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View Diary: White House Meeting on Arctic Media Blackout (143 comments)

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    Chi, serendipityisabitch

    http://www.sciencenews.org/...

    Original research on this came out of a team at Stanford:

    http://news.stanford.edu/...

    Note that the researchers don't claim it was the sole factor, but this was likely one key contributing factor.  

    Similar to the story of the mammoths: the question being What killed them?  More often than not, the general populace and edutainment try to offer up singular answers to a question like this.  Was it over hunting by early man?  Was it disease?  Was it climate change?  In reality, all evidence points to a combination of all three.

    Same goes for the little ice age.

    And the same will go for the loss of the Arctic ice cap.  Was it thermal forcing due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas?  Was it due to decreased albedo?  Was it due to shifting weather patterns due to more open water over the Arctic ocean?  etc.

    At the end of the day, the accurate answer will be all of the above in a complex and shifting order of significance.  Ultimately, we with our industrial era based lit the fuse, but precisely what causally permitted the ice cap to disappear entirely during the summer months is much more complex.

    Politically, I identify with the desire to assign blame and a singular cause.  In the case of climate change: man did it.  And in a very real sense, yes we did.  But to throw out all the nuanced understanding undercuts the establishment of a culture that actually appropriately weighs knowledge of long term realities in complex systems.  If only we as a people had the ability to collectively and in majority accept what the scientists were saying about global warming in 1970.  But we already were on a modern trajectory of valuing sound bites over true debate and silver bullets over dedicated long term maintenance.

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