Monday, July 3, 2017

Truly, Profoundly Disturbing

I have just finished reading a long article in National Geographic, one that, without any use of hyperbole, should disturb all of us deeply and profoundly. But thanks to our capacity to ignore anything that disturbs our worldview, the article's dire warning will likely provoke little concern and no alteration of our bloated, cossetted and unsustainable lifestyles.

The following video summarizes the situation well, but following it I am including some excerpts from the article, although I do recommend taking some time to read the entire piece carefully.

The problem, of course, is earth's warming temperatures, but those rising numbers are much greater in Antarctica, where the ice shelves that hold in the glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates:
Why should we care about Antarctica ice melt? Antarctica's ice shelves are disintegrating and the glaciers behind them are flowing faster into the ocean. This could spell disaster for coastal areas around the world, and scientists are in a race against time to understand how it's happening. Sea levels around the world could rise by 14 feet if all of the ice melted just on West Antarctica.
Large swaths of West Antarctica are hemorrhaging ice these days. The warming has been the most dramatic on the Antarctic Peninsula, a spine of ice-cloaked mountains that reaches 700 miles up toward the tip of South America. Catching the powerful winds and ocean currents that swirl endlessly around Antarctica, the peninsula gets slammed with warm air and water from farther north. Average annual temperatures on its west side have risen nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950—several times faster than the rest of the planet—and the winters have warmed an astonishing 9 degrees. Sea ice now forms only four months a year instead of seven.
The ice shelves, Fricker says, “are the canary in the coal mine.” Because they’re already floating, they don’t raise sea level themselves when they melt—but they signal that a rise is imminent, as the glaciers behind them accelerate. Fricker and her team have found that from 1994 to 2012, the amount of ice disappearing from all Antarctic ice shelves, not just the ones in the Amundsen Sea, increased 12-fold, from six cubic miles to 74 cubic miles per year. “I think it’s time for us scientists to stop being so cautious” about communicating the risks, she says.
The video, along with the above three excerpts, are merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Yet the signs are clear, ominous, and accelerating. I have little doubt that the predicted flooding cataclysms will occur much faster than mid-to-late century. Indeed, before my time is up, I fully expect the apocalypse to be well underway.


  1. At the moment when the world needs visionary leadership to respond to these threats we have Trump, Theresa May and Sunny Ways Trudeau. The Arctic is already getting hammered, the east and west coasts are threatened and Trudeau's attention is fixed on ramping up bitumen extraction and export. He's chronologically youthful but he's got the blinkered mind of a very old man.

    1. The blinkered view of far too many people means they don't see the truth, even when it is staring them in the face, Mound. I guess they just can't handle the truth.