Working from the premise that we [the collaborative society of humans] aren’t actually too stupid to avert climate breakdown, let’s look at the new bad news on Arctic Ocean sea ice melt.
This year’s sea ice meltdown is well ahead of 2007 in loss of both area and thickness. The ice is failing at a record pace, in part, because it is at a record low thickness for the date. This ice is thinning at a record rate because of warm air temperatures above and because of melting from below.
Here’s what I get from this graph:
- 30 years of general decline
- 2007 really sucked
- 2010 looks like it will be far worse than 2007 and it’s only early July
- Anomalous years affect the line of best fit and normalize outlier behaviour
What does this mean? Climate change is not a straight line effect, but more logarithmic. Positive feedback loops accelerate the melt. And while everyone who thinks sea ice melting won’t rise ocean levels, that’s still correct. But what missing ocean ice will do is remove the plugs that keep the Antarctic and Greenland glaciers from tumbling into the sea.
When is the tipping point?
When do we realize something’s changed?
When do we think that we actually have to start really changing our lives in a myriad of ways, including cutting down on intercontinental trade that hurts economically vulnerable people, but also increases GHGs? The irony, of course, in international trade is if the northwest passage opens up due to Arctic ice melt, lots of innovators in intercontinental trade are going to want to exploit that new route, thereby exacerbating the problem. Suddenly, Churchill, Manitoba may become a shipping hub over the pole.
But in the end, I’m not really worried about climate breakdown and how it would affect me or my loved ones because so many techno-disciples believe humans are so innovative that someone will develop a superhero app that will save us all just before we cross the brink.
And if it weren’t for the SurvivaBall, I think we would have to get going on some plans here.