The once “unthinkable” has happen. The 2-3 million year old “Last Ice On Earth”, as it was called, has melted, re-formed, melted, and finally reformed again. This photo is of that ice during the last melt where it had turned into a “rubble” of ice bergs, etc.
Yes, the title is dramatic. But what is happening is also dramatic. Once the Arctic Sea Ice and its rich harvest saved the flagging species Homo Sapien in North America. Salmon and Shelter were the two saving “S”s for our species at one point. This gave rise to new technologies unseen before. The hand-driven atlatl spear-throwing technique gave way to the bow-and-arrow. Fishing with hook and sinew, and fish ponds. That was +50,000 years ago.
So far, overall melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet has tracked at a slightly above average pace. Surface melting has been slightly below average in the northwest and far southern coastal areas, and slightly above average in the central southern region. A small area of significantly higher-than-average melting has occurred along the northeast coast, where some melt ponds have formed. You will here a lot about this in the coming Fall. This is what Greenland looks like now. I know. I flew over it last week from Iceland.
The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer.
This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere.
One meteorologist described the loss of this ice as “scary”. Others said it could force scientists to revise their theories about which part of the Arctic will withstand global-warming the longest.
The sea off the north coast of Greenland is normally so frozen that it was referred to, until recently, as “the last ice area” because it was assumed that this would be the final northern holdout against the melting effects of a hotter planet.
But abnormal temperature spikes in February and earlier this month have left it vulnerable to winds, which have pushed the ice further away from the coast than at any time since satellite records began in the 1970s. How this plays out with the Arctic Vortex collapse later this Winter is of deep concern for any human.
But perhaps it takes drama and deep concern to stir the heart of woman…
Dr. Helen Czerski, second from left, with her scientist colleagues from the Oden (“Oðin” under Swedish flag), pictured on their first day on the ice of the 2018-2019 season. Photo credit: Helen Czerski.
The Oden disembarks supplies and scientific equipment.
[MORE TO COME AS WE UPDATE]