CLIMATE WATCH - For decades, climate scientists have been sounding the alarm that unless the nations of the world stop emitting greenhouse gases global warming will bring dangerous consequences. Rather, greenhouse gases, like CO2, have escalated to new highs year-over-year without hesitation.
Now, new climate studies are exposing the results of decades of a couldn’t-care-less world interwoven within a deadly entrapment of free-market dictates of “not to worry, the market will handle it.” It hasn’t!
Ergo, the price for decades of jaded indifference is starting to run very high and maybe irreversible with a sea level calamity poised to spring loose, catching the world unprepared.
Two major new studies paint a sobering picture of unexpected sea levels well beyond anybody’s expectations. Indeed, the world is not braced for this:
- According to an article in The Guardian d/d April 10, 2023: “What experts are calling a dramatic surge in ocean levels has taken place along the US south-eastern and Gulf of Mexico coastline since 201o. (referenced study: Jianjun Yin, Decadal Acceleration of Sea Level Rise Along the U.S. East and Gulf of Mexico During 2010-2022… Journal of Climate, March 2, 2023)
- Another new study: Christine L. Batchelor, et al, Rapid, Buoyancy-Driven Ice-Sheet Retreat of Hundreds of Metres Per Day, Nature, April 5, 2023 demonstrates nightmarish rapid sea level rise based upon events in the past when ice sheets retreated in pulses of almost 2,000 feet per day during the end of the last ice age. Conditions today may be similar.
As reported by Inside Climate News, the Batchelor study has alarmed climate scientists, especially glaciologists at the top of the field like Eric Rignot (more to follow) and according to Frazer Christie, polar scientist at Scott Polar Research Center/University of Cambridge: The study showed ice sheet retreat rates up to 20 times faster than previously measured anywhere else: “It’s probably likely, in my opinion, that this rapid buoyancy driven course of retreat, could be all that’s needed to set in motion a chain of events that spirals into a more runaway style of retreat.” (Source: Global Warming Could Drive Pulses of Ice Sheet Retreat Reaching 2,000 Feet Per Day, Inside Climate News, April 5, 2023)
The Batchelor study claims that “pulses of sea level rise could also be much greater than the long-term average rates currently projected by climate models… during past geological intervals of rapid warming, there’s evidence of sea level increasing at a rate of up to 20 inches per decade during episodes of rapid sea level ice sheet disintegration,” Ibid.
According to Eric Rignot, glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine and Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: “This is an important study revealing that we have not seen anything yet in terms of how fast an ice sheet can retreat dynamically, not just melting away, but falling apart… This is not a model. This is real data. And it is frankly scary, even to me. These data should keep us awake at night,” Ibid.
Christine Batchelor, geophysicist, and a marine geology researcher at University of Newcastle said that prior studies along the Antarctic Peninsula showed a similar pattern of seafloor ridges near Larsen Ice Shelf suggesting an ice sheet retreat of up to 150 feet per day for 90 days or 6 miles of retreat per year.
The infamous Thwaites (Doomsday) Glacier in West Antarctica has an ocean-bottom that matches the Batchelor study earmarked as a “danger zone” “which has a relatively flat area just a few kilometers inland of where it is currently… so it would be a good candidate of where you might see a pulse of rapid retreat in the future,” Ibid.
According to the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration: Thwaites is losing ice faster than at any time in the past 5,000 years. And based upon an article in Scientific American d/d November 1, 2022: “Two expeditions to the Thwaites Ice Shelf have revealed that it could splinter apart in less than a decade, hastening sea-level rise worldwide.”
The Batchelor study showed the fastest rate of ice sheet retreat on record, but accordingly, depending upon “the level of warming” even faster rates are possible. This may be what is happening today. According to US climate.gov: Today’s global warming is much faster than warm periods between ice ages over the last million years.
Rignot claims: “During the time period when these events were recorded, sea level was rising 4 meters (13 feet) per century… That is 10 times what we have today. Are you scared yet? Well, you should be,” Ibid.
Meanwhile, the Jianjun Yin, University of Arizona study published in Journal of Climate: “Provides an alarming new assessment of a key ingredient of the escalating climate emergency, particularly in popular but vulnerable areas of the US where millions of people live.” (Source: Miami and New Orleans Face Greater Sea-Level Threat Than Already Feared, The Guardian, April 10, 2023)
Scientists have detected “a dramatic surge in ocean levels” along the US south-eastern and Gulf of Mexico coastlines since 2010, an increase of 5in. This is more than double the global average. The entire region is feeling the impact of sea-level acceleration. Climate scientists claim the surge is unprecedented and amplified by internal climate variabilities. Already, stories of cascading shoreline homes as well as physical movement of houses more inland occur regularly at the Outer Banks, North Carolina.
These are some of the first known studies to identify an actual surge in sea levels over the past decade as well as paleoclimate evidence of rapid pulses of ice sheet retreat and likely disintegration that are well beyond projections of sea levels by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC.
A certain level of wistfulness follows in the footsteps of these studies that depict a worsening, as well as absolutely frightening, global warming scenario that’s hastening the collapse of ice sheets that clearly and impactfully threaten modern-day civilization. But based upon blasé reactions by the world at large, it’s treated lightly, almost like it’s not reality. If it were otherwise, accepting a very harsh reality, major nations of the world would be pulling out all the stops to do whatever is necessary. Alas, this is not happening, not even close.
(Robert Hunziker, MA, economic history DePaul University, awarded membership in Pi Gamma Mu International Academic Honor Society in Social Sciences is a freelance writer and environmental journalist who has over 200 published articles appearing in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide.)