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Meltdown ~ Global Warming * No-Fly Zone

29 November 2002

3) Arctic Meltdown and New Evidence of Global Warming
4) Flying in the no-fly zone

Editor's Notes

Item 3 is on new evidence of Global Warming and the quickening rate of the arctic meltdown. NASA has revealed satellite images of the sea ice at the top of the world shrinking by almost 10% per decade, which at that rate, could disappear totally by the end of this Century. Other environmental news links follow in this item. Item 4 is a human tale from Iraq on an American's journey through the No-Fly Zone.

Monday, December 2nd is the first anniversary of my friend "Woody" Robert Woodward's slaying by police while seeking sanctuary in a Church. News and links on this can be found from the Flyby News homepage.. Also, see our actions and campaigns listings and links to add your voice to stop the execution of Desmond Carter on this coming international day for human rights, December 10. Your actions can save a life and send a message of light and compassion for humanity during these darkening times.

Many thanks for reading, thinking, and taking action!




3) Arctic Meltdown and New Evidence of Global Warming

Arctic Meltdown
November 25, 2002

The year-round ice in the Arctic Sea could be gone by the end of the century, say National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists.

A NASA study finds that perennial sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster than previously thought, at a rate of 9 percent per decade. At that rate, the Arctic's "perennial sea ice" could disappear in a few more decades.

Perennial sea ice floats in the polar oceans and remains at the end of the summer, when the ice cover is at its minimum and seasonal sea ice has melted. On average, this year-round ice is just under 10 feet thick, but can be as much as 23 feet in depth.

The study also finds that temperatures in the Arctic are increasing at the rate of 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.

Melting sea ice would not affect sea levels, but it could profoundly impact summer shipping lanes, plankton blooms, ocean circulation systems, and global climate, NASA said.

"If the perennial ice cover, which consists mainly of thick multi-year ice floes, disappears, the entire Arctic Ocean climate and ecology would become very different," said Josefino Comiso, a researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., who wrote the study.

Comiso used satellite data to track trends from 1978 to 2000. Before satellite data, most records came from sparsely located ocean buoys, weather stations, and research vessels.

Comparing the differences between Arctic sea ice data from 1979 to 1989 and data from 1990 to 2000, Comiso found the biggest melting occurred in the western area (Beaufort and Chukchi Seas) while considerable losses were also apparent in the eastern region (Siberian, Laptev and Kara Seas). Also, perennial ice actually advanced in relatively small areas near Greenland.

In the short term, reduced ice cover would open shipping lanes through the Arctic. Also, massive melts could increase biological productivity, since melt water floats and provides a stable layer conducive to plankton blooms.

But it would be [more than] just the arctic climate that would be affected. Summer sea ice reflects sunlight out to space, cooling the planet's surface, and warming the atmosphere.

As polar ice caps melt, less sunlight gets reflected into space. It is instead absorbed into the oceans and land, raising the overall temperature, and fueling further melting.

Although not included in the study, Comiso also analyzed more recent data and discovered that this year's perennial ice cover is the least extensive observed during the satellite era.

The study appears in the late October issue of Geophysical Research Letters, and was funded by NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Program and the NASA Earth Science Enterprise/Earth Observing System Project.

The mission of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise is to develop a scientific understanding of the Earth System and its response to natural or human-induced changes to enable improved prediction capability for climate, weather and natural hazards.

©MMII CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved. Original Posting:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/11/25/tech/main530762.shtml



Related Article: "Ice core evidence of global warming in west Canada"

"The scientists, whose research is reported in the science journal Nature, said their study provides evidence of higher surface temperatures and atmospheric warming, which point to climate change due to greenhouse gases."

Ice core evidence of global warming in west Canada

LONDON - An ice core drilled out of a mountain shows climate change has been occurring in western Canada for the past 150 years, scientists said.

The evidence from the 100-metre (yard) core taken from Mount Logan in the Yukon Territory also indicates that the region is due for warmer winters and altered weather patterns.

An international team of scientists, who did a chemical analysis of the ice core, found the average annual snowfall had been constant for more than 100 years but that it started to increase in 1850, which they believe is a sign of global warming.

"We argue that this increase in snow accumulation is associated with a warming of the atmosphere over Western Canada," Professor Kent Moore, of the University of Toronto, said in a statement.

It may seem paradoxical but Moore and his team explained that warmer air holds more moisture and during the winter it can be released as snow.

The scientists, whose research is reported in the science journal Nature, said their study provides evidence of higher surface temperatures and atmospheric warming, which point to climate change due to greenhouse gases.

"We're seeing evidence that both of these climate modes have been intensifying," Moore added.


Their findings are consistent with earlier research which showed that levels of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas linked to climate change, also began to rise in Western Canada around 1850 and were due in part to the Industrial Revolution.

Moore said studies of global warming trends point the finger of blame at human activity and he emphasised the need for action to reduce global warming.

"We need to be serious about this. Kyoto is a start - I don't know if it's all we have to do. But for our children and our children's children's sake, we need to deal with this because we caused this," Moore added.

Climate experts have warned that global warming will increase the risk of droughts, floods and other natural disasters around the globe.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world by 2012 to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels.

But the United States, the world's biggest air polluter, has refused to ratify the treaty because it does not bind developing countries.

In order for the pact to take effect, it must be approved by states accounting for at least 55 percent of the industrialised world's 1990 gas emissions.

Story Date: 29/11/2002
Originally posted:
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/18823/story.htm



Related story links:

Arctic ice 'melting from below'
(Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 11:36 GMT)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1894740.stm

Related story: Judge Again Bars Effort to Keep Cheney Files Secret
By Katherine Q. Seelye
WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 ‚Ä" A federal judge today again rejected Bush administration efforts to protect as confidential documents from Vice President Dick Cheney's energy committee.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/28/politics/28CHEN.html?ex=1039490124&ei=1&en=40d53ecff3b29c03

Bush administration to ease forest management rules - USA
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/18825/story.htm

Bush Pacific NW timber plan draws fire from greens - USA
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/18814/story.htm

Nevada senators seek Yucca Mountain probe - USA
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/18789/story.htm


For Flyby News updated page on Global Warming, see:

The mounting evidence for Global Warming!

Also, check out this archive link for a new developing technology that could meet all the new electrical power generating needs for years without the requirement for any new centralized power plants, and which could produce electricity from existing waste heat and fuels that are already available without additional pollution emissions! See:
STIRLING solution for Onsite Power Production

What is taking the world so long to wake up and stop the oil proponents for death and harm to most all life?



4) Flying in the no-fly zone

From Elias - November 26, 2002

FLYING IN THE NO-FLY ZONE

The captain of the aging Boeing 727 Iraqi Airways flight 642 to Basra stands by the cockpit door greeting his passengers as they board the plane. His uniform is trim and well-pressed. Our eyes meet - beneath dark eyebrows his Arab eyes are marked with kindness and sadness. "Good morning," I say to him in Arabic. "Morning of light!" he replies - the standard response in this part of the world.

The plane leaves its gate at the Saddam International Airport and taxis to the runway. There is no queue of planes waiting - there are no other planes. Flight 642 rises into the pale blue morning of light, and in a few minutes we are cruising at 25,000 feet.

Here in the no-fly zone are many secrets. No one knows where the F-16 fighter jets are patrolling in the blue above us. No one knows what they will choose to shoot at. In early March, 1991, two U.S. Air Force pilots watched helplessly, under orders not to intervene, as below them Saddam's helicopter gunships massacred rebelling Iraqi Shi'ite forces. The U.S. did not want the Shi'ites to gain control in the region, preferring Saddam's brutal hand to the possibility of an Islamic state allied with Iran. It is said those U.S. fighter pilots wept.

Secrets. Below I see roads, clusters of mud-brick houses and farm buildings, patches of crops. Four days later as we drive back to Baghdad on the ground I see these same areas from a different perspective. As the dull miles roll by I stare out the GMC Suburban's windows - for no discernible reason mymind thumbs through a list of "b" wordsblasted, benighted, bereft, blighted One-room mud huts, little kids barefoot, gaunt dogs with noses to the ground looking for scraps - all the usual, banal secrets of poverty. They are secrets because we drive past them so quickly, or fly over them, shake our heads in resignation and never crack the hard shell of their secrecy: what it feels like to be condemned to no other choice.

As the plane banks in a wide circle around Basra, I imagine how easy it must be to make a game of shooting the little ant-size toy trucks below. In the port two large steel hulls lay on their sides in the water. Two days later a few of us drive south to the Kuwaiti border, stopping at a graveyard of vehicles pulled off one of the several "Highways of Death" where Iraqis fleeing from Kuwait were caught in a "turkey shoot", as the fighter pilots called it. The burned-out carcasses of trucks, buses, cars, and tanks are spread over several acres. We are told not to touch anything, since the Americans used depleted uranium shells to blast through tank armor, the dust from which flew into the air and soil and still makes Geiger counters swing. I stand next to the skeleton of a bus sitting on the sand, rusted, half its roof blown off. It reminds me of those photos of bombed-out buses in Israel, fresh with blood, the wails of the bereaved thick in the air. But the wails of those bereaved by this bus's deadly end are long since silenced. I stare vacantly at the few seats left, their bare springs casting strange shadows on the floor. Secrets.

We land safely and I watch how the mostly men passengers bid each other goodbye - shaking hands, kissing each cheek, touching their hearts with their hands. I remember being in Denver Airport, seeing a solitary Arab-looking man make his way through the crowds and wondering how it must feel for him to be the object of so much restrained suspicion. Now I am in his position, with thousands of troops from my country 40 miles away, poised to attack. But I don't feel enmity from these people. When I smile, nod, say: "A'salaam alleikum" (Peace be with you) to strangers, they always nod and reply, "And to you, peace."

The first afternoon in Basra we visit a children's hospital, the region's center for pediatric oncology. Ever since the Gulf War there has been a drastic rise in leukemia, lymphoma, breast, skin, and lung cancer, and of course malnutrition. A Dr. Jamash meets with us and patiently describes the by now familiar scenarioshortages of medicines, shots for chemotherapy, machines for radiation therapy, money for doctors and nurses. "The economic embargo has destroyed everything," he says flatly. Dr. Jamash tells us of a dramatic increase in "strange cases not seen before" - congenital deformities with babies born eyeless, or with no face, or absent limbs.

The hospital is bleak, beat up, the windows and walls dirty. I find myself in a room with at least eight black-robed mothers caring for their sick children. I start taking pictures of them and showing them the results on the little screen of my digital camera. They laugh and point at themselves and ask for me to take more pictures. The atmosphere becomes joyful, the sick kids with hollow eyes smile, the old grandmothers pull their families together for one more shot.

The next morning a few of us go south, near the Highway of Death, to Safwan, a small dusty town on the Kuwaiti border where the cease-fire was signed in 1991 with the Americans. We track down a peasant family's house where a young boy is said to be suffering from skin cancer. He was born six months before the Gulf War, and soon thereafter the first signs of skin cancer appeared. His parents lived and worked at that time on a small farm near where many Iraqi tanks were hit with depleted uranium shells. As I write this I want to stop, to spare you and me from remembering this, from prying into this secret held in a poor mud-walled compound on a forlorn road in a remote town, the dirt in front of the door swept clean, the little windowless room with palm mats on the floor, both the single clock on the wall and the calendar marking time's meaning with gaudy pictures of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, and there a broken plaque with the Arabic inscription "May Allah's blessings be upon Mohammed and his family." We enter and sit along the walls. The door darkens with the figure of the grandmother, covered with a black abaya, gathering herself together for this unexpected invasion of foreigners, her hand shepherding in the boy.

The boy's name is Naathn Massim. He is wearing a dirty sweatsuit with a matching cap that has written on it "Camps Fashion." He keeps his head down, chin to chest, and dabs a crumpled tissue to the open sores across his face. His nose is half eaten away, as are his eyes. We are told that three weeks ago he went completely blind. Naathn sits down next to his grandmother, who answers our questions. The boy has been seen by doctors in Safwan and Basra, she says, but they say nothing more can be done. "Allah kareem," she says. "God provides." Naathn's hands move from dabbing on his nose to shooing away the constant swarm of flies that settle on him. Neville, a 72 year-old minister with us on the Peace Team, begins to weep. A bottomless pit of grief opens inside us, for this boy, for his family, for this country, for our country, for ourselves. If we could we would push away this secret we have uncovered, this dirty secret of the rotting flesh of an eleven year old boy, the end result of grown men calculating attack and counter-attack in distant well-lighted rooms.

Maybe this is all I can say. Maybe this is why I came to Iraq, to witness this secret. Maybe this is the most peace teams like ours can hope to accomplish - to look for a moment into the face of all that is lost in the catastrophe of violence, and then again and again re-commit to life.

That night four of us went to stay with a family in the poor Jumariyah district of Basra. We sat on the stoop on the dirt street while dozens of kids gathered around us. I began to sing songs for them, teaching them call-and-response lines. Six or seven boys around Naathn's age hung on me, wanting me to keep singing. I remembered one song I used to sing to my own kids, "Gospel Train", and the boys rollicked and clapped to its refrain "Get on board little children, get on board little children, get on board little children, there's room for many a'more." The sounds of our songs rose up into the black sky, up into the no-fly zone, and beyond.



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