The world suffers the largest outbreak of disease in history. At the same time, climate disruption brings a heat wave to Alaska and Greenland, pushing Arctic air south where it should not be. From National Snow and Ice Data Center, Dr. Twila Moon with an Arctic Report. First, Alex reports new science on long-haul COVID.
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Listen to or download my 30 minute special on Long Haul COVID.
1. First up is my script with all the links to new science on long COVID. This is a kind of review of new science on the subject, going right up to December 26, 2021. We cannot yet say whether long-COVID will apply to the Omicron variant – but we do know there are already millions of people will long-lasting impacts, some eventually fatal, from COVID-19, even from mild cases. This, along with the millions dead, will change society.
2. Scroll down for my interview notes and links with Twila Moon on the Arctic Report Card. This is so important. Global tipping points start with large changes in the Arctic and they are here. Glaciologist Twila Moon is excellent in both science and communicating.
3. My thanks to those who gave a little extra to Radio Ecoshock around the holiday season. Now we go into the thin months for donations, so if you have considered helping – please do it – using this page. Some have asked why Ecoshock is not using Patreon for support. The Patreon design presumed there will be rewards for larger giving, like a podcast or articles seen only by subscribers. I don’t want to do that. All Radio Ecoshock information is free for all comers. I also don’t want to send out T-Shirts or coffee-mugs. The Patreon model doesn’t look good, but if you understand it better, let me know. In the meantime, I use PayPal, as misguided as some of it’s founders were, partly because PayPal also keeps my financial records, saving Ecoshock the cost of an accountant. Shoestring operation all the way, but it works. Please donate if you can!
FULL TEXT OF THE RADIO ECOSHOCK SPECIAL ON LONG COVID
(and you can watch it on YouTube here…)
I’m Alex Smith, host of the show for the last 15 years. I usually interview climate scientists. But this week we have a special about new understanding of one of the most feared aspects of this pandemic virus: long-haul COVID. I summarize new science while wrestling with a flood of pandemic news. The monster COVID wave is hitting around the world like a Tsunami. Formerly safer places like Australia and Vietnam have skyrocketing cases. Even Israel, now administering the fourth dose of vaccines and closing borders, cannot contain this. Positive COVID tests in Europe are far higher than ever. The disease is conquering America and Canada. Russia continues to lose over 1,000 citizens a day. Hospitalizations are building again everywhere – but more slowly than expected.
THE PROMISE OMICRON WILL END THE PANDEMIC…
The best hope, sold by media and desperate Tweeters goes like this: the new Omicron variant is mild, just a bad cold. Omicron pushes out the more deadly Delta variant, and infects everyone, including all the unvaccinated. Humanity emerges in the spring with just another nasty flu that comes back every year. That sounds livable. Maybe politicians who toss out restrictions to keep business going are right. We might as well keep on going and get our dose of COVID. Most people will be OK, we think.
If you are happy with that, or if you are genuinely depressed, you may want to change the channel or stop the podcast here. I’m serious. In these times, we all need to cling on to whatever gets us through the day. Get out if you need to.
The dream of mild Omicron accidentally saving humanity from a more deadly strain is possible. But is it likely? As every expert says relentlessly on TV, we don’t know. It is still too soon to tell how the Omicron variant will play out in the real world.
In South Africa, the first giant wave of Omicron swept through in early December without a parallel wave of immediate hospitalizations. But immunologists pointed out two prime factors. The population of South Africa is much younger than in Europe or North America. And a large number of those infected may have built resistance from previous untested and unreported cases of earlier COVID variants. The South African experience may not apply. At the start of 2022, hospitalizations in South Africa are climbing again.
In Britain, Omicron flourished to the point where one in ten people on the streets of London tested positive for COVID. And yet, so far hospitalizations have not completely overwhelmed the National Health System. That could change at any time. Also, the majority of people who tested positive for COVID in UK hospitals at the end of December were there for other reasons. They were not admitted because of COVID symptoms. Amazing! But I gather that is changing in early January. We live in massive suspense about what the Omicron variant will mean for us personally, and society generally.
The United States is a special case. First of all, the population was led into a dangerous myth not just by people pushing anti-science, but by the government’s Center for Disease Control. The CDC helped that hopeful narrative that kinder, gentler Omicron had pushed out Delta. In early December. They reported that 73% of new cases were the Omicron variant. But on December 28, the CDC made a major correction. Instead of 73% Omicron in the first two weeks of December, the true figure was 23%, a change of 50%! The majority of cases were deadly Delta. There were two pandemics at the same time. Deadly Delta had not left the United States, Canada, or even Europe, but it may soon.
One review of cases, still not peer-reviewed, appears to show that having Omicron seems to prevent Delta at the same time. Others argue co-infection is possible. We know for sure, especially from the experience in Israel, that Omicron can infect people even with three injections of vaccines. The virus has mutated to escape vaccine resistance. But it looks like triple-jabbed people still avoid trip to Intensive Care or the morgue unless they were already near the edge due to other non-COVID conditions.
Medical reports from several countries found people can be re-infected with COVID, getting it two or more times within a single year. But I have not seen good science on this yet. Unlike some other famous diseases, surviving COVID does not create life-time immunity, or even immunity lasting a year. My personal conclusion is that people who have COVID-19, of any variant, whether symptomatic or not, should take more not less protective measures. Cases on record show return COVID can be worse and more deadly than the first bout. Hopefully you can pass this message on to others: if someone got through COVID it is not a get out of jail free card, not time to party. It is time to be extra vigilant and double-masked, like an immuno-compromised person. We need more science on that, but peer-reviewed large-study results will come far too late to know what to do now.
“Long Covid can happen no matter what virus variant. There’s no evidence that there’s any difference between delta or beta or now omicron.”
~ Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President of United States, December 29, 2021 on local TV, New York.
The giant and most fearsome ogre in our time is not how many millions die from COVID, as deeply tragic as that is for every family. The media mentions this other dark fear in passing. Maybe a couple of famous people admit it. We hear more cries from victims on Twitter. You know what it is: long-haul Covid.
Early in the pandemic, we heard of very low survival rates of people going on ventilators, like only 12% lived. Among those survivors, a minority of that minority experienced extreme impacts like full-on dementia at any age. Others had to learn to speak and walk again, like a toddler.
It is hard to find the number of people who now require dialysis for the rest of their lives because of their COVID infection. Kidney damage, heart damage, and brain damage emerged in COVID survivors, even those with mild symptoms. Others just lost their will to live, slipping into serious depression that lasts until today. Or they are tired, finding common ground with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – too tired to work, to look after their kids, to get their lives back.
We do not know how long those symptoms will last. Organ damage to the kidneys and heart will not be repaired. While they may be treated, the person might die years younger than if they never had COVID. When this pandemic is over, it will not be over. It seems likely millions of people will die due to COVID damage for years and even decades after the disease. Most will not be counted.
We can say that so far it looks like Omicron is having less severe impacts on most people who get it, which might reduce the continuing build-up of humans with long-haul COVID. A comparatively smaller number of Omicron patients require ventilators. If hospitalized, patients with Omicron stay only a few days, not weeks or months. It sounds like fewer people are dying of Omicron, but the big wave is just washing over. It is too soon to know. But we can hold on to that small hope that fewer people will suffer long-lasting damage when they get this COVID variant. That is a good hope, and I’m holding on to it. There is no science to prove it yet. But we ARE getting the first explanations of how and when COVID-19 damages the heart, brain and other organs.
BREAKING SCIENCE ON LONG IMPACTS OF COVID-19
Let’s get straight to breaking science on long-haul COVID. This was just released December 26, led by scientists at the U.S. National Institute of Health. These are rushed results from fresh autopsies of American COVID victims. This information comes with a warning: it is “pre-print” and, quote, “should not be considered conclusive, used to inform clinical practice, or referenced by the media as validated information”.
Or use this link: https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-1139035/v1
Due to the enormous need to understand this virus as it attacks society around the world, the NIH is breaking their normal slow procedure for peer-reviewed data. There are 33 authors, most of them American medical scientists. The lead author is Dr. Daniel Chertow, Investigator for the Emerging Pathogens Section of the NIH. The manuscript is under review for the top science journal Nature. The title is: “SARS-CoV-2 infection and persistence throughout the human body and brain.”
Also look from an article by Jason Gale at medscape.com (reprinted by Bloomberg), headline: “Coronavirus Can Persist for Months After Traversing Body.” Jason writes:
“The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can spread within days from the airways to the heart, brain and almost every organ system in the body, where it may persist for months, a study found….”
The best previous study on long-term effects was led by the director of the clinical epidemiology center at the Veterans Affairs in St. Louis Missouri, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly. We will look at his paper shortly. But Ziyad Al-Aly told Jason Gale, quote “For a long time now, we have been scratching our heads and asking why long Covid seems to affect so many organ systems. This paper sheds some light, and may help explain why long Covid can occur even in people who had mild or asymptomatic acute disease.”
So what did the NIH scientists find in the bodies of COVID victims? COVID-19 RNA particles were found in the brain, and in multiple parts of the body, lasting hundreds of days after symptoms began. The RNA that is the virus is still there, but is it still active, or can it be activated again? We don’t know yet. But other viruses do have that capability, like the Herpes virus which hides in the body for years, erupting every now and then. We can’t assume COVID-19 is like that, and we can’t assume that it isn’t.
But even more telling for millions of people experiencing illness and disability long after getting this corona virus – the new NIH study suggests the way that spreading can take place. The investigators find the virus goes through an early stage where it can explode out of the breathing system into the rest of the body. They are calling a “viremic” phase.
Take a deep breath. Not everyone experiences this all-body blast of virus. In fact the majority of people do not. Yet a minority, say 1 percent of people who get COVID, is a huge number of people when literally billions of people are infected with the virus. In the UK’s Guardian newspaper December 23, disability activist JD Davids draws up these numbers for America:
“We now know that at least 10-30% of those who survive any Covid infection (from asymptomatic or “mild”to severe) will go on to live with (and sometimes die from) long Covid – a long-term, lifelong, or even life-threatening or fatal, disabling chronic syndrome, the biological pathways of which are still largely unknown.
Even before Omicron, the CDC estimates there have been at least 146.6m Covid infections in the United States alone – meaning at least 15 million people are estimated to have long Covid.”
That is from JD Davids in the Guardian.
That 15 million figure is lower than others I have seen. It is just for the United States, and does not include whatever Omicron will leave in its wake in the year 2022 and beyond.
“COVID-19 linked to ‘substantial’ drop in intelligence, new research finds
People who had been hospitalised and put on a ventilator saw the biggest deficit in the Great British Intelligence Test – equivalent to a seven-point drop in IQ.”
– Megan Baynes News reporter @megbaynes Monday 26 July 2021
Megan cites “Cognitive deficits in people who have recovered from COVID-19” in the Lancet July 22, 2021
COVID KILLS NEURONS IN THE BRAIN
Here is the awful truth found by the latest science. It is already known to doctors and nurses in many Intensive Care Units around the world. In some people, COVID kills neurons in the brain . Following the new science, here is a Tweet from Dr. Noor Bari, an Infectious Diseases Emergency Trainee in Australia:
“’They found that the infected astrocytes induced apoptosis in the neurons, indicating that the virus infection could trigger events that could kill neurons.’ Translation. COVID makes your body kill your brain cells. They don’t grow back.”
That Noor Bari Tweet comes partly from this paper published November 18, 2021 in Nature Reviews Neurology: “Counting the neurological cost of COVID-19”.
An earlier review of reports from 55 countries found 41 different neurological manifestations occurring with COVID-19. The brain is so complex, damaging different parts reveals 41 different possible impacts, reported so far. A lot of people are experiencing strange changes in their lives and may never realize it was COVID damage to the brain.
The most extreme signs of brain damage from the virus are early on-set dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. Although surviving, the person may require care for the rest of their shortened lives. Other symptoms seem less but still loom large. Memory problems are common, words going missing, the brain breakdown formerly associated with advancing age, but now appearing in 30 to 50-year-olds and younger.
Some people with COVID lose detectable and measurable IQ points due to neurons killed off by COVID in the brain. Quoting from the “Counting the neurological cost” study by Abdul Mannan Baig:
“Differences in the prevalence of the various neurological symptoms were observed between older (aged 60 years or more) and young (aged less than 18 years) subpopulations. Acute confusion or delirium, fatigue and myalgia tended to dominate in the older group. In patients aged under 18 years, the most common neurological symptoms were impairment of smell and/or taste and headache, and seizures were also noted in some individuals.
Alarmingly, mortality in patients with COVID-19 who had one or more neurological manifestations was found to be 27% and was especially high in patients aged 60 years or more. The finding that the prevalence of stroke was 1.2% in people with COVID-19, compared with only 0.2% in those with influenza, is also concerning.”
Statistically speaking, this COVID brain damage probably has not happened to you, or your loved ones. But millions of people around you will be less able to work, to cope, and to understand what is happening to them. Take this back-of-the-envelope guesstimate from a Tweeter called Abundant Pedestrian Sheds. Quote:
“Let’s do a bit more math. Let’s say 70% get infected, 10% of that has long covid (a UK study says 1 in 7, so 10% is conservative enough).
That’ll give us roughly 23 millions of people [in the UK] who will have apoptosis in brain cells and long covid? Plus reinfections have 2x IFR [are twice as likely to be fatal].
Just consider these Tweets from Denise Dewald, MD in Ohio:
“How is the economy going to look if the average age of dementia onset is 60 years rather than 84? There is a measurable decline in cognitive function in people who had just ONE episode of Covid. What happens after multiple bouts with the virus?” says Denise.
Back comes this comment: “Meanwhile, China is protecting its citizens/workforce hard core. How will we compete if our populace is profoundly affected cognitively in years to come?” Another comment says: “Try from age 35, I am dealing with completely lost and confused people daily. We have already discussed discreetly screening those who have been infected when hiring. They are too great a burden for a business where thinking fast on your feet is essential.”
Chilling! How many people will try to hide their COVID infection in job resumes? How deep will the new discrimination go? A factor in marriage partners?
For more information on brain damage and cognitive deficits after COVID, you can check out this paper published July 22, 2021: “Cognitive deficits in people who have recovered from COVID-19”. That was published in the Lancet.
Another study was published in the Lancet April 6, 2021:
6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236 379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records
in a huge UK study of medical records, found 1 in 3 COVID patients developed either neurological or psychiatric problems in the first 6 months after their infection. Damage ranges from nervous disorders to Depression to paranoia and beyond, into anti-social behavior. It can appear in COVID patients of all ages. That includes children, parents, and grand-parents. I don’t have time in this show to go into the psychiatric changes after COVID-19. Remember, that just hits a few, but in this game, a few is a lot, too many to count.
As mentioned, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly published an important paper on long-haul COVID in April 2021. He is senior author of the study and a director of the Clinical Epidemiology Center at Veterans Affairs St. Louis. In a news release from Washington University in St. Louis, Al-Aly said:
“Our study demonstrates that up to 6 months after diagnosis, the risk of death following even a mild case of COVID-19 is not trivial and increases with disease severity. Given that more than 30 million Americans have been infected with this virus, and given that the burden of long COVID-19 is substantial, the lingering effects of this disease will reverberate for many years and even decades.”
Al-Aly also warned that our current death tolls in every county is just the beginning. Quote:
“As far as total pandemic death toll, these numbers suggest that the deaths we’re counting due to the immediate viral infection are only the tip of the iceberg.”
As the WUSTL press release explains:
“For the Nature study, researchers examined more than 87,000 COVID-19 patients and nearly 5 million control patients in a federal database. They found COVID-19 patients had a 59% higher risk of death up to 6 months after infection, compared to non-infected people.
Those findings translate into about eight extra deaths per 1,000 patients over 6 months, because many deaths caused by long-term COVID complications are not recorded as COVID-19 deaths, the researchers said. Among patients who were hospitalized and died after more than 30 days, there were 29 excess deaths per 1,000 patients over 6 months.”
THE AWFUL LIST OF COVID DAMAGE
In this meta-study of about 74,000 patient records held by the Veterans Administration, the Al-Aly paper found COVID-19 can result in, get ready for it:
“Respiratory system: persistent cough, shortness of breath and low oxygen levels in the blood.
Nervous system: stroke, headaches, memory problems and problems with senses of taste and smell.
Mental health: anxiety, depression, sleep problems and substance abuse.
Metabolism: new onset of diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.
Cardiovascular system: acute coronary disease, heart failure, heart palpitations and irregular heart rhythms.
Gastrointestinal system: constipation, diarrhea and acid reflux.
Kidney: acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease that can, in severe cases, require dialysis.
Coagulation regulation: blood clots in the legs and lungs.
Skin: rash and hair loss.
Musculoskeletal system: joint pain and muscle weakness.
General health: malaise, fatigue and anemia.
People who worry they have long-haul COVID, or know they do, or need to support someone else, can try the Survivor Corps, a grass-roots group.
SEE ALSO CNN INTERVIEW ON COGNITIVE DEFICITS AFTER EVEN MILD COVID
Alarming Study Finds Cognitive Deficits in Those Who Had Even Mild COVID Cases| Amanpour and Company
253,793 views Aug 5, 2021
“COVID-19’s long-term effects on the brain are causing concern among scientists — among them, Dr. Adam Hampshire. He is a cognitive neuroscientist at Imperial College London. Hampshire’s latest research, published in The Lancet medical journal, associates coronavirus with a decrease in reasoning and problem solving abilities. He breaks down his findings with Hari Sreenivasan.”
Originally aired on August 5, 2021.
They had already set up a study of cognition in the UK, with over 300,000 people spending 40 minutes of tests plus extended questionnaires – all volunteer. This went through 2020, and as it turned out, captured the differences in those who had COVID. The largest under-performance centered around complex reasoning, planning, and attention – executive functions, involved in making decisions. Those who had deficits included many who never went to the hospital and had milder disease at home, no medical assistance. Brain imaging studies also show brain changes in some people who had mild COVID. Evidence is emerging from those studies show damage to the brain.
Many complain of difficulties concentrating, brain fog, decision-making. Some had their own perspective of what happened to them, realizing the differences after COVID.
BRAIN IMAGING STUDY UK
A preprint study by Oxford University investigators on the medRxiv website, compares brain scans for SARS-CoV-2 infections in 394 COVID-19 patients who tested positive for the infection against 388 patients in a control group. “We identified significant effects of COVID-19 in the brain with a loss of grey matter in the left parahippocampal gyrus, the left lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the left insula,” the study states. “When looking over the entire cortical surface, these results extended to the anterior cingulate cortex, supramarginal gyrus and temporal pole.” Full text here.
EVEN HEALTH CARE WORKERS WITH LONG COVID ARE NOT BELIEVED (ATLANTIC)
Even Health-Care Workers With Long COVID Are Being Dismissed
Medical professionals are used to being believed, but as patients, they found that their expertise didn’t matter. By Ed Yong
NOVEMBER 24, 2021
TASTE AND SMELL LOST DUE TO BRAIN DAMAGE, NOT RECEPTORS…
“ ’The reason why very likely you lose your sense of smell and taste is not from the virus infecting your nerves—the actual peripheral nerves here for the sense of taste and smell—but it affects the centers in your brain,’ Harris said.”
HOW LONG DOES NATURAL IMMUNITY (WHETHER BY SHOT OR DISEASE) LAST?
“ natural immunity only lasts so long. Ninety days to be sure; six months; 180 days is the going wisdom as it stands right now. But that’s for both natural and acquired immunity”
PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS AFTER COVID
Lead author: Maxime Taquet, PhD
Open Access Published:April 06, 2021 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(21)00084-5
CAN BREAKTHROUGH INFECTIONS LEAD TO LONG COVID? – TIME MAGAZINE
One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July, analyzed 39 fully vaccinated Israeli health care workers who had breakthrough infections. Almost 20% of them still had symptoms six weeks later. Though its sample size was small, the study demonstrated that Long COVID is possible after a breakthrough infection.
THE MASSIVE RISK OF OMICRON EVOLVING INTO A NEW VARIANT
One final awful truth to get through here: the historic infection of billions of people world-wide in a few months greatly increases the odds a new and worse variant of COVID will develop and escape. Even if this one is milder, which we don’t know yet, the world-wide virus factory growing in so many people is another darkening cloud on the time horizon.
Early in the pandemic, immunologists explained a new COVID variant could develop within a single person. Each person with the virus has billions of copies of it. Medical scientists suggest that someone who survives a long time while sick with one COVID variant is a possible bio-reactor where a new variant can form.
Actually, every person with COVID becomes a new bioreactor, an experimental chamber for the virus to try countless new variations. It only requires one even more successful variation to reconquer the human herd and a lot of other mammals. By the way a third of the deer tested in Ohio were positive for COVID-19. Whatever strain the deer may be endemic for humans where infected wildlife is present. They don’t have herd immunity either!
If you want to collect up all your COVID fears and put them on the table, don’t forget the massively increased risk of new variants as uncontrolled Omicron – and the remains of Delta – blow up disease records around the world. As Doctors like Peter Hotez and Eric Feigl-Ding continually warn: the most cases we have, the more change of dangerous variants developing, perhaps to escape any vaccine or treatment we have now. The greatest wave of disease ever seen on Earth carries the seed possibility of even worse to come.
But remember: the first SARS-1, far more lethal than SARS-2 called COVID-19, evolved AWAY from human hosts. A vaccine for SARS-1 was just developed but never used because a new variation just disappeared from human experience. It was a warning shot. A small group of virus experts, and even Bill Gates, got the message. Sadly, governments and the public did not, and here we are. But if this is our darkest hour, remember the virus has no planning intelligence. It changes through billions of trials by brute force of numbers, to see what succeeds better. We have failed to fight off the virus. But the virus can fail too. That hope remains.
Whether Omicron saves us from more deadly Delta, or new treatments for acute illness arrive during 2022, we can be sure the impacts of this viral event will last for decades. Millions of people have already lost key functioning, with damage in organs, and reduced energy to live full lives. Their life-spans could be shorter. Even the average life expectancy could be reduced, including in developed countries.
Most of our government support systems were already underfunded and near breaking BEFORE COVID-19 arrived. Now we face coping with millions of injured people. Many have already had their pandemic benefits cut off. Like the single mother who Tweets she was poor before COVID. Her family food supply improved with COVID relief benefits but that was cut off because after all, we are coming out of the pandemic. We were told that by everyone from the President or Prime Minister on down. But we were entering the really worst phase. Our single mother tried going back to work, but she was too exhausted to function. Back home, now without any support, she and her children are poorer than ever. Multiply that times a few million.
Hordes of Americans already lost their health care along with their jobs. Those who are too sick and tired to work may not get medical care. Civilized countries who provide free health care to all also has health care systems underfunded and running thin. Now they have been systematically crushed for over two years. Thousands and thousands of carefully trained health care providers, including specialty nurses and doctors, have either died, been knocked out by long-COVID, or left the field in despair. It will take years to replace them, if we ever do.
But it goes deeper than providing basic living and health care. This pandemic is going to require something else that has been in short supply this last decade: caring for others, including people who look or speak differently. In history, religion has stepped in to provide emotional and spiritual support for those in need. Charity is built into Christianity, Judaism and Islam. But all three religions are declining in the age of science and modernity. Will a frightened people return to former faiths and customs? Will we see a religious revival?
If not, the pandemic may force a new function into civilization, from Asia to Arkansas. We need a new social mechanism to care for our wounded. This includes hundreds of thousands of kids who lost their parents, the new COVID orphans. It includes the bright college professor who lost the IQ needed to keep on teaching. It includes the Amazon warehouse worker now stuck in bed at home without support or benefits. The Indian farmer who can’t support the family.
Millions of the COVID injured now need help from the survivors.
That is our challenge, in a time when selling hate and division is so profitable. Can the pandemic finally bring out the best in us? Anything is possible.
I’m Alex Smith.
DR. TWILA MOON: 2021 ARCTIC REPORT CARD
“The Arctic, an ancient ecosystem, is disappearing before our eyes. The changes seen in the Arctic can have a cascading effect, amplifying warming and further accelerating climate change.”
– NOAA, Arctic Report Card 2021
When the Arctic re-emerges from its long sleep in the cold, everything from port cities to global weather are affected. Is anybody watching the big picture there? The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA just issued their 2021 Arctic Report Card.
A lead editor of that report is glaciologist Twila Moon. Dr. Moon is Deputy Lead Scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center [NSIDC] at the University of Colorado.
From her online bio info:
“Dr. Moon is a world-renowned scientist with a primary focus on the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Arctic. Her research has appeared in high-impact journals such as Science and Nature and received global media coverage. Also an accomplished science communicator, she has testified for the U.S. Congress, is a lead editor for the annual NOAA Arctic Report Card, and spearheads efforts on scientist-stakeholder knowledge exchange.”
Just a couple of weeks ago, The World Meteorological Organization verified the highest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic! In June 2021, the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk experienced an astonishing 38 degrees C, or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We use to hear the Arctic was heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Now a climate scientist at University of Colorado, Zake Labe, Tweeted “over the last several decades, the Arctic is warming nearly four times faster than the global average.”
— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) December 8, 2021
GLACIER GEOENGINEERING PART OF “MANAGED COLLAPSE”
John Moore, a scientist with institutions in Beijing and Finland, argued if trillions of dollars of coastal real estate is at risk, we should try to slow the flow of new water coming off a relatively small number of glaciers. He suggests we could do it with geoengineering. Moore et al. wrote:
“It is remarkable that the high-end sea level rise threat over the next few hundred years comes almost entirely from only a handful of ice streams and large glaciers. These occupy a few percent of ice sheets’ coastline. Accordingly, spatially limited interventions at source may provide globally-equitable mitigation from rising seas.”
You can read an article about this Arctic geoengineering idea here. The author, Kevin McGwin writes:
“Geoengineering of glaciers will not mitigate global warming from greenhouse gases,” the authors write. They also suggest that if carbon pollution increases unchecked, their proposal may only be an exercise in “managed collapse,” rather than a rescue effort.”
But in 2018, Twila Moon warned: “Geoengineering might speed glacier melt.” That was published in Nature.
SEE ALSO: This YouTube “Twila Moon – Face to Face with Climate Change in Greenland”
OTHER RECOMMENDED ARTICLES AND PAPERS BY TWILA MOON:
Moon, T. 2018. Looking up: Women in Arctic science. The Arctic Institute.
Moon, T. 2017. Saying goodbye to glaciers. Science 356(6338): 580-581. doi:10.1126/science.aam9625. (paywall)
Twila Moon has been publishing papers and correspondence on the Arctic, with a specialty in Greenland glaciers, for 13 years (earliest listed paper is in 2008).
TWILA’S TEDX presentation in Feb 8 2019 is here:
Embracing Ice: A Story for Action | Twila Moon | TEDxBigSky
1,757 views Feb 8, 2019 (15 min) (Montana)
In her Montana TEDx talk, Twila assures listeners that the future is not already decided. She visited a glacier in 2004, as a young woman, and then again with her husband in 2010. But the glacier toe was bare rock, and the ice distant.
She went to far northwest Greenland in August 2018, visited aboriginals hunting Narwhals the old way. The big change came over the last 10 years. We have locked in ice loss for the next several decades, she says. But what about 100 or 200 years into the future?
That will be decided on what you and I and our leaders do, she says.
Twila says our actions over the next 10 years will change the future of future generations. We are at a split in the road. We might drastically and fundamentally change the world 200 years from now, by what we do this decade. She tells them “your actions matter”.
WATCH THE WHOLE 1.5 HOUR NOAA PRESS CONFERENCE AT AGU FALL 2021
FIND THE ARCTIC REPORT CARD HERE
NEW YORK TIMES COVERAGE ($)
ALEX THOUGHTS ON THE ARCTIC REPORT
So less ice melted away from Greenland last year than in previous years. Other signals from the Arctic were not the worst ever recorded, just in the top three or so. Here we have the same fundamental problem with perception as with much of climate change. For example, if greenhouse gas emissions increase only 2 percent this year, when it was 3 percent last year, people might think we are on the right path, greenhouse gases are decreasing. Not at all! Greenhouse gases continue to be added, year on year – only the rate of INCREASE went down one year, not the level of gases. The danger continues to increase.
The same with the Arctic. If this was not the lowest sea ice, the biggest melt, the worse ever recorded, then we are lulled into thinking the Arctic is doing a little better. No. It gets worse a little more slowly, but catastrophically worse every year, losing glaciers, adding to sea levels, losing sea ice, adding to the heat loop for the whole planet (as albedo changes). We need to learn how to “read” these report cards for what they really tell us.
If you made it this far in the blog, and followed through with those links, you should get some kind of diploma. We need deep learning just to keep even with daily events. Thank you for caring about our world, and don’t forget to help support my research and broadcast.