Friday, 18 September 2009

Bad news and better news


Long-time readers of these snippets  — if there are such people  — will be aware of my fascination with sea ice concentration in the Arctic and the Antarctic. As one who finds all the calculations of the climate-change modellers far too complex to understand, I appreciate the simplicity of satellite pictures turned into little graphs with a straight line showing the trend.
I look, for example, at these pictures of the Arctic and grasp in an instant that something significant is going on when the area covered with ice is declining at more than 8% a decade. And while the latest reading has at least risen back to that frightening enough downward trend line, it is still the third biggest negative anomaly recorded by the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

At least when I move to the other hemisphere, the picture is far happier. The map shows sea ice coverage roughly the same as during the base period of 1979 to 2000 and the graph of southern hemisphere anomalies shows an ever-so-tiny rise in coverage every decade but still a rise.

The best I can conclude is that as the world gets hotter, I am happier being in the southern hemisphere rather than the northern. As this NASA chart shows, those northern temperatures are rising considerably more than here down south.

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