You already know that rapid loss of Arctic glaciers and ice sheets is helping to speed up the sea level rise that is causing worsening coastal flooding in communities from Maine to Miami. And you probably even know that warming in the Arctic seems to be driving changes to the weather patterns elsewhere on the globe.
An additional threat is that temperature changes will impact ecosystems. As an example, on the western side of the Kenai Peninsula beetles have devastated vast tracks of forest because the former were no longer held in check by the weather conditions in which the forest evolved. It was quite depressing to observe this scar upon such a beautiful land.
METHANE !! As the Arctic sea ice retreats along the Alaskan Arctic coast for longer and longer periods of time the sea warms and gets stormier mixing the warm water down to the shallow sea bottom in many areas. Under the sea bottom are huge deposits of frozen Methane hydrates. These deposits are starting to thaw out and release the enormous quantities of Methane gas locked within them. Methane is a super GHG. This gas now enters the atmosphere and remains active for 7-12 yrs. then degrades into CO2 and persists for another 200 yrs! More warming , less ice more methane wash, rinse and repeat. It's called a positive feedback loop and it's now happening at an increasingly alarming rate.
Which once again raises the huge hypocrisy of Obama stating the risks of global warming for Alaska and the Arctic while his Administration approves catastrophic Arctic drilling by Shell for still more oil to fry our planet!
When are we going to kick the endless Wars and Auto addiction which are the prime cause of US oil addiction??
When is any politician going to have the guts to tell us the days of endless Wars and Happy Motoring everywhere have to end if we are going to survive with civilization intact?