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Posts Tagged ‘Greenland’

Greenland ice sheet may melt completely with 1.6 degrees global warming

March 12, 2012 Comments off

esciencenews

Greenland ice sheetPhoto: christine zenino/Flickr

The Greenland ice sheet is likely to be more vulnerable to global warming than previously thought. The temperature threshold for melting the ice sheet completely is in the range of 0.8 to 3.2 degrees Celsius of global warming, with a best estimate of 1.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels, shows a new study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Today, already 0.8 degrees of global warming has been observed. Substantial melting of land ice could contribute to long-term sea-level rise of several meters and therefore it potentially affects the lives of many millions of people. The time it takes before Read more…

CU-Boulder study shows global glaciers, ice caps, shedding billions of tons of mass annually

February 13, 2012 Comments off

eurekalert.org

Study also shows Greenland, Antarctica and global glaciers and ice caps lost roughly 8 times the volume of Lake Erie from 2003-2010

IMAGE: A new CU-Boulder study using the NASA/Germany GRACE satellite shows Earth is losing roughly 150 billion tons of ice annually. Credit-NASA

Earth’s glaciers and ice caps outside of the regions of Greenland and Antarctica are shedding roughly 150 billion tons of ice annually, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The research effort is the first comprehensive satellite study of the contribution of the world’s melting glaciers and ice caps to global sea level rise and indicates they are adding roughly 0.4 millimeters annually, said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study. The measurements are important because the melting of the world’s glaciers and ice caps, along with Greenland and Antarctica, pose the greatest threat to sea level increases in the future, Wahr said.

The researchers used satellite measurements taken with the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, a joint effort of NASA and Germany, to calculate that the world’s glaciers and ice caps had lost about 148 billion tons, or about 39 cubic miles of ice annually from 2003 to 2010. The total does not count the mass from individual glacier and ice caps on the fringes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets — roughly an additional 80 billion tons.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at all of the mass loss from all of Earth’s glaciers and Read more…

Greenland’s Petermann Glacier Melting at Alarming Rate

September 6, 2011 Comments off

ibtimes

Scientists say the disintegration of the Petermann Glacier — measuring 186 miles long and 3,280 feet high — may just be the tip of the iceberg concerning climate change’s impact in colder zones.

New photographs show the quick pace at which the massive ice sheet has shrunk over the past two years. Last year, a swath of ice measuring 77 square miles separated and a further piece twice the size of Manhattan could break off in the next year, according to Dr. Alun Hubbard of Aberystwth University, who has been monitoring the Greenland ice sheet for some years.

Oblique view of the Petermann glacier front on 24 July 2009.Related Articles

In 2009, scientists placed GPS masts on the glacier to track its movement, ahead of the major break off of ice that eventually occurred on August 3, 2010. Greenland’s glaciers have lost an Read more…

Giant Chunk of Greenland Ice Set to Break Away

September 2, 2011 Comments off

ouramazingplanet

petermann-glacier-iceberg-100903-02.gifIn 2010, the Manhattan-sized Petermann glacier iceberg enters the Nares Strait: Credit: European Space Agency.

An ice shelf is poised to break off from a Greenland glacier and float out to sea as an island twice the size of Manhattan, scientists say.

“I don’t know exactly when,” Jason Box, a climatologist with Ohio State Unversity’s Byrd Polar Research Center, told OurAmazingPlanet. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened today — or if it happened next summer.”

Just a year ago, in August 2010, the same glacier produced an even larger iceberg — a mass of ice four times the size of Manhattan, the largest in recorded Greenland history — yet researchers warn that the next spectacular break could have more-dire consequences.

Box said it’s not clear when the 62-square-mile (160 square kilometers) ice shelf, which is Read more…

Giant Meteorite Discovered in China

July 26, 2011 Comments off

space

Giant Meteorite Discovered in China
A group of researchers led by Baolin Zhang, a meteorite specialist at the Beijing Planetarium, study a giant meteorite that was found in a remote, mountainous region in northwest China.
CREDIT: China Central Television

This story was updated at 5:36 p.m. EDT.

A massive space rock – one that could rank as one of the largest meteorites ever recovered – has been found in a remote and mountainous region in northwest China, according to news reports.

The huge and oddly-shaped rock was found in the Altai mountains in China’s Xinjiang Uygur province, according to Sky and Telescope magazine. Earlier this month, Baolin Zhang, a meteorite specialist at the Beijing Planetarium, led a small team up a 9,500-foot (2,900-meter) summit to investigate reports of the supposed meteorite.

“This is a huge iron meteorite,” Zhang said in footage from China Central Television. “It may be the second largest iron meteorite, which can cause a sensation in China and also attract attention from [the] world’s meteorite fields. It comes from outside solar system and it is of great appreciating value and of more scientific Read more…

Massive ice island drifts toward Canada

July 23, 2011 1 comment

msn

A Manhattan-sized chunk of ice that broke off a glacier in Greenland nearly a year ago is drifting toward the coast of Newfoundland, Canada — providing a stunning sight to scientists and curiosity-seekers but also posing a potential threat to ships.

The ice island is 20 square miles — roughly 6.2 miles long and 3.1 miles wide. It was formed when a 97-square-mile chunk of ice broke off Greenland’s Petermann Glacier on Aug. 5, 2010, possibly due to warming of the Atlantic Ocean.

The ice island, the largest single chunk remaining from the massive parent chunk, has been winding its way through Arctic waters ever since.

In the past few days, it has been moving south at a rate of 5 to 6 miles per hour. On Thursday, it was about 11.5 miles off the Labrador coast, drifting toward Newfoundland, said Lionel Hache, senior ice forecaster with Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa. The Ice Service, a department of Environment Canada, has been tracking the movement of the ice island.

Hache said it was hard to project what course the ice island would take because it was following the water current. “The general direction is south but not in a straight line,” he said. “You have different branches of the current. One of the branches could bring it toward shore, other Read more…

Rapid Greenland Glacial Melt Shown By ESA Satellite

July 20, 2011 Comments off

nanopatentsandinnovations

Some of the last images from ESA’s ERS-2 satellite have revealed rapidly changing glacial features in Greenland. In its final days, the veteran satellite gave us frequent views of the Kangerdlugssuaq glacier and its advancing ice stream.

Kangerdlugssuaq ice stream
Kangerdlugssuaq ice stream
Credit: ESA

Before it retired on 6 July, ESA’s ERS-2 Earth observation satellite entered an orbit to capture radar images of the same area on the ground every three days, rather than its previous 35-day cycle.

Images of the Kangerdlugssuaq glacier in eastern Greenland taken from March to May 2011 show that the ice stream was Read more…

Flights out of Scotland cancelled as ash cloud from Iceland volcano ‘will drift over UK within hours’

May 23, 2011 Comments off

dailymail

A Scottish airline has cancelled 36 flights tomorrow as the ash cloud billowing from a volanco in Iceland approaches UK airspace.

Regional carrier Loganair, which flies out of Glasgow, announced that there would be no flights following a Civil Aviation Authority warning that disruption could not be ruled out.

The Met Office is predicting the plume of ash from the Grimsvotn volcano will begin to drift over parts of Scotland in the next few hours and would cover all of Ireland, Scotland and parts of northern Britain by 6am tomorrow.

Asked whether this would cause some disruption to flights, a CAA spokesman said: ‘That’s the way it’s looking certainly at the moment.’

William Hague, however, has said he does not predict the volcano will not cause the chaos seen a year ago. The Foreign Secretary has said that Britain has more information on how ash clouds move and is less likely to have to enforce a blanket flight ban.

Last April airports across the UK were shut down for five days. With school half-term holidays next week any disruption to UK airports would cause chaos for hundreds of thousands of families.

New report confirms Arctic melt accelerating

May 3, 2011 Comments off

ap.org

FILE - In this July 19, 2007 file photo an iceberg is seen off Ammassalik Island in Eastern Greenland. A new assessment of climate change in the Arctic shows the ice in the region is melting faster than previously thought and sharply raises projections of global sea level rise this century. (AP Photo/John McConnico, File)

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and could raise the average global sea level by as much as five feet this century, an authoritative new report suggests.

The study by the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, or AMAP, is one of the most comprehensive updates on climate change in the Arctic, and builds on a similar assessment in 2005.

The full report will be delivered to foreign ministers of the eight Arctic nations next week, but an executive summary including the key findings was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

It says that Arctic temperatures in the past six years were the highest since measurements began in 1880, and that feedback mechanisms believed to accelerate warming in the climate system have now started kicking in.

One mechanism involves the ocean absorbing more heat when it’s not covered by ice, which reflects the sun’s energy. That effect has been anticipated by scientists “but clear evidence for it has only been observed in the Arctic in the past five years,” AMAP said.

The report also shatters some of the forecasts made in 2007 by the U.N.’s expert panel on climate change.

The cover of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, for example, is shrinking faster than Read more…

Ozone layer damaged by unusually harsh winter

April 6, 2011 1 comment

independent

An image of total ozone column profile around the North Pole on March 30, 2011, developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute using satellite and ground-based data, is seen in this handout, April 5, 2011. Satellite measurement of total ozone from OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) shows a region of low ozone (blue region) above the Arctic regions. As of late March the ozone-poor region is shifted away from the pole and covers Greenland and Scandinavia. — WMO via Reuters

The stratospheric ozone layer, which shields the Earth from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, has been damaged to its greatest-ever extent over the Arctic this winter.

The protective layer of gas, which can be destroyed by reactions with industrial chemicals, has suffered a loss of about 40 per cent from the start of winter until late March, exceeding the previous seasonal loss of about 30 per cent, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

The phenomenon is annual in the Antarctic, where after its discovery in the 1980s it came to be known as the “ozone hole“. Although CFC levels are now dropping, they remain in the atmosphere for so long that they will still be causing ozone depletion for decades in certain conditions, particularly the intense cold of the stratosphere.

Arctic ozone conditions vary more and the temperatures are always warmer than over Antarctica, where the ozone hole forms high in the stratosphere near the South Pole each winter and spring. Because of changing weather and temperatures, some Arctic winters experience almost no ozone loss – but others with exceptionally cold stratospheric conditions can occasionally lead to substantial ozone depletion.

This is what has happened over the Arctic this winter; for while at ground level the Arctic region was unusually warm, temperatures 15-20km above the Earth’s surface plummeted. WMO officials say the latest losses, which are unprecedented, were detected in Read more…