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Sep 07 2012

Arctic melt, it’s all the rage

It’s going, going … when will it be gone?

BBC– During a visit to the port, one of the scientists involved, Dr Edmond Hansen, told me he was “amazed” at the size and speed of this year’s melt. “As a scientist, I know that this is unprecedented in at least as much as 1,500 years. It is truly amazing – it is a huge dramatic change in the system,” Dr Hansen said.

“This is not some short-lived phenomenon – this is an ongoing trend. You lose more and more ice and it is accelerating – you can just look at the graphs, the observations, and you can see what’s happening.”

15 comments

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  1. 1
    embraceyourinnercrone

    Whenever I read another post or article like this I think what else can I do to make some difference. Reduce my carbon footprint, eat less meat, buy local. Maybe write to my congress people and senators to urge them to push for more programs to reduce the countries carbon footprint and to encourage research and development of alternative energy sources. Sometime I am so caught up in just trying to keep my head above water, I don’t sem to have the energy for anything more.

    Then I go to sites like http://co2now.org/ which shows the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere (392.41ppm currently, Yikes!) and I finish reading books like With speed and violence: Why scientists fear tipping points in Climate Change, and I realize that if something doesn’t start changing soon (the US governments willingness to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem for starters)there is not going to be anything anyone can do to stop it or even slow it down.

  2. 2
    davidmc

    More ice melts, water gets warmer, more ice melts more quickly, and then frozen tundra receeds and methane come out.

    http://www.sussex.ac.uk/geography/research/clusters/earthsystems/permafrost/methanelakes

    The planet is fucked. on the bright side, the oil companies will do alright for a bit longer.

  3. 3
    Eric R

    And when it becomes so obvious that even republicans have to acknowledge the problem they will claim that theyve been at the forefront and it was everyone else standing in the way

  4. 4
    peterh

    This has all happened before; this time, we’re along for the ride.

  5. 5
    Nick Gotts

    This has all happened before – peterh

    No, it hasn’t.

  6. 6
    docsarvis

    “And when it becomes so obvious that even republicans have to acknowledge the problem they will claim that theyve been at the forefront and it was everyone else standing in the way”

    Sadly Eric, I believe you are naively wrong. When the Arctic Sea Ice melts the Republicans and the oil companies will view it as an opportunity to swoop in and drill where drilling was not possible before. Instead of acknowledging the problem they will celebrate the ease of making more profits. Screw the future generations: profits over everything!

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    If folsk are interested, you can track the Arctic melt with the actual scientifically recorded and observed data here :

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    The National Snow & Ice Data Centre website

    Updated on an almost daily basis. Grim but fascinating way to stay best informed.

  8. 8
    sailor1031

    @2: No, the planet’s not fucked – we’re fucked. In twenty or thirty thousand years there’ll be all kinds of ice in the Arctic and the planet will continue on, a little changed but intact.

  9. 9
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ sailor1031 : How d’y'know that? Done time travel trip?

    Earth is a sphere of rock.

    The ecosystem upon it.

    A mite more fragile is.

    Plate tectonics greenhouse gas emissions, continental configurations play their part.

    But mind is rare and, I think, precious in geological / Palaontological (pre)history.

    Shame to see it go.

    Humanity.

    Can go so far.

    Moon and Mars and more.

    Art and poets and love galore!

    To make ourselves no more?!

  10. 10
    sailor1031

    @9: Interglacial cycles dear! check it out.

  11. 11
    otrame

    The human race will not die out. But a whole lot of people will. If the disruption gets bad enough the resultant loss of industry, cars, and other sources of excess carbon will go down. All that carbon will gradually get re-sequestered.

    Several thousand species, those already on the edge and those that don’t move to new locations easily, will be extinct. Millions of people will be dead before their time. No biggy in geologic time scales.

    Of course we don’t live in geologic time scales.

  12. 12
    Nick Gotts

    @9: Interglacial cycles dear! check it out. – sailor1031

    [citation needed]

  13. 13
    sailor1031

    @12: Google doesn’t work on your computer?

  14. 14
    petezushin

    Google works, it’s just not a very good citation for the idea that we’re in an interglacial period. Could you be kind enough to provide evidence for your belief?

  15. 15
    Nick Gotts

    sailor1031,

    Yes it does, and I cannot find any confirmation of your claim that there will be ice in the arctic in 20-30,000 years regardless of whether we manage to melt the icecaps. I suspect you can’t either, or you’d link to it. What I have now been pointed to by a commenter at RealClimate is papers by climate experts that say the opposite, see here and here.

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