The terrifyingly ominous phrase “Arctic death spiral” refers to a chart that measures the continual melt laying waste to the ice in the Arctic Circle over the last 30 years. Climate scientists have issued repeated warnings that the Arctic death spiral is the Earth’s “canary in a coalmine,” and that greenhouse gas emissions must be curbed in order to fend off certain destruction. As time passes and global temperatures continue to rise, many conservationists are arguing that the point of no return is just ahead. In an op-ed for the Guardian, environment editor John Vidal discusses the new book by Peter Wadhams, the Cambridge professor who has devoted his life to the study of icy environs, and why it’s time to start listening to the warnings.
Wadhams, former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, wrote that the North Pole could be free from ice in just a few decades, rather than the popular prediction of the end of the century. For the Guardian, Vidal points to Wadhams’ new book “A Farewell to Ice,” to be released Sept. 1, as a daring but worthwhile position on the topic of climate change. While most estimates suggest Arctic ice is being lost at a rate of 13 percent each year, Wadhams says, soon the summer ice will melt as well, causing a dangerous trickle-down effect.
Related: New NASA data confirms July 2016 was the hottest month on record
Many scientists have drawn clear connections between Arctic conditions and the effects of climate change elsewhere on the planet, further illustrating why we should pay attention to Arctic ice melt. Wadhams’ book explains that ice-free Septembers in the Arctic will enable more methane to be released into the atmosphere, and when the ice-free period of the year lengthens to four or five months, the additional greenhouse gas emissions will force the planet over its tipping point.
For those who haven’t been studying Arctic ice, a book by the world’s foremost sea ice expert may help. After the concept of the Arctic death spiral emerged, scientists from many agencies have been working to better understand the relationships between Arctic events and the health of the rest of the world. The 2013 documentary “Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb,” which is available for streaming here, offers a startling look at where unchecked global warming will lead.
Via The Guardian
Images via Andy Lee Robinson/Haveland and NOAA
SCIENCEDAILY October 20, 2008 Source: Geological Survey of Norway Summary: Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free. ”The climate in the northern regions has never been milder since the last Ice Age than it was about 6000-7000 years ago. We still don’t know whether the Arctic Ocean was completely ice free, but there was more open water in the area north of Greenland than there is today,” says Astrid Lyså, a geologist and researcher at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU). Shore features Together with her NGU colleague, Eiliv Larsen, she has worked on the north coast of Greenland with a group of scientists from the University of Copenhagen, mapping sea-level changes and studying a number of shore features. She has also collected samples of driftwood that originated from Siberia or Alaska and had these dated, and has collected shells and microfossils from shore sediments. ”The architecture of a sandy shore depends partly on whether wave activity or pack ice has influenced its formation. Beach ridges, which are generally distinct, very long, broad features running parallel to the shoreline, form when there is wave activity and occasional storms. This requires periodically open water,” Astrid Lyså explains. Pack-ice ridges which form when drift ice is pressed onto the seashore piling up shore sediments that lie in its path, have a completely different character. They are generally shorter, narrower and more irregular in shape. Open sea ”The beach ridges which we have had dated to about 6000-7000 years ago were shaped by wave activity,” says Astrid Lyså. They are located at the mouth of Independence Fjord in North Greenland, on an open, flat plain facing directly onto the Arctic Ocean. Today, drift ice forms a continuous cover from the land here. Astrid Lyså says that such old beach formations require that the sea all the way to the North Pole was periodically ice free for a long time. ”This stands in sharp contrast to the present-day situation where only ridges piled up by pack ice are being formed,” she says. However, the scientists are very careful about drawing parallels with the present-day trend in the Arctic Ocean where the cover of sea ice seems to be decreasing. "Changes that took place 6000-7000 years ago were controlled by other climatic forces than those which seem to dominate today,” Astrid Lyså believes.
Now, Cat DiStasio, what are the facts, and what is the fiction here? If I use just laymans knowledge, then there are several factors which supports your article. And I would like to stick to facts and not just reports about facts. 1. An area covered by ice, reflects both IR and UV and normal light more than an area with no ice. 2. Ice works as a temperature buffer, a kind of thermal storage, just like steam does. 1 gram of water holds 1 Calorie for each degree of Celsius temperature. 1 gram of water to be converted to ice, will release 80 calories before it has been converted, at 0 degrees of Celcius. 1 gram of water to be converted to steam, will consume 80 calories before it is converted to steam at 100 degrees of Celsius at 1 atm of pressure. 3. So when the season periods change (due to change of solar influx and alternate in the course of the year, and thereby change of the influx angle plus&minus the 23.5 degrees, as the Earth axis is slanted exactly the same 23.5 degrees compared to the axis of the Earth's rotation around the sun, so in the course of the rotation around the sun, this alters the influx angle of solar rays on any point on earth plus/minus 23.5 degrees), then when we go towards spring & summer, the accumulated ice will keep melting, and maintain the temperature in the oceans at an equilibrium temperature, which currently is around between 4 to 8 degrees. While melting, and while the water currents move around as they usually do, this provides a continuous cooling, until the tipping point, where the process reverses, and it becomes colder. At that time, the ice-formations will continue to release heat, while the temperature does not go below 0 degrees, and the ice cap builds. Here is the fact-based shocker: When there is no more ice to melt, there will be NOTHING what so ever, stopping temperatures from going really haywire. So, lets just make a comparison: 80 calories of heat, hitting some 1 gram of water, will heat it up by 80 degrees. 80 calories of heat, hitting some 1 gram of ice, at 0 degrees, will convert the same 1 gram of ice to 1 gram of water, still at 0 degrees. So, when you are discussing temperature rising by 1 degree or 2 degrees, I must laugh. When the ice is gone, you will - very suddenly - see temperature rising by 10, 20, 30 or more degrees. AGAINST THIS SCENARIO WORKS ANOTHER EFFECT: CLOUDS are made of steam. From the top of the clouds, these are white, and they reflect both UV and IR radiation and normal light back into space. When temperature rises, there is another equilibrium, which will see clouds formation, based on the much increased temperatures of the oceans. This is naturally the other side of the equilibrium mentioned above, where it takes a lot of energy to vaporize water, however, it happens continuously and it is possible to establish pretty accurate equations illustrating how much more water will be entering the atmosphere due to the heating of the oceans. The heating of the oceans will likely be the predominant factor for this scenario to come into effect. Unfortunately - like we have seen in the startup phase to this, the El Nino and El Nina weather phenomenons / this is associated or coupled with hurricanes - and as we have seen it - these hurricanes are of historical dimensions both in terms of physical size and wind speeds. Therefore whether it is the first scenario, the second scenario or yet a third scenario / we are in for catastrophe. The fix of the problem is within reach, however, it will take some stark tolls on people and our habits: 1. We need to reduce the number of children we get. We need to reduce the number of people on Earth. If we do not do it, then nature will. Nature will not be as kind to us, as we will be, if we reduce the number of kids per woman to 2, globally. 2. We need to focus strongly on solar power for the entire Earth / mainly in the so called 3rd world, comprising of more than 4 billion humans, where each family uses approximately 2 to 4 kilogram of wood to heat food and water for bathing, every day. These families has in average 5 members, thereby 800 million families in average uses at least 2 kilogram of wood, every day. This resembles 1.6 million ton of wood. 3. Solar water heating can provide the bathing water, and can be manufactured for a mere USD 110 for one family, for one which can last at least 10 years.. The solar heater can be produced by locally available materials. It will not be so efficient as the super modern ones made in glass, steel, aluminum / but - it only means that it is slightly bigger to compensate for the inefficiency. The price of this slightly bigger one is still only USD 110 for one family. YET other means can be used to even cook with solar energy. 4. Solar power in terms of electricity can - as I write these lines - be gotten for a typical family, for an approximate USD 230, for a system which can give good quality LED light and keep a refrigerator of 16 liter cold 24/7, purely by solar. Measured by other means, heating 10 liter of water for each of 4 billion human beings for bathing cost in terms of energy, 36 billion kWh, which means that in terms of atomic power station equivalents, we are discussing removing 5 such atomic power stations in the 600 MegaWatt class out of the equation, provided that we assume a net 50% efficiency in terms of accumulated duty cycle & maintenance etc. 5. We need to reduce our energy consumption. We have now been driving around, following the hare like the dogs in a dog race for more than 2 centuries, and we could maybe benefit a bit from answering the question> WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED BY RUNNING AROUND LIKE THIS? Well - one thing we have achieved is that we can now ALL of us discuss, online, in blogs and comments like this one here, the consequences of having done it for 200+ years ... - before nature itself takes over and solves the problem for us. Comments welcome. Questions welcome. Challenge is welcome. David T. Svarrer Original article is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WoEEUvcR4qVNDwhTmQqeBd77U3Pq6KRDDA-3mgyAiDc