Global Warming update

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on May 28, 2008

A bunch of environmentalists are on a cruise to see the dwindling artic sea ice and drowning polar bears. Unfortunately, there's a problem. Their ship, one of the world's premier icebreakers, got stuck for a week in rapidly advancing sea ice.

What irony. I am a passenger on one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world, travelling through the Northwest Passage - which is supposed to become almost ice-free in a time of global warming, the next shipping route across the top of the world - and here we are, stuck in the ice, engines shut down, bridge deserted. Only time and tide can free us.

The first day or two are a novelty. We take photos and enjoy the adventure. After all, isn't this what many polar explorers went through?

In the distance, a polar bear, puzzled by this huge intruder in its territory, provides a welcome diversion for an hour.

By the third day, the novelty wears off and conversation at the dinner table is strained. On the fourth day, when the crew tells us we may not be able to complete the entire Northwest Passage journey to Resolute in time, most passengers are deeply disappointed. The Khlebnikov sails to both polar regions but not necessarily via the same routes each season.

By days five and six, the tension is rising. The situation is getting serious. Many of us have deadlines and other commitments. The ship's bar does a brisk business.

An inconvenient cruise, indeed.

Over at Watts Up With That they've got some preliminary results from a study of what they're calling "The Parking Lot Effect." Follow the links for the details, but basically a paved surface like a parking lot can bias temperature measurements by two to three degrees F. When you've got stations of record like this one in Tucson, Ariz., in the middle of a parking lot -- well, it shouldn't take a genius to come up with the old GIGO rule.

Finally, there's a new documentary coming out called "Not Evil Just Wrong." Here's the trailer:


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May 2008



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