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 »
Posted on August 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The future of Antarctic ice sheets is a key question in climate change research.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The world’s largest ice sheet could be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than previously thought, according to new research from Durham University. Using declassified spy satellite images, the researchers created a long-term record of changes in the ice sheet’s outlet glaciers.
The mapping, spanning 50 years, from 1963 to 2012, shows that the glaciers underwent rapid and synchronized periods of advance and retreat which coincided with cooling and warming. Large parts of the ice sheet, which reaches thicknesses of more than 4 kilometers, could be more susceptible to changes in air temperatures and sea-ice than previously believed. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, climate, global warming, sea level | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New models look at year-round ice-free conditions to find parallels with Pliocene epoch
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — As atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide start to hover around 400 parts per million, climate scientists have been looking back about 3 to 5 million years, to the Pliocene Epoch — the last time heat-trapping greenhouse gases were at a similar level.
But temperatures during the Pliocene were about 3.5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today and the sea level was 65 to 80 feet higher. Until now, scientists have assumed that there’s a time lag between atmospheric CO2 levels and the subsequent temperature increases that melt ice and drive ocean levels up. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Arctic sea ice, climate science, global warming, Pliocene, sea level, University of Colorado Boulder | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New research suggests significant melting during Pliocene era, when CO2 levels and temps were comparable to levels projected by 2100
Parts of the Antarctic ice sheets may not be as stable in the face of climate change as previously believed. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The biggest ice sheet in the world may be more susceptible to a warming climate than previously believed.
New evidence garnered from mud deposits suggests that the East Antarctica Ice Sheet may have experiences significant melting about 5 million years ago — enough to raise sea level by about 60 feet worldwide, according to researchers from Imperial College London.
The study, published last week in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows that there was repeated melting between five and three million years ago, during a geological period called Pliocene Epoch, when atmospheric CO2 levels were similar to today’s and temperatures comparable to what’s being projected by the end of this century. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctica, East Antarctic Ice Sheet, global warming, Pliocene era, sea level | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Study says iceberg calving a smaller factor in ongoing ice loss
Pinpointing the rate of ice melt in Antarctica will help fine-tune future sea level rise projections. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Supporting the conclusions of several previous research efforts, a new study published this week in Science provides additional evidence that Antarctica’s ice shelves are melting from beneath. Warmer ocean waters — not icebergs calving into the sea — are responsible for most of the continent’s ice loss, the study by UC Irvine scientists and others has found.
The first comprehensive survey of all Antarctic ice shelves discovered that basal melt, or ice dissolving from underneath, accounted for 55 percent of shelf loss from 2003 to 2008 — a rate much higher than previously thought. Ice shelves, floating extensions of glaciers, fringe 75 percent of the vast, frozen continent.
The findings will help scientists improve projections of how Antarctica, which holds about 60 percent of the planet’s freshwater locked in its massive ice sheet, will respond to a warming ocean and contribute to sea level rise. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctic iceshelves, Antarctica, climate change, Environment, global waming, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA IceBridge, Operation IceBridge, sea level | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Portal to feature daily updates on melting episodes and analysis of conditions
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Climate scientists have long been keeping a close watch on Greenland’s ice sheet, a key indicator of global warming impacts. This month, the National Snow and Ice Data Center launched a new website to help track the changes on an continual basis.
The new site, Greenland Today, will present images of the widespread melt on Greenland during 2012 and scientific commentary on the year’s record-breaking melt extent, which far exceeded all previous years of satellite monitoring, and led to significant amounts of ice loss for the year.
Satellite images updated daily, with a one-day lag and a daily melt image shows where the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced melt on that day.
“The Greenland melting last year was just tremendous … about 600 to 700 billion tons of ice melted and ran off,” said NSIDC glaciologist Ted Scambos, explaining that, as recently as the 1990s, scientists estimated the rate of melt at anywhere from zero to 30 billion tons. Just in the past few years, that number jumped dramatically, from 100 billion to 500 billion tons or more, Scambos said. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate, global warming, Greenland ice sheet, National Snow and Ice Data Center, sea level | Leave a comment »