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Floating Monsters at Sea

Planet Earth Is In Meltdown
As spring settles across the Northern Hemisphere, the signs of our heating planet are showing in unexpectedly alarming ways.
A new report by the U. S. Navy notes that the polar ice cap is shrinking so fast that ships may be steaming as early as this summer through the once fabled Northwest Passage, across Northern Canada. The 72-page report, which mostly addresses naval issues, suggests that the Arctic Ocean may soon be opened to unprecedented commercial activity.
The report gives a vivid picture on how global warming has been melting the polar cap.

Submarine data found a 40 percent decrease in the volume of the Arctic ice. Since the 1970s, the ice cover extent has been shrinking about 3 percent per decade, bringing more precipitation and worsening weather north of Alaska.
The changes going on in the arctic may be speeding up, said Dennis Conlon, program manager of high latitude dynamics at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va.
Last year, he said the Bering Sea remained ice-free for the first time on record. Satellite imagery found that a regular commercial ship could have traveled last summer from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans over Canada.
"It looks like the Northwest Passage was open for about 10 days to two weeks," Conlon said. "That surprised me and a few of my Arctic colleagues."
At the southern end of the world, scientists are expressing alarm at a rapid break-up of a massive ice sheet that is believed to have existed since the last ice age. The National Ice Center reported one massive ice berg, named B-22, measuring 40 miles wide and 53 miles in length, floating in the Amundsen Sea at the south edge of the Pacific Ocean.
This super berg, one of many now threatening shipping in that part of the world, is part of a general disintegration of the ice shelf that has glaciologists sitting up and taking notice.
"The speed of it is staggering," said Dr. David Vaughan from the British Antarctic Survey.
Starting in February, satellites recorded the event as the ice sheet fragmented into thousands of floes.
While the specialists are still unwilling to blame global warming, they are admitting that it is getting harder to find any other explanation. "With the disappearance of ice shelves that have existed for thousands of years, you rather rapidly run out of other explanations," said Dr. Theodore A. Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado.
Dramatic climate changes are happening all over the globe.
Scientists and fishermen are baffled by a large area of thick black water recently found just off the coast of Florida. The strange substance covered about a 40-square-mile area in Florida Bay, turning the usual postcard clear water into a blackish green. Fishermen said they watched the mass hold together as it slowly moved south from Marco Island toward the Keys. Samples of the substance were sent to laboratories to determine just what it is, and where it came from. One theory is that it may be a bloom of a newly evolved type of plankton brought on by the heating oceans.
Japan is experiencing a record spell of warm weather. It has been so warm there that cherry blossoms, which normally appear in April or May, are already seen in central Tokyo.
North China, which has been suffering severe drought, last week endured a severe sandstorm that claimed lives. It was described as the worst in over a decade in terms of strength, impact and the area affected. The storms swept through middle and east Inner Mongolia, Jilin and west Liaoning, and northwest Heilongjiang, after earlier striking Xinjiang, Gansu, middle and west Inner Mongolia, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Hebei and Beijing.
In The United States, areas from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific also are reporting severe drought conditions. The entire state of Wyoming has been declared a drought disaster area, and large areas of the Southeast and the West are in danger this year of wildfires. A wildfire destroyed about 30 homes in New Mexico; a prelude of things to come.
States all along the Eastern Seaboard are recording unusually low levels of rain and snowfall and reservoir levels are ranging from 50 to 70 percent below normal. This is comparable to missing a full year of rain, said Jack Kelly, director of the National Weather Service.
The dry weather already is affecting the price of produce grown in California and other southern states.
Weather specialists are predicting the return of El Nino this year, which is caused by the warming of large portions of the Pacific Ocean. They warn that El Nino years, known to cause draught conditions inland and severe storms along the Pacific coast, will be occurring more and more frequently. Some scientists are wondering if the El Nino effect isn't here this time to stay. The last time an El Nino struck was in 1996-97.
Dr. Andrew Dlugolecki, a director at CGNU, Britain's largest insurance group, recently warned delegates attending a climate change conference in the Netherlands that he believes the cost of damage caused by the changing weather, brought on by global warming, will soon exceed the world's wealth.
"Property damage is rising very rapidly, at something like 10 percent a year," Dlugolecki said. "We've still not yet really begun to see the effects of climate change in the West. What we are seeing so far is largely the result of more people living in areas which are becoming more dangerous. . . Once this thing begins to happen, it will accelerate extremely rapidly."
While the extreme weather and climate changes are alarming scientists, farmers, insurance carriers and civic leaders around the world, American industrialists are forging ahead, with the help of the Bush Administration, with plans to further rape and pillage the already fatally injured eco-system.
Not only is President George W. Bush advocating oil and gas well drilling in protected lands, his administration has decided to relax the federal clean-air enforcement initiative started under President Bill Clinton in 1999 that launched dozens of lawsuits against some of the nation's worst polluting power plants. These plants all were found to be in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.
Bush also has pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol agreement with other industrialized nations that calls for rolling back greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.
I believe the reason for the Bush stance is simple. He is paying off his debt to special interest groups. It is obvious his road to the White House was bought and paid for by big business that did not want to pay the price of cleaning and repairing the damage done to our earth, air and water.