Author claims we're in the grip of a mini ice age
AFTER nearly two weeks of snow and sub zero temperatures rivaling those of Siberia, the old joke about global warming being a good thing has had a new lease of life. So what has happened to doom-laden predictions of the world heating up as glaciers melt? Mike Kelly reports.
A satellite image of the UK taken during last year's harsh winter
FIRST the good news. These bitter winters aren’t going to last forever. The bad news is that they will go on for the next 30 years as we have entered a mini ice age.
So says author Gavin Cooke in his book Frozen Britain. He began writing it in 2008 and it was published last year when experts were scratching their heads at the cause of the bitter winter of 2009/10 which brought England to a standstill. Some said it was a one-off event, with experts predicting snowfall becoming increasingly rare.
Now, 12 months on, the current sub zero spell makes last year look just a bit chilly. Just like kids enjoying ‘snow days’ off school, Gavin ought to be delighted with the cold snap. After all, he can justifiably say ‘I told you so’. But he’s as glum as the rest of us.
“I’m getting sick of it myself,” he said.
When Gavin, 48, of Monkseaton, North Tyneside, began writing the book the acclaimed documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by former US Vice President Al Gore about global warming, was still fresh in the memory. It detailed how carbon emissions were contributing towards the melting of the polar ice caps causing the world to heat up.
UN Warns of Glacier Meltdown
CANCUN, Mexico (AFP) – Glaciers are melting faster in southern South America and Alaska than in Europe and communities need to adapt their living habits to the meltdown, said a UN report released in Mexico Tuesday.
Many low-lying glaciers may disappear over the coming decades, with the northwest United States, southwest Canada and the Arctic also affected, according to the report compiled by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and scientists, presented at a UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico.
Changes in rain patterns and shrinking rivers will reduce water as well as food supplies to many communities, the report said.
"Adaptation is crucial and urgently needed to assist people who will be affected," said John Crump, UNEP polar issues coordinator, at a news conference.
Though glaciers are shrinking overall worldwide, high levels of rain have actually increased the size of others, including in western Norway and New Zealand's South Island, the report said.
Warmer temperatures due to climate change were a major factor in the rapidly changing glaciers, as well as possibly the deposit of soot, reducing the reflection of heat back into space, according to the report.
Norway on Tuesday pledged more than 12 million dollars to help one region where glaciers are melting -- the Hindu Kush region in the Himalayas.
Madhav Karki, from the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), pointed to aerial pictures of glaciers which he said were shrinking some five to fifteen meters per year in the eastern Himalayas.
The five-year investment aims to help communities, mainly in India, Pakistan and China, to adapt to changes in the glaciers they depend on and investigate the changes, said Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim.
"South Asia for me is probably the most vulnerable continent on the globe when it comes to climate change... Norway is at the opposite end of the spectrum," Solheim said.