Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cold snap reduces Pine Beetle

The interesting question this winter is how cold is it really. It certainly appears to match up to the cold winters experienced a couple of decades ago. For the past decade, all got used to fairly easy climes in the Northern zones. Now they are all a little surprised to get hit with lots of minus thirty as late as now.

In the meantime, we have a report on the temperature impact on the pine beetle in our northern forests. The good news is that the population will certainly be reduced and perhaps knocked out in those areas were they were marginal which is good news. However the population is so huge that it will take several years to bring the problem under control. The biologists still think that the infestation must run its course.

I am more interested in seeing the effect on the Arctic Sea Ice. I also wonder if we have not missed a mechanism for rapid heat loss in the Arctic triggered by open water. The models are always compelling until nature throws a curve ball. We supposedly accumulated a lot of heat in the Arctic this past summer and the onset of new ice may even have been delayed as a consequence.

Regardless the total sea ice was reduced to a major minimum. This makes the next warming season well worth monitoring.

And I think that a lot of new questions will need to be answered.

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