Record melt of Greenland ice sheets in 2019

Alaska, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, the Narrows from Schrader to Peters Lake.

After a two-year slowing period through 2018, Greenland’s ice sheet lost a record amount of mass last year, according to a study published on Thursday:

That loss of 532 gigatons of ice – equivalent to about 66 tons of ice for each person on Earth – was 15% more than the previous record in 2012.

Greenland’s ice melt is of particular concern, as the ancient ice sheet holds enough water to raise sea levels by at least 20 feet (6 meters) if it were to melt away entirely.

The study adds to evidence that Greenland’s icy bulk is melting more quickly than anticipated amid climate warming. Another study last week indicated the island was no longer getting enough annual snowfall to replace ice lost to melting and calving at the glaciers’ edges.

“We are likely on the path of accelerated sea level rise,” Sasgen told Reuters. “More melting of the ice sheet is not compensated by periods when we have extreme snowfall.”

The study, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, used data collected by satellites to the gravitational force of the ice mass, which scientists can use to calculate how much snow and ice is locked within.

Other research has shown the melting is being helped by water pooling atop the ice and at meltwater streaming between the ice sheet and the bedrock beneath.

These studies are helping scientists refine their projections of how climate change will impact the Arctic, and how quickly. Sasgen compared the sobering process to getting difficult news from a doctor.

“It’s always depressing to see a new record,” Sasgen said.

But the studies offer insight into “where the problem is, and you also know to some extent what the treatment is,” Sasgen added.

Emphasis added, good grief. We know what we need to do, and if we reduce CO2 to limit global warming, then all these other concerns including sea level rise and ocean acidification can also be reduced.

But of course,

the Department of Interior approved plans to open ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for leases to drill for oil

Event though, “At current and foreseeable oil prices, the industry’s appetite to drill in ANWR will be exceptionally low and quite possibly will be zero.” So we know what we need to do. Vote – by mail, carrier pigeon, with your honey, whatever it takes.

Image: Via Getty Images.

Sliced and Diced by the Cutting Edge

What else would it be for?

Now that scientists have disproved the theory that fingerprints serve to improve the grip between people’s hands and the surface they are holding, they are wondering just what fingerprints are for. Really. We get all CSI about everything just as we realize several of our grand strategies are failing at once, and of course the goal of evading responsibility becomes key. This sort of all just happened to us – the auto-realized logic of self-justifying greed – and now we’re mostly wet-behind-the-ears again/still. And we don’t know what fingerprints are for.

There a section in One Hundred Years of Solitude when an insomnia plague causes the people of Macondo to lose their memories and forget even the names of commonplace objects, such that they have to label even chairs and clocks. They even hang a sign on a cow:

This is the cow. She must be milked every morning so that she will produce milk, and the milk must be boiled in order to be mixed with coffee to make coffee and milk.

Kunstler writes that we’re just too stupid to survive, and he’s right that we tend to get hypnotized by the (:our) glimmering reflection in the cutting edge, never imagining that it has perhaps been sharpened to come down someplace/anyplace that could well be our own tender nape. We’ve grown tepid even about the possibility that technology will save us. But as that enthusiasm wanes, what do we fall back on? God? guns?

All of this is about a re-visualized self-realization, to sound perfectly po-po-mo about it. Inner freedom, as some have distinguished it – but to discover this requires a great amount of self-knowledge, which itself is predicated on getting to know as much as about what we’ve done to ourselves and our world as possible. And all of this in the very short time that is the average lifespan. Not after work – it is your work. And your only pay is the world you help create and make free. It’s only called a civilization as long as it flies along a soaring arc, right? It’s not as though comets struck our grade schools or made our universities into banal, value-added credential mills and started us down this road.

Maybe we should label our fingerprints.