This animation shows the 2012 time-series of ice extent. The black area represents the daily average (median) sea ice from 1979-2000. Layered over are the daily satellite measurements from January 1 — September 14, 2012. A rapid melt begins in July, whereby the 2012 ice extents fall far below the historical average.
This melting has caused many to reconsider their predictions. A Cambridge scientist in the Arctic believes we could be only 4 years from a North Pole without ice.
Peter Wadhams, who heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge and who has measured Arctic Ocean ice thickness from British Navy submarines, says that earlier calculations about Arctic sea ice loss have grossly underestimated how rapidly the ice is disappearing. He believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015 or 2016 — decades ahead of projections made just a few years ago.
The official position of planet Earth at the moment is that we can’t raise the temperature more than two degrees Celsius.
Some context: So far, we’ve raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.)
Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.
We’re not getting any free lunch from the world’s economies, either. With only a single year’s lull in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis, we’ve continued to pour record amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, year after year. In late May, the International Energy Agency published its latest figures – CO2 emissions last year rose to 31.6 gigatons, up 3.2 percent from the year before.
America had a warm winter and converted more coal-fired power plants to natural gas, so its emissions fell slightly
China kept booming, so its carbon output (which recently surpassed the U.S.) rose 9.3 percent
Japanese shut down their fleet of nukes post-Fukushima, so their emissions edged up 2.4 percent.
…The rest of the world is continuing to demand more broadband, and the industry of undersea cables and long haul broadband providers has spent up to $5.5 billion to meet that demand with new cables coming online in 2012 and 2013, according to TeleGeography.
The analysis firm released its latest submarine cable map that shows all of the new pipelines as well as what carious countries use and prices along major routes. The trend is clear. The world is coming online and these cables are the lifeblood of that online awakening. From the report:
As demand for international bandwidth continues to increase—growing 45 percent in 2011 — operators around the world are upgrading their existing network infrastructure and making substantial investments in new cable construction.
No, this picture doesn’t show a black and white image of the rebel base on the ice planet Hoth. It’s part of a semi-secret, nuclear-powered U.S. Army base that was built under the Greenland ice cap only 800 miles from the North Pole. The base was officially built to conduct scientific research but the real reason was apparently to test out the feasibility of burying nuclear missiles below the ice under an effort known as Project Iceworm.
Remember, Greenland is way closer to Russia than the ICBM fields located in the continental U.S. Rumor has it that the Danish government had no idea that the U.S. was considering installing nuclear missiles on Greenland.
The base was massive, described by some as an underground city, and consisted of 21 steel-arch covered trenches; the longest of which was 1,100-feet long, 26-feet wide and 26-feet high. These tunnels contained numerous prefabricated buildings that were up to 76-feet long. The base was powered by a portable PM-2A nuclear reactor that produced two megawatts of power for the facility.
“The camp was staffed year round, with population peaking at nearly 200 over the summer months.”