Graphic showing the process by which the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting.
Dog- sledding near Chena Hot Springs, AK in March, 2005. We were unable to go as far as we would have liked because the much higher temperatures had melted the surface ice.
The news that last Wednesday saw record high temperatures in Greenland, 40 degrees above normal, and a record melt event over the Greenland Ice Sheet triggered more cause for concern among climate scientists. According to Zachary Labe, a climate researcher at the University of California -Irvine (quoted in The Washington Post):
"It's another series of extreme events consistent with the long term trend of a warming, changing Arctic..
Meanwhile, Marco Tedesco - an ice researcher at Columbia University, quoted in the same article, noted it's "been extremely warm in east and central Greenland, adding:
"This has triggered widespread melting that has reached about 45 percent of the ice sheet"
In addition, Jennifer Francis - a leading researcher studying the connections between Arctic change and mid-latitude weather - has noted the relation of Arctic changes to deformation in the jet stream. She also was one of those who had indicated that such changes could well have played a role in the extreme jet stream patterns that in recent months have wreaked havoc. That includes spawning tornado swarms and record flooding in the central U.S. during the last two weeks in May. The analogy here has been made to "a refrigerator door left open" - with intensified warming displacing the normally cold air that remains in the Arctic.
In her words, referencing last week's record Greenland melt:
"The jet stream this week was one of the craziest I've ever seen!...We can't say yet that the Arctic warming is causing this particular pattern, but it is certainly consistent with that."
This is serious and has grave repercussions continued local (e.g. mid-latitude) weather disruptions as well as sea level rise. The most critical connection is to the clear change in planetary albedo (the reflecting surface).
Here on Earth we are faced with a positive albedo feedback mechanism playing a major role - driving us toward the runaway. This concept was well explicated by Sagan in one of his essays, 'Ambush : The Warming of the World', in his book: 'Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Beginning of the Millennium':
One problem with educating the global citizenry on the existential crisis of greenhouse warming, is that information tends to be localized. Hence, a resident of New Delhi may have no clue of the tumultuous havoc wrought in the U.S. with massive flooding, hundreds of tornadoes and what not. Similarly, the typical U.S. resident may have no clue of the rising, infernal temperatures in Delhi lately, reaching a record 118.4 degrees on June 10 As one VOX media piece put it: "Caucus voters in flood-ravaged Iowa, can see climate disruption simply by looking out the window."
This information disconnect means too many are unaware of global warming as a global phenomenon. Even worse, the Trump cabal - "graduated" from climate change deniers to planet destroyers - is now determined to actively interfere in research by federal scientists. As The New York Times reports , those scientists who prepared the National Climate Assessment will now be instructed not to include the worst-case scenarios of climate change in their reports, so the full extent of potential impacts will be hidden from readers. They will also be asked to project their model results through 2040 instead of the end of the century, masking some of the most dire effects of climate change.
Compounding that, the Trump criminal enterprise is reportedly setting up a “review panel” to publicly scrutinize the conclusions of the National Climate Assessment
Blogger John Atcheson- much like Harvard's Anderson - put the current crisis in stark perspective when he observed:
That leaves humans with a Hobson's choice decision: Enjoy more comfort today using more fossil fuels, e.g. for a/c, heating, plane trips, car trips etc. and toss the planet into the dustbin for future generations. OR shape up, cut back on consumption, allow carbon taxes and at least provide a chance (albeit slim) of leaving their progeny with a halfway livable world.