I am sharing some of the stories from the Arctic that have not received the media attention that they deserve. We can expect increasing wildfires, a busy and dangerous Atlantic storm season, and rising marine and land temperatures as a result of the incredible speed of the climate crisis.
As we leap from crisis to crisis the second President of the Confederacy (nicknamed as such by Steve Schmidt) continues his effort, under the cover of chaos and distraction, to destroy every single life form on the planet. And he has gotten away with it, for now. Summer 2020 is coming and the consequences of his inaction on the climate crisis will be yet another nail in his political coffin in November. Buckle up.
Wired Magazine discusses abrupt permafrost thaw.
It’s perhaps the best known and more worrisome of climate feedback loops: As the planet warms, permafrost—landscapes of frozen soil and rock—begins to thaw. And when it does, microbes consume organic matter, releasing CO 2 and methane into the atmosphere, leading to more warming, more thawing, and even more carbon emissions.
But here’s something you’ve probably never heard of, and it’s something not even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has really considered: thermokarst. That’s the land that gets ravaged whenever permafrost thaws rapidly. As the ice that holds the soil together disappears, hillsides collapse and massive sinkholes open up. Climate scientists have been working gradual permafrost thaw into their models—changes that run centimeters deep over decades or centuries. But abrupt permafrost thaw happens on the scale of meters over months or years. That shocks the surrounding landscape into releasing potentially even more carbon than would have if it thawed at a more leisurely pace.
Today in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers argue that without taking abrupt thaws into account, we’re underestimating the impact of permafrost thaw by 50 percent. “The amount of carbon coming off that very narrow amount of abrupt thaw in the landscape, that small area, is still large enough to double the climate consequences and the permafrost carbon feedback,” says study lead author Merritt Turetsky, of the University of Guelph and University of Colorado Boulder.
It worries experts that Greenland could be primed for another big melt season.
Early melting this spring, low snowpack in some areas, and the potential for strong high-pressure weather systems later this summer have all raised red flags. Scientists are paying close attention after last summer’s record-breaking ice loss—an event scientists expect to occur more frequently as the Arctic continues to warm.
According to Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecasting at the analytics firm Atmospheric and Environmental Research, model forecasts suggest strong high-pressure events over Greenland this summer. High-pressure systems are often associated with warming on the ice sheet.
Catastrophic Outburst Floods Carved Greenland’s “Grand Canyon” https://t.co/J6lCvyRqJ6— geosociety (@geosociety) April 30, 2020
Featured paper in #GEOLOGY: https://t.co/dp0OVJIqly
Animation: Modelled outburst flood during a deglaciation scenario routed to the outlets of the NE Greenland ice stream. Credit: @palaeobak pic.twitter.com/uRVfXeOp7V
In fact, a recent study concluded that last summer’s extreme melting was linked to abnormally persistent high-pressure systems over Greenland (Climatewire, April 16). Greenland’s melt rates last year were second only to those in 2012—and the total amount of ice lost was actually the highest on record.
This summer’s forecasts seem to suggest the high-pressure systems will be most intense in July. And they may affect larger swaths of the ice sheet than the current melt event, which is mainly limited to the southern part of the ice sheet.
Quick clay landslide in Norway. Richard Alley believes a massive slide in Norway from 1978 is a good comparison of what a collapse of West Antarctica’s ice sheet would look like. This grainy and jaw-dropping YouTube video explains the process.
NASA’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory writes on how accelerated melting of the ice caps threatens the world’s freshwater and agricultural resources.
Seven of the regions that dominate global ice mass losses are melting at an accelerated rate, a new study shows, and the quickened melt rate is depleting freshwater resources that millions of people depend on.
The impact of melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica on the world’s oceans is well documented. But the largest contributors to sea level rise in the 20th century were melting ice caps and glaciers located in seven other regions: Alaska, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the Southern Andes, High Mountain Asia, the Russian Arctic, Iceland and the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard. The five Arctic regions accounted for the greatest share of ice loss.
And this ice melt is accelerating, potentially affecting not just coastlines but agriculture and drinking water supplies in communities around the world, according to the study by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; the University of California, Irvine; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. The study was led by Enrico Ciraci, a UCI graduate student researcher in Earth system science.