SOS #77    J. Morris Hicks    (10-28-20)  
Skating on thin ice...the latest from the Arctic
Since meeting Dr. Peter Wadhams a few years ago in New York, I adopted the habit of checking the ice extent in the Arctic almost every day. You can check it yourself at this NSIDC link (National Snow and Ice Data Center). 

That link takes you to an interactive chart where you can analyze ice extent by year since 1979, when the era of the satellite record began. 

Using that interactive chart, I focused on just one part of the graph, the part shown below from July 2020 to Jan:
  • The light blue line represents the current ice extent
  • The dotted red line is 2012 (lowest ice extent ever)
  • The other two solid lines are 2016 and 2019
  • 2020 sea ice extent is now tracking far below all others.
As you can clearly see, we are now in uncharted waters which means that our days are numbered when it comes to the first ice-free Arctic possibly as early as Sept. of 2021.

This past weekend, I sent Dr. Wadhams this question -- along with an earlier version of this graph showing that the current ice extent in the Arctic is lower than it has ever been during the month of October. I wrote:

Peter, what do you make of the slow growth of the Arctic ice this year? WELL below 2012, 2016 and 2019 as of yesterday.

He wrote back right away with his professional assessment of the current situation. By the way, Dr. Wadhams has led some 55 Arctic expeditions during his illustrious career.

Yes, it's at a record low for the time of year. The last time there was a very slow autumn growth, in 2015, I was out at the ice edge throughout Oct and part of Nov aboard the RV "Sikuliaq" on an ONR cruise. 

What happened was that there was a large amount of heat in the water column that had to be dissipated before the ice edge could advance. There were alternating on-ice and off-ice winds. With off-ice winds, pancake ice would grow outside the ice edge, growing the ice limits. With on-ice winds the pancake melted, bringing the ice area down again. 

Only very slowly was there a net advance. I think this may be happening this year, in which case, the cause might be exceptional heat put into the water column during the very hot summer, which has still not been dissipated by the pancake-no pancake mechanism.

Best wishes, Peter

Analyzing the data. As an industrial engineer, I have always enjoyed gathering and analyzing data. According to my own analysis, since October 13 of this year, there has never been fewer square kilometers of ice in the Arctic during the month of October. Here is a screenshot of my Excel spreadsheet. 

In case you're interested, I draw your attention to the date of 10-13-20 in the far left column of the above chart. Compared to 2012, the year in which the lowest ice extent ever recorded took place in mid-September, this data shows that 2020 ice extent went below the 2012 data on 10-13-20 for the first time and -- has continued to go lower for the last thirteen consecutive days.

Now look at the last number in the middle red column. It is (1540). What does that mean? It means that there are now 1.54 million fewer square kilometers of floating ice in the Arctic Ocean than there were on that same date in 2012

How big is 1.54 million square kilometers? An area almost four times the size of the state of California. The exact number is 3.63 and it appears in the far right column of the chart. That's a huge area that is now blue (and absorbing lots of heat). The white ice reflects most of the heat, a phenomenon that is known as albedo.

Blue ocean absorbs 93% of the heat from the sun, whereas the white ice only absorbs 15%. Hence, with less ice, the water heats up faster, which melts more ice and so on. This is what scientists call a self-reinforcing feedback loop. And, in this case, it is not a good thing.

What does all of this mean? It means that we are rapidly approaching a time when the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free for part of the year. Scientists cannot pinpoint the date when that event will first happen, but it could be as early as September of 2021.

Once it goes ice free for part of one year, the scientists predict that it will be ice-free for a longer time in the years that follow -- until it becomes a permanently ice-free ocean. As this process continues, the rate of climate change will be accelerated -- a phenomenon that will lead to extreme disruption of weather, habitats for all species of life and our own ability to grow food. 

The time to act is NOW! As Dr. Wadhams stated above, the ice is melting rapidly, that "canary in the coal mine" is dead and we are now living on borrowed time. As noted in the earlier slide with his picture, he has also concluded that we must begin urgently removing CO2 from the atmosphere -- a process that is technically feasible but will cost trillions of dollars. Why has it not started?

That urgently-needed CO2 removal process has not started at scale because the world's most powerful nations prefer to spend their trillions on idiotic projects like more nuclear weapons. That way, we can destroy all life on Earth quicker than Mother Nature can.

On a brighter note, I am pleased to report that Dr. Wadhams told me last year that our AGRA idea (American Green Region Authority) as described in Outcry is the best idea that he has heard regarding the possibility of our long-term survival as a species. We envision that the GBN, overseen by AGRA will be a very special place where only green lifestyle options exist.

The Bottom Line. With the ice melting quickly in the Arctic and the West coast literally on fire, we should be urgently using whatever time we have remaining to design, build and populate a successor civilization -- one that treats Mother Nature with the dignity and respect that she deserves and, in fact, requires. 

But no world leaders are even talking about it. 

That is the story that we tell in Outcry. And it's not all bad news. Aimed at helping to spark a global conversation on this most serious of all topics, we step back and take a look at the many wonderful things that are possible when we get really serious about re-designing and replacing our grossly unsustainable way of life on planet Earth. 

Please join me in helping to spark the most important conversation in the history of humanity.

Download the free Kindle app for all of your devices.

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks


PS: For a highly informative 44-slide pictorial tour of Outcry, just click here. Also, check out this July 2020 news about the remarkable James Lovelock, who at age 101, now says that "he AND our biosphere are in the final 1% of their lives." Hopefully, he is wrong about both predictions.

Also, let's talk.To help jumpstart a  global conversation 
that I keep encouraging, I am now offering to conduct private Zoom conferences free of charge to groups of almost any size. I look forward to Zooming with you and your group sometime soon. 

Send me an email and let's get started.

In preparation for those sessions, I have developed a one-hour format consisting of an opening statement followed by a 20-minute slide show and then ending with a discussion and Q&A with the attendees. The sessions you organize will be far more interesting and productive if attendees have read Outcry in advance.

Our book, for a host of environmental reasons, is only available as an e-book on Amazon. As such, it contains hyperlinks to hundreds of references and videos, is less expensive, does not kill any trees and does not have to be manufactured and delivered. 

You can join my mailing list and/or find all of my previous postings by visiting the SOS Memos page on my websiteHere are a few of them where you can see how my vision has evolved since that first "creative idea" on 9-21-18:

As always, I am just trying to spark a global conversation about what is needed. By sharing a vision of what I believe is possible, I hope to influence others to think bigger, better and bolder. 

As for speaking, I continue to search for mainstream audiences who may have an interest in learning more about a realistically hopeful vision for our future - and their role in making that vision come true.

In the months ahead, I will continue to focus on the urgent need for a totally reinvented greening of our civilization - beginning with a model in the USA that could be applied globally over the next fifty years. 

Upcoming talks: There are lots of open dates on my calendar and I look forward to the opportunity of tailoring my presentation to best suit an audience you may have in mind: 

Universities, churches,  book groups, legislative bodies, think-tanks, environmental organizations, alumni associations, leadership clubs, PTA's, family, neighbors 
and/or civic groups who may appreciate a message of reality and hope for our future. 

Please let me hear from you directly regarding any ideas or questions you may have.

What else can you do to help? Three things:

1. Live as greenly as possible while doing all that you can to raise the awareness of "big picture" solutions that are crucially necessary for saving our civilization.

2. Share this BSB and my "Mama Ain't Happy" BSB with prominent journalists, thought leaders and/or elected officials whom you respect. They need to learn a lot more about the many reasons why Mama ain't happy.

3. Here are a few more GRATOLA-related blogs that you can share with your most powerful friends, leaders, journalists and movie producers.

Click here for links to all blogs and SOS Memos since 2016

Until next time, just remember...

Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.

This SOS Memo series was created by:

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks 
CEO, 4Leaf Global, LLC

I welcome your feedback and/or questions at:

In the past two years, I have spoken at a VegFest in
Fort Myers, at in Honolulu and Kahului, Maui, the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, a Plant Powered Manhattan event in New York, at a lakeside health conference in South Haven, Michigan, in Buffalo, NY, at the University of Scranton, at Dr. Fuhrman's Golden Gate Health Getaway in California and at the Healthy World Sedona Health and Sustainability Conference in AZ.

To schedule a presentation at a venue near you, please contact me at

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Moonglow J. Morris Hicks

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