This week in San Francisco, over 23,000 American Geophysical Union (AGU) scientists formed the world’s largest Earth and Space Science conference, presenting scientific findings and displaying professional integrity in support of climate science.
At the meeting, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2016 Arctic Report Card. The results show that the Arctic’s warming trends are accelerating.
· Unprecedented warm air over the Arctic caused extensive melting of sea ice, land-based ice and snow on Greenland.
· Air temperatures over land this year were the highest on record at 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the year 1900.
· Lowest extent of Arctic sea ice from mid October to late November ever recorded.
· Spring snow cover in May was the lowest in the North American Arctic on record.
· The pace of change occurring in the Arctic is unprecedented.
Hundreds of scientists, myself included, demonstrated in the streets of San Francisco demanding climate action from President-elect Trump’s incoming administration. It was a spirited, boisterous event!
The next day, California’s Governor Jerry Brown spoke passionately at the AGU meeting. He told us: “This is not a battle of one day or one election. You are “foot soldiers” for truth. If Trump turns off the climate satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite. We’re going to collect that data”
Brown mocked and then taunted climate denier, incoming Energy Secretary, former Texas Governor Rick Perry: “Rick, I’ve got some news for you: California’s growing a hell of a lot faster than Texas. And we’ve got more sun that you’ve got oil.”
Brown also sent a loud and clear message to Trump: “We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers and we’re ready to fight!”
In the meantime, nature is painting a vivid picture of what rising temperature is doing to the animals in the far north. It’s so warm in Alaska that moose are moving into the Arctic; yet there’s not enough food to sustain these giant, cold specialists. Snowshoe hares are also moving northward and red foxes, their predators, are following. This is another ecological disaster in the making for the smaller Arctic foxes because there won’t be enough food to support both fox species.
Elsewhere around the globe this year, we’ve witnessed nature collapsing in Australia along the Great Barrier Reef where the northern third of the reef suffered massive, widespread death due to an over-heating Pacific Ocean. Further north and to the west in the Gulf of Carpentaria, 22,000 acres of mangroves collapsed from a lethal combination of drought and rising temperature. Unprecedented.
There’s only one way to slow this deadly global temperature increase: reduce fossil fuel emissions immediately until we attain zero emissions by 2050.
The effects of rising temperature on nature are irrefutable. Nature is collapsing. We must act now otherwise our only home will quickly become uninhabitable for all life.
Earth Doctor Reese Halter’s upcoming book is “Save Nature Now.”