You know when you plan a future that'll never happen?
— Chunk (@Arctic_Chunkys) February 27, 2018
I don’t know who Chunk is or what they are referring to, but I found their tweet apposite in the middle of a storm of #arctic news last night.
More and more I think we have no idea what is going to happen. Both in terms of how climate change will play out, and what humans will finally do in response. That not knowing, the huge discrepancy between possible futures, is feeding our inaction.
The northernmost weather station in the world, Cape Morris Jesup in Greenland has been above freezing nearly all day.
How weird is that? Well it's Arctic winter. The sun set in October and won't be seen again until March. Perpetual night, but still above freezing. pic.twitter.com/aGkccjJd1g
— Robert Rohde (@rarohde) February 20, 2018
The northernmost permanent weather station in the world, just 440 miles from the North Pole, has warmed to 43°F today — in the middle of months-long darkness during what is normally the coldest time of the year.
This is simply shocking. I don't have the words. https://t.co/ynX0IkkuAn
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) February 24, 2018
This is more than just a temperature anomaly. It is an off-the-scale event. Why is the Arctic meltdown not headline news in every paper? pic.twitter.com/Il10CEhRVM
— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) February 26, 2018
Insane graphs show Arctic weather is ‘upside down’ https://t.co/Kdelqw7fsz
— Mike Green (@amikegreen2) February 27, 2018
This is what record low sea ice in the Arctic means on the ground: stunning FB video taken Tuesday Feb 20 from Little Diomede, Alaska, smack in the middle of Bering Strait. Scary stuff, on many levels. #akwx #Arctic @Climatologist49 @ZLabe https://t.co/e2Hb4Rvgry
— Rick Thoman (@AlaskaWx) February 21, 2018
The Washington Post reports
North Pole surges above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists
… an extraordinary and possibly historic thaw swelled over the tip of the planet this weekend. Analyses show that the temperature warmed to the melting point as an enormous storm pumped an intense pulse of heat through the Greenland Sea.
“No other warm intrusions were very close to this,” Labe said in an interview, describing a data set maintained by the Danish Meteorological Institute that dates back to 1958. “I was taken by surprise how expansive this warm intrusion was.”
Such extreme warm intrusions in the Arctic, once rare, are becoming more routine, research has shown. A study published last July found that since 1980, these events are becoming more frequent, longer-lasting and more intense.
“Previously this was not common,” said lead author of the study Robert Graham, from the Norwegian Polar Institute, in an email. “It happened in four years between 1980-2010, but has now occurred in four out of the last five winters.”
Whether a blip or indicative of a new normal, scientists have uniformly expressed disbelief at the current Arctic temperatures and the state of the sea ice.
“This is a crazy winter,” said Alek Petty, a climate scientist at NASA, in an interview. “I don’t think we’re sensationalizing it.”
“It’s never been this extreme,” Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, told Reuters.
One weather event doesn’t a changed climate make, right? But that’s climate scientists saying there is something really not right about this.
Another year, another set of weird weather events. Another day, another series of alarming media reports. Maybe it’s an anomaly and we’ve got another 40 years. Or maybe this is it now.
If someone said hey, your house is going to burn down, we don’t know if it’s in the next hour or next week, what would you do? Keep watching TV? Go to work? Carry on with planning your holiday? Not tell the other people inside?
“My biggest concern is that these warm air intrusions seem to be becoming both more common and more intense,” Rohde told Live Science in an email.
“This suggests that the warming in the Arctic may have passed a threshold where we can no longer count on the polar jet stream to maintain the historical weather patterns in the northern latitudes,” Rohde said. “A destabilization of the dynamics around the North Pole may lead to more extreme winter weather variations in the northern mid-latitudes and further accelerate the decline of Arctic sea ice.”
Previously, climate forecasts predicted that Arctic ice would disappear entirely by around 2060, Overland told Live Science. But based on what scientists are seeing now, the Arctic may be facing an ice-free future decades sooner than expected.
“We’re looking at sea-ice loss within 20 years, rather than 40 years,” Overland said.
Ice Melt In West Antarctica Is Significantly Accelerating, A NASA Study Finds#Climatechange #IceMelt #SeaLevelRise #inundation #Stormsurge #politics #USPolitics #PresidentDimwit #Environmental https://t.co/6Cw5Tk1Cgq
— Boo! Hoot!! (@64by4) February 27, 2018
The scientists discovered that some parts of western Antarctica are undergoing an acceleration of ice loss. This means that every year less ice melts during summer is restored by winter snows, which leaves less ice overall. This process is happening rapidly.
This event is alarming because the study indicated that the ice in the western part of Antarctica is unstable. It could cause massive swaths of “to slip into the sea,” increasing worldwide ocean levels. They noted if the entire western ice sheet melted, the ocean levels will augment as much as three meters.
Moreover, the scientists said that the increase in calving could be problematic. It could place the significant areas of ice at risk of melting, according to Phys.org.
My question now is, are we ready yet to do something? No-one is coming to save us and we cannot afford to wait for the government or business to sort things out, they are going to have to follow.
If we are not ready, what is it we are waiting for? The house to be on fire, just so we can be sure it’s actually that bad before we do something? We already know it’s too late by then, so what is stopping us from acting now?
These sorts of developments are singularly terrifying moments of clarity that we're lurching head-first into a world that's defined by rapid climate change. If the Arctic can change this fast, then so must we. https://t.co/5sddeCQjDV
— grist (@grist) February 26, 2018
Moderator note: usual rules under my posts – no CC denial, no “we’re all going to die” comments. Also, don’t link McPherson. Do start talking about what we can do.