In the early afternoon of Aug. 13, 2005, with a force so powerful that seismic monitors 250 kilometres away picked up the tremors, a 66 square kilometre chunk of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf broke away from the body of Ellesmere Island , and floated out into open waters. Scientists are only now getting a look at the event's aftermath. They blame the breakup on the onset of Global Warming:
"We're seeing incredible changes," said Warwick Vincent of Laval University, one of the few people to have laid eyes on the scene.
"People talk of endangered animals -- well, these are endangered landscape features, and we're losing them."
Mr. Ward and his team of researchers have also seen the sudden collapse of ice dams and the draining of 30-kilometre-long lakes into the sea.
The ice island is about 37 metres thick and measures roughly 15 kilometres by five kilometres. That's the size of a small city, or larger than 11,000 football fields. At the moment its stuck in winter ice, but may become a potential hazard to navigation and oil and gas extraction if it breaks loose and floats south towards the Beaufort Sea.
(August 13th was a Sunday, and I remember lying around my apartment eating birthday cake that afternoon when a voice whispered in my head: 'Tis the Last Judgment's fire must cure this place, it said, and then: Doom, baby, doom! Weird, huh?)
Meanwhile, as the Climate Science community slowly gains the ear of mainstream politicians, there are deep and searching discussions going on re. the need (or lack thereof) to dial back the rhetoric on Climate Change. Are climate researchers "overselling" the science by concentrating on "worst case scenarios"; can a case be made for proselytizing/PR, or should these be abandoned for the plain-vanilla declarations of scientific discourse? H/T to Kate for linking to these documents (you see I still send you traffic even when you're mean to me), although I doubt she and her minions are capable of comprehending what they are reading in them.
IMHO, for environmentalists and scientists working for political action on Climate Change to entirely abandon Rhetoric would be to unilaterally disarm. Its not like Big Oil will suddenly fire all of its lobbyists and accept the truth without a fight.