The Arctic Meltdown 2008

Posted on April 8, 2008

At the end of last year, Jay Zwally, NASA climate scientist specialising in Arctic ice conditions, looked closely at the state of the Arctic and publicly announced that “at this rate the ocean could be nearly ice-free by the end of summer 2012. This beats previous worst case scenarios by decades, or centuries (1).

Now, more recently, scientists are looking at the arctic ice and shaking their heads. Now we are getting towards the end of the arctic winter and images from NASA show that 70% of this summers Arctic ice cover is of the new and unstable variety, compared to the usual 50% (2).

(Image from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, via NewScientist blog)

What this means is that when the sun returns to the arctic, it will likely melt the Arctic to a record low size, allowing record amounts of warmth from the sun to be absorbed by the exposed ocean, exacerbating climate change further.

This projection is supported by Dr. Olav Orheim head of the Norwegian International Polar Year Secretariat.

If Norway’s average temperature this year equals that in 2007, the ice cap in the Arctic will all melt away, which is highly possible judging from current conditions (3).

2007 wasn’t supposed to be a bad melt year. 2005, which was, was supposed to be followed by a recuperation. But it wasn’t (4). (Image from NOAA)

What will this mean for Earth’s climate? So far, positive feedback loops in climate change have proved much more important and devastating than thought. We can bet – it’s worse than we think.

Let’s do something. Go vegetarian today – reforest the lands spared by this change. According to NASA’s James Hansen, we can still roll things back. We’ve passed tipping points, but not the point of no return (5).

Go vegan today to prevent unstoppable climate change, war, famine, and mass poisoning of the atmosphere.