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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Human Climate Refugees

Picture of the Arctic

Experts suggest that the changes in the Arctic show a domino effect of both the natural changes in ocean currents and winds above the Arctic Circle and the emerging global warming signal. Although the Arctic is warming overall, its effects vary from place to place. The Bering Sea, for example, is in a cooling spell, and an unusually severe winter has bulked up Alaska's glaciers. While the huge Greenland ice cap (picture on the right) shrank by 88 square miles (220 square kilometers) because of an unusually warm spring and summer, according to Jaxon Box of the Byrd Polar Research Center in Columbus, Ohio. Greenland dumped at least 24 cubic miles (100 cubic kilometers) of melted ice into the ocean. The Arctic Report Card has further said that the result was an "unprecedented" rise of nearly 0.1 inch per year. The Arctic warming trend began in the 1960s and has been accelerating in the past decade. Scientists say these changes in the Arctic are early warning signs of what may be coming for the rest of the world's climate.

According to NASA studies, if all the ice in Greenland and Antarctica would melt down, it could raise sea level by a total of 70 meters. However, experts believe that it would take hundreds of thousands of years before a complete melt down of ice happens although a 40-80 centimeters increase in sea level in this century might happen.

The effects of climate change to people might cause them to leave their homes to look for safer places to stay. UN estimates that 18 million people from West Africa are currently moving to the more prosperous South or Europe as climate refugees. They are escaping from starvation and poverty that drought causes and this number will increase as global warming intensifies. We can add to that number the 100 million people still living in places around 1 meter above sea level who might seek refuge in safer grounds sometime this century as climate refugees as well.

God has given us the full responsibility, as Christians, of taking good care of the earth. Sadly, we have gone along with the careless rest of the human race who have committed the biggest blunder of making human life cool and comfortable to the detriment of the earth’s condition. However, we can still save the earth.

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