Posted on January 22, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New data to help inform projections of sea-level rise
FRISCO — Drilling deep into Antarctic ice this month, researchers were able for the first time to take a close look at the grounding zone of an ice sheet, where Antarctic ice, land and sea all converge.
Sediment samples from the half-mile bore hole will provide clues about the mechanics of ice sheets and their potential effects on sea-level rise, but the drilling also revealed an unsuspected population of fish and invertebrates living beneath the ice sheet, the farthest south that fish have ever been found. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, climate change, Environment, Ross Ice Shelf, Ross Sea, sea level | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Antarctic sea urchins may be able to adapt to global warming. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Lab testing measures response to rising temps, increasing acidification
FRISCO — Sea urchins around the Antarctic Peninsula are able to adapt to warmer and more acidic seawater conditions expected by the end of the century, at least in a laboratory setting.
The study, led by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey and Bangor University, involved collecting 288 sea urchins and and transporting them to the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, global warming, ocean acidification | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 8, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Warm October weather leads to rapid melting in Ross Sea region
FRISCO — Persistent warm winds from the north have eaten away at the record sea ice extent around Antarctica the past few weeks.
After reaching a new record in September, the ice extent is now back to the levels of about a year ago, according to the National Snow and Ice Data center’s monthly update.
Along Antarctica’s Pacific coast, including around the Ross Ice Shelf and northern West Antarctic Ice Sheet, air temperatures in October ran 7 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Temperatures were also warmer than average in the eastern Weddell Sea south of Africa. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, extreme weather | Tagged: antarctic sea ice, Antarctica, climate change, Nimbus satellites | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 4, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Proposals for vast marine preserves fail for the fourth time
Plans to protect the Antarctic environment are still on hold. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Russia and China have once again showed their unwillingness to participate in global efforts to protect the environment in Antarctica by blocking a plan to create new marine reserves off the shore of eastern Antarctica and in the Ross Sea.
Both countries are more interested in exploiting natural resources in the region than in establishing a collaborative framework for sustainable management of the fish and krill. Russia voted for the fourth time to block the proposal for new marine protected areas, while China opposed the plans for the first time. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Antarctica, CCAMLR, East Antarctica, Environment, Ross Sea marine protected areas | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A depiction of the ozone hole over Antarctica, courtesy NOAA.
Ozone-depleting chemicals decreasing in atmosphere, but weather plays big role in year-to-year variability
FRISCO — The ozone hole over Antarctica didn’t change much from last year, scientists said this week, pointing to weather and climate variability as key factors in year-to-year variability.
The single-day maximum area was similar to that in 2013, which reached 9.3 million square miles. The largest single-day ozone hole ever recorded by satellite was 11.5 million square miles) on Sept. 9, 2000. Overall, the 2014 ozone hole is smaller than the large holes of the 1998–2006 period, and is comparable to 2010, 2012, and 2013. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, Environment | Tagged: Antarctica, atmospheric science, climate change, environement, NASA, NOAA, ozone hole | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘The natural carbon cycle can change a lot faster than we thought’
How will Earth’s climate respond to the current rise in CO2?
FRISCO — One of the most detailed ice cores samples ever taken from Antarctica shows three sharp spikes of atmospheric carbon dioxide ushering in the end of the ice age about 10,000 years ago.
Based on the findings, the researchers said that the increase in atmospheric CO2 from the peak of the last ice age to complete deglaciation was about 80 parts per million, taking place over 10,000 years, with about half that increase occurring in just a few centuries.
They’re not sure what caused the sudden surges, but suspect it was a combination of factors, including ocean circulation, changing wind patterns, and terrestrial processes. But understanding the mechanisms that caused the changes would help determine what take the Earth in and out of ice age regimes. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, carbon dioxide, climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, ice age, Ice core | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Invasive species a huge threat to sparse ecosystems, scientists report
Tourists on Dundee Island hike past birds and pinnipeds. bberwyn photo
Tourists hiking on Deception Island. bberwyn photo
FRISCO — The tiny ice-free fringes of Antarctica are especially prone to ecosystem disruption, including invasive species, an Australian science team warned earlier this year after taking a close look at how human use is concentrated in those slivers of dry land.
Antarctica has over 40,000 visitors a year, and more and more research facilities are being built in the continent’s tiny ice-free area. Most of the Antarctic wildlife and plants live in the ice-free areas – and this is also where people most visit.
Most tour operators in Antarctica follow strict guidelines set to protect ecosystems, including at least basic decontamination procedures, but those measures might not be enough, especially as global warming makes ice-free zones more susceptible to invasive species. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, Environment, global warming, tourism | Tagged: Antarctica, Antarctica protected areas, Environment, invasive species, Tourism, wildlife | Leave a comment »