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Wednesday, 30 July 2014 08:13

Waves Sweep Across Section of Arctic Ocean for First Time Due to Global Warming

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

 wave(Photo: Today is a good day)

As the corporation-backed and religious fundamentalist climate-change deniers continue to receive widespread mainstream media credibility, signs of global warming continue to sweep across the earth.

However, science has a way of having facts on its side, so it is no surprise that the formerly frozen Arctic Ocean is now experiencing high-wave activity. According to the Daily Digest News, "Waves as high as 29 feet [were recently] recorded in a normally waveless Beaufort Sea." (The Beaufort Sea is a section of the Arctic Ocean.):

When most people think of the Arctic, they usually imagine things like polar bears and Santa Clause. What they don’t picture are waves the size of a one-story house, because most of the Arctic Ocean is typically frozen and you can’t have big waves in frozen water. Well, tell that to the scientists from the University of Washington and the Naval Research Laboratory, who recently published their 2012 observation of big waves in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea: During peak times, the waves averaged around 16 feet high.

The highest single wave was measured at 29 feet. Researchers fear that the waves, enabled after decades of expanding ice retreat thanks to global warming, will even further accelerate the ice breaking process in the Arctic region.

“The observations reported here are the only known wave measurements in the central Beaufort Sea,” they wrote in the report, “because until recently the region remained ice covered throughout the summer and there were no waves to measure.”

The study referred to by the Daily Digest News concludes:  "This suggests that further reductions in seasonal ice cover in the future will result in larger waves, which in turn provide a mechanism to break up sea ice and accelerate ice retreat."

Awhile back, BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote a commentary based on a New York Times article. The Times wrote that oil, natural gas and extraction industries were looking to capitalize on global warming by exploiting fossil fuel and mineral deposits made more accessible by an Arctic Ocean no longer frozen year round.

On November 30, 2012, Buzzflash posted a column noting a New York Times article entitled, ""Race Is On as Ice Melt Reveals Arctic Treasures.”

As BuzzFlash noted then:

The stakes are high, involving military build-ups, the wooing of previously ignored nations by superpowers, and the battle over extraction rights.  But, according to the NYT, "experts say boundary disputes are likely to be rapidly resolved through negotiation, so that everyone can get on with the business of making money."

Yes, global warming is leading to a whole new profitability frontier: as islands are threatened with extinction due to rising waters, hurricanes and tornadoes run amuck, and temperatures become increasingly volatile, the vulture capitalists see dollar signs not calamitous ruin....

Sovereign nations, acting on behalf of business interests, are, as noted earlier, circling the carcasses exposed by a rapacious industrial appetite.

The new report on the Beaufort Sea region of the Arctic Ocean notes that the emergence of waves can itself cause further erosion of the Arctic ice shelf.

The Daily Digest News offers this analysis:

To create waves, you need plenty of open water in addition to high winds. There were no waves observed earlier, because in the past the ice just didn’t retreat far enough, even in the heat of summer...

Now, things are different. “In recent years, the seasonal ice retreat has expanded dramatically, leaving much of the Beaufort Sea ice free at the end of the summer,” they [the scientists] wrote.

Though no one is sure of anything just yet, the shocking observations don’t paint a rosy future. The compounding effects of sea swells combined with global warming could have unseen consequences for all who inhabit the Arctic, both human and otherwise. 

As BuzzFlash noted in 2012, the battle against global warming is going to continue to require an uprising on behalf of the planet. That is because the fossil fuel and extraction (along with other profiteering) industries are actually rooting on behalf of negative climate change. 

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.