Tag Archives: ice sheet

Burning remaining fossil fuel could cause 60-meter sea level rise

Washington, DC—New work from an international team including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira demonstrates that the planet’s remaining fossil fuel resources would be sufficient to melt nearly all of Antarctica if burned, leading to a 50- or 60-meter (160- to 200-foot) rise in sea level. Because so many major cities are at or near sea level, this would put many highly populated areas where more than a billion people live under water, including New York City and Washington, DC. It is published in Science Advances. (more…)

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West Antarctic Glacier Loss Appears Unstoppable

A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.

The study presents multiple lines of evidence, incorporating 40 years of observations that indicate the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot, of UC Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The new study has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. (more…)

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Scientists Cast Doubt on Theory of What Triggered Antarctic Glaciation

AUSTIN, Texas — A team of U.S. and U.K. scientists has found geologic evidence that casts doubt on one of the conventional explanations for how Antarctica’s ice sheet began forming. Ian Dalziel, research professor at The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics and professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences, and his colleagues report the findings today in an online edition of the journal Geology.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), an ocean current flowing clockwise around the entire continent, insulates Antarctica from warmer ocean water to the north, helping maintain the ice sheet. For several decades, scientists have surmised that the onset of a complete ACC played a critical role in the initial glaciation of the continent about 34 million years ago. (more…)

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Analysis of Greenland Ice Cores Adds to Historical Record and May Provide Glimpse into Climate’s Future

The International North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) project results indicate that melting of Antarctic ice sheet may have contributed more to sea level rise than melting of the Greeland ice sheet some 100,000 years ago

A new study that provides surprising details on changes in Earth’s climate from more than 100,000 years ago indicates that the last interglacial–the period between “ice ages”–was warmer than previously thought and may be a good analog for future climate, as greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere and global temperatures rise.

The research findings also indicate that melting of the massive West Antarctic ice sheet may have contributed more to sea-level rise at that time than melting of the Greenland ice sheet. (more…)

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Study Shows Rapid Warming on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a discovery that raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, a new study finds that the western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought.

The temperature record from Byrd Station, a scientific outpost in the center of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), demonstrates a marked increase of 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius) in average annual temperature since 1958—that is, three times faster than the average temperature rise around the globe. (more…)

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New Research Lowers Past Estimates of Sea-Level Rise

*Projections for the future still loom large*

The seas are creeping higher as the planet warms. But how high could they go?

Projections for the year 2100 range from inches to several feet, or even more.

The sub-tropical islands of Bermuda and the Bahamas are two seemingly unlikely places scientists have gone looking for answers. (more…)

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2010 Spike in Greenland Ice Loss Lifted Bedrock, GPS Reveals

SAN FRANCISCO – An unusually hot melting season in 2010 accelerated ice loss in southern Greenland by 100 billion tons – and large portions of the island’s bedrock rose an additional quarter of an inch in response.

That’s the finding from a network of nearly 50 GPS stations planted along the Greenland coast to measure the bedrock’s natural response to the ever-diminishing weight of ice above it.

Every year as the Greenland Ice Sheet melts, the rocky coast rises, explained Michael Bevis, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Geodynamics and professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University.  Some GPS stations around Greenland routinely detect uplift of 15 mm (0.59 inches) or more, year after year. But a temperature spike in 2010 lifted the bedrock a detectably higher amount over a short five-month period – as high as 20 mm (0.79 inches) in some locations. (more…)

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