Last week two studies provided evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun an irreversible process of collapse, in part because its key glaciers are grounded below sea level and are melting from underneath.
Now, a team of researchers from NASA and UC Irvine reports that the Greenland ice sheet has a similar instability.
I don’t have the heart to explain all the reasons why this makes me want a drink. For one water absorbs a lot more energy than land and ice reflects almost like a mirror, so less land plus more water and a lot less ice means that energy which used to bounce off into space will stick around and make things even hotter.
You know that feeling when a bad situation goes irretrievably to hell? In my stupider years I took a shot at Longs Peak with two other guys in very late fall. We were roped up and working out how the hell we would attack a steep/vertical snow couloir with a sheet of ice bits blowing up it at 80-100 mph when I realized our third man had high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). At that point our tough rope problem became a rescue operation*. Climate change is that snowy couloir, Greenland is the guy with HACE and civilization as we know it is the summit of Longs Peak. I never did see the view from up there.
(*) He got better once we got below treeline, but I lost a water bottle in the mix and had some strange visions by the time we got back down to the car.