Tag Archives: west antarctic

Researchers Find Major West Antarctic Glacier Melting from Geothermal Sources

AUSTIN, Texas — Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it’s being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable. (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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Recent Antarctic climate, glacier changes at the ‘upper bound’ of normal

In the last few decades, glaciers at the edge of the icy continent of Antarctica have been thinning, and research has shown the rate of thinning has accelerated and contributed significantly to sea level rise.

New ice core research suggests that, while the changes are dramatic, they cannot be attributed with confidence to human-caused global warming, said Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences. (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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International Study Provides More Solid Measure of Shrinking in Polar Ice Sheets

The planet’s two largest ice sheets have been losing ice faster during the past decade, causing widespread confusion and concern. A new international study provides a firmer read on the state of continental ice sheets and how much they are contributing to sea-level rise.

Dozens of climate scientists have reconciled their measurements of ice sheet changes in Antarctica and Greenland during the past two decades. The results, published Nov. 29 in the journal Science, roughly halve the uncertainty and discard some conflicting observations.

“We are just beginning an observational record for ice,” said co-author Ian Joughin, a glaciologist in the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory who is lead author on an accompanying review article. “This creates a new long-term data set that will increase in importance as new measurements are made.” (more…)

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Global Sea Level Likely to Rise as Much as 70 Feet in Future Generations

*Scientists looked back in time–in the geologic record–to see the future*

Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)–as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends–future generations will likely have to deal with a completely different world.

One with sea levels 40 to 70 feet higher than at present, according to research results published this week in the journal Geology. (more…)

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