Thursday, May 15, 2014

Global climate change is happening now

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is going to disappear.

It’s been an “uh oh” week for the doctrinaire climate change deniers:

A NASA glaciologist issued a stark report confirming that the eventual loss (melting) of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) “appears unstoppable.”

I think this is worth caring about for several reasons, not least of which is the confirmation that global climate change and global warming is actually happening now, and, ummm, it’s “global,” that’s world-wide, it’s everywhere, you can’t buy a desert island to escape it….

The WAIS contains about 528,000 cubic miles of ice, enough to raise the worldwide ocean level by about 4 feet when it’s all melted. That’s catastrophic. Just as an example: in Bangladesh, about 10 million people live on coastal land that is less than 3 feet above sea level.

The NASA scientist and his colleagues are estimating that it could take several centuries for the last vestige of the WAIS to melt into water.

I think the highest importance of this report is the inevitability part. NASA says that warming trends and changes in ocean currents that were noticed as early as the 1950s, along with destabilizing elements of the seabed under the ice, are combining to make the eventual loss of the WAIS “unstoppable.”

This is the cruel reality of some elements of the ongoing global climate change: it’s already true that some of the destructive changes can’t be reversed or stopped.

We have to get busy around the world working on technological, economic and policy changes that can slow down all the other elements of global climate change.

This is the only planet our grandchildren will have to live on.

If we don’t do something about dangerous climate change, we won’t do anything about it.

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