I guess, in a weird way, science deniers and science aficionados share something in common when it comes to climate change: we’re all scared by the data. Deniers deal with the anxiety by escaping into elaborate fantasies and penalizing those who don’t readily follow them down the rabbit hole, the rest of us try to figure out how fast the world is warming and think about what might be done to slow it down. Greenland adds another data point for our consideration:
Delmarva-NASA– Nearly all of Greenland’s massive ice sheet suddenly started melting a bit this month, a freak event that surprised scientists.
Even Greenland’s coldest and highest place, Summit station, showed melting. Ice core records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.
Three satellites show what NASA calls unprecedented melting of the ice sheet that blankets the island, starting on July 8 and lasting four days. Most of the thick ice remains. While some ice usually melts during the summer, what was unusual was that the melting happened in a flash and over a widespread area.
The details of how a significant portion of Greenland’s meta-stable permanent ice sheet goes from solid to liquid or vapor are a mystery. We’ve never seen it happen all the way through, except in computer models and some of those tend to diverge pretty widely over virtual time. It can probably happen at different rates in various parts of the land-ice mass each with a distinct suite of ripple effects. Global warming could be slowly fouling up the conveyors and priming the onset of a mildish Younger-Dryas cold snap, or steering us right into a full-blown Permian-Triassic meltdown.
It’s a roll of the dice, baby. You got to ask yourself a question, do you feel lucky?