No Longer ‘Just Around the Corner’

August 14, 2009

One of the most-alarming aspects of climate/weather change/global warming is the science — the most current report is always worse than the previous one and sometimes the figures are amazing.
Just a couple of examples can be found here and here.

If this trend continues, and most-likely it will, the very-near-future will assure there will cease to be any kind of global warming deniers — the reality of the horror will be staring us in the panic-stricken face.
Maybe the climate mutation won’t be as quick and violent as depicted in the film, “Day After Tomorrow,” but who’s to really say as science seems to continually confirm the environment is accelerating toward the whacked.

(Illustration found here).

So this from the BBC on how one of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning four times faster than it was just a decade ago:

A study of satellite measurements of Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica reveals the surface of the ice is now dropping at a rate of up to 16m a year.
Since 1994, the glacier has lowered by as much as 90m, which has serious implications for sea-level rise.
The work by British scientists appears in Geophysical Research Letters.

Calculations based on the rate of melting 15 years ago had suggested the glacier would last for 600 years. But the new data points to a lifespan for the vast ice stream of only another 100 years.

One of the authors, Professor Andrew Shepherd of Leeds University, said that the melting from the centre of the glacier would add about 3cm to global sea level.
“But the ice trapped behind it is about 20-30cm of sea level rise and as soon as we destabilise or remove the middle of the glacier we don’t know really know what’s going to happen to the ice behind it,” he told BBC News.
“This is unprecedented in this area of Antarctica. We’ve known that it’s been out of balance for some time, but nothing in the natural world is lost at an accelerating exponential rate like this glacier.”

In 2006, the Christian Science Monitor reported:

Global warming appears to be pushing vast reservoirs of ice on Greenland and Antarctica toward a significant, long-term meltdown.
The world may have as little as a decade to take the steps to avoid this scenario.

By 2100, spring and summer temperatures in the Arctic could reach levels that trigger an unstoppable repeat performance, they say.
Over several centuries, the melt could raise sea levels by as much as 20 feet, submerging major cities worldwide as well as chains of islands, such as the present-day Bahamas.
The US would lose the lower quarter of Florida, southern Louisiana up to Baton Rouge, and North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The ocean would even flood a significant patch of California’s Central Valley, lapping at the front porches of Sacramento.

As noted that report was from two years ago when things seemed fine and dandy.
Welcome to the new movie, “The Day After Yesterday.”

(Another great h/t to Climate Progress).

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