Published on November 25th, 2016 | by Stephen Hanley
Loss Of Arctic Sea Ice Will Have Global Consequences
Despite Donald Trump’s puerile maundering about climate change being a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, there is a climate emergency at the North Pole that could affect most of earth’s inhabitants. Right now this very minute, ambient temperatures in the Arctic are 20 degrees higher than normal. That’s 20 degrees Celsius, which is equivalent to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let’s put that in perspective. Today is November 25. The temperature outside my window is 50º F. If where I live were 36º F hotter, it would be 86º outside and I would have my air conditioner on instead of the pellet stove. Donald The Dope, who may be the dumbest person every elected president, doesn’t care though. He is more worried about his close personal friend Robert Murray. You see, Murray owns the largest privately held coal company in the US and is finding it hard scrapping together the cash to buy a new limousine this year.
That has The Donald worried. That and whether or not his Vice President elect can go to the theater in peace without being schooled by the cast on climate issues. Hey, you wanted the job, your Don-ness. You could have lived in quiet obscurity groping as many women as possible but your gigantic ego drove you to seek the limelight. Deal with it.
Melting of the Arctic ice cap will have follow-on consequences for 19 other climate parameters. Often referred to “tipping points,” they presage changes that cannot easily be undone, if they can be reversed at all. In a report entitled the Arctic Resilience Assessment commissioned by the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, 19 tipping points are identified, among them:
- growth in vegetation on tundra, which replaces reflective snow and ice with darker vegetation, thus absorbing more heat.
- higher releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the tundra as it warms
- shifts in snow distribution that warm the ocean, resulting in altered climate patterns as far away as Asia, where the monsoon could be effected.
- the collapse of some key Arctic fisheries, with knock-on effects on ocean ecosystems around the globe.
The Arctic Resilience Report finds that the effects of Arctic warming could be felt as far away as the Indian Ocean and warns that changes in the Arctic could cause uncontrollable climate change at a global level. “The warning signals are getting louder,” said Marcus Carson of the Stockholm Environment Institute and one of the lead authors of the report. “[These developments] also make the potential for triggering [tipping points] and feedback loops much larger.”
The research was compiled by 11 organisations including the Arctic Council and six universities and comes at a critical time. The Trumpeter has plans to eliminate the portion of NASA’s budget that is used to fund climate science. “That would be a huge mistake,” said Carson, noting that much more research needs to be done on polar tipping points before we can understand the true dangers, let alone hope to tackle them. “It would be like ripping out the aeroplane’s cockpit instruments while you are in mid-flight.”
“These are very serious problems, very serious changes are happening, but they are still poorly understood,” he adds. “We need more research to understand them. A lot of the major science is done by the US.” Well, not any more, Marcus. Donald Trump would rather protect his wealthy palls with fossil fuel investments than worry about human beings drowning in the world’s rising oceans. He can always move up a few floors in the Trump Tower if Manhattan sinks below the waves.
Scientists have speculated for years that warming of one area of the globe could suddenly take hold and accelerate Arctic ice melt until it becomes a fast moving phenomenon with unpredictable and potentially irreversible consequences. For instance, when sea ice shrinks, it leaves areas of dark ocean that absorb more heat than the reflective ice. That in turn leads to further shrinkage and the whole process just goes faster and faster.
The Arctic ice cap helps to cool sea and air temperatures by reflecting much of the sun’s radiation back into space. It acts like a global cooler when winds and ocean currents swirl over and under it. It has long been known to play a key part of the global climate system, but the difficulty and expense of close monitoring have meant that scientists have only in recent years been able to make detailed assessments.
The report, billed as the first comprehensive study of ecosystems and societies in the region, fnds, “The potential effects of Arctic regime shifts [or tipping points] on the rest of the world are substantial, yet poorly understood. Human-driven climate change greatly increases the risk of Arctic regime shifts, so reducing global greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to reducing this risk.”
Our dear leader, Donald the First, could care less. As long as his name is mentioned at least a bazillion times a day in social media, he is a happy camper. It seems preposterous that one man could be responsible for the destruction of the world’s climate, but at the very least, the United States will no longer play a leading role in climate science thanks to his ignorance. That leaves the door wide open for other nations to exert their influence over the situation while the US look on in smug, self satisfied isolation.
Far from making America great again, the Trumpster is well on his way to making America irrelevant in a way that the world has not seen since before the Second World War. To get a better idea of just how extreme the problem of melting Arctic ice, please watch the video below.
Source: The Guardian