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
132 comments on “Cascading Consequences of the Loss of Arctic Sea Ice
  1. Kevin Hester says:

    A new study shows just how quickly the world’s cryosphere is shrinking
    More than 102,000 square kilometers of frozen areas were lost in the Northern Hemisphere from 1979 to 2016.


  2. Kevin Hester says:

    Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest extent on record for this time of year on July 5, even though the spring had so far been relatively cool and stormy — conditions that, in the past, would have protected the ice.
    Three new studies help explain why. One found that increasing air temperatures and intrusion of warm water from the North Atlantic into the Barents and Kara Seas — a climate change-driven process known as Atlantification — are overpowering the ice’s ability to regrow in winter.
    Another study found that sea ice in coastal areas may be thinning at up to twice the pace previously thought. In three coastal seas — Laptev, Kara, and Chukchi — the rate of coastal ice decline increased by 70%, 98%, and 110% respectively when compared to earlier models.
    A third study found accelerated sea ice loss in the Wandel Sea, pointing to a possible assault by global warming on the Arctic’s Last Ice Area — a last bastion of multi-year sea ice which stretches from Greenland along the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Combined, this research shows Arctic ice may be in worse trouble than thought.


  3. As soon as the Gulf Stream completely collapses due to the ongoing massive infusion of fresh water from the melting lump of ice known as Greenland, is it possible that this ice loss could reverse itself as Northern Europe temperatures drop? Even if only temporary? Or will the heat grow so quickly that the temperatures won’t lower as much as previously expected? As the metric used didn’t predict such intense heating in such a short period of time,

    I wonder if anything is alive on Venus hidden by the clouds from our cameras and telescopes? Could be as life is adaptable.

    Of course since our planet isn’t going to stop overheating anytime soon as I don’t see any of the acknowledged leaders of worldwide power that are truly shifting what they do; politics as usual and drill/cut/mine seems to be the only response everywhere except for more very expensive ad campaigns and a few crumbs thrown to identity politics….

    And that 30 year lag time concept could really be a bitch. Unless the methane bottle pops its cork of course. I haven’t read anything from Natalia Shakova lately. Nobody wants to read her research because it’s too scary???


    It hasn’t been below 90F/33C since June 18th. It was 100F/38C again yesterday after two days of low 90s. I’m not sure it was the intense fire smoke-filled atmosphere cutting it but it was 92’F at 10am this morning.

    Here’s a strange fact. On my calendar it says 6May was 85F which is fifteen degrees above normal. On 7May it was 51F which is twelve below normal. On 1Jan it was raining and was in the 40s for a few days….then again on the 14 & 15th. It has been obviously getting more and more weird here for a number of years.

    I’ve got an hour before I go check the thermometer but it’s really smoky/hazy outside with a blurry sun shining down tinted red sunlight. ‘Unhealthy air alert’ of course. I just so enjoy the concept of DON’T BREATHE TODAY! I’m now down to eighteen dust mask-style N95s, and two respirators with exhale valves. It’s pretty bad here, Kevin, but at least it is still much lower temps at night and the down-canyon breeze has started back up after dark. I have been opening the east-facing windows (smoke clouds are from w & s/w) to cool the house down.

    So does this count as an additional evidence of on-going collapse? Seems to me…

    The Brightside of Crimewaves

    Tuning into the evening news has begun to take on all the charming qualities of a seventies Scorsese flick. Some nights I have to wipe the blood from the screen. From coast to coast, from sea to rising sea, the mean streets of America are being rocked by a crime wave the likes of which we’ve never seen. After a thirty year drop in violent crime, 2020 has seen the biggest single year jump in homicides since they began recording such grim statistics in the 1960’s, with a 25% rise in a single year. And 2021 has all the makings of a Charles Bronson sequel.

    And you’re going to just chortle on this one because Mann says…well, you read it:

    Do Leaked Climate Reports Help or Hurt Public Understanding of Global Warming?

    Last month’s leaked IPCC report cherry picked grim scenarios, but it’s just the latest in a long line of leaks intended to shape perception of climate science.

    This one…yeah, well, if one isn’t doing what Authority says to do…

    Insanity is Healthy

    Nearly time to put on the mask and walk out into the heat and sticky smoky red sunlight and see just how hot it is. Best put on a shirt and flip-flops aren’t working because the ground is so dry that the normal plant growth has died and dried into spikes of piercing intensity as I found out recently when I forgot to switch to thick Vibram-sole hikers… A weed stem went through the sandals and put maybe a 3/4 inch deep puncture wound while walking with the brown dog one morning a week ago. Oops. Still tender but not infected. Won’t do that again.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin Hester says:

    “The Arctic Ocean nears ice-free conditions in the West Siberian region, while a new weather pattern in August can push the sea ice below last years levels”


  5. Going, going, almost gone…wait for it, only a little longer….keep your eye on the stock market instead…buy a new monster truck…I wonder if it is going to snow here this winter…


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kevin Hester says:

    Guy’s latest interview with Gary Null the owner of the Progressive Radio Network who generously hosted our show Nature Bats Last.
    Guy mentioned a friend who drove through the ‘Grain Belt’ in the US recently where the crops look terrible, burnt and stressed. Another aspect of the radical changes we are seeing is, as CO2 increases in the atmosphere the nutritional value of the crops drops. Coming soon, lower crop production by volume with lower nutritional value.
    The ability to grow and store grains at scale is integral to our unsustainable life styles. It’s one of the reasons that the USA is stalking the Ukraine, it’s Europe’s ‘Bread Basket.’
    Guy mentioned a number of cryosphere scientists predicting a ‘Blue Ocean Event’ in the Arctic from next year. The loss of reflective surfaces will broil the planet much faster in a classic feedback loop, one of 6 dozen feedback loops detailed in Guy’s monster climate change essay titled “Climate Change Summary” with its own tab at the top of his blog.
    They discuss climate refugees (36 million people in the USA who are ‘food insecure’, perpetual droughts, record hurricane seasons and wild fires in Siberia being larger that all the worlds fires combined.
    Gary interviewed me for a documentary he is currently working on, I’ll post it when it’s released.
    A great interview about the new abnormal that no one wants to hear!


    • Gee, and it has been over 100’F in the US Upper Midwest into southern Canada…you know, the GRAIN GROWING REGIONS of the continent? Oops.

      Now this is happening, heavy rains expected (look at video at top as link wouldn’t copy):

      It’s been raining here for the last four days, off and on, broken cloud to heavy downpour w/thunder but I haven’t seen any flashes or bolts. It just started up again as the world darkens after sunset but there are extremely dense & dark gray solid overcast clouds coming in from the west… We are at MEDIUM fire danger as of this afternoon, no debris burning but campfires are allowed…

      World smells better, but all this week’s weather is going to follow this fricken De-RANGED Jet Stream and probably pound the hell out of any fields left uncut. Bet the farmers are scrambling…


      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kevin Hester says:

    We literally could not be in deeper trouble!!!
    “Global warming in Siberia is on a hot streak! It was +6°C last year. In like manner, if the entire planet hit +6°C above pre-industrial, it would be lights out, life snuffed out, sayonara.”

    “Meanwhile, the Siberian hot streak theoretically threatens the entire planet with methane-induced runaway global warming, the dreaded monster of the North that takes no prisoners. As it’s happening now, in real time today, Siberia is demonstrating the impact of deadly serious climate reactions to too much heat, too soon. This fiasco cannot be dismissed or ignored. ”


    • No doubt. I read counterpunch every day as I am a tiny supporter so I get counterpunch+ that I have to sign into to read. Always read Hunziker of course when he posts…

      So hot in Siberia that bare limestone formations are now venting methane; not just melting permafrost and (formerly) frozen peat bogs. That giant slump/sinkhole that is being explored as it continues to collapse? They found a 40,000 frozen foal with viable muscle tissue cells in it, and some scientists are going to try to clone the extinct horse…read about that the other day. The hole is huge, they have to rappel down it’s so deep, and it said that they can hear the frozen ground cracking and splitting as it warms up with huge chunks of the walls falling every day.

      It sure isn’t looking good. I always tell people to watch the methane release but truthfully, there is so much going on across the planet that no single person can keep up with all the bad news.

      Not and stay sane…or whatever this form of consciousness is we are experiencing. It often seems to be a worldwide form of madness as tar sands pipelines continue to be built and new well permits are sold for more deep ocean drilling and coal mines continue to be expanded…

      All of this is speeding up. Faster and faster we swirl around the toilet bowl. And now it’s official, we have a La Nina setting up for the Northern Hemisphere winter.

      At this point nobody knows what the hell is coming. You can’t predict with a destabilizing climate creating changes that can’t be accounted for. With 10% more water in the atmosphere this means MUCH more rain coming at the US this Fall/Winter.

      We haven’t had spit for snowfall in these mountains the last two years, either, and no serious steady long-term rains this year at all. I did the morning dog walk and saw stressed out trees and dying conifer saplings everywhere today. Even with the little rain I’ve had the last couple of weeks the ground is NOT bouncy and giving. It is dry and hard.


      Liked by 1 person

    • One thing I definitely like about living here is that the sky is so dark. Mostly due to there being no streetlights or large towns nearby blotting out the sky above with glare. I can see multiple satellites racing in all directions but beyond that is the center of our galaxy like a swath of bright paint smeared above my head. At this point I can’t tell using eyeballs that the moon reflecting our planet glare is diminishing but somehow I’m not surprised.

      Funny how Guy had all these details that the new paper missed from the earlier studies. Aren’t people supposed to be checking on that sort of thing when publishing these kind of reports?


      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kevin Hester says:

    “At its peak, the polynya measured 60 miles (100 kilometers) long and 19 miles (30 kilometers) wide.”
    That’s 3000 sq Kilometers of albedo lost.
    I think it’s fair to say that we have lost the ‘Last Refuge of Ice’.


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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
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