Author Topic: As usual, Rachel was right.  (Read 224 times)

Offline HenryC

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As usual, Rachel was right.
« on: April 02, 2017, 11:45:13 PM »
From a discussion of climactic provinces in the distribution of marine species, Rachel Carson (remember her from Silent Spring?) describes a growing awareness of global warming already becoming obvious to marine biologists early in the last century. Again, note the sensitivity of the arctic regions to climate change. The canary in the coal mine…

"Although these basic zones are still convenient and well-founded divisions of the American coast, it became clear by about the third decade of the twentieth century that Cape Cod was not the absolute barrier it had once been for warm-water species attempting to round it from the south. Curious changes have been taking place, with many animals invading this cold-temperate zone from the south and pushing up through Maine and even into Canada. This new distribution is, of course, related to the widespread change of climate that seems to have set in about the beginning of the [twentieth] century and is now well recognized–a general warming-up noticed first in arctic regions, then in subarctic, and now in the temperate areas of northern states. [Emphasis my own--HC.] With warmer ocean waters north of Cape Cod, not only the adults but the critically important young stages of various southern animals have been able to survive."

from “Patterns of Shore Life” in

“The Edge of the Sea”
Rachel Carson (1955)

She then goes on to describe numerous instances of animals found outside their normal ranges, and changes in historical fisheries resulting from these migrations. Keep in mind, those lines were written over sixty years ago.

There is nothing controversial about this, as this excerpt shows, we've seen this coming for over a century now.  Lately, it seems to be picking up in speed and severity.  The ice in the polar regions, north and south, has been diminishing rapidly, but especially so in the Arctic Basin.  In the last few years (since 1979) that we've been measuring the icecaps with satellites, the summer sea ice coverage in the Arctic has dropped about 40%.  The winter Arctic ice loss hasn't been as severe, but it is also dropping.  In fact, the last three winter Arctic ice coverages, 2015, 2016 and 2017, have all been the lowest since we've been mapping the ice with satellites. There is less ice at either pole today than there has been on this date since we have had access to the satellite data.

If you're interested, I suggest you check out the National Snow and Ice Datacenter website at NSIDC.org.

The interactive chart here will allow you to take a detailed look at this satellite data and compare it with past years.

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/

You will note the previous low ice summer record was 2012 (the summer low ice record is broken about every five years, on the average).  It looks like this summer the record will be smashed again.  At the rate which the ice is disappearing, it appears the Arctic will experience its first ice-free summer by 2030.  Well before the end of this century, the Arctic will be completely ice free EVERY summer.  Some authorities believe it is possible that within the lifetime of some people living today the Arctic Ocean may become ice free year-round.

Without the icecap to reflect the summer sun back into space, this heat will be absorbed by the dark sea, the summer melt will start earlier and last longer every year with
potentially severe consequences to the global climate.

How do we know this? Note the drop in summer sea ice since 1979:

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2016/10/monthly_ice_09_NH-350x270.png
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 12:56:42 AM by HenryC »

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: As usual, Rachel was right.
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2017, 11:46:05 PM »
Henry,

I share your concerns deeply. We humans must start behaving as children of mother nature, or she won't be able to take care of us much longer. We have been acting like spoiled children that have taken our mother for granted and robbing her blind to support our drug habit.

I don't know why this has to be a political issue, it's a matter of fact and needs to be addressed accordingly, or our children will likely pay the price of our abuse.

Went on a short cruise here in S.W. Florida and at a stop in a very nice state park (Don Pedro) I got the red tide cough. The consequence for sea life is much more dire than a cough. It seems there may be some positive movement, as there is support for an expansion project for Lake O overflow which will avoid the nutrient rich waters being discharged into the Caloosahatchee River, which almost destroyed the beautiful nature preserve of the Ding Darling Refuge a couple of years ago. My understanding is that it would also provide some outflow into the Everglades which was the original way in which this eco-system worked. This could be a rare victory for Mother Earth, and her children.

As sailors I know most of us appreciate the bountiful gifts of Nature, so as has been repeated many times "be the change that you want to see happen".
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline HeaveToo

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Re: As usual, Rachel was right.
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 07:12:24 AM »
We have to be conscious environmentalists, even though we don't want to admit it.

This discussion can go into some scary political places that have no business on this board, but we really need to do our parts, each of us! 
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Offline Potcake boy

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Re: As usual, Rachel was right.
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 12:50:54 PM »
Agreed HeaveToo, and that was the purpose of my second paragraph. Discussing politics is not a solution, we need to discuss solutions. I have no solutions to political issues, so I'll stick to doing what I can to help the environment. I'd much rather protect the living species on Earth from extinction than to wave a banner for any political interests. I get much more satisfaction and hope from watching the amazing and fascinating life in the seas than from television news shows. There is a whole other world out there under the oceans that struggles for survival every day, and we shouldn't make that struggle any more difficult or change the balance.

Every time I take a cruise in the waters of S.W. Florida I see something that I didn't know even existed here. There is so much life even in Charlotte Harbor - the last cruise in the very choppy water of the harbor provided a seahorse left in the towed dingy. Unfortunately by the time we discovered it the exposure had already taken it's toll. I've seen cuddle fish, giant sea turtles, and of course the range of ordinary encounters like dolphins and sharks. Anchored in the Keys on one occasion I sat at night staring at what was surely a type of jelly fish that along with it's bio-luminescence tipped tentacles and strange movements could have challenged the most fanciful Hollywood alien creation.

So my suggestion to any of you Northern sailors that have become news weary, come on down to S.W. Florida and get a refresher course on what's important in life.
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline Mas

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Re: As usual, Rachel was right.
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 07:06:23 PM »
Ok i have been purposefully not jumping into this as politics have reared their ugly head again undoing much needed legislation for the Chesapeake. One of the advantages to having been out of sailing for 25 years was the chance to see the amazing changes that much needed legislation and enforcement have done to bring our nation's largest estuary back from the brink of extinction. How sad to think it could just be undone again.

Bottom line, Man needs nature to survive, nature does not need man. Any attack on our environment is thus an attack on ourselves. How foolish people can be. Think about it, if mankind disappeared how much better would our planet be...........? We must not just talk the talk, but walk the walk, including what companies we choose to give our business to. If we decide to buy something simply because is it less costly for us yet the company behind it costs our world much, then we deserve to live in a declining world. Democracy IS NOT a spectator sport and we are not just along for the ride in this world.

I live in a passive solar home, with geo-thermal heating and cooling, long before there were any tax credits for such. We have NEVER used pesticides or herbicides not just because they are toxic for here but because any water that runs off from our farm ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. I do not need politicians to tell me how to behave, but unfortunately most folks vote their pocketbooks and forward planning is what they are going to do this weekend. Ok, gunna stop now. Clearly a sore spot for me.
S/V  'Mas'  87' CP16/2
S/V  'Interlude' 89' PSC31