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.
Posts tagged global weirding
When Hansen testified before a Congressional committee in 1988, the atmospheric level of CO2 was just passing 350 parts per million. Now we’ve gone beyond 400 ppm, we’ve seen the rapid melt of the Arctic, the acidification of the planet’s oceans, and the rapid rise in extreme weather events. (Just lately: “thousand-year-rainfalls” in South Carolina and Southern California so far this month, and now a typhoon dropping a meter or more of rain on the Philippines.) Thanks to Exxon’s willingness to sucker the world, that world is now a chaotic mess. We’ve finally begun to see the rise of a movement large enough to challenge the power of the oil companies, and that means that Paris will come out better than Copenhagen, but the quarter-century wasted will never be made up.
“Kiribati, as a nation faced with a very uncertain future, is calling for a global moratorium on new coal mines. It would be one positive step towards our collective global action against climate change and it is my sincere hope that you and your people would add your positive support in this endeavour”
A similar shift in the behavior of the jet stream has also contributed to the California drought and severe polar vortex winters in the Northeast over the past two years. An amplified jet-stream pattern has produced an unusual doldrum off the West Coast that’s persisted for most of the past 18 months. Daniel Swain, a Stanford University meteorologist, has called it the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” – weather patterns just aren’t supposed to last this long.
The “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge,” sometimes shortened to “Triple R” or “RRR,” is the nickname given to a persistent region of atmospheric high pressure that occurred over the far northeastern Pacific Ocean during 2013-2014. This anomalous atmospheric feature disrupted the North Pacific storm track during the winters of 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015, resulting in extremely dry and warm conditions in California and along much of the West Coast.  The Ridge comprises the western half of atmospheric ridge-trough sequence associated with the highly amplified “North American dipole” pattern, which brought persistent anomalous cold and precipitation to the eastern half of North America during 2014 in addition to record-breaking warmth and drought conditions in California
Jellyfish are not just expected to be mere beneficiaries of global warming; they are actually emissaries of global weirding, which is a term coined by Hunter Lovins and popularized by Thomas L. Friedman. I prefer ‘global weirding’ to ‘global warming’ as the former is a prognosis while the latter is a diagnosis. Rather than simply stating what is happening, which is precisely what ‘global warming’ denotes, ‘global weirding’ suggests that the very life systems we have come to rely upon, such as the water cycle or oceanic temperature ranges, are experiencing massive changes–the results of which are going to weird, literally perhaps, our world. As jellyfish have been implicated in a variety of potential disasters, including clogging the intake pipes of a number of nuclear power plants around the world, they are the perfect symbol for postnormal times.