Year 3, Month 3, Day 18: Mother Superior Jumped The Gun

The Albert Lea Tribune (MN) runs an AP story on ice loss in the Great Lakes:

DULUTH — A published report says the amount of ice covering the Great Lakes has declined about 71 percent over the past 40 years, a drop that the lead author partly attributes to climate change.

The report published last month by the American Meteorological Society said only about 5 percent of the Great Lakes surface froze over this year.

“There was a significant downward trend in ice coverage from 1973 to the present for all of the lakes,” according to the study, which appeared in the society’s Journal of Climate.

Researchers determined ice coverage by scanning U.S. Coast Guard reports and satellite images taken from 1973 to 2010. They found that ice coverage was down 88 percent on Lake Ontario and fell 79 percent on Lake Superior. However, the ice in Lake St. Clair, which is between Lakes Erie and Huron, diminished just 37 percent.

The study’s lead researcher is Jia Wang of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in Ann Arbor, Mich. He attributed the decline to several factors, including broad climate change and smaller cyclical climate patterns like El Nino and La Nina.

Sent March 12:

The decline of Great Lakes ice is a local manifestation of a global phenomenon. Everywhere around the planet, people are noticing that, climatically speaking, things ain’t what they used to be. Regions that depend on glacial ice melt for their water supplies are facing increasingly arid futures, while the residents of island countries are making plans to evacuate their homelands entirely as rising seas turn sovereign nations into historical footnotes.

But America is unique among nations in the number of its citizens who deny the existence of climate change entirely. No mountain of evidence can convince Rush Limbaugh’s followers that the greenhouse effect’s reality is going to disrupt their lives in unimaginably complex ways.

One can sympathize with their reluctance to accept the facts of global warming (who looks forward to planetary catastrophe?), but future generations on the shores of an ice-free Lake Ontario will not remember the denialists kindly.

Warren Senders


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