable. Agriculture severely crippled. World commerce severely disrupted. And the more the earth’s temperature rises the faster the effect is amplified. Some scientists are predicting that global temperatures could rise by ten to twenty degrees and sea levels rise as much as twenty feet or more by the middle of this century due to accelerated global warming.

Quite a scary scenario for our future and our coming generations future. But what is causing this phenomena? Is it all part of some sort of natural cycle of the earth or is it somehow being caused or at least intensified by the way we live and use and abuse the resources of our planet? It is very possible that it is part of a normal cycle of climate changes that the earth has experienced since it was created. The earth has gone through numerous climate changes including ice ages and periods of tropic and Sub-tropic forestation since it was created and started to evolve. But it is also quite possible that this warming cycle is being amplified by human interaction with the atmosphere which protects the earth. Interaction in the form of fossil fuels which emit carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air which help trap greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Industrial air pollution and pollution from the cars we drive are very possibly the main culprits in the effects we are seeing and experiencing with our atmosphere. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century and the birth of the industrial age, pollution levels in our atmosphere have been steadily rising and as more of the world becomes industrialized the problem only gets worse as long as that industrialization relies on fossil fuels.

What can we as individuals do to help stem this rise in the pollution of our atmosphere and the possible contribution to global warming caused by the use of fossil fuels as our principal means of running our societies? First we can demand that our governments work on developing more earth friendly forms of energy. Wind, solar, geothermal, and other forms of energy which don’t emit harmful toxins into the atmosphere. Second, we can make changes in our personal lives which will help reduce the amount of pollution we as individuals create. The largest culprit among us is the cars we drive. Cars which use fuels which are improperly formulated to burn properly because oil companies formulate their fuels to only burn efficiently enough to actually allow our cars to operate, so that they can make as much money as they can off of their products without regard to the consequences to our planet.

Slowly, alternative fuels and fuel alternatives are being developed. Ethanol, Natural gas, hydrogen, biodeisel along with electric and solar powered vehicles. Hybrid cars which combine part time electric drives with conventional gas powered engines. These are all potential solutions to the pollution problems caused by our automobiles. Yet their full potential remains years away from full commercial development. However there are ways to actually make our present cars run better by improving the fuel mixture so it burns more completely thus eliminating the vast majority of pollution caused by the unburned fuel emitted as unburned hydrocarbon pollution. This can, thanks to committed independent inventors be easily and economically accomplished by incorporating hydroxy gas systems into our present cars. Hydroxy gas systems break down H2O into a burnable gas which when combined with the gasoline/air mixture creates a much better and cleaner burning fuel mixture which will eliminate almost all of the pollution emitted by our cars, but also increase the car’s gas milage substantially because these systems cause the gasoline to be almost completely burned up in the engine the way it should be if it was properly formulated to begin with by the oil companies.

These systems can be purchased pre built for a few hundred dollars or with proper plans can be easily constructed from readily obtainable materials for under a hundred dollars. There are numerous people and commercial entities who try to dispel and suppress this information either because they are too disbelieving that these systems can actually work or more importantly are the commercial entities who realize that these systems do in fact work and if people implemented this technology into their cars that these entities profits would be drastically affected.

It is ultimately up to each one of us to change the way we do things and do what we can to help reverse the damage which we as a race of people have done to the health of the planet which sustains us and all living things on this planet. Whether though real shortage of oil supplies are due to market speculation, if something like the cost of gas rising to five or ten dollars a gallon forces us to make those changes, then ultimately that is a good thing regardless of how much it forces us to change our lifestyles or the short term hardships it might impose on us compared to the effect of killing the only atmosphere we have.