Cascading Consequences of the Loss of Arctic Sea Ice

“Losing the remaining Arctic sea ice and its ability to reflect incoming solar energy back to space would be equivalent to adding one trillion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, on top of the 2.4 trillion tons emitted since the Industrial Age, according to current and former researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.”

“At current rates, this roughly equates to 25 years of global CO2 emissions.”

Research Highlight: Loss of Arctic’s Reflective Sea Ice Will Advance Global Warming by 25 Years  

“Algae that live in and under the sea ice play a much greater role for the Arctic food web than previously assumed. In a new study, biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research showed that not only animals that live directly under the ice thrive on carbon produced by so-called ice algae. Even species that mostly live at greater depth depend to a large extent on carbon from these algae. This also means that the decline of the Arctic sea ice may have far-reaching consequences for the entire food web of the Arctic Ocean. Their results have been published online now in the journal Limnology & Oceanography.”
“We now know that ice algae play a much more important role for the pelagic food web than previously assumed. This finding also means, however, that the decline of the ice could have a more profound impact on Arctic marine animals, including fish, seals and ultimately also polar bears, than hitherto suspected,” says Doreen Kohlbach.”
Ice algae: The engine of life in the central Arctic Ocean

“Experts estimate the washed-up whales represent just 10% of the total number of the dead, with the rest sinking into the sea unnoticed by humans.”
“At least 81 gray whale corpses have washed ashore in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska since Jan. 1. If tallies from Mexico and Canada are added, the number of stranded gray whales reaches about 160 and counting, said Michael Milstein, spokesman for NOAA Fisheries.”
Thousands of whales are dying. Scientists have run out of public beaches for the carcasses to rot

In the August episode of Nature Bats Last our guest Dr Andrew Glikson discussed his recent work titled: Beyond Climate Tipping Points: Greenhouse Gas Levels Exceed the Stability Limit of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets.
The pace of global warming has been grossly underestimated. As the world keeps increasing its carbon emissions rising in 2018 to a record 33.1 billion ton COper year, the atmospheric greenhouse gas level has now exceeded 560 ppm (parts per million) CO2equivalent, namely when methane and nitric oxide are included. This level surpasses the stability threshold of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The term “climate change“ is thus no longer appropriate, since what is happening in the atmosphere-ocean system, accelerating over the last 70 years or so, is an abrupt calamity on a geological dimension threatening nature and civilization. Ignoring what the science says, the powers-that-be are presiding over the sixth mass extinction of species, including humanity.”  

“As conveyed by leading scientists “Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences”

“Black carbon particles from  Siberian forest fires, fall down to the arctic ice. As these particles are black, they absorb sunlight and can accelerate ice melt if found in high enough concentrations. Our graphic shows black carbon concentrations, where high values can be seen emerging from the Siberian forest fires, circulating into the polar circle.”
Forest fires in Siberia, sending ash into the Arctic.

For additional day to day, up to date evidence of our headlong rush towards a Blue Ocean Event, I recommend readers follow Zack Labe on Twitter
and Sam Carana at the Arctic News Blogspot

The marine food web isn’t going to collapse, it is collapsing, now, live and direct.
The dominant culture and the corporate media are pretending to cover the unraveling of the biosphere but what they aren’t telling you about  is the rapidity of the collapse and how the domino effect of crossing these tipping points triggers cascading consequences.
I’ll be surprised if industrial civilisation survives an ice free Arctic summer and we might be only a year or two away from that eventuality.
One final comment I would make about the impending ice free Arctic sea is that we don’t need to have crossed the official definition of an Ice Free Arctic  to see the 50 gigatonne methane discharge from the clathrates as hypothesised by Dr Natalia Shakova et al. That could burst forth at any moment.
John Doyle thinks we will see a 10C temperature rise in the coming decades;

Next months guest on Nature Bats Last is Arthur Keller. We will be discussing his presentation titled “Collapse: The Only Realistic Scenario”. That episode can be found after broadcast at the Nature Bats Last archive at PRN.FM
Feel free to leave a comment below and to subscribe to the blog

Good luck everyone, we are sure going to need it.

I'm an anti-imperialist, environmental activist and blue ocean sailor, who is passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour. Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

Posted in Abrupt Climate Change, Arctic Sea Ice, Collapse, Dr Andrew Glikson, Feedback loops, Methane, Nature Bats Last, Zack Labe
171 comments on “Cascading Consequences of the Loss of Arctic Sea Ice
  1. sealintheselkirks says:

    Just catching up on some reading and this fits here:

    Complex Models Now Gauge the Impact of Climate Change on Global Food Production. The Results Are ‘Alarming’

    Climate change is a “threat multiplier,” making hunger emergencies worse. Advanced modeling shows that crop yields could plummet, faster than expected.

    This researcher warned Hansen before he went in front of the US Congress… and their latest says MORE crops are predicted to react negatively. Oh my, that certainly isn’t good news is it?

    But it’s okay, as long as McDonald’s is open and you can get pizza & beer nobody in this country will give a damn.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin Hester says:

    NPS is projecting 3.172 m/sq Km’s on 11 Sept, sounds a little ‘hopeful’ to me but I’ll take it


  3. Kevin Hester says:

    John Kenneth Galbraith “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material portion of their privilege.”
    Grt news on the sea ice feedback loop
    Science Snippets: PO AICC = Zero (Habitat)


  4. Kevin Hester says:

    The Atlanticification of the Barents Sea is well and truly underway.
    September 15/20th is when the Sea Ice minimum is usually reached. This year it could stretch into October for what I believe will be the first time.


  5. Kevin Hester says:

    “The Arctic is turning into a dream come true for doomsayers. It’s heating way too fast! Nostradamus is dancing in the street.”
    That’s a little snide from Robert considering those of us who cottoned on to non-linearity are proving to be right.
    I don’t want to be right.


    • sealintheselkirks says:

      Neither do I, Kevin, but my longest friend unfortunately tagged me with the nickname ‘the Surfing Cassandra’ way back when because my awful predictions and guesses at what was coming were far too often completely correct. I’ve always devoured information in large gulps with my reading speed and levels, and reading a lot of non-fluff history sure does set one up for being rather gloomy about possible outcomes…

      Honestly, accurate human history from all the ages we know about say absolutely nothing good about our species for at least as long as writing has been around. Get past the glowing accounts and other propaganda it all comes down to greed and the willingness to use brute force if those you are intimidating don’t immediately bow down.

      Hence Ronald Fucking Reagan in 1980 that really got the neoliberal corporate RWNJ, Talibangelical Fascist ball rolling off the cliff in this country. It’s definitely only gone downhill since then, at least as far as I can tell.

      Let me know if you heard about any bright spots I might have missed!

      And here we are at not only a complete destabilization and breakdown of the climate and the ocean that gave us life, but very damned close to a nuclear war. At least a ‘limited partial’ exchange of throbbing pointy arguments full of burning hell.

      Then we come to this new personal prtoection item that is named ‘DISSENT’ here in the freedom-loving de-mock-racy stronghold of the USA:

      These things are going to sell millions…my prediction. But maybe this should go somewhere else to be posted?

      Rain again expected tomorrow. Looks like I’ll be transplanting inside instead of in the garden area…



  6. Ricardo2000 says:

    Hakai Magazine published a story, ‘The Ocean’s Mysterious Vitamin Deficiency’, Jan 2021 about a worrying lack of Vitamin B1, thiamine = { }.

    Fish hatcheries in the Great Lakes, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, noticed odd development and behavioural problems in their fish fry. they discovered that the water pumped through their tanks was lacking thiamine. Once thiamine was added the fry began developing and acting normally.

    For millions of years the world’s oceans and lakes have provided essential nutrients. Now humanity has poked so many holes in the web of life that critical vitamins are lacking.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kevin Hester says:

    “Arctic sea ice extent has fallen strongly in June 2022. On June 22, 2022, Arctic sea ice extent was among the lowest on record for the time of year, as illustrated by the above image, adapted from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC Chartic). ”

    “The image below, from an animation by Zachary Labe, shows Arctic sea ice extent up to June 20, 2022, based on Vishop data. The yellow line is the year 2022. The white line shows extent for the year 2012, when it reached a record minimum in September. The blue line shows extent the year 2020, when the minimum in September was second lowest.”


  8. Kevin Hester says:

    “18 billion tons of the country’s ice sheet to melt over three days.”
    Nothing spells out abrupt climate change better than losing 6 billion tons of ice a day.


  9. New Mexico’s Megafires Mark Turning Point

    Above 38C the last two days. Prediction is to top 40C by Friday. I’m guessing hotter as the models aren’t geared for hotter. No smoke smell yet. So far…lucky. The sky is that light hazy blue color with zero clouds. It’s hot. The only thing that likes this is the yellow jackets and my garden girls…as long as I keep them watered!


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oops. Forgot this one. Just for the little hopium at the end ya know!

    Climate and the collapse of world order

    from: Alfred McCoy’s “To Govern the Globe” new book


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kevin Hester says:

    “Then, the melting intensified even further. Between 8 and 10 billion tons of water per day melted and ran-off from the ice sheet from July 20 to July 23, said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado, in an email to Gizmodo. The Copernicus satellite image was captured at the height of that melt event on July 22.”


  12. Holy shit. They got a sea water temp reading UNDERNEATH Thwaites. 8.5 minutes:

    Scientists measure how quickly crucial Antarctica glacier is melting


    We are seeing it “in its death throes.”



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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

My Submission to the Ministry of the Environment
Kevin Hester, Dropping Anchor in an Exponential World
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