Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Beach and the Bering Sea

Two pieces for today...but I think I'll start with the beach. We spent the weekend in Ocean Shores enjoying great fall sunshine and playing on the sand with the dogs. Often, on vacations, we see cute getaway cabins for sale and fantasize about buying one. We passed homes with fabulous castle-like turrets looking out across grassy dunes to the sea, silly-looking half-an-A-frame houses with the sides made of roofing material, and simple weathered-wood cabins that fit exactly with the surrounding ecosystem. But this time, when the fantasy subject of "Which one would you like?" came up, the answer was, "None of them. They'll probably all be underwater." The three of us on this trip are all smart and college educated; two CIO's and a Human Resources person for I study global warming, at least at an educated lay-person level. We decided that we didn't understand whether the tipping point for sea-level rise from global warming would be in a year or six years or even later, but we did decide the risk made investing in beachfront property a bad idea.

After we shook the sand out of our shoes at home, I opened the Sunday Seattle Times to find the headline "Ecological Upheaval on the Edge of the Ice," by Sandi Doughton. The article explores dramatic shifts in species based on the receding ice in the Bering Sea. Nicely done. The Seattle Times has done a lot of thorough reporting on various topics, and this is part one of a series...
The article does a nice job of noting the significant change, and that it has cost some species while benefiting others. Most importantly, it points out the fragility of the area.

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