FLASHBACK 2004: Antarctica Will Soon Be The Only Livable Place On Earth
A top U.K. government scientist warned in 2004 that mankind’s only option to survive a world ravaged by global warming would be to head south to Antarctica.
Sir David King, the government’s chief scientist at the time, warned that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide were reaching levels not seen in 60 million years, making this the “first hot period” since then.
King warned that if levels went higher there would be no permanent ice sheets left on Earth, much the way the planet was millions of years ago. The scientist added that all this could happen by the end of the century.
“No ice was left on Earth. Antarctica was the best place for mammals to live, and the rest of the world would not sustain human life,” King said, adding that CO2 levels reached 1,000 parts per million and caused a “massive reduction of life,” according to the UK Independent.
Oddly enough, King’s comments were made as satellite records showed global temperatures showing no warming trend since 1998 — a period of six years. Fast forward to 2015 and there has still been no warming trend, according to Remote Sensing Systems satellite data, for the last 18 years.
More interestingly, in the time since King claimed Antarctica would be free of ice by the end of the century, the continent has added hundreds of thousands of square miles of sea ice. Even right now, during the south pole’s summer, sea ice extent is well above the 1981 to 2010 average.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Antarctic sea ice extent in February has been growing at a rate of about 5 percent per decade. If trends keep up, it may prove difficult to even reach the south pole during the summertime.
There have been news reports, however, that Antarctica is in trouble because of receding ice sheets on the western part of the continent. Some scientists have blamed this on global warming. But others say it’s not exactly clear if global warming is to blame for glaciers collapsing.
A 2013 British Antarctic Survey study found that the current melt in the western Antarctic is within the “natural range of climate variability” of the last 300 years.
“The record shows that this region has warmed since the late 1950s, at a similar magnitude to that observed in the Antarctic Peninsula and central West Antarctica,” said a BAS study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last year, “however, this warming trend is not unique.”
“More dramatic isotopic warming (and cooling) trends occurred in the mid-19th and 18th centuries, suggesting that at present the effect of anthropogenic climate drivers at this location has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability in the context of the past ~300 years,” the study said.
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