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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. “….. 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.

  4. 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?

    • 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).

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

    • 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.

    • “… 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.

  7. 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!

      • 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.

        • 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 🙂

        • 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.

          • 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.

  8. 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.

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

  9. “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).

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. “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.

    • “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.

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

  14. 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

    • 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 ?

    • “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.?

  15. 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.

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