The human timescale isn’t appropriate for climate change. We can’t see it minute to minute. Day to day. Year to year. Like watching an analog clock, you never see the hands move, and yet time passes. We need more time lapse eyes.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder automatically generates this plot of arctic sea ice extent (and many others) every day:
It’s probably not horrifying unless you’re a geoscientist.
Jim Pettit has a whole suite of regularly re-generated plots in a similar vein. My favorite is the Arctic Sea Ice Volume Death Spiral:
Which is also available in animated form:
Jason Box recently created this animation showing how the albedo of the Greenland ice sheet has changed over the last decade (with music):
The Extreme Ice Survey has a much more visceral, if less quantitative approach. Cameras watching glaciers all over the world retreat up their fjords, for years:
Somehow we have to get a sense of these things into our monkey minds, with whatever tools we have at our disposal.
Update: another great video, showing how temperatures have skewed toward record highs in the last 30 years…
Update: Another incredible plot, suggesting that we’ll have our first ice-free arctic sea ice minimum between 2013 and 2018. In 2007, the IPCC suggested that we’d see an ice-free arctic in… 2100! That’s quite a revision.
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