Climate: Is this the Antarctic tipping point?

dfsg

Staff Report

FRISCO — Along with studies showing dramatic changes in individual ice shelves in Antarctica, new research shows widespread changes in the region since 2009. Up until then, the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change.

But suddenly, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750km in length, suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic kilometers, or about 55 trillion liters of water, each year. This makes the region the second largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica and the ice loss shows no sign of waning.

“The fact that so many glaciers in such a large region suddenly started to lose ice came as a surprise to us,” said Dr. Bert Wouters, a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Bristol, who lead the study. “It shows a very fast response of the ice sheet: in just a few years the dynamic regime completely shifted.”

The research, published in Science, is based on measurements made by a suite of satellites, including CryoSat-2, which can measure the elevation of the ice sheet with pinpoint accuracy using radar pulses.

By analyzing roughly 5 years of the data, the researchers found that the ice surface of some of the glaciers is currently going down by as much as 4m each year.

The ice loss in the region is so large that it causes small changes in the gravity field of the Earth, which can be detected by another satellite mission, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).

“To date, the glaciers added roughly 300 cubic km of water to the ocean. That’s the equivalent of the volume of nearly 350,000 Empire State Buildings combined,” Wouters said.

Data from an Antarctic climate model shows that the sudden change cannot be explained by changes in snowfall or air temperature. Instead, the team attributes the rapid ice loss to warming oceans.

Many of the glaciers in the region feed into ice shelves that float on the surface of the ocean. They act as a buttress to the ice resting on bedrock inland, slowing down the flow of the glaciers into the ocean.

The westerly winds that encircle Antarctica have strengthened in recent decades, in response to climate warming and ozone depletion. The stronger winds push warm waters from the Southern Ocean poleward, where they eat away at the glaciers and floating ice shelves from below.

The floating ice shelves in the region have lost almost one-fifth of their thickness in the last two decades, offering less resistance to the land-based glaciers. According to the researchers, a key concern is that much of the ice of the Southern Antarctic Peninsula is grounded on bedrock below sea level, which gets deeper inland. This means that even if the glaciers retreat, the warm water will chase them inland and melt them even more.

“It appears that sometime around 2009, the ice shelf thinning and the subsurface melting of the glaciers passed a critical threshold which triggered the sudden ice loss,” Wouters said. “However, compared to other regions in Antarctica, the Southern Peninsula is rather understudied, exactly because it did not show any changes in the past, ironically.

“To pinpoint the cause of the changes, more data need to be collected. A detailed knowledge of the geometry of the local ice shelves, the ocean floor topography, ice sheet thickness and glacier flow speeds are crucial to tell how much longer the thinning will continue.”

Summit County Citizens Voice

Study shows widespread, simultaneous ice shelf melting

dfsg Satellite data shows sudden shift in ice shelf dynamics along the southern Antarctic Peninsula. @berwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Along with studies showing dramatic changes in individual ice shelves in Antarctica, new research shows widespread changes in the region since 2009. Up until then, the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change.

But suddenly, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750km in length, suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic kilometers, or about 55 trillion liters of water, each year. This makes the region the second largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica and the ice loss shows no sign of waning.

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Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot: Humans’ staggering effect on Earth

Tuluwat Examiner

speakout

Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Our response to these idiotic comments on our “climate hawk” post click on the link a view the slide show.

“More Liberal nonsense.I often wonder why Liberals hate people and freedom so much, yet love oppressive Govt.
We are carbon based life forms, a tax on carbon is a tax on life itself.”

“If you believe humans are affecting the climate I’ve got a bridge to sell you. The past recent warming from the 1930’s up until 2017 was solely due to the activity of the sun. The CO2 increase in the atmosphere was solely due to the sun warming the world’s oceans and not the CO2 expended by humans burning fossil fuels.”

View slide show here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/humans-staggering-effect-on-earth/2015/05/13/01c9b7e2-f974-11e4-9030-b4732caefe81_gallery.html?hpid=z9

Images of consumption are the theme of the book, “Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot.” It addresses environmental deterioration through subjects including materialism, consumption, pollution, fossil fuels and carbon…

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CIA climate research effort decommissioned

Watts Up With That?

Seal of the US Central Intelligence Agency. Author United States Government, public domain image. Seal of the US Central Intelligence Agency. Author United States Government, public domain image.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Mother Jones reports that the CIA Medea programme, a climate research effort which involved providing civilian experts with access to classified information, is to be shut down.

According to Mother Jones;

The program was originally launched in 1992 during the George H.W. Bush administration and was later shut down during President George W. Bush’s term. It was re-launched under the Obama administration in 2010, with the aim of providing security clearances to roughly 60 climate scientists. Those scientists were given access to classified information that could be useful for researching global warming and tracking environmental changes that could have national security implications.

Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/05/cia-closing-its-main-climate-research-program

Some experts have expressed surprise the Medea programme is being shut down. But the programme is not without its critics.

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a 23-year veteran of…

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Planes, Fog, and How the Irish Saved Civilization

After checking out the Crested Butte Library’s entire selection of Irish authors and histories of Ireland, I proceeded to read approximately none of the six books I so eagerly grabbed from the library. Life (and a mild concussion) kept me occupied the past two weeks.

Fortunately, crossing most of the continental USA and Atlantic takes time—time I spent reading (and thinking about future blog posts). I figured I’d start with Thomas Cahill’s book:How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe because it was the first book my librarian recommended when I asked her what to read to learn about Ireland.

Cahill tells a beautiful story about St. Patrick and the conversion of the Irish ‘barbarians’ into a diverse society of generous, hopeful saints and scholars who preserved the scaffolding of western civilization during the dark ages. Cahill is a masterful storyteller and I encourage everyone to read his book (a breeze at only 218 pages). It provides a fascinating picture of Irish society from the rise of the Roman Empire to that of Medieval Europe.

For my part, rather than continuing to bore you with summaries, I thought I’d give you lovely readers a taste of one of my favorite parts of Cahill’s depiction of the Irish, his descriptions of the remarkable women present in Irish poetry.

Cahill is kind enough to put entire passages of epic poems into his work. One such epic, theTain Bo Cuailnge, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, revolves in large part around the Irish Queen Medb (a synonym of Mead!). Medb is pretty much the 1st century’s Beyoncé except instead of claiming: the shoes on my feet, I bought ‘em; Medb is all:

When we were promised, I brought you the best wedding gift a bride can bring: apparel enough for a dozen men, a chariot worth thrice seven bondmaids, the width of your face of red gold and the weight of your left arm of light gold. So, if anyone causes you shame or upset or trouble, the right to compensation is mine, for you’re a kept man [Cahill, 72]

She continues in this brazen vein—making innuendos, proclaiming her wealth and starting battles, and in doing so appears entirely human. Medb is the opposite of the needy, two-dimensional female characters common in the classical literature written at the same time. Moreover, she is not the only strong female character present in old Irish literature. Cahill provides numerous examples of strong women who, when faced with the death of their loved ones, respond with spectacular laments that display the hard, unbending stock they come from.

The strong Irish women portrayed in these epics delight the feminist in me. Even though women were by no means equal to men, they seem to have had a lot better of a position in Ireland; in fact, some of them even became woman Bishops.

I will get into more of that later. For now, I’d like to report that we’ve successfully arrived and survived the first day in the Emerald Isle (I use the word ‘survive’ earnestly, jet lag is no joke on your first day in a different country). Today was a trip into the fog: figuratively, in the sense that my mind is being bogged down by a thick and cloying exhaustion; and literally, in the sense that driving to the Cliffs of Moher was the equivalent of driving through clam chowder.

I’m a little tired but didn’t want to sink into slumber until I shared a few photos of our first day and welcome dinner in Galway. Courtesy of the Mad Hattler

Burren
Looking out over Galway Bay
Gigi&Erin
The quintessential Irish experience– a pint of Guinness at the pub with Mary Pittman, Mary Timony, JeanAnne Hattler & Me (the Mad Hattler).
Drinks(2)
(L-R) Hugh & Betty Deithorn, Mike Altrudo, Ron Surmacz, Maria Altrudo, Stephen & Susan Munson Bagnato
Drinks (x3)
(L-R) Carol & John Livingston, Marcelle Theis & Jim Altzner, Stephanie & Dave Iauco
(l-r) Tony & Lisa Plastino, Linda & Don Dietz
(l-r) Tony & Lisa Plastino, Linda & Don Dietz
(l-r) Beth Wurzel, Margaret Terbell, Carolyn & Rachel Mariano, Michele Forte
(l-r) Beth Wurzel, Margaret Terbell, Carolyn & Rachel Mariano, Michele Forte
Looking out over the Burren, a geological phenomena unique to western Ireland
Looking out over the Burren, a geological phenomena unique to western Ireland
The obligatory Irish castle picture. It's like the flag knew we were coming.
The obligatory Irish castle picture. It’s like the flag knew we were coming.

Until tomorrow, sweet dreams!

Xx

MAY 22, 2015

The Mad Hattler

on the road with Duquesne University Alumni & Friends

After checking out the Crested Butte Library’s entire selection of Irish authors and histories of Ireland, I proceeded to read approximately none of the six books I so eagerly grabbed from the library. Life (and a mild concussion) kept me occupied the past two weeks.

Fortunately, crossing most of the continental USA and Atlantic takes time—time I spent reading (and thinking about future blog posts). I figured I’d start with Thomas Cahill’s book: How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe because it was the first book my librarian recommended when I asked her what to read to learn about Ireland.

Cahill tells a beautiful story about St. Patrick and the conversion of the Irish ‘barbarians’ into a diverse society of generous, hopeful saints and scholars who preserved the scaffolding of western civilization during the…

View original post 571 more words