Glaciers in Antarctica--the future is here

Glaciers in Antarctica--the future is here

The future is here,  sooner than expected. As reported  by NASA and the New York Times  on May 12, two independent reports in the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters confirm melting of glaciers in West Antarctica. This retreat may also be unstoppable.

Why is this important?  It's not every day you see the future staring you in the face. Here it is. The shrinking of the polar ice (Arctic and Antarctic) is connected to  global warming, which is being intensified by human activity.

Fortunately, the rate of glacier melting  would be gradual enough to give us time to prepare for the rise in sea levels and increased moisture in the atmosphere. Phil Plait explains on, that this slow-motion meltdown would take centuries, over 200 years.

Those of us alive today probably won't be around to see  the eventual results.  Imagine new coastlines. New maps. Where are the Maldives?  What happened to  New York?

It's not that long, in geologic time. This is a critical moment for  all of us alive here now. This is what global warming  looks like--

rising temperatures

melting glaciers

rising sea levels

more extreme weather ---drought in some places, heavy rains and flooding in others

growing seasons and crops affected

bees and other pollinators affected

deforestation, habitat loss

more severe weather ---typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes

disturbance of the  jet stream,  displacement of the polar vortices.

(from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report--courtesy of Friends of the Earth)

Climate changes, but catastrophe  can be avoided.  Can we change before it's too late?

This is not  science-fiction (although  J.G. Ballard  explored this scenario in "Drowned World" over 50 years ago). But science- fiction can offer  a larger perspective.  It's about the future, and  the world we share. This world of people and cities, trees, bees, mountains and oceans. We are all here, on  Spaceship Earth.

"We travel the Milky Way together, trees and men." John Muir

You can read another  forecast for the future  here.



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Filed under: seasons, weather


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  • The prognosis is chilling. Muir left out the ocean waters.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thank you for reading, AW. The scenario is pretty grim, but we can choose a different outcome. People can be imaginative, and resilient! Here are some visions of floating cities on the rising seas...

  • All I know is that the low yesterday was about 34 degrees on May 16 and snow was reported here. The Polar Vortex is still sending winter in this direction.

  • In reply to jack:

    True that, Jack! The Polar Vortex is still affecting us here. All I can say is this would have seemed springlike in February.

  • Thanks for writing and posting this important information.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Kathy, thank you so much for reading! Lots of real weather people are covering this topic way better than I could. The next episode of COSMOS will be talking about global warming, too.

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