Climate Scientist James Hansen: we have to keep additional warming to less than about 1 degree C if we want to keep ice sheets close to their present sizeNew research is showing that climate change and its impacts have been vastly underestimated and that the major ice sheets are showing instability faster than we ever could have anticipated.
“We still are potentially underestimating the instability of the ice sheets,” Stefan Rahmstorf of Potsdam University in Germany cautions.While scientific consensus had set goal of 2 degree C as a safe goal to maintain stable
conditions for Earth inhabitants; that goal now is seen as not sufficient to produce global stability.
University of Massachusetts geologist Julie Brigham Grette explains how her research on the Pleiocene Epoch raises troubling parallels with what scientists are seeing now. Grette expresses concerns that “the Arctic can become very quickly very warm, and that warmer environment is reaching a point where increasing melt of places like Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is almost inevitable.”Although high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is the major cause of overall ice sheet melting; the short term climate forcer Black Carbon or soot is increasing the rapidity of the melting. Black Carbon is carried by the atmosphere and lands on glaciers creating a dark cover which absorbs light and accelerates warming and melting.
The importance of Black Carbon is apparent considering its atmospheric life of only about 10 days. So that a rapid reduction of Black Carbon or soot brings almost immediate short term cooling.