Overshooting Global Warming Into An Ice Age?

By Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal

In 2004 I wrote an article Environmental collapse – sooner not later. In that article, I discussed the Pentagon’s scenario (as discussed by David Stipp) that we could find ourselves in the middle of a rapid onset ice age. I have a feeling that we may be moving in that direction.


In 1997, Wallace Broecker warned that the Oceans’ circulation could collapse. Further, that within a ten year period, the winter temperatures could plummet by 20 degrees. The article notes:

Each time the Conveyor has shifted gears, it has caused significant global temperature changes within decades, as well as large-scale wind shifts, dramatic fluctuations in atmospheric dust levels, glacial advances or retreats and other changes over many regions of the Earth, he said.

Anyone who has watched An Inconvenient Truth, has graphically seen the CO2 readings and the dramatic temperature changes that are occurring at the poles. The warming is happening much quicker there, and the rate of melt is accelerating. This does not just impact those creatures and humans in Arctic and Antarctic regions, but the climate of the entire planet.

The changes are happening “faster than expected,” and the consequences of the warming are dire (Borenstein, 3/10/07). The upcoming IPCC report is also grim. However, it too is working on the assumption that dramatic warming will continue.

But the ice is melting much faster than expected. Gigantic pieces of glaciers are breaking off into the oceans – north and south. Predicted rises in sea level are going up exponentially – from millimeter – to 10 meters or more. However, that very rate (and nature) of melt should be throwing alarms, and I believe it is. Perhaps the evidence coming in is what has prompted a 2 year study of polar changes costing $350 million, and involving scientists from 60 nations.

The ice melting at the poles is not just melting on the surface. It is melting into the glaciers themselves forming sub ice rivers and lakes. This collected water speeds the movement of the glaciers towards the sea, but is also creating lakes beneath the ice Four such lakes have been newly discovered in the Antarctic in Queen Maud Land in the north eastern portion of Antarctica.

Now these growing rivers and lakes under the ice trouble me. If, or maybe I should say when, they break through to the oceans, massive amounts of cold fresh water will pour through. This will not only dramatically drop the temperature of water at the poles, it will also decrease the salinity of that water. Since both temperature and salinity are important in terms of ocean current circulation, those current could dramatically slow or stop – which is just what Wallace Broecker was warning about. But friends, we are decades ahead of any prediction.

The scientists all say that everything is happening faster than expected. Perhaps that is because we are already well into global warming. Perhaps we have so rapidly changed the climate that our ability to measure the real changes just haven’t kept up. Perhaps many of the changes (like the great rivers being born as the poles melt) were not understood. Perhaps our understanding of climate and the interrelationship of land, ocean, permafrost, land, are just starting to become clear. In other words, as the nay sayers finally admit that global warming is “real” and that humans are driving the change we may be in the end throes of global warming.

Given the speed at which we have created global warming gases and undermined the planet’s ability to respond to those changes (massive deforestation, destruction of tundra for resource extraction, destruction of ocean environments through pollution and industrial fishing) we have greased a slope and accelerated down it at ever increasing speed. Rather than looking at decades of accelerating warming and the destruction that will cause, we may shoot into an accelerated cooling as well.

Oceans rising by 10 meters or more very possible and displacing likely 1/2 of the human population. Stagnating weather – persistent drought and torrential rains with “wild climate” changes? Very likely and already predicted.

Current “ambitious” projects are calling for a 50 percent decrease in CO2 emissions by 2020, others by 2050. Yet two years ago we were informed that we needed to immediately cut emissions by 80 percent to have any significant effect on climate. Not only are the most ambitious plans too little too late, but emissions are continuing to increase in both the United States and China.

We are in unknown territory. However, my guess is that in the back hallways where environmental scientists gather, that they may be having whispered conversations raising the same concerns I am.

Published in: on 03/15/2007 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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