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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Blue Alert: Walking on Thin Ice


In 2012 the record-loss of sea ice has raised the debate over whether it was an anomaly, or the beginning of a disastrous trend. What is certain is that current reforming ice will be the thinnest on record, meaning much less summer ice, and some are predicting that summer sea ice could be almost completely gone by the year 2016. Concern is being backed up ‘blue alert’ satellite images of disappearing sea ice, a testament to the fact that melting sea ice may be an even bigger environmental concern for 2013 than warming itself. Concerns about water levels are being raised again, however, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has not been able to predict if the climate in some specific regions will ultimately be wetter or drier, making it more difficult for politicians at the Doha climate talks to discuss ways to adapt to the ‘unstoppable’ minimum 2 °C rise. These is specific uncertainty in the northern hemisphere, as 2012 data showed a slowing of the jet stream resulting in extreme weather conditions including a heatwave in Russia, cold spells in Europe, and drought in America.
This reminded me of something that read,“What we do on land [and in the air] is reflected in the water”. We are conscious that the condition of our atmosphere is going from bad to worse, but the ‘blue alert’ and disappearing sea ice is a shocking gauge at how far we have really gone. Hearing more news about the worsening condition of our environment from the atmosphere to the way that it is affecting everything else in nature —even the weather—  is shocking. So much life on Earth will be affected by drastic changes in weather. Increased awareness has proven to lead to positive change in our thinking and attitudes, and all the time there is more news saying similar things about the increasing danger the environment is in, and although we’ve already caused a lot of damage, we can still make changes today to start improving.

Sources
Pearce, F. (2013, January 2). 2013 Smart Guide: Arctic melt will spark weird weather - environment -
02 January 2013 - New Scientist. New Scientist. Retrieved April 3, 2013, from http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628965.300-2013-smart-guide-arctic-melt-will-spark-weird-weather.html

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