The Arctic is Melting – A LOT

A new report issued by United Nations Environment Program concludes that the Arctic (area around the North Pole), as we know it, will be gone in the near future. A summary of the report, written by Brian Khan states:

“The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe, which translates to dramatic change. Sea ice extent, which has shrunk about 40 percent since regular satellite monitoring began in 1979, could reach zero percent in summer as early as the 2030s. Old, thick sea ice will likely be gone even sooner. Permafrost, frozen ground full of carbon, could thaw out and destroy a third of all the infrastructure in the Arctic (and also release deadly strains of anthrax). Rising temperatures could also unleash a host of other infectious diseases like Lyme disease, which is already on the rise in Canada.”

The tragic part of this report is that no matter what we do now, this 5-9 degrees of warming is already locked in. That’s because we (humans) have pumped tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over the last 100+ years. Greenhouse gases trap heat and greenhouse gas concentrations have risen about 40% over the natural range going back hundreds of thousands of years. When you consider that our society is essentially doing nothing to curb our burning of fossil fuels (gas, coal, etc.) for transportation or generating electricity, this is only going to get worse in the coming decades. Direct impacts here in South Carolina will continue to be rapidly rising sea levels, with estimates of sea level being 3-8 feet higher than today by 2100.

Categories: Weather Blog