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Forum Post: The Vanishing Arctic Ice Cap

Posted 6 months ago on March 31, 2014, 2:52 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5850)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The Vanishing Arctic Ice Cap

Monday, 31 March 2014 10:07
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

An Arctic largely devoid of ice, giant methane outbursts causing tsunamis in the North Atlantic, and global sea levels rising by several meters by mid-century sound like the stuff of science fiction.

But to a growing number of scientists studying Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD/climate change), these dramatic predictions are very real possibilities in our not-so-distant future, thanks to the vanishing Arctic ice cap, which is continuing its rapid decrease in both volume and area.

Arctic sea ice researchers are predicting that sea ice will no longer last through summers in the next couple of years, and even US Navy researchers have predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2016. Whichever year the phenomenon begins, it will be the first time humans have existed on Earth without year-round sea ice in the Arctic, and scientists warn that this is when "abrupt climate change" passes the point of no return.

To read more about anthropomorphic climate disruption and how environments and communities suffer from corporate profit-seeking, click here.

"In the first year that this happens, the open Arctic Ocean state will only last for a few weeks to a month or so," Paul Beckwith, a climatology and meteorology professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, told Truthout. "Within a year or two, the open water duration [no sea ice] will last for several months, and within a decade or so the positive feedbacks will likely clear out the Arctic Ocean basin for most of the year."

Beckwith, an engineer and physicist who is also researching abrupt climate change in both present day and in the paleo records of the deep past, warns that losing the Arctic sea ice will create a state that "will represent a very different planet, with a much higher global average temperature, as much as 5 to 6 degrees C warmer within a few decades, in which snow and ice in the northern hemisphere becomes very rare or even vanishes year round."

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's most authoritative voice on climate science, whose reports influence policy and planning decisions of national governments across the world, has just released its latest report. The IPCC has been accused by much of the scientific community of having a starkly conservative bias.

Scientific American has said of the IPCC: "Across two decades and thousands of pages of reports, the world's most authoritative voice on climate science has consistently understated the rate and intensity of climate change and the danger those impacts represent."

However, the recently released IPCC report is raising eyebrows: Even this conservative body is predicting dire threats for people and other species in the near future, and these risks may very well mean "abrupt or drastic changes" that could lead to unstoppable and irreversible climate shifts like the melting of both the Arctic ice cap and Greenland's glacial ice.

According to the IPCC report, the polar bear is not alone in being under threat.

"The polar bear is us," says Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, referring to the first species to be listed as threatened by global warming due to melting sea ice.

Beckwith, who believes the planet is already in the early stages of abrupt ACD, offered grave predictions of what we might expect from losing the Arctic ice.

"As the planet transitions through this abrupt climate change, there will be wrenching turmoil and conflict for human civilizations," he explained. "As the extreme weather events ramp up this will result in a frenzy of human activity to attempt to adapt and mitigate. Essentially, this tipping point in the Arctic will inevitably result in a tipping point in human response to the problem."

"Critical to the Earth System" http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22790-the-vanishing-arctic-ice-cap

29 Comments

29 Comments


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[-] 6 points by gnomunny (6614) from St Louis, MO 6 months ago

"NASA animation shows relentless pace of 60 years of global warming in 15 seconds."

http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/30/nasa-shows-pace-of-global-warming-15-seconds/

[-] 6 points by seneca (53) 6 months ago
[-] 3 points by gnomunny (6614) from St Louis, MO 6 months ago

"Dire" is right. Personally, I think it's already past the point of no return as things stand now. Our only hope, in my opinion, is an option that's almost too heartless to contemplate. And if I think it's the only option, I'll bet there are others, in positions of power, that think the same.

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[-] 2 points by Shule (2030) 6 months ago

I hear ya, but when one says the earth will be so and so many degrees hotter, like everybody says, that does not mean anything tangible to me, and probably not to a lot of other people. I'm wondering if anybody translated that average earth temperature rise measure into something tangible like how many more hot days will we have over 100deg, or the temperature when plants wilt, in some major cities around the world, and how many fewer cold days under 32 degrees where snow can no longer fall will we have? i.e. some number that can tell me if I can no longer plant a garden in the summer, or no longer build a snowman in the winter. Something like that would give better sense of the issue to me, and maybe to a few other simple minded folks like me.

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[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 months ago

all those natural resources up in the arctic

and the US behind on ice breakers to get them

other countries have them

we will be insignificant if we don't grab those resources

there is an ice breaker gap between the US and China

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[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 months ago

EXXON admits it and then doubles down on making more of it!

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-risk-of-climate-change-is-clear-exxon

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[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 months ago

Um..........they just bought the Nation, thanks to their purchase of the SCOTUS.

But that doesn't stop them from whining.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/charles-koch-op-ed-040314

Poor, picked on, rich assholes.

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[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 months ago

Meanwhile, the Greenland icesheet is melting at a rate of up to 27 meters a year.

That's a lot.

There is now some evidence that it's also beginning in parts of Antarctica.

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[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 months ago

Yep. At the moment they are re-calibrating their instruments.

Here's the link, if you've lost it.

http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/

I saw a Vice program last week were the guy that measures the ice there, found glaciers that were melting at the rate of 27 meters a year.

That's a hell of a lot melting.

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[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 months ago

That's glacial depth, not how much has calved into the sea.

All that water runs underneath the glacier and speeds up calving.

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[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 months ago

Although you don't hear them say much about it, that's a lot of weight coming off the crust of the Earth too.

Can you say earthquakes?

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[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 months ago

It makes sense that as all that weight shifts, the crust will react in one way or another.

That's a science that's not well developed.

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[-] 1 points by Shule (2030) 6 months ago

Na, unfortunately the majority of the people on this planet are extremely closed frame minded. Most people won't change their behavior if their life depended on it. In all likelihood most people just keep on doing what they're doing no matter what. Example: see what happened with Fukushima. One would think everybody would be shutting down nuclear reactors by now, but only one country, one that is run by a doctor in quantum chemistry, actually did it. Japan did not even change their nuclear policy, even though they are the ones being most directly screwed by the nuclear meltdown. George Soros in his book "The Alchemy of Finance" noted this unfortunate trait in human behavior. He went on to mention the only thing one can do is figure out what the trend as it will never change will transmute into.

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[-] 2 points by Shule (2030) 6 months ago

Probably so. But unfortunately, by the time the idiots and assholes get interrupted from being idiots and assholes, the rest of us responsible folk will be screwed over by their actions long before that. And that's what's pissing me off.

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