From Iceland to the Tropics – Some sobering thoughts on Climate Change

(From Keith M Ross, Green Party Candidate for Swansea West)

I spent the early part of last evening at a “Climate Hearing” organised by Oxfam. We heard personal accounts of climate change from Vietnam, Nigeria, Iceland, Antarctica and Wales.

There was a lot of science included, which gave rise to some sobering thoughts.

One speaker outlined the research into the thinning of glaciers and ice shelves in Iceland. At present it’s only the smaller glaciers that are melting. Over this century this melting is likely to increase sea levels by around 200cms. This is in addition to sea level rises that will be caused by the general warming of the oceans (as water gets warmer it expands).

BUT: if present trends continue then early in the next century the major glaciers in Iceland and Antarctica will begin to melt – AND: the water locked up in them has the potential to increase sea levels around the world by 60 METRES.

This means that by the end of the next century all the coastal towns and cities in Wales could be wiped out.

And the briefing came with a warning – the science is still inexact, and recent indications are that the Iceland glaciers are melting a lot faster than originally thought.

Meanwhile, in the tropics; changing weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean have resulted in a significant increase in the intensity of Hurricanes and Tropical Storms. Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is especially vulnerable to these. Following a particularly nasty Tropical Storm (Ondoy/Ketsana) in September 2009, climate scientists are now speculating that Manila, one of the most densely populated cities in the world (Pop: over 20 million) might have to be “relocated” later this century.

Rather puts into perspective the bleating of the windy-nimbys that wind farms will spoil their view!


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