What a summer we’ve had eh, not just here in the UK where it was terrible, but globally; a season where weather went mad and Arctic ice caps took a long-awaited vacation from their comfy ocean abodes, whisked into the atmosphere by a warming world and natural craziness that literally none of us saw coming. Considering the summer isn’t actually even over yet, the impact of these factors is made all the more potent, and is much of the reason for such fervour in the media over drought, floods and food prices. What next?
Well for one thing, more ignorant foolishness is on the horizon, in the form of offshore drilling, perhaps the most lucrative and most idiotic fossil fuel resource we [apparently] have easy access to. Whose leading the revolution at sea? Why Shell of course, with backing by the American Interior and Obama’s government.
As we all have undoubtedly heard via the blaring sirens of the news outlets and internet aggregators, summer Arctic ice hit some pretty fancy milestones last month; let’s go over them quickly to put this post into context.
The level of melt reached its peak last August, on the 26th, falling to levels not seen for 30 years of recording, and a full 3-4 weeks before the usual point at which summer temperatures drive the highest reductions in ice, around mid-September. Not only was this melt way off the charts in terms of rapidity and severity, but it has now been touted as a rate so ‘amazing’ that it is considered by Dr Hansen, the famed climate scientist, to be unprecedented in scale in at least as much as 1,500 years, let alone 30, and that we as polluters should be trembling in our boots.
Carrying on with this theme, Hansen recently released a video detailing data for Northern Hemisphere average temperatures, where he compares 1951-1980 ranges to 2000-2011 records, and there’s an obvious contrast. The most common peak temperatures are a whole standard deviation away from the 1951-1980 means, and altogether the data shows deviations of up to 5 towards warmer temperatures, effectively stating that as we’ve progressed as a society, the past decade has seen more N Hemisphere warming than the whole 30 year period studied prior. It’s not a huge leap of logic to see that these massively pumped up temperatures, only set to increase, are likely responsible for most, if not all of the accelerated ice-melt being experienced in the Arctic.