Glacial melting happening much faster than predicted, out of sight, underwater…


NOAA

Underwater melting of tidewater glaciers is occurring much faster than previously thought, according to a new study by researchers at Rutgers and the University of Oregon.

The findings, which could lead to improved forecasting of climate-driven sea level rise, are based on a new method developed by the researchers that for the first time directly measures the submarine melting of tidewater glaciers.

The study appears in the July 26 issue of the journal Science.

❝ “We found that melt rates are significantly higher than expected across the whole underwater face of the glacier — in some places 100 times higher than theory would predict,” [study co-author Rebecca] Jackson said.

Out of sight, out of your mind – if you don’t include it all in your analysis.

Canadian permafrost thawing 70 years earlier than predicted


Landscape near Mould Bay. CanadaLouise Farquharson

❝ Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared…

❝ A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilized the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia…

❝ Scientists are concerned about the stability of permafrost because of the risk that rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises.

All the worst of what has been predicted by climate science is coming home to roost – just earlier. The ignorant and backwards naysayers will have to put both hands over their eyes, now.

NASA discovers massive hole melted away under Antarctic glacier

❝ A gigantic cavity – two-thirds the area of Manhattan and almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall – growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is one of several disturbing discoveries reported in a new NASA-led study of the disintegrating glacier. The findings highlight the need for detailed observations of Antarctic glaciers’ undersides in calculating how fast global sea levels will rise in response to climate change.

❝ Researchers expected to find some gaps between ice and bedrock at Thwaites’ bottom where ocean water could flow in and melt the glacier from below. The size and explosive growth rate of the newfound hole, however, surprised them. It’s big enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, and most of that ice melted over the last three years…

❝ About the size of Florida, Thwaites Glacier is currently responsible for approximately 4 percent of global sea level rise. It holds enough ice to raise the world ocean a little over 2 feet (65 centimeters) and backstops neighboring glaciers that would raise sea levels an additional 8 feet (2.4 meters) if all the ice were lost.

RTFA. Nice of the French and Germans to help us out with this research. Our government thinks we need more aircraft carriers and the beginnings of a whole new project to redesign rifles for the whole US Army.

Yukon glaciers thinning fast — maybe forever!


Glaciologist Gwenn Flowers on Kaskawulsh glacierSusan Ormiston/CBC

❝ “We as Canadians are stewards of about a third of the world’s mountain glaciers and ice caps, so this is our responsibility,” Gwenn Flowers says.

The dramatic changes to the glaciers in the Yukon are an early warning of what climate change could mean for the rest of the planet, researchers say. And Flowers sees lots of reason for concern reflected in the state of the ice…

❝ Her tiny team of three is mapping the Kaskawulsh glacier — 70 kilometres long and five kilometres wide — as it struggles under the double threat of a warming climate and diminishing snow cover.

The research boils down to an inescapable conclusion: The glacier can’t compensate for the volume it’s losing now each year.

The shame is that those who have caused – and continue to cause – climate change take little or no responsibility for the results of their greed. Neither they nor the political hacks prancing through government halls are willing to confront or respond to what we learn from science and history.

In the Melting Arctic, an Account from a Stranded Ship


Aground on a shoalDONGLAI GONG

❝ On the second day of a U.S. National Science Foundation-sponsored expedition to the Arctic, we were sitting in the presentation room of the 364-foot Russian cruise ship, Akademik Ioffe, about 45 miles north of the Inuit village of Kugaaruk…

As the briefing transitioned into ways of avoiding a dangerous polar bear encounter, the Akademik Ioffe suddenly grounded to a violent halt. I knew that we were in a very remote area of the Gulf of Boothia in Canada’s central Arctic, and I knew the danger we were in if the hull of the ship had been breached in a serious way.

❝ Rumors – spread quickly, as the hours on the shoal passed. The captain wasn’t communicating with us directly. What little information was offered came from Dave Sinclair, expedition leader, who did wonders calming everyone’s nerves even though he had almost no idea what was going to happen.

RTFA. A good read. Firsthand experience sometimes rocks.

Plus I had to do a quick search through the article for an old bud of mine often on journeys to the poles. All clear.

Alaska’s Permafrost is Thawing – Which Will Cause More Warming

The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as other parts of the planet, and even here in sub-Arctic Alaska the rate of warming is high. Sea ice and wildlife habitat are disappearing; higher sea levels threaten coastal native villages.

But to the scientists from Woods Hole Research Center who have come here to study the effects of climate change, the most urgent is the fate of permafrost, the always-frozen ground that underlies much of the state.

Starting just a few feet below the surface and extending tens or even hundreds of feet down, it contains vast amounts of carbon in organic matter — plants that took carbon dioxide from the atmosphere centuries ago, died and froze before they could decompose. Worldwide, permafrost is thought to contain about twice as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere.

Once this ancient organic material thaws, microbes convert some of it to carbon dioxide and methane, which can flow into the atmosphere and cause even more warming. Scientists have estimated that the process of permafrost thawing could contribute as much as 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit to global warming over the next several centuries, independent of what society does to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels and other activities.

RTFA. Don’t try to explain it to a Republican. They just figure this will make it easier for the companies relying on them as pimps – to drill for oil and natural gas.