Is This The Climate Change Stat That Will Wake People Up?
The news this week is bleak.
BY Jack Holmes | Nov 22, 2016 | Culture
One of the more overlooked consequences of a Donald Trump presidency is that he may play a starring role in the literal destruction of our planet. This is not to say it would be all his fault—we bear responsibility as a species for upending the conditions that support life on Earth—but the policies he has proposed would speed up our space rock's demise.
A report in The Washington Post today indicates that the Arctic Ocean surrounding the North Pole—which is descending into winter and what's called polar night—is currently 36 degrees warmer than normal. Citing various climate scientists and Arctic specialists from the US and abroad, the Post found that temperatures are increasing in November rather than decreasing. In some places, Arctic water temperatures are up to 25 degrees above average.
Your daily reminder—until this makes front page news—that what’s happening right now at our planet’s poles is *not* normal. pic.twitter.com/1VK0BgcuS8— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) November 19, 2016
The sea ice in the area is also at a record low, and likely far thinner than normal, a key indicator in the sea level rise that will, if we continue on our current path, have destructive consequences for many coastal areas. Another report found there's 1,000,000 square kilometres less sea ice area in the Arctic than the previous record low. That is roughly one-and-a-half times the size of Texas:
To say today’s (Saturday’s) level of Arctic sea ice is at a record low is a vast understatement. We’re 1,000,000 sq km below prev record. pic.twitter.com/b8LvonD3BA— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) November 19, 2016
In an Esquire US story last year, a number of leading climate scientists discussed ice loss as a particularly catastrophic consequence of climate change. Some fear that the West Antarctic ice sheet, which would yield 20-to-25 feet in sea level rise, is already doomed. And not only does melted ice mean rising sea levels that will submerge parts of major metro areas like New York and Miami, it can create a feedback loop where warming seas release methane, a heat-trapping gas 25 to 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere:
As a leading climatologist who spent many years studying the Arctic at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Centre at Ohio State, Box knew that this breezy scientific detachment described one of the nightmare long-shot climate scenarios: a feedback loop where warming seas release methane that causes warming that releases more methane that causes more warming, on and on until the planet is incompatible with human life. And he knew there were similar methane releases occurring in the area.
Consider that this is where we are now. Then consider that the president-elect has pledged to tear up international agreements like the Paris climate accords, slash NASA's funding to study climate change, and revive the dying coal industry, which produces the dirtiest fuel there is. Experts estimate the Paris agreement went about half as far, in terms of reducing emissions, as the world needs to go in order to prevent catastrophe. Now we're talking about going back to the drawing board—and maybe further.
From: Esquire US