Washington (AP) — In the last decade, the Arctic ice and snow cap has expanded 12 per cent, and for the first time in this century, ships making for Iceland ports have been impeded by drifting ice.

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Many climatologists see these signs as evidence that a significant shift in climate is taking place — a shift that could be the forerunner of an ice Age polar vortex — the great icy winds that sweep from west to east around the top and bottom of the planet.

Widening of this vortex has been the prime cause of Africa’s drought, blocking moisture-bearing equatorial winds from dumping rainfall on the parched soil. The drought which hit the Corn Belt last summer resulted when moist westerly winds from the Pacific were deflected north over Canada and moist winds from the Golf of Mexico failed to reach the Midwest.

A group of prominent scientists last month finished a two-year study which concludes that changes in the earth’s climate are inevitable and that mankind must learn to predict these variations.

“Change of climate, even if sustained for only a few years’ time, could seriously disrupt” the way we use our resources, the scientists said in the report, released by the National Academy of Sciences. “We simply cannot afford to arrive unprepared at the doorstep of a natural or man-made climatic catastrophe.”

The panel reported that without doubt, colder climate will come, but there was no consensus about the magnitude or rapidity of the transition from warmth to cold.

Source: Associated Press (Sedalia Democrat)

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