Global Sea Ice Collapsing: Carbon Tax!

Any linear process, pushed too far, will become non-linear. This is true in psychology, as it is in imploding stars. (It is even true in Quantum Physics, where it used to be called “collapse” and now is called “decoherence”, because “collapse” did not sound too good, probably… Actually the switch from linear to nonlinear, is the greatest mystery of the Quantum; we will massage it below, with an ominous message, naturally…) And it is obviously true for the climate. Climate change can be slowly and steady (it took 35 million years to cool the dinosaurs into extinction, although the end of the process was nonlinear…) Climate change can also be extremely brutal, on the orders of years, not millions of years (contemplate the Younger Dryas, dramatic, extremely brutal glaciations which lasted no more than a millennium, the most spectacular being 18,000 years ago).

This is a complicated world. We are its gods, and we are warming up the party. Global sea ice is the sum of sea ice, worldwide, mostly found in the Arctic and Antarctica. It is suddenly collapsing. Yes, global ice fluctuates with the seasons. Yet, consider this graph:


Catastrophic Collapse Inevitable. Any linear process, pushed too far, will become non-linear.

Catastrophic Collapse Inevitable.

Just invert that graph, transforming the ice collapse into sea rise: this is what is going to happen. And not in 5000 years, as corrupt scientists have hopefully suggested. No: it could start to happen in 2017. And it will certainly start very soon, in the lifetime of existing politicians.

How did these scientists get corrupt? By hope and inertia: good jobs are given to those with good news, however fake those “news” may be. Especially if said good “news” reinforce the existing establishment. There was actually nothing new in claiming that Greenland and Antractica would stay covered with ice. It was actually old news.

There was no reason, whatsoever, to think that the giant ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica would stay stable under enormous warming. (Whereas global air warming is only 1.2 Centigrade above the baseline, warming in polar regions is several times this. This fact is explainable by logic alluded to below.)

However, there were excellent reasons, excellent because they were very simple, to believe they were not going to stay stable. I have found them, and exposed them on this site. Two reasons are most prominent.

One I could call that the permafrost argument: as temperatures shift up, by a few degrees Centigrade (= Celsius), the permafrost line has to travel hundreds of kilometers north, or south. As it does, ice sheets melt.

However, and this is the second major reason, ice sheets, which are up to four kilometers thick, exert a pressure of 4,000 tons per square meter (that means roughly 40,000 tons over the footprint of a car). The ice sheets thus press the continents down by thousands of meters, so warm water will slip below the ice, falling all the way underneath, and the disintegration will be brutal. (Such brutality has been caught on film.)

I am struggling with an essay which demonstrates why Obama wanted Trump elected (and how he accomplished this). Not easy to explain to those who cling to a simpler world (so the work is still in progress). Yet there is a first lesson therein:that our world has become so complicated, so poorly organized, and so dangerously managed, and our powers so great, that a single individual’s brain structure impacts significantly the biosphere.

A case in point is Kim of North Korea: a certified maniac who rules the world by instilling respect for his own insanity (he claims to be developing a nuclear “deterrent” by being able to throw nuclear bombs at any country, anywhere.)

So what’s up with the ice? Sea ice depends upon a cold sea. Ice on top of the sea, or land, throws back sunlight like a shield, back to space, before photons can dig in the ground, or the ocean, and deliver in the depths their momentum-energy, raising the agitation, thus temperature there. Once the ice cover is gone, photons can heat up the depths. Normal temperature measurements which make headlines are just about air temperature, a meter off the ground. They are not about the rise of temperatures of the depths.

If, at some point the rise of temperature of the depths becomes to great to allow ice or snow cover in winter, ground, or ocean temperature is exposed to photons, thus heat, even in the cool season, and a vicious circle, a different regime, starts.

The transition does not have to be smooth. In Quantum Physics, a system can “tunnel” between a local minima, and another, even lower (this is “classically” not allowed). So will object that climatology is a “classical” system. And they are obviously wrong: this is the famous paradox of the hurricane started by a butterfly’s wings. Ultimately, Quantum systems decide of everything: if zillions of Quantum systems switch to a lower energy state together, we have a “classical” transition.

Thus, the climate of the entire planet will LURCH to a different state. The collapse of global sea ice is an early indicator of the incoming catastrophe (reminiscent of when some temperature indicators went up inside the left wing of the Space Shuttle Columbia; by then, Columbia was doomed; in our case, we are not doomed terminally: we will be more or less doomed, depending upon how we react now).

This happened countless times in the past: the AMOC (or Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation), is the planet’s most significant current: it enables the Gulf Stream to go warm-up Europe gently. However, sometimes, it gets cold before making it to Iceland, and drops to the sea bottom, 6,000 meters down, short of the entire north-east corner of the Atlantic.

As it does in the fictional and exaggerated movie “The Day After Tomorrow”, when the AMOC brutally changes (this we know, for a fact explained mysterious flash freezes in the past, more than 10,000 years ago).

Actually my own position is more subtle: I do not expect a brutal glaciation in Europe, as when the AMOC lurched last, because there is plainly not enough easily liquefiable cold in the Arctic. However, I expect something way worse: brutal sea level rise, in the tens of meters. My reasoning is terrible in its brutal simplicity: warm oceanic water will slip underneath, and then fall thousands of meters below the ice sheets. Yes, below. For more details, please read:

Warm winds on top will not help, and have already disintegrated major ice shelves in days (like four days: by happenstance, measuring instruments caught the disintegration of a major ice shelf, ten years ago: it was immediately preceded by a four-day, 16 Celsius (62 F) wind storm (with hurricane winds). Said winds are of course augmenting. Because of thermodynamic effects, extremely warm winds can occur even in July, in the heart of Antarctica’s winter, bringing temperatures up by 40 Celsius (from minus 30 C to plus 10 C), vaporizing the snow cover (winds are augmenting all over the planet, as more energy is pumped into the biosphere).

The Obama administration did precious little about the developing climate catastrophe (his own administrator just testified in Congress that Obama administration policies had an impact of .01%; even the much derided governor Perry from Texas did much more, by transforming the One Star State into a large wind farm!)

Trump could do much more, by killing two birds with one stone. He could do what Obama and the establishment which used him as a puppet, did not dare do. Mostly because they are very serious, respectable people getting their power from even more serious, more respectable people.

Set-up a worldwide carbon tax. Europe will cooperate: several European countries already have carbon taxes, all tax gasoline and diesel at enormous rates. It happens that, under Obama, the US government was selling the best coal in the world, five times below cost (a Science Magazine lead article detailed this in December 2016; I planned to write an essay on it, but did not find the time-energy…). That dragged all coal prices down, worldwide, and was an anti-carbon tax.

By lifting that best-coal price in Federal lands, thanks to a carbon tax, Trump would bring coal prices up (thus momentarily helping the coal miners who voted for him).

Such is the way. There is no alternative (slogan of the stupid Thatcher!). Of course, there is so much inertia in the system, a rise of three degrees Centigrade is guaranteed, and coastal cities will have either to be evacuated, or sit behind ten stories tall levees…

Anyway, let climate skeptics munch on the graph on top. Brutal floods are a historical fact. Sumerian civilization was drowned in a sudden flood. And yes, it was man-made, we understand this now. 43 centuries ago, the most advanced civilization, or, more exactly, one of the roots of what would become the most advanced civilization (ours) was wiped out in a matter of days, by a man-made cataclysm.

Meditate that.

Meditation is the noblest pursuit of humanity. Or, at least, the one activity which characterizes humanity best.

Patrice Ayme’


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23 Responses to “Global Sea Ice Collapsing: Carbon Tax!”

  1. brodix Says:


    What do you mean reality is non-linear?? All of reality is stretched along this fourth dimension of time!

    Even though we are linear organisms, as we move along the path of life, from start to finish and our rational thought process is a sequence of cognitive perceptions, time is really only an effect, by which future becomes past, not some underlaying dimension of duration. It is as simple as tomorrow becoming yesterday because the earth turns.
    So really what is perceived is otherwise measured as frequency. Which makes time similar to temperature, rather than space. Temperature is frequency and amplitude.
    Which means temperature is more elemental than time. Think of vacuum fluctuation as the primal state; Is it best described as temperature, or time?
    Now obviously scientists will never accept this because their belief system evolved from knowledge, eduction, civilization and history, which are all narrative based and thus derived from the effect of time.
    Yet ask yourself, if civilization were to understand temperature, the basis of emotion and physical function, as foundational, maybe we all wouldn’t be in this frantic race to beat the other guy and get to the finish line and the pot of gold first. We would understand the circularity and reciprocity of nature. That what goes round, comes round and we should spend some time looking over our shoulder and networking with our reality, not pouring all effort and energy into going faster and faster.
    But this will never happen, because scientists are the Gods of the modern era and they all know time is the fourth dimension, stretching along from the Big Bang.
    Welcome to the rat race.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Brodix: That time is a “fourth dimension” is just pataphysics from Minkowsky, Einstein’s professor. Even Einstein did not like the notion. Quantum Physics does not treat time as a fourth dimension, but as a one parameter group of transformation (hence problemds like Schrodinger/Einstein cat…) Quantum Field Theory treats time as an imaginary quantity (as it enables to compute whatever…)

      Reality is dominated by Quantum Physics. QP is nonlinear (collapse wavepacket). OK, multiverse/many worlds claims to be not nonlinear, but it sheer insanity. Actually it’s the ultimate nonlinearity…


  2. ianmillerblog Says:

    I am not sure that we need quantum physics here. Simple classical heat transfer and mechanics is enough. My guess is the next big scare will come when the Larsen Ice sheet starts sliding into the sea. This should create a significant sea level rise quickly. How will Mr Trump deal with that? Florida voted for him, and Florida is the state most susceptible to major financial disaster from rising sea levels and storms.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Ian: We do indeed not need Quantum Physics to make the collpasing ice models work. You are right. Yet, I used Quantum Physics as a philosophical analogy: natural processes ubiquituously go from linear regimes to nonlinear transitions. This is what the Quantum does all the time, everywhere. So why not so with climate?
      Indeed, I tried to argue by analogy, brutally transiting from a linear process (ice going down typically at 4% per decade, say) to a nonlinear state (suddenly no more ice), would be physically natural.


  3. EugenR Says:

    Maybe instead of global warming we should speak about human suffocation effect. Intuitively to warm up is not such a bad feeling, while suffocation, without chance to escape from it should be frightening even to the worst climate change denial politician.


  4. brodix Says:


    Quantum physics is beyond most people, even many physicists only get it as formula. Society is narrative based, i.e. the flow of time. The point I keep making, that time isn’t some integral flow from past to future, but the changing configuration turning future to past, is one I find young people understand and are surprised by. Older people are more likely to freeze up and reject it. As one friend, a cardiologist put it, “Stop it, you’re hurting my head.”
    The more educated people are, the more this linear flow is ingrained into their subconscious.
    Galileo understood we only compare one motion to another. Newton described time as the flow from past to future. Einstein was trying to combine the two. How to explain clocks running at different rates, yet still related.
    There is only the present and energy is “conserved” as it. As Galileo observed, it is a bunch of separate actions. Think biology and how the body has various clocks, even to the point every cell and every organ constitutes a clock. Which are both synchronizing and pulling against each other. There is a term for this process; Thermodynamics.
    Yet even QM operates under the assumption of one clock. While Relativity has “spacetime” to coordinate clocks.
    Now look at it from political terms, where the rulers of a society are constantly trying to regulate the flow of activity and create the impression they are in charge, though often it amounts to riding the biggest wave, whether of capital, or populism.
    So my point is the initial domino to open people’s eyes, as to how we need to work together, without necessarily autocratically controlled as one, is to break down the idea of time as one universal flow or narrative, into a bottom up paradigm, where the various narratives are constantly coming together and pulling apart. More as a tapestry, than a single flow of time. When you knock over that foundational assumption, that is not politically fought over, so its refutation would catch everyone by surprise, it would open up an entirely new area of discussion.
    The problem is that those most able to start this discussion, the physical theorists, are most committed to these arcane models that have bizarre notions, like block time, built into them, so they will never accept change. They make my cardiologist friend look truly open minded.


    • brodix Says:

      I rarely comment on Peter Woit’s blog, as he censors all my posts, but in the most recent, he made a side comment about how arrogance is necessary for making progress. So I added the following comment, since “moderated.” The thought process evolved from the post I made here;

      “The problem with arrogance as an intellectual trait is that it isn’t necessarily open minded and often just the opposite. Only that one is better than others, which is context based, so one might look further than others, but in the same direction everyone else is looking in the first place.
      What if problems are not out on the fringe of theory, but some detail built into the original assumptions?
      For instance, is time a vector along which events exist, or the process by which events coalesce and dissolve? Which would make it an effect, similar to temperature. Aka, frequency. Even biology is built around the knowledge the body contains multiple clocks, which synchronize through thermodynamics.
      Culture, civilization and thus knowledge are built on narrative and history, so it would be a very ingrained assumption to see time as elemental. One doesn’t need to be arrogant to see the problem, only open minded.”


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        I actually wanted to comment on the latest “Not Even Wrong” post. But Peter is very arrogant in the way he presents his comments, and that tends to put me off. Instead I went to the Weinberg piece…

        Some arrogance is necessary to produce new ideas, indeed. The thinker has to have the arrogance that she/he can contribute, so is superior to predecessors in some ways. It is necessary to have the attitude:’You guys thought about this, here are my better thoughts…’ If one does not feel the thoughts are better, if one is not arrogant enough to think one can think of something better, how could one ever do it, let alone communicate it?

        Not only daring to think better is arrogant, but so is communicating something really new to others. Communication of one’s thoughts implicitly says: ‘You have to improve your brain, let me help you.’.

        All historically significant intellectuals and artists were arrogant to a striking extent. I don’t know one exception (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were as arrogant as one can get; Socrates died to preserve his arrogance).

        Even Saint Francis of Assisis was arrogant when he thought that birds were, or at least called them, “brothers” and “sisters”… (Let alone arrogant enough to live dangerously, considering the madness of the Inquisition, which often killed the innocent for much less…)

        Mental innovation is also intrinsically aggressive, as it requires to destroy what was there before, in one’s neural networks, and to require oneself and others to spend energy to construct something better inside one’s skull. That’s demanding, both to oneself, and to others.

        When you say things like “is time a vector”, someone like Peter runs out of the room screaming. He knows all too well time is a “scalar”. All too well: notice. Physicists are programmed to think some thoughts. Long ago on this site I said something about the graviton not being necessarily a spin 2 particle. Some physicist reading this site informed me that the entire planet knew that gravitons had spin 2. From his perspective, I was a total idiot (actually he knew less than he was sure of, but he knew very well the party line…)

        When classically trained as a physicist, one needs enormous poetic licence to appreciate you (but I sympathize, because they also need to get seriously out of the box to understand me: I know foundation stuff they never heard of…)


        • brodix Says:

          I guess I’ve made that mistake before. Of course physics also can’t explain why time is asymmetric, yet proposes the entire universe began at a zero point in time and grew from there. I would call that a vector.
          I also know a few arrogant people and don’t think it is what makes them smart. As the old saying goes, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. I tend to associate arrogance with inflexibility.


          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Call whatever you want it: it’s poetry, not physics or math. There terms are precise, at least at the elementary (non research) level (in research, meanings get fishy, fuzzy, etc.)

            We don’t know what time “is”, because it’s contradictory. Classical physics (Relativity), QFT (imaginary), Quantum (one paramater group) are three (very) different ways. Let alone “asymmetry”. Arrogance is necessary, not sufficient, for mental creativity, civilization-class.

            For common people in common life, arrogance does not help. When I drive, I keep my arrogance down 99% of the time (the remaining 1%, something else…)


        • brodix Says:

          I guess I would never make it in physics.
          A ruler, as a measure of space, is a scale. It doesn’t matter which direction you go, but with time, what is measured is a action and the primary quality of action is inertia. The earth spins one direction, not the other. The idea that time is this “dimension” totally ignores its primary quality of action. Thus we end up with ideas like block time, where the action is assumed to be an illusion.
          Which of course totally ignores the conservation of energy, that the energy manifesting these events moves onto the next. The event of hitting a ball no longer exists, as the energy is necessarily transferred to the ball flying away.
          I don’t know whether this is all commentary on basic intelligence, or simply the strength of group think, even among those who assume their own genius, but arrogance certainly plays a roll.


  5. kevishaw Says:

    Right on-the-mark again, PA. Just in time for the latest news about the Antarctic Larsen-C ice crack. Which causes me to wonder if – even in a colony of bees – are there so many who see more clearly a way to food source or survival, and do share the message, yet the hive does not listen? Or, as my grandmother used to say, there are those who wish to learn the “hard way.”
    I am looking forward to your summary of how Obama was eager to help Trump win; (not to mention seeing how Trump tricked all of them into believing they were much smarter than him, hence leading to more self-ego stroking for O and H and less focus on the needs of the people and the voters). Albeit, as the world probably needs something more like our Trump-elect, as better to clarify our positions than to continue the feeble attempts at mollycoddling the climate deniers.
    PS. Also enjoying the side discussion about time-fourth-dimension vs quantum physics as a philosophical analogy. I come here sometimes to help start a fire in my brain, and it begins to smoke.


  6. Paul Handover Says:

    Patrice, there were a couple of items that were unclear to me.

    The first was that I didn’t really understand the physics of the descending warm water: “warm oceanic water will slip underneath, and then fall thousands of meters below the ice sheets. Yes, below.”

    Could you explain that in clearer terms for me?

    The second was when you wrote: “However, I expect something way worse: brutal sea level rise, in the tenths of meters.” Surely you meant “tens” of metres?

    Finally, as you will have read in something I emailed you yesterday, humanity doesn’t stand a chance, not a chance in hell of resolving this, if we, starting with the USA, can’t use the powers of deductive reasoning to define the axiom, the theory, of climate change and humanity’s actions.

    For until there is an agreed scientific axiom, testable by the evidence, that is beyond political and social comment, the world can’t sort this out. And, as you say above, the man-made cataclysm is seconds away in geological timescales.

    But I can’t close without asking you this question, Patrice. The next President of the USA is a declared anthropogenic (sp?) climate change skeptic. Is he really the best person for these times?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks for finding the typo, Paul! Yes, tens of meters, like in thirty meters… And I will have to look at my email, I guess…

      The dynamics of water in the ocean is dominated by its density, and friction of atmospheric wind on the surface (the latter creating trade winds and storms heading east below the two main temperate jet streams centered around 45 degrees, plus upwelling; all of this consequences of Earth’s mighty rotation and the Coriolis force).

      Denser water sinks, less dense water rises. Density itself is a two dimensional quantity: it depends upon temperature, and salinity. The more salt, the more dense, the more the water sinks. The dependence on temperature is subtle: pure water is denser at 4 Centigrade, not zero Centigrade (when it freezes, by definition). Thus the water which sinks the most, and thus wiggles the most below ice, is plenty warm enough to melt ice.

      For more context, details and drawing:

      Trump is intrinsically skeptic. Thus being very loquacious, one can cherry pick his positions, and define him from them. As Trump would say, that’s dishonest. Trump has made declarations about the climate which were entirely correct: so why not to focus on those? It is hard for me to imagine he could be worse than Obama about the climate.

      Even (the somewhat ridiculous, yet dashing) Perry of Texas did more for the climate than Obama.


  7. brodix Says:


    How fundamental is temperature to biology, even emotion; Think hot/cold. Or even pressure, as in tension. Or color. We all accept they are effects of physical processes.
    So time is fundamental to conscious perception, as we perceive as flashes of cognition. Now is there some underlaying scale/scalar we experience as duration, even though we can’t figure out why it only goes one direction, or is duration simply the state of the present, as events coalesce and dissolve, thus going future to past? Wouldn’t that make it an effect, i.e. change?
    About all those molecules, atoms, people moving about, creating the effect of temperature; Isn’t change a consequence?
    Maybe no one wants to question the Canon, but this is supposed to be science. Isn’t it even worth debating?


    • brodix Says:

      People moving about creates global warming. How to slow them down, except to show reality is not a race from start to finish, but cyclical and we reap what we sow.


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        That reality is cyclical is fake news, but the fakery is 4,000 years old… A fundamental scientific discovery is the exact opposite: everything in the universe evolves, except perhaps for its laws…


        • brodix Says:

          So time is a vector of evolution?
          Why do things evolve? Because they are in motion and this motion is interacting with other motion? Nature and nurture.
          Yet isn’t ultimately this motion in overall equilibrium? What goes up, comes back down.
          It’s not that linearity doesn’t exist, it is motion, but any individual motion eventually fades back into the background. There is no universal, absolute motion, only motion relative to other motion. Events form and dissolve, going future to past.
          Alan Watts used the example of a boat and its wake as analogy, in that the past, the wake, doesn’t steer the boat, the boat creates the wake. Events are in the present, then fade into the past.
          Time is not a universal scale, but a process of creation and destruction.


        • brodix Says:

          Adding a ps to this;
          Yes, time is fundamentally linear, in that it does only go past to future and events don’t cycle back on themselves, but time itself is an effect in a larger dynamic, in which actions begat reactions. So the larger patterns which emerge are more thermodynamic, within the physical state we experience as the present. By being conserved, energy doesn’t recede into the past and so it doesn’t need to flow in from the future. These events are simply momentary configurations caused by this process.


  8. Climate Change Is the World’s Biggest Risk – Survival Acres Says:

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