Last Time Earth Without Ice: 55 Million Years Ago

“Ice asks no questions, presents no arguments, reads no newspapers,  listens to no debates. It is not burdened by ideology and carries no political baggage as it changes from solid to liquid. It just melts.”

- Henry Pollack, Ph.D., Geophysicist and Author, A World Without Ice

 Sea ice melt in the Arctic, Greenland, and elsewhere is likely to affect future temperatures in the regions because ice reflects much of the sun's radiation back into space while dark ocean water absorbs more of the sun's energy. As ice melts, more exposed ocean water changes the Earth's albedo, or fraction of energy reflected away from the planet. This leads to increased absorption of energy that further warms the planet in what is called ice-albedo feedback and Earth gets warmer. Illustration by NASA.
Sea ice melt in the Arctic, Greenland, and elsewhere is likely to affect future temperatures in the regions because ice reflects much of the sun's radiation back into space while dark ocean water absorbs more of the sun's energy. As ice melts, more exposed ocean water changes the Earth's albedo, or fraction of energy reflected away from the planet. This leads to increased absorption of energy that further warms the planet in what is called ice-albedo feedback and Earth gets warmer. Illustration by NASA.

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December 5, 2009  Albuquerque, New Mexico - This week 2007 Nobel Peace Prize participant and Professor Emeritus Geophysicist Henry Pollack, Ph.D., was in Albuquerque to speak at the University of New Mexico about his new book, A World Without Ice, released in October 2009. I was able to interview him before his presentation about the recent leaked climate data scandal, the upcoming December 7 to 18, 2009, Copenhagen global climate conference that Dr. Pollack will attend and his perspective on Earth's climate past, present and future. According to the United Nation's Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Earth will warm up between 1.4 degrees Celsius and 5.8 degrees Celsius (roughly 2 degrees Fahrenheit to 10 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century.

 

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