Arctic Ice Melt is ‘Decades Ahead’ of Previous Models

Common Dreams staff, October 6, 2012

In lieu of recent statistics showing ‘unprecedented’ and ‘amazing’ Arctic sea ice melt at record levels, leading climate scientist Michael Mann stated this weekthat rising water levels are “decades ahead of schedule” and that “Island nations that have considered the possibility of evacuation at some point, like Tuvalu, may have to be contending those sort of decisions within the matter of a decade or so.”

Arctic sea ice is “declining faster than the models predict,” Mann, who is the director of Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center, told the Guardian this week. “When you look at the major Greenland and the west Antarctic ice sheets, which are critical from the standpoint of sea level rise, once they begin to melt we really start to see sea level rises accelerate.”

“The models have typically predicted that will not happen for decades but the measurements that are coming in tell us it is already happening so once again we are decades ahead of schedule.”

“Island nations that have considered the possibility of evacuation at some point, like Tuvalu, may have to be contending those sort of decisions within the matter of a decade or so.”

“Thousands of years of culture is at risk of disappearing as the populations of vulnerable island states have no place to go,” he continued.

“For these people, current sea levels are already representative of dangerous anthropogenic interference because they will lose their world far before the rest of us suffer.”

Last week, Pacific Island nations called on the United Nations to facilitate immediate action and a legally binding agreement to curb global warming, stating that all nations must acknowledge their roles in the climate catastrophe. Such realities, the presidents reminded the UN, will not only hurt small islands states, but eventually the entire world.

A report released last week predicts more than a 100 million people will die by 2030 if there is no action on climate change, with more than 90 per cent of those deaths occurring in developing countries.

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