July 24th, 2009

A Dirty Vacation —
Greenland melts

Ed Note: See comments below to follow climate-change stories thru the dumb distraction of “Climategate” into the winter of 2010-11, when news comes that 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year and saw Greenland’s ice melt continue to accelerate “beyond model.”


Una sporca vacanza

In June [2009] we learned that Greenland’s ice is melting even faster than the people who closely watch such things were shocked to report two years before.

Today’s news is that things are much worse:

“Runoff in 2007 was approximately 35% greater than average for 1995-2006. From 1995 through 2007 overall, precipitation decreased while ablation increased, leading to an increased average SMB loss of 127 cubic kilometers …”

But might one shrug 2007 off as an outlier?

Uh … No. Sorry. See the 2nd comment below for a brief history of public notices re the great melt. The trend is clear and recent.

(See in particular 2000 NASA and 2003 Pentagon reports. And note that in each of the past three years the rate of melt has increased well beyond model projections — suggesting nobody really knows how fast the ice will flow to the sea.)

The Idiot Box was abuzz about Greenland for a day or two in June before Michael Jackson died. The skinny for those too busy mourning or Making Ends Meet: The coastlines known throughout recorded history will (relatively) soon be gone.

Locals might also note that another recent report (by a different research group) forecasts the Greenland melt will make things particularly bad — nearly twice the global ocean-rise average — along the North American northeast coast: 12 to 20 inches higher than the roughly two-foot average rise predicted “by 2100.”

I had a dream last week of frowning Age-of-Reagan Yuppies — today’s midlevel eager beavers and Free Marketeers, raised on patriotic television — elbowing around Manhattan in power boats. Getting Their Own. Working Hard and Playing Hard …

One wonders when coastal real estate will collapse. Perhaps in Florida the top, for the duration, is already in.

CNN reported a few months ago that the Carteret Islands in the south Pacific have lost 60% of their land to the ocean in recent years. Trying to imagine hundreds of millions of people retreating inland worldwide produces a disaster movie full of shotgun violence and sociopolitical dissolution. But perhaps people and governments will rise, with the oceans, to the occasion.

Frontierland USA, however, populated with plastic Rugged Individualists, seems less than fruitful ground for a sociable ever after. Pious inwoners of the hinterland will tell their children the submersion of Boston, New York, Philadelphia was God’s vengence upon the Liberals.

Europe seems more promising sociologically. But will the cessation of the Gulf Stream leave what remains above sea level covered with ice? And pious Likudists nodding with deep and grim satisfaction, thinking of Noah and the 1940s? Shall any ‘scape whipping by this vengeful God?

Will the grass nowhere be greener?

Perhaps the recent development of expensive gated communities with autonomous power generation in the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, Montana, has something to do with the recent hydrology — and, too, the incoherent violence of American foreign policy in the brave new century.

The Pentagon, after all, warned (itself) years ago of abrupt climate change, reporting measured declines in the flow of the Gulf Stream, and issuing new criteria re base location.

Recall the decision to abandon Homestead Air Force Base in Florida after Hurricane Andrew — a shocking decision announced in a live press conference by Secretary of Defense Cheney in 1992. People everywhere were wondering what the heck Dick was doing.

Playing catch up, the maps on the tube this past June, accompanying reports of the latest data, showed all of south Florida (north of Okeechobee on down) under water “by 2100.”

Not to speak of the Netherlands, Bangladesh, a good deal of southeast Asia …

Venice …?

A Dirty Vacation indeed …

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  1. ed says:

    The video — Una Sporca Vacanza — is by Cinzia Sarto, an old friend.

    (Just hit the Play button on the blank screen. Larger screens of same may be found by googling. This one, though small, seems to work all the time. Others foul my Mac but perhaps work with Windows ….)

    July 24th, 2009 at 10:41 am

  2. ed says:

    Public notices of note re the great meltdown:

    2000: “For the first time, we are seeing evidence that [Greenland,] one of the two great ice bodies on the Earth (the other is the Antarctic ice sheet) is contributing, in a modest fashion, to observed sea level rise.” — your friends at NASA.

    2002: The Next Ice AgeDiscover Magazine

    2003: Abrupt Climate Change and Implications for U.S. National Security — your friends at the Pentagon.

    2004: Chief Science Advisor Sir David King hit with a Gag Order by Tony Blair after publishing an alarming expose in the eminent peer-reviewed journal Science, emphasizing that global warming is an immediate threat incomparably greater than islamic terrorism. (Bad timing, Sir David: Tony in 2004 was leading Bush-Cheney to Hell on all fours.)

    2004: Melchizedek’s Cri de Coeur

    2006: Greenland is Melting FastTime Magazine

    2007: Climate Change 2007Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change

    2007: Imminent Transition to a more Arid Climate in SW North America. This isn’t re Greenland — but reports “broad consensus among climate models” for significant change within “years to decades.”

    2008: Greenland is melting even faster than we thought — review of latest data in Hydrological Processes

    2009: Carteret Islands going under — CNN

    2009: Greenland AGAIN melting faster than we thought: Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass-balance modelling and freshwater flux for 2007, and in a 1995-2007 perspectiveHydrological Processes, June 2009

    2009: Five Must Visits before Global Warming Messes Them Up — CNN

    Armchair tourists, too, may Watch Greenland melt.

    And the Arctic Ice Cap — which may for the first time in recorded history entirely melt this summer.

    And don’t forget Geology.com and Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub

    July 24th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

  3. ed says:

    Something like an editorial this weekend from the Guardian, re the Greenland and Anartica melts.

    July 27th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

  4. ed says:

    Each successive year from 2005 onward gets reported with larger rates of melt than thought.

    If melt rates continue to rise beyond model … What does “by 2100″ really mean?

    It seems to me “by 2100″ can accommodate almost anything here to there.

    July 27th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

  5. ed says:

    Big — front page Sunday — Times story from the Pentagon about the challenges rising oceans et al will pose for the people intent on dominating two thirds of the globe.

    It’s a pubic followup to the 2003 Pentagon report linked in second comment above.

    August 9th, 2009 at 10:52 am

  6. ed says:

    I’ve tried to find the maps that were all over the tube in June.

    They were simple black and white, with red for areas underwater “by 2100.”

    They are nowhere to be found by me on the web. Perhaps have been recalled as too scary or obscene.

    August 11th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

  7. ed says:

    Cri de coeur from Paul Krugman, endorsing the inconvenient truths.

    September 28th, 2009 at 6:51 pm

  8. ed says:

    The government of the Maldives holds a Cabinet meeting UNDERWATER — to dramatize the threat of rising oceans — which current estimates suggest will entirely submerge the islands “by 2100.”


    October 17th, 2009 at 3:15 am

  9. ed says:

    2009 data in at NASA.

    NASA says it was the warmest decade on record.

    And 2009 the second warmest year.


    January 21st, 2010 at 9:21 pm

  10. ed says:

    Whaddaya know. It’s back in fashion to talk about Greenland.

    Front page story in the Times re the great Green melt.


    November 14th, 2010 at 1:54 am

  11. ed says:

    Decreased cycling of the Gulf Stream is one reason why global warming provokes cooling changes in NE north america — discussed by Pentagon et al above.

    Another reason: the reflective power of increased siberian snows:


    December 29th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

  12. ed says:

    It’s official:

    2010 ties 2005 for hottest year on record.

    And breaks all time record for precipitation.


    January 12th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

  13. ed says:

    With the all-time precip record broken last year, we see, at this moment, ahistoric flooding in:

    – Brazi, with 300 dead


    – of massive proportions in Australia


    January 13th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

  14. ed says:

    Perhaps the top climate-change blog — CLIMATE PROGRESS — reviews the bad and very scientific news from 2010:


    January 19th, 2011 at 11:20 am

  15. ed says:

    ?? Greenlanders on Arctic Circle get the sun back two days early due to glacier melt. ??


    January 20th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

  16. ed says:

    2010 sees largest Greenland melt since the watch began in 1979


    January 21st, 2011 at 10:46 pm

  17. ed says:

    More about the Day-After-Tomorrowlike inversion of the northern hemisphere’s winters: two winters in a row now of frigid air in the temperate zones and radically warmer air in the arctic, where much of the ice cap is gone.


    Relates to the piece about Siberian snow — six comments above

    January 24th, 2011 at 9:35 am

  18. ed says:

    Carol Browner — Obama’s Climate Change chief — suddenly quits


    January 24th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  19. ed says:

    more of same — arctic and greenland melting beyond model


    May 3rd, 2011 at 10:37 pm

  20. ed says:

    18 months later — More of same again — the arctic melting far faster than modeled


    October 6th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

  21. Recommended Reading says:

    Recommended Reading

    Conversation » A Dirty Vacation – Greenland melts

    December 28th, 2015 at 11:33 pm

  22. circuit maldives famille says:

    Salut, comme toujours un texte digne d’intérêt. Merci sincèrement d’avoir pris le temps d’écrire ces texte. Au plaisir de visiter le prochain texte : Bien pensé et utile, manifique page web. Vous nous proposez une belle prospective. A bientôt et merci à vous tous !

    October 28th, 2016 at 6:08 am

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