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.
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.