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Lions And Tigers And Bears! Oh My!
By Ernest Stewart

"The world is probably at the start of a runaway greenhouse event which will end most of human life on Earth before 2040." ~~~ Dr. Guy McPherson

A lot of what I've written about global warming this year concerns Antarctica; mostly because of all the reporting about its rapid changes and historical high temps; but the Arctic on the other side of the globe is also going through those same changes. Even the fascists down in Florida are beginning to catch on -- no matter what the Bozos they've elected to office say.

There's a new booklet just out from the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council to coinside as the United States assumes the chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council later this month that may explain to even the brain dead what is currently happening and what penalties we'll pay if we chose to keep on ignoring global warming; it sends the message of "What Happens in the Arctic Doesn't Stay in the Arctic."

It warns of four changes that will affect the way you live -- and, perhaps, if you'll live. The first warns of:

Changing your weather! It explains how a warming Arctic rearranges the Jet Stream. The folks out in California are learning all about what this means to their drought -- as does much of the Southwest. That's some 80 million people who are going to either have to move, or learn to live without water, which, of course, is impossible!

Two: The National Research Council booklet also notes that warming oceans could have a substantial effect on the fishing industry, which prowls the Arctic and sub-Arctic for a crucial part of its catch. They warn that:
"About half of the U.S. fish catch comes from subarctic waters. Atlantic cod, for example, have been displacing the endemic polar cod in the waters surrounding the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard. In addition, rising temperatures and an influx of fresh water from melting ice can cause rippling effects through the marine food chain. In the North Atlantic, for example, scientists project that ocean warming will cause shifts in the spawning and feeding grounds of several economically-important fish populations, including Arctic cod, herring, and capelin."
Three: They warn about rising sea levels, something that Pacific islanders are learning about much to their peril!
"The melting of ice on land in the Arctic - whether from glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic, or the Greenland ice sheet - contributes to sea level rise that does not stay in the Arctic, but rather, spreads around the world. Greenland is of course the biggest potential contributor, since if it were to melt entirely, it would cause 20 feet of sea level rise."
A couple of examples might be that most of Manhattan Island as well as about half of Florida would disappear beneath the waves and that's just one small bit of the ice caps. The typical Rethuglican answer to this problem is perhaps best illustrated by the legislature down in North Carolina which has forbidden, by law, for any state employees to mention global warming in any public reports. Remember that Greenland affects every coastline and island group in the world!

Four: Global Warming.

Finally, changes in the Arctic are expected to amplify global warming itself. The principal way this is happening is through the thawing of frozen ground or permafrost, which covers much of the Arctic, and which contains huge stores of frozen carbon.

Recent scientific analysis has affirmed that Arctic permafrost is packed with carbon - some 1,580 gigatons worth, and that may be a low end estimate. Once this genie is out of the bottle, we're screwed, folks. As the National Research Council explains:
"Plants are essentially made of carbon. When a plant dies in a temperate area, it decomposes, releasing some of its carbon into the air and some into the soil. But when a plant dies in a place too cold for decomposition, it simply stays put, locking its carbon in place."
You may recall that once upon a time the Arctic was temperate, so warm, in fact, that for millions and millions of years dinosaurs flourished there, along with all that accompanying vegetation. True, it wasn't constantly warm, and the vast herds of dinosaurs migrated like the caribou do today -- so as temperatures rise, all that carbon gets released -- making global warming warm even faster! "Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my," indeed!


08-25-1922 ~ 04-21-2015
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(c) 2015 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for 13 years was the managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter.

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