Great news here! Oil companies are going to have a great opportunity to drill in the Arctic Sea floor to find more fossil fuels, because the Arctic Circle will soon be ice-free in the summers -- making it very cost effective for drilling the last place we have not drilled for more oil.
So be happy! Gas prices are going to go down, you can invest in more profitable oil stocks, shipping lanes will open giving a shorter route than Panama, which will also increase transportation and thus increase oil consumption. It is a real win-win for America!
And heck, you can invest in beachfront property in the Arctic. Just this past summer because the sea ice was missing, kids in the Arctic circle could go swimming with the temps in the mid 80's.
Oh wait, you are wondering if there is any downside to this news? Well, just a few things ... but don't continue reading if you want to make your money guilt free ...
So what if the Arctic becomes ice free in the summer -- what's the big deal?
For starters, once the Arctic ice opened in 2007 with the arrival of the long sought Northwest passage, something significant was set in motion that had an exponential effect. The ice had been blocking currents from the Atlantic and Pacific from entering the Arctic circle, but once they did encroach upon the Arctic, they brought in significantly warmer currents, starting a feedback loop of warming. This was an effect that scientists had not anticipated as little as a decade ago, which is why all the models for climate change are being drastically revised with shocking changes due to occur in years and decades instead of centuries.
And this from Martin Sommerkorn of the World Wildlife Fund:
Such a loss of Arctic sea ice cover has recently been assessed to set in motion powerful climate feedbacks which will have an impact far beyond the Arctic itself. This could lead to flooding affecting one-quarter of the world's population, substantial increases in greenhouse gas emissions from massive carbon pools and extreme global weather changes.
This video done by Al Jazeera on Greenpeace reports on the new phenomena of tropic temperature water in the Arctic.
And what does this mean for the Indigenous Arctic peoples?
For the first time, people in the Arctic are reporting changes in the types of fish they catch and birds they see in their regions, with species of both fish and birds arriving from temperate climates. Native wildlife such as walrus, seals and polar bears are all becoming thinner and scarcer. Most alarming is the new presence of the sound of thunder, which is usually foreign in the Arctic circle.
Elders of these areas, have told oral folk myths, one of which warns that should the ice ever disappear during the summer, their way of life will end. This has been, until recently, a myth that seemed impossible, with the vast expanse of sea ice seeming to last forever.
For some, like the Kivalina of the coast of Alaska, the changes also include losing the very land they live on.
There is also the fact that islanders around the world will also become the world's first wave of Environmental Refugees, losing their land, national identity, and way of life through relocation to a mainland continent.
But that might take at least 10 years for some islanders and decades for others, so no rush, right?
The majority of countries won't be affected, right?
Well, there is the fact that this heating is destabilizing the ice caps on Greenland from the heating Arctic weather pattern.
What does that mean?
In Greenland, and to a lesser extent, Antarctica, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and more importantly, sliding in rapid bursts. This is caused by moulins, which are holes that melting water form from the top of a glacier to the bottom. The water then lubricates and melts the underside of the glacier, causing them to detach from the bedrock -- and creating a 'slip-n-slide' for glaciers that weigh in the megatons -- some the size of Manhattan.
Robert Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, said in Ilulissat [Greenland] yesterday: "We have seen a massive acceleration of the speed with which these glaciers are moving into the sea. The ice is moving at 2 meters an hour on a front 5km [3 miles] long and 1,500 meters deep. That means that this one glacier puts enough fresh water into the sea in one year to provide drinking water for a city the size of London for a year."
The glacier is now moving at 15km a year into the sea although in surges it moves even faster. He measured one surge at 5km in 90 minutes - an extraordinary event.
The result, each 'slide' of these multi-ton glaciers sets off an 'ice quake' that register an average of 3 to 5 on the Richter scale. This might sound minor, but these are occurring multiple times a year. This means that the Earth is being jolted repeatedly by these ice quakes, destabilizing faults lines which has many, many consequences.
The latest scientific discipline to enter the fray over global warming is geology.
And the forecasts from some quarters are dramatic - not only will the earth shake, it will spit fire.
A number of geologists say glacial melting due to climate change will unleash pent-up pressures in the Earth's crust, causing extreme geological events such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
A cubic metre of ice weighs nearly a tonne and some glaciers are more than a kilometre thick. When the weight is removed through melting, the suppressed strains and stresses of the underlying rock come to life.
(from Alan Glazner, a volcano specialist at the University of North Carolina)
"When you melt glacial ice, several hundred metres to a kilometre thick . . . you've decreased the load on the crust and so you've decreased the pressure holding the volcanic conduits closed.
"They're cracks, that's how magmas gets to the surface . . . and where they hit the surface, that's where you get a volcano."
And it is not likely to slow down, but may instead speed up:
...quakes ranged from six to 15 per year from 1993 to 2002, then jumped to 20 in 2003, 23 in 2004, and 32 in the first 10 months of 2005 - matching an increase in Greenland temperatures.
But are these ice quakes causing anything to really happen?
Consider the multiple earthquakes and tsunamis that have been occurring in the past 3 weeks in Indonesia and Samoa.
But not in America right? From the BBC - 'Earthquakes weaken distant faults'.
"(Professor Taira) and his team studied repeating earthquakes because they provided a "background frequency" against which changes in the fault could be compared.
"These events happen regularly and the size of the event is about the same," he told BBC News.
"But after Sumatra (in 2004) the frequency changed - it increased - but the magnitude decreased.
"That is a signal of the fault weakening; you only have to push a little bit and the fault fails."
This fault that the team is studying, one that has weakened significantly since the Boxer Day earthquake and Tsunami in Sumatra, is the San Andreas Fault.
Well, it is not so bad, look on the bright side. You can vacation to Glacier National Park and you will be able to tell your kids and grandkids about what it was like to see a Glacier in the park.
Or you can book a cruise to the Arctic and watch calving glaciers -- lots of fun!
Hooray! What fun!!!!
Whatever, invest while you can, before this oil opportunity passes you by!
Profits are always more important than human life.