Photograph by P J Hansen – CC BY-SA 2.0
Sometime in the near future it is highly probable that the Arctic will no longer have sea ice, meaning zero ice for the first time in eons, aka: the Blue Ocean Event.
Surely, the world is not prepared for the consequences of such an historic event, which likely turns the world topsy-turvy, negatively impacting agriculture with gonzo weather patterns, thus forcing people to either starve or fight. But, the problem may be even bigger than shortages of food, as shall be discussed.
Still and all, it’s somewhat consoling to know that the Blue Ocean Event is quite controversial within the scientific community. There are plenty of climate scientists that believe Arctic ice will be there beyond this century. One can only hope they are right because an ice-free Arctic will indubitably create havoc for life on the planet.
However, disturbingly, the prospects for enduring sea ice don’t look good.
Here’s why: Dr. Peter Wadhams (professor emeritus, University of Cambridge) who’s the leading authority on Arctic sea ice (A Farewell to Ice, Oxford University Press) was recently interviewed re the current status of Arctic sea ice, as of 2019, and recorded on TUC radio (live broadcasts on KALW/San Francisco and independent internet radio)
Here are snippets from that interview: Over the past 40 years the loss of Arctic sea ice has rapidly progressed, e.g., from 1976-87 Arctic sea ice thickness decreased by 15%… during the 1990s, thickness decreased by 43% … and today 75% of the sea ice is gone… resulting in an impairment of sea ice albedo, which reflects solar radiation back into outer space by 80-90% with sea ice, but conversely, without sea ice, it absorbs 80-90% of solar radiation into the dark background of iceless water where crucial untold dangers lurk.
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