Friday, September 27, 2013

Antarctica WARMING UP

ANTARCTICA, not just the Arctic, is WARMING UP!

With sea ice, minus 1 to plus 1 degree is the difference between skating on the ice and swimming in the ocean


2400 miles to the south!

The experts on my research vessel who work in Antarctica most of the year, witnessed to everyone on board that Antarctica is warming up! Not only are there eyewitnesses to this phenomenon, the loss of ice and krill have depleted some of the penguin populations by HALF! See my blog posts on penguins.

Warm ocean currents attacking the underside of ice shelves are the dominant cause of recent ice loss from Antarctica. This animation shows the circulation of ocean currents around the western Antarctic ice shelves. The shelves are indicated by the rainbow color; red is thicker (greater than 550 meters), while blue is thinner (less than 200 meters). 

Credit: NASA/Goddard CGI Lab

We face a critical branch-point in the history of this planet. What we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants. It is well within our power to destroy our civilization, and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition, or greed, or stupidity we can plunge our world into a darkness deeper than time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian Renaissance  But, we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth, to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. More

Operation Ice Bridge - NASA

Published on Dec 1, 2012
NASA's Operation IceBridge has launched its Antarctic 2012 campaign, flying high-priority missions measuring polar ice from a base of operations at the tip of Patagonia on the Strait of Magellan. They have even made a return visit to the Pine Island Glacier, the site of last year's discovery of a massive rift in the ice.

Sea ice doesn't always hold the allure of a massive ice sheet, or a crevassed blue glacier spilling between mountains, but it comes in array of shapes and sizes and has its own ephemeral beauty. Operation IceBridge studies sea ice at both poles, and also runs across interesting formations on route to other targets. Operation IceBridge returned to the Pine Island Glacier twice in 2012, and NASA glaciologist Kelly Brunt discusses the implications of the glacier's impending calving event.

Operation IceBridge has now returned to the Pine Island Glacier, not once, but twice in 2012. And the year-old giant crack in the glacier, poised to create an iceberg the size of New York City? Well it's still there, and that iceberg has yet to break free. But the rift has grown longer, much wider, and spawned a secondary crack. Before we talk about when that mighty berg will be born, let's take a look at the IceBridge missions themselves. IceBridge's first return to the region was a high altitude flight over the entire region, including the Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers. After this campaign is over, scientists will be able to compare this broad survey with previous years' measurements in order to better document the rapid and widespread changes in the region over time.

Published on Jun 7, 2012
The Antarctic Peninsula is a spit of land that extends off the continent toward South America. Its western side is, on average, warming five times faster than any other place on Earth. The warming is disintegrating the massive ice shelves that extend from the peninsula's land into the sea. As a result, a number species that depend on ice to survive are declining locally, including Antarctic krill and Adélie penguins, which eat krill. A new study led by Martin Montes-Hugo at the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Science has uncovered that the local climate changes are also dramatically affecting the base of this food web: marine phytoplankton. Using satellite data and field research, Montes-Hugo and his colleagues have noted a dramatic 30-year drop in phytoplankton off the northwestern shore of the peninsula. The phytoplankton loss is likely contributing to the observed declines. Furthermore, some species that do not depend on ice moving into the region, flourishing, and further disrupting the food webs that have existed there historically.

Ice Cap melting
-should we think about it or ignore it?

Published on May 27, 2012
High up inside the Arctic circle the melting of Greenland's ice sheet has accelerated so dramatically that it is triggering earthquakes for the first time.

Scientists monitoring the glaciers have revealed that movements of gigantic pieces of ice are creating shockwaves that register up to three on the Richter scale.

Estimates of the likely rise in sea levels this century vary, and the IPCC published a conservative range of between 20cm-60cm. But those estimates are now heavily disputed, with many scientists insisting that new data collected since the IPCC report suggested a rise closer to two metres. Professor Correll said there was now a "consensus" that a significant acceleration in the loss of ice mass has occurred since the last report.

Greenland's ice cap is immense, the second largest in the world, and its break-up would be catastrophic. The packed ice is up to two miles thick and its total collapse into the ocean would raise worldside sea levels by seven metres.

Ice Melting Faster in Greenland and Antarctica in UN Leak

Ice in Antarctica and Greenland is disappearing faster and may drive sea levels higher than predicted this century, according to leaked United Nations documents.
Greenland’s ice added six times more to sea levels in the decade through 2011 than in the previous 10 years, according to a draft of the UN’s most comprehensive study on climate change. Antarctica had a fivefold increase, and the UN is raising its forecast for how much the two ice sheets will add to Earth’s oceans by 2100.
“It’s an early warning system,” Meier said by phone fromNASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “When you think about a couple of degrees of warming, in the U.K. or U.S., it’s not something that would be too noticeable, whereas in an area of snow and ice, it can have a huge effect. With sea ice, minus 1 to plus 1 is the difference between skating on the ice and swimming in the ocean.The changes in the planet’s coldest areas are a “very good indicator” of a warming planet, according to Walt Meier, a research scientist with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

‘Climategate’ Scandal

A draft of the study was obtained by Bloomberg from a person with official access to the documents who declined to be further identified because it hasn’t been published. The data on melting ice is included in chapters covering rising sea levels and the planet’s cryosphere regions, the frigid realms of glaciers, permafrost, snow-covered ground and ice sheets.
In its last report the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, was faulted by skeptics of man’s influence in warming the planet for exaggerating how fast Himalayan glaciers were melting and using reports by environmental advocacy groups.
A number of IPCC scientists also were accused of doctoring numbers and hiding data after a trove of emails was leaked in the so-called climategate scandal. Three subsequent probes largely exonerated the researchers while saying they could be more transparent.
A summary of the latest 2,200-page report designed to guide lawmakers worldwide as they work to devise climate policies is due for publication on Sept. 27 in Stockholm after a four-day meeting where the wording will be finalized. Jonathan Lynn, a spokesman for the panel, declined to comment.

Melt Season

Other findings in the new report include:
- Arctic sea ice extent “very likely” decreased 3.5 percent to 4.1 percent a decade since 1979, when satellite measurements began. Ice cover at the end of the annual melt season “very likely” decreased at a rate of 11.5 percent a decade.
- The extent of Antarctica’s sea ice “very likely” increased 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent a decade over the same period.
- “Almost all glaciers worldwide have continued to shrink” since the 2007 UN assessment. Their contribution to rising sea levels “very likely” averaged 0.62 millimeters a year from 1971 to 2009.
- More than 600 glaciers have reportedly disappeared “but the real number is certainly higher.”
- There’s “very high confidence” that snow cover has decreased in the Northern Hemisphere since the 1920s.
- There’s “high confidence” that permafrost temperatures have increased in “most regions” since the early 1980s.
“It’s clear that the cryosphere is one of the natural indicators of decadal climate change in the planet,” David Vaughan, a researcher at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England, and a coordinating lead author of the UN report’s chapter on ice, said in a phone interview. “The changes are very visible.” Vaughan declined to comment on specific findings of the report. Bloomberg News FULL ARTICLE

NASA's Waleed Abdalati: Dramatic Changes in Polar Ice

Spy satellite data reveal vulnerability of East Antarctica Ice Sheet

Declassified spy satellite imagery of Antarctica dating back to the 1960s has revealed that the world's largest ice sheet may be more susceptible to climate change than once thought.

East Antarctica reaches higher elevations than elsewhere on the continent and experiences some of the coldest temperatures on Earth, hitting well below zero degrees Fahrenheit throughout much of the year. As a result, a massive ice sheet has accumulated, measuring more than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) thick in some regions, holding enough water to raise global sea level by more than 160 feet (50 meters) if it were to completely melt.


Antarctica's great Southern Ocean is the last pristine ocean wilderness left on Earth. This year leaders from 25 countries have an opportunity to create the world's largest marine sanctuaries around Antarctica. The proposals are in front of them, the science has been done, all they need to do is say YES. Tell our leaders to make the right decision when they meet this year and protect these waters for future generations.

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