SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 43
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 5th, 2005, 10:45 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: TraderJoeQuoteOriginally posted by: SashkaQuoteOriginally posted by: TraderJoeAre the US and Australia just trying to undermine Kyoto?By showing a better alternative? I hope so. QuoteThe United States, the world's top polluter, is set to unveil a five-nation pact to combat global warming by developing energy technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions, officials said on Wednesday. This is how it should be done. Says who? Scientists? Or big business??Perhaps this is how it should be done.The SolutionAnd for supportTake Action
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 11th, 2005, 11:21 am

Here's another point of view, this time from BP:CSR Asia Weekly, Vol.1, Week 32BP chief urges action on climate changeThe head of BP has said companies mustchange their practices to help halt theeffects of climate change, reports ABC (August3). BP's Australasian president, GerryHueston, told a business gathering in Perththat companies should use less fossil fuel andadopt technology that reduces greenhousegas emissions. Hueston claimed that whiledemand for energy is expected to doublewithin 50 years, technology already exists toensure the level of pollution should remain thesame. He suggested initiatives including replacingcoal with gas at feed stock for 1,400power stations globally.
 
User avatar
JWD
Topic Author
Posts: 1310
Joined: March 2nd, 2005, 12:51 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 18th, 2005, 4:39 am

Mitigation includes political aspects. Here is a piece that mentions a McCain-Lieberman bill called the “Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act” that would cap U.S. utilities and industry emission levels at levels recorded in 2000.The story involves global warming in Alaska from today’s news: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050818/ap_ ... nge_alaska . Here are some excerpts:Senators Attest to Alaska Climate ChangeBy DAN JOLING, Associated Press Writer 53 minutes ago Anyone doubting the effects of human activity on global climate change should talk to the people it affects in Alaska and the Yukon, U.S. Sen. John McCain said Wednesday. Fresh from a trip to Barrow, America's northernmost city, McCain said anecdotes from Alaskans and residents of the Yukon Territory confirm scientific evidence of global warming. "We are convinced that the overwhelming scientific evidence indicated that climate change is taking place and human activities play a very large role," McCain said.McCain, accompanied by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., spoke to villagers in Canada whose spruce trees are being attacked by the northward spread of spruce beetles. On Alaska's northern coast, they met Native Alaskans dealing with melting permafrost and coastal erosion.McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., are sponsoring legislation that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from utilities and industry. The Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act would cap U.S. emission levels at levels recorded in 2000.Opponents of the legislation, including Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, attribute warming to cyclical geophysical forces.McCain said his bill continues to face opposition from industry, but that may change from businesses that operate overseas. "They have to do business in Europe, and thereby comply with the requirements for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," he said. "You will see more and more international corporations going in that direction because they have to."Graham couched the argument for climate change, as well as another major Alaska issue, petroleum drilling of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as a national security measure. Continued dependence on foreign fossil fuels makes America vulnerable, he said. "The sooner we get started with alternative energy sources and recognize that fossil fuels makes us less secure as a nation, and more dangerous as a planet, the better off we'll be," Graham said.Opponents who ignore evidence of humans contributing to climate change, Clinton said, are participating in a trend of turning Washington, D.C. into what she calls an "evidence-free zone." "You just keep saying something no matter how untrue and unfactual it might be, over and over and over again, and try to drive the politics to meet your ideological or commercial agenda," she said. "That is a grave disservice to our country." ----------
Last edited by JWD on August 17th, 2005, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jan Dash, PhD

Editor, World Scientific Encyclopedia of Climate Change:
https://www.worldscientific.com/page/en ... ate-change

Book:
http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/ ... 71241_0053
 
User avatar
Sashka
Posts: 109
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 18th, 2005, 1:09 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: JanDashOpponents of the legislation, including Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, attribute warming to cyclical geophysical forces.It is quite unfortunate that the opponents chose to deny anthropogenic nature of the warming (which is an obviously lost cause by now) instead of focussing on more efficient ways of dealing with it. Legislating emission caps will certainly hurt the economy while the mitigation effect will be very small.
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 18th, 2005, 11:28 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: SashkaQuoteOriginally posted by: JanDashOpponents of the legislation, including Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, attribute warming to cyclical geophysical forces.It is quite unfortunate that the opponents chose to deny anthropogenic nature of the warming (which is an obviously lost cause by now) instead of focussing on more efficient ways of dealing with it. Legislating emission caps will certainly hurt the economy while the mitigation effect will be very small.Doing nothing will hurt the economy (as well as threatening our very existence) even more. We've dug ourselves into this mess, now we have to acknowledge it and dig ourselves out. Truly a challenge of epic proportions that could take the next one hundred years to rectify. One day they'll make a movie about it all.
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 19th, 2005, 2:05 pm

Perhaps nanotech will help save the day...?"In lab tests, the nanotube sheets demonstrated solar cell capabilities, using sunlight to produce electricity". From Yahoo News.
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 20th, 2005, 11:28 am

Here's what the UK is doing about it:The Carbon Trust.The Carbon Trust is an independent company funded by Government. Our role is to help the UK move to a low carbon economy by helping business and the public sector reduce carbon emissions now and capture the commercial opportunities of low carbon technologies.
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 24th, 2005, 10:46 am

Outside my apartment today there was what appeared to be a yellow police notice under the windscreen wiper blade of an X5 SUV. Upon closer inspection it said: "Public Notice: This car is adding to climate change. Please sell it immediately" or words to that affect. Watch out farmer, hehe.Apologies for the monologue. Seems no one else really cares .
 
User avatar
JWD
Topic Author
Posts: 1310
Joined: March 2nd, 2005, 12:51 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 24th, 2005, 1:03 pm

Here are some excerpts from a report in this morning’s (8/24/05) NYT by A. DePalma. 9 States in Plan to Cut Emissions by Power PlantsOfficials in New York and eight other Northeastern states have come to a preliminary agreement to freeze power plant emissions at their current levels and then reduce them by 10 percent by 2020, according to a confidential draft proposal. The cooperative action, the first of its kind in the nation, came after the Bush administration decided not to regulate the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Once a final agreement is reached, the legislatures of the nine states will have to enact it, which is considered likely. Enforcement of emission controls could potentially result in higher energy prices in the nine states, which officials hope can be offset by subsidies and support for the development of new technology that would be paid for with the proceeds from the sale of emission allowances to the utility companies. The regional initiative would set up a market-driven system to control emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, from more than 600 electric generators in the nine states. California, Washington and Oregon are in the early stages of exploring a regional agreement similar to the Northeastern plan. The nine states in the Northeastern agreement are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. They were brought together in 2003 by a Republican governor, George E. Pataki of New York, who broke sharply and openly with the Bush administration over the handling of greenhouse gases and Washington's refusal to join more than 150 countries in signing the Kyoto Protocols, the agreement to reduce emissions that went into effect earlier this year. The Northeastern region is itself a substantial producer of greenhouse gases. Environmental groups calculate that the region's carbon dioxide emissions are roughly equivalent to those of Germany. As outlined in the draft, the regional carbon dioxide control plan would set specific caps on emissions that would drop over time. The hope is that by providing long-range incentives for the electric generating companies to comply, the program will make improvements more cost-effective. Emissions would be capped at 150 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, a figure that is about equal to the average emissions in the highest three years between 2000 and 2004… The caps would be enforced starting in 2009… The 150 million-ton cap would be sustained through 2015, when reductions would be required, reaching 10 percent in 2020. The Kyoto protocol freezes emissions at the 1990 level and imposes a 7 percent reduction in 2012. The Bush administration's rejection of the Kyoto Protocols has caused deep divisions nationwide, with many local governments attempting to force the administration to taking action by passing their own carbon dioxide rules. Earlier this year, for example, the mayors of more than 130 cities, including New York and Los Angeles, joined in a bipartisan coalition to fight global warming on a local level by agreeing to meet the emissions reductions contained in the international pact.One part of the proposal that is not yet final deals with the sale of emission allowances under a cap-and-trade system. ----------
Jan Dash, PhD

Editor, World Scientific Encyclopedia of Climate Change:
https://www.worldscientific.com/page/en ... ate-change

Book:
http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/ ... 71241_0053
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

August 25th, 2005, 10:37 am

The FT is running a three part series on climate change and mitigation. To read Part I in this three- part series on carbon capture go to www.ft.com/carbon. Tomorrow: biofuels become a cost-effective alternative. Here is the first:BUSINESS LIFE: Money motivates the shift to greenBy Fiona HarveySwarf, the shavings that sheer off when metal is cut, must be removed from manufactured parts during the finishing process in metalworking factories. The swarf is often blown away from the component with a compressed air gun. Do all factories using this method know that compressed air is nearly as expensive as natural gas?Companies frequently lack the most basic information when it comes to the energy efficiency - or otherwise - of their processes, says Callum Stuart, international business manager at McKinnon and Clarke, an efficiency specialist. He even comes ac-ross companies using compressed air to sweep factory floors, for drying components or cleaning grease from them."But to compress air is a very energy intensive process and very expensive. You could clean these components much more cheaply in other ways, or leave them to dry naturally, but companies just don't think of the compressed air as a big cost," he explains. He has cut the consumption of compressed air by a third in many factories.This is one example of the many grossly energy inefficient processes conducted by large numbers of companies. Refrigeration equipment is frequently set at too low a temperature or leaks. Pipes are unlagged and walls uninsulated. Instead of opening windows, people turn up the air conditioning. Many factories and other buildings lack basic heating controls, so energy is wasted in warming or cooling buildings. Lights and computers remain switched on in empty offices. People make unnecessary journeys that waste petrol.Taking a few elementary steps towards greater efficiency can save businesses millions of pounds in a short time. Most energy efficiency measures have a relatively quick payback, and many cost nothing to implement. BT Group saved £119m between 1991 and 2004, and by more efficient use of its transport, saved £421m in the same period. DuPont, the US chemicals group, has saved as much as $2bn (£1.1bn) since 1990, according to the Climate Group, an environmental not-for-profit organisation.Less energy intensive companies can make smaller savings, but they are also valuable. Boots saved £1.35m a year on its £18m energy bill after a "makeover" funded by the UK government's Carbon Trust.The decline in energy efficiency in industry happened slowly. In the days of relatively cheap oil and electricity, organisations lost sight of energy costs. Globalisation spurred them to chase revenue growth at the ex-pense of almost everything else, so managers forgot the virtues of thrift that previous generations learned in the 1970s and before.One turning point was the loss of maintenance staff in successive waves of downsizing. Good maintenance keeps equipment running at its highest efficiency and maintenance staff tend to be in a position to spot measures they could take to reduce energy usage.Energy efficiency is also unlikely to attract the most ambitious leaders within a company because it mostly involves "housekeeping" tasks that rarely make corporate heroes.But oil at more than $60 a barrel, and likely to stay there, has concentrated minds in many industries, says Colin Russell, business development manager for Tour Andover Controls, which deals with energy efficiency: "Most organisations accept energy conservation in theory and this is encouraging them to turn it into practice."Another factor is concern for the environment. As consumption of fossil fuel in-creases, so does the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. One of the so-called "greenhouse gases", carbon dioxide, traps infra-red radiation on earth, speeding up climate change.For this reason, governments around the world have instituted curbs on production of greenhouse gases.Businesses have been the first targets for emissions reduction strategies in in-dustrialised countries and have had to adjust their energy use accordingly. For example, in the European Union, companies in certain energy-intensive industries have been granted tradeable permits limiting the amount of carbon dioxide they can produce.Even in countries such as the US, which has resisted carbon quotas, companies are realising that their responsibility for carbon dioxide and climate change is increasing. "We are living in-creasingly in a carbonconstrained world," says Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change.These environmental concerns have led to occasionally quaint measures. In Japan, this summer saw a government-led push to change business dress from formal dark suits and ties to open-necked, short-sleeved shirts. The idea was that if people dressed in cooler clothes, air conditioning systems could be turned down. This winter, a parallel push will take place and workers will be encouraged to dress warmly so that companies need not heat their facilities so much.Other methods of changing corporate behaviour may be less obvious. Turning out lights is one everyone can guess, but lighting typically acc-ounts for only 1 to 2 per cent of a company's energy use. Mr Russell says he has saved companies up to 75 per cent on lighting at night by ensuring that cleaners light up each section as they go. Retailers should examine their lighting intensity and ensure escalators are turned off at night, when no one is using them.Air conditioning systems are often set to cope with a building's maximum occupancy, even if it is not wholly occupied. Adjusting the fan speed can reduce its energy use: a 10 per cent slowdown in fan speed can cut energy consumption by 27 per cent, says Mr Russell.Electricity metering, and submetering, can help companies to calculate costs better and to work out where efficiencies can most profitably be made. Purchasing managers can compare the energy efficiency of different pieces of equipment before they buy them and calculate the long-term savings.Larger companies can look at generating some of their energy from wind turbines and solar panels, or generating heat or cooling from boreholes. These need an initial outlay but repay the capital over a few years.Businesses can begin by making a list of the ways in which they can cut their energy consumption, ranging from the simple to the long term, says Mr Russell. And they should calculate the savings they make as they tick off each measure undertaken, as an encouragement to carry on.Drawing all employees into the process is also a good idea, as it encourages everyone to take responsibility for keeping costs down. Emphasising the environmental benefits can motivate staff, especially if they are recognised within the organisation for their "greenness" when they make suggestions that result in savings.Most organisations can benefit financially from greater attention to energy efficiency. Whatever the environmental effects, the real driver will be the oil price, maintains Mr Stuart: "Companies will only do this because there's money in it."
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

September 8th, 2005, 1:47 pm

I got this out from my local library recently. A good read and a good introduction for the lay reader before you delve into those IPCC reports. Gives the full story so far, with views from all perspectives, e.g., fossil fuel lobby v the green lobby; contrarians v activists, and what's happening in different nations/regions, e.g., from energy efficient Japan, to Europe, the US and emerging economies.Glabal Warming - Can Civilisation Survive?In fact if one does a search on "Global Warming" in books on Amazon, one comes up with no less than 1026 entries! Enjoy.
Last edited by TraderJoe on September 7th, 2005, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
TraderJoe
Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

September 15th, 2005, 11:18 am

Here is a good summary from the FT of where we're at with the global warming...Cloud over KyotoBy Fiona HarveyBill Clinton never managed to persuade Congress to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change when he was president.But this week he hopes to persuade more than 300 chief executives, heads of state and non-governmental organisations to sign up to a list of actions to combat the problem.Climate change will form one of the four themes of the Clinton Global Initiative, along with poverty, religious conflict and governance.Events have been swinging in Mr Clinton's favour. This year has seen more international activity on climate change than ever before. The G8 discussed the issue at Gleneagles in July, promising to help developing nations gain access to technology that would reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.Tony Blair, prime minister of the UK, has also made the issue a priority for his presidency of the European Union this year, and the EU's mandatory scheme requiring businesses to cut their greenhouse gas emissions kicked off in January.Most of all, the Kyoto treaty - brokered by the United Nations while Mr Clinton was president - finally came into force.For years after the Kyoto treaty was negotiated in 1997, observers confidently predicted that rejection by the US doomed the measure to oblivion. But contrary to those expectations, the protocol entered into force this year without US participation.However, Mr Clinton will be under pressure to show that his initiative bears real fruit, rather than providing simply another opportunity for politicians and company leaders to make vague promises with little hope of ever being translated into action. Environmental pressure groups have complained that for all the seeming activity this year, little has actually been achieved.Tony Juniper, international vice-chairman of Friends of the Earth International, said: "The G8 delivered nothing new and the text [of the final statement] conveys no sense of the scale or urgency of the challenge. The action plan, without any targets or timetables, will deliver very little to reduce emissions or to roll out renewables to the scale required."Even among the supporters of Kyoto, many nations are unlikely to meet their emissions reduction targets under the protocol.Business leaders attending the meeting in New York may be receptive to the idea that tackling climate change can make good economic sense, especially given the soaring oil price and increasing pressure from governments.Tony Blair has repeatedly said: "Significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions need not come at the cost of economic growth."If companies achieve those cuts through energy efficiency measures, they can save billions. DuPont, the US chemicals group, has saved as much as $2bn since 1990, according to the Climate Group, an environmental not-for-profit organisation based in the UK. BT Group, the UK telecoms company, saved £119m between 1991 and 2004 in better use of energy, and by more efficient use of its transport, saved £421m in the same period.Companies can also find business opportunities in developing new technologies that are more environmentally sound than conventional techniques.Earlier this year, Jeff Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, summed up how he thought environmentally sound goods and services had the power to change the economy, equating the green of the dollar and the green of the environmental movement by saying: "Green is green." He launched Ecomagination, a new initiative which will see the company invest in equipment that cuts greenhouse gas emissions.If Mr Clinton can wring concrete action plans from the assembled dignitaries, he will fulfill one of the aims that eluded him during his presidency. While he was in office, Mr Clinton took a keen interest in climate change, as did vice-president Al Gore, who now invests in environmental projects.Dirk Forrister, managing director of the carbon brokerage and advisor Natsource, worked in the Clinton White House as chairman of the climate change task force. He said: "This was a subject that [Mr Clinton] saw as part of his legacy."
 
User avatar
DominicConnor
Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

September 16th, 2005, 6:34 pm

An entertaining thing is that under Blair there is a carbon tax on electricity usage.But to make it "fair", is applied to nuclear as well.Most firms simply don't have much option in carbon consumption. Since energy has always cost money some effort has been put into keeping that cost down.The DuPont point is not necessarily very scalable. Chemical firms often control both of energy production and use in thei plants, most other manufacturers can't, and service firms take what they're given.Fact is that France is the only developed nation with a decent nuclear programme, and even they only generate a small minority of total energy consumption that way.Everyone else is just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.TraderJoe quotes faithfully, but alas it's from the FT, so the arts graduate there misleads a bit. DuPont kept energy consumption flat, whilst increasing output by 35% over 10 years.That's a very different thing from cutting energy consumption, and frankly is not that impressive. Cars are seen as great polluters, but average miles per gallon has gone up by nearly as much as technology has improved.DuPont appears to have merely ridden the wave. Doesn't make them bad people, but is not quite the green machine is it ?And this is cited as a big success story ?Imagine every single western company can do as well as DuPont. and yes I think that's a bit optimistic.Over the next 20 years the "west" will be less than 50% of energy consumption.So how long does that buy us ?My estimate is about two years to 36 months.Nice, but it ain't the way out of the hole.
 
User avatar
DominicConnor
Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

September 16th, 2005, 6:41 pm

Last edited by DominicConnor on September 15th, 2005, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
zerodrift
Posts: 14
Joined: January 11th, 2005, 8:08 pm

Global Warming - What We Can Do (Mitigation)

September 16th, 2005, 8:21 pm

Get your sunblock and don't fret over buying that SUV folks...global warming's past the point of no return (reminds me of a song i heard in the 80s)...Global warming 'past the point of no return' By Steve Connor, Science Editor Published: 16 September 2005 A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years. They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a "tipping point" beyond which nothing can reverse the continual loss of sea ice and with it the massive land glaciers of Greenland, which will raise sea levels dramatically.Satellites monitoring the Arctic have found that the extent of the sea ice this August has reached its lowest monthly point on record, dipping an unprecedented 18.2 per cent below the long-term average.Experts believe that such a loss of Arctic sea ice in summer has not occurred in hundreds and possibly thousands of years. It is the fourth year in a row that the sea ice in August has fallen below the monthly downward trend - a clear sign that melting has accelerated.Scientists are now preparing to report a record loss of Arctic sea ice for September, when the surface area covered by the ice traditionally reaches its minimum extent at the end of the summer melting period.Sea ice naturally melts in summer and reforms in winter but for the first time on record this annual rebound did not occur last winter when the ice of the Arctic failed to recover significantly.Arctic specialists at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University, who have documented the gradual loss of polar sea ice since 1978, believe that a more dramatic melt began about four years ago.In September 2002 the sea ice coverage of the Arctic reached its lowest level in recorded history. Such lows have normally been followed the next year by a rebound to more normal levels, but this did not occur in the summers of either 2003 or 2004. This summer has been even worse. The surface area covered by sea ice was at a record monthly minimum for each of the summer months - June, July and now August.Scientists analysing the latest satellite data for September - the traditional minimum extent for each summer - are preparing to announce a significant shift in the stability of the Arctic sea ice, the northern hemisphere's major "heat sink" that moderates climatic extremes."The changes we've seen in the Arctic over the past few decades are nothing short of remarkable," said Mark Serreze, one of the scientists at the Snow and Ice Data Centre who monitor Arctic sea ice.Scientists at the data centre are bracing themselves for the 2005 annual minimum, which is expected to be reached in mid-September, when another record loss is forecast. A major announcement is scheduled for 20 September. "It looks like we're going to exceed it or be real close one way or the other. It is probably going to be at least as comparable to September 2002," Dr Serreze said."This will be four Septembers in a row that we've seen a downward trend. The feeling is we are reaching a tipping point or threshold beyond which sea ice will not recover."The extent of the sea ice in September is the most valuable indicator of its health. This year's record melt means that more of the long-term ice formed over many winters - so called multi-year ice - has disappeared than at any time in recorded history.Sea ice floats on the surface of the Arctic Ocean and its neighbouring seas and normally covers an area of some 7 million square kilometres (2.4 million square miles) during September - about the size of Australia. However, in September 2002, this dwindled to about 2 million square miles - 16 per cent below average.Sea ice data for August closely mirrors that for September and last month's record low - 18.2 per cent below the monthly average - strongly suggests that this September will see the smallest coverage of Arctic sea ice ever recorded.As more and more sea ice is lost during the summer, greater expanses of open ocean are exposed to the sun which increases the rate at which heat is absorbed in the Arctic region, Dr Serreze said.Sea ice reflects up to 80 per cent of sunlight hitting it but this "albedo effect" is mostly lost when the sea is uncovered. "We've exposed all this dark ocean to the sun's heat so that the overall heat content increases," he explained.Current computer models suggest that the Arctic will be entirely ice-free during summer by the year 2070 but some scientists now believe that even this dire prediction may be over-optimistic, said Professor Peter Wadhams, an Arctic ice specialist at Cambridge University."When the ice becomes so thin it breaks up mechanically rather than thermodynamically. So these predictions may well be on the over-optimistic side," he said.As the sea ice melts, and more of the sun's energy is absorbed by the exposed ocean, a positive feedback is created leading to the loss of yet more ice, Professor Wadhams said."If anything we may be underestimating the dangers. The computer models may not take into account collaborative positive feedback," he said.Sea ice keeps a cap on frigid water, keeping it cold and protecting it from heating up. Losing the sea ice of the Arctic is likely to have major repercussions for the climate, he said. "There could be dramatic changes to the climate of the northern region due to the creation of a vast expanse of open water where there was once effectively land," Professor Wadhams said. "You're essentially changing land into ocean and the creation of a huge area of open ocean where there was once land will have a very big impact on other climate parameters," he said. A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years. They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.
ABOUT WILMOTT

PW by JB

Wilmott.com has been "Serving the Quantitative Finance Community" since 2001. Continued...


Twitter LinkedIn Instagram

JOBS BOARD

JOBS BOARD

Looking for a quant job, risk, algo trading,...? Browse jobs here...


GZIP: On