Benjamin Horton – Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences
In the late 1950s, in the midst of the Cold War, the Army Corps of Engineers had an unusual idea: What if America could shuttle ballistic missiles via tunnels drilled through ice caps in the Arctic?.. After the Joint Chiefs of Staff nixed their ballistic underground railroad proposal, the Army Corps of Engineers abandoned Camp Century. The Army Corps of Engineers believed that snow would always accumulate over Camp Century, thus locking it away forever. But a new modeling study finds that unmitigated global warming could melt the ice cap at Camp Century starting around 2090. As Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis wrote to Pacific Standard: “This is uncharted territory in the human experience, and especially the ecosystem is likely to respond in abrupt ways.”
If you’re a climate scientist, what happens when your dire predictions start coming true? The ongoing anthrax outbreak in Siberia is offering us a preview: What was once considered a future theoretical possibility – a re-animated deadly bacterium emerging from the permafrost – is now a reality… “The record-warm Arctic so far this year, which is probably a preview of a two-degrees-warmer globe, will spawn all sorts of surprises that we cannot foresee,” according to Jennifer Francis, a climate scientist at Rutgers University whose work focuses on the implications of rapidly diminishing Arctic sea ice. “This is uncharted territory in the human experience, and especially the ecosystem is likely to respond in abrupt ways,” Francis writes in an email.