What would the Arctic be like if the Earth’s spin was perpendicular to its orbit? Instead of a half-year day and a half-year night it would just be perpetual dusk and dawn. Even the creep of a day stretched out over a year indicates time, imagine if it was perpetually out of time, between day and night?
Key observational indicators of climate change in the Arctic, most spanning a 47 year period (1971–2017) demonstrate fundamental changes among nine key elements of the Arctic system. We find that, coherent with increasing air temperature, there is an intensification of the hydrological cycle, evident from increases in humidity, precipitation, river discharge, glacier equilibrium line altitude and land ice wastage. Downward trends continue in sea ice thickness (and extent) and spring snow cover extent and duration, while near-surface permafrost continues to warm. Several of the climate indicators exhibit a significant statistical correlation with air temperature or precipitation, reinforcing the notion that increasing air temperatures and precipitation are drivers of major changes in various components of the Arctic system. […] The Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th Century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic.
I read the article published in Scientific American, and most of the report described in the article. The report is entitled, “Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic.”It is an assessment compiled every few years by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, the scientific body that reports to the governments that make up the Arctic Council, a forum for issues affecting the region. The last assessment came out in 2011. Here’s the link to the report if you want to read it.
My concern is obvious: the echo chamber. Those of us who are worried about climate change, including scientists and some politicians, will be concerned. Those who can take policy actions to address the causes of this problem, particularly in the US, will continue ignoring, avoiding or denying the problem. And Nero will keep on fiddling and the emperor has no clothes. Right?
The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, suggests a huge assessment of the region. The warming is hastening the melting of Arctic ice and boosting sea-level rise.
The report, compiled by more than 90 scientists, documents the myriad changes already under way across the Arctic because of climate change—from declining sea ice and melting glaciers to shifting ecosystems and weather patterns. From 2011 to 2015, the assessment finds, the Arctic was warmer than at any time since records began around 1900 (see ’Arctic warming’).
Sea ice continues to decline, and the extent of snow cover across the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia each June has halved as compared to observations before 2000.
“The take-home message is that the Arctic is unravelling,” says Rafe Pomerance, who chairs a network of conservation groups called Arctic 21 and was a deputy assistant secretary of state for environment and development under US President Bill Clinton. “The fate of the Arctic has to be moved out of the world of scientific observation and into the world of government policy.”
The report increases projections for global sea-level rise, which takes into account all sources of melting including the Arctic. Their new minimum estimates are now almost double those issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 for some emissions scenarios. In fact, the latest calculations suggest that the IPCC’s middle estimates for sea-level rise should now be considered minimum estimates.
In one scenario, which assumes that carbon emissions rise slightly above the goals set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement—but still see a considerable reduction—sea levels would increase by at least 0.52 metres by 2100, compared with 2006, the Arctic report says. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the minimum increase would be 0.74 metres.
The strangest thing about visiting the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago during the 24-hour darkness known as polar night is that you can’t see the island you’re on. I was surprised, when I flew into Longyearbyen this past January, how unsettling an experience it was. The fact that I was there for an island studies conference compounded the sense of absurdity: though I talked about islands all week, I never actually saw the island I was on. It was pitch black when we landed – nearly everyone arrived on the same afternoon flight from Tromsø and climbed out of the cabin to go blinking across the runway moonscape – and blackness followed us from morning till night. It was still dark when we boarded the return flight at noon on the day of the US presidential inauguration. I was ready for the cold (the temperature hovered around -15, often with a strong wind chill), but I was not prepared for the disorienting feeling of being on an island built largely from my own imagination.
“10 hours video of Arctic ambience with frozen ocean, ice craking, snow falling, icebreaker idling and distand howling wind sound. Natural white noise sounds generated by the wind and snow falling, combined with deep low frequencies with delta waves from the powerful icebreaker idling engines, recorded at 96 kHz - 24 bit and designed for relaxation, meditation, study and sleep.”
Grey, plump and growing to lengths of around five metres, the Greenland shark is one of the world’s largest carnivores. With a reported growth rate of less than one centimetre a year, they were already thought to be long-lived creatures, but just how long they lived for was something of a mystery. “Fish biologists have tried to determine the age and longevity of Greenland sharks for decades, but without success.” said Steven Campana, a shark expert from the University of Iceland. “Given that this shark is the apex predator (king of the food chain) in Arctic waters, it is almost unbelievable that we didn’t know whether the shark lives for 20 years, or for 1000 years.”
Hundreds of migrants have cycled into Norway from Russia after finding a new route into Europe that avoids the deadly Mediterranean crossing. They are not allowed to cross the Arctic border on foot, so a lucrative trade in bicycles has opened up, with migrants buying bikes and pedalling the final few metres.
Dark Ecology appears as an aesthetic concern, as a way of shaping or focusing thought, a method of holding contradictions open and unresolved without falling into paralysis, a tuning fork that resonates in particular soundfields, as extra layers of clothing to protect against ‘the elements’, reinforced, yet permeable boundaries between the human organism and the environment (habitat/habitus).