Canary in the Cold Mine

It’s raining in Greenland.

This may not surprise you, rain being something most of us are familiar with. And really, some places we know could use more of it. Those evaporating California reservoirs, say. Or the Colorado River.

But what makes it noteworthy, perhaps something we should pay attention to, once we’re done fretting over the loss of a sliver of the American Empire, is that it’s raining in Greenland where it never rains in Greenland. Ever.

Because it’s usually too damn cold.

Summit Station sits 10,551 feet above sea level, which would put it in the neighborhood of the American Cascades. It also sits atop the world’s second-largest ice sheet, after Antarctica. How much ice? Enough to raise oceans: Since satellite tracking began almost thirty years ago, sea levels have gone up 2.6 inches. Greenland’s melting glaciers account for a quarter of that.

Here’s something you may not know about snow: It’s white! Which is interesting, because white reflects sunlight, the difference between walking barefoot on a cool concrete sidewalk and crossing that blazing asphalt street. The Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets, despite so much surface area exposed to sunlight, also hold their own against it.

To a, uh, degree, of course.

Rain — we hope you’re taking notes — isn’t white. It’s darker than snow! And when rain falls on a glacier, it catches some rays as it spreads. Which — this is truly fascinating — helps melt the glacier.

And, if you’re familiar with gravity, or any Disney nature film, that melted water goes down, eventually into the ocean, which then goes up.

In addition to the ocean going up as water gets warmer, because — you can try this one on your stove — water expands with heat.

Or if you’re patient you can just watch Florida slowly sink into the sea. If you need a visualization, last month Greenland lost enough ice to cover Florida in two inches of water. In one day.

Not a personal best, as it happens. Just its third-highest single-day melt. The other two? 2012 and 2019.

Which is to say, other than rain falling for several hours where it hasn’t before, none of this is new. We’ve been hearing predictions for decades, seeing results for years, and now, suffering consequences.

But the news the past week has been all about the miserable end of a failed imperial war, with American elites fretting about its consequences to our global reputation. Critics — like us! — have called it a Forever War.

We still have one, as it happens. It’s the Global War on Climate, it’s going to last for centuries, and sadly, we’re winning.

7 Comments

Yes. Around the NYT published an article about the rain on Summit Station, it also published a letter written by Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists. The comments are appalling and accusatory and run along the lines of “Instead of whining about it, Greta, what are YOU doing.” Well, she’s a child, and sounding the alarm non stop is basically ALL she can do right now. Gens whatever and younger need our help, okay Boomer?
Unfortunately, if no one was going to listen to people in the 19th century (I’ll try to source that later) and 20th century, no one is going to listen to some kids in the 21st century.
What’s interesting, saddening, and maddening to me are how everyday people dismiss her out of hand, basically because she is a child. No. They don’t dismiss her out of hand but use her as a convenient target for their vitriol, inertia, shame and laziness, all of which might be products of their fear. But I’m finished wasting time trying to figure out their motivations.
Easy stuff to do:
If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down,
COMPOST – live in an apartment? Get a Rubbermaid tube and some red wrigglers and make yourself some vermicompost. You can throw junk mail, toilet paper and paper towel cardboard tubes in their assuming you’re not doing the homemade bidet and cloth deal. They also like cardboard, the regular stuff people compost, egg cartons, egg shells and paper mâché drink holders from the drive-thru. Yes, the drive-thru. Don’t waste time wearing a hair shirt and just compost that shit.
Dry your clothes on a line or inside.
Basically think zero waste.
Is it attainable? No. But it’s fun to think of ways to try to get there when you’re bored or feeling shitty about all that shit you toss.
And get a couple ducks. Instant fertilizer. Food source (yes, I am talking about more than the eggs), they forage on weeds and love slugs, earwigs, fire ants, rodents (for real – I saw it, and I couldn’t look away). They build tilth. Tilth holds more water than chemically fertilized and overtilled earth. It makes a habitat for the millions (?) of insects and microbes  that have gone instinct or are going extinct.
Fuck it. Just read. There’s a little sumptin sumptin that will fit everyone’s life. Baby steps are better than no steps.

It’s downright comical how the lying media and sociopathic politicians are blaming Biden for the disastrous collapse and chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan rather than those incompetent predatory morons in the Pentagon that violently occupied the country for 20 years and never bothered to come up with an exit strategy, oh jeezus kryst.

If only there were an endless War Department or some other group that actually knew some shit. Guess that’s why it’s called “military intelligence.”

I’ve been a vegetarian for 24 years and donated my car five years ago. I now walk everywhere and occasionally take the bus or a Lyft. If there were something else that I could do that would be meaningful in saving the environment, I’d do it.

@¡Andrew!: I kind of blame him, too. There was some serious magical thinking going on in the administration. The pentagon and the CIA, knew, KNEW (not yelling at you, Dear One), they knew, as did probably every other western intelligence agency, that our numbers for Afghan defense forces was aspirational. The assessment of their ability to hold off, let alone defeat, scores of murderous religious fanatics coming from all over the fucking place was a lie. The assessments that were made public were lies. 
We knew were going to have to prop up that country forever and ever amen.
The problem is that when you occupy a country, even if the occupation seems more benign than the previous government was, and you tell the citizens of that country, “This is how it’s going to be, and we’ll keep you safe” and you horseshoe a corrupt government in there, and the people know these fuckers are corrupt, but they have some freedom and security, and PROMISES that we’ve made them, so they’re like, “Well, as long as we can live day to day, we’ll ignore that, plus the Americans are here…” I mean, these are just regular people, poor people, people who were facing famine in the provinces before Afghanistan fell and are now worse off than before. All of this was predicted, known, and ignored.
I don’t know what promises the Taliban made, but we are a bunch of fucking fools.
They day after two suicide bombings, PEOPLE ARE BACK AT THE AIRPORT TRYING TO GTFO.
We are abandoning them.
So now we have dead and injured Marines and Corpsmen, and Uncle Joe wants to go all hawkish. Too late, you dumb bastard. Fuck you, dude. Just STFU. Go back to mass and ask Mother Mary for some fucking advice.
This war isn’t over by a long shot.

And the airport is named after Hamid Karzai. What a fucking joke.

The first thing we need to blow up is the fucking ISI.

We stop providing fissile material to Pakistan, we hack the fuck out of them and shut down their communications and disable their nukes. We freeze their money (you see where this is going, right?), we set India loose and BAM! Another proxy war.

We say, “Hey, India – want Kashmir?” We say, “Hey, China – how about you get with India and redraw some borders? We’ll continue to ignore the Uyghur genocide/slavery/etc. We need a back door to Pakistan. Let’s discuss your border with Russia over drinks.”

Add a Comment
Please log in or register to post a comment