Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dramatic Increase In Arctic Temperature

New findings show a dramatic increase in atmospheric temperature in the Arctic.  What is happening in the Arctic has been my interest for some time, ever since I read about the PETM, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.  This occurs at the boundary of the Paleocene and Eocene, and was initially known as a time of the greatest loss of sea life in the history of our planet.  Later it became clear that a very large amount of methane flowed into the atmosphere, possibly from the release of methane hydrates in the sea floor.  The result was acidification of the oceans killing off most carbonate sea life and sea life dependent on them.

Another consequence was a dramatic increase in atmospheric temperature.  The PETM is a case study for what is now happening now.  We are putting many times more CO2 into the atmosphere than what had happened then, and so, if we do nothing, the result will be something far worse.   Sea levels rose more than 100 feet, and global temperatures increased 9 degrees Fahrenheit.   But one interesting thing is the how much the Arctic warmed up.  The Arctic is the canary of global warming. And as the research shows, the Arctic has had a warming of 12 degrees Fahrenheit as of now.

So the Arctic canary is telling us, that we are already well on our way.