Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the cool, sunny, breezy island of Nantucket! Great to be with you and yours on this 10th day of March, 2015, a very early and quiet start to the morning here on the Hyannis/Hyannis Port Waterfront(s), looking ahead to some fine weather coming up, as we say goodbye to yet another winter on this little sand bar created 11,500 years ago by the “Last Great Ice Age”…
“This is going to change rapidly”
Global Warming is real folks, and if you have read Sea Cape Cod over the past seven plus years, that epic point has been made as clear as the sky is blue. On HBO’s hit documentary series “Vice” (Executive Producer being Bill Maher), the topic of ‘the weather’ was front and center, with global temperature and sea rise central to this past week’s show, a must SEA if one is inclined to be in the KNOW about what is truly happening to our beautiful planet as we speak. The show also exposes the ultra right wing plutocratic arm of the U.S. government, a push by those who wish to profit off the decimation of planet earth. A sophisticated script that serves to fool most of ‘the American people’ when it comes to this most pressing of mankind’s problems. Ever replacing TRUTH with doubt and innuendo that only muddies the ever important waters of our time, with that push to DE-legitimize what 97% of top drawer world class scientists, climatologist, physicists, glaciologists, and biologists/chemists all say (with the other 3 percent of ’scientists’ becoming no more than bought puppets like Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, bought by the likes of ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, Chevron and the rest of the “Usual Suspects”), about the course of our climate and what it may mean to everyone living on said planet Earth in the not too distant future. Give it up for “The Heartland Institute” everybody! Lying to the American public since your grand daddy was knee high to a grass hopper!
“The earth is melting, and if this melts (Antarctica), mankind is in deep trouble.”
Holy Mountains of ice and snow shimmering in the blazing blue sky, Shane Smith, founder of “Vice”, a must watch documentary series, embarks on this odyssey to the bottom of the world to discover what is really happening with the world’s coldest continents. “We are 500 miles from the South Pole, as you can see there’s a lot of ice. In fact, Antarctica hold 90 percent of the world’s ice and 70% of the world’s fresh water. The problem is NASA scientists are starting to realize that Antarctica is melting and if this melts, mankind is in deep trouble. The melt rate in Greenland is 60 years ahead of previously held worse case scenarios, and it is speeding up. Moreover, Antarctica is now seeing similar melt rates to that Greenland is experiencing right NOW. From Pine Island Glacier to Kohler Glacier, the Western Antarctica ice is melting into the Amundsen Sea at alarming rates.” Mass protests world wide have erupted demanding action by world leaders to address this massive coming cataclysm, with the UN General Assembly stating recently, “…global warming is one of the biggest problems facing mankind today.”
The question Shane asks is, ‘if this is all true, why are politicians in Washington D.C. purposely lying to the American people as to the dangers posed by this epic threat?’ Fully a quarter of our citizenry don’t believe in climate change at all, and if it is it is not man made, flying in the face of empirical scientific evidence to the contrary; scientific/political consensus globally. the answer to Shane’s 64,000 dollar question may be found at the highly touted the “International Conference on Climate Change” in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the GOP snake oil salesmen bet America’s future away via blatant lies, fabrications, innuendo’s, falsehoods, fibs and whoppers, that all amount to placing doubt where TRUTH once reigned free…
Paid stooges from the oil, gas and coal industries, via the “Heartland Institute”, i.e. James Taylor, Marc Morano, Joe Bast and so many more on hand to help you understand less about your world, as they rape and pillage it in front of you! Shane asked Joe Bast, President of the dastardly Institute of lower learning, states after being asked, ‘what do you do here at this conference on climate change?’ “…Our focus is questioning (introducing doubt like it did with big tobacco in the ’80’s…), the claim that there is a consensus. That climate change is both man made and dangerous. We don’t see the data that backs up global warming is a crisis.” So there’s an argument that global warming is happening but that it it not a crisis? “Yeah, there can be an impact on climate, by the human presence, but it’s probably very small.”
Some of the “fun fact” posters at the conference read like they were written by junior high school kids, with one reading as such: “NOT MAN MADE”–complete with bullet points, 1. it’s natural variation, 2. Human impact very small, 3. computer models are flawed, 4. There is no consensus… “NOT HARMFUL”– 1. past warming was beneficial, 2. no current harms, 3. future warming will be modest, 4. warmer is better…
“I think the statement speaks for itself” (credit: the great Charles Grodin in the film “Heaven Can Wait”, circa 1978).
Knowledge; universal, necessary and certain–ever evading this not your grandfather’s GOP.
The conference ‘leaders’ told it’s members/audience once again that “the vast left wing conspiracy” (with their climatologists), are in the business of selling fear. Sorry GOP, didn’t mean to get into your area! A very real script has been put in play by the likes of blogger Marc Morano, who has perfected this ‘message’ of climate denial-ism, disciplined and dedicated to ’staying on message’; ‘getting the word out’ to the rest of the nation, with statements like, “…quite literally there are hundreds of factors that contribute to the world’s temperature.” Following it up with, “CO2 is not the tail that wags the dog, it is not the climate control knob”.
He then went on to brag, “what I do as a blogger is then sent out to radio hosts (Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, the ‘Drudge Report’ and other haters), and television networks like FOX to Capitol Hill staffers, speech writers, Senators, Congressman and sometimes even God himself!” Well, I made up that last part, but there is no ‘denying’ global warming is making Marc Morano a very wealthy man.
Back on planet earth, the real one, back to Antarctica and the epic ice melting action therein, according to world renown glaciologist at UC Irvine, Dr. Eric Rignot, “…the glacial (observing glacial movement in Patagonia; Marinelli Glacier, Chile), retreat is not part of the natural cycle. In the last twenty years it retreated more than in the past century and even more. It’s like changing the limit on the freeway from 55 mph to 550 mph.” (as thunderous booms echo into the air, glacier calving into the sea). “These changes are staggering. We actually don’t have any idea how fast some of these systems can react to climate warming. We’re in for some real trouble with big-time sea level rise.”
Antarctica is massive (one and a half the size of the entire continental U.S.); all ice, rock, with some of that ice being many kilometers thick. To get that ‘big picture’, Smith climbs aboard a re-fitted DC-8 (a NASA ‘flying laboratory’, via “Armstrong Flight Research Center”, called “Operation Ice Bridge”, with key technologies including lasers and sophisticated underwater radar that combined, give scientists the data they need to make predictions about what will most likely happen in the near future (100 years,) and beyond. Combined with an additional ten instruments on board this highly technical aircraft, the mission is to fly at 1500 feet for twelve straight hours above the icy surface of the continent, sweeping with 3000 laser shots per second, and radar to determine ice depth even under the surface of the water, under all of that ice, “an ice penetrating radar system” (different shapes and different depths determine what melting rates are), with one scientist at the bottom of the plane stating, “…we’re mapping ice to record changes from year to year, we’ve been flying routes since 1992, giving us a good time period to see how much that ice is changing. It is retreating quite rapidly, losing a lot of it’s surface elevation as well.”
Dr. Rignot goes on to say, “…Antarctica is starting to melt. We have seen in the last 40 years a regime of Westerlies (winds), around Antarctica that’s stronger than the past thousand years. So the winds are circulating faster around Antarctica. And this tends to push the subsurface warm water closer to the glaciers and brings more warm water towards Antarctica. If you keep that going, you’re going to push more and more ocean heat against the glacier, and the glaciers are going to retreat faster and faster. Because so many of these glaciers in Western Antarctica are exposed to these warm ocean waters, the ice sheets are beginning to disconnect with the continent itself.”
The “grounding line” retreat at Pine Island Glacier for example, exemplifies just how much the warming oceans are eating away (from the inside out as it were), at these massive, ancient ice structures, with more and more of those unsupported ice sheets cracking off into the ocean to drift and melt away forever. Again, Rigot stating, “…the retreat rate is enormous, a kilometer a year. I don’t think there are glaciers retreating that fast anywhere else in the world.”
He then goes on to say this about all that growing ’sea ice’ down there, “…there’s a little confusion between land ice and sea ice. They’re totally different entities, the expansion of sea ice in Antarctica is related to the wind regime. Which tends to extend the sea ice cover. The sea ice fools people, because they think that if the sea ice cover is expanding, maybe its cooler there. But it does not work that way.”
Adding, “…Pine Island, Thwaites, and it’s neighbors, contain about one meter of global sea level rise; if that whole sector goes down to sea, it will entrain the retreat of the rest of Antarctica. We’re talking about three to five meters of sea level rise.”
3 meters? Would that remap the world as we know it?
Meanwhile at “Palmer Station”, the ‘hub’ of scientific activity on the continent, there has been a 3 degree increase on the Peninsula. The research facility, housing men and women of science from all over the world, brings forth that valuable data from what is truly ‘ground zero’ for climate change, for one can see it happening literally right if front of one’s eyes. Dr. Andrew Clark, a distinguished 40 year arctic researcher, author of 215 scholarly papers on the subject matter, and one of the preeminent experts on what is ultimately happening in Antarctica said this regarding a question of why anyone in the UK or US should concern themselves with this little corner of the world? “…back home (UK), climate change isn’t obvious to them, here (Antarctica), you can see the whole environment changing in front of your eyes. There are long term temperature (from many stations), records showing unequivocally that the atmosphere is warming. WE have long data from the sea saying unequivocally that the sea is warming. WE have long term data which shows unequivocally that the behavior of the ice is changing. It is irrefutable that the area of the Western Antarctica Peninsula has a climate that is changing. I’m not aware of anything that can stop it now. WE can slow the pace of damage, maybe in the very, very long term, but for future generations to come, there’s no red button, it’s going to continue.”
Who will be affected?
“Everyone! Everyone will be affected, but particularly affected will be those countries that are predominantly in low lying areas, and by the sea. Countries like Bangladesh.”
Global studies conclude that over 300 million people will have to be accommodated by the rising sea levels. Dr. Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, Bangladesh Centre fro Advanced Studies (co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for work on climate change), states, “…if we do not find better options, then we are entering a chaotic world, where there will be millions of people disenfranchised and dislocated, which will create a global threat that our global government system will not be able to handle. It is going to be one of the greatest strategic challenges the planet has ever seen. One of the reasons Bangladesh is called one of the most vulnerable countries in the world is because a little sea level rise means a lot of area penetrated. Because it is a flat, flat, flat country. With one meter sea level rise, which is likely to happen, according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, by the end of the century, about 17% of Bangladesh will be inundated by sea level rise, salt water. The impact people are already facing, in terms of destruction of water supply, their health impacts, the impact on the productivity of crops, so all of that combined together to make, basically, living untenable. “
Shane states at the end of the program, “and with the stakes so high as with sea level rise, nothing could be more important.”
“WE are being led by lesser men than ourselves.” (current U.S. VP Joe Biden)
Have a nice week ahead folks, and week end for that matter, for as of this moment, I am on vacation! Going out to see my Dad in California for a while. So until April 1 have a good one and don’t take any wooden nickles from FOX ‘news’; side effects are as severe as the effects carbon dioxide have on our precious environment! Stay safe and I will hopefully SEA you soon!
PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M