Meanwhile up in the Arctic…

While many people who have lived their entire lives down here on the balmy wet coast of British Columbia may not have seen it firsthand, most of us who have lived in the north will tell you the climate has changed,and continues to change.

When I was a child,winters in Prince George would routinely bring periods of extreme cold – it was not uncommon to have sustained temperatures of -40 to -45 celsius and even longer periods in the -30 to -35 range. We always had tons of snow and I even have a photo of one year where the snowbanks on either side of the driveway reached up to nearly 8 feet, with a yard depth of likely 5.

Those were the days… and long gone they’ve been for years. I’m not a scientist,or a climatologist,nor am I a flake with a tin foil hat heralding the world is about to blow up in ball of flame – in fact I think the entire carbon offset deal is a scam that makes a few people a ton of money – but my personal belief is that the climate and weather are changing.  And there is a new video out there that has the scientific community buzzing as they wait and see what happens next, and what impact, if any, it will have environmentally.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations, Environmental Visualization Laboratory recently posted a time-lapse video of the Arctic ice breaking up in the Beaufort Sea, and it is catching the attention of scientists,meteorologists and climatologists everywhere.

Something to consider is that the ice in the Arctic does normally develop these cracks etc., but this particular event happened much earlier than usual, 51 days earlier in fact. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/03/breaking-arctic-ice-breaks-up-in-beaufort-sea-paul-beckwith/

Secondly, this follows last years record record-breaking loss of sea ice, reported by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/tag/arctic-sea-ice/page/2/

CBC did a good report on that, last year as well: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/09/19/arctic-ice-cover-melt.html

You are likely wondering, what this all means, or could mean, and why I am blogging about this with the plethora of material being provided by the shite that passes for politics in B.C right now.

It’s simple. Because many believe this event could be a game-changer for the estimated time period for when we reach the first summer when there is no sea ice in the Arctic.

I spoke with Paul Beckwith, who brought this video to my attention recently, and this is what he had to say:

“The Arctic warms much faster because as the snow and ice area decreases more sunlight is absorbed there, as opposed to being reflected by the white surfaces.  Since the Arctic warms much faster than the equator the temperature difference decreases.  This decreases the speed of the jet streams and makes them wavy instead of west to east.  The jet streams guide our weather patterns, so as the jet stream change the weather patterns change.

We get more frequent, intense, and unusual droughts, heat waves, rain events, etc. “

Paul states that he believes we may not see any sea ice left this summer.

Others disagree and are taking a more conservative wait and see what happens approach, but either way, this video sparks discussion and brings attention to a very important issue facing not only Canadians, but the entire world.  I personally don’t know enough to agree or disagree with anyone,but after doing some research I do agree the public needs to see this video and consider possible implications.

It bothers me that some people will protest the Enbridge pipeline because our environment is so precious – it definitely is – yet then sit back and laugh at real changes that are happening around the world, changes like record low sea ice levels. Changes like the ice that does come back every fall, is thinner and more fragile and susceptible to breaking up from tidal events, or storms.

These changes are making life difficult for polar bears: http://news.yahoo.com/melting-ice-means-no-dinner-polar-bears-eating-215310763.html

And they are also making life difficult for some Inuit populations: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/as_arctic_melts_inuit_face_tensions_with_outside_world/2577/

These changes are very real. You can’t make it up, no one concocted these events, it’s happening as you read this. It’s likely not something that is in your face, because you don’t see it, but what happens in the Arctic should be something you think about.

All of this is very relevent now, because we have an election soon upon us in British Columbia and the environment has been overshadowed by the nonstop politicking and many scandals still playing out in the media.

I think we can agree that we need to carefully balance our economic needs and resource industry with our environment. I think we can agree that we need to be pushing governments to make new priorities with regards to big issues that impact the environment and climate like transit,transportation,industrial pollution, as well as fostering new industries and revenue streams that are green.

There are no easy answers, nor solutions. But whether you believe the climate is changing or not, one thing is certain: the ice doesn’t lie.

This entry was posted in BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Enbridge, Federal politics, forestry, Independent power projects, Laila Yuile, P3 projects in BC, The China Connection, The Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Meanwhile up in the Arctic…

  1. davidtrudel says:

    Excellent post Laila. Thanks for looking at the forest, not just the trees.

    Like

  2. RossK says:

    I agree with David, above. An excellent long form blog post that contains material that matters. Thanks for all the new information worth seriously considering.

    Like

  3. Christine Clarke says:

    Climate changes. Period. It always has and always will. That’s not the real question. The real question is whether or not what the human species is doing that may or may not be affecting it. I think you’ve taken some facts out of context. You say you are not a scientist — neither am I, yet I come across different articles than you do. I come across articles that say that there are more polar bears than ever in the Arctic, articles that say that the scientists who originally blamed us for global warming have come out now and said they were wrong. What I do know is that what we do in BC is a spit in the proverbial bucket of earthly pollution. Please don’t misunderstand my comments. I believe that we should be good stewards of the environment. It’s the only one we’ve got. I just think that whatever we do is “token” when you look at the world’s super polluters and we shouldn’t get so full of ourselves to think that we can really make a difference beyond setting an example here in BC.

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    • John Wise says:

      Yes climate has always changed. And at times in the past CO2 levels have been much higher than they are now,and average temperatures have been higher. But what research has been showing is that those levels were reached relatively slowly. What is different in the last couple of hundred years is the rate of CO2 and temperature increase. And it is our emissions that are driving that increase. And ecosystems may not have time to adapt.

      Like

  4. Laila says:

    First I agree that climate change has always happened over the earths history and always will.

    Believe what you like, I believe human activity does impact in many ways what is happening now, and I agree the big polluters are more often than not, the most egregious offenders.

    I think you have taken my post out of context completely, because if you actually read the link I’ve posted about polar bears, it mentions the conflicting information on polar bear populations but specifically points out how sea ice is impacting their hunting and their time on the ice…. something no one disputes. Please do not put words in my mouth or infer that I implicate something I have not. My words are: ” These changes are making life difficult for polar bears” And they are. No where did I comment on populations.

    I find your comment that we shouldnt get so full of ourselves to think we can really make a difference really offensive Christine. If British Columbians stood up and demanded more stringent guidelines for corporate and industrial polluters and commercial transport vehicles and the government complied with that, it would be a huge change.

    Like I said, whether you agree in climate change or not, the ice doesnt lie. And I happen to think that humans can make difference so we will have to agree to disagree.

    Like

    • Christine Clarke says:

      Please accept my apology if I offended you. The remark was not meant to you per se, but to humans in general. I didn’t suggest that we do nothing. On the contrary, I said that we should be good stewards of our environment. That would include more stringent guidelines for polluters and transport vehicles etc. I think we may have misunderstood one another.

      Like

    • Julie says:

      They clocked one Polar Bear that swam for eight days, to reach an ice floe to hunt from. That was the distance from Calgary to Vancouver.

      When mother Polar bears have to swim out too far to hunt, the baby Polar Bears can’t swim that far and drown. Some mother Polar Bears kill their cubs, if they know they can’t take care of them.

      I am dead set against the Enbridge pipeline. That dirty oil goes to a very polluted country. Smog so thick, it turns day into night. Chinese people wear face masks and respirators, when they go out of doors. China has lost much of their farmland and clean water to pollution. Other country’s by China are worried by China pollution drifting into their country’s, contaminating their food crops and water. It isn’t all about climate change. There are other disasters along with the tar sands. Alberta lakes and waterways, now have tar sands pollution in them too.

      I’m sure we have all noticed climate change. It has certainly changed since I was a girl, on the prairies. 40 below was quite frequent back then. The weather is extreme. Floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornado’s, all more severe and more in number.

      Like

  5. Peter says:

    Time for someone to pull their head out of the (Alberta tar) sands.
    Time for Clark and Herr Harper to exit. No matter how significant (or insignificant) climate change is, it’s always better to side on caution. Oil companies don’t give a damn about us, so why should we care about Big Oil?

    Like

  6. Davood Hersh says:

    Prince George isn’t the Arctic, far from it.

    Like

    • Laila says:

      Nooooo….. Really?

      Like

      • nonconfidencevote says:

        ahahahaha
        apparently Davood hasnt experienced a -40 winter with wind chill to -60.
        Ahhhhh the good old days eh Laila :)

        Like

        • Laila says:

          Clearly not..lol… Although I complained about the cold as a child… imagine this, the school bus stopped running at -35c..lol… so my mom would have the old Monarch plugged in and would drive us to school… that was life then in the winter… I bet the school buses havent had to cancel pickups in over a decade because of cold!

          Yes they call them the good old days because they dont happen anymore….

          Like

  7. Astro says:

    Davood, you are right, Prince George is not in the Arctic, but those temperatures were not uncommon for its winters.
    If you like more proof of global warming, drive down the Icefield Parkway from Jasper to Banff. About halfway in between them is the Columbia Icefield. It melts and goes into the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. However, in the ground, are markers that show where the edge of the glacier was. You can easily see how much it has shrunk over the last few decades. This is very vivid proof that we are experiencing warming and climate change.

    Like

    • Julie says:

      I used to live in Jasper. It really is horrifying how the Columbia Icefield is vanishing.

      Many glaciers around the world are shrinking. If the glaciers vanish, so do the rivers. Country’s such as India, use the rivers to irrigate food crops.

      Like

      • Laila says:

        I hate to say I am old enough to have walked on portions that haven’t existed in more than a decade… eeek!

        Like

        • nonconfidencevote says:

          Calgary’s water relies on glacier melt as well as rain. One wonders, when the glaciers are gone and the rains are infrequent……how will cities like Calgary ( or that environmental abomination Las Vegas) survive?

          Like

  8. workforfun says:

    Aonther excellent post Laila.
    It would not be too bad if we had a federal government that is concerned with climate change, artic warming, environmental pollution and cares about Canadians and their health and wellbing.
    Unfortunately, we are blessed with a government that gives little thought to the well being of the planet and it’s inhabitants – but would rather commit large amounts of money on pushing party propaganda and accuse anyone that does not agree with the governments views as either child pornography supporters or radical extremists.
    Things are starting to get very serious when MP’s cannot bring up constituentcy concerns – only party bullshit is allowed ! The Harper Conservatives are doing a bang up job at characterizing everyone that doesn’t agree with them as being “enemies of the government” – nary a thought about Canada and Canadians.
    Unfortunately, Canada is only just starting to see the destructive side of our Harper – muzzling scientists, refusing to publish scientific results that are important, destroying wild salmon runs, poisoning the Athabasca river, pushing oil company concerns and projects and risking the environment like no other prime minister has done in the history of this country.
    We are being governed by a “dictatorship” that is slowly and surely upsetting the public. It is just a matter of time before there will be serious social consequnces over the corporate greed currently being allowed.
    Thanks

    Like

    • Laila says:

      Thank you workforfun.

      There is indeed, a lot of bullshit out there.If I can bring a breathe of fresh air, thats a good thing. If I can get rid of the bullshit, even better.

      Like

  9. Thanks for writing about this Laila – I’ve posted the last few verses of my song…
    .
    Yes, we are the merchants of death and despair
    without guns – without bombs and it’s all very fair
    we trade in the business of carbon from oil so
    dying so quietly, dying so freely, we’re dying for deals with impunity

    And now there is no where to run or to hide
    together we sink and together we die
    we trade in the future – not yours and not mine
    killing so quietly, killing so freely, we’re killing ourselves with impunity…

    Click to listen: http://priscillajudd.ca/music/?page_id=610

    Like

  10. Julie says:

    Sorry off topic.

    Meant to ask? Has anyone heard about the F.N. around Port Alberni, worried about Harper permitting China to buy into the resources, mining and logging they said. They are very worried about their lands and waterways being contaminated. If we or F.N. try to block China’s intrusion into Vancouver Island, China is permitted to sue Canada. That was in Harper’s Omnibull-S-Bill. How much more of this province, is Harper going to destroy?

    Like

    • nonconfidencevote says:

      Dang! I knew that harper “itch” was gonna get scratched.

      Like

      • Canadianbud says:

        lol, More of a serious eczema than itch is Comrade Harper.
        We need to be vigilant and quit referring to our Canadian Government as “his” rather than the peoples. Yes, the guy’s a despot ruler bent on totalitarianism, but let’s not give the small itch a bad name.. let him stand for the worst skin eczema that has ever been discovered as is his want.

        Like

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