Arctic Sea Ice Loss
A literal & political deliquescence
|Created: Sept 13 2021
|Modified: Sept 29, 2021
With recent, more comprehensive data on climate change, the North Pole is now expected to completely melt away in the Summer of 2035. Due to International distrust that another President might flip-flop on policy again, the USA currently has insufficient time to recover from President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Accord, unless there is a massive change in the status quo. Few know it.
Saving the North Pole would require the USA to halve gasoline usage or close all coal power stations within 11 years, after a constitutional amendment passed by a supermajority in 2024. That's the level of commitment needed for other nations to follow the USA to net zero by 2050.
The loss of all Arctic Sea ice will destroy the homeostatic mechanism moderating the seasons and cause worldwide climate catastrophes the likes of which civilization has never known. Due to COVID, there was a temporary reprieve from facing the facts when the United Nations delayed last year's 5-year summit to renegotiate national commitments. Yet despite this post's extensive analysis of the current political situation, it's been almost immediately banned from all political forums as unsupportive of partisan objectives, or most ironically, 'meta-information irrelevant to politics'. After censoring mention of climate change from federal websites during the Trump Administration, those who benefit from the status quo are now attacking all other shared information.
|Diliquesence refers to rotting away from moisture absoption, like an old tomato. It's already raining all over Greenland. Political moves to save the North Pole are likewise in a state of decay. For example, the public remains mostly oblivious to the research data just unveiled for November's 'COP26' international summit. It was entirely blotted out from the 24-hour news cycle by the GOP suddenly refusing to raise the national debt ceiling. A major financial meltdown preceded the three other occasions the debt ceiling was not raised, out of more than 90 previous occasions since the debt-ceiling's commencement in 1917. The furor on the debt ceiling is currently continuing. The new data on the North Pole's continuing meltdown has already become 'old news,' to be ignored.
Meteorological Matrices on Arctic Sea Ice Loss
The 2015 Paris Accord originally set 2050~2060 as the net-zero target from projections from NASA's measurement of the Arctic Sea ice minimum, created from annual satellite image data collected since 1978. In the last decade, this annual projection was moving towards 2060, but much lower levels last year and this year are moving it back towards 2050 (the page is not yet updated with 2021 data)
- Arctic Sea Ice, September Minimum Extent, NASA, annually updated.
Due to the Paris Accord's choice of Arctic Sea ice for setting carbon-emission targets, the September ice minimum is the most-watched matrix of environmental health. But it is a very simplistic measure of the Arcticice loss. Even though Trump barred all the research on climate change he could, international collaboration on data sharing has resulted in far more detailed and comprehensive computer predictions from daily data on sea ice depth and longevity, as well as extent.
Scientists now have vastly more accurate data sets on air and surface-water temperatures, salinity, and precipitation that daily accumulate faster than supercomputers can easily project in real time, resulting in the currently preferred monthly updates to the 'CICE' indices for long-range forecasts. Artifical Intelligence can now post-process 'LIM3.6' data, used for 10-day forecasts since 2015, to provide surprisingly accurate forecasts 2 months in advance. In the future these models may be supplemented by long-range analysis of the ice mass across 30-meter-squared rectangles called 'DEMs:'
- How AI can help forecast how much Arctic sea ice will shrink, Science News, September 2021.
- CICE Sea Ice Model, Wikipedia.
- The Louvain-La-Neuve sea ice model LIM3.6: Global and regional capabilities, Geoscientific Model Development Discussions, April 2015.
- The Future of Sea Ice Modeling: Where Do We Go from Here? American Meteorological Society, Aug 2020.
The 2035 Prediction
Another data source is carbon-12 dating of 'ice cores.' The National Science Foundation is currently preserving 17,000 meters of ice cores providing highly reliable annual data over the last 200,000 years. Last year a unified set of multiple computer models from ice cores and CICE predicted that the Arctic Sea could be entirely gone as early as 2035, rather than 2060, at current carbon-emission rates. Carbon reductions over the 2020 winter due to the COVID pandemic, may have incurred a one-year extension, but carbon emission is already back to pre-pandemic levels.
- NSF Ice Core Facility,icecores.org
- Arctic summer sea ice could disappear as early as 2035, National Geographic, Aug 2020.
- Sea-ice-free Arctic during the Last Interglacial supports fast future loss, Nature, Oct 2020.
As of this year, scientists are adding data on wind patterns that blow perennial ice into warm-water currents. Older, more compact, and slower-melting perennial ice is being lost more quickly than before. A larger proportion of the Arctic Sea is covered by thinner, young ice.
- Record-breaking winter winds have blown old Arctic sea ice into the melt zone, Nunatsiak News, Aug 2021.
- Researchers express alarm as Arctic multiyear sea ice hits record low, Mongabay, Sept 2021.
The destruction of the Arctic ice sea will not only remove the homeostatic mechanism moderating the seasons in the Northern hemisphere, but also, due to the 'global conveyor belt' shifting heat and cold around the oceans. The extent and depth of the oceans has made it difficult to make predictions, but the recent deployment of 3,000 meteorological buoys in the ARGO network have vastly improved our knowledge of the oceanic ecosystem. The ocean's status is only one of numerous matrices all pointing to the same future, now publicly stated by the United Nations, and reported in the New York Times.
- The Ocean Conveyor, Woods Hole Oceanic Institute.
- ARGO Portal, International Argo Project.
- Climate Change and Impacts Accelerate, World Meteorological Accosication, Sept. 2021.
- United Nations Warns of ‘Catastrophic Pathway’ With Current Climate Pledges, New York Times, Sept 2021.
This year's Arctic Sea ice measurements tracked the worst year on record, 2012, until the smoke from the giant fires repressed the Summer temperatures. There was so much smoke from Californian wildfires, the sun turned orange in New York City. In the atmosphere, water vapor condenses on smoke particles, creating cloud cover that cools the planet surface.
- Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis, updated daily.
- How extreme fire weather can cool the planet, National Geographic, Aug 2021.
Some believe particulates like smoke could reduce the planet's temperature. However, wildfires of several million acres on the North American continent might provide some immediate relief, but the decaying deadwood releases huge amounts more carbon into the atmosphere for years, and the forest takes many decades to recover. there's some real optimism other particulates might work, such as sulfate sprays, but they all cause corollary environmental damage, the extent of which remains unpredictable.
- This unassuming item releases 10.9 billion tonnes of carbon every year, World Economic Forum, Sept 2021.
- Geoengineer the Planet? More Scientists Now Say It Must Be an Option, Yale Environment360, May 2019.
The Political Impasse
Earlier this year, the United Nations reported that atmospheric carbon reduction commitments are one eighth those needed to keep the world on track for the net-zero goal:
- World must remove 1 bin tonnes CO2 to meet climate goal, Reuters, June 2021.
In the last month, ambassador John Kerry has made incredible efforts worldwide. He asked China to increase its efforts. China replied, before making further commitments to reduce its own carbon emissions, it wants 'proof of permanent commitment' from the USA. China said it had already committed to a 25% reduction of coal power stations by 2025, and is actively building more nuclear and hydroelectric systems, and has stopped investment in building more coal power plants in other nations. China's reaction is because, the USA's last President reversed policies on coal power-plant reduction. China has no reason to believe that a new President won't flip-flop on policy again. Until the USA demonstrates it has a permanent commitment, its own efforts to reduce carbon emissions are pointless. They'd just be exploited by the USA in a future Presidential change.
- Hard climate stance with USA imperils Glasgow Talks, Reuters, Sept 2021.
- List of Power Stations in China, Wikipedia.
- Trump administration weakens climate plants to help coal plants stay open, National Public Radio, Sept 2019.
- Why President Trump overhauled Obama's Coal Emissions, Heritage Foundation, Aug 2018.
The only way the USA could meet China's demand is with a Constitutional Amendment. Up to recently, this seemed too remote a possibility to happen at all. A Constitutional Amendment would require a two-thirds 'supermajority.' There has been some more partisan cooperation this year, but the closest Congress has come to a supermajority this century is only 60%, for only 78 days, in 2008. And the senate is now evenly split. With current public opinion, there is no other way that the USA can prove a permanent commitment to China. Unless the nation produces an answer, the USA's reception is likely to be frosty in Glasgow, which hasn't been seeing as much snow. For a long time.
- The Future's a No-Snow Zone, Guardian, Oct 2006.
The next two greatest carbon emitters, India and Brazil, have so far responded by not risking any significant increase in their commitments either. Australia's so intimidated by the international conflict, it's not planning to attend COP26:
- Kerry: no serious talks with India on Net Zero, Times of India, Sept 2021.
- Brazil weight carbon market law ahead of COP26," Argus Media, Sept 2021.
- Australia PM may not join climate summit, Times of India, Sept 2021.
- Kerry says rest of world 'doomed' unless 20 nations take climate action, The Hill, Sept. 2021.
I thought maybe public opinion could help sway matters.
Absence of Public Engagement
I was at the same college as Rachel Maddow, who is a daily news analyst on MSNBC, so I sent the above to her, asking if she could do a story. Her response was...fear. The required changes are too immediately drastic. Abstract stories about global-warming temperatures in the distant future are OK, but discussion of imminent necessities in personal sacrifice of the scale necessary are not. They would disastrously impact her ratings. They'd just turn Rachel Maddow's ratings. And she's about as adamant a Democrat as one can be.
I tried sharing this on various political and ethical forums. If this data wasn't banned outright, people refused even to think about the changes necessary to save the North Pole. They are too drastic. People won't accept the negative impact on their standard of living. Politicians in the USA would simply be thrown out of office for doing anything significant. The public will argue about anything, anything at all, rather than demand immediate political action. Partly this is because of the obstruction of facts on global warming, which have included removal of its mention from every single federal Website except two:
- The Trump administration scrubs climate change info from websites. These two have survived, NBC News, July 2018.
There has been much discussion of a 'tipping point' in atmospheric CO2, past which the planet cannot recover. Whenever the geoscientific tipping point might be, the 'tipping point of public opinion' has started to pass by, unnoticed, during the COVID crisis. The 'it's too late, why bother doing anything inconvenient' phase has already started. Whatever gestures the USA makes at the COP26 conference this Novermber, President Biden's reception is likely to frosty in Glasgow, which hasn't been seeing as much snow–For a long time:
- The Future's a No-Snow Zone, the Guardian, Oct 2006.