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Arctic Death Rattle

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As of August 17th U.S. Naval Research Lab measurements of Arctic sea ice over a 30-day period “shows that the multi-year sea ice has now virtually disappeared,” Storms over Arctic Ocean, Arctic News, August 19, 2016. This means the Arctic has lost its infrastructure. It’s gone.

That means no more 20’-25’ multi-year thick ice, leaving two-dimensional “ice extent” with little thickness and no substantial mass, which charlatans use to prey upon the public’s climate science ignorance by crowing about how far and wide the “ice extent” is during freeze-over so that anthropogenic global warming is made to appear as a hoax. These keynote mountebanks at staged speaking events mislead the public about climate change. They’re found high and low.

In turn, the Arctic negatively affects the entire Northern Hemisphere (source: Jennifer Francis, Instit. of Marine and Coastal Sciences) by altering jet streams at 30,000-40,000 feet altitude, which turns normal weather patterns upside down, wreaking havoc throughout the hemisphere. But, much more significantly, loss of Arctic ice exposes the planet to risks of a crushing blow to the planetary ecosystem, without warning.

Going forward, Arctic ice will consist of young, thin, new yearly ice that easily fractures, turns to slush, turns darker, much more prone to absorbing sunlight, which, unfortunately, could bring on a worldwide catastrophe. Fasten your seat belts!

Ever since the last Ice Age, the Arctic has performed a huge favor by serving as a deep freeze over gigatons of frozen methane (CH4). That locked-in-ice methane, especially in shallow waters where it can make it to the surface in bubbles (already studied by teams of scientists), is a beastly monster beyond anything Hollywood has ever dreamed; it makes Godzilla look like a little whippersnapper.

Natalia Shakhova, head of the Russia-U.S. Methane Study at International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska believes it is possible that a 50-gigaton (Gt) burp of methane erupts along the shallow waters (50-100 m) of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, thereby actuating a fierce self-reinforcing feedback process leading to runaway global warming (5Gt of CH4 is currently in the atmosphere). In turn, life on Earth hits a thud!

Still, it’s important to note that the “50-gigaton burp of methane” theory is extraordinarily controversial among climate scientists. Whereas, the startling loss of Arctic ice mass is irrefutable via actual measurement, and it is glaring evidence of global warming, as heat melts ice!

The Guardian’s ace environmental editor John Vidal recently published an article entitled Time to Listen to the Ice Scientists About the Arctic Death Spiral, The Guardian, August 18, 2016, wherein he states: “The Arctic’s ice is disappearing. We must reduce emissions fast, or the human catastrophe predicted by ocean scientist Peter Wadhams will become reality.”

Professor Peter Wadhams (University of Cambridge) has a new book due for release September 1st, 2016 A Farewell to Ice, A Report from the Arctic (Publ. Allen Lane). According to Vidal’s Guardian article, Wadhams’ book offers a new slant on the climate change controversy: “Because Peter Wadhams says what other scientists will not, he has been slandered, attacked and vilified by denialists and politicians who have advised caution or no-action.”

“He and other polar experts have moved from being field researchers to being climate change pioneers in the vanguard of the most rapid and drastic change that has taken place on the planet in many thousands of years. This is not just an interesting change happening in a remote part of the world, he says, but a catastrophe for mankind.”

All of which begs the question: Is runaway global warming a possibility within current lifetimes?

Yes, it is certainly possible if, as Dr. Wadhams suggest, an ice-free Arctic triggers rapid acceleration of climate change. Accordingly, Wadhams beckons people who study climate change to speak up, tell the truth, don’t hold back.

After all, it is already public knowledge that scientists have been tweaking their own work by downplaying the severity of climate change in order to preserve grants and avoid ridicule, and dodge rabble-rousing, extremist name labeling, which can freeze research funds and ruin careers.

Leading climate scientists are not willing to honestly expose their greatest fears, as discovered by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! whilst at COP21 in Paris this past December, interviewing one of the world’s leading climate scientists, Kevin Anderson (University of Manchester) of Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research/UK who said: “So far we simply have not been prepared to accept the revolutionary implications of our own findings, and even when we do we are reluctant to voice such thoughts openly… many are ultimately choosing to censor their own research.”

Forthwith, we know from one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change that climate scientists are censoring (downplaying) their own research, but why?

“What we are afraid of doing is putting forward analysis that questions the paradigm, the economic way that we run society today… We fine-tune our analysis so that it fits into the economic reality of our society, the current economic framing. Actually our science now asks fundamental questions about this idea of economic growth in the short term, but we’re very reluctant to say that. In fact, the funding bodies are reluctant to fund research that raises those questions,” Top Climate Expert: Crisis is Worse Than We Think & Scientists Are Self-Censoring to Downplay Risk, Democracy Now! Dec. 8, 2015.

Dr. Anderson’s last sentence is worth repeating because it goes to the heart of the debate about climate research bias: “In fact, the funding bodies are reluctant to fund research that raises those questions.” To that end, money dictates science. Hmm! Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Along with Wadham’s unambiguous point-blank warning of serious trouble ahead, Anderson’s revelation is all the more reason to stop and think and act, each and every person, especially leaders because the accumulation of all wars, of all natural disasters, of all famine and heartache throughout all time pales in comparison to a blindside hit by out of control intense climate change, perhaps driven by runaway global warming.

The likely upshot of out of control intense climate change, beyond catching humanity with its pants down, is rapid increase in sea level flooding coastal cities, embedded droughts diminishing or destroying agricultural production, severe storm activity, and horrific heat throughout the mid latitudes, resulting in panic, illness, and sudden death (happening now). The world turns chaotic. Life turns difficult. The American dream turns horribly sour within a generation.

But, the preponderance of published science on climate change leads to the conclusion that such an event is far off in time, decades or in some cases more than 100 years away, and in some cases nothing to worry about, which is the intermittent “gradualists” viewpoint.

Whereas sorrowfully, in point of fact, there is already evidence indicating that the worst-case scenario is in its early stages. Just read Wadhams’ book. The only question going forward is whether climate change rapidly accelerates as an out of control defiant monster or evolves little by little, in which case the gradualists will be correct, meaning future generations can fight the demons of ecosystem collapse.

In any case, anthropogenic (human influenced) climate change/global warming is openly and plainly a deadly serious dilemma that in some cases is severe, happening right under society’s collective nose, for instance, the loss of Arctic sea ice, or 95% of Greenland’s surface turning to slush for the first time in recorded scientific history (1-2 mile thick ice = 23’ sea rise), or Swiss Alps’ glaciers turning into Land O’ lakes, or the Everest base camp glacier turned to stone, or the permanent closing of the world’s highest ski resort Chacaltaya at 17,785 feet turned to rock, or Chinese drought destructiveness doubling over the decades, or Antarctica’s Totten Glacier 90×20 miles irreversibly cascading, or Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier retreating at fastest rate of any ice mass on Earth, or North Carolina’s Outer Banks irreversibly losing isle land mass to the sea, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

Still, people in key American leadership positions, like Donald Trump, publicly state: “Global warming is a hoax.”

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

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