Thursday, February 19, 2009

Carbon traders sponsor alarmist trip to Arctic; note the admissions that we don't currently know much about Arctic sea ice thickness

"North Pole Explorers’ Arduous Trek to Prove Arctic Melt Speed"
Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Three U.K. explorers will brave temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit) on a 100-day trek to the North Pole to get the most definitive data yet on how fast the Arctic ice cap is melting.

Pen Hadow, Ann Daniels and Martin Hartley plan to embark next week on the 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) journey, taking as many as 13 million ice-thickness measurements on the way to the pole. Their goal is to help project when global warming may melt the entire Arctic Ocean cap, triggering further temperature rises and endangering polar bears.

Previous estimates of melting have been based on less reliable soundings made by satellites and submarines, which can’t distinguish ice from snow. Scientists have had few surface measurements because traveling on the ice cap can be so arduous.

Sea ice thickness is the holy grail of the Arctic climate system because that gives you a sense of the long-term health of the Arctic,” said Walt Meier, a scientist at the Boulder, Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC. “This will give us a handle on how much ice we’re losing.”
The explorers will take their findings to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December in Copenhagen, where 192 countries aim to hammer out a treaty to fight global warming.

“It is not about the challenge of reaching the pole,” said Hadow, the expedition leader who in 2003 became the first person to trek solo and unassisted to the North Pole. “We’re trying to use our skills and experience to put up with the risks and rigors involved to get data that can’t be gathered in any other way.
Wieslaw Maslowski, an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, plans to forecast the ice thickness along Hadow’s route using computer models and then use the explorer’s data to test their accuracy.
The 3 million-pound ($4.3 million) expedition is called the Catlin Arctic Survey after the main sponsor, Catlin Group Ltd., a Bermuda-based insurer.

Hadow said it’s not his role to link the data he collects to man-made global warming. Still, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence of rising temperatures, he said.

“I’ve seen a mother polar bear and her cub just three miles from the North Pole,” Hadow said. “What on Earth is it doing that far out to sea, 600 miles offshore?

“Answer: There’s almost certainly a better food supply than would normally be the case. What’s the food? Seals. Why are seals up there when they’re not normally there? Because there’s more open water, which they need for a breathing hole. That’s a classical biological indicator.”
WWF - Catlin Arctic Survey
The Catlin Arctic Survey will form an essential part of WWF’s work to protect the Arctic, raising awareness around the world about the plight of the Arctic, the impact of climate change, and the need to secure radical CO2 emission reductions.
Among the sponsors: the European Climate Exchange
ECX is the premier marketplace for trading carbon emissions, providing the focal point for the majority of trading in the recently developed emissions or carbon markets.

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