There’s a group that’s been looking at driftwood dispersal as a measure of the historic extent of the ice sheets in the northern hemisphere. It’s interesting right now because there’s been a series of claims that we’re close to or have crossed the tipping point where we are about to lose all of the northern ice cap.
That would create a huge problem as the oceans suddenly receive a huge supply of cold fresh water from the melt. It’s thought that such an infusion might slow down, or even stop, the conveyor effect – which is the driver behind the Gulf Stream current. Stopping that current would have a huge climatological effect on northern Europe.
But a team, looking at the best data we’ve go right now says, maybe we should all calm down:
“Dr Funder and his team say their data shows a clear connection between temperature and the amount of sea ice. The researchers concluded that for about 3,000 years, during a period called the Holocene Climate Optimum, there was more open water and far less ice than today – probably less than 50% of the minimum Arctic sea ice recorded in 2007.
But the researcher says that even with a loss of this size, the sea ice will not reach a point of no return.
“I think we can say that with the loss of 50% of the current ice, the tipping point wasn’t reached.””
The loss of sea ice does not mean that polar bears won’t drown. This new data may indicate that a disastrous tipping point may not necessarily be reached as soon as some thought, but the difference is that climate change driven by human CO2 use is happening much quicker than Nature usually does it, and there is no indication that it would reverse itself before it was too late.