Posted on August 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Loss of ice volume doubles in just 5 years
Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets are losing volume at a record pace. bberwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —Detailed new data from satellites and other sources show the world’s major ice sheets losing volume at a record pace, faster than at any time since satellite measurements started about 20 years ago.
Since 2009, the rate of volume loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet has doubled, and the rate of volume loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has tripled, according to the new findings from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: climate change, global warming, Greenland ice sheet, sea level, West Antarctic Ice Sheet | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘Official’ IPCC sea level estimates may be too low
Antarctica ice is becoming a bigger factor in global sea level rise. bberwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Although Antarctica’s vast ice sheets are only a small factor in global sea level rise right now, that’s likely to change in coming decades, scientists said after a new analysis of ocean temperatures around the frozen continent.
“If greenhouse gases continue to rise as before, ice discharge from Antarctica could raise the global ocean by an additional 1 to 37 centimeters in this century already,” says lead author Anders Levermann, with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Now this is a big range – which is exactly why we call it a risk: Science needs to be clear about the uncertainty, so that decision makers at the coast and in coastal megacities like Shanghai or New York can consider the potential implications in their planning processes,” says Levermann.
The scientists analyzed how rising global mean temperatures resulted in a warming of the ocean around Antarctica, thus influencing the melting of the Antarctic ice shelves. The marine ice sheets in West Antarctica alone have the potential to elevate sea level by several meters – over several centuries. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: Antarctica, climate change, global warming, sea level, West Antarctic Ice Sheet | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New satellite data details rate of melting
Yes, there is still lots of ice in Antarctica, but it’s melting faster than ever. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Yet another major study — the third within a week — confirms that the Antarctic ice sheets are going to big factors in the rise in sea level during the next few decades.
Led by scientists from the University of Leeds, the study shows that Antarctica is losing about 159 billion tons of ice each year — twice as much as during the last detailed survey. The latest assessment relied on detailed measurements of ice sheet elevation change from data collected by the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite mission, which carries an altimeter specially designed for this task. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate, global warming, sea level, West Antarctica | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 31, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Higher summer spikes could mean more destructive storm surges
Researchers have documented changes in the annual cycle of sea level changes along the Florida Gulf Coast. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Annual sea level fluctuations have been intensifying along parts of the Gulf Coast, raising concerns about more hurricane flooding and impacts to delicate coastal ecosystems in the region.
There have always been seasonal fluctuations in sea level, which rise in summer and fall in winter. But a new study shows that, from the Florida Keys to southern Alabama, those cycles have amplified in the past 20 years.
The additional summer sea level rise during the past two decades means storm surges can rise higher than previously thought, according to Thomas Wahl, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Siegen in Germany who is working at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg and lead author of the study. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: climate, Florida, global warming impacts, Gulf Coast, sea level | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
More than 10,000 islands will be completely inundated by the end of the century
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Low-lying tropical islands harboring a disproportionately high percentage of the world’s biodiversity are also vulnerable to rising seas. With most climate models conservatively estimating that sea level will rise between 2 and six feet by the end of the century, some biodiversity hotspots could be completely lost, according to a new study from researchers with the University of Paris Sud.
“Losses of insular habitats will … be relatively important in the future, probably leading to a major impoverishment of insular biodiversity,” said lead author Dr. C. Bellard. ” Given the implications of these results, decision-makers are required to define island conservation priorities that accounts for sea level rise following climate change,” he added. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, Current sea level rise, French Polynesia, global warming, New Caledonia, sea level | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 30, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Hurricane Sandy lashes the Northeast Coast in October. 2012. Image courtesy NASA.
Enhanced natural features eyed as buffers to coastal storm impacts
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The U.S. Department of Interior plans to help protect the Atlantic Coast from future storms with a competitive $100 million grant program, eying projects that will restore coastal marshes, beaches and wetlands that can buffer storm impacts.
“By stabilizing marshes and beaches, restoring wetlands, and improving the resilience of coastal areas, we not only create opportunities for people to connect with nature and support jobs through increased outdoor recreation, but we can also provide an effective buffer that protects local communities from powerful storm surges and devastating floods when a storm like Sandy hits,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
“In cooperation with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, this competitive grant program will fund innovative projects by States, local communities, tribes, non-profit organizations and other partners to rebuild, restore, and research these natural areas along the Atlantic Coast,” Jewell said. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: coastal storm impacts, restoration, sea level | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 9, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Robots, seal-mounted instruments and remote-operated subs part of ambitious project to study Pine Island, Thaite glaciers
West Antarctic ice sheets are melting fast, and scientists want to know why. bberwyn photo
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With this year’s Antarctic research season starting to ramp up, a key focus is taking a closer look at ice sheets on the western side of the continent, where rapid ice loss from the Pine Island and Thwaite glaciers could affect sea level worldwide.
A team of researchers led by the British Antarctic Survey aims to discover what’s causing the recent rapid ice loss, and whether this loss will continue to increase or slow down. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Amundsen Sea, Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, Pine Island Glacier, sea level, West Antarctic Ice Sheet | Leave a comment »