From the beginning of its debate, the issue of global warming has included discussion about the possibility of melting ice-caps. Lately, though, old studies are being re-examined, and now it seems as though it is the science, not the frozen H20, that can?t take the heat.

     For instance, in one study published in Science Magazine in December of 1999, it was reported that the Arctic Polar icecap may have decreased by as much as 14% over a 20 year period. However, upon re-evaluation, it was later published that virtually all of that decrease occurred during a sharp drop over a lone period of 1-3 years. In fact, more recent estimates have the northern ice-caps at least holding steady, and possibly growing a bit.

     Another factor cited as an indicator that global warming is occurring is the reduction in size of the world?s coral reefs. The United Nations Environmental Program has reported that 58% of the world?s coral is in danger from human activities such as global warming. But scientific attempts to link climate change to global coral decline have been far from conclusive. A study by Linsley, Wellington and Schrag were able to establish through coral samples near the island of Rarotonga a climate record for the South Pacific dating back 271 years. Their report, published in Science, showed South Pacific temperatures 250 years ago that were 2 degrees Celsius higher than those measured today.

     Such markedly higher water temperatures prior to the onset of the industrial age, and the fact that coral communities survived, strongly undercuts the notion that human induced global warming is a real cause of concern for coral reefs. Further, A 1995 study of reefs in the Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea showed that nearly 14% of all reefs in the area were damaged, with damage to individual reefs reaching levels as high as 42%. However, a subsequent study in 1996 published in Revista Biologia de Tropical discovered that the coral had almost fully recovered within a single year ? this after temps were supposedly on the climb!

     In short, as science becomes more advanced it seems that the one thing is clear: While ice caps may be growing, and coral reefs are remaining resilient, the one thing that is dwindling for sure is the case for catastrophic man-made global warming.

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