Letter to the Editor: Melting icebergs

Selecting clothes for the base layers (t-shirt, thermal, sweatshirt) at this time of year, many of us in the northern latitudes follow Henry Ford’s maxim: “any color they want as long as it is black.”  In late spring and summer many opt for the lightest material and color available.  The reason is obvious; dark colors absorb heat, while lighter colors tend to reflect the heat.

The planet earth does not have the option of checking the closet or dresser drawers.  The light colors available are mostly snow and ice, the dark colors are rich brown soil, roadways, and the deep blue sea.  An article in the journal Nature reported a loss of 12 trillion tons of Antarctic ice shelf between 1997 and 2020.  This loss proved to be twice as large as previously estimated. That loss of reflective cover amounted to 14,300 square miles (37,000 sq. km.), almost the size of Switzerland.  Those figures were backed up in another article: NASA studies find previously unknown loss of Antarctic ice, sourced through the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, in case anyone thought it was from a flaky, radical, left-wing fake news publication.  Bottom line: as that ice melts it will no longer reflect heat, it absorbs the heat.

To add to the planet’s, and its inhabitants, misery, is the loss of cooling agents known as trees. The combination of rain-soaked roots and extremely strong winds have wrought havoc on California’s coastal region, the central valley, and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Combine that with the losses from the North Complex, the Dixie Fire, and many other fires throughout North America, and other continents, and the losses to beetles, borers, and other destructive pests probably means that trees are dying much faster than they regrow.

Hope this hasn’t been too much of a downer, I’m just telling it like it is.

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Gene Nielsen

Crescent Mills

P.S. Some recent articles indicate that scientists at Exxon knew in the seventies that the products they sell very likely causes global warming.  How do you like them apples?