Posted on May 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The EU’s ice2sea program helps to determine potential future impacts of rising sea levels.
Research focuses on contribution of melting glaciers, ice caps and ice shelves
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After four years of studies and more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, The EU-funded ice2sea program has concluded that melting ice may not contribute as much to sea level rise as some other studies have suggested.
Under a moderate greenhouse gas emissions scenario, the contribution from continental ice will likely amount to between 3.5 and 36.8 centimeters (1.4 to 14.5 inches) by 2100, the program’s leaders said this week, unveiling a new report that summarizes their research. The report is online at the ice2sea home page.
Some of the ice2sea studies have:
The new report includes several case studies outlining the impacts of sea level rise to specific areas, including economically valuable developed areas like the port of Rotterdam and the Thames Estuary, as well as natural areas with unique natural values, like the Machair ecosystems in Ireland and Scotland that thrive in a delicate balance of land and sea. (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: British Antarctic Survey, climate, Current sea level rise, global warming, ice2sea program, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea level rise | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Study shows topography is a key factor in controlling ice flow
A new study helps pinpoint how many icebergs may from as Greenland’s glaciers are subjected to global warming. Photo courtesy British Antarctic Survey.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Greenland’s swift outflow glaciers are sensitive to warming air and ocean temperatures, but a new study published in the journal Nature indicates that the recent acceleration of glacial flow isn’t continuing at a linear rate.
The shape of the ground and seafloor beneath the glaciers is crucial in determining how they respond to climate change — how fast they move and how much they will contribute to sea level rise in coming decades.
“What we are saying is that we shouldn’t extrapolate the rate of the last 10 years into the future … If you study these glaciers separately, they show different behavior,” said lead author Dr. Faezeh Nick, of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, describing the work done on the Petermann, Kangerdlugssuaq, Helheim and Jakobshavn Isbræ glaciers. Together, they drain about 22 percent of the Greenland ice sheet. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: British Antarctic Survey, climate change, Current sea level rise, greenland, Petermann Glacier, Université Libre de Bruxelles | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Study shows climate change may affect overall population numbers
Changes in Antarctic clam populations could have a ripple effect on other species in the region like these blue-eyed cormorants in the South Shetlands. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Warming ocean temperatures and increased glacial outflow around Antarctica may have a big impact on clams living on the ocean floor. Younger clams try to move away when they sense warmer temperature or reduced oxygen levels, but older clams stay put.
The findings by a team of British and German scientists indicate how climate change may affect biodiversity in the region, suggesting that the overall population of Antarctic clams may dwindle, since it’s the older animals that reproduce.
“Our study shows that the physiological flexibility of young clams diminishes as they get older. However, the species has evolved in such a way that the fittest animals, that can tolerate life in an extreme environment, survive to reproduce into old age,” said Doris Abele, of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany. “Climatic change, affecting primarily the older clams, may interfere with this evolutionary strategy, with unpredictable consequences for ecosystems all around Antarctica.” (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Antarctic clams, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, biodiversity, British Antarctic Survey, climate change, global warming | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Ice core study shows rapid pace of change along Antarctic Peninsula
Warmer summer temperatures along the Antarctic Peninsula are starting to take a toll on ice and snow in the region. Bob Berwyn photo. (Dundee Island).
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Careful study of a 1,200-foot long ice core sample spanning 1,000 years suggests that summer ice melt in parts of the Antarctic Peninsula region has intensified almost tenfold. About 5 percent of the annual snowfall has been melting in recent years, compared with only about 0.5 percent during the coolest phase (about 600 years ago) of that 1,000-year span.
“This is the first time it has been demonstrated that levels of ice melt on the Antarctic Peninsula have been particularly sensitive to increasing temperature during the 20th Century,” said Dr. Nerilie Abram, a climate researcher at Australian National University who studied the ice core from James Ross Island.
Most of the increased melting occurred during the past half-century, corresponding with the era of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and a remarkable warmup around the peninsula and some other parts of Antarctica. Borehole temperature estimates from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet also indicate rapid acceleration of West Antarctic warming during the past two decades. (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctic ice surface melting, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, Australian National University, British Antarctic Survey, climate change, global warming, James Ross Island | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Warmer temps linked with ice shelf break-ups
A longer melt season along the Antarctic Peninsula has consequences for wildlife — and for the long-term fate of the coastal ice shelves. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The melt season on the Antarctic Peninsula is growing longer — in some cases it has doubled, and several major ice shelf breakup events in the region coincided with longer than usual melt seasons, according to a a new study that analyzed data from 30 weather stations.
“We found a significant increase in the length of the melting season at most of the stations with the longest temperature records,” said Dr. Nick Barrand, who carried out the research while working for the British Antarctic Survey. “At one station the average length of the melt season almost doubled between 1948 and 2011,” said Barrand, who now works for the University of Birmingham. (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctic ice shelves, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic Peninsula warming, British Antarctic Survey, climate change, global warming | 7 Comments »
Posted on March 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New ice2sea study shows Canada’s Arctic Archipelago glaciers will melt faster than ever in the next few centuries
Satellites have long been tracking sea ice loss in the Canadian Arctic, and new climate models suggest that glaciers in the region are also declining rapidly. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory page for more information.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with Arctic sea ice, a new study from the EU ice2sea program indicates that 20 percent of Canada’s Arctic glaciers are likely to melt by the end of the century, adding about 3.5 centimeters (1.4 inches) of sea level rise.
After testing the accuracy of their model against observed melting in the region the past 10 years, the scientists projected the findings into the future. Even under moderate greenhouse gas emissions and global warming scenarios, the ice loss in Canada’s northern archipelago is now irreversible.
“Even if we assume that global warming is not happening quite so fast, it is still highly likely that the ice is going to melt at an alarming rate. The chances of it growing back are very slim,” said lead author Dr. Jan Lenaerts, of Utrecht University. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: British Antarctic Survey, Canadian Arctic Archipelago, climate change, EU ice2sea, global warming, sea level rise | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Data to help refine sea level rise forecasts
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After studying the paleoclimate record of West Antarctica, an international team of scientists say some of the recent observed changes in the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers may well be exceptional and are unlikely to have happened more than three or four times in the last 10,000 years.
Radiocarbon dates of tiny fossilized marine animals found in Antarctica’s seabed sediments offer new clues about the recent rapid ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and help scientists make better predictions about future sea-level rise. This region of the icy continent is thought to be vulnerable to regional climate warming and changes in ocean circulation. (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: British Antarctic Survey, global climate, global warming, Pine Island Glacier, sea level rise, University of Tromsø, West Antarctic Ice Sheet, West Antarctica | 3 Comments »
Posted on December 29, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A pair of British Antarctic Survey researchers work at the Lake Ellsworth exploratory site. Photo courtesy BAS.
British Antarctic Survey research team encounters unexpected technical difficulties
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — An ambitious mission to unlock the secrets of Antarctica’s subglacial Lake Ellsworth was called of Christmas Day, as the research team encountered unexpected challenges in their quest to explore a mysterious environment that could hold important climate clues.
“On Christmas Eve we took the decision to cease our efforts to directly measure and sample Subglacial Lake Ellsworth,” said lead researcher Prof. Martin Siegert. “Although circumstances have not worked out as we would have wished, I am confident that through the huge efforts of the field team, and our colleagues in the UK, we have done as much as we possibly could have done, and I sincerely thank them all. I am also hugely grateful to the UK Natural Environment Research Council for making it possible for us to attempt the direct exploration of subglacial Antarctica,” Siegert said. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Antarctica | Tagged: Antarctica, National Oceanography Centre, British Antarctic Survey, Lake Ellsworth, subglacial lakes | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Hydrothermal vent fauna at East Scotia Ridge taken by the deep-diving ROV Isis. Photo courtesy Natural Environment Research Council, UK.
Science expedition features lively and informative blog
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Even in the most remote and darkest depths of the ocean, life finds a way to flourish — in some cases by clustering around geothermal vents where unusual geochemical processes nurture communities of fantastic organisms that can thrive without sunlight more than two miles down.
A team of researchers from the UK is currently studying a series of black smokers, white smokers, cold seeps and volcanic craters at the East Scotia Ridge at the southern end of the South Sandwich Islands. The area is a complex tectonic system of black smokers, white smokers, cold seeps and volcanic craters. The animal communities at these chemosynthetic habitats are of particular interest, so the scientists will use a deep-diving ROV called Isis to film and sample how these animals interact with the vents.
The expedition will be led by Prof. Paul Tyler, of the University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science, which is based at the National Oceanography Centre. The explorations is being documented on a blog featuring videos and daily observations about their work in the world’s most remote ocean: http://hotventscoldocean.blogspot.com. (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: Antarctica, biodiversity, black smokers, British Antarctic Survey, Environment, geothermal vents, Scotia Sea, white smokers | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 25, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Corrosive waters in Southern Ocean destroying pteropod shells
Pteropods swimming in the Scotia Sea. Photo courtesy British Antarctic Survey.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Numerous lab experiments have already shown that some shell-forming ocean species will likely suffer as the ocean absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide and becomes increasingly acidic.
Now, a new study based on 2008 research in the Scotia Sea shows that the shells of tiny marine snails called pteropods are already being dissolved by ocean acidification where atmospheric CO2 being absorbed by the sea is exacerbating acidic conditions resulting from upwelling of cold water from deep below the surface.
The tiny animals are a valuable food source for fish and birds and play an important role in the oceanic carbon cycle. Pteropods are open-ocean animals, moving about by using water wings that evolved from their snail feet. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: British Antarctic Survey, carbon cycle, carbon dioxide, climate, global warming, ocean acidification, Scotia Sea, Southern Ocean, University of East Anglia, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | 2 Comments »