Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dahr Jamail's latest on climate disruption

"Unprecedented" Polar Melting Unfolds as Climate Disruption Denial Goes Wild

Dahr Jamail

(Photo: Unsplash; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Unsplash; Edited: LW / TO)

9 January, 2017


There was a moment in early January when it was colder in Seattle (27F) than it was on the North Slope of Alaska in the Arctic town of Barrow (30F).
On the day that this occurred, Barrow, whose normal high temperature for that day was negative 5 degrees, saw a record high temperature of 33 degrees above zero.
This unprecedented phenomenon sums up the direction of this month's dispatch: a turn toward "global weirding" on all fronts.
As Truthout reported in mid-December, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded in their annual Arctic climate report card, "The Arctic is unraveling." Record-breaking heat in the north has clearly pushed the region into uncharted climate territory.
In late December, the heating trend continued, with temperatures at the North Polespiking to near melting point, a stunning 50 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, despite being the darkest time of the year, with literally no sunlight.
Antarctica saw equally shocking developments. Recent NASA photography revealed a 300-foot-wide rift along the Larsen C ice shelf, signaling the now imminent demise of the massive ice shelf, which will send an iceberg the size of Delaware into the southern ocean.
Words like "unprecedented" and phrases like "we haven't seen anything like this yet" are no longer uncommonamong scientists studying the ice in Antarctica, where abreak in the Pine Island Glacier has now revealed yet another mechanism for collapse. (That glacier, along with so many other massive glaciers in the Antarctic, is melting due to warmer sea water from below.)
Simultaneously, in East Antarctica, a region of the ice continent assumed to be relatively intact and, thus far, impervious to the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), two recent scientific reports have exposed some seriously troubling warning signs. The studies, each of which focused in on a different East Antarctic ice shelf, showed that major melting is already occurring both from above and below that could eventually release the ice shelves -- and thus release all the ice above them on the continent. Given that East Antarctica contains roughly two thirds of all the ice on the continent, this is troubling news indeed: The entire region's stability is now under threat.
It is worth noting that by November, the Arctic and Antarctic had both hit record low sea ice coverage, and NASA recently released imagery showing how stunningly fast glaciers around the world are melting. Given that glaciers hold approximately 69 percent of all the fresh water on the planet, the implications for humans, coupled with sea level rise, are obvious.
Of course, President-elect Donald Trump's impending inauguration looms over all of these developments. A man will occupy the White House who says, "Nobody really knows if climate change is real." Last month, Anthony Scaramucci, an advisor from the executive committee of Trump's transition team, went on CNN and forcefully denied ACD -- while stating that the Earth is 5,500 years old.
Buckle up.

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