The Arctic “Death Spiral”: Lamenting the Collapse of a 4000 Year Old Ice Shelf

Caribou. By Are G Nilsen, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Guardian wants you to weep for an ice shelf which even they admit didn’t exist back when the Egyptian Pyramids were being constructed. They demand we do everything in our power to prevent the ice melt from uncovering vast deposits of gold and precious minerals, and opening valuable new sea routes.

The Arctic is in a death spiral. How much longer will it exist?

The region is unravelling faster than anyone could once have predicted. But there may still be time to act

At the end of July, 40% of the 4,000-year-old Milne Ice Shelf, located on the north-western edge of Ellesmere Island, calved into the sea. Canada’s last fully intact ice shelf was no more.

On the other side of the island, the most northerly in Canada, the St Patrick’s Bay ice caps completely disappeared.

Yet some find opportunities in the crisis. Melting ice has made the region’s abundant mineral deposits and oil and gas reserves more accessible by ship. China is heavily investing in the increasingly ice-free Northern Sea Route over the top of Russia, which promises to cut shipping times between the Far East and Europe by 10 to 15 days.

The Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago could soon yield another shortcut. And in Greenland, vanishing ice is unearthing a wealth of uranium, zinc, gold, iron and rare earth elements. In 2019, Donald Trump claimed he was considering buying Greenland from Denmark. Never before has the Arctic enjoyed such political relevance.

“It’s got to be both a reduction in emissions and carbon capture at this point,” explains Stroeve. “We need to take out what we’ve already put in there.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2020/oct/13/arctic-ice-melting-climate-change-global-warming

What can I say – weakest case ever for tackling global warming.

If you don’t act now, and invest enormous resources in ensuring vast deposits of gold and precious minerals remain frozen in the ground, and new prosperity creating shipping routes remain closed, the Caribou might suffer.

My thought: pass the Venison.

Update (EW): Fixed a typo in the first paragraph.

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DMacKenzie
October 14, 2020 10:16 am

And further south, the permafrost line has moved from roughly Montana to the Arctic circle over 90 centuries. And glaciers a mile thick melted away, sometimes revealing tree trunks of forests that existed in the previous deglaciation. So in all likelihood we are witnessing a natural cycle. But hubris and tale-telling, especially with cautionary themes, runs strong in human blood.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 14, 2020 11:28 am

Hubris & tale-telling with cautionary themes run even stronger in alien lizard people blood.

ResourceGuy
October 14, 2020 10:23 am

Act now! and receive a 10 percent discount on a Guardian subscription. No refunds.

john harmsworth
Reply to  ResourceGuy
October 14, 2020 4:01 pm

Considering the disappearance of toilet paper from the shelves, that might be a deal!

DaveS
Reply to  john harmsworth
October 15, 2020 12:35 am

You can’t use the Guardian for that purpose, it’s already covered in cr*p on both sides.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  DaveS
October 15, 2020 4:24 am

++++++ well said;-))

No one.
October 14, 2020 10:24 am

Did they think it was going to grow till it reached London?

Vuk
Reply to  No one.
October 14, 2020 10:40 am

No, just north of Watford is good enough.

Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
October 14, 2020 11:00 am

for our overseas friends: “North of Watford” is used to refer to any part of England that is north of London, typically considered as remote or out of touch with the latest news and developments, according to the Lexico Oxford English Dictionary

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Vuk
October 14, 2020 11:39 am

Vuk
Equivalent to US “Flyover country?”

philincalifornia
Reply to  Vuk
October 14, 2020 11:47 am

Ha ha, yeah, there be dragons north of Watford Gap. Another 120 miles or so and there be Arctic Monkeys.

I’m an admitted climate refugee.

Harry Davidson
Reply to  Vuk
October 14, 2020 1:13 pm

That’s OK then. South Wales will remain ice free.

October 14, 2020 10:24 am

The region is unravelling faster than anyone could once have predicted. But there may still be time to act

As a lot of “predictions” told us, the Arctic is free of ice since years, how can that now be faster as predicted, in contrast, it’s much slower than previously thought.

Vuk
October 14, 2020 10:37 am

“….. even they admit didn’t exist back when the Egyptian Pyramids were being constructed.”
Holocene global optimum warming temperature, bringing prosperity to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.
‘Pyramids were built by the ‘orrible’ pharaohs, and should be knocked down’, job for life for a millennial woke person, as long as heshe or shehe (not spelling errors) have a hammer and will travel.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Vuk
October 14, 2020 11:28 am

Vuk
Shouldn’t that be “hesheit?” That recognizes the importance of the population that doesn’t identify as either male or female.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 14, 2020 1:11 pm

Ze/zir

Woke up, sir.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 14, 2020 2:17 pm

She/He/IT. Just use the caps.

Hivemind
Reply to  Dave Fair
October 14, 2020 4:51 pm

SHeIt?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Hivemind
October 14, 2020 7:38 pm

Read much, Hivemind?

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  Hivemind
October 14, 2020 9:09 pm

To cover all 57 gender varieties, simply use the placeholder x, as in Latinx.

Komerade Cube
Reply to  Hivemind
October 17, 2020 12:52 pm

Oh Dave, how about you, any humor in there?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Komerade Cube
October 17, 2020 3:46 pm

As long as we pronounce it as “sheet.”

Joe Lynch
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 15, 2020 1:09 am

She-it, surely?

Bryan A
Reply to  Joe Lynch
October 15, 2020 5:06 am

+42^42

Dave Fair
Reply to  Joe Lynch
October 15, 2020 9:12 am

Get rid of the “e.”

Vuk
Reply to  Dave Fair
October 15, 2020 1:18 pm

it’s silent ‘e’

ResourceGuy
October 14, 2020 10:38 am

I guess this means there is either no pandemic emergency in the UK or the virus does not pay the bills for the Guardian in the paid-news biz. What do Soros and Putin think?

ResourceGuy
October 14, 2020 10:42 am

I don’t see spiral in the Antarctic–I see rebound. But then cycles are not part of the modern debate or intelligence.

comment image?ssl=1

Harry Davidson
Reply to  ResourceGuy
October 14, 2020 1:13 pm

If you look at the southern jetstreams they are quite orderly, and as you point out the Antarctic ice is growing. In the north the jetstream is all over the place, and in the Atlantic quite chaotic. It is right up to the north pole and as far down as the Canaries. Arctic is at a low level and I think this why.
For jetstreams I am using
https://www.netweather.tv/charts-and-data/global-jetstream

Clyde Spencer
October 14, 2020 11:30 am

Eric,
Venison? Shouldn’t that be “Christmas Steaks?”

Cam_S
October 14, 2020 11:35 am

Stroeve, of Greenpeace?

philincalifornia
Reply to  Cam_S
October 14, 2020 11:52 am

No, she’s at NSIDC still. She used to post on here about 10 years ago and was quite rational. I enjoyed reading her stuff (even though she and her boss turned out to be wrong).

Clyde Spencer
October 14, 2020 11:37 am

I find it interesting that Progressives are unhappy with the culture they were born into, and do everything in their power to change things that they know — in their infinite wisdom — are unjust and inequitable. Yet, they wail about environmental changes wrought by Nature and Man, and plead to prevent anthropogenic changes. Isn’t this a little hypocritical, if not schizophrenic?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 14, 2020 12:33 pm

Clydesdale
Leftists love to be miserable — not fair to be happy about the world around them when there are so many poor people and bums. That proves how much they “care”.

Conor Duggan
October 14, 2020 11:39 am

Interestingly enough the caribou herds in “green” governed British Columbia are in decline not due to climate change but due to logging and industrial encroaching on their habitats.
The solution that the Green and NDP coalition government have to this is to blame wolves and spend millions of dollars on culling wolf populations. It seems like a very good approach if you want local caribou and wolf populations to go extinct, but it’s of little use other than that.
It appears that environmentalists hate wildlife as much as they hate blue collar human beings, judging by the many actions of these modern so called environmentalists around the globe.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Conor Duggan
October 14, 2020 2:22 pm

It seems that the solution is to defrost the Arctic so caribou have more to eat further away from humans. Looks like we’re on track for that. Win+win.
Why do greenies weep for glaciers and ice sheets? They keep plants from growing. They’re icy deserts.

Michael Keal
Reply to  Conor Duggan
October 15, 2020 11:37 am

“… spend millions of dollars on culling wolf populations …” Predators are dangerous so they get rid of them first. The PR department statements obviously say whatever needs to be said to achieve their wider objectives. Well at least that’s how it tends to happen in Africa.

Donna Meness
October 14, 2020 11:54 am

Just remember, as we sit here, the ice is melting in the north.

“We will never have peace as long as we make war on Mother Earth.”

https://centerforneweconomics.org/publications/the-ice-is-melting/

http://blogs.nwic.edu/pavlik/files/2011/05/Oren-Lyons-article.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRz2mih5-JU

24:45. “The economies of nations will be broken by natural disasters. Not wars. ”

27:50 “Value change for survival.”

Dave Fair
Reply to  Donna Meness
October 14, 2020 2:23 pm

Mother Earth is a B!tch; left to her mercies, humans would have continued to die at about age thirty.

tty
Reply to  Donna Meness
October 14, 2020 2:25 pm

Could you please indicate a period when the ice in the north wasn’t either melting o growing?

Bryan A
Reply to  tty
October 15, 2020 5:13 am

The only time when Northern Ice wasn’t either growing or melting was either in the midst of the last glaciation (margins excerpted) or when it was non-existent

Sara
October 14, 2020 12:02 pm

Meantime, about 1 million light years from Earth, a new solar system is well underway in its development.

https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2020/10/13/irs-63-how-quickly-do-planets-form/

IRS63 is 470 light years away from Earth, less than half a million years old — just a baby, not even crawling on the rug just yet. It appears that protoplanets are already beginning to form in the dust bands.

Anyone besides me want to throw a baby shower for IRS63?

I just love this stuff!

Ill Tempered Klavier
Reply to  Sara
October 14, 2020 12:33 pm

I’ll have Scotty beam me up afterwards and we’ll be about delivering the gifts 🙂

Vuk
Reply to  Sara
October 14, 2020 1:15 pm

That was million years ago, get up to date here with current image 🙂

Sara
Reply to  Vuk
October 14, 2020 4:11 pm

Yeah, okay, Vuk, but since THAT star IRS63 is a mere 500,000 years old and only 450 light years away – right next door, if you will — would you care to explain to the rest of us just WHERE YOU GET the million years ago data?

I’ll be over at my table, waiting for your explanation, breathless with anticipation. Don’t work too hard. Wouldn’t want you to get a brain cramp over it.

LdB
Reply to  Sara
October 14, 2020 7:11 pm

Perhaps look at the image name Sara and if you don’t know what an interference fringe is perhaps you have some reading to do 🙂

comment image

Vuk
Reply to  Sara
October 15, 2020 2:03 am

Good morning Sara
As you said ‘about 1 million light years from Earth a new solar system is well underway in its development‘, for all things cosmological a ‘million years’ sounds like a nice round number, so why bother with things like precision and accuracy where and when in a young solar system’planets might form, it’s just matter of chance (see here
LdB is just sport spoiler 🙂

Sara
Reply to  Sara
October 15, 2020 5:35 pm

Yeah, y’know if either of you knew your behinds from a hole in sandpaper – which you don’t – then you’d know the diameter of this galaxy of OURS in light years – which you don’t – and that the closest galaxy to us is # XX# gazillion light years away. – which you don’t.

You’d also know that there’s not much between our galaxy and the next one over but space dust, floating debris and stray pieces of rock from planets that exploded long, long ago.

But you sure did fall all over yourselves to find something to say, and you’re still wrong.

Must be sad to watch other people having fun when you don’t know how to do that.

Vuk
Reply to  Sara
October 16, 2020 9:51 am

Hi Sara
good to hear from you again.
It is said that “your words reflect your character” , having that in mind I avoid engaging in negative personal exchanges with others either here or elsewhere, especially not directed at ladies.
Have a nice evening and keep safe.

Oldseadog
October 14, 2020 12:14 pm

OT.
But ….. regarding the photo …..

Q. What is the difference between reindeer and caribou?

A. Caribou can’t fly.

I’ll get my own coat.

October 14, 2020 12:30 pm

Is this true?
Or did you read it in the Guardian?

Anthony
October 14, 2020 12:30 pm

Just 2000 years ago, the Congo Equatorial Rainforest was scrubland……..things change…..

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  Anthony
October 14, 2020 9:29 pm

If one believes Old Testament stories from around 1000 BC, there were bears and lions running around the Middle East.

Petit_Barde
October 14, 2020 12:34 pm

“The Arctic is in a death spiral”

In climate buffoon language, this means that life is thriving there (even if not as much as it was thriving some 8 thousands years ago, during the Holocene Climate Optimum).

fred250
October 14, 2020 12:36 pm

Unfortunately , the RECOVERY from the anomalous extreme highs in Arctic Sea ice of the LIA and late 1970s , seems to have stalled.

The drop in sea ice slightly toward the pre-LIA levels has opened up the food supply for the nearly extinct Bowhead Whale, and they are returning to the waters around Svalbard.

https://partner.sciencenorway.no/arctic-ocean-forskningno-fram-centre/the-ice-retreats–whale-food-returns/1401824

The Blue Mussel is also making a return, having been absent for a few thousand years, apart from a brief stint during the MWP.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959683617715701?journalCode=hola

Many other species of whale are also returning now that the sea ice extent has dropped from the extreme highs of the LIA. Whales cannot swim on ice. !

https://blog.poseidonexpeditions.com/whales-of-svalbard/

Great thing is, that because of fossil fuels and plastics, they will no longer be hunted for whale blubber for lamps and for whale bone.

The Arctic is a far more hospitable place for life when there is more normal sea ice levels.

Ron Long
October 14, 2020 12:51 pm

Let’s hope these doomsters run up north and hug a polar bear before it’s too late and they are all gone.

fred250
Reply to  Ron Long
October 14, 2020 2:17 pm

but.. but.. when all the doomsters are gone, what will the PBs eat ?

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Ron Long
October 14, 2020 2:43 pm

“before they are all gone.”
The polar bears or the doomsters?
😉

Abolition Man
Reply to  Ron Long
October 14, 2020 2:49 pm

Ron,
Do polar bears prefer vegans or vegetarians? Just asking for a friend!

Sara
Reply to  Abolition Man
October 14, 2020 4:16 pm

It’s most likely that if something is fat and crunchy, they’ll eat it.

Sara
Reply to  Ron Long
October 14, 2020 4:15 pm

I’m concerned that the polar bears may get dyspepsia if they have too many doomsters for lunch.

Maybe we could get them some PeptoBismol? Or Gas-X?

Be kind to Polar Bears!!!

Bryan A
Reply to  Sara
October 15, 2020 12:11 pm

No worries about Polar Bear Dyspepsia, they drink Coke.

Coeur de Lion
October 14, 2020 2:07 pm

The alarmists are quite right. For the second time in thirteen years Arctic ice bottomed out at just under four million square kilometres this September. Sixteen times the area of the U.K. worry worry

Phil.
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
October 14, 2020 7:52 pm

How much did you lose in your wager against that happening?

Dusty
October 14, 2020 2:15 pm

“Canada’s last fully intact ice shelf was no more.”

So a piece broke off Canada’s last fully intact ice shelf. Leaving what, may I ask?

Yes, you may ask. It left Canada with it’s brand new last fully intact ice shelf.

tty
October 14, 2020 2:22 pm

As a matter of fact the ice shelf on the north coast of Ellesmere land was already breaking up when it was discovered by Nares in thr 1870’s see figure 1 in this paper:

https://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/papers2/bradley2008.pdf

The big break-up was in the ’30s and ’40s:

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/236165542.pdf

It is even possible that the shelf is post MWP:

https://climateaudit.org/2007/01/09/ward-hunt-ice-shelf-stratigraphy/

Tom Abbott
Reply to  tty
October 14, 2020 5:17 pm

“The big break-up was in the ’30s and ’40s”

Yes, that is the period when it was just as warm as it is today, so we should expect similar levels of melting.

Peter W
October 14, 2020 4:50 pm

Ice shelves eventually break up naturally with time. It is part of their life cycle. Apparently some people are incapable of understanding that.

beng135b
October 14, 2020 7:10 pm

OMG! The ice-cubes in my freezer for 8 months vanished! Ice-cubes, RIP. 🙁 🙁

diggs
October 14, 2020 8:06 pm

There must be some accumulation somewhere though. Engine parts retrieved from under 4 meters of snow that accumulated in 3 years. Polar Bears also a bit of a problem.

https://www.9news.com.au/world/world-news-investigators-discover-jet-engine-under-greenlands-ice-sheet-from-2017-air-france-flight/d74d2c17-41fe-4698-b1b1-a516621fd3db

griff
Reply to  diggs
October 15, 2020 12:33 am

The balance between snow fall and glacial melt/runoff and glacial calving has now changed such that the total Greenland surface mass balance is now negative…

fred250
Reply to  griff
October 15, 2020 12:50 am

SO WHAT !

What do you expect to happen as the world warms from the COLDEST period in 10,000 years. !

And it was even more negative in the 1930s

comment image

Graemethecat
Reply to  griff
October 15, 2020 2:21 am

Why is this a bad thing?

You haven’t answered a single one of Fred250’s facts. Why not?

Bryan A
Reply to  Graemethecat
October 15, 2020 12:14 pm

If a negative trend presents itself for more than 5 minutes, it represents a calamity for the Climate Science Calamity De-Jour crowd

Brett Keane
Reply to  griff
October 16, 2020 3:02 am

Not true again griizz. Check with DMI and Electroverse…… Brett

Giorgio
October 14, 2020 11:43 pm

Speaking about glaciers, credits from http://www.icelandguide.is:

The glacier Vatnajökull (note: the 2nd largest ice cap in Europe) began formation 2.500 years ago but three tousand years ago the Ice Age glacier had disappeared altogether. Some glaciers had always been on the highest mountains. At the settlement the glaciers started to retreat and it was considerably smaller that it is today. Glacier snouts have in most places been at least 15 km further inland than now and wild sheep are mentioned on the south side of Esjufjöll. The Northerners-hollow has possibly been without a glacier. During the 13th century it got colder and glaciers advanced. The glaciers culminated around the turn of the century 1900.

So much for the OMG-the-glaciers-are-disappearing hoax

Giorgio
Reply to  griff
October 15, 2020 7:15 am

Not at all. Stress goes on OMG.
Because the tale that is told goes like that: “those glaciers have always been there and we are making them disappear”. Now THAT is a hoax.
If the second largest glacier in Europe was not there 3 kyrs ago, it means that they NATURALLY come and go, shrink and enlarge. Of course they are shrinking now, as they grew unusually large during the LIA. And they have been shrinking for the last 100+ years, way before CO2 from human activities was even detectable.

fred250
Reply to  griff
October 15, 2020 12:17 pm

SO WHAT !!

They are often finding tree stumps or even human artifacts underneath.

Many of these glaciers DIDN’T EXIST before the LIA.,

Why should they remain after it. ??

Do you have ANY EVIDENCE that the highly beneficial warming . out of the coldest period in 10,000 years, is anything but TOTALLY NATURAL.

griff
October 15, 2020 12:28 am

You might note that in recent years the N coast of Ellesmere Island, where the ice shelf collapsed, has been ice free for most of the summer… a worrying new development…

Meanwhile here’s your update on the arctic sea ice at over 1 month since minimum: still 1200km of open water from the ice edge to the Russian coast… extent and area at lowest for this date.

comment image

fred250
Reply to  griff
October 15, 2020 12:55 am

SO WHAT. !!

Most of those ice shelves didn’t exist before the Little Ice Age

Why is it that you think COLD, INHOSPITABLE, NO life Arctic is better?

The RECOVERY of sea ice back slightly towards Holocene norms after the EXTREME HIGHS of the LIA and late 1970s has been an absolute boon for Arctic wildlife

Not only is the land surface GREENING, but the seas are also springing BACK to life after being TOO COLD and frozen over for much of the last 500 or so years (coldest period of the Holocene)

The drop in sea ice slightly toward the pre-LIA levels has opened up the food supply for the nearly extinct Bowhead Whale, and they are returning to the waters around Svalbard.

https://partner.sciencenorway.no/arctic-ocean-forskningno-fram-centre/the-ice-retreats–whale-food-returns/1401824

The Blue Mussel is also making a return, having been absent for a few thousand years, apart from a brief stint during the MWP.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959683617715701?journalCode=hola

Many other species of whale are also returning now that the sea ice extent has dropped from the extreme highs of the LIA. Whales cannot swim on ice. !

https://blog.poseidonexpeditions.com/whales-of-svalbard/

Great thing is, that because of fossil fuels and plastics, they will no longer be hunted for whale blubber for lamps and for whale bone.

Hopefully the Arctic doesn’t re-freeze too much in the next AMO cycle, and these glorious creatures get a chance to survive and multiply.

Why do you HATE Arctic wildlife that you want to see it continue to SUFFER because of extreme sea ice levels ?

Phil Salmon
Reply to  fred250
October 15, 2020 9:35 am

CAGW is a death cult.
Looking at life they see only death.

beng135
Reply to  fred250
October 16, 2020 8:20 am

fred250, I said it before, grifter is now a forum-flea. Should be scratched off….

fred250
Reply to  griff
October 15, 2020 1:00 am

“a worrying new development…”

WHY ??

It would have been ice free for most of the last 10,000 years..

No problem.

NOTHING to worry about

Get some REALITY and PERSPECTIVE , and stop being a climate change denier, griff.

“extent and area at lowest for this date.”

While Beaufort is at its 2nd HIGHEST since 2006,

Greenland Sea is 3rd highest since 2006.

You know the drop off Siberia is because of a WEATHER event, don’t you.

Or are you STILL totally confused about WEATHER and climate.?

tty
Reply to  griff
October 15, 2020 1:40 pm

“a worrying new development”

Yes, it might even become home to fish and other marine life again like it was 4.000 years ago. Catastrophic.

https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/arctic/article/view/65982/49896

Phil Salmon
October 15, 2020 9:33 am

The Arctic is doing just fine but the death spiral is in a death spiral.

By the time that the Arctic is next ice free, human beings will have no little toe.
Our chins will be noticeably receded compared to now.
We (our distant descendants) will also have lost our appendix.
And because will all be autistic-savant, social problems will be much reduced with no more idiotic pseudoscience scares such as this climate scam.

Olen
October 15, 2020 10:40 am

I am going for it is a natural change. Wonder what is under Antarctic ice cap.

Ubique
October 15, 2020 11:01 pm

And here was me thinking that Caribou eat and grow fat on vegetation, not ice.

Phil Salmon
Reply to  Ubique
October 16, 2020 1:11 pm

For a lot of the year they subsist on lichens.
That’s why they’re radioactive.

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