I’m stepping away from the election coverage I’ve been doing over the past month. While such blogs have driven traffic here, I have some opinions about the futility of the election that would probably drive traffic away. Simply put, I don’t expect any presidential candidate to change the issues coming up with climate collapse. And as of yesterday, the worst option for the November election went away:
Here’s what you need to know. The very smart scientists at the Arctic News blogspot have some very bad news about Arctic Ice extent. This is normally the time of year when the volume of ice goes up, but owing to El Niño high temperatures, that isn’t happening the way it should. We’ve had temperatures above freezing near the North Pole–at one point this year, the Pole was warmer than North Dakota. But the concern is ice extent since February 9. Per the blog:
On February 18, 2016 (arrow), Arctic sea ice extent was 14.186 million square km, i.e. less than it was on February 9. In fact, sea ice extent hasn’t been higher on any day since February 9, 2016. So, the question is, has this year’s maximum extent already passed us by (i.e. on February 9)?
And here’s the handy chart with the handy arrow on it:
Why is this important?
Remember that North Pole ice extent waxes and wanes with the seasons. We just started measuring Arctic ice volume in 1979, which means we missed the pre-industrial era baselines we have for temperatures (now up 1C above what Henry David Thoreau experienced at Walden) and other indicators.And though we started out slightly above the extent in 2013 (the worst year previously), the lack of ice extent becomes important during the summer melting season, when lower ice volume will mean faster melting. Apollo-Gaia project Director David Wasdell has been saying we’ll be out of ice by the end of this decade, but he had not foreseen things moving this fast.
In the meantime, scientists are now saying that the massive die-off of starfish is due to ocean warming. It’s not clear whether the problem is the warming itself of the fact that warmer ocean temperatures encourage a wasting disease (possibly driven by bacteria better suited for warmer climates). An ice-free Arctic come October will exacerbate this problem. And starfish aren’t the only species suffering from warmer temperatures. An ice-free Arctic will also guarantee more methane in the atmosphere.
If we have an ice-free Arctic come October, it won’t matter who gets elected. Events will be in the saddle and ride mankind.