By Keith Antonysen
The debate about coal verses renewables can go on for a long period, but, nature makes the decisions in the end.
Previously, I have written about volume of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean; providing figures only for the break down of volume, the graph and comments by Dr Joe Romm ( physicist) put more of a perspective on it through comments and graph (1).
The headline from the article is:
“A collapse in Arctic sea ice volume spells disaster for the rest of the planet. Global warming drives a stunning collapse in sea ice volume.” (2).
“The sharp decline in Arctic sea ice area in recent decades has been matched by a harder-to-see, but equally sharp, drop in sea ice thickness. The combined result has been a warming-driven collapse in total sea ice volume — to about one quarter of its 1980 level.” (3).
“Unfortunately, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. The accelerated loss of Arctic sea ice drives more extreme weather in North America, while speeding up both Greenland ice sheet melt (which causes faster sea level rise) and the defrosting of carbon-rich permafrost.” (4).
Europe also is impacted by what happens in the Arctic, and ultimately the rest of the globe is affected.
PIOMAS is supported by data created by satellite … CryoSat-2 . (5).
Supporting incidental information comes from the thawing of permafrost; it occurs when temperature has been high for a considerable time. Islands off the Siberian coast are disappearing as permafrost is thawing and wave action is eroding them. (6).
A British yacht sailed both routes of the North West Passage in 2016. In a press release it was stated :
“The Polar Ocean Challenge successfully completed their quest to sail the North East Passage and North West Passage in one season. The North West Passage was completed in an astonishing 14 days due to the fact that it was almost totally ice free. They encountered ice only twice in their 1800 mile NW Passage part of the voyage. This highlights an extraordinary loss of sea ice in the Arctic in the 30 years that David Hempleman-Adams has been coming to the area….” (7).
Methane explosions have been reported by the Siberian Times and Western sources.
What is the significance of the Arctic sea ice breaking down?
Remember, Dr Romm’s article uses observed data to provide a fearsome headline indicative of the future.
The cryosphere (snow and ice) has a moderating impact on temperature and is a determinant of climate. We do not know what tipping points will be reached as the Arctic sea ice disappears. The trend line is not appearing healthy and is suggestive that the Arctic Ocean could be ice free in a decade plus/minus. Meaning worse extreme weather; damage to crops, fresh water being contaminated, war, and creation of climate change refugees.
Deniers have delayed a sequential approach to tackling climate change for about two decades. Action is becoming increasingly more urgent.
Keith Antonysen is retired. He is a keen gardener, photographer, and recreational fisher. The Vietnam War and later the flooding of Lake Pedder created an interest in politics which led to a passion for social justice issues. Currently very concerned about lack of action on climate change. Not a paid up member of any political party.
This article was published on tasmaniantimes.com and has been reproduced with permission.