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

    More dire news from Meteorologist Nick Humphrey


  2. Anthony says:

    Us and the Biosphere are children of the ice age. “The The Quaternary glaciation, also known as the Pleistocene glaciation, is an alternating series of glacial and interglacial periods during the Quaternary period that began 2.58 Ma (million years ago), and is ongoing. Although geologists describe the entire time period as an “ice age”, in popular culture the term “ice age” is usually associated with just the most recent glacial period. Since earth still has ice sheets, geologists consider the Quaternary glaciation to be ongoing, with earth now experiencing an interglacial period “. . The Cryosphere is the last bastion against Hot House Earth and it’s going away. The Latent Heat effect: In one container a kilo of ice at 0C. Apply 80 kilocalories of heat to it , it transforms to 1 Litre of water at 0C. Apply another 80 kilocalories of heat the water’s temperature rises to 80C!! terrifying! That’s the Arctic sea ice’s disappearing significance. WASF! We’ve kicked the process off unwittingly and there’s no stopping it now. We should have left all that ancient sunlight in the ground. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kevin Hester says:

    The latest from Paul Beckwith on this subject;


  4. Kevin Hester says:

    “Stretches of the Arctic’s oldest ice, and its thickest – the last refuge ice that should survive even when the Arctic Ocean technically becomes ice-free in summers later this century – are now disappearing twice as fast as the rest of the Arctic icecap.”


  5. Kevin Hester says:

    “Once an ice stream starts to accelerate, it may be impossible to stop. “In some cases, you have, in theory, this irreversible process,” Kerim Nisancioglu, a climate scientist from the University of Bergen who works at egrip, told me. “And you set it off and it just goes. It drains.”


  6. Kevin Hester says:

    “Fettweis said Antarctica had been “protected” by global warming, due in part to a stronger polar vortex over this last decade than usual. But he said this no longer seems to be the case, and climate anomalies observed at the continent can no longer be used by climate skeptics to deny global warming is occurring.”
    On the October 2018 episode of Nature Bats Last I interviewed Paul Beckwith from the University of Ottawa. During the interview I asked Paul if we could expect to see the southern hemisphere jet streams begin to meander as they are in the Northern Hemisphere due to the lack of sea ice. Paul responded in the affirmative.
    It’s happened and this latest development will have huge implications for the entire biosphere. Non-linear changes due to feedbacks are now underway.


  7. Kevin Hester says:

    The latest from Paul Beckwith on this aspect of the extinction event;


  8. ericksontony says:

    It’s important to note that these things must happen. There’s no stopping it. Too many feedback loops, too many tipping points; it’s the end of the age of grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ericksontony says:

    According to the Bible,the time we’re passing through now will be rather short. Then Christ comes with the restoration of all things and the kingdom age begins.


  10. ericksontony says:

    The kingdom age lasts for a thousand years, after which the earth and everything on it will melt with fervent heat. Following these things, there will be a new heaven and a new earth. This is according to the Word of God found in the Bible; it is not according to religion or philosophy.


  11. ericksontony says:

    It ought to be apparent to everyone by now that we are living in the last days. We need to, for salvations sake, be those people who speak with Christ! In acknowledging Him, He acknowledges us!


  12. Kevin Hester says:

    “The transdisciplinary nature of conservation biology is pivotal to understanding the concept of near-term human extinction.
    The rate of environmental change impacts the habitat of all organisms, and loss of habitat underlies extinction. These concepts apply to all species, including Homo sapiens. The ongoing and expected rates of environmental change indicate human
    extinction in the near term, with loss of Arctic sea ice an important driving force.”


  13. Kevin Hester says:

    The Canary is well and truly dead. This article from Reuters pretends to cover the demise of the cryosphere by talking about sea level rise.
    Sea level rise is a red herring to distract us from habitat loss.


  14. Kevin Hester says:

    Professor Peter Wadhams the worlds leading Arctic Cryosphere expert refutes attacks on him and anyone who dares to mention the methane risk we all face;


  15. Kevin Hester says:

    Val EismanAuthor Copied from a response Alex Gullen made to same post on my timeline.
    “Alex Gullen…/mosaic-expedition-reaches-the…
    At 12:45 pm on 19 August 2020 the German research icebreaker Polarstern reached the North Pole. The ship followed a route to the north of Greenland – and through a region that, in the past, was densely covered with ice, including multiyear ice. The journey from the northern Fram Strait to the Pole only took six days to complete. To mark this momentous event, countless members of the expedition team gathered on the bridge, where their eyes were glued to the position monitors, and then celebrated having reached the Pole together.
    The difference in energy absorbed versus energy reflected is huge when calculating the albedo effect of dark v light surfaces. Take Arctic ice and snow coverage for instance. Excluding surface anomalies such as algae growth, met water lakes and rivers that darken the surface of ice (present now over much of the Greenland land based ice shelf), you move from around 80% of solar irradiation (irradiance) – that is the power per unit area (watt per square metre, W/m2), received from the Sun – being reflected from snow and ice to around 80% being absorbed by the dark blue surface of ice free sea. Also, the same amount of energy required to melt 1kg of ice at 0 degrees C to produce 1kg of water (phase transition), could be used to raise the temperature of that 1kg of water from 0 degrees C to 79.8 degrees C.
    Generally scientists define a blue ocean event as a complete absence of Arctic sea ice (a common threshold is when the area is less than 1 million sq. km.). Contrary to the customary narrative of this or that by 2035 or 2100, it could actually be first Arctic Blue Ocean Event (ABOE) later this year (likely mid-September) driven by multiple interrelated factors.
    Increased storm and wind activity moving warm weather systems into the arctic in the run up and during this winters freeze cycle, almost no multi-year ice left (being inherently vulnerable to breakup from such weather systems), an increased sea ice extent (but only a thin lid of surface coverage – also promoted with fresh melt water influx), higher sea temps moving warm water under the ‘lid’ destabilizing methane deposits that add to further regional warming (associated with breaking down of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC) or the ‘Gulf Stream’), stratospheric warming events, increased “arctic outbreaks’ of cold air (the troughs in the Jet Stream) without the ice mass necessary to hold a tight, circular vortex in place, increased corresponding intrusions of warm air (the peaks in the Jet Stream) continuing to move into the arctic – kick starting melting, less cloud cover, 2 earthquakes on 3rd & 20th March 2020 destabilizing methane deposits in the seabed, all allied to the recent reduction in the global dimming giving a heat boost to the arctic summer melts season. In late July 2020, the Arctic experienced its 2nd cyclone of the year and excessive deposits of black carbon from Siberian wildfires (some being so-called zombie fires reactivating from last year’s fires that never went out).
    Another cyclone is forecast for around August 25, 2020 now with wind spinning counterclockwise north of Greenland as fast as 67 km/h or 41 mph.
    The Earth Nullschool interactive web map is not easy to work your way around, but worth the effort Here are some good instructions/background to the basics of wind patterns when using EarthNullSchool:
    Hectopascals (hPa) is equivalent to millibar (mb).
    1000 hPa ~100 m, near sea level conditions
    850 hPa ~1,500 m, planetary boundary, low
    700 hPa ~3,500 m, planetary boundary, high
    500 hPa ~5,000 m, vorticity
    250 hPa ~10,500 m, jet stream – Here is the current Jet Stream (note the complex disruptions of eddies, peaks and troughs)
    70 hPa ~17,500 m, stratosphere
    10 hPa ~26,500 m, even more stratosphere (Polar Vortex)
    The Tropopause separates the Troposphere from the Stratosphere. The Troposphere ends at a height of some 9 km (5.6 mi; 30,000 ft) at the poles, and at a height of some 17 km (11 mi; 56,000 ft) at the Equator.
    With the last remaining thick-ish ice having already separated from the N coast of Greenland…/arcticictn_nowcast… this system threatens to push the thickest of the remaining sea ice out of the Arctic Ocean through Fram Strait further adding to the risks of an ABOE as early as 2020.
    East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) is ice free.
    Laptev is ice free.
    Beaufort is heading to be ice free by the end of August.
    Svalbard is ice free.
    For live monitoring of the cryosphere, here are some other good sources:
    Latest ice coverage sat maps (have improved with full GRACE-FO sat coverage which came online earlier in 2020):
    Also a new combination by NASA of CryoSat-2 and ICEsat-2 data sets now available from 2020. The results are not good:…/icesat-2-measures-arctic-sea…/
    Arctic snow & ice sat map from NOAA:…/nasa-space-laser-missions…/
    Arctic & Antarctic sat/map data from Polar View (meshing multiple sources):
    Analysis from Zack Labe:
    MOSAiC expedition reaches the North Pole – AW”
    Hide or report this
    Seite nicht gefunden – AWI


  16. Kevin Hester says:

    The 14 lowest Arctic sea ice extents in the satellite record have occurred over the past 14 years, and the 2020 minimum was only the second time that the minimum has dropped below 4 million square kilometers. Learn more:


  17. Kevin Hester says:

    “Arctic sea ice at minimum extent for 2020
    Arctic sea ice has likely reached its minimum extent for the year, at 3.74 million square kilometers (1.44 million square miles) on September 15, 2020, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. The 2020 minimum is the second lowest in the nearly 42-year satellite record.”


  18. Kevin Hester says:

    Torstein Viddal gives his summary of the collapse, the dialogue begins at the 6.00 minute mark;


  19. Kevin Hester says:

    “SUMMARY: The amount of microalgae and colored dissolved organic material in the ocean determines how much light is absorbed in the surface waters and how much can reach greater depths. The vertical distribution of energy affects the upper ocean temperature and general circulation. Here, we use a numerical ocean model with biogeochemistry and sea ice, in which the individual effects of microalgae and colored dissolved organic matter can be turned on and off separately. When both effects are turned on, the summertime surface temperatures in the Arctic are larger and consequently more sea ice melts, so that the sea ice season is shorter by up to one month. We find that, to a large extent, the colored dissolved material is responsible for these changes. An increase of this material due to climate change will amplify the observed Arctic surface warming. For better projections of climate change, new models should account for the effect of these light‐absorbing water constituents.”


  20. Kevin Hester says:

    “It could happen next year or it might not happen for another 20 years, but the train has already left the station. It’s greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the warming, but no amount of emissions reduction now will stop it because there’s already enough CO2 in the air to melt all the sea ice in the foreseeable future.”
    I think we will have a BOE in the next year or two because all the ‘Fast’, old ice is gone.


  21. Kevin Hester says:

    Guy’s latest discusses recent warming in the Arctic. He refers to a number of articles which are embedded below the video description of them.


  22. Kevin Hester says:

    Our recent return guest on Nature Bats Last Dr Andrew Glikson reiterated that this extinction event with it’s corresponding loss of sea ice is happening at orders of magnitude faster than ever previously recorded.
    “The cold glacial climate was interrupted by periods of fast warmup of up to 16.5 degrees Celsius over the Greenland ice sheet, the so called Dansgaard Oeschger events (D-O).”
    Anything over 2C is catastrophic for industrial civilisation, 3 or 4C will be an extinction event for the culprits.


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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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