See above: both poles heat up at the same time

Thermal anomalies had never occurred simultaneously at both poles, which is a clear sign of disturbances in the global climate system.

Record temperatures in the Arctic and Antarctic, coupled with the calving of the 1,200 square kilometer Conger Plateau on March 15 in East Antarctica, are a serious call to prioritize action to protect the climate.

This event had never happened. It is a warning that should alert politicians and decision-makers to, once and for all, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take adaptation measures once and for all.

The heat wave in the second week of March in the Arctic and Antarctic reached up to 40 ºC above what is usual for this time of year. Until now, this phenomenon had only been recorded in the Arctic, but had not reached Antarctica and never at both poles at the same time. This is confirmed by one of the world’s leading authorities in the field, Carlos Duarte, of the Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Ecology of the Red Sea.

In Greenland, anomalies reached 10 ºC above average, and in the Arctic region they reached up to 30 ºC above normal values. The decrease in albedo causes an increase in radiation and, therefore, in temperatures.

In the Arctic, this continued rise in temperatures, combined with the increase in recorded heat waves, is linked to the thawing of the permafrost which will increase methane emissions and could trigger one of the feared points of no return.

In Antarctica, at Concordia Base, located at 75 degrees south latitude, temperatures were 40 degrees above average. If for these dates the usual thing is around -55 ºC, on March 18 the thermometers marked -12 ºC. If this temperature increase occurs continuously, it produces a massive melting of ice which will increase the amount of water in the ocean and, consequently, a rise in sea level.

Just as in the Arctic there is no doubt about the process, in Antarctica there has been controversy within the scientific community over the increase or decrease in ice masses, although the latest research published in Nature between 1992 and 2017 they conclude that in the long term there is a decrease in ice.

Antarctica lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, corresponding to an average sea level rise of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres. The quoted detachment of the sea ice coincides with the fact that the daily extension of the sea ice in Antarctica showed its lowest level since there are records for the month of February 2022. They would be less than 2 million square kilometers , according to the Australian Meteorological Bureau.

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Cascading effects in other parts of the planet

The consequence of the destabilization of the climate in the polar zones can be a domino effect of changes on a planetary scale. This can generate abrupt climatic changes, as these regions have an essential role in the regulation of the global climate system, as well as in relation to sea level.

Extreme weather events are proof of global warming and how it can cause irreversible change. If the increase in temperatures detected at the poles is maintained over time, it will modify the circulation of air masses and will have repercussions at mid-latitudes.

Concretely, on the Peninsula and in the Mediterranean, in addition to the general increase in temperatures, there may be an increase in extreme weather phenomena such as heat waves, floods, more irregular rainfall, droughts or floods.

Climate science is still unable to predict tipping points, but these signals can indicate that we may be close to one, which as the name suggests , can be serious for humanity.

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The climatic consequences of the war in Ukraine

On the other hand, the first estimates of the consequences of the war in Ukraine indicate that emissions could increase by 14% in 2022. This has also determined a disinterest in the whole process of climate change, which has generated a breakdown in the International community. agreements and joint climate action by all countries.

The first major report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dates from 1990 and since then until April 2022 there have been up to six major reports bringing together the best global research with the best climatologists . In 1997, the Kyoto protocol was signed in order to reduce emissions. In 2015, the Paris Agreement and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were approved. In November 2021, the 26th Glasgow Climate Summit was held with the same objective and in recent months the latest IPCC report has been presented with increasingly alarming results.

Meanwhile, in 1990, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 350 ppm (parts per million), which is considered a safe bet. Currently, there are already more than 419, which is already a worrying value and only increases the effects of climate change that are felt in all corners of the world.

CO2 emissions into the atmosphere in 1990 were 22.7 gigatonnes (Gt) according to the Carbon Project and in 2020 more than 36.4 Gt CO2 have already been reached, only 0.8% less than the pre values. -pandemics which were 36.7 Gt CO2 in 2019. With the war, much more coal, more gas, and countries, including countries like the UK, have already announced that they will return to drilling to extract more oil from the North Sea.

The story of a failure

Fossil fuel emissions are known to be responsible for these temperature records and climate change. However, emissions have steadily increased since the data became available, except in very specific periods such as the crisis in the former Soviet Union, the Lehman Borthers crisis or the recent covid 19 pandemic. all these reasons, it is obvious that it is necessary to reduce all these emissions and look again to rethink the really important questions.

In short, to this day, it is the story of a great failure. It is time to radically reduce emissions and, above all, to adapt with courageous and science-based policies, to increase resilience, especially with alarming signals such as thermal anomalies at both poles simultaneously, a clear sign of disruptions of the global climate system. . Stopping the war and seeking to solve the problems of the climate system is, without a doubt, the only way out and the smartest option.


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