Trouble At The Poles: The Ice Goeth, Man

Lowest Winter Maximum Arctic Ice Cap While Antarctic Shelf Melt Accelerates

ice melt Arctic and AntarcticThe poles of the planet Earth are warming twice as fast as the middle latitudes


The cognitive dissonance singularity that characterizes our confused species causes millions of Americans to ignore the evidence for an uptick in the rate of ice melt at both ends of the planet. There are two effects of the massive ice melt taking place at the poles and they are purposely conflated by professional climate deniers. Suffice to say that neither is good. Read on:

Arctic: As of February 25, 2015, the northern ice cap in the Arctic sea had reached its largest seasonal extent. As has been the pattern for the past four decades, the area of the maximum ice was a new low. The area of 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles)sets a new record for the smallest maximum since satellites began measurement in the 70′s. As the rate of overall melt increases, more black ocean water is exposed to absorb the sun’s rays and less surface area to reflect it back into space. This negative feedback cycle is essentially irreversible as the overall heat in the system increases exponentially.

Antarctic: The primary difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic is that the southern hemisphere is dominated by a solid rock continent larger than the United States. About 98% of it is covered in ice and snow about 1.9 kilometers (1.2 mi) thick. Due to the dynamics of the climate, water and land systems at play, it has in the past been tricky determining whether or not Antarctica is gaining or losing ice. However, the latest several findings have been starkly alarming.

In December of 2014, the Washington Post ran the following headline: Research casts alarming light on decline of West Antarctic glaciers. That story reported that the West Antarctican ice sheet had become irreversibly destabilized. The Post story pointed out that the rate of collapse for the giant glaciers exceeds scientific projections.

In March 2015, there was more bad news. A new peer-reviewed paper published in Nature Geoscience was based on findings that the Totten Glacier in East Antarctica is also shedding ice because warm water is flowing underneath it. This area is the planet’s largest ice sheet.

Besides the general disruption of climate, flora and fauna systems, the most accessible effect of Antarctica’s melting glaciers is rapid sea level rise. There are boneheaded FOX News denialist explanations of why the melting ice does not raise sea levels, but the science is pretty simple. The ice is now on land. When it melts, it will contribute a massive volume of water to the ocean. The melting of the huge Greenland ice mass contributes even more.**

Meanwhile on the ground, highly paid operatives for the fossil fuel interests keep the drumbeat of misinformation beating louder and louder. But it shouldn’t really be so easy for them, should it?

Obama reveals his Muslim Agenda
Trouble way down under.


** A hidden contributor to ocean level rise

This entry was posted in Antarctic melt accelerates, Arctic ice cap maximum smallest on record. Bookmark the permalink.