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Melting

Author: Leopard
Rating: Moderate
Status: Complete


Melting has been written for the I Love Writing Club for the month of August with the prompt The North Pole, 50 years in the future. Why not check out some of the other Writing Club stories?

The melting of the polar ice has increased faster than anyone ever predicted. A team of scientists are working to figure out why, and if it can be stopped before the sea rises any higher.


"…Many scientists have collected in Greenland to discuss and observe current events in regards to the Greenland Ice Sheet. No official report has been issued but rumours are that there is a great deal of uncertainty as to the causes of the rapid increase in the melting, but we can be sure that there is a great deal of unrest all over the world as people ask: where will sink next?"

Brigit struggled to focus on the figures on the screen of her tablet as the boat jolted back and forth, making it hard to stay still. She looked up on hearing the cabin door open to see Felicity come in, wrapped in a puffy coat and at least two scarves. She smiled.

"It's snowing again. Robin says it's lucky we aren't getting hail, what being this far North. Hopefully we'll get there tomorrow, take some samples then get back to drier land. I hate this whole sea business. But I guess what needs to be done needs to be done." She paused to walk over to Brigit and sit next to her. "What's wrong, love?"

Brigit rested her head on her girlfriend's shoulder with a sigh. "Something feels wrong about this." Felicity laughed.

"Of course something feels wrong, all the world's ice sheets are melting faster than we ever could have predicted! You know, only fifty years ago, they thought it's be hundreds of years before this happened." Brigit half stopped paying attention, focussing once more on the screen, and flicking to the graph of world temperature rise from since the early 2000's to the current day.

Scientists then had predicted a steady rise, a change by only a few degrees every few years, and less if the world changed to renewable fuels. Even now, with 90% of the world using solar or nuclear power, the global temperature change was worryingly high. Of course, it had only been the scientists worried until the major flooding of many coastal cities and towns happened. Then the general public had decided that maybe there was a little truth in what scientists said, and that maybe, just maybe they weren't being over-cautious in their predictions.

The fact that science was still under-rated was one of the major reasons Brigit had agreed to join the Greenland Project. A team of twenty scientists from all over the world had gathered at one of Greenland's most Northern towns in order to conduct research on the ice sheet there, and to try and figure out just what was causing the melt to happen. Brigit had been asked almost straight away to go, and had no hesitation in agreeing. It was even better when Felicity had told her that she had also been asked to go, as although they worked together primarily in Denmark on the changing weather patterns, Felicity travelled all over the world frequently to try and gain interest in what they were doing.

They were currently on board a ship which was taking them and three others to within the Arctic Circle to observe the conditions there. They were the third group to go on such a voyage. The previous two missions had taken just over a week, as it took two or three days to get there and back, three if the weather was bad. Brigit was not happy that it was particularly bad this time, because she didn't really like ships that much, and she had been sick several times already.

"Earth to Brigit, come in Brigit." Felicity mimicked a static noise and Brigit mumbled and apology. "You aren't going to throw up again are you? Please don't do it on me."

"No I'm fine. I'm just thinking about whether we should be sailing if it's that bad." Felicity rolled her eyes. Brigit found herself wishing she could share her confidence.

"Robin's done all the trips so far, in fact he practically organised them, and anyway he's had loads of sailing experience. He said it'll be rough, but when we get to where we're stopping it'll be fine."

"And of course Robin knows everything about weather. Isn't he a physicist?" Felicity laughed and stood up, placing a kiss on top of Brigit's head.

"And now you're having scientist envy again. I'll leave you here to be sick and look at graphs while I go and hang out with the dreaded particle physicists." Felicity grinned and with a flick of her ponytail shut the door.

Brigit flicked back through the graphs. None of it made sense. The predicted temperature rise in this situation was so much lower it actually was. The correlation between the global renewable power change and the global temperature rise was didn't make sense because surely burning less fuels would at least stabilise the temperature? Brigit chewed on one of her nails, her eyebrows furrowed.

A notification suddenly flashed in the corner of the screen. Brigit tapped the screen a few times before pressing the box. It opened up a news page, with a video and an article. Already having a headache from trying to look at words, Brigit clicked on the video. It was raining in the background of the report, the woman's knuckles turning white as she gripped the microphone tightly.

"I'm live in Miami, and as you can see, it's raining, which it has been for the last few weeks. Last night the city was struck with the worst storm that has been seen here, meaning another huge section of the city has been taped off. The amount of fatalities is currently unknown, though it is estimated that in last night's flood alone, around 7,000 people are unaccounted for. Adding this to the total count means that over 13,000 people have died or gone missing in this city alone…"

Brigit paused the video, a wave of nausea hitting her again. It was up to them to try and figure something out. If something didn't change, millions of people were going to die. But then, why was nobody listening when recommendations were sent out to move away from the coasts? There had been a global effort to build safe houses nearer to the middle of countries for these people who had lost their houses, or were likely to. And now people had lost their lives, why? Did they think they would be fine staying put? Did they not trust scientists?

All this frustrated Brigit to no end. Putting down the tablet, she got up and pulled on a big coat and a fluffy hat, deciding some air might be a good idea, even if it smelt like the sea and was snowing like mad. She opened the door of the cabin and gasped at the chill of the air and the freezing snow landing on the small part of her face that was still exposed. She made her way along the deck to where Robin, Felicity and Brian stood.

"Told you she'd be out soon enough." Felicity shouted, partly because of the wind, but Brigit suspected it was mostly to prove a point.

"Sorry, you can't join our physics chat." Robin grinned, the snow contrasting his dark skin. Felicity wrapped her arms around Brigit tightly.

"Just for the record," Brian spoke softly and Brigit could only just hear what he was saying. "I'm the particle physicist. Robin does- Robin what do you do?"

"Make jokes." Robin said drily. Brian's cheeks flushed, and Felicity giggled.

"He does atmospheric physics, so like us but less cool." Felicity said. Brigit smiled at that, and Brian looked down, presumably to hide his deepening blush.

But the teasing ended there as the ship lurched to one side, throwing them to the floor. "What was that?" Brigit asked, feeling her stomach churn. They should not have been sailing in this weather, not when you could barely see for snow and when the water was so wild. This thought was adding to Brigit's seasickness.

"Probably just avoiding all the massive chunks of ice in the water." Robin said casually, only to laugh at Brigit's horrified face. "I'm kidding. Really, you three need to lighten up. At least two of you have been sick far too many times already."

"There are no ice chunks here, anyway." added Felicity. "Wait until we get further north."

Brian retired to the cabin shortly after, and Robin left to go and talk to the captain, leaving Felicity and Brigit alone on the deck. They looked out over the side of the ship, and Brigit wrapped her arm around Felicity, hugging her tightly. "Why did you even agree to this, Bree? You hate boats."

Brigit sighed. It was true, she really didn't like boats. She hated the instability, the rocking and jolting, she hated the tiny living space and she hated the way that if something went wrong you were completely stuck. And yet she had jumped at the chance to go on the trip to the pole. It was strange at best, but she did know exactly her reasoning.

"I just want to make a difference. I want to help what's going on. And maybe we can't. Maybe this is just the Earth's natural cycle, sped up beyond prediction. Maybe this is the time that we get wiped from the planet. But I at least want to try. Because that's human nature, isn't it? We always have hope, right until the end." There was a moment of silence between them, the only noise the sloshing of the water against the ship. Then Felicity said "I love you, you know." "I know." Brigit smiled. "Me too."

"Sorry to ruin your moment, but Cap says we'll be there in about 9 hours." Robin said as he walked over. He leaned over the side. Felicity rolled her eyes.

"It's okay, Robin." said Brigit. "I'll just be glad when we can go and look at something other than water."

"We all will." said Felicity. "We'll all be glad when water stops being an issue." The three of them all looked out into the sea as the boat moved on, saying nothing, and not needing to.

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