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          The FIRST absolutely crucial, critical, earth-changing fact about global warming and climate change, which every voter (and, even more, every candidate for Congress) should know about, is this:


            In the arctic north, the amount of “snow and ice cover” – which formerly provided a bright white (sunlight-reflecting) layer, on top of much darker ocean and land surfaces – have decreased to a huge and deeply frightening extent. The reason why that loss is so dangerous and disturbing, is described in Crucial Fact #2, on the next page; by contrast, this Crucial Fact #1 merely describes the size of the losses that have already occurred.

            The decreases in arctic snow and ice cover may well be the single best, most powerful, and most undeniable indicator of how serious (and even dire) the global situation has become. Why? Because the facts are what they are, and those facts cannot be denied, or pretended away, either by climate change deniers, or by politicians in Congress. By 1979, satellites – which do not have political agendas, and which do not need to seek campaign contributions, or run for re-election – began taking sufficiently detailed and accurate pictures, of the northern arctic, to enable impartial, objective, non-biased comparisons of today’s arctic conditions, against the 1979 conditions. When the satellite pictures of today are compared against the pictures from 1980, they just plain show what they show, and no one can claim or pretend otherwise. Therefore, most climate change deniers (especially those in Congress) try to find ways and excuses to ignore them, and pretend that either: (i) it's not their job, or responsibility, to understand what those particular pictures show; or, (ii) surely, there must be some kind of explanation, or evasion, which can explain away those pictures.

            But, there isn't a better explanation than the one summarized below. So, anyone who wants to engage in any serious and informed political debate over global warming – and any voter, interviewer, or debate moderator who wants to ask questions of candidates for Congress – should know what is undeniably happening in the northern arctic region.

            The pictures that are used to compare year-to-year changes are taken in September, when the arctic ice and snow cover is at its lowest point. That does not indicate bias; instead, it is a straight-forward and logical way to gather, and provide to decision-makers, the best and most useful comparative information, to show what is actually happening, year after year.

            And, in addition to using cameras that take pictures in the visible spectrum, some satellites also use X-rays or other parts of the non-visible spectrum, to detect, not just the areas covered by snow or ice, but also, the thickness and depth of that snow and ice cover, on top of the surfaces (land, or water) that the snow and ice rest upon, at any location.

            There is a non-partisan, impartial scientific agency, called the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), which brings together experts from several federal agencies. It is tasked with evaluating ice and snow measurements and data from around the world, especially in the artic, Antarctic, and Greenland. Its website is at

            Because most people cannot convert huge numbers (such as hundreds of thousands of square miles, or kilometers) into a quick and practical grasp of what is being said, the NSIDC has chosen to express the most important numbers – describing the size of the area which has flat-out LOST its snow and ice cover (i.e., it has lost it entirely, so that much darker water and land surfaces have become directly exposed, and visible) – as multiples of the size of the state of New Jersey. Most people can at least begin to grasp and understand how large the entire state of New Jersey is, at a level which is at least somewhat meaningful; so, using a multiple of THAT much area, makes more sense than some huge number of square miles or kilometers.

            The official numbers (and photographs), from the September month of each successive year since 1979 (when sufficiently detailed satellite images became available to enable these kinds of analyses), show that the amount of snow and ice cover, in the arctic – which formerly helped protect and stabilize the arctic region – which has totally disappeared, since 1979, by about ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE times as much area, as is covered by the entire state of New Jersey.

            And . . . to make matters even worse, the thickness of the remaining snow and ice cover also has dropped – severely, dramatically, and dangerously. During that same time span (since 1979), it has decreased by more than half – from an average of 2 meters (which is about 6 feet, 7 inches) in 1979, to less than 1 meter (about 39 inches), today.

          In complete seriousness, to get a mental handle on what that means, close your eyes, and pretend you are looking at a dwarf, only 3 feet tall, standing next to a professional basketball player who is 6’7”. That is the true and practical difference, between those two heights. They are NOT the same TYPES of people, and they do NOT have the same physical strength or capabilities.

            Without trying to be cute, or flippant, it is reasonable to point out that most people – if obliged by circumstances to choose a bodyguard to help protect them, in a place that is known to be hostile, dangerous, swarming with thieves and desperately hungry poor people, where “kidnaping for profit” is one of the few profitable industries – most likely would choose an extra-tall, extra strong, ex-professional basketball player, rather than a dwarf, to protect him, his wife, and his children. What we have done, to the arctic, is comparable to telling it, “Sorry, but we killed off all the basketball players who used to live up here. All we have left, now, is some dwarves."

            And, as the final crucial point, the snow and ice cover that remains, has become substantially – even severely – more porous, more hollow, less dense, and less strong, than it was, back in the 1980’s.

           So, the person who is telling you, "All we have left, now, is some dwarves," would also have to add, in order to be honest and candid, "And we also need to warn you that these dwarves also suffer from severe osteo-porosis, which means that their bones have become fragile, and can be easily broken. And, they’re also getting pretty old, themselves, and they keep dying off, in pretty large numbers, each year. So, all we can do, now, is tell you the facts, and wish you luck.”

            Those numbers – the HUGE area where snow cover has been totally lost, as well as the reduced, hollowed-out, porous and weak thicknesses, in areas where any snow cover remains – are not frightening, merely because they are large. They become doubly (or triply) frightening, to anyone who also understands the NEXT crucial fact . . .

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