Wilkins Ice Sheet and Why We Should Worry
Its been a week or so since the news of the largest breakup of ice in the world recorded in modern times has happened. Some 14,000 square kilometres of ice have now become detached from the Western Antarctic peninsula. This ice flow is more than twice the size of Prince Edward island, rivaling the Caribbean’s Jamaica in area. While we have had big break ups of ice in the Antarctic in recent years, nothing this momentous has ever been recorded.
As the climate change deniers scurry around for more rationalizations to justify their paid for, ridiculous assertions, that this is just a natural course of climate events and not related to anthropogenic climate change, the rest of the world, the IPCC, United Nations and 97% of the climatologists in the world are collectively holding their breath. The sad fact is the Antarctic, especially the Western Ice crumbling at an unprecedented rate not experienced since the dramatic warming some 14,000 years ago when the world ocean levels rose some 20 feet in a couple of centuries as the latest ice advance entered the current interglacial.
As the ice sheets crumble, because of the warming oceans, their braking effect on the vast glaciers of the antipodes comes to an end and, especially in the western sheets, the prospect of a dramatic increase in ice flow from the continent into the water rears its ugly head. The possibility that ocean levels could rise 1-2 metres in the next few decades becomes not a possibility, but a real probability. The spectre that 5-6 metres of ocean level rise in the coming centuries, could be within the realm of plausibility, based on past meltings, should give us all pause, should make us re-examine our way of life and help reset our priorities.
97% of the climatologists who study the climate agree we humans are the cause of the current meltings. Its a staggeringly, powerful consensus. And yet we continue to dither, obfuscate and to expect changing light bulbs will make the climate change boogie man go away. Our governments hee and haw and we allow them to.
As I review the litany of the past few decades, I wonder at what it will take before we come to a consensus. A bit more than a a couple of months ago, the largest, most comprehensive survey of it’s kind ever, was undertaken at the University of Chicago to survey scientists who study the Earth as to whether there was dissension in the scientific community regarding anthropogenic climate change (ACG). The media had done such a fine job creating the opinion that there was dissension, that it was felt that we needed to find out. Out of the 10,800 scientists in Earth studies, that is geology, climatology, meteorology, hydrology, etc., some 3,400 responded and not surprisingly, at least to me, it turned out there was a huge agreement that ACG was indeed the consensus. In fact as I have iterated above, among the climate scientists and researchers, the very people who research the climate and its trends and who model its future, the consensus was close to unanimity.
So folks we are at a threshold. The ice is crumbling, the Earth is warming, and we are pushing CO2 levels into the literal and figurative stratosphere. Do we do something meaningful to lower emissions or do we fiddle around while the planet burns?
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