The thinning of the north polar cap has been a concern of scientists for years, but this summer it appears that the ice is thinning fastest at its center, right around the pole itself. This is unexpected and unprecedented and could lead to an ice-free arctic much sooner than expected. Most scientists did not expect such an event to take place for another 10 to 30 years. The more open ocean there is over the arctic, the less heat is reflected and the more methane is released from underwater methane hydrates and melting permafrost. Methane is 30 times more efficient a heat trap than CO2. In the past, interglacials like the one we are in now have ended with an abrupt spike in arctic methane, intense planetary heating and then, as the methane decomposes, a sudden change to a much colder climate. As Whitley Strieber and Art Bell pointed out in their legendary and predictive book Superstorm, periods like the one we are entering now are characterized by intensely violent weather and permanent alterations in climate.
This summer, Alaska has experienced some of its highest temperatures ever recorded, and there is evidence that even higher temperatures will take place through July. NASA has observed ‘amazing’ and very troubling levels of methane in the arctic in recent months, a danger that has been predicted by Unknowncountry’s Climate Watch for three years.