The Arctic Warms Up For Trump

A little over one week following the presidential election, The Washington Post carried this headline: “The North Pole is an Insane 36 Degrees Warmer Than Normal as Winter Descends,” d/d November 17th, 2016. That headline is not tomfoolery; it is an actual, real temperature reading.

According to NovaNext, PBS, d/d Nov. 18th, 2016: “As the Arctic settles into polar night, scientists are noticing that something has gone horribly wrong. Sea ice levels at the North Pole are at a record low- but even more startlingly, air temperatures are 36° F (20° C) higher than normal across the region.”

By any standard, the North Pole commands an all-hands-on-deck emergency alert – a climate catastrophe may be on the way. It’s bloody hot in the Arctic (in wintertime), and the repercussions are outright deadly for humanity, but Trump hasn’t even taken office yet!

Predictably, when America elects a monomaniac to run the country, the Armageddon Clock leaps forward several decades. As it’s happening, the Trump administration has moved the Doomsday Clock to 3 minutes before midnight. It’s no joke; this is deadly serious stuff happening right before everybody’s eyes; it’s as if a strange blinding light has bleached out all color. Only a haze remains.

The oft-maligned, seldom-used phrase: “Where will you be when the world ends?” has never before been so relevant, making a big splashy come back, in bright neon lights, especially amongst thinkers.

Sorrowfully, when nature’s pay back takes place, especially with Trump et al flipping the switch to “let’s play hard ball and see what happens,” probability of major climatic disaster during current lifetimes is higher than Trump’s percentage chance of winning on the day before the election.

Already pre-Trump, the ecosystem is under dire stress from ocean to mountaintop, the ecosystem, the biosphere, registering enormous stress and abnormally anomalous behavior. And, it’s scary because climate change is turning into a lethal weapon; it’s happening so much faster than scientists predict.

For real time proof of rapid-fire climate change, just go to the Arctic. But whatever you do, stay away from Antarctica or risk suffering dismay, horror, and outright panic (irreversible melting/cascading glaciers on the frontline of 200 feet of potential sea level rise).

The Arctic is like the thermostat of a house. It regulates weather for the Northern Hemisphere, and when it loses its icy cover, it goes haywire as the jet streams go bonkers. All hell breaks lose; witness the current summertime heat during early winter months. That’s really out there, weird, unnatural, chilling to the bone!

In that regard, here’s what one of America’s leading scientists Jennifer Francis of Rutgers says: “The Arctic warmth is the result of a combination of record-low-sea-ice extent for this time of year, probably very thin ice, and plenty of warm/moist air from the lower latitudes being driven northward by a very wavy jet stream” (Source: Chris Mooney and Jason Samenow, The North Pole is an Insane 36 Degrees Warmer Than Normal as Winter Descends, The Washington Post, November 17, 2016).

The anomalous jet streams lead to zany weather patterns throughout the Northern Hemisphere like out of control flooding (the UK), scorching heat (India), severe droughts (Syria), and a long list of anomalous weather all of which people adapt to and move on with life. That’s kinda okay; people can live with those changes even though inconvenienced at times.

However, the devil in the gruesome detail is not zany weather; it’s cutthroat runaway global warming and massive coastal flooding. COP21, the Paris Climate Agreement last year, is all about “great hope and prayer” that somehow, some way, but not yet fully understood, humanity can prevent planetary temperature rise over 2°C pre-industrial temperature. Sounds simple enough and kinda like no big deal; after all 2°C isn’t so much. Or is it?

Yes, it is.

For beginners, over the past 10,000 years Earth has been the Goldilocks planet, not too hot, not too cold, as temperature has been steady, fluctuating by only about 1°C. So, everything the human species has done has been within a very narrow, and almost perfect temperature range (Source: Richard Alley, professor of geosciences, Penn State University, PBS Interview). In other words, civilization is like a spoiled child that has been protected and shielded from the reality of a rough and tumble world.

Remarkably, calculating the absolute change in temperature value, whilst ignoring the relative, a rise from 1°C to 2°C above pre-industrial is a 100% increase over the current 1°C overshoot. A 100% change of anything is huge; it’s like two Empire State Buildings stacked one atop another.

Scientists are in agreement, heaven forbid, 2°C will flood coastal cities like Miami, but wait a minute, Miami Beach is already raising streets by 2 feet because of tidal surges way above normal. Yet, the planet hasn’t even hit the deadly 2°C yet… Oops! Somebody must be miscalculating.

Surprise, surprise, there’s already evidence of anomalous flooding in America, e.g. check out North Carolina’s Outer Bank, down to 25% of original width in some areas (Source: Rising Seas: Will the Outer Banks Survive? National Geographic, July 24th, 2014- See photos of houses moving inland).

Pre-Trump, the Great Flood is already happening with temperatures still below the dreaded 2°C: “Over the last decade, flooding during high tide in this and other neighborhoods along Miami Beach’s western edge has become a regular occurrence. The University of Miami study confirms that the main reason for the increased flood events is sea-level rise” (Source: Greg Allen, As Waters Rise, Miami Beach Builds Higher Streets and Political Willpower, NPR, May 10, 2016).

For a photo of Miami Beach’s raised streets, miamirealestateguy.com has a photo showing a raised street (by two feet) in the City of Miami Beach… interesting. A rising sea begets raising streets, or looked at another way, why raise streets if the water is not rising?

Meanwhile, and forgetting about rising sea levels and raised streets for a moment, a much bigger conundrum is right around the corner: A climate monster lurks in the Far North. It’s called runaway global warming. It is the pathway to Armageddon, closing the 3-minute gap on the Doomsday Clock much faster than ever thought possible.

Trump’s presidency to Armageddon is like milk to a baby. It nourishes. He’s bringing in a cast of climate hit men, and maybe a woman or two like Sarah Palin, to run the EPA and energy departments and interior department, and frankly all departments… sorry, at a complete loss for words!

Up North, the climate monster, Runawayglobalwarming, licks its feverish lips, salivating over the opportunity to finally stretch its grisly, scaly, massively destructive running legs once again, since the last Ice Age.

Here’s the rub: When Arctic ice, which normally reflects 90% of solar radiation back out into outer space, goes away, then more sun power hits dark waters and absorbs, warming up the ole climate monster, awakening it, and it morphs into runaway global warming, which will fry the planet and kill people… period!

Here’s what too much CO2 looks like: Venus’s atmosphere is 96% CO2 with temperatures at 462 °C. Meanwhile, back on Earth fossil fuels relentlessly emit CO2, which stays in the atmosphere for centuries. Venus is an old hand at this.

The aforementioned climate monster is massive quantities (gigatons) of methane frozen underneath the ice for millennia, lurking under the firm Arctic ice, but the firm Arctic ice is mostly gone. All of the new ice is thin. The Artic is finally in a weakened stage enough so to cause humankind’s worst nightmare. Regrettably, that nightmare is already warming up to the destructive task at hand, and Trump is not even in the White House yet!

Large scale release of Arctic methane (CH4), which exceeds 20 times the atmospheric warming power per molecule of CO2, has the distinct signature of runaway global warming, and it can happen fast, within decades as a worse case scenario (as happened in the past, registered in the paleoclimate record, e.g., 55 million years ago “global temperatures ramped up to that 5 °C figure in just 13 years,” When Global Warming Made our World Super-Hot, BBC, Sept. 14, 2015). That disastrous impending potential threat is enough to cause a sane person to wake up in the middle of the night, screaming!

After all, the Runawayglobalwarming monster has already come back to life. Here’s proof: Igor Semiletov of the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who led the 8th joint US-Russia expedition of the East Siberian Arctic Seas said he had never before witnessed the scale and force of methane being released: “Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we’ve found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It’s amazing… Over a relatively small area we found more than 100 but over a wider area there should be thousands… We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale – I think on a scale not seen before. Some of the plumes were a kilometer or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere – the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal,” (Source: Vast Methane ‘Plumes’ Seen in Arctic Ocean as Sea Ice Retreats, Independent, Dec. 13, 2011). And, that was 5-6 years ago! Now, Trump is president, umm.

Lamentably, on Election Day, the creepy Doomsday Clock got an enormous shot in the arm and now absorbs powerful testosterones, suggesting that the big ole clarion bells on ye olde public square should be ringing as loud as possible, alerting the townspeople to an impending storm!

Come to think of it, maybe Miami Beach should raise street levels by 5-7 feet, not by a measly 2 feet. But then again, runaway global warming will knock out agriculture anyways, so, at the end of the day, raising street levels is a trivial affair.

More articles by:

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What to Do at the End of the World? Interview with Climate Crisis Activist, Kevin Hester
Kevin Proescholdt
Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Attacks America’s Wilderness
Franklin Lamb
Syrian War Crimes Tribunals Around the Corner
Beth Porter
Clean Energy is Calling. Will Your Phone Company Answer?
George Ochenski
Zinke on the Hot Seat Again and Again
Lance Olsen
Somebody’s Going to Extremes
Robert Koehler
Breaking the Ice
Pepe Escobar
The Myth of a Neo-Imperial China
Graham Peebles
Time for Political Change and Unity in Ethiopia
Terry Simons
10 American Myths “Refutiated”*
Thomas Knapp
Some Questions from the Edge of Immortality
Louis Proyect
The 2018 Socially Relevant Film Festival
David Yearsley
Keaton’s “The General” and the Pernicious Myths of the Heroic South