By Keith Antonysen
Australia is many thousands of kilometres from the Arctic Circle, so why should we be concerned? Australia has been experiencing extremes in climate, these being an underlying influence on the strength of drought, catastrophic bushfires, extremes in temperature, major flooding, huge dust storms, and hailstorms. These factors point to a highly energised atmosphere.
In the past IPCC Reports hardly took into account of what had been happening in areas covered by snow and ice until more recent times. It had been noticed prior to 2012 that melt water on Greenland was increasing during the summer season. The melting of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean in 2012 provided a worrying situation through the minimum sea ice measure taken in September, it set a record not yet broken. What has been occurring since has been the amount of multi-year ice has been decreasing. It is multi year ice which provides strength for sea ice structure.
So, what is the importance of such facts?
The atmosphere is energised through greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapour. The contrarian argument is that the atmosphere contains such a small amount of CO2 so there is not a lot to worry about. Such an argument doesn’t make sense; for example, if a healthy person was to takes a few units of insulin by injection it can mean death. Such an amount of insulin is only a small drop, in comparison to the volume of a human body.
The Arctic Ocean and tundra areas contain huge amounts of greenhouse gases in areas frozen under water and in permafrost. In 2013 the first pingo that had exploded was discovered. Anecdotal evidence suggests an explosion was heard many miles from the site from a few places, one being 62 miles away. A pingo is a mound consisting of soil covering ice in a permafrost area. A few more pingos have exploded since the 2013 explosion, each releasing a significant amount of methane.
Thawing permafrost was seen as a major issue in Alaska in 2019. A study led by scientists from Oxford University found that permafrost is particularly subject to thawing when the Arctic Ocean is sea ice free. An ice free Arctic Ocean has been suggested to happen by mid century, though some scientists suggest much sooner. As with other greenhouse gases, methane emissions have increased since pre-Industrial times, they had been around 790 parts per billion and a peak was reached in October 2019 it being 2000 ppb.
The Arctic region has an impact on global climate. The latest IPCC Report focuses on the cryosphere and oceans, they both influence climate. In 2019 there were some worrying studies published which displayed the deterioration in climate. The terrible bushfires in Australia will also contribute to a changing climate through the CO2 released.
The Arctic Circle has been concentrated on here with very few references provided in relation to the large numbers available. Extreme events being experienced around the globe are already terrible, do we want worse? To disregard the science available is to commit omnicide by policy makers. As individuals we can lighten our carbon footprint but it is not enough. To be resilient in relation to climate change is a nonsense, a distraction being pushed by PM Morrison. Pushing new fossil fuel projects, and maintaining old fossil fuel developments, is the way to ensure omnicide.
Keith Antonysen has been researching climate change for several years. Apart from reading about climate science, Keith also views pseudo-science presented by contrarians. It seems that the material referenced by contrarians is continually recycled. Information is gathered from journal articles, or from articles that provide hyperlinks to science.
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