Chasing Ice Blues
When the ice starts to fall, D/F# A D/F# A
And it’s higher than a mile tall, D/F# A F#m E
One degree don’t come free, D/F#A D7
And I wonder, can you see at all? A A/F# E F#m
I wonder, can you see at all? A A/F# E D/F# A
There was a place, so they say,
At the South pole, melted away,
There and gone, in a day,
A hole as big as San Francisco Bay.
All that water’s got to flow.
Don’t you ask me where it’s bound to go.
How can I simplify?
Miami’s gonna say goodbye.
What you think, where you’ve been
Doesn’t matter when the tide comes in.
You know Boston, Baltimore,
Ain’t gonna be the way they were before.
Ounce of prevention’s worth a pound of cure,
But politicians really not so sure.
They’d rather lie, let us fry,
Doing nothing till the time goes by.
When the ice starts to fall,
And it’s higher than a mile tall,
One degree don’t come free,
And I wonder, can you see at all?
©Doug Hendren 2016
What’s it about?
As a result of global warming, flooding of the US coastline has already begun. In recent decades, Earth’s mean temperature has risen nearly 1ºC (1.6ºF) above its remarkably steady baseline for the previous history of human civilization. Sea levels have risen nearly 15 centimeters (6 inches) from melting of ice sheets and thermal expansion of warming ocean waters.
The ice sheets over Greenland (avg. 8,200 feet) and Antarctica (avg. 7,000 feet) are both well over a mile high, several times taller than the Empire State Building. Together, they contain enough land-based ice to raise global sea levels by more than 200 feet. While these changes will not happen all at once under any known scenario, it is happening much faster than you may think. The effects are already being felt in many parts of the world, including coastal cities in the United States.
While our politicians fret and pontificate about the imagined costs of a rapid transition to clean energy, they are ignoring the vastly greater costs of doing nothing. They are indeed being “penny wise and pound foolish”. Below are some recent reports on global ice loss, and the effects on global sea levels. Most recent reports (2021) indicate that the loss of Antarctic glaciers is accelerating.
See James Balog’s film, “Chasing Ice”. It is simply breathtaking, and probably the best way to really see what’s going on.
BBC: Miami’s Fight Against Rising Seas. The consequences of sea level rise occur long before the high tide reaches your doorstep.
Salon: Boston will survive if it can prevent the effects of climate change. Architects and engineers are rethinking Boston to cope with rapidly rising seas.
New York Times: Greenland is Melting. Vivid images, high-stakes, dangerous climate research
NASA: Vital Signs of the Planet: 2016 climate trends continue to break records.
National Geographic Scientists are watching in horror as ice collapses
Bill McKibben: This chart captures the alarming drop in sea ice.