The Clearest Sign of System Failure in the World

If someone asked me to name the one place in the world where the rapidly accelerating decline of the earths natural systems is most evident, I would be hard pressed to narrow it down to just one place.

After all, when God created the earth He intermeshed the operations of all earth systems.  By this I mean that the atmosphere depends on the hydrosphere to operate, and the climate system depends on the soil system and its sub-systems.  The fresh-water system depends on the oceanic system, etc., etc.  The earth is made up of systems that are interdependent and it essentially functions as one system.  See Genesis 1:31, where it says that God saw everything He had made and it was very good.  Compare and contrast this to the “it was good” comment after each individual system was made.  But I digress.  Anyway,  if I were going to pick one place, I would want all failing systems to be represented in that one place.

But still, if I were pushed – hard – to come up with one place that represented the decline of all systems, then, after much deliberation, I would choose the North Atlantic.  Or the Arctic.  I’m still not sure because both of these areas are representative of staggering decline and rapid change.  Now, interestingly (and ominously) we see the impacts of both areas beginning to merge.

The situation is complicated but if you bear with me I will explain.  In the North Atlantic, we are seeing Greenland lose unprecedented amounts of glacial ice.   This ice turns to melt water which pools on the surface of the much saltier and heavier ocean water, and on sea surface temperature anomaly maps you can see a massive area that is much cooler than the surrounding water.  This cool pool is from the melt.  You can see the cool pool below from this Climate Reanalyzer image dated today.  Note that, even though the cool pool is obvious, it is much more obvious in the summer and fall.

SST Anomaly Dec 27 2015

This cool pool does a number of things.  First, it sets up a dipole effect that creates its own weather or, just as often, exacerbates the weather that exists. boiled down, what all that means is that this area of cold water and warm water in close proximity is a cradle for storms.  So northern Europe (and particularly the UK) gets more storms and stronger storms.  If you’ve been following the record flooding in the UK this fall and winter, then this won’t surprise you.  Beyond that, the cool pool also cuts off the current that carries warm water to the Nordic states.  How it does this is complicated, and I have covered it in earlier posts, so lets skip the mechanism and concentrate here on the impacts.  So the warm water that northern Europe relies on to moderate its climate is cut off and thse states get colder and more extreme weather, which strongly impacts their agriculture.  Meanwhile, the current that pushes water out of the Caribbean does not shut off but keeps going.  That means that there is actually a pile – yes, a pile – of water off of the US east coast that keeps growing.  Right now this bulge of water is getting as high as eight inches and is causing increased flooding on the east coast of the US, most notably in Miami.

There are a host of other impacts – the storms thrown at the UK are having a severe impact on farming and food production, the thermal changes in the North Atlantic may be affecting the jet stream, which exacerbates drought elsewhere, and on and on.  So, in this area, we see not only a decline of all systems but we see systems interacting as they decline.

But then, we can see the same effect in the Arctic.  The Arctic region is heating up very rapidly.  Sea ice is disappearing in a dramatic fashion, which in turn means that our jet stream slows down (it is the disparity in temperatures between the equator and the arctic that drive the jet stream and as the Arctic warms up, the disparity grows less and so this “engine” for moving air slows down).  As the jet stream slows, our climate changes and destabilizes more rapidly.  As our climate destabilizes more rapidly, we see wholesale changes in rain patterns and thus see severe and long-term droughts emerging all over the world.  This, of course, impacts food security and decreasing food security automatically means increased conflict, increased hunger, and increased disease.  These are the very things that Christ warned in Matthew 24:6-8 that we would see just before His return.  To be clear:  we are seeing prophecy fulfilled right before our eyes and it is not driven by some random event, it is driven (so far) by the accumulated effects of sin (later, when God steps in to direct events and bring them to a close, this period where the earth reaps what sin has sown will be eclipsed).

Another thing we are seeing in the Arctic is the destabilization of the polar vortex.  These winds, which circle the Arctic and essentially form a “bowl” to hold the cold arctic air, are slowing for the same reason that the jet stream is slowing but they have also been forced to move and are now being cut in two on occasion.  What has happened is this:  The polar vortex circles the greatest mass of ice, which in known history has been the arctic.  All that cold air held in tends to keep the arctic cold.  Now, however, with the unprecedented ice pack loss in the Arctic, the “center of gravity” for the polar vortex — the cold mass around which they circle — has shifted to Greenland, which is the last great bastion of cold in the northern hemisphere.  But now the weather generated by the North Atlantic is disrupting the polar vortex and spilling heavily into the Arctic.

What we are seeing now (and by “now” I mean right now – this week) is a monster storm (actually a triplet of storms) that act in unison to draw very warm and moist air from the mid-latitudes all the way to the north pole, warming a vast region by some 70 degrees above normal.  Ponder this:  On or New Years day large parts of the Arctic will  be above freezing.  The norm is about -40.  As all this unprecedented warming is going on, ice formation is disrupted and the polar vortex is more or less shut down, allowing cold polar air to spill wherever it will  which, again,  affects agriculture, which affects society and increases conflict and poverty and hunger and disease.

What we are seeing in the North Atlantic and Arctic is a merging of disruptions that spells a continuance of the disasters hitting the UK and a spreading of those disasters to the Nordic states (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland) as well as the severe freezing that accompanies a breakdown of the polar vortex. I don’t yet know where this freezing will hit.  I could be Siberia and Northern Europe.  It could be the US.  It could be the Barents Sea and eventually Japan, or Mongolia and then China.  We’ll see.

My point here is that the disruptions of our planet’s basic operating systems are continuing to grow in scope and scale, and the disruptions of human society are growing ever more distinct and painful.   Because of sin, the earth is under the curse of death, just as man is.  And just as we see the effects of sin on humans and in human society, so too do we see the cumulative effects of sin on out very planet.  For those who are willing to obey the strikingly clear instructions Christ gave in Matthew 24 and 25 — that is to say, for those who watch, watch, watch! — the events merge into patterns and the patterns point to the soon coming of Christ.  For me, He cannot come soon enough!

The storms in the UK and Europe are unprecedented.  The joining of the Northern Atlantic to the Arctic via a massive storm-driven incursion of (relatively) super-warm air is also unprecedented.  I’ll be watching both and will post an update here later in the week.

Scott Christiansen