Climate De-Icing

August 23, 2016

major-antarctic-ice-shelvesFog-bound again this near-noon Tuesday on California’s north coast — another day in the life as sunshine expected for the afternoon, and some wind, too.

Beyond the climate-change-inducing wildfires and massive rainfall, the down-under of our planet is also wrecking the environment — a recent paper led by James Hansen outlines ‘a dire scenario‘ in which even at 2-degrees Celsius of warming is shitsville.
And beaming from the Antarctic..

(Illustration: Antarctica’s major ice shelves, found here).

The research seems to indicate ongoing problems (via Washington Post): ‘One of the paper’s key points is that rapid melting of both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets may not only contribute to dramatic sea-level rise in the next century, but also affect the world’s oceans in profound ways — including freshening the water at the poles and contributing to a slowdown of the oceans’ overturning circulation.’

Another study recently published online by Geophysical Research Letters reveals the problem — via The DailyMail last Friday:

Researchers say nearly 8,000 dazzling blue lakes appeared on the Langhovde Glacier in East Antarctica between 2000 and 2013 — and they could be a sign the glacier is doomed.
They claim the results show the largest ice mass on Earth is now showing a surprising feature similar to Greenland, which is melting at a far faster rate.
Known as  supraglacial lakes, the meltwater ponds form as warm air heats the surface of an ice sheet – and are a common sight on Greenland.

Worse, still is the ice melt. Scientists have been watching the progression of a large crack in one of the world’s great ice shelves — Larsen C, the most northern major ice shelf of the Antarctic peninsula and the fourth largest Antarctic ice shelf overall.
Per yesterday’s Washington Post:

Larsen C, according to the British Antarctic Survey, is “slightly smaller than Scotland.”
It’s called an ice “shelf” because the entirety of this country-sized area is covered by 350-meter-thick ice that is floating on top of deep ocean waters.
The crack in Larsen C grew around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) in length between 2011 and 2015.
And as it grew, also became wider — by 2015, yawning some 200 meters in length.
Since then, growth has only continued — and now, a team of researchers monitoring Larsen C say that with the intense winter polar night over Antarctica coming to an end, they’ve been able to catch of glimpse of what happened to the crack during the time when it could not be observed by satellite.
The result was astonishing.
The rift had grown another 22 kilometers (13.67 miles) since it was last observed in March 2016, and has widened to about 350 meters, report researchers from Project MIDAS, a British Antarctic Survey funded collaboration of researchers from Swansea and Aberystwyth Universities in Wales and other institutions.
The full length of the rift is now 130 km, or over 80 miles.

And as I noted, another day in the life…

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