Bad news for Old St. Nick…..

The fossil fuel industry should get a lump of coal this holiday but I’m sure they’d be happy with that. Scientists at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco this week are giving us some alarming news about polar ice cap melt, glacier loss, and other threats from climate change.

Global warming is causing massive ice melting at the poles of over 2 trillion tons of ice this year. This creates even more warming as less of the sun’s rays are reflected off the white ice cap and are absorbed by the dark ocean. Scientists are incredibly alarmed at this rate. This amount of arctic warming and ice loss was predicted to occur decades from now, meaning we are warming much faster than scientists had expected. One article in the UK Times this morning even asked Has Arctic Melt Passed the Point of No Return?

There isn’t much good news to be had, but at least melting arctic sea ice doesn’t add significantly to sea level rise. Melting ice from Greenland’s glaciers, however, does– and they lost a piece of ice last year more than twice the size of Manhattan. Scientists are concerned because Greenland lost three times more ice this year than only a few years ago, showing the speed at which warming is accelerating.

NOAA has shown just how bad this ice melt has been in the last few years:


And why is this bad news for Mr. Claus? Continued ice melt like this, will, most likely, put Santa’s workshop underwater, which I guess will look something like this:


So what do we do? The most recent climate conference in Posnan left a lot of people hoping for more. We need to plot a course that will keep climate change from under 2 degrees worldwide, which probably means stabilizing CO2 at 350 parts per million or less. That would require strong federal legislation in this next year which will cut our emissions by at least 80% by mid century and 25% by 2020.

~~Citizen Andy