Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Only Thing You Can Count On From Here on In Is - Nothing, Really.

Those who keep an eye on the dazzling breadth and pace of the onset of climate change impacts know that 1) there's nothing linear in this process, and, 2) we're constantly caught unawares, taken by surprise.  Based on what has transpired over the last 20 years, it's a safe bet that if someone gives you a "worst case" scenario for the next 10 or 20 years they'll probably be proven wrong and, in most cases, that won't be a good thing,

So, what's up this week? The big news is what is being called the "Atlantification" of the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean is warming so rapidly that it may soon transform into an upper arm of the Atlantic Ocean, researchers say. 
A study published this week in Nature Climate Change shows how the Barents Sea in Scandinavia, where Atlantic waters enter the Arctic basin, has become a warming "hot spot," with temperatures spiking 2.7 degrees F since 2000. 
The changes and accompanying loss of sea ice have caused the sea to exhibit qualities more in common with the Atlantic ocean, including most notably a sharp upward tick in salinity. "Model simulations have indicated Atlantic-type conditions in the northern Barents Sea by the end of the century, but according to our results, this is likely to happen much faster," researchers wrote. 
As reported by Earther
What that means for the region and the Arctic as a whole is an open question. We're already witnessing weird happenings in the Arctic every year at this point, from bizarre winter sea ice disappearances to heat waves at the North Pole to massive storms. Scientists are racing to understand these changes. What saltier, warmer seas mean for the ocean creatures that inhabit the region, the fisheries that have relied on them, and the future of ice are just a few more questions that need urgent attention.

And we think we can fix this with a smidge of carbon pricing? That's rich.


Lorne said...

The context you provide here, Mound, is one people and their 'leaders' are assiduously and intentionally blind to.

The Mound of Sound said...

It does seem, Lorne, that, with each passing year, we're falling further and further behind this problem.

Lately I've been pondering why we are realizing such dismal outcomes from our civil and military efforts. I think it's the inverted approach so commonplace in neoliberalism. In short we don't begin by measuring the problem and then crafting a solution appropriate to that measurement. When the solution isn't tailored to the problem you're wasting your time.

Our farcical frolic in Afghanistan is a case in point. We agreed to take over the combat role in Kandahar province, a fairly large province with a fairly substantial population. We allocated a combined force, combat and support personnel, 2,500 strong.

Counter-insurgency doctrine prescribed a combat force of 15,000 to 20,000 troops plus an appropriate support contingent, for a mission of that type. We had a small fraction of the required strength.

Our diminutive force left us having to retreat behind the wire into garrison at night. That was the losing tactic the French employed in both Algeria and Viet Nam. That allowed the bad guys to control the entire territory at night plus all the places you weren't patrolling during the day. That meant the civilian population could not be defended from the insurgents, instantly causing us to lose the "hearts and minds" campaign. All we did was play "whack-a-mole."

Our response to climate change adopts a similar approach. We set aspiration goals to which we implement gestural (at best) responses. This is almost entirely divorced from the problem we won't identify or even measure. We wind up with political goals and gestural responses that, to some minds, look good but will ultimately achieve bugger all.

Trailblazer said...

we cannot change much until the USA comes into line or perhaps the rest of the world provides a solid opposition to their climate denial.