NASA Polar Ice Expert on Climate Change and Greenland's Ice Loss: "We Need to Take this Seriously"

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On MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann on 9 August 2010  interviewed NASA polar ice expert Dr. Jay Zwally about the ice island that broke off of Greenland llast week.  Zwally said that it was 100% certain that climate change was a factor in the event.

Zwally explained in the interview that warming in the region is 3-4 times greater than the global average.  The waters around Greenland are warming and melting the undersides of the glacier "tongues" that extend and float over the water.  "We've seen dramatic changes in Greenland over the last ten years," he explained.  The glaciers are moving more quickly to the sea and are losing more ice through melting and "calving" (pieces breaking off into the sea) than the glaciers gain from precipitation.  The net result is less ice on Greenland and higher sea levels.

The NASA scientist expressed frustration about the degree to which acceptance of solid scientific evidence is affected by political beliefs.  "If they're conservative, they don't believe it," he said.  "If they're liberal, they believe in climate warming."

"These changes are taking place. We need to take this seriously and do something about reducing the greenhouse gases that go into the atmosphere," he concluded.

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