Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Shocked as Arctic Polar Route Revealed

samzenpus posted about 8 years ago | from the no-more-pesky-ice dept.

568

Paladin144 writes "A route unencumbered by perennial sea ice leading directly to the North Pole has been revealed by recent satellite pictures. European scientists indicated their shock as they noted a ship could sail from Europe's northern-most outpost directly to the pole, something that hasn't been possible during most of recorded human history. The rapid thawing of the perennial sea ice has political implications as the U.S., Canada, Russia and the EU jockey for control of the newly opened passages."

cancel ×

568 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Is it just me (4, Funny)

kongit (758125) | about 8 years ago | (#16151994)

Is it just me or is the world cracking up?

What was the joke?

The implications... (2, Interesting)

telchine (719345) | about 8 years ago | (#16152064)

I wonder how long it'll be before capitalistic-minded individuals realise the substantial implications of this; they can make money selling boat cruises to the North Pole!

Re:The implications... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152210)

I wouldn't attempt it. Haven't you read the parts of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea toward the end? What if it periodically refreezes as winter approaches, causing them to be trapped beneath the ice?

Re:The implications... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152239)

The real struggle will be for the oil and natural resources previously buried underneath perenial ice cover.

Actually, it'll be more sane. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152168)

If the oceans rise like scientests seem to think they will, the USA will soon be without both New York and California. Let's just hope the rats don't move inland.

Re:Actually, it'll be more sane. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152258)

If the oceans rise like scientests seem to think they will, the USA will soon be without both New York and California. Let's just hope the rats don't move inland.



You failed geography, right? Most of California and New York are above sea level, way above the 10 to 15 feet the sea level is expected to rise over the next century. Now Virginia Beach, Virginia, home of Pat Robertson, GONE. And not a moment too soon.

Re:Actually, it'll be more sane. (5, Interesting)

FST777 (913657) | about 8 years ago | (#16152274)

It has been predicted that half of the Netherlands (my homeland) will dissapear gradually during the next 100 years, unless we build better and higher dams all around the sea. Offcourse, parts of the NL are already under sea-level ("polders") but not nearly half of it.

Luckily, I live in the area which will be unaffected, so all I have to do to get rich is buy massive amounts of land here. Still, the implications would be enormous.

The more I think of it, the more I believe we should act, and act quick. But I'm not certain as to act upon WHAT exactly.

pr0n (4, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | about 8 years ago | (#16151995)

European scientists indicated their shock as they noted a ship could sail from Europe's northern-most outpost directly to the pole, something that hasn't been possible during most of recorded human history.

Now look, I've seen quite a few movies where they go straight to the pole. No dialogue, nothing. Seriously.

Re:pr0n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152117)

The mods didn't catch the joke. I think you were too subtle, maybe you're watching too much pr0n?

More to the point... (3, Funny)

TechnoBunny (991156) | about 8 years ago | (#16152009)

Did they find any evidence of ManPolarBearPig?

Re:More to the point... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152029)

Did they find any evidence of ManPolarBearPig?

No, but they did find Al Gore claiming to have invented the route. Oh, and that he did so to save the children.

Look on the bright side (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 8 years ago | (#16152013)

There won't be as many icebergs for ships to run into.

Re:Look on the bright side (1)

phatvw (996438) | about 8 years ago | (#16152058)

Oh they'll find something else to run into. We can't keep James Cameron out of work after all...

Re:Look on the bright side (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#16152101)

You mean we'll be spared of a Titanic 2? Hooray for global warming!

Re:Look on the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152116)

Wrong. If everything is frozen, then there are fewer icebergs to run into. Just one. A really big one, but just one.

Re:Look on the bright side (3, Informative)

kestasjk (933987) | about 8 years ago | (#16152266)

On the contrary; the melting of polar ice means more iceburgs end up detached from the rest.

strategic paradigm shift... (4, Funny)

pedantic bore (740196) | about 8 years ago | (#16152014)

Without the polar ice cap, where are the missle subs going to hide?

Re:strategic paradigm shift... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 8 years ago | (#16152024)

Not only that, we will be spared a remake of Ice Station Zebra.

Re:strategic paradigm shift... (5, Funny)

syousef (465911) | about 8 years ago | (#16152066)

Screw that! What about Santa!? I want my pressies damnit!

Re:strategic paradigm shift... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#16152154)

I thought he was in Alaska or something?

Re:strategic paradigm shift... (4, Interesting)

Sidde (758228) | about 8 years ago | (#16152214)

Santa is from Rovaniemi, Finland.
Rovaniemi is a town close to the artic circle in Finland and Finland is a country between Sweden and Russia.
Finland used to be the eastern part of Sweden, but lost it to the Russians in a war. So, depending of the age of santa, he is either a Finn, a Swede or a Russian.

Re:strategic paradigm shift... (0, Offtopic)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#16152228)

I didn't ask where he was from, I asked where he is. Yeeesh. You might want to brush up on those ESL courses.

Re:strategic paradigm shift... (3, Interesting)

JonathanR (852748) | about 8 years ago | (#16152289)

What I find interesting (from a thermodynamics viewpoint) about the melting of the polar ice cap, is that if it was atmospheric warming, and the ice was melting from the top down, you'd expect to see rivers of liquid water. Since this hasn't been reported (so I presume it isn't occuring), I can only assume that the melting is taking place from the bottom up. This means that warm ocean currents travelling underneath the sea ice must be the energy transport mechanism. Now, surely changes in ocean current flow or temperature would have to be significant to change the thermodynamic balance (obviously there are seasonal cycles). Wouldn't the ocean temperature changes and/or flow velocity changes be measureable?

Market solution for the extinction of polar bears (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152018)

teach polar bears how to operate arctic toll booths

Shocking? Not really... (3, Funny)

Inverted Intellect (950622) | about 8 years ago | (#16152020)

But it could have some chilling consequences.

Re:Shocking? Not really... (2, Funny)

suzerain (245705) | about 8 years ago | (#16152027)

I think the consequences will be more 'warming' than 'chilling'.

Re:Shocking? Not really... (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | about 8 years ago | (#16152042)

Depends where you are. In the US - warming. In Europe - chilling as the gulfstream is supposed to stop. The forecast for UK is 9C lower average temperature and 15C lower minimum temperature during the winter. Considering the build quality of the average british house...

Re:Shocking? Not really... (2, Informative)

rosscoe (1000032) | about 8 years ago | (#16152203)

Houses in the UK tend to be built very well. Virtually all housing is brick construction with all new builds for the past 30 years (at least) requiring lots of insulation and double glazing. 15C lower temp in the winter would be bitch though as where I live (the south east) we get so little snow and ice that we don't have the necessary skills or tools to deal with it in large ammounts.

Re:Shocking? Not really... (2, Funny)

Nevynxxx (932175) | about 8 years ago | (#16152275)

This is one of the reaosns I want to move further north, to Scotland infact, to guarentee those colder winters :)

What can I say? I like snow!

Roll on ice cap melting and the shutdown of the gulf stream.....

Re:Shocking? Not really... (1)

Inverted Intellect (950622) | about 8 years ago | (#16152091)

Not where I live. If the Gulf Stream [wikipedia.org] shuts down, I'll have to live with some very, very nasty winters.

trade with russia (5, Interesting)

suzerain (245705) | about 8 years ago | (#16152021)

I would think this will open up lots of new trade opportunities between Russia and North America. I don't know what that could mean, but it is certainly interesting. What kind of manufacturing prowess does Russia have that has been heretofore underutilized because they could not as efficiently get goods to North American ports? Or is this all a bunch of hooey?

(I thought of this because I remember reading this article about Pat Broe [commondreams.org] , which may or may not have been slashdotted, but it is about an investor in the Canadian port of Churchill, Manitoba, which could well profit from an opened northern passage.)

By the way, I live in Manhattan, and I think it's about time to move...to some city somewhere that's 20 or 30 miles inland.

Re:trade with russia (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 8 years ago | (#16152028)

I would think this will open up lots of new trade opportunities between Russia and North America. I don't know what that could mean, but it is certainly interesting. What kind of manufacturing prowess does Russia have that has been heretofore underutilized because they could not as efficiently get goods to North American ports? Or is this all a bunch of hooey?

Russia has plenty of oil and methane, perhaps they could export it to North America that way.

Re:trade with russia (4, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 8 years ago | (#16152195)

Russia has plenty of oil and methane, perhaps they could export it to North America that way.
And by burning it, global temperatures rise further, opening up even more previously ice-bound trade routes! Yay!

Re:trade with russia (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | about 8 years ago | (#16152047)

I think this passage leads to the pole, but not out on the other side. But that is of course the situation right now. Who knows how it will look in 5 years. :)

Re:trade with russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152051)

According to the google (and rusnet.nl), the closest point between Russia and America is less than 3 miles in the Bering Strait, between Big Diomede Island (Russian) and Little Diomede Island (Alaskan).

And the mainlands are at one point only 55 miles apart between two peninsulas. So is there some reason that these locations haven't been utilised as trade routes previously if they are so close?
How would this new route be an improvement over a route so short?

(Just wondering - I had heard America and Russia were actually very close at their closest points and just wondered why this wasn't utilised previously. I'm guessing the Cold War was a bit of a downer on trade between the countries, but how about now?)

Re:trade with russia (2, Interesting)

suzerain (245705) | about 8 years ago | (#16152065)

I always just assumed that it's because that's not where U.S., or Russian, infrastructure is set up. I think the costs of running suitable rail lines and roads and whatnot out to areas where absolutely no one lives are just prohibitive to the kind of return it would show. That's just assumption on my part, though.

Someone wants to build a bridge across the Bering Strait, to re-link Asia and North America. Building that bridge is hard enough, but the real problem is that for it to be useful, we'd have to build a highway -- on both sides -- that'd have to be literally thousands of miles long just to get to any population centers. So, alas, no road trips to Beijing are in our future here in the USA.

Rail from N America to Russia (2, Insightful)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 8 years ago | (#16152284)

Someone wants to build a bridge across the Bering Strait, to re-link Asia and North America. Building that bridge is hard enough, but the real problem is that for it to be useful, we'd have to build a highway -- on both sides

Close, with the vast distances to be covered and the high volume of freight, rail would be about the only choice. Even that would have difficulties some seasons and may not be practical year round. Though in the summer solar electric stations along the line could probably provide the power. Rails are more efficient than highways and able to route higher volumes of freight. They're also presumably easier for customs to monitor.

That said, passenger transport is an easy addon once the freight line is there. Personal vehicles can be stowed in car carriers. Passengers can then spend time in their cabins or the restaurant, pub, etc. Roll your car, loaded with gear, on in Portland or Vancouver and off in Anchorage, Anadyr, Magadan, Jakutsk, Wuhan or Seoul.

A highway would be a waste of resources at this point both to build, maintain and use. Just Portland to Anchorage is about 1500 miles [symsys.com] , or about 25hrs of driving at an average speed of 60mph -- and that looks to be only about the halfway point.

Re:trade with russia (2, Informative)

bmo (77928) | about 8 years ago | (#16152072)

You said: "this article about Pat Broe,"

In the article:

"territory is determined by how far a nation's continental shelf extends into the sea. Under the treaty, countries have limited time after ratifying it to map the sea floor and make claims."

Is that why the Danes and Canadians were facing off in the Arctic?

Things make more sense now, with regards to that bit of insanity.

--
BMO

Re:trade with russia (1)

andyr (78903) | about 8 years ago | (#16152143)

By the way, I live in Manhattan, and I think it's about time to move...to some city somewhere that's 20 or 30 miles inland.

Melting of the North polar ice cap makes no difference to sea levels.

Re:trade with russia (1)

stial (916740) | about 8 years ago | (#16152255)

The south pole on the other hand ...

Re:trade with russia (4, Insightful)

rainer_d (115765) | about 8 years ago | (#16152257)

> Melting of the North polar ice cap makes no difference to sea levels.

Indeed.
Unfortunately, Greenland's ice glaciers are also melting, the island is getting greener every year. *That* ice cap does matter.

Re:trade with russia (-1, Offtopic)

cheese-cube (910830) | about 8 years ago | (#16152293)

You asked for it...

In Soviet Russia, America trades with YOU!

Language and assumption troubles (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 8 years ago | (#16152033)

"something that hasn't been possible during most of recorded human history."

1. So it happened earlier in recorded human history?
2. There was technology throughout most of human history that recorded Arctic ice cover?
3. Until aircraft, nuclear submarines, nuclear icebreakers, and satellites were invented, nobody was able to say with certainty whether the Northwest Passage existed or not, which was previously the domain of people like Henry Hudson. Indeed, until the technology existed, nobody could really map the icepack with any decent accuracy.

Sweeping statements like the above are simply stupid, as there is no evidence either way. They do make for good inflammatory copy, though.

Oh yeah, in geological terms, human history is less than the blink of an eye. With fossils unearthed recently showing _tropical_ weather in Northern Canada, I think it's safe to say that the Arctic ice cap is a temporary feature.

--
BMO

Re:Language and assumption troubles (5, Funny)

violet16 (700870) | about 8 years ago | (#16152068)

Oh yeah, in geological terms, human history is less than the blink of an eye. With fossils unearthed recently showing _tropical_ weather in Northern Canada, I think it's safe to say that the Arctic ice cap is a temporary feature.

I think it's safe to say that humankind is a temporary feature.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (1)

arun_s (877518) | about 8 years ago | (#16152071)

That statement you quote doesn't actually appear in the article, FWIW. Some lines that do appear are:
Perennial sea ice -- thick ice that is normally present year-round and is not affected by the Arctic summer -- had disappeared over an area bigger than the British Isles, ESA said.
Regular satellite monitoring over the last 25 years shows that the northern polar ice cover has shrunk and thinned as global temperatures have risen.
"This situation is unlike anything observed in previous record low-ice seasons"
Sounds pretty depressing to me, especially for the bears and other animals there.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | about 8 years ago | (#16152076)

The North Polar region was apparently temperate when the dinosours were about (I do seem to recall it was positivelly tropical at one stage).

Cooler then the rest of the world, yes, but warm enough for dinosours. Since it now seems they were warm blooded, and probably covered in feathers, this seems less improbable to me.

I'm 'barely relevent' and I aprove of this message......

Re:Language and assumption troubles (5, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | about 8 years ago | (#16152085)

"something that hasn't been possible during most of recorded human history."

This is not quite correct. There is an object in the Arctic ocean which is known as the "Great Siberian Polynya". It is a wide space of open water which is usually open even in mid-winter and starts somewhere in the middle of the icefields above the east end of the Barents sea and goes east-north-east from there. Its actual position and size varies year on year. While it has never been all the way to the north pole its north-eastern edge in some years has been only a few hundred kilometers away from it. Enough for a conventional icebreaker or even a reinforced ship to try to make a break for it. Similarly its south-western edge in some years has been very close to the open waters of the Barents (though not as far west as Spitzbergen).

By the way, Russians have considered using this phenomenon for shipping in the soviet times and even did a few trial runs of convoys lead by Arctica class icebreakers through it (you still have to get to the Polynya and back from it across the ice fields). They abandoned it at the end. While it proved possible to run shipping in the ocean even in midwinter the shipments could not be moved further inland due to the lack of powerfull enough river icebreakers. The project was postponed till the first nuclear river icebreakers come on line. These were complete at about the time when the Soviet union fell apart and at that point nobody cared about centrally operated and organised super-shipping so they are sitting in Murmansk collecting rust.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (5, Insightful)

LarsWestergren (9033) | about 8 years ago | (#16152103)

There was technology throughout most of human history that recorded Arctic ice cover? Until aircraft, nuclear submarines, nuclear icebreakers, and satellites were invented, nobody was able to say with certainty whether the Northwest Passage existed or not, which was previously the domain of people like Henry Hudson. Indeed, until the technology existed, nobody could really map the icepack with any decent accuracy.

We can extract ice cores and easily date the layers.

The rest of your post is just "it may have happened before" handwaving. Ok, but it hasn't happened in a LONG time, the rate of change is unprecedented, and the possible economical consequences are enormous.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | about 8 years ago | (#16152282)

"We can extract ice cores and easily date the layers."

No, actually, we can't. You're thinking _ANTARCTIC_ ice layers, not Arctic. Arctic ice is _sea ice_ and as sea ice, it melts and refreezes and it _moves_ all over the damn place.

Arctic sea ice oscillates twice a day.

"Contrary to historical observations, sea ice in the high Arctic undergoes very small, back and forth movements twice a day, even in the dead of winter. It was once believed ice deformation at such a scale was almost non-existent."

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/releases/2004/107.cfm [nasa.gov]

And there are larger circulations at work, too.

http://nsidc.org/seaice/processes/circulation.html [nsidc.org]

And ice cores? The ice at the Arctic was 9 feet thick _at its thickest parts_ back in 1958. Just where are you going to get ice cores?

"http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl9935.html"

"the rate of change is unprecedented"

Prove it. You just pulled that statement _right out of your behind_.

The rate is unprecedented, because _nobody has measured it before_. We've only been measuring since 1958. We don't know if this is a long term cycle or not. There's _not enough data_. Using your thought process, the "Little Ice Age" was "unprecedented"
  too, and were that happening today, you'd be screaming about how we're all going to die because we'll all freeze to death.

I stand by my statements, as they're backed up by fact. Your post, however, certainly _is_ handwaving.

--
BMO

Re:Language and assumption troubles (1)

zanybrainy941 (972076) | about 8 years ago | (#16152113)

Until aircraft, nuclear submarines, nuclear icebreakers, and satellites were invented, nobody was able to say with certainty whether the Northwest Passage existed or not"

I assume you mean other than actually climbing in your boat and sailing it.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (1)

fbonnet (756003) | about 8 years ago | (#16152136)

"With fossils unearthed recently showing _tropical_ weather in Northern Canada, I think it's safe to say that the Arctic ice cap is a temporary feature."

That's because what we call Canada nowadays was located a in tropical area. Ever heard of continental drift? The Arctic ice cap is quite permanent compared to humanity. This becomes more evident every day thanks to our stupidity.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (4, Funny)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 8 years ago | (#16152162)

>1. So it happened earlier in recorded human history?
>2. There was technology throughout most of human history that recorded Arctic ice cover?
Haven't you heard of diaries?
Mar 4th 1437
Still cold and boring. Caught breakfast. Fish again. Went for a walk to warm up. Noticed a bit of a crack in the ice and followed that for a while. Bumped into a big pole sticking out the ground. WTF? Some gnarly guy nearby said 'That'll be the North one, sonny.' Maybe someone hammered the pole in too hard and it cracked the ice? Walked back home. Fish for supper.

If that's not evidence, I don't know what is.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (-1, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#16152170)

1. Geologically possible yes, but I doubt the humans had the technology to do so.
2. Us zany humans are actually able to determine past events based on various sources from nature.
3. What an interesting comment. Thankyou for that.

Sweeping statements like the above are simply stupid, as there is no evidence either way. They do make for good inflammatory copy, though.

Sweeping statements like the above are simply stupid, as they ignore the evidence that exists. They do make for good inflammatory copy, though.

Oh yeah, in geological terms, human history is less than the blink of an eye.

Again an interesting comment.

With fossils unearthed recently showing _tropical_ weather in Northern Canada, I think it's safe to say that the Arctic ice cap is a temporary feature.

But how can you know that unless humans were there to record it? Oh I see, so you acknowledge we don't need humans with recording devices to determine prior events, but ignored it up above when you made point two huh? As I said before, sweeping statements like the above are simply stupid, as they ignore the evidence that exists. They do make for good inflammatory copy, though.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (1)

bcmm (768152) | about 8 years ago | (#16152242)

Um, Canada probably wasn't in the far north when those fossils died. It's called continental drift.

Re:Language and assumption troubles (3, Informative)

devonbowen (231626) | about 8 years ago | (#16152267)

With fossils unearthed recently showing _tropical_ weather in Northern Canada, I think it's safe to say that the Arctic ice cap is a temporary feature.

You do realize that continents move around, right? Plate techtonics and all that. Canada, for example, used to be on the equator.

Devon

action please (0, Flamebait)

polar red (215081) | about 8 years ago | (#16152034)

Now Shut up about it not being our fault or it being some peiodical sun-peak-activity-stuff, and quit stalling ... We need a fundamental change in how humanity does things. It also doesn't hurt our economics, that's bullcr*p from the current batch of men in (economic+political) power.

Re:action please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152054)

Exactly: a discovery that provides real evidence of global warming, and what's the first thing "they" worry about? Who will control it... sigh.

Re:action please (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 years ago | (#16152240)

The poles have been ice free many times in geological history. Why does it instantly become 'our fault' just because its happening now?

Re:action please (1)

CdXiminez (807199) | about 8 years ago | (#16152269)

It doesn't even matter whether it is our fault or not.
Climate is changing and we need to adapt.

Where are the sat images? (4, Informative)

phatvw (996438) | about 8 years ago | (#16152046)

I did a Google search for other articles on this topic, and nobody has the actual satellite images, just a bunch of lame pictures of *small* icebergs from 2003? I can just see all the Al Gore propaganda jokes tomorrow...

But seriously if you're going to write an article at least post the images. Even Discovery Channel didn't have a good image and they are usually all about the pictures!

There goes Santa Claus (1)

ultracool (883965) | about 8 years ago | (#16152053)

And in other news, Santa's workshop is nowhere to be found.

Re:There goes Santa Claus (5, Funny)

JohnSearle (923936) | about 8 years ago | (#16152078)

And in other news, Santa's workshop is nowhere to be found.

Yeah. I read somewhere that he was bought out by Wallmart, and then dismantled.

- John

Pictures? (2, Funny)

TangoCharlie (113383) | about 8 years ago | (#16152061)

I followed the link to TFA, and was expecting to see the very satalite images which have shocked the scientists... but no. WTF?

If the scientists want us to believe that the polar ice caps are melting, then we (the public) are going to want to see pictures.

Sorry, without pictures, I don't believe it. Anyway, I've got to go now, because I've got to pick up my kids from school in my SUV.

Re:Pictures? (5, Informative)

Grevling (698129) | about 8 years ago | (#16152097)

Your pictures [esa.int]

Re:Pictures? (1)

TangoCharlie (113383) | about 8 years ago | (#16152157)

Cheers!

Shit!! Better get myself a Prius then?!

Re:Pictures? (1)

Inverted Intellect (950622) | about 8 years ago | (#16152222)

Mark Drinkwater [esa.int] of ESA's Oceans/Ice Unit...
He marks water... geddit? geddit? See, it's frozen, and... *ducks*

Similar to what was seen in 2000 (2, Informative)

De_Boswachter (905895) | about 8 years ago | (#16152067)

An ice breaker fount its way to the North Pole in 2000. There was no ice on the spot at that time. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/888235.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Similar to what was seen in 2000 (1)

telchine (719345) | about 8 years ago | (#16152088)

> An ice breaker fount its way to the North Pole in 2000. There was no ice on the spot at that time. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/888235.stm [bbc.co.uk]

So let's get this straight... An Ice Breaker was sent to the North Pole a few years ago and now we discover there's a break in the ice leading to the North Pole? Coincidence?

Re:Similar to what was seen in 2000 (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#16152187)

And they try blaming global warming. Pfaw.

What this article didn't mention.... (1)

MickDownUnder (627418) | about 8 years ago | (#16152075)

Is that this will probably further endanger native wildlife such as polar bears which have been drowning [timesonline.co.uk] due to lack of ice.

Polemic (5, Funny)

ian_mackereth (889101) | about 8 years ago | (#16152077)

We'll know that global warming has really taken hold when there's a clear-water path to the South Pole!

Re:Polemic (1)

mardin (976086) | about 8 years ago | (#16152127)

That would be really impressive, that would mean that not only the ice but also the rocks/soil in the whole continent would have melted.

Re:Polemic (1)

Krupuk (978265) | about 8 years ago | (#16152212)

Or a rise of the sea levels?

Re:Polemic (1)

nfarrell (127850) | about 8 years ago | (#16152272)

Never mind the fact that, unlike the North Pole, the South Pole is on land [geographicguide.com] !

poor Buddy (1)

not a cylon (1003138) | about 8 years ago | (#16152082)

OK, so who volunteers to break the news to Buddy the elf [imdb.com] that he won't be able to walk back home?

(I like to whisper too.)

Hell won't freeze over, but Europe might. (2, Informative)

darkonc (47285) | about 8 years ago | (#16152087)

One of the strangest anomalys of Global warming is that Europe's warm 'Mediterranean' climate is a result of the Gulf Stream, and the position of the Gulf Stream is a side effect of fresh water flows off of the arctic ice cap. If the arctic ice cap continues to shrink, the Gulf Stream could disapper, and so...
Global Warming could cause Europe to freeze over.

Say goodbye to warm Riviera Summers.

Re:Hell won't freeze over, but Europe might. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152124)

Not so much the mediterranen sea, it would be UK and the northern regions to be affected the most. Anyway No worry, Most brits have bought already plenty of houses in Marbella with the excuse of playing golf......

Re:Hell won't freeze over, but Europe might. (1, Troll)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | about 8 years ago | (#16152139)

Don't forget the massive tornadoes of super-cool air being pulled down from space causing helicopters to instantly freeze over and fall from the sky. It's only a matter of days before we all freeze to death because of global warming god damnit! We need to fundamentally change the way humans do things NOW, not tomorrow. Turn off all your electronic stuff immediately and don't use any fuel!

Re:Hell won't freeze over, but Europe might. (1)

big ben bullet (771673) | about 8 years ago | (#16152155)

"Don't forget the massive tornadoes of super-cool air being pulled down from space causing helicopters to instantly freeze over and fall from the sky. It's only a matter of days before we all freeze to death because of global warming god damnit! We need to fundamentally change the way humans do things NOW, not tomorrow. Turn off all your electronic stuff immediately and don't use any fuel!"

you're not going to be one of those 'i told you so'-nitwits when the time has come now are you?

Re:Hell won't freeze over, but Europe might. (1)

cruachan (113813) | about 8 years ago | (#16152190)

It's by no means certain that if the NAD did stop they'd be that much on a effect in northern europe. It's been received wisdom for decades that northern europe is kept warm by the NAD, but a few years ago there was a report came out from a group that actually checked that and found that about 10% of the additional warmth of Europe came from the NAD, with the vast majority being delivered by the path of air currents deflected by the Rockies.

See this...

Richard A. Kerr "EUROPEAN CLIMATE:
Mild Winters Mostly Hot Air, Not Gulf Stream"
Science 27 September 2002 297: 2202
[DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5590.2202] (in News Focus)
The Gulf Stream does little to moderate European winters, it
turns out, and the atmosphere plays a bigger role in climate
change than once thought. The new analysis, to appear in
next month's Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological
Society, will no doubt stoke the debate over the relative role
of the Gulf Stream and the tropics in climate change
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/297/5590/220 2.pdf [sciencemag.org]

Re:Hell won't freeze over, but Europe might. (3, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | about 8 years ago | (#16152219)

Models run by the Met. Office show that the expected weakening in thermohaline circulation will be more than offset by the increased global temperature, making northern Europe slightly warmer at least over the next hundred or so years.

Shock, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152104)

European scientists indicated their shock as they noted a ship could sail from Europe's northern-most outpost directly to the pole, something that hasn't been possible during most of recorded human history.

While it's definitely news, I don't know why these scientists are so shocked. We've known about global warming for a long time now. Isn't this an expected development?

The idea of circumnavigating the north pole for sport is an interesting one. Of course, if we include submarine travel, it's been done for military purposes for quite some time.

One guy who knows? (2, Interesting)

tryfan (235825) | about 8 years ago | (#16152131)

When the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich (owner of the British soccer champions Chelsea, among a lot of other things) started his Chukotka project, on the inlet to Bering's Strait, there was some speculation on whether he knew someting that others didn't.
Maybe he did? Check out Chukotka on a map and see for yourselves :-)

http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-institu tions_government/chukotka_3904.jsp [opendemocracy.net]

Actually they're... (1)

anexium (591672) | about 8 years ago | (#16152199)

<pedant>they're the English football (not soccer) champions.</pedant>

Rallying for control (1)

jevring (618916) | about 8 years ago | (#16152142)

What the hell do they want to control?
It's not like they are going to start a war for control of seaways to the north pole.
In fact, what do they even want with that place, and why can't they just get along like good girls and SHARE the seaways.

Propaganda in 3, 2, 1... (4, Insightful)

zaydana (729943) | about 8 years ago | (#16152144)

Shhhh.... don't tell the big polluters about this. Soon enough we're going to be hearing about the benefits of global warming and how it is creating more jobs and empowering the consumer, or something else equally as true.

Heh heh (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 8 years ago | (#16152173)

>U.S., Canada, Russia and the EU jockey for control of the newly opened passages.
I was going to say something about the US just declaring it was a terrorist passage and sending in the troops to take control of it but then I decided that any sentance with 'jockey' and 'newly opened passages' just sounded rude/funny enough without comment (except this one).

Any idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152174)

when Google Earth is going to be updated so we can see it for ourselves?

Don't forget... (5, Funny)

hyfe (641811) | about 8 years ago | (#16152175)

U.S., Canada, Russia and the EU
Not to mention, Norway!

Too small to mention, heh? I'll let you know we've never lost a single war against Russia nor the U.S... and we seriously intend to keep the record perfect!

Re:Don't forget... (5, Funny)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 8 years ago | (#16152276)

A people who can actually *eat* lutefisk need fear no invaders...

(My theory on lutefisk is that it originates from an ancient Viking recipe for cleaning dried blood from weapons and armor... then one day a bored and drunken Nord tried eating it and didn't die)

We're all doomed (2, Insightful)

OriginalArlen (726444) | about 8 years ago | (#16152185)

Here in the UK a serious climate research science institute - the Tyndall Centre, who've been working on this stuff for years -- have said that we need 70% cuts within the next 25 years, and the official govt targets of 60% by 2050 are not nearly enough [bbc.co.uk] . Of course, there's no way in hell the general public would accept the sort of measures required for that to happen, unless there's a really obvious, huge, and most important very imminent threat to the UK economy and/or society. I'm reminded of the passage in John Wyndham's classic "The Kraken Wakes" [wikipedia.org] . Aliens have established colonies in the deepest parts of the ocean (this was written in the 50s, when such places were barely accessible.) They set about melting the poles in order to alien-form Terra. A British scientist works out what they're up against and then goes on TV making dire predictions of imminent doom, ending by announcing that the sea-level has already risen by a quarter of an inch... with the predictable effect that everyone writes him off as an alarmist and a nutter, because why would anyone care about a quarter of an inch? He then protests to some friends, saying "But the amount of water required to cover the oceans to a depth of a quarter of an inch is immense! Think of the amount of energy required to achieve that!!"

And that is pretty much what's happening here, except that between the skeptic nutters in the US, the petrochemical-funded astroturf pseudo-science that the Royal Society publicly protested about yesterday [google.co.uk] . By the time the evidence is clear that not only are massive changes occurring, but that these changes are going to kill tens or hundreds of millions of people, it will be too late.

Hence, We're all doomed [bbc.co.uk] . I rest my case.

If you disagree, you're a "nutter". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152277)

"I know that all the evidence of recent global climatic change indicates that Humanity is almost solely responsible."

Or...

"I do not agree with you that recent global climatic temperature fluctuations are caused almost solely by the activities of Humanity."


Disagree with either statement or stance and you'll immediately be branded a "nutter". Or a "fool", a "shill", or some other emotive and manipulative slur.

About the article's wording (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | about 8 years ago | (#16152191)

Something seems a bit off in the article's wording. I'm not sure why, but it sounds a bit weird. Is anyone else getting this impression? (I'm being serious.)

The following from the article sounds a bit weird to me. Wouldn't it make no difference if light were reflected back from the ocean's surface as the same net energy from sunlight is still going to be trapped within our sphere? (A mirror from outerspace would be a different situation altogether.) Ice, being white, reflects the Sun's rays. Less ice therefore means the sea warms, which in turn accelerates the shrinkage.

Re:About the article's wording (2, Informative)

glesga_kiss (596639) | about 8 years ago | (#16152243)

Wouldn't it make no difference if light were reflected back from the ocean's surface as the same net energy from sunlight is still going to be trapped within our sphere?

No, much of the light goes back out into space. That is how you can see the ice caps from orbit! ;-)

Even if the energy get absorbed in the atmosphere, it'll just be the air which doesn't heat up the water. It's the IR taken in by the water that causes it to heat up and melt more ice. It's a positive-feedback cycle; less ice == more heat.

Re:About the article's wording (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | about 8 years ago | (#16152260)

Okay.

(Still, there is something a bit weird about how that article reads. I don't know exactly what yet. I'm going to sleep on it and reread it in the daytime.)

Global Warming (0, Troll)

amanox (862297) | about 8 years ago | (#16152200)

Ok now, let's see those friggin capitalists who have been in denial about global warming make a U-turn and start recognising it as a wonderfull thing they can turn into profit.
Fry planet, fry!

Jockey for control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16152205)

The rapid thawing of the perennial sea ice has political implications as the U.S., Canada, Russia and the EU jockey for control of the newly opened passages."

Yup, no chance of any kind of international solidarity, or public domain status... if money can be made claims will be staked.

Navigable? Ever heard of icebergs? (2, Informative)

Hamster Lover (558288) | about 8 years ago | (#16152247)

The North Atlantic Ocean can be a dangerous place, as anyone who can recall the fate of the Titanic will know, and the North Atlantic is thousands of miles from the pole. Just because the sea ice has broken up to the point that there are open stretches of water to the pole, does not mean that those waters are in any way navigable by your typical container or cargo vessels as icebergs and submerged ice litter the area. Perhaps in a few more decades the ice will have retreated enough to permit safe passage, but if anyone thinks Richard Branson could just whistle his yatch up the open waters to the pole needs a reality check.

Shocking (1)

swordfishBob (536640) | about 8 years ago | (#16152251)

There's no point shocking the scientists over it. A few politicians (not to mention a lot of regular folk) could use a bit of zapping to get their attention..

For those wishing to see the .. (4, Informative)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | about 8 years ago | (#16152283)

at least one of the farging photos - albeit a bit touched up - here it is
http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/envisat/ASAR-A MSR_2006_H.jpg [esa.int]
The non-red area near the pole (indicated by the black circle in the middle of the photo) is the concern, since it represents pack ice (and water) rather than solid ice
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>