SNS: Special Letter: Diminishing Arctic Sea Ice

SNS: Special Letter: Diminishing Arctic Sea Ice


Volume 14, Issue 38
Week of October 10, 2011

In This Issue

Feature: Special Letter: Diminishing Arctic Sea Ice

  • Introduction: Why the Arctic?
  • Arctic Sea-Ice Extent: Three Analyses
  • Seasonal Trends of Sea-Ice Melt
  • Sea Ice Extent vs. Area
  • Sea Ice Extent/Area vs. Thickness/Volume
  • Model Projections
  • Model Limitations
  • Hierarchical Arctic System Modeling
  • About Wieslaw Maslowski


Publisher’s Note: It occurred to me several years ago that the most important place to look for the evidence of manmade global climate change would be at the poles. While ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers spent millions of dollars on a “Deny, Dither, and Delay” program almost identical to that earlier followed by cigarette companies, the world’s scientists have been busy compiling mountains of new evidence of the unprecedented degree of warming the planet is currently undergoing.

In the face of this mounting cacophony of Fake Science delivered by non-specialists – at a time when global scientific minds in the field are virtually unanimous – I realized that we needed a simple metric to bring the BS to an end, and to get on with the planet-scale discussion of how to respond to this set of changes.

It’s hard to argue with melting ice.

For this reason, I decided to look at both poles, and those reading SNS already are aware of the results: undeniable record melting.

When I thought about it a bit more, with some help from FiRe Advisory Board member Larry Smarr, I realized that there was one agency in the world that had the most at stake in figuring out the truth of this situation: the U.S. Navy. Its mandate to Protect and Defend is about to radically change, as the poles turn into navigable drilling sites, sea lanes, and attack routes.

At FiRe 2012, we were fortunate enough to be able to find someone who combined all of these features into one great resume. Wieslaw Maslowski, a scientist from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, is not only a global authority on the scientific issues of Arctic ice melt, but also comes to us courtesy of the U.S. Navy. The result is this week’s Special Letter, perhaps the most frightening document I have seen this year, but also one of the most well-researched, conservative, and carefully considered. Indeed, for the sake of members (many of whom are not scientists), I have taken the liberty of adding an occasional summary sentence, and of italicizing many of Wieslaw’s sentences which I think carry summary information. (Those italics are solely my own.)

It’s far past time for us to get beyond the oil and coal lobbies and their propaganda, and move into useful conversation with the rest of the world on how we will proceed in addressing the question of planetary warming, something best visually understood by the rapid elimination of ice in the Arctic. – mra.

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