Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sunspots Schmunspots

My wonderful sister, Cathy, is abnormally clever and talented, as anyone looking at this blog can see. This is largely her creation. She has a one-year-old (born on my birthday!), so I have no idea where she gets the time or energy. Plus, you haven't lived until you've spent a night drinking beers with Cathy around a fire with the black, beautiful Florida sky above. Many a morning after just such a night, I would wake up wondering what the heck I had done to my side to make it hurt so much before realizing that the ache was from laughing the night before.

But we are on, if not opposite, at least different sides in the climate change debate. I don't think it has anything to do with, nor is it affected by, sunspots.

I do know this: the ice is melting, as you can see in the animation above of the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Less ice means less reflection of sunlight back into the atmosphere and more absorbed into the oceans. It self-perpetuates. The more ice that melts, the more ice will melt.

Jim Hansen said just this week that the earth may be reaching a tipping point from which there is no going back. As NASA's main climate guy, I'll take his word for it.

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