Thursday, September 15, 2011

Climate Change Geography

The Climes They Are A-Changing

Uunartoq Qeqertaq in satellite pictures between 1985 and 2005
 ~ Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus recognized that the only constant is change, writing that it is impossible to step in the same river twice. It is the same river, but it isn't the same.

Rivers all over the world are changing a lot lately. Some are drying out before they reach the sea (Colorado). Others, engorged by torrents of rain or melting glaciers, are moving unprecedented levels of silt, creating new islands at their mouths (Ganges).

Islands have been lost below the rising seas. Others are going. Ice that has existed for thousands of years is melting, and in Greenland has revealed Uunartoq Qeqertaq (Warming Island),  just added to the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World.
The world's biggest physical changes in the past few years are mostly seen nearest the poles where climate change has been most extreme. Greenland appears considerably browner round the edges, having lost around 15%, or 300,000 sq km, of its permanent ice cover. Antarctica is smaller following the break-up of the Larsen B and Wilkins ice shelves.
Meanwhile, the oceans are dying.

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

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