While keeping an eye on day-to-day data and speculating about whether 2013 is going to overcome the odds and break last year's records, one tends to forget about the wider implications and what this actually is all about. A tree is incredibly interesting, but in the end it's all about the forest.
It's important to remember that the situation isn't looking good in the Arctic. Not good at all. We're witnessing things that were supposed to happen decades from now. Instead we're looking at a change that is hard to fathom, but takes place during our lifetimes, not on a geological timescale.
Last year Kevin McKinney and I wrote a piece about the potential consequences of all this, and I'll be sure to get back to it at the end of this melting season (and the next, and the...), but in the meantime here's what Gareth Renowden of the Hot Topic blog, one of the first bloggers to pay attention to the Arctic situation, has to say about it:
This should be headline news. It should be plastered all over the front pages of newspapers and web sites around the world. TV pundits should be demanding action from the politicians who have put action on emissions reductions in the “too hard” basket. The evidence is beginning to suggest that Wally Broecker’s angry beast, fed up with being prodded with ever bigger sticks, is going to bite back hard — and bite back soon. Is there time to stop all this happening? Perhaps — but it will take a huge effort, a wartime response when the world is being led by billionaires, ideologues and their appeasers intent on denying reality. We’re sleepwalking to disaster. By the time we wake up, it will be too late.
This was Gareth's conclusion. Here's what led him to it: