A change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
And still climate change denial continues to persist.
In the last decade, we have passed a threshold where the reality of climate change is no longer a hypothesis buried in bar graphs or something to be assessed by minute changes in careful measurements, but an observable phenomenon. Rather than anticipating the effects of human impacts on the climate, we must now live them. Thanks to a well-organized and well-funded climate denial industry, we missed our chance to change course. If the last decade was the hurricane warning, than this decade is landfall.
A few years back I attended a mid-field season gathering of researchers working on International Polar Year projects. We were lucky enough to have collected the marine biologists, recently returned from a short cruise out of Barrow, AK with the mission to describe the biota living on the underside of the sea ice that is so critical to terrestrial Arctic ecology. It was absolutely stunning to me to realize that there is a whole ecosystem associated with the bottom of the ice, an ephemeral, threatened resource.
Depending on the time of year, sea ice covers 3-7% of the planet, making this relatively unexplored ecosystem fairly important to global biogeochemical processes. The algae trapped in and under sea ice, for example, accounts for 25% of the Arctic’s and 20% of the Antarctic’s primary productivity. This productivity trickles up the food web to the more well-known ice dwellers, such as polar bears and seals. Continue reading Biodiversity Wednesday: Under the Sea Ice