Climate Change — Antarctica

February 17, 2020

Just to keep up with non-T-Rump news, the planet is still getting hotter, and one of the creeping-hot spots is Antarctica — on the same day last week, an iceberg nearly the size of Atlanta (also three-times the size of San Francisco) broke off of Pine Island Glacier, and a weather station on Seymour Island produced a reading of almost 70 degrees, T-shirt weather.

Details via France24 yesterday:

“We’ve been monitoring temperatures here for the past 18 years and I never even dreamed that I would one day see such high temperature in the region,” Marcio Francelino, Brazilian professor and responsible for the Seymour Island station, told Brazilian newspaper Estado de São Paulo.
On February 9, the Antarctic became the latest region to break a new temperature record, two days after an already alarming peak, when the mercury hit 18.3°C at the Argentinian Esperanza research base.
The United Nations had then urged countries to act, after what was already the highest reading on the continental Antarctic Peninsula.
“It’s simply a signal that something different is happening in the area,” scientist Carlos Ernesto Schaefer told AFP. Because “we can’t use this to anticipate climate changes in the future”.

And to make matters even worse, a study into the last time Antarctica got toward this warm, shit hit the consequence-fan — sea-level rise was a result of warm ocean water during what’s call the Last Interglacial period (129,000-116,000 years ago).
New research published last week at Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences on melting of the South Pole — significance: ‘Fifty years ago, it was speculated that the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet is vulnerable to warming and may have melted in the past…Our ice sheet modeling predicts that Antarctica may have contributed several meters to global sea level at this time, suggesting that this ice sheet lies close to a “tipping point” under projected warming.’
And from the study’s Abstract: ‘The future response of the Antarctic ice sheet to rising temperatures remains highly uncertain…Ice sheet modeling supports this interpretation and suggests that millennial-scale warming of the Southern Ocean could have triggered a multimeter rise in global sea levels. Our data indicate that Antarctica is highly vulnerable to projected increases in ocean temperatures and may drive ice–climate feedbacks that further amplify warming.’

Further on lessons from the past for the immediate future:

“Not only did we lose a lot of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but this happened very early during the Last Interglacial,” says Chris Turney, Professor in Earth and Climate Science at UNSW Sydney and lead author of the study.
Fine layers of ancient volcanic ash in the ice helped the team pinpoint when the mass melting took place.
Alarmingly, the results indicated that most ice loss occurred within the first millennia, showing how sensitive the Antarctic is to higher temperatures.
“The melting was likely caused by less than 2°C ocean warming — and that’s something that has major implications for the future, given the ocean temperature increase and West Antarctic melting that’s happening today,” Professor Turney says.

The planet continues warming unabated, the earth-system models used by climate scientists have begun running very hot, indicating climate change accelerating, leading to greater heat if nothing is done to curb CO2 emissions, which apparently isn’t likely.

(Illustration found here).

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