Ice at the North Pole melted at an unprecedented rate last week, with leading scientists warning that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2013.
Satellite images show that ice caps started to disintegrate dramatically several days ago as storms over Alaska's Beaufort Sea began sucking streams of warm air into the Arctic.
As a result, scientists say that the disappearance of sea ice at the North Pole could exceed last year's record loss. More than a million square kilometres melted over the summer of 2007 as global warming tightened its grip on the Arctic. But such destruction could now be matched, or even topped, this year.
'It is a neck-and-neck race between 2007 and this year over the issue of ice loss,' said Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado. 'We thought Arctic ice cover might recover after last year's unprecedented melting - and indeed the picture didn't look too bad last month. Cover was significantly below normal, but at least it was up on last year.
'But the Beaufort Sea storms triggered steep ice losses and it now looks as if it will be a very close call indeed whether 2007 or 2008 is the worst year on record for ice cover over the Arctic. We will only find out when the cover reaches its minimum in mid-September.'
This startling loss of Arctic sea ice has major meteorological, environmental and ecological implications. The region acts like a giant refrigerator that has a strong effect on the northern hemisphere's meteorology. Without its cooling influence, weather patterns will be badly disrupted, including storms set to sweep over Britain.
At the same time, creatures such as polar bears and seals - which use sea ice for hunting and resting - face major threats. Similarly, coastlines will no longer be insulated by ice from wave damage and will suffer erosion, as is already happening in Alaska.
Other environmental changes are likely to follow. Without sea ice to bolster them, land ice - including glaciers - could topple into the ocean and raise global sea levels, threatening many low-lying areas, including Bangladesh and scores of Pacific islands. In addition, the disappearance of reflective ice over the Arctic means that solar radiation would no longer be bounced back into space, thus heating the planet even further.
On top of these issues, there are fears that water released by the melting caps will disrupt the Gulf Stream, while an ice-free Arctic in summer offers new opportunities for oil and gas drilling there - and for political disputes over territorial rights.
What really unsettles scientists, however, is their inability to forecast precisely what is happening in the Arctic, the part of the world most vulnerable to the effects of global warming. 'When we did the first climate change computer models, we thought the Arctic's summer ice cover would last until around 2070,' said Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University. 'It is now clear we did not understand how thin the ice cap had already become - for Arctic ice cover has since been disappearing at ever increasing rates. Every few years we have to revise our estimates downwards. Now the most detailed computer models suggest the Arctic's summer ice is going to last for only a few more years - and given what we have seen happen last week, I think they are probably correct.'
The most important of these computer studies of ice cover was carried out a few months ago by Professor Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Using US navy supercomputers, his team produced a forecast which indicated that by 2013 there will be no ice in the Arctic - other than a few outcrops on islands near Greenland and Canada - between mid-July and mid-September.
'It does not really matter whether 2007 or 2008 is the worst year on record for Arctic ice,' Maslowski said. 'The crucial point is that ice is clearly not building up enough over winter to restore cover and that when you combine current estimates of ice thickness with the extent of the ice cap, you get a very clear indication that the Arctic is going to be ice-free in summer in five years. And when that happens, there will be consequences.'
This point was backed by Serreze. 'The trouble is that sea ice is now disappearing from the Arctic faster than our ability to develop new computer models and to understand what is happening there. We always knew it would be the first region on Earth to feel the impact of climate change, but not at anything like this speed. What is happening now indicates that global warming is occurring far earlier than any of us expected.'
More than 2,500 years ago, a captive of the Babylonian Empire named Ezekiel penned a prophecy, dated for some future era called "the latter days," saying an alliance will arise, which Ezekiel calls collectively, "Gog, the land of Magog, the ruler of Rosh, Meschech and Tubal." It, together with an alliance led by Persia, including Turkey, makes up much of the Baltic region and the Mediterranean Middle East .
Without taking up too much time, "Gog" refers to modern Russia, from Moscow (Meshech) to Siberia. (Tubal). "Magog" refers to the states along the Black Sea, and in particular, the Republic of Georgia.
I outlined Ezekiel's prophecy in 1969 in my book "The Late, Great, Planet Earth" at a time most of this territory was a well-entrenched part of the Soviet Union.
"After many days you shall be visited: in the latter years you shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them." (Ezekiel 38:8)
According to the prophet Ezekiel, this Russian-led alliance of nations would sweep suddenly down upon Israel in a surprise invasion that evokes only a weak diplomatic response from the West.
"Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say to you, Are you come to take a spoil? have you gathered your company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?" (Ezekiel 38:13)
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, most of these republics broke with Russia to form new alliances with NATO and the West – an event for which I was widely ridiculed at the time.
How could most of Magog, like Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey, all firmly allied with the West, also be part of Russia's Gog alliance? I didn't know. But I didn't pen Ezekiel's prophecy. I only reported it.
Now, Gog has evidently decided to reclaim its former Soviet empire, starting with Magog. Despite weeks of promising to withdraw almost any minute, the Russian military continues to dig in and consolidate its forces in and near the Georgian port of Poti on the Black Sea.
The Russians introduced tight restrictions of movement on Georgian citizens, refusing to accept anything except Russian documents. Despite agreements to the contrary, the Kremlin now says that "Russian forces will leave in their own time."
When Poland was contemplating an agreement that would allow the U.S. to deploy missile interceptor batteries in its territory, Russia warned them that by entering the treaty agreement they ran the risk of a Russian nuclear attack. When the Poles signed the treaty in defiance of the Kremlin, Russia promised its response would "rise above the level of diplomacy," a reference to the principle that "war is the result of failed diplomacy."
The Russian invasion and apparent occupation of Georgia is feared by many analysts, particularly those from former Soviet republics, that Vladimir Putin plans to re-conquer and restore the former empire.
Russia has broken off all ties with NATO, and the NATO alliance is beginning to show signs of strain as analysts warn of "a new Cold War – or worse."
Then, as now, the proxy battleground for the Cold War between East and West is in the Middle. So it was no surprise to read that Russia has targeted Israel for retaliation after Israel refused to honor a military embargo against Georgia.
According to a report in the World Tribune, "We asked Israel not to sell offensive weapons to a hostile neighboring state, but they said they're a sovereign state," a diplomatic source said. "Well, Israel shouldn't be surprised if we sell offensive weapons to Israel's neighbors."
In December 2007, Israel agreed not to sign new contracts for offensive weapons to Georgia. But the Israeli Defense Ministry, supported by the United States, maintained it would honor existing arms deals with Tbilisi.
"We told the Israelis that this was a very unwise move and that Russians were being killed because of Georgia's policy," the Russian source said. "They didn't take us seriously, probably because they were encouraged by the United States."
I don't want anyone to miss the point here. The point isn't that the Gog Magog War has begun. I don't know if it has. I can't say for sure that this is even it.
The point is this. Two thousand, five hundred years ago, a Hebrew captive living in Babylon outlined in detail the scenario that has continued to unfold and take shape in precise detail for most of the past generation.
Even when short-term political changes seemed to indicate otherwise, the scenario eventually resumes its original course, as if following a pre-determined script.
Ezekiel predicted this alignment of nations could only take place after Israel was restored to its place among the nations of the world. And so it unfolds. So, if that isn't the point, what is? It's simple.
Quote: the Russian source said. "They didn't take us seriously, probably because they were encouraged by the United States."
I don't want anyone to miss the point here. The point isn't that the Gog Magog War has begun. I don't know if it has. I can't say for sure that this is even it.
.................Ezekiel predicted this alignment of nations could only take place after Israel was restored to its place among the nations of the world. And so it unfolds. So, if that isn't the point, what is? It's simple.
Who told Ezekiel? Quote
and what is this to do with Israel? United States (Condaliza Rice) telling them to slice Jerusalem?????
Rice urges Israel to split Jerusalem
Zechariah tells you 'all nations' will turn against Jerusalem...12:3. The US will be punished for trying to S-L-I-C-E Jerusalem. dkapuchino, on 08/26/2008, ...
digg.com/politics/Rice_urges_Israel_to_split_Jer... SOOOOOO???? is this the ''gog'' and the "megog"
The Ezekiel prophecy clearly refers to an alignment of nations from that vicinity, who will go into Israel in the latter days. These are identified as Russia, Persia (Iran), quite possibly Turkey, Ethopia or Sudan..
Turkey, a Nato ally, is now beginning to shift its alliances. Watch Turkey. Watch Russia. This is extremely interesting. Just watch..
The first occurrence of "Magog" in the Hebrew Bible is in the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, where Magog is the eponymous ancestor of a people or nation (without any accompanying apocalyptic symbolism, or mention of Gog, although "Magog" may mean "the land of Gog"):
3. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. In this occurrence, Magog is clearly the name of a person, although in the anthropology proposed by Genesis, ethnic groups and nations are founded by, and usually named after, their founding ancestors. The names of Gomer, Tubal, Meshech, and Togarmah also occur in Ezekiel.
The earliest known reference to "Gog" and "Magog" together is also in the Bible, in the Book of Ezekiel:
38:2. Son of man, set thy face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.
3. And you shall say; So said the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, Gog, the prince, the head of Meshech and Tubal. Although it is clear (in the Hebrew) that here Magog is a "land" (eretz) from verse 2, and that Gog is a "prince" from verse 3, different identifications have been made. These are discussed after the text itself. The Interlinear Bible (Hebrew - Greek - English) states 2. as: "Son of man, set your face toward Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and prophesy concerning him."
10. Thus says the Lord "On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind and you will make an evil plan:"
11. You will say, "I will go against a land of unwalled villages…(FRZ)(FRZ: mostly refers to Iraq as Frz (Unwalled Villages) in the Book of Esther)
12. To take plunder and booty…"
13. Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, will say to you, "have you come to take a spoil?" They will be joined by Persians from the East, Phut from the West, Kushites from the South, and others. We are told that Gog dwelt north of Israel, but there is little else to identify Gog in the passage. Gog and his allies are to attack "a land of unwalled villages" to collect booty, but before attacking Israel itself will be reduced to a "sixth" of their size (Ezekiel 39:2). Their reduced army will be destroyed in Israel, their dead buried in the Valley of Hamon-Gog for all to see and comment on (39:15-17).
Addressing Gog and Magog, God describes how the attacks will be repelled (Ezekiel 39:1-16). The army of Gog and Magog includes people from the nations of "Gomer, Tubal, Meshech, and the house of Togarmah from the North", all of whom are mentioned as descendants of Japheth in Genesis 10. God describes the aftermath of the battle later in the same chapter, addressing "thou, son of man":
17. …,thus says the Lord, "Speak to every bird and every beast of the field, 'Assemble yourselves and come,…'"
Chuck Missler from the August 19, 2008 eNews issue
The situation in Eastern Europe isn't going to improve any time soon. It has been almost two weeks since Russia invaded the former Soviet nation of Georgia and already more than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. The two nations have agreed to a truce, but Russian tanks and troops have not withdrawn. Some reports indicate that Russia is moving its troops even further into Georgian territory. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently told reporters that if "Russia does not step back from its aggressive posture and actions in Georgia, the U.S.-Russian relationship could be adversely affected for years to come."
Adding fuel to the fire, the United States and Poland have reached an agreement on the proposed missile defense shield. The agreement between the US and Poland includes a promise to come to each other's aid in the event of an attack. This news could further antagonize Russia, which is strongly opposed to the deal. The US says it wants to place interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar site the Czech Republic to protect against attacks from rogue nations such as Iran. However Moscow believes the missile shield's true purpose is to undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent.
The agreement between the US and Poland comes just days after Russia announced plans to significantly update its naval forces. It plans to build five or six new aircraft carrier battle groups as well as at least four new submarines. Currently Russia has only one aircraft carrier; however its new found oil wealth has enabled the former communist state to undertake a vast modernization of its military. The new submarines will be armed with new Bulava SS-NX-30 missiles, a new intercontinental-range ballistic missile. It is the submarine based version of the Russian SS-27, which can carry up to six nuclear warheads. These two missiles will be the foundation of the new Russian military, and will give it the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world.
The Russian government controls most of the nation's energy resources and seems willing to use its energy clout as a political weapon. Russia is a key player in world energy markets. It holds the world's largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves. Russia is also the world's largest exporter of natural gas, and has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer. Russia has reaped huge economic benefits from rising energy prices, and has increasingly used its position to intimidate its neighbors.
Meanwhile, Russia has been increasing its ties in the Middle East. Russia has signed arms deals with both Saudi Arabia and Libya, each worth more than 2 billion dollars. Russia also recently signed a pact with Egypt to build at least four nuclear power plants. Russia has also continued to supply Iran and Syria with sophisticated weaponry, including advanced anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft missiles. It has done so despite concerns that such weaponry could find its way into the hands of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel. And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that [is] with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and [to] the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord God. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I [am] the LORD. Ezekiel 39:1-6
The ancient people called Magog are commonly believed to have been the ancestors of the Russian nation. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of an invasion of Israel by Russia, which has not yet been fulfilled. What could cause Russia to come against the tiny nation of Israel -- which has no oil and no real strategic value? This question has puzzled Bible scholars for centuries. However, recent developments in the Middle East have for the first time in history lent credence to this long-awaited prophecy.
Israel has signed a defense pact with Turkey, making Turkey its only ally in the Middle East. Turkey straddles the Bosphorus Strait, the passage way between The Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The Black Sea is Russia's only warm water port, which is guaranteed to be open year round. It is also the heart of Russia's oil and gas exports, which in a desperate economic situation is one of the few exportable commodities other than military weapons.
Turkey and Russia have argued for years over the proper way to administer the fair usage of the Bosphorus Strait. Turkey wants to maintain total control shipping through the strait, while Russia is demanding an international commission to govern the waterway.
Turkey and Russia have also threatened war over the delivery of S-300 missiles to the island of Cyprus, and over the Russian support of Syrian-backed terrorists. The rhetoric between the two nations has been fierce at times and now tiny, non-strategic Israel has agreed to the mutual defense of Turkey. Russia is also aligning herself with Iran.
Other events in Russia, such as the changes in government leaning back toward a communist-style government, should give Israel and her western allies cause for concern. The Magog prophecy appears to be more likely when the current events in Russian are examined in detail.