The major issues of the world include the recovery of economies from the Great Recession and regional wars for control of territories, like Iraq. Whereas, first and foremost, the leaders of the world should really be focused like a laser on the attendant risks of a complete meltdown of the Arctic, which is the canary in the mineshaft for the entire planet.
Territorial fighting in the Middle East and the Ukraine, when compared to an Arctic meltdown, is equivalent to playing with tinker toys.
In fact, taking another simile one step further, the ultimate consequence of an ice-free Arctic; i.e. the Venus Syndrome, would make Hiroshima look like a summertime picnic.
In point of fact, it is blatantly obvious that no major nation-state anticipates a crisis in the Arctic. If they did, they’d be scrambling right now to convert from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, as fast as humanly possible.
Caution- Thin Ice Ahead
As things stand, sea ice conditions in the Arctic are perilously close to the edge of a precipice.
Here’s the situation: Sea ice extent as of July 3rd is extremely close to record lows for this time of the year, but the biggest concern is not the current extent but rather the slope of the current decline, which is much steeper than usual for this time of the year. As it happens, the risk of rapid meltdown is all about slope because the steeper the slope, the faster the melt.
Accordingly, here’s the latest:
The current decline in sea ice extent is much steeper than it used to be for this time of the year, raising the specter of sea ice hitting an absolute record low later this year. Moreover, a total collapse of sea ice may occur if storms continue to develop that push the remaining ice out of the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean.1
Understanding an Iceless Arctic Crisis
The horrifying destructive ramifications of a total Arctic collapse are not fully understood by 99.99% of the people on the planet. That is only a guess, but it is probably a pretty good guess. After all, who wants to take the time to study ice melt… seriously?
However, details about the likelihood and consequences of an ice-free Arctic are readily available. Simply go to the following video for a spoon-fed explanation: Arctic Feed Back Dynamics Presentation by David Wasdell, Envisionation with the Apollo-Gaia Project, Producer Nick Breeze.
David Wasdell’s brilliant tutorial; i.e., everything one needs to know about the Arctic meltdown in 40 minutes, is easy to watch and highly recommended for the major political figures of society.
And, as for those who are burdened with extremely short attention spans, here’s the bottom line: The planet could become a hell hole, and it could happen within decades, not centuries. Watch the video.
Here are a couple of previews:
(1) Based upon direct observations, not scientific models, the volume of sea ice is already in a tailspin, for example: the volume during the 1990s was roughly 15,000 cubic kilometers, by 2006 it was 10,000, and by 2012 it was down to 3,000. Does that look like an exponential slope downwards?
(2) Also, the rate of change of ice mass loss is accelerating, to wit: the rate of change of loss was stable in the 1980s, but losing 4,500 cubic kilometers/decade in the 1990s, 9,000 in the 2000s, and at a 13,000 rate by 2013. Does that look like an exponential slope upwards?
Yes and Yes. As such, it is possible that the “human trigger of too much CO2” is no longer applicable for sea ice loss as it already appears to be very close to self-amplification.
As the storyline goes, once the Arctic is ice-free in September, which has not happened yet, all of the sun’s energy that formerly melted the ice is then available to warm the water and the permafrost. Thus, when the next freeze occurs, it comes later, the ice is thinner, and the next melt is sooner, and the subsequent window of free ice in September is wider, and on it goes in a self-perpetuating fashion: (1) releasing methane (CH4), which is the most effective feedstock for runaway global warming, but which has been capped by the ice for millennia; (2) triggering an eventual collapse of Greenland’s 1-2 mile thick ice cap (potentially adding up to 21 feet to sea water levels); (3) distorting the drivers of the Gulf Stream; (4) disrupting the jet streams above 30,000 feet altitude, creating anomalous weather all across the Northern Hemisphere, which is already a problem.
Those consequences are horrendous, unthinkable, and dreadful, and if, as it appears, the ice melt is indeed exponential, then “the models” used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which call for an ice-free Arctic way out in the future, are irrelevant and useless.
As it is, the IPCC’s “models” are constructed around straight-line trends, or linearly, making no allowance for an exponential falloff that goes beyond the straight-line models.
As of now, boots-on-the-ground evidence, “not scientific models,” suggests the straight-line trends have bent… a lot! Maybe way too much.
Watch the video.
Wearing Bikinis up North
One of the problems for the planet is too much heat in all the wrong places.
In Greenland, “According to the national weather institute DMI, the highest temperature [ever for the month] was registered on June 15… where it reached 23.2 degrees Celsius (74F).” 2
On July 2, 2014 temps in Labrador reached 30 degrees C (86F).
The warming Arctic is altering the jet streams and throwing off normal weather patterns.
“As the Arctic is warming even faster than the Equator, the falling temperature difference between the two reduces the speed at which warm air is moving from the Equator to the North Pole. This in turn slows the speed at which the jet streams are circumnavigating the globe on the Northern hemisphere and it is deforming the jet streams….” 3
Also, warm air moves up from south to the Arctic much more easily. For example, as of June 28th, 2014, Arctic sea surface temperature anomalies, far and wide, show above 8 C (46 F) readings, scattered throughout the Arctic sea surface. For the Arctic, those are very high sea surface anomalies, and the summer melt season is only now underway.
As well, worldwide temperatures are adding an exclamation point to what’s happening in the Arctic, as registered by the National Climatic Data Center, at all-time record highs for both global land and ocean surfaces, as of May 2014.
Politics – The Accomplice to Runaway Global Warming
The tangible scientific evidence of radical climate change, especially in the Arctic, makes it very difficult to accept, sans snickering, the oft-repeated statement that the United States is the “leader of the free world.”
As it happens, over the past couple of decades, the U.S has been a leaderless obstacle to the free world’s solution to the global warming/climate change controversy. When is the last time Congress did anything constructive about the possibility of a climate crisis?
The American political landscape is filled with naive statements and misstatements about climate change that are beyond the pale, trite, and simple-minded like references to global warming as a hoax, or questioning the ethics of scientists, or claiming it is a ruse to gain funding for pet projects, or claiming it is a Hollywood conspiracy with Al Gore.
Those are juvenile responses to an adult issue.
And, some of the most juvenile statements come from unflagging presidential candidates.
Maybe they should spend some quality time with Henry Paulson (R), United States Secretary of the Treasury (2006–2009), “The Coming Climate Crash,” op-ed on the web page for Risky Business and in the New York Times, June 21, 2014.
What if the Arctic is Ice-Free by September 2020, or sooner?
According to the world’s leading polar ice expert, Peter Wadhams Sc.D. Professor of Polar Ocean Physics in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, who has personally led over 40 polar expeditions, including 10 nuclear submarine missions under the ice to accurately measure ice thickness: Once the multi-year ice is gone, it is gone, forever; no more multi-year ice will form, and multi-year ice is what the integrity of the Arctic is all about.
The resulting consequences are dire as warming self-amplifies, leading to the dreaded syndrome of runaway global warming, and ultimately, the planet simmers, but that is only one of several consequences, as previously mentioned.
As difficult as it is to believe that those consequences can really happen, and frankly it is very difficult to envision the reality of it, even though a distinct possibility, it is even more exasperating to know that America’s leadership sits by idly as the ice melts away faster, faster, faster, and eventually exponentially.
After all, there are constructive technical and/or scientific options, some experimental, as well as conversion to renewable sources of energy, which may ameliorate the situation, maybe even prevent it, who knows?
Henceforward, at the end of the day, nobody really knows for sure if, or when, it is too late.
But, based upon the current rate of loss of the ice, which has been there since time immemorial, something untoward is bound to happen.
Withal, the beat goes on: “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientist are portraying it.” 4
- “Total Collapse of Arctic Sea Ice Possible”, Arctic News, July 4, 2014 [↩]
- “Greenland Breaks June Heat Record”, The Copenhagen Post, July 4, 2014 [↩]
- “What’s Wrong with the Weather”, Arctic News, July 2, 2014. [↩]
- U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) on ABC’s This Week (May 2014). [↩]