Home > Climate breakdown, Global warming > Arctic “death spiral” leaves climate scientists shocked and worried

Arctic “death spiral” leaves climate scientists shocked and worried

A truly disturbing article (yet again!) this morning from the Vancouver Observer. Here are some of the words climate scientists have been using recently to describe the recent, unprecedented decline in Arctic sea ice witnessed this past summer: “unprecedented”, “amazing”, “extreme”, “hard to exaggerate”, “incredibly fast”, “death spiral” and “heading for oblivion”.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“A “radical shift” is plunging the Arctic Ocean towards an ice-free state for the first time in millions of years. One of the world’s foremost ice experts, Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, calls it a “global disaster” that will cause such a big boost in global temperatures that even such extreme measures as geo-engineering need to be considered urgently.

“This jaw-dropping acceleration of Arctic sea ice collapse is completely out-stripping the worst case scenarios of the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC reports are the primary source of climate science used by world leaders, policy makers, businesses and citizens to decide the urgency and level of action needed.

“A recent CBC report on these CryoSat-2 results was blunt: “Arctic ice could vanish in 10 years, scientists warn … Arctic sea ice is melting at a pace so much faster than once thought that the latest projections say it might disappear by as soon as 2022.

“Pumping ever more carbon into our economy, while ignoring most of it when making policy decisions, seems increasingly reckless. It increases the pace of climate change while also increasing our economy’s exposure to carbon risk.”

Read the full article: Arctic “death spiral” leaves climate scientists shocked and worried | The Vancouver Observer.

  1. November 5, 2012 at 10:21 am

    The summer melting of the Arctic ice cap is a serious concern. At the same time, we have to be careful about extrapolating current trends uncritically into the future. Many factors (including climate change) combine to affect the volume of ice that remains after the summer melt season (see my post at

    http://itstheecologystupid.com/2012/10/07/melting-arctic-ice/#more-180 )

    These factors could reinfoce current trends or reverse them over the short to medium term. The other thing to bear in mind is that Arctic Ice is unlikely to vanish altogether. Seasonal ice woudl still form during th ewinter, but the thick multi-year ice would likely be gone.

  1. November 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

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