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The Killer Oceans - Albedo

To heat Earth, simply change the Arctic Ocean from white to blue.


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Albedo, reflectivity, means whiteness (from Latin), and the whiteness at Earth's polar regions serves as Earth's climate thermostat, in part. Albedo effects Earth's climate in other ways as well. We need to learn about the ice-albedo feedback loops.

The Albedo Effect

Snow and ice reflect sunlight toward space, the "albedo effect." Decreasing planetary snow and ice on the Arctic Ocean, simple. If we wanted a recepe to warm Earth, destroying albedo on other surfaces helps to amplify cascading feedback loops.

Keep in mind that creating poler ice and snow takes 10 times to 100 times longer than to melt it. This should cause real concern. Recall this fact when someone says that they are "optimistic" for the prospects of the 7th Generation. So, lose the Arctic Ocean's albedo and the Arctic Ocean becomes warmer, melts more snow and ice with its heat, and releases more moisture into the atmosphere.

There's more here. Water vapor gives Earth its most potent greenhouse gas. So as oceans warm and winds move over the oceans' surfaes, water vapor rise into the atmosphere. It remains for up to two weeks. Not long compared to carbon diooxide's week-long to over one thousand years, water vapor does its share in the melting ice by blocking reflective solar energy. There is a lot going on in the greenhouse gas mix, then.

Now, in the 1700s, Earth's albedo covered more of the Arctic (the North Pole) region than today. Less ocean exposure meant less ocean heating. We know this because of polar researchers, NASA, NOAA, and others. In fact, since the 1970s, NASA measured Earth's albedo with satellites.

So we know for a fact that polar albedo now melts faster than 200 years ago. and Earth warms as a result. Sadly, it will take many human generations to return the missing polar ice and snow without causing damage and undue stress to humans and nonhumans.

Arctic Ocean Albedo

So, our oceans no longer ensure a "Goldilocks" environment for all of its residents. Goldilocks means the ideal or optimum conditions, like our Earth's place in the solar system is a Goldilocks distance the Sun. Anything less and this Goldilocks condition and we may not existence, but for insects or microorganisms in the ground,, caves, and caverens.

Now, the word albedo becomes very important to understand Earth's Goldilocks climate. When the polar regions lose albedo, sunlight warms Arctic ocean water. Warmer ocean water then begins to melt more polar ice, snow, and glaciers. Less albedo then remains to reflect sunlight back into space. This is known as a "feedback loop."

To heat the Arctic Ocean and melt Aarctic ice, snow, and glaciers, power must come from somewhere to force movement of warm ocean water and air. A "differential heating" begins this movement. Warm water and air slowly move fom Earth's equater toward the Arctic.

But the power, the power, where does this "power" arise?

Sunlight absorbed by oceans and land surfaces create temperature inbalances; the sources of the the power are temperatue imbalances like the differences between wam oven heat and a freezer's cold air. Freezer air drops and oven air rises. The equator's warm air and water are powered by this same type of differential imbalance.

Keep this idea in mind when people talk about the "Arctic vortex" and freezing temperatures in southern United States. The Arctic Vortex becomes unstable because of rising heat from newly exposed Arctic Ocean water and land surface areas. The vortex then becomes unstable, wobbles. The rising warm airr forces the freezing air downward, not unlike a kitchen oven's heat on Thanksgiving day forces freezing air from an open refrigerator freezer.

Basically, warm air and water have more energy than cool air and water. The two move toward a balance that never results in a full balance. Storms arise with more energy.


Air pollution like black soot destroys albedo, too. It lands upon polar ice and snow, which now melts faster than adjoining reflective albedo. If this is not enough, while airborne for two weeks to two months, our soot increases atmospheric heat by trapping solar radiation; now, with increasing industrialization in China and India, the increase in industrial black carbon, soot, deposited on snow increased humanity's positive radiative forcing for temperature increase.

If we were looking for reasons to break our fossil fuel habit, this is another good reason if we care about for prospects of the 7th Generation.






Arctic Ocean

While it is popular to say that those wind
velocities “drive” the ocean, we have to recognize that it is the extraction of heat from the ocean by latent and sensible heat fluxes that drives the atmosphere. A more accurate statement is that the Sun heats the ocean and the ocean supplies heat and moisture to the atmosphere, powering the winds responsible for part of the ocean’s motion.


Thanks to Arctic and Antarctic researchers, NASA, NOAA and others, we have more than enough proof showing poler ice melts faster today than in the 1700s.









Yes, this is a metaphore. Sometimes when talking about science it helps to use metaphores and other figures of speech.

A human generation is about 27 years, according to some sociologists. So figure that 200 years in the future will be the time of the 7th Generation. For our purpposes, from now until the time of the 7th Generatin, Earth will neither have returned to its pre-industrial temperatures nor will the polar albedo have returned.