Monday, March 17, 2014

My Exhibit at the University of Iowa and the Great Climate March

Hello everyone. I am fresh back from the start of the Great March for Climate Action in Los Angeles which kicked off a 3000-mile, 8-month, human-powered journey to Washington, DC. The goal of the March is to attempt to raise awareness and create action to engage citizens and politicians to engage and address the issue/crisis of Climate Change. More on this to come for sure soon...

First though I want to post a youtube video from the University of Iowa Television about my opening night gallery talk in Iowa City at the Keyes Gallery in the Old Capitol. It was a fantastic night, even though it was so miserably cold (I brought the Arctic weather).
 Please feel free to browse through the video and pass it on to friends. I will be back in Iowa City the week of April 21-25 speaking in schools, Prairie Lights, Iowa Children's Museum and again at the University of Iowa during the evening of the 24th. Hope to see you there. Thank you all.
David Thoreson Gallery Talk YouTube


Saturday, May 11, 2013

400 Parts Per Million...and Climbing


It is a sad note today that the long-awaited climate milestone has now come and passed. On May 9th atmospheric CO2 officially passed 400 parts per million of concentration in the atmosphere creating a condition of "loaded dice" as we have now gamed our climate with certain unknown future consequences. We, as human beings, are now in very uncharted waters and speaking of those, well, they are being loaded up with CO2 also and turning our ocean into a very acidic ecosystem. Yes, we are well underway with the big Ponzi scheme on the planet.

One of the most important "real" climate scientists of our time, Michael Mann, recently put it this way, "The last time we're confident that CO2 was sustained at these levels is more than 10 million years ago, during the middle of the Miocene period. This was a time when global temperatures were substantially warmer than today, and there was very little ice around anywhere on the planet."

So where are we going as a people on this planet? Certainly not in the responsible direction.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Presenting at Vail Symposium

I am very excited to be presenting at the Vail Symposium on Jan. 31st, 2013, as part of their Speaker Series. I have an intriguing evening planned with some history and exploration of the Northwest Passage including Sir John Franklin and Roald Amundsen. The evening will include much of my three expeditions to and through the Passage on s/v Cloud Nine and Ocean Watch and conclude with what I hope is a lively discussion of climate change and specifically an altered Arctic environment.
Hope to see a packed house in Vail. More to come soon but please follow the link below for further information on the evening. Thanks, David
Link to David's Vail Symposium Info

Monday, August 27, 2012

Record Ice Loss - NW Passage Wide Open


There has been a tremendous amount of news lately about weather including the approaching Hurricane Isaac churning in the Caribbean Sea and set to arrive in the Gulf soon. 

The summer has been hot with July being the warmest ever on record. A new scientific study indicates the drought in the North American West is/was the worst of the last 800 years with major impacts to the carbon cycle and hints of even drier times ahead (July 29 in Nature-Geoscience).  "This will also would trigger a whole host of significant water resource challenges in a region already subject to frequent water shortages.” 

Scientists are watching the Pacific looking for the developing El Nino which currently seems to be neutral.  

But what the heck has been going on in the Arctic? What is the state of the ice pack this season? Is the infamous Northwest Passage open again? As many of you know this is my main interest having sailed through both directions in 2007 (E-W) and 2009 (W-E). 

I am absolutely astounded by the loss of ice this summer up north. There is literally no ice in all of Baffin Bay all the way north to Thule some 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As one crosses Baffin Bay traveling west and enters the Northwest Passage in Lancaster sound the story remains the same, clear sailing all the way to the remote village of Resolute. Again, absolutely NO ice.


***Note- Confirmation has arrived today.  Arctic sea ice coverage  shrank to a record low 4.21 million square kilometers as of Aug. 25, declining below the previous record low of 4.25 million sq. km marked in 2007, this according to Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite data.

The red line represents current declining ice coverage in the Arctic trending towards a record sea ice loss. The light blue line represents the record loss of sea ice in 2007, the year we sailed Cloud Nine through the Northwest Passage east to west never touching any ice in 6700 nautical miles. 

A very rare Arctic/polar storm this month has shuffled the entire polar ice cap around and exposed a lot more ice to the melting conditions. Scientists will be studying the combined effects of excessive wind with the warmer infusion of water on the ice pack in the months ahead as the 2012 summer melt season continues to break all known records. 

The loss of our northern polar ice cap should be the biggest news in the history of news cycles but for some reason it just doesn't get much play. Is it just too profound for folks to comprehend or believe? If we were watching another planet's polar ice cap disintegrating before our eyes it would be an unbelievable event in history and yet we continue to have a debate about whether climate change is really real or just a perpetuated "hoax."   

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hottest 12 Months Ever Recorded

These are the warmest 12-month periods on record for the contiguous United States. During the June 2011-June 2012 period, each of the 13 months ranked among the warmest third of their historical distribution for the first time in the 1895-present record. The odds of this occurring randomly is 1 in 1,594,323. 
This is very interesting especially when looking at the ice reports up north. Spring came roughly 3 full weeks early this year and we had record highs in March with temps up near 90 degrees at the end of the month into April. This has now translated to the northern ice pack which just happens to be 3 full weeks ahead of the summer melt season. Coincidence? Hardly. La Nina has been replaced by El Nino. Temperatures are climbing again. Look for record numbers of boats again transitting the infamous Northwest Passage, now very much ice-free. 

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Arctic ice retreated very quickly in June. "The last three Junes (2010-2012) are the three lowest in the satellite record. June 2012 ice extent was 140,000 square kilometers (54,000 square miles) above the 2010 record low. Ice losses were notable in the Kara Sea, and in the Beaufort Sea, where a large polynya has formed. Retreat of ice in the Hudson and Baffin bays also contributed to the low June 2012 extent. The only area of the Arctic where sea ice extent is currently above average is along the eastern Greenland coast."

Monday, July 9, 2012

RECORD TEMPS AND LOSS OF ICE

I've been monitoring the ice in the north this summer for the Northwest Passage season and it looks like it could surpass the 2007 season for loss of ice. Things are going south quickly and Baffin Bay is now open which is just absolutely crazy. The mouth of Lancaster is open so the situation will now develop very quickly and there will probably be an ice-free lane through the traditional passage this summer. I'd say you can put it in the bank.

Again, good for explorers, not so good for the planet... here is the latest ice chart for Baffin Bay. Warm waters flowing north have opened up the entire West coast of Greenland-


Next, let's go into the warm temperatures. I believe there have been a few records happening lately if my mind is clear on this one. Let's see what the science says and if there is some linkage with the above trends and ice charts. More coming for sure.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wisdom from the Titanic and James Cameron

Famed filmmaker James Cameron has metaphorically summed up what the human race is facing from climate change by his reframing the Titanic story:

"Part of the Titanic parable is of arrogance, of hubris, of the sense that we’re too big to fail. Well, where have we heard that one before?



There was this big machine, this human system, that was pushing forward with so much momentum that it couldn’t turn, it couldn’t stop in time to avert a disaster. And that’s what we have right now.

Within that human system on board that ship, if you want to make it a microcosm of the world, you have different classes, you’ve got first class, second class, third class. In our world right now you’ve got developed nations, undeveloped nations.

You’ve got the starving millions who are going to be the ones most affected by the next iceberg that we hit, which is going to be climate change. We can see that iceberg ahead of us right now, but we can’t turn.

We can’t turn because of the momentum of the system, the political momentum, the business momentum. There are too many people making money out of the system, the way the system works right now, and those people frankly have their hands on the levers of power and aren’t ready to let ‘em go.

Until they do, we will not be able to turn to miss that iceberg, and we’re going to hit it, and when we hit it, the rich are still going to be able to get their access to food, to arable land, to water, and so on. It’s going to be the poor, it’s going to be the steerage that are going to be impacted. It’s the same with the Titanic."

Very well said Mr. Cameron.