by Tony Bonnici
coated much of Britain yesterday
NEW evidence has cast doubt on claims
that the world’s ice-caps are melting, it emerged last night.
Satellite data shows that concerns over the levels of sea ice may
have been premature.
It was feared that the polar caps were vanishing because of the
effects of global warming. But figures from the respected US
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that almost all
the “lost” ice has come back.
Ice levels which had shrunk from 13million sq km in January 2007 to
just four million in October, are almost back to their original
levels. Figures show that there is nearly a third more ice in
Antarctica than is usual for the time of year.
The data flies in the face of many current thinkers and will be
seized on by climate change skeptics who deny that the world is
undergoing global warming. A photograph of polar bears clinging on
to a melting iceberg has become one of the most enduring images in
the campaign against climate change.
It was used by former US Vice President Al Gore during his
Inconvenient Truth lectures about mankind’s impact on the world. But
scientists say the northern hemisphere has endured its coldest
winter in decades.
They add that snow cover across the area is at its greatest since
The one exception is Western Europe, which has – until the weekend
when temperatures plunged to as low as -10°C in some places – been
basking in unseasonably warm weather. The UK has reported one of its
warmest winters on record.
However, vast swathes of the world have suffered chaos because of
some of the heaviest snowfalls in decades. Central and southern
China, the USA and Canada were hit hard by snowstorms.
Even the Middle East saw snow, with Jerusalem, Damascus, Amman and
northern Saudi Arabia reporting the heaviest falls in years and
below-zero temperatures. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan snow and freezing
weather killed 120 people.
In Britain the barmy February weather came to an abrupt halt at the
weekend as temperatures plunged to -10°C in central England.
Experts believe that this month could end up as one of the coldest
Februaries in Britain in the past 10 years.
The freezing night-time conditions look set to stay around -8C until
at least the middle of the week.
A Met Office spokesman explained:
“There has been little or no cloud
cover across England and Wales. So there is a capacity for a fair
bit of heat to be able to escape at night.
“It has been warmer in Scotland but
that’s because it has been cloudy there.
“Until the weekend the temperatures were in the 14s and 15s, and
we will see a return to that later this week, though it will
look grey and overcast when the clouds return.”
But he added that there was little
chance of snow.
“When the rain comes it will get