To the editor: The article reporting the record warm year in Alaska sounds like a weather story. It's not. A good chunk of Alaska is part of the Arctic, global warming's canary in the coal mine. ("Alaska's toasty temperatures in 2014 worry observers," Jan. 2)
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, "Average temperatures in the Arctic region are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world." Scientists are now predicting an ice-free Arctic in years, not decades.
The Arctic is where we might cross two threatening tipping points: the complete loss of sea ice and thawing tundra.
The loss of ice would turn the reflective cooling Arctic into a blue heat sponge. Thawing tundra would release huge quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.
It's not weather. It's a climate that's changing faster due to our own behavior. We should not only be worried, we should act.
Angie Vazirian, Newport Beach
To the editor: Why is the focus of this story on whether the high temperatures in Anchorage in 2014 are evidence of climate change? We already know that climate change is real.
Shouldn't newspapers of record focus on how vast numbers of people are committing themselves to taking on the fossil fuel industries? Or debating the merits of various strategies to combat climate change?
Let's put the "debate" over climate change to rest and get to the solutions. Please.
Karen Meyers, Irvine
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