Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Walk to Work
Originally uploaded by procsilas
If you're interested in how rapid climate change is affecting the planet at the moment, have a read of this article from NASA's Earth Observatory site.
"Goés and his team traced their way backward from what they thought was a mistake (in their calculation of ocean nitrate levels) to a surprising discovery of how complexly connected Earth’s land surface, oceans, atmosphere and living creatures are - declining snow cover and a hotter Eurasian land mass; greater temperature difference between land and ocean; stronger monsoon winds across the Arabian Sea; greater upwelling of deep, nutrient-rich water; and bigger blooms of phytoplankton. The intricacy is amazing."
Major changes in snow cover of the Himalayas are thought to have indirectly increased phytoplankton levels in the Arabian Sea by 350% causing massive fish deaths in oxygen depleted waters.
The article also speculates "that the runaway decline in Eurasian snow cover since 1997 may be strengthening Southwest monsoon rainfall in regions where the rains are strongly tied to the Arabian Sea winds, such as along the western coast of India...(this)...could mean more intense rain and more frequent floods in Southwest Asia."
However, "The most immediate threat ... is the snow cover decline itself. Many people in India, Pakistan, and China depend on snow melt for water, and the snow is in decline. If glaciers continue to melt at the present rate, many high-altitude lakes could start overflowing ... the melting of glaciers and warming of the ground can destabilize mountain slopes and trigger dangerous landslides. Eventually drought could prevail in regions where snow and glaciers are unable to persist."
And all this from a trend in decreasing snow cover which commenced as recently as 1997.