The thinning of the north polar cap has been a concern of scientists for years, but this summer it appears that the ice is thinning fastest at its center, right around the pole itself. This is unexpected and unprecedented and could lead to an ice-free arctic much sooner than expected. Most scientists did not expect such an event to take place for another 10 to 30 years. The more open ocean there is over the arctic, the less heat is reflected and the more methane is released from underwater methane hydrates and melting permafrost. Methane is 30 times more efficient a heat trap than CO2. In the past, interglacials like the one we are in now have ended with an abrupt spike in arctic methane, intense planetary heating and then, as the methane decomposes, a sudden change to a much colder climate. As Whitley Strieber and Art Bell pointed out in their legendary and predictive book Superstorm, periods like the one we are entering now are characterized by intensely violent weather and permanent alterations in climate.
This summer, Alaska has experienced some of its highest temperatures ever recorded, and there is evidence that even higher temperatures will take place through July. NASA has observed 'amazing' and very troubling levels of methane in the arctic in recent months, a danger that has been predicted by Unknowncountry's Climate Watch for three years.
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A MESSAGE FROM WHITLEY STRIEBER: Instead of debating global warming or attempting to stop the unstoppable, we should have started planning for climate change back in the 19070s, when it became clear that it was inevitable. Earth has been in a cycle of ice ages and interglacials for 2.8 million years, and we have reached the end of another interglacial. Human CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions have sped up and intensified a process that would have happened over time anyway. Instead of facing this, we have engaged in a false debate and wasted so much time that the change is going to overtake a large part of humanity. Over the next few years, there could be a heat spike concentrated in Earth's northern hemisphere. This could lead to a much weaker jet stream in summers and protracted periods of very hot, still air over vast regions of the planet. The situation could quickly become deadly in places like China and the Indian subcontinent, where there are no effective pollution controls, and stagnant, overheated air can quickly become non-survivable. In the developed world, there are many safeguards that will make this a survivable situation much longer.