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Posts Tagged ‘Greenland’

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…

Large-Scale Assessment Of The Arctic Ocean: Significant Increase In Freshwater Content Since 1990s

March 28, 2011 Comments off

nanopatentsandinnovations

The freshwater content of the upper Arctic Ocean has increased by about 20 percent since the 1990s. This corresponds to a rise of approx. 8,400 cubic kilometres and has the same magnitude as the volume of freshwater annually exported on average from this marine region in liquid or frozen form. This result is published by researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute in the journal Deep-Sea Research. The freshwater content in the layer of the Arctic Ocean near the surface controls whether heat from the ocean is emitted into the atmosphere or to ice. In addition, it has an impact on global ocean circulation.

Differences in the mean salinity of the Arctic Ocean above the 34 isohaline between 2006 to 2008 and 1992 to 1999.

Negative values are shown in yellow, green, and blue and stand for an increase of freshwater.

Image: Benjamin Rabe, Alfred Wegener Institute Read more…

Pace of polar ice melt ‘accelerating rapidly’: study

March 10, 2011 Comments off

 

(AFP)

WASHINGTON — The pace at which the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting is “accelerating rapidly” and raising the global sea level, according to findings of a study financed by NASA and published Tuesday.

The findings suggest that the ice sheets — more so than ice loss from Earth’s mountain glaciers and ice caps — have become “the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted.”

This study, the longest to date examining changes to polar ice sheet mass, combined two decades of monthly satellite measurements with regional atmospheric climate model data to study changes in mass.

“That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising — they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers,” said lead author Eric Rignot, jointly of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine.

“What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening,” he said.

Under the current trends, he said, sea level is likely to be “significantly higher” than levels projected by Read more…

UA climate research: Big stretch of US coast at risk of rising seas

February 23, 2011 Comments off

azstarnet.com

If global temperatures continue to rise and polar ice continues to melt, 9 percent of the land in our coastal cities and towns will be beneath sea level by the end of the century, University of Arizona researchers say.

Climate researchers Jeremy Weiss and Jonathan Overpeck, along with Ben Strauss of Climate Central in Princeton, N.J., mapped the U.S. coastline, using elevations provided by the U.S. Geological Survey. They applied the most recent predictions of a sea level rise of 1 meter (3.28 feet) by 2100 to produce a map that predicts big trouble for 20 cities with more than 300,000 people and for 160 smaller municipalities.

Weiss is a senior researcher in geosciences. Overpeck is a professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences and co-director of the UA’s Institute of the Environment.

The report was published last week in Climatic Change Letters.

The biggest impact will be felt in low-lying, heavily populated places such as New Orleans, Miami Beach and Virginia Beach, the report says.

Subsequent centuries will bring even higher sea levels that could completely submerge Read more…

The What? And Why? Of Rare Earth Metals

February 10, 2011 1 comment

Over the past few months, there’s been a buzz surrounding rare earth metals. These are metals such as europium, lanthanum, neodymium and 14 others found in small concentrations attached to other metals and resource deposits. They’re actually not that rare, just expensive and difficult to pull out of the ground.

These naturally occurring elements are essential in everything from wind turbines to lasers to iPads.

Rare earths are a conundrum for the environmentally conscious—they hold the key to green energies but create toxic waste when being separated away from other elements. “Just one wind turbine generating 3 megawatts of electricity requires 600 kilograms of rare earths for its magnets,” a source told the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper.

Electric and hybrid cars can contain more than twice as much rare earth metals as a standard car. This image from the NY Times breaks down how these metals make up critical elements of a Prius.

Currently, China controls 97 percent of the world’s production of rare earth metals. In October 2010, the country cut exports of the metals by 70 percent, disrupting manufacturing in Japan, Europe and the U.S., and sending the prices of these metals up 40 percent.

China currently controls production but the country only has 37 percent of Read more…