No, Santa and the elves are not feverishly whipping up toys for Christmas. Something much more disturbing is going on.
This year we have, by our inaction, caused a record ice melt of the polar ice cap. This graph from the US based National Snow and Ice Data Centre tells a sorry story of the reduction in extent of ice coverage over the Arctic Sea.
So why are I so worried about a lack of summer ice on the North Pole? Well it is as simple at this. Dark surfaces absorb more heat than lighter coloured surfaces. Basic physics. The more sea water exposed, the more the ocean heats up and less infra-red heat is reflected back into space. This in turn melts more ice and so the vicious circle continues until all the summer ice pack is gone.
Sure it comes back in winter, but it is thinner and melts quicker in summer. Even the IPCC reports didn't predict this quickening rate of sea ice melt.
The green line are observations of the extent of Arctic sea ice vs. the predictions of the best scientific minds in the field. The observations on this graph are only up to November 2010, so we are now well below the mean.
As the north pole heats, it causes havoc with climate patterns all over the northern hemisphere. Hotter summers, cold snaps in winter, and little stability like we have been used to over the Holocene. No stable climate makes it very difficult to grow food. No food, smaller populations of humans. A vicious cycle all around.
Any of this in mainstream media? Not that I can see. So all I ask is a simple favour. Share this post with anyone who is concerned about our future on this planet so that it may, in some small way, prompt people to look up from their game of angry birds for a second and take notice to what is happening around them. It may prompt them to think about lowering their environmental footprint while they are at it.
Please. For the sake of our kids and future generations to come. I beg of you.