West Antarctica Is Breaking Up: Global Floods Could Follow

January 22nd, 2017 - by admin

The Daily Kos – 2017-01-22 22:45:03


Major Cities Could be Underwater
‘In Our Lifetimes’ Because of Melting Ice Shelf

West Antarctica Is Cracking Up
The Daily Kos

(January 19, 2017) — A berg the size of Scotland is poised to break off the Larsen ice shelf in West Antartica at any time. And in an ironic twist, a similar and no doubt climate related lead nearby may soon shut down the British Antarctic Survey team that monitors climate at the cutting edge Halley research station:

The highly unusual move is necessary because the Brunt Ice Shelf on which the research station sits has developed a big new crack. BAS officials say neither staff nor the base are in any immediate danger but believe it would be prudent to withdraw while the situation is assessed.

The plan would be to go back once the Antarctic winter is over, in November. Halley station comprises a series of hi-tech pods that are mounted on hydraulic legs and skis so that they can be moved periodically further inland, to get away from the shelf edge where icebergs are calved into the ocean.

West Antartica is quite literally cracking up. The culprit is anthropogenic climate change, a steady rise in global temperatures produced by accumulating industrial emissions. Climate change is particularly virulent near the poles, where a vicious feedback phenomenon called polar amplification kicks in, causing sustained temperatures well above the delta produced by global warming in more temperate regions.

A Switch Was Flipped and Now Southern Peninsula
Antarctic Glaciers Are Rapidly Melting

The Daily Kos

(May 22, 2015) — Scientists have discovered that the ice shelves of South Antarctica, located in the Bellingshausen sea, are in rapid melt. This new study follows reports that the remnants of Larsen B should disintegrate within a few years, that a 17 mile crack has been spotted on Larsen C and that Larsen C is at risk of collapse. The discovery that the southern ice shelves are in rapid melt is new.

Phys.org reports:
Using measurements of the elevation of the Antarctic ice sheet made by a suite of satellites, the researchers found that the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to 2009. Around 2009, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750km in length, suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic km, or about 55 trillion litres of water, each year.

This makes the region the second largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica and the ice loss shows no sign of waning.

The Christian Science Monitor expands on the story:
As Antarctica’s ice shelves collapse, the glaciers they buttress will contribute to sea level rise. Currently, the glaciers in the study, which lie along 500 miles of the southern Antarctic Peninsula coast, are losing some 56 billion tons of ice a year to the ocean, according to the new study.

The losses began suddenly in 2009 and come in addition to losses from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is shedding 80 billion to 110 billion tons of ice a year, according to the study.

Some losses from nearby ice shelves have been underway for decades. But the seemingly abrupt onset of significant ice losses along the southern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula is an eye-opener, suggests Dr. Gardner of JPL.

Recent studies have shown that Antarctica’s two continental ice sheets are more sensitive to changes in ocean and air temperatures than previously thought, he notes. But as relatively warm water from deep reaches of the Southern Ocean moved onto the continental shelf, the thinning sped up, melting the ice shelves from underneath, the researchers of the new study concluded.

(January 10, 2017) — At first glance, they are a stunning image of the beauty of nature. However, scientists warn that in fact the meltwater ponds spotted in Antarctica may have a chilling message. (Skywatch Media / News USA).

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