Breaking News! Everything that I have said previously may now be irrelevant.
Things are much worse than I thought. We are now at an Alamo situation.
The heating of the Arctic Ocean and consequent loss of sea ice cover (today down to less than 2.23 million km2, a drop of over 83% in last 167 days) is causing an unprecedented expulsion of seabed methane into the Arctic atmosphere which started in earnest last month (August 2012).
Malcom Light, an earth scientist from the University of London who has been working on this problem for a decade, makes these statements and issues a global call for help to find a way to stop it:
“This Stratospheric methane reservoir is going to increase in density, thickness and extent until it encompasses the entire Earth and will eventually cause catastrophic global warming and the extinction of all life on earth.”
“When the Arctic ice cap melts towards the end of 2015, there will be a massive increase in the amount of heat being absorbed by the Arctic ocean from the sun and the Gulf Stream which presently feeds the Arctic with Atlantic water along the west side of Svalbard and through the Barents Sea. Normally, the Gulf Stream is cooled when it hits the floating ice pack and this will cease to happen bringing even vaster amounts of Atlantic heat via the Gulf Stream into the Arctic. Consequently, the Arctic subsea methane hydrates will destabilize at an even faster rate, because of the increasing Arctic ocean temperature, pouring methane into the Arctic atmosphere and stratosphere.”
“The extreme weather events in the United States this year which included record heating and drought conditions, massive loss of food crops with farmers going bankrupt, more hurricane flooding in New Orleans and tornadoes in New York is just a small sample of what will come in the next four or five summers as the Arctic ice finally melts. The Arctic ice cap works like the Earth’s air conditioner, because of the latent heat of melting and freezing of the floating ice and its effect on atmospheric temperatures.”
“The livelihoods of all the American people are going to be totally compromised in the next few years, unless we develop a system of destroying the atmospheric methane that is erupting in the Arctic…”
From my own observations it will not only be the American people affected by this but pretty much everyone. The summer weather events in America have been well documented but not much has been said about the 74 million acres in Russia burnt by 17,000 wildfires in August. We must prepare for increasingly extreme weather events, all year, every year from now on.
Also, it is clear that the total loss of Arctic sea ice by the end of September 2012 (previously said to be at least a decade away), an event predicted a couple of weeks ago, would have eventuated (and may still yet come about through an extended melt season) were it not for the additional ice content being calved from the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean and therefore temporarily replacing some of the melting sea ice. Yes, the Greenland ice sheet, that major ice sheet which will also have disappeared by end of 2015, an event previously believed to be not due until around the end of the century and which, being land based ice, will increase sea levels by many metres resulting in large scale flooding of coastal infrastructure and mass migrations or die-off of people around the globe.
The call is for geoengineering solutions such as the suggested radio wave beams to decompose the atmospheric methane, but as I see it, that will only be exchanging one set of problems for another set.
We are in deep shit.
Added after publication:
I now want to make a stronger rebuttal of geoengineering solutions proposed by the AMEG (Arctic Methane Emergency Group) on their website, not because I disagree with their message on the acute situation regarding ice melt in the Arctic (on the contrary I couldn’t agree with their findings more) but I cannot in any way condone or promote their plans for any geoengineering action to mitigate the issue. These AMEG scientists and their cohort of entrepreneurial speculators are very dangerous people whom I would now classify as the archetypical ‘Mad Scientists’. I do not say that their crazy schemes would not work in some way but would ensure that we have a chance to continue to live, at least for a while longer, in a world just as fucked up as the one we have engineered for ourselves already. If we survive as a species at all then it would be better to not do anything more outrageous than we already have done to the planet.
All or most of us alive now, are going to die in one or more horrible ways, possibly not too far in the future. If I should be one of those who might survive, I do not want to have to live in a mad scientist’s nightmare.