Year 2, Month 5, Day 13: Uh-oh.

The Barents Observer (Norway) writes about a new report issued by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) that predictably shows us in much worse trouble than we’d thought. Not that this is actually a surprise or anything:

According to the study, multiyear sea ice, mountain glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet, which were once considered fixtures in the Arctic, shrank faster in the past decade than in the previous one. Their meltwaters contributed more than 40% of the global sea level rise, which averaged at 3 mm per year, between 2003 and 2008.

Sea ice cover has reached record lows every year in the past decade and is “now about one third smaller than the average summer sea-ice cover from 1979 to 2000.” According to the report, the decreased sea ice cover offers opportunities for increased shipping traffic and industrial activity. However, “threats from icebergs may increase due to increased iceberg production.”

My kid is growing up into this world.

Sent May 4:

Given that the IPCC has always tended to err on the conservative side, it’s not surprising that the recently released AMAP study is projecting sea-level rises that drastically exceed the earlier predictions. In fact, it is increasingly recognized that the effects of runaway climate change are happening both faster and more severely than any climatologists had expected. The introduction of methane clathrates into the picture is particularly alarming, as this gas has the potential to trigger greenhouse effects of devastating intensity; the IPCC’s analysis did not take this factor into account, which is one reason their estimates were significantly lower.

Looking at the likely effects of a climate catastrophe on worldwide political and economic stability, one wonders: how much longer can the world’s developed countries and multinational corporations continue to opt for a “business as usual” model? Industrialization’s virtues won’t matter much if humanity’s only available home is rendered uninhabitable.

Warren Senders

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