Climate Change Factoid – Can Humanity Survive? (#20 of a Series)

Greenhouse gases have an exceptionally long lifespan in the atmosphere. David Archer, apparently the foremost scientist (a climatologist) addressing this issue, explains why the extra CO2 introduced to the atmosphere over the passed 200 years should be expected to remain aloft, trapping heat, for at least another 1,000 years. He is joined in that assessment by Susan Solomon of NOAA. This fact carries powerful and frightening implications.

Heat has, generally speaking, been increasing from year to year, for the past two decades. During that same two decade period, scientific researchers have been steadily reporting a decline in the amount of ice on earth as the building heat continues to melt the glaciers and polar caps at a rate faster than the annual snowfalls can replace. Year after year, more heat – less ice and the rate of melting increasing as it goes. What’s that going to mean to us?

Since we are now pretty much guaranteed that the “more heat – less ice” trend will continue. The thousand year lifespan will keep CO2 at its current levels preventing any decline in the heating trend. Each year there is less ice for the increasing heat to melt so we should probably expect the rate of melting to increase dramatically in the near term. An ice free planet will become a reality much sooner than presently thought. The Arctic is expected to be free of summer ice within the next 3-5 years. How soon for Antarctica and Greenland? Who knows,? So far, every prediction by the scientific community, as to “how long” before a particular portion of the ice inventory is completely melted, has been woefully inaccurate. Their early predictions for when the Arctic’s summer ice would be gone was next century – now its down to 3-5 years. “More heat – less ice – 1,000 years” may soon become the central focus of the entire climate change discussion.

One thing “more heat-less ice” means for certain is that our current strategy, which calls for universal “carbon footprint reduction” cannot and will not produce any relief – even if we reduced our worldwide carbon footprint to zero by tomorrow morning. Since the “more heat – less ice – 1,000 years” phenomenon is already ongoing it will continue no matter what we do, save the mechanical scrubbing of the CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering it below ground where it can no longer contribute to the greenhouse effect. Avoiding the consequences of climate change merely by changing our future behavior vis-a-vis CO2 is now a fully lapsed option.

Another thing “more heat – less ice – 1,000 years” means is that the scientific community’s current estimates of how hot it is going to get are largely useless, because they have failed to take into account the effect that the expectable absence of heat absorbing ice will have on rising temperatures. Currently, global heat is dramatically reduced because much of it is neutralized by the melting of ice. Once the ice is gone, temperatures will be free to rise to levels we can’t even estimate since, in the past, earth has always had ice in abundance.

When the outcome of an event which happens over time becomes both known and unavoidable, it is said to have entered into its “end game.” Most of us still believe there is plenty of time to head this off when in fact the door has already closed on the possibility of steering clear of climate change merely by changing our relationship with oil. Now, we must look to technology for our salvation and hope we are clever enough to “catch up” in this deadly game which up to now, we have already lost.

(Peer-reviewed research, supporting the claims made in this factoid, can be found at the web site shown below)

Source by Rich Albertson

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