FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Arctic: A Woozy Canary

by

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 Artic. 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: Total Collapse of Arctic Sea Ice Possible, Arctic News, July 4, 2014: “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.”

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 at: http://www.apollo-gaia.org/ArcticDynamics.html

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),” Greenland Breaks June Heat Record, The Copenhagen Post, July 4, 2014.

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….” What’s Wrong with the Weather, Arctic News, July 2, 2014.

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?

Ah…

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,” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) on ABC’s This Week (May 2014).

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com.

More articles by:

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 27, 2017
Edward Curtin
The Deep State, Now and Then
Melvin Goodman
The Myth of American Exceptionalism
Nozomi Hayase
From Watergate to Russiagate: the Hidden Scandal of American Power
Kenneth Surin
Come Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Andre Vltchek
Philippine: Western Media is Distorting Reality, People and Army Unite to Battle “ISIS”
Robert Fisk
Out of the Ruins of Aleppo: a Syrian Community Begins to Rebuild
Andrew Moss
What is Adelanto?
Thomas Mountain
Free Speech or Terror TV? Al Jazeera’s Support for ISIS and Al Queda
Robert J. - Byers
Jamboree Travesty
Thomas Knapp
Send in the Clown: Scaramucci Versus the Leakers
Rob Seimetz
Because the Night Belonged to Us in St. Petersburg (Florida)
Paul Cantor
Momentum Not Mojo
Patrick Walker
In Defense of Caitlin Johnstone (Part Two)
July 26, 2017
John W. Whitehead
Policing for Profit: Jeff Sessions & Co.’s Thinly Veiled Plot to Rob Us Blind
Pete Dolack
Trump’s Re-Negotiation Proposal Will Make NAFTA Worse
George Capaccio
“Beauty of Our Weapons” in the War on Yemen
Ramzy Baroud
Fear and Trepidation in Tel Aviv: Is Israel Losing the Syrian War?
John McMurtry
Brexit Counter-Revolution Still in Motion
Ted Rall
The Democrats Are A Lost Cause
Tom Gill
Is Macron Already Faltering?
Ed Kemmick
Empty Charges Erode Trust in Montana Elections
Rev. William Alberts
Fake News? Or Fake Faith?
James Heddle
The Ethics and Politics of Nuclear Waste are Being Tested in Southern California
Binoy Kampmark
Slaying in Minneapolis: Justine Damond, Shooting Cultures and Race
Jeff Berg
Jonesing for Real Change
Jesse Jackson
The ‘Voter Fraud’ Commission Itself is Fraudulent
July 25, 2017
Paul Street
A Suggestion for Bernie: On Crimes Detectable and Not
David W. Pear
Venezuela on the Edge of Civil War
John Grant
Uruguay Tells US Drug War to Take a Hike
Charles Pierson
Like Climate Change? You’ll Love the Langevin Amendment
Linda Ford
Feminism Co-opted
Andrew Stewart
Any Regrets About Not Supporting Clinton Last Summer?
Aidan O'Brien
Painting the Irish Titanic Pink
Rob Seimetz
Attitudes Towards Pets vs Attitudes Towards the Natural World
Medea Benjamin
A Global Movement to Confront Drone Warfare
Norman Solomon
When Barbara Lee Doesn’t Speak for Me
William Hawes
What Divides America From the World (and Each Other)
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
Chandra Muzaffar
The Bilateral Relationship that Matters
Binoy Kampmark
John McCain: Cancer as Combatant
July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail