The Antarctic is in big big trouble. This cannot be la-la-la-ed away. We’re still making it worsehttps://www.dailykos.com/stories/2023/6/12/2175014/-The-Antarctic-is-in-big-big-trouble-This-cannot-be-la-la-la-ed-away-We-re-still-making-it-worse#comment_86377368
But, sure, we can fly and eat beef and burn down forests and get more oil – no problem
Without any other preface, I’m just going to let Eliot Jacobson speak for himself here with the first few paragraphs of his latest analysis:
As of June 10, 2023, worldwide data showed the remarkable concurrence of three dramatic climate events.
The first WTF is in the Antarctic, where sea-ice extent is setting record lows daily, now fully over 2 million kilometers below the 1991-2020 mean. This is not some one-off event. A decline like this has long been predicted. The impact is that there is a lot more open ocean than normal for this time of year. Open ocean means the ability to absorb incoming solar radiation, and that means further heating in a well-known feedback loop.
Using JAXA data, I prepared an image to illustrate just how crazy this moment is. The way you read the image below is that each horizontal blue wavy line is a year’s worth of measured sea-ice extent. Starting with the average extent over the period 1991-2020, I simply compare each day’s extent with that average and plot that point on the year’s blue line. The years shown in this image are 1991-2023, with 2023 in red to highlight just how unusual it is. For those of you with keen eyes, the dip at the lower right corresponds to the year 2016, the year after that last El Niño, and a harbinger of what may lie ahead.
There’s a good deal more at the link, including other charts. Not an encouraging picture. But I suppose it won’t spur a change of tune from those who, remarkably, still think we can have a slow transition and a soft landing with modest disruption. We can’t. The longer we wait, the worse the inevitable disruption will be.
There’s another entry today in the Department of Not Encouraging in Antarctica. A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change has ominous news from the Weddell Sea of Antarctica. The research shows a warming and rapid shrinking of deep ocean water, which has direct impacts on the global climate. In fact that shrinkage was phenomenal, 20% over 30 years, while shallower waters of the Weddell warmed at five times the rate of the rest of the global ocean.
Stated a release from the University of South Hampton posted at the science aggregator site Phys Org:
Antarctic Bottom Water is the coldest, densest water mass on the planet, and it plays a crucial role in regulating the ocean’s ability to store heat and capture carbon; 90 percent of human-induced global heating and almost a third of the extra carbon released since the start of the industrial revolution has been absorbed by the ocean. […]
The research from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the University of Southampton is the first observational evidence that long-term changes to the winds and sea ice are influencing bottom water production in the Weddell Sea—one of the largest producers of dense bottom water.
Dr. Alessandro Silvano from the University of Southampton, who is a co-author of the study, says, “The shrinking of deep waters in Antarctica can have far reaching consequences, from reducing the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon associated with human activities to decreasing the oxygen supply to abyssal waters, affecting deep ecosystems.”
“We used to think that changes in the deep ocean could only occur over centuries. But these key observations from the Weddell Sea show that changes in the dark abyss can take place over just a few decades.”
Does anybody need that last paragraph repeated? Like, say, politicians at all levels of government in both parties?
Every hour we delay in taking the actions needed to mitigate and perhaps prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change, we guarantee they will be worse. Not yet, but eventually ”too late” will be reality. Moving faster isn’t a luxury.
But politicians won’t budge if activist-citizens don’t act, if they don’t convince them to make the climate crisis, the climate emergency a priority. We can’t wait until the right time. That was yesterday.
All-Too-Related: High-Temperature records fall across Siberia, thawing an enormous and underestimated heat store by Pakalolo.
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