I recently received an e-mail to draw my attention to a recent two-part
feature article on the Scientific American website by Dr. John J. Berger,
an independent energy and environmental consultant.
The article called Crisis in the Cryosphere is about the changes going on
in the world of ice and snow - our world of ice and snow - and the potential consequences of these changes. It was published 6 weeks ago,
but its content is relevant every second of the day.
Here's an excerpt from part 2 that deals with Arctic sea ice:
Melting ice, Nunavut, Canada. Credit: Louise Murray / robertharding/Getty
Summer sea ice in the Arctic cools the Earth because it reflects solar heat that otherwise is absorbed by darker less reflective ocean water, warming the planet. But half of the end-of-summer summer sea ice found in the Arctic in 1950 is already gone. This loss has helped drive Arctic temperatures up by multiples of the world’s average temperature rise, accelerating permafrost thawing and Greenland melting.
At the projected 2.7° to 3.5° global temperature increase projected as a result of the emission-reduction pledges made last December at the global climate accord in Paris, all summer sea ice will disappear once temperatures approach 3°, a condition that has never occurred in modern human existence, according to ICCI.
The complete loss of summer sea ice will have significant impacts on the world’s weather, ecosystems, and economy. Greater instability in the jet stream, less stable polar fronts, and more extreme weather in mid-latitudes are expected. Ice-dependent marine food chains and ecosystems may collapse, and traditional Arctic cultures will be devastated.