Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Links


A Quaker in a Strange Land said...

That is disconcerting.

Stephen B. said...

I don't think one needs to be any kind of climate scientist to understand what is about to happen to the remaining ice. In the next 3 years, at some point, the remaining ice is going to be so thin and so relatively fresh, that late one summer in say, August of 2014 to 17, scientists are going to look at their satellite data, and see essentially zero ice. Anybody that's watched a large lake or bay melt understands how they go. First, the edges fray. Some chunks break off, but the main slab grows thinner, wetter, darker, and more "rotten." Then one day in the spring the whole thing, say like 75% of the surface, just breaks up to slush in a matter of hours and it's gone. That's all fine for Lake Winnipesaukee or Huron, but when this happens to the Arctic Ocean 2 to 5 Augusts from now, (and no, even 2013 wouldn’t completely surprise me) my bet is that the sun, getting to work on all that dark ocean surface, is going to make its new found heat (from the suddenly, greatly reduced albedo), felt pretty quickly on Greenland's nearby ice sheet in the decade thereafter.
The methane in the northern hemisphere's permafrost will also quickly start bubbling forth at an even higher rate as well.
This ice melting is a cascade event that most likely will be creating almost singularity-like events in world climate very shortly. I don't think one need to be a climate scientist, as I say, to see it at this point. The effect on nearby Greenland's ice may very well produce radically increased sea level rises in the next 2 decades as well. Frankly, I cannot see otherwise, unless all the new, wide open Arctic water in the Octobers, Novembers, and Decembers to shortly come creates new, vastly increased snowfalls in Greenland or elsewhere in the terrestrial Arctic to temporarily slow terrestrial ice sheet melt.
How long increased thermal energy takes in getting to the deep, Southern latitudes is any scientist’s guess I suppose.
Overall, the possibilities for radical change from here on, ought to be pretty entertaining, assuming we survive to see them.