Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Best Case Scenario

In an earlier post, I described a global warming best case scenario.  If the world was able to bring down the emissions of greenhouse gases, we would have the chance to keep the rise in temperatures to below about 2.5 degrees Celsius.  Our extreme weather, the droughts, the floods, may get a little worse, but we should be able to handle it.  The next large task will be to figure out how to feed the 8 billion people that'll be on planet by 2050, but we should have the wherewithal to solve that just as the Green Revolution staved off demographic disaster in the 1970.

But there's one thing that won't be held off.  It's already on its way whatever we do about global warming.  And that's a significant rise in sea level, as I describe in a previous post: Goodbye Miami, goodbye New Orleans.  


The scientific evidence there suggests at least a two foot increase in sea level by 2030.  But events may be advancing dramatically.  As reported recently
Glaciologists Tenney Naumer, Alun Hubbard and Jason Box believe that a large melt water pulse occurred at Jackobshavn Glacier — one of the swiftest-melting glaciers on Greenland. Over recent years, it has been one of the primary hot-spots for summer Greenland ice mass loss. But during recent days, mass loss also appears to have occurred in this area."
Two weather events occurred, a January Atlantic hurricane, Alex, swept Greenland with warm air, and earlier a warm air event flowed over Greenland and into the Arctic.  It is possible that these events brought about a significant loss of ice on Greenland, one similar to what happened at the end of the last ice age which dramatically raised the sea level, and one that has produced a permanent impact on the glaciers.

This is what the scientists are saying
After the last ice age, glacial melt caused sea levels to rise rapidly by 120 meters. Large expanses of land that were once migratory paths and habitations for prehistoric civilizations gradually submerged through a series of catastrophic floods and mega-tsunami. (Meltwater Pulse 1A and 2B are discussed in the video at the bottom of this story.) If this event in Greenland is the start of another Meltwater Pulse we are effed.
and
We are in so much trouble and it is only January. 2016 is going to be a disastrous year for the Greenland ice sheet.
They present a lot of evidence at that link, including before and after pictures.  This was reported a few days ago and we'll need some scientific corroboration before getting too worried about it, but the researchers do seem very distraught.