Ho ho ho, Santa’s gonna need a new workshop! Unless his entire Arctic operation can float in the new liquid ocean formerly known as the Arctic:
Guardian UK – Julienne Stroece, an Nsidc ice research scientist who has been monitoring ice conditions aboard the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, said the data suggested the Arctic sea ice cover was fundamentally changing and predicted more extreme weather.
“We can expect more summers like 2012 as the ice cover continues to thin. The loss of summer sea ice has led to unusual warming of the Arctic atmosphere, that in turn impacts weather patterns in the northern hemisphere, that can result in persistent extreme weather such as droughts, heatwaves and flooding” …
Other leading ice scientists this week predicted the complete collapse of sea ice in the Arctic within four years. “The final collapse … is now happening and will probably be complete by 2015/16,” said Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University.
I asked Dr. Michael Mann, co-progenitor of the Hockey Stick and author of Climate Wars, about this and he responded in part, “Sea ice decline is a good example of one of those areas where the climate projections if anything have been too conservative, i.e. the observed decline is decades ahead of schedule relative to the model projections.” Mann added, “based on what we are seeing, we could have an ice-free Arctic in as little as a decade. If so, we will have to prepare for impacts (national security challenges associated with an open Arctic for example) much sooner than we are prepared to.”
As best we know, the Arctic has been frozen for the entirety of hominid evolution. Over the next few years we may see an ice-free Arctic for the first time in millions of years. We are on the verge of losing the most important air conditioner in the northern hemisphere right at the onset of the worst global heat wave in millennia. It’s a tipping point so great that many computer models simply throw up their virtual hands and make an educated guesses about the immediate and future consequences. And to think we pulled the whole thing off in less than a century.