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Welcome to the “New Arctic”: The Region “As We Once Knew It Is No More”

Welcome to the “New Arctic”: The Region “As We Once Knew It Is No More”

Andy Rowell

“All humans, whether we want to admit it or not, are impacted by the natural environment”.

"The “Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades”, starts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Arctic Annual Report Card."

I lived between Fairbanks and the town of North Pole during the winter of 75/76. I saw 3 days in a row where it never got above 80 degrees below 0. I cannot imagine what it’s like there now. The house I was helping build had a foundation of giant blocks of styrofoam so it would float during the spring melt. It must be floating year round by now. How totally bizarre. A few years ago I was at the corner of 7th st. and Camelback in downtown Phx in August at 5pm. The temp. guage read 135 degrees. It was at a new Walgreens store so I have little doubt it was wrong. Hang on to your hat, we’re going for one hell of a ride.


The Phoenix Business Journal, an otherwise right-leaning rag, is doing a 5-part series on how climate change will effect Phoenix and AZ. The first installment was worth a read:


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At least it will be easier to drill for oil there. /s

“Grandpa, what happened to Santa?”
“Oh, when the arctic ice melted, his workshop sank into the ocean and he drowned. We were all naughty. So, no one is getting any gifts anymore.”


I moved from Phx a year ago, the doc told my Flagstaff but I didn’t make it that far north but at least I’m outta there. The o-zone is fearsome, the smog not much less fearsome and the heat due to the island effect is horrendous. Back in the 60’s all the weather came from the southwest, now it comes outta the east due to climate change. The ideal place in the states is anywhere along the 33rd parallel, if you can make it there you might be okay, sorta.

Why the 33rd parallel?

The Arctic is where climate change is most obvious and most ominous. The vast amounts of frozen tundra could potentially thaw and some of it has already which could release large amount of methane and carbon dioxide from bacteria as the previously frozen organic material decays. Just what we don’t need, an additional large source of greenhouse gas emissions. Just loss of ocean ice alone can increase warming as the exposed dark ocean absorbs sunlight that otherwise would have been reflected by the ice. This adds to the risk of tundra thawing. These types of considerations are one reason why is will be so difficult to limit global warming to under 2C, the stated goal for the pledges of the Paris climate agreement. And the Trump administration is putting policies in place that will make meeting the US pledge very difficult, even with a number of states and cities trying. American voters need to send a strong message in the 2018 election. If they don’t this onslaught against the environment by the Trump and the Republicans will continue unabated.

Hi Ditton !

I’ve had an epiphany moment, just yesterday.

We’re migrating - you have already apparently. Flagstaff heh ?

The Hadley Cell drops down at about 30 degrees north latitude - the descending air has already been wrung out over the tropics, where it forms, and by the time it lands - it is dry and clear - pretty much a global phenomena - that’s where all the deserts in the northern hemisphere are - centered ~ 30 degrees north.

James Lovelock has said something to the effect that the centers of the continents will be ‘crushed by the heat, like an elephant stepping on an anthill’.

Great Britain and New Zealand are favored spots in the coming heat, as are northern Canada and of course Russian Siberia and possibly the steppes around Mongolia.

Yeah - maybe not so much an epiphany as a pronounced change of direction in thinking - from how to stop this madness - to - OK - where are the upsides.

James Hansen started a long ago article with “Animals are on the move”…

We’re animals, climate refugees they call us - now you are too.

This is the new geopolitics, and it’s time to stop the lamenting and the weeping and such and get on with things.

Canada is already owned by the United States - no need to invade.

Different story in Russia - China wants in - China is buying up Africa, like Saudi Arabia, which really is a desert with no future, no water, no ability to grow food.

The central and southern states will suffer big time - we’re going to get real cosy, Canada and the US - we’ve got water and northern lands which will become increasing useful for making food.

It all just kind of popped into my mind’s eye - like a big mural.

Kind of exciting - a new world.

India - bad news - wet bulb temps going to 35 C - unlivable - literally - in some regions, and if, or perhaps more realistically, when, the monsoons fail, probably about the time India hits 1.5 billion - well - not good.

You are American - Hawaii might be OK - or maybe Seattle.

Or you could follow Trump if he invades Russia. In Siberia, on the Arctic Ocean continental shelf, there are gazillions of cubes of methane - enough to render even the Arctic too warm. You could party for awhile though - watching the Chinese shipping go by - and the cruise ships.

But seriously - OK - not too seriously - the time for that has come and gone - we all need to take stock and figure out how to proceed - to stay a jump ahead.

Here in Calgary, I think we’re on the hinge line of climate change - warmer to both the north and the south of here - but surprises there will be - but at least we’re close to the mountains, where it rains.

When you get in a bad jam in the mountains - you stop - take stock - see what strengths you have - make a plan, and go.

Same with climate change.

The plan will never work out as expected - important to keep a reserve of strength for these inevitable black swans.


What’s the attraction in Flagstaff?

What about the high country in New Mexico, around those big calderas, like the Valles Caldera, where all the tribes settled - enough water - enough height - maybe.

I just followed the link but it says you have to subscribe to read the article.

I’ve been reading up on Flagstaff Ditton - nice place !!!

And you are at 2000 meters.

Meteor Crater is just a half hour east - that’s a place I would love to visit.

So you are in the high country of Arizona - and have no need for the high country of New Mexico.

Nice ~

Sorry about that.

Flagstaff is beautiful. But increasingly prone to extended droughts.

No snow, no water.

It is basically in the middle of the extremes from the equator and up north.

No, I wish to be in Flagstaff. My Doc wants me there to be up outta the desert. The desert is killing me with allergies and asthma. I’m in Superior, east of Phx.

I see the Kachina Peaks [volcanic] Wilderness has Arizona’s highest peak, Humphreys Peak at 3854 meters - one of a circle of peaks surrounding an ancient caldera, around which many native tribes have gathered, including the Hopi and Navajo - as in New Mexico. It rains up high, and the caldera catchment serves as a big sponge, wherein seeps and springs thru the many porous volcanic layers enable life in a dry region surrounding the caldera - just as in the Los Alamos region of New Mexico.

The natives were good geologists.

At 35 degrees north latitude, and with the Hadley Cells expected to widen their desert influence as they descend, I wonder how dry it will get?

Thanks for the information - I await Ditton and his thoughts on all this. I remember Ditton has spent time on a native reserve in his past.

Sure looks like a nice place Ditton. The Lowell Observatory is there too - the Kachina Peaks (volcanic) - lots of hiking and outdoor possibilities - only 70 or 80 thousand people - nice ~

You are in Calgary? I have photo’s of my Grandmother there in 1911, on a horse at the train station :slight_smile: Both land and sea creatures are on the move. I saw an interview with Guy McPherson who lives in Balieze (can’t spell) and he was saying people are dying due to the heat and humidity combines to be too up-scale. The mass migrations of humans is soon to start. Side note, the arab spring was caused by global warming. A baker in Tunisia couldn’t get flour from Afganistan and lit himself on fire to protest. It will progress faster and faster and faster as waters rise and heat spikes.

Humphreys Peak is named after my Great Grandfather’s brother in-law. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys. I have a photo of him on my site.

Yes - Calgary. Born & raised in Ville Marie (Montreal, Quebec) - then we came west in '71. No regrets - best move ever - the West was all and more I ever hoped for. Tried Vancouver, tried Victoria on Vancouver Island - missed the chinook arch and the Sun and the Rockies.

You can see Sarcee Hill and the Tsuu Tina reservation on it from where I live in southwest Calgary - and, of course, the front range of the Canadian Rockies.

Humphreys Peak is the one visible in the pic from Wikipedia I think?
Downtown Flagstaff in 2000

It looks inviting, both as an ‘up’ excursion, and geologically - a rim peak on the perimeter of a two million year old caldera, surrounded by The Navajo & Hopi and other native groups I think?

This article, on the “New Arctic”, is the only thread on the environment on Common Dreams, as the only topic seems to be the one on the new tax plan - i.e., the criminal gang now robbing everyone blind.

So I thought I would post a new article by George Monbiot, from The Guardian this morning, which bears on the theme of this article.

Yes, the Arctic is changing big time, and we will along with it. We will migrate north, and farm and ranch at ever more northerly latitudes. Same in Russia - the new Garden of Eden.

Monbiot speaks of baseline blindness - and I agree. But it is still possible in places like the mountains just west of Calgary, or in Flagstaff, to re-connect with what is left of the natural world.

Monbiot does not cite Wendell Berry, who also believes that we have baseline blindness, quite naturally actually.

All systems are now in dramatic and irreversible flux Ditton, if I read things correctly, not because they can’t be reversed, but because we do not yet have the sense to reverse them, or possibly, intriguingly, because we are ready, even desperate, for change, and this is the only way we know how to achieve transformation, much like the voting in of Trump.

I think it is time, like the sailor of old who sees the coming storm, to batten down the hatches and shorten sail - and breathe deeply and fully - to savor life in its richness and fullness. If we do this - if we thus become fully alive again - we can survive the storm, and be the better for it.

This is my plan, perhaps yours also ?

Many - in Calgary