It has been a while since I blogged here last. I have been continually observing of course and have been posting some brief and interesting news items on my Facebook page but have not found the need to write an extended piece here. That has now changed.
On April 12 I posted this on Facebook:
Well, it looks like we are well over the peak of northern hemisphere ice building for this year (courtesy of the National Snow & Ice Data Center graph of Arctic Sea Ice Extent) and about to embark on the annual melt season. I wonder if it will be another record breaking year for ice melt? Chances are good that it will be. Some scientists are expecting to see ice free Arctic Summers in the next 2-3 years. Not good news for you and me or the critters we share the planet with.
I accompanied this post with a link to the latest NSIDC graph at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/ and added a couple of comments:
Let me explain a little about this graph. If you look at the pinkish line for ice build up in 2013 you will see that none of this ice is more than 3-4 months old. That means it will be no more than 1 metre thick. Not much when you consider it is riding on a warming ocean of water. The Arctic region is gathering heat faster than any other part of the planet. Where is the heat going? Not too much into the air, or ice would not form. It is going into the ocean and this is why we now see killer whales hunting up there in recent years. 1 metre ice is going to break up and melt real fast. Next look at the green dashed line for last year. A record low ice cover in September at the height of the melt season. This shows over 80% of existing ice had melted since the previous winter. Meaning that less than 20% of existing ice is now more than one year old and even this ‘old’ ice is being weakened by the relatively warmer water beneath it. Every year there is less and less of this ‘old’ ice remaining. A complete collapse of Arctic Sea Ice is imminently (within a few years) inevitable.
Here is another graphical view of the Arctic Sea Ice scenario, this time courtesy of The Cryosphere Today and the Polar Research Group of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The picture is much the same but they show less ice (about 1 million sq kms less) year round than in the NSIDC chart, presumably because they have a different definition of just what constitutes the area of the Arctic region.
8 days later, on April 29, the Arctic News blog posted this, saying much the same as my earlier post: http://arctic-news.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/arctic-sea-ice-in-steep-descend-more-than-four-days-earlier-than-in-2012.html using data from the Cryosphere Today site.
Today, I find that The Guardian has news that the US Government is beginning to sit up and take notice of the situation at the northern end of our world, in the article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/02/white-house-arctic-ice-death-spiral with the headline:
White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral
National security officials worried by rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice overlook threat of permanent global food shortages
I suggest you read the whole Guardian article for yourself but here are a couple of interesting quotes from it:
“The loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the rapid warming of the Far North are altering the jet stream over North America, Europe, and Russia. Scientists are now just beginning to understand how these profound shifts may be increasing the likelihood of more persistent and extreme weather.”
“The weather extremes from last year are causing real problems for farmers, not only in the UK, but in the US and many grain-producing countries. World food production can be expected to decline, with mass starvation inevitable. The price of food will rise inexorably, producing global unrest and making food security even more of an issue.”
These are the sort of things that I have been warning about for some time now. It is beginning to get real folks. The wise will even now be taking steps to prepare and protect themselves as much as possible from these effects.
My greatest concern is that the calls from the mad scientists at AMEG and certain others for, to quote the Guardian article again:
The AMEG statement adds that governments should consider geoengineering techniques – large-scale technological interventions in the climate system – to “cool the Arctic and save the sea ice” in order to avert catastrophe.
Madness in the extreme. Interfering with nature is not the answer. We have been interfering with the balance of nature on this planet for the last few centuries. This is why we are on the edge of disaster already. More of the same, but different, is not going to help in any way. We just have to stop what we have been doing. And do that really quickly. At this stage of the game, even if we all went back to stone-age living conditions it is doubtful whether the worst of the ‘inevitable’ outcomes that are foreseen can be averted.
I have said that before too, but it bears repeating. I will probably say it again before too long.