An unprecedented winter heat wave in the Arctic has thrown climate science and its predictions for Earth's future off the table.
In February, the northernmost permanent weather station in the Arctic warmed to summer temperatures of +12°C (43°F). This occured during the depth of the dark Arctic winter and in what should be the second coldest month of the year for the station, with early March normally being slightly colder. The temperature should have been more like the historical average of -33°C (-27°F).
Half of the ice in Bering Sea melted during a two-week period in February.
The extreme heat wave this winter is not an isolated anomaly. By late February there had already been an entirely unprecedented and unimaginable 61 days of above freezing temperatures in the Arctic this winter. March is shaping up to be just as bad.
Climate watchers have been sounding the alarm with Tweets such as:
It is absolutely astonishing how much warmer the Arctic is right now relative to even the previous record warmest February. I know there have been a lot of superlatives tossed around lately, but this truly is "record shattering." Wow. — Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) February 25, 2018
This is simply shocking. I don't have the words. — Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) February 24, 2018There is open water north of Greenland where the thickest sea ice used to be. It is not refreezing quickly because air temperatures are above zero confirmed by DMIDK's weather station. Wacky weather continues with scary strength and persistence. — Lars Kaleschke (@seaice_de) February 25, 2018
For planet Earth this much warming in the Arctic is apocalyptic, not just because it kills off the life in the Arctic that was dependent upon a stable cold climate but also because it means that the Arctic has warmed far beyond anything previously imagined at this stage and that there is no hope of stopping or slowing runaway climate change. It truly means a global apocalypse.
The danger with the ever more rapidly heating Arctic is that it is a planet killing time-bomb. Locked in the Arctic is vastly more CO2 and methane than emitted by all humans for all time. Once most of the Arctic ice is gone the loss of albedo (reflection of light) guarantees that the Arctic will release its vast stores of carbon exponentially faster.
There are already giant gysers of methane in the Arctic jetting to the ocean surface from melting methane clathrates on the ocean floor. The tundra is emitting a rapidly growing stream of CO2 and methane throughout the year, since it no longer freezes solid in winter.
Greenhouse gas concentrations could rise higher than at any time in our planet's known history.
As greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase ever faster, temperatures will rise beyond the range required to support most life, including our own.
This winter's Arctic heat wave clearly shows that we have been deluding ourselves. The projections of most climate scientists are way, way off. Almost none of them predicted such rapid warming.
As leading climate scientist James Hansen keeps trying to tell us, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a great fraud. It's climate research assessments have deliberately excluded the Arctic and so of course failed to make accurate predictions or prompt meaningful action.
We are flat out of time.
The time to think that we can slow or stop runaway climate change or that we will just need to adapt to temperatures only 2°C or 4°C warmer is long over. We are already consistently seeing temperatures across the planet that are more than 20°C above normal, yet the authorities continue to report the tired lie that the planet has only warmed by 1.5°C.
New Zealand recently reported that they have already had the hottest summer ever. Spring has arrived in many parts of the U.S. and Canada at least a full month early.
Now is the time to urgently develop the means for survival on a planet that will soon no longer be able to support life as we have known it.
We need to come to terms with the fact that no matter how many solar panels and wind turbines we erect and how many dirty coal power plants we retire, it won't stop what is coming. It might slow it a bit, but not by much.
We are now at the point where the only thing that might stop the rapid heating of Earth and mass extinction of life is some sort of radical geo-engineering such as causing the eruption of volcanoes around the globe to cool the planet. But, any type of geo-engineering is likely to have its own negative consequences and face strong public opposition.
At the rate we are going it may be a nuclear war that temporarily reverses global warming with a nuclear winter.
If our governments and academic institutions won't help save use perhaps we can do it on our own.
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We the people no longer have to be trapped in an unsustainable culture. We can access the resources to create a new, better and sustainable culture.
But first there must be enough of us able to wake up, think for ourselves, see what is happening now and coming in the near future and then have the courage to do something about it.