Sunday, October 7, 2012

Arctic Ice Melt and the Commercial News Media

The commercial news media is tired of global warming stories. They haven’t given much credence to this year’s Arctic ice melt records because of the likely connection between Arctic ice and global climate. This is a shame. Global climate change might be a scientific inquiry and an associated political policy dispute, but ice melt is something that can be directly measured and photographed, and it is important in its own right. It may not make for the hours of compelling low-budget television that you can get from a good hurricane, but you would think they could give the Arctic Ocean and Greenland two or three minutes before jumping off to the political side of the global warming story. The fact that they mostly did not do so shows that the corporate people are worried about stories that may directly confirm climate change in any form. Read more about the way these stories are buried, at Truthout:

Arctic Ice Melt, Psychopathic Capitalism and the Corporate Media

There are many ways to emphasize just how emphatic this year’s change in the Arctic sea ice has been, and I have already mentioned several. Here are a few more: Arctic sea ice extent stayed below the previous all-time record low for the entire month of September, along with the end of August and the beginning of October, six weeks in all. (I am extrapolating that new freezing brings it above the old record any day now.) September extent averages have set new record lows in four of the past ten years. September ice extent has declined by half compared to ten years ago. September ice volume has declined by half compared to five years ago.

When will the ice on the open Arctic Ocean all melt away? On September 9, 2016. That is only a forecast, of course, and a naive one at that, but the point is, that day is so close that it is no longer ridiculous to start trying to forecast it — and it is certainly time to start preparing for it.