The world's glaciers are receding at an unprecedented pace that has doubled in recent years. Arctic sea ice melted to a record extent last summer, and though it has re-frozen, thick stable ice remains scarce, relative to any other time in modern history.
The San Francisco Chronicle puts two and two together as "ominous new changes linked to the warming global climate" in a report today.
In his Dot Earth blog, New York Times writer Andrew Revkin remarked on a trip nearly 15 years ago to Switzerland.
"Back then, Wilfried Haeberli, who led the latest glacier review, told me that by 2023, any doubts that humans had tipped the climate balance would be gone.
If I follow a reasonable scenario, not an extreme one, for global warming, Dr. Haeberli said, I can say that we will see it here first. In other places, it may be more difficult to see the impact on, say, changing vegetation or soils. But here, with the glaciers, this will be clear to everybody. A clear signal. My children, for instance, will very clearly know in 30 years when they are as old as I am now what the greenhouse effect really was all about.
Well, we're all seeing it, now.
What next? Sea-level rise? Plague? Pestilence?
Possibly, before long.
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