Catastrophic Arctic ‘Death Spiral’

Nutshell

Global heating and climate disruption has already forced Arctic sea ice into a new state of ‘death spiral’ meltdown and it is anticipated to disappear in Summer months within a decade, or even a few short years, many decades ahead of previous estimates.

This has ALREADY had domino effects.

The air conditioner of the northern hemisphere and a major global weather regulator, it has lost 80% of its volume, almost 50% of its long-term (1979 – 2000) average extent since 1979 (watch video) and rendered the jet stream much slower, wavier, weaker (watch video) / prone to cause more extreme / prolonged weather events (storms, floods, droughts, wildfires).

The Arctic hasn’t been ice-free for somewhere between 1,450 and 4,000 years, and before that, for about 120,000 years.  And a new study concludes that the last time Arctic temps were this warm was at least 44,000 and, perhaps, as many as 120,000, years ago.

The ALREADY accelerated escape of massive amounts of the powerful, heat trapping greenhouse gas, methane, buried in the frozen permafrost of northern Canada, Siberia and underwater ocean shelves, is of EMERGENCY, ‘LIFE OR EXTINCTION’-SCALE CONCERN. (Yes, really!)

Not included in any of their future scenario calculations, this omission alone renders many of the IPCC conclusions (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the primary basis for policy makers, politicians, governments and business leaders in the development of corporate strategies, all international (U.N.) climate negotiations and, now, toward a (supposed) new climate deal in 2015) to be dramatic underestimates.

And a new study has shown that, at as little as +1.5ºC of global average surface temperature increase (since pre-industrial times / pre-1900 / we’re at +0.85ºC now), the release of large amounts of methane — as much as 100 billion tons of carbon by 2100 — could become (in ecoSanity’s words) a blow torch accelerator of rapid, unstoppable, irreversible (self-perpetuated / reinforced) heat feedback.

Put another way, this would be ‘GAME OVER’ ON A HORRIFIC SCALE for most life, and would persist long beyond any relevant human time frame.