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. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: global warming, climate, sea level, Greenland ice sheet, National Snow and Ice Data Center | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Average carbon dioxide levels will probably start to stay above 400 ppm sometime in 2013.
Analysis of 40-million year record calibrates CO2 concentrations with historic sea levels
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Even if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were to be stabilzed at today’s levels of about 400 parts per million, sea levels would gradually increase by about 30 during the next few centuries, according to researchers who calibrated CO2 levels against sea level for the past 40 million years.
The study sought to pinpoint the ‘natural equilibrium’ sea level for CO2 concentrations ranging between ice-age values of 180 parts per million and ice-free values of more than 1,000 parts per million. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, CO2, Current sea level rise, global warming, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea level, University of Southampton | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 12, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Sea level rise is a serious concern for low-lying countries in coastal areas.
Findings will help model future sea-level changes
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — New evidence gathered from coral reef fossils suggests that sea levels fluctuated by 13 to 20 feet within the span of just a few thousands of years during a warm interglacial period known as the Eemian Age, about 125,000 years ago.
“This was the last time that climate was as warm as — or warmer than — today,” said William G. Thompson, a geochronologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “If today’s ice sheets continue to melt, we may be headed for a period of ice sheet and sea-level change that is more dynamic than current observations of ice sheets suggest.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Environment, global warming, Interglacial, sea level, sea level rise, Summit County News, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | 5 Comments »
Posted on August 2, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
What happens if it all melts?
The Antarctic Sound at dawn.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Nearly every day, there’s a new scientific study that points out the risks associated with the accelerated pattern of global warming that we’ve caused with greenhouse gas emissions. One of the most recent research projects suggests that even a slight warming subsurface ocean temperatures could trigger a speedy collapse of coastal ice shelves, with subsequent rise in sea levels.
There’s much more at stake than just the scenic beauty of these areas. The giant sheets of ice at the ends of the Earth are global climate controllers. Losing them could inexorably and irreversibly change the entire climate system of the planet. Doesn’t really seem worth the risk, does it? (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, Morning photo, photography, Travel | Tagged: Antarctic Sound, Antarctica, Environment, global warming, Greenhouse gas, Ice shelf, ice shelves, Professor Molchanov, sea level | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 27, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Antarctic Peninsula is a Ground Zero for global warming
Around the Antarctic Peninsula, the shades and hues of the sea and ice can change from minute to minute depending on the light.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Reporting a story about a new study detailing the loss of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula inspired me to post these unpublished photos of some icescapes from the Weddell Sea. The are and water around the Antarctic Peninsula are warming as fast or faster than anywhere else on Earth. As a result, ice shelves are collapsing and when they do, the glaciers behind them melt much more rapidly with potential consequences for marine ecosytems in the area and sea levels around the globe. And some incredible land- and seascapes are also at risk.
Intense sun brings out the blues of the sea and the ice around Paulet Island.
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, Morning photo, photography, Summit County news | Tagged: Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, Glacier, Ice shelf, Paulet Island, Polar Regions, sea level, Weddell Sea | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 17, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A winter storm lashes the Florida coast.
East coast sea levels 4 inches higher on average during El Niño seasons
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Destructive storm surges along the East Coast of the U.S. may be linked to El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean, according to a new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The study, led by NOAA’s Bill Sweet, was prompted by an unusual number of destructive storm surges along the East Coast during the 2009-2010 El Niño winter.
The study, led by Bill Sweet, Ph.D. from NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, examined water levels and storm surge events during the ’cool season’ of October to April for the past five decades at four sites representative of much of the East Coast: Boston, Atlantic City, N.J., Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C.
From 1961 to 2010, it was found that in strong El Niño years, these coastal areas experienced nearly three times the average number of storm surge events (defined as those of one foot or greater). The research also found that waters in those areas saw a third-of-a-foot elevation in mean sea level above predicted conditions. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, Environment, global warming, seasons, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: climate, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, Environment, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea level, Summit County News | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 26, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
An iceberg calved from a glacier floats in the Jacobshavn fjord in southwest Greenland. A new University of Colorado at Boulder study indicates Greenland continues to lose ice mass, and the rate of loss is accelerating. Photo courtesy Konrad Steffen, University of Colorado at Boulder.
New studies suggest global warming is having very real impacts on ice in the Earth’s cold regions
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Scientists from Denmark and the University of Colorado say the rate of ice-loss in Greenland is accelerating and moving up the northwest coast of the North Atlantic island.
The researchers made their findings by comparing data from satellites to readings from long-term monitoring stations on bedrock on the edges of the ice sheet.
About 80 percent of Greenland is covered with ice, holding about 20 percent of the world’s ice, or the equivalent of a 21-foot rise in sea level should it all melt. Air temperatures over the Greenland ice sheet have increased by about 4 degrees since 1991, which most scientists attribute to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Geology, global warming, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: climate change, global warming, greenland, sea level, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News | 4 Comments »