It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
ScienceDaily (Jun. 14, 2008) — Wilkins Ice Shelf has experienced further break-up with an area of about 160 km² breaking off from 30 May to 31 May 2008. ESA’s Envisat satellite captured the event – the first ever-documented episode to occur in winter.
In February 2008, an area of about 400 km² broke off from the ice shelf, narrowing the connection down to a 6 km strip; this latest event in May has further reduced the strip to just 2.7 km.
New images highlight the rapidly dwindling strip of ice that is protecting thousands of kilometres of the ice shelf from further break-up.
The Antarctic Peninsula has experienced extraordinary warming in the past 50 years of 2.5°C, Braun and Humbert explained. In the past 20 years, seven ice shelves along the peninsula have retreated or disintegrated, including the most spectacular break-up of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002, which Envisat captured within days of its launch.
Originally posted by Karlhungis
Well, it is happening and right now there is nothing we can do to stop it. Even if we put all of our efforts into cooling the planet off right now, how long would it take to see any result at all? So, if things continue this shelf will break up regardless of who or what is to blame.
I wonder what the consequences are and how we plan on handling them. We need to stop playing the blame game and start working on solutions to the problems that are coming.
Originally posted by Karlhungis
. Even if we put all of our efforts into cooling the planet off right now, how long would it take to see any result at all?
Such occurrences are "more indicative of a tipping point or trigger in the climate system," said Sarah Das, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
"These are things that are not re-forming," Das said. "So once they're gone, they're gone."
Originally posted by Grafilthy
Seems like this has happened at breakneck speed the last few years. We are witnessing the extinction of the polar bear in our generation. I almost hope the earth shrugs us off just for the good of all the other life on this planet.
Polar bears have a low reproductive rate. To feed themselves and their cubs, they rely on sea ice for platforms to hunt for their main source of food: seals. (Photo by Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
The Department of Interior’s imminent decision on whether to place polar bears on the federally protected endangered species list has focused attention on a recent study that documents for the first time the way that Arctic sea ice affects the bears' survival, breeding, and population growth. If current ice melting trends continue, the bears are likely to become extinct in the southern Beaufort Sea region of Alaska and adjacent Canada, the study concludes.
Originally posted by vegno
Thanks for your fact based assertions.
What do you suggest we do to halt this "marginal environmental impact".
Is imposing a global carbon tax to fund the PTB under the pretext of helping the earth going to change anything? No
Is Al Gore still a douche? Yes
Originally posted by flice
Jebus! Look at this...
it's sat photos that document the last few months development for the Wilkins shelf. It's pratically breaking up as we speak now....:
Prof. David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said: "Wilkins Ice Shelf is the most recent in a long, and growing, list of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula that are responding to the rapid warming that has occurred in this area over the last fifty years.
"Current events are showing that we were being too conservative, when we made the prediction in the early 1990s that Wilkins Ice Shelf would be lost within thirty years - the truth is it is going more quickly than we guessed."
Global warming cleared on ice shelf collapse rap -
Natural causes to blame, expert claims
The high-profile collapse of some Antarctica's ice shelves is likely the result of natural current fluctuations, not global warming, says a leading British expert on polar climates.
This surprising finding is supported by analysis of data from the European Space Agency's ERS-1 satellite, according to Duncan Wingham, Professor of Climate Physics at University College London. The data, measuring changes in ice thickness across the Antarctic ice sheet using the polar orbiting satellite, show areas of growth from snowfall are as common as areas of decline.
This is a contrasting picture to one based solely on the northern Antarctic Peninsula - a shark's fin of land jutting out from the body of the continent, and reaching to just 750 miles from Chile - where there has been a drastic increase in temperature, thinning of ice sheets and collapse of ice shelves. The Larsen A ice shelf, 1600 square kilometres in size, fell off in 1995. The Wilkins ice shelf, 1100 square kilometres, fell off in 1998 and the Larsen B, 13,500 square kilometres, dropped off in 2002. Meanwhile, the northern Antarctic Peninsula's temperatures have soared by six celsius in the last 50 years.
"A lot of attention and research has focused on this relatively accessible area of the Antarctic Peninsula, but satellites are giving us a picture of the continent as a whole," Wingham told the Register. This broader picture shows evidence of growth and decay from place to place, a picture more in line with natural variations in snowfall and ocean circulation. The Antarctic is to some extent insulated from global warming because to its north are zonal flows in the atmosphere and ocean, unimpeded by other landmasses. This insulates the continent from warmer events further north and leads one to suppose it is better protected from global warming.
"Taken as a whole, Antarctica is so cold that our present efforts to raise its temperature might be regarded as fairly puny. Change is undoubtedly occurring: in the collapse of the northerly Peninsula ice shelves, and elsewhere in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, where the circumpolar current appears to reached the ice edge and is eating away drastically at the ice shelves. One cannot be certain, because packets of heat in the atmosphere do not come conveniently labelled 'the contribution of anthropogenic warming'.
"But the warming of the Peninsula has been going on for a considerable time, and the pattern of regional change is variable, and neither of these is favorable to the notion we are seeing the results of global warming".
At the US station at the South Pole, temperatures have in fact fallen by a degree since 1957. "The Antarctic Peninsula is exceptional because it juts out so far north," Wingham explained.
The professor continued: "I am not denying global warming. For instance, Greenland, in the northern hemisphere, does seem to be going. But Greenland's ice cap - Greeland is quite far south - is a last survivor from the ice age and only its height protects it. The more that cap melts, the more it will continue to melt as it gets lower and warmer. But Antarctica is different. Even in the Arctic I am sceptical of some claims that 40 per cent of the sea ice has already vanished, and that what remains is drastically thinning.
"Sparse data from subs in some parts of the Arctic do seem to show a thinning trend, but our preliminary observations using satellite data point to large growth and decay from year to year and place to place, by as much a meter in just a few years. Here too natural variability is considerable. No one doubts that the ultimate fate of Arctic ice looks a grim one, but I believe we have too few data to be confident of how fast it will meet its fate."
Prof Wingham, who is the Director of the UK's National Environmental Research Council's Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, spoke to us after a European Union Space Conference in Brussels. He attended in his capacity as the Project Scientist of the European Space Agency's 130M euro "Cryosat" satellite mission, to be launched later this year and dedicated to spotting climate change in the polar zones.
Earlier media reports after a conference on climate change in Exeter suggested it was "unclear" whether the collapse in the Antarctic ice shelves was due to global warming or not. Although the melt and collapse of the ice shelves does not raise sea levels initially, there is fear these shelves act as corks whose disappearance could lead to an outflow from landbased glaciers - which would increase sea levels.