Posted on April 18, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Natural variability still the key driver for East Antarctica temps
FRISCO — A lack of widespread data from Antarctica means it’s still challenging to differentiate human-driven global warming from natural temperature variations in the region, German scientists said in a new study.
Climate researchers need to understand temperature trends in Antarctica to better predict how fast the ice will melt and raise global sea level. But the study concluded that the uncertainties in the temperature trends over Antarctica are larger than previously estimated. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, climate change, East Antarctica, global warming, natural variability in climate | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Study finds that some Persistent Organic Pollutants are ‘pervasive’ in the environment around Antarctic base
FRISCO — Antarctica is often described as one of the last pristine environments on Earth, but that may be changing as human activity increases.
Researchers with the Australian Antarctic Division recently said they tracked pollutants from common household sources dispersing from a research station into the surrounding environment. As a result, the scientists are rethinking how they store and dispose of materials that could be the source of pollutants. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, Environment | Tagged: Antarctica, Environment, Persistent organic pollutants, pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Troubling signs of a major meltdown continue
Global warming is nibbling away at Antarctica’s ice sheets, which show declines of up to 18 percent in a new analysis of satellite data. bberwyn photo.
*More Summit Voice stories on global warming changes in Antarctica.
FRISCO — In the dry language of science, researchers this week said that some of Antarctica’s floating ice shelves have thinned by as much as 18 percent in just a couple of decades — a finding that provides “new insights on how the Antarctic ice sheet is responding to climate change.”
After analyzing 20 years of satellite data, the new NASA-supported study shows the ice volume decline is accelerating under a thickening blanket of greenhouse gases. Merging data from three overlapping missions, the study was able to show the trend over time rather than just offering a snapshot view of the ice.
“Eighteen percent over the course of 18 years is really a substantial change,” said Paolo. “Overall, we show not only the total ice shelf volume is decreasing, but we see an acceleration in the last decade.” said Scripps graduate student Fernando Paolo. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctic ice shelves, Antarctica, climate change, Environment, global warming, sea level rise | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New data will help shape conservation efforts in the waters around Antarctica
Australian and New Zealand researchers have tracked blue whales across thousands of miles in the Southern Ocean to help inform conservation efforts. Photo courtesy NOAA.
FRISCO — As a keystone species in marine ecosystems, blue whales have a significant impact in the ocean around Antarctica, but the population dynamics of the species in the region are still a mystery as the marine mammals recover from the decimation of the whaling era.
That may change following the recent six-week Australia-New Zealand Antarctic Ecosystem Voyage voyage, as researchers tracked the world’s largest creatures across thousands of miles of ocean, detecting their songs from as far as 750 kilometers away. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Antarctica, biodiversity, blue whales, marine mammals, Ross Sea, Southern Ocean | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New ice core analysis shows less of an ‘offset’ than most models currently project
Increasing snowfall in Antarctica will moderate the rate of global sea level rise — but not as much as previously thought. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Detailed ice core records from Antarctica show that snowfall over the frozen continent increased about 5 percent for each degree (Celsius) of warming as Earth emerged from the last ice age.
The findings confirm that the increased snowfall will slightly offset sea level rise, as suggested by other research — but not as much as previously thought. That means that some computer models may be underestimating the amount and rate of future sea level rise if they’re based on inaccurate assumptions. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, climate change, global warming, sea level rise, snowfall | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 3, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Emperor penguin colony near Halley Bay. IMAGE COURTESY DIGITALGLOBE.
Genetic study tracks history of Antarctica’s emperor penguin populations
FRISCO — A genetic study shows that emperor penguins may have just barely survived the last ice age, with a few scattered populations enduring centuries of bitter cold and ice.
The study covers about 30,000 years and suggests that only three populations survived, including a climate refuge of sorts in the Ross Sea, where emperors may have been able to breed around a relatively small area of open water. The emperor penguins in that region evolved to become genetically distinct from other populations, which may support arguments for creating a Ross Sea marine protected area. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, climate change, emperor penguins, ice age, Ross Sea | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A recent weather satellite image of Australia, via NASA.
‘The Millennium Drought was far from an exceptional event for eastern Australia during the past thousand years …’
FRISCO — Even without the added factor of global warming, eastern Australia is susceptible to climate extremes, including long-lasting droughts that could put a huge strain on water storage and delivery systems.
Researchers say a 1,000-year ice core record from Antarctica shows the recent “Millennium Drought” actually wasn’t all that unusual in the context of Australia’s long-term climate history. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, extreme weather | Tagged: Antarctica, Australia, climate change, drought, global warming, Ice core | Leave a comment »