Posted on May 28th, 2017 in Climage Change,Science,Trump Mania by Robert Miller

Antarctica is coming more sharply into focus, as climatologists, based on preliminary studies, have assessed the real dangers imposed by melting of the Antarctica ice and the threats that it poses to coastal cities. The New York Times is running a three part series on Antarctica, the first of which you can see HERE. This is a masterful piece of reporting, and it carries a message for all of us. The second part in this series you can view HERE.  The third part of this series you can view HERE (Each of them has a different local web address). This is a very important series, especially if you live in a coastal city.

  • More than 60% of the world’s fresh water resides in the ice sheets of Antarctica; and suddenly scientists are scrambling  for more data, alarmed by the threat of coastal flooding.  A few years ago most scientists thought they didn’t have to worry about Antarctica, it appeared to qualify as the picture of stability. But, a rapid deterioration of Antarctica would cause the sea level to rise so fast that tens of millions of coastal refugees would have to flee inland, causing societies to meet the breaking point of their culture and perhaps disintegrate. Climate scientists once regarded that scenario for disaster films. But now they cannot rule that out.
  • Recent computer forecasts suggest that if green house gas emissions continue at the high level that exists now, parts of Antarctica might break off some ice causing sea levels to rise six feet or more, by the end of this century. Remote as Antarctica seems to be, everyone who gets in a car, eats a steak or boards an airplane contributes to emissions that puts the coastal cities in jeopardy. If all the ice in Antarctica were to melt, like today, the sea level would rise by more than 160 ft! Research shows that if we burn all the fossil fuels known to exist, the collapse of the ice sheet will be inevitable.
  • Perhaps 25,000 years ago ice sheets began to melt and sea levels began to rise. Over several thousand years, coast lines began receded inland by as much as hundred miles.  Human civilization did not yet exist, but early societies of hunters and gatherers living along the world’s  shorelines would have watched the inundation claim their lands. Remnants of that ice age remain. A little bit of ice still clings to the mountains, but the main survivors are Greenland and Antarctica. Scientists once thought that further destruction of the ice sheets would take thousands of years. But starting in the 1970s, some warned that the ice sheets could be vulnerable and especially if the greenhouse gas emissions were not checked.
  • The race is on. Scientists are racing to understand what is happening to the ice shelf as the planet warms around it. They are also trying to measure the role of human-caused climate change in weakening other parts of the West Antarctica ice sheet, and to fathom how damaging warming seas and changing wind patterns might ultimately prove to be. To date now one seems able to answer these questions.
  • The answers carry profound implications. In the scientists’ worse case computer simulations, continued, continued global warming causes the Ross Ice Shelf to collapse starting as early as the middle of this century.

How anyone can stand and report that “global warming is a Chinese Hoax,” as President Trump stated throughout his campaign as a candidate for the presidency, I do not personally understand it. As Noam Chomsky once said “the Republican party is the worst party in history.”


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