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A huge Antarctic ice shelf is on the brink of collapse with just a sliver of ice holding it in place, the latest victim of global warming that is altering maps of the frozen continent.
"We've come to the Wilkins Ice Shelf to see its final death throes," David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), told Reuters after the first -- and probably last -- plane landed near the narrowest part of the ice.
The flat-topped shelf has an area of thousands of square kilometers, jutting 20 meters (65 ft) out of the sea off the Antarctic Peninsula.
But it is held together only by an ever-thinning 40-km (25-mile) strip of ice that has eroded to an hour-glass shape just 500 meters wide at its narrowest.
In 1950, the strip was almost 100 km wide.
"It really could go at any minute," Vaughan said on slushy snow in bright sunshine beside a red Twin Otter plane that landed on skis. He added that the ice bridge could linger weeks or months.
Parkinson examined 21 years (1979-1999) of Antarctic sea ice satellite records and discovered that, on average, the area where southern sea ice seasons have lengthened by at least one day per year is roughly twice as large as the area where sea ice seasons have shortened by at least one day per year. One day per year equals three weeks over the 21-year period.
Originally posted by Long Lance
when it gets serious, the numbers plummet, take the following example:
After a century of polar exploration, the past decade of satellite measurements has painted an altogether new picture of how Earth's ice sheets are changing. As global temperatures have risen, so have rates of snowfall, ice melting, and glacier flow. Although the balance between these opposing processes has varied considerably on a regional scale, data show that Antarctica and Greenland are each losing mass overall. Our best estimate of their combined imbalance is about 125 gigatons per year of ice, enough to raise sea level by 0.35 millimeters per year. This is only a modest contribution to the present rate of sea-level rise of 3.0 millimeters per year. However, much of the loss from Antarctica and Greenland is the result of the flow of ice to the ocean from ice streams and glaciers, which has accelerated over the past decade. In both continents, there are suspected triggers for the accelerated ice discharge—surface and ocean warming, respectively—and, over the course of the 21st century, these processes could rapidly counteract the snowfall gains predicted by present coupled climate models.
now, the total is supposed to be 3mm/a with 0.35mm being attributed to GW, taken from
A BAS team currently on site is reporting that the Wilkins shelf, about 15,000 sq km in area, is probably about to break free.
"It really could go at any minute, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the final cracks started to appear very soon," said BAS's David Vaughan.
If it does, it will follow the course of other shelves that have made breakaways in recent years, such as the Larsen B in 2002.
Although spectacular, such events are not necessarily due to man-made climate change.
Originally posted by Grock
Temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula have warmed by about 3 Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) since 1950, the fastest rise in the southern hemisphere. There is little sign of warming elsewhere in Antarctica.
The bad news concerns what is likely to happen when it does. With one questionable exception, all the historic collapses of small island volcanoes (in volcanic arcs, not the oceanic island type) have been catastrophic, in the sense that a single large mass of rock fails and slides away into the ocean at high speed. Two collapses in particular, those of Oshima-Oshima (Japan) in 1741 and of Ritter Island (New Guinea) in 1888, produced large regional scale tsunamis, with wave runups of at least 15 m and perhaps in excess of 30 m up to 100 km distant and with significant tsunami damage recorded up to 1000 km away. Each collapse produced a landslide with a volume of 3 to 4 km3: less than 1% of the volume of the landslides produced by typical oceanic island volcano collapses!
Global Warming Naysayers are like the guys in the UFO forum that put everything down to Chinese lanterns. Big Oil disinformation has poisoned their minds. The science is clear: it is happening.
Originally posted by audas
There is no doubt about Global Warming - its a fact. Attempting to provide data showing inconsistencies and occasional drops and seasonal increases in ice packs as evidence against the medium term trend intellectually corrupt.
Originally posted by audas
The sad part of this that the Lavoisiere Group which was set up to put forward this "doubt" and "disinformation" by Big Oil has now been disbanded with the Major oil companies admitting to their disinformation activities and apologising for it.
Sadly however there work still finds voice in the disaffected and silenced whose only outlet appears to be controversial inanities on chat sites.
It was a hoax put forward by big oil which has been admitted to and you STILL believe it.....sad.
"The real explanations are much more complex. Global warming plays a part, but a variety of factors are really involved."
According to Hardy, forest reduction in the areas surrounding Kilimanjaro, and not global warming, might be the strongest human influence on glacial recession. "Clearing for agriculture and forest fires—often caused by honey collectors trying to smoke bees out of their hives—have greatly reduced the surrounding forests," he says. The loss of foliage causes less moisture to be pumped into the atmosphere, leading to reduced cloud cover and precipitation and increased solar radiation and glacial evaporation.
The sea level rise numbers published in the new IPCC report (the Fourth Assessment Report, AR4) have already caused considerable confusion. Many media articles and weblogs suggested there is good news on the sea level issue, with future sea level rise expected to be a lot less compared to the previous IPCC report (the Third Assessment Report, TAR). Some articles reported that IPCC had reduced its sea level projection from 88 cm to 59 cm