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Sensitivity of Polar Regions Portends Frightening Future from Accelerating Temperature Rise

Posted Feb 10 2009 10:14am

Tempest In The Teacup

Why are the Earth’s polar regions the most susceptible areas of the planet to climate change? The answer contains two parts and both portend a frightening future.

Firstly, we have the fact that the atmosphere of the planet regulates temperature primarily by equalizing large forces. For example, hurricanes, tornados and other wind storms are a mechanism to deal in part with the fact that the sun heats the surface of the planet at differing rates as the planet spins on its axis. Additionally, large atmospheric currents help distribute not just the heat from the sun but particulate matter. Three of the most important currents are the North Pacific Gyre, the Intertropical Convergence Zone and the North Atlantic Oscillation.

Since significantly less than 1% of the total greenhouse gas production of the world occurs in the polar regions, the distribution of carbon particles, which occurs as a natural function of the same atmosphere which brings breathable air to regions with no natural oxygen production, brings to the polar regions the pollution which the rest of the world produces.

Secondly, the polar regions are the only large areas of the planet which rely on temperature stability from month to month. Put another way, there is little change in temperature in those areas as the seasons change compared with the temperate areas between the polar circles and the equator. Hence, vast quantities of ice have remained intact there since the end of the last ice age. By shifting heat to the polar regions, the ice melts abnormally because normal melting is minimal on account of the stable temperatures.

For these reasons, the marked uptick in temperature caused by global warming which we can see explained in the graphic above, leads to frightening predictions about what lies ahead. Those predictions are in line with the predictions of global warming experts going back more than a decade: atmospheric chaos which all but the wealthiest nations of the world will be unable to mitigate. Since I live in Florida, I am gravely concerned about rising seas and no fortification or sea wall has been designed to save millions of acres which are located at sea level from flooding when high tides become much higher.

Fomenting the Triple Bottom Line

Corbett Kroehler

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