Melting Of Antarctica Just Got Worse [Pic]

Submitted by: handimanner 2 years ago in Science

The melting of Antarctica was already really bad. It just got worse.


A satellite view of Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA handout photo obtained by Reuters on Feb. 6, 2012. (NASA handout via Reuters)

A hundred years from now, humans may remember 2014 as the year that wefirst learnedthat we may have irreversibly destabilized the great ice sheet of West Antarctica, and thus set in motionmore than 10 feet of sea level rise.

Meanwhile, 2015 couldbe the year of the double whammy when we learned the same about one gigantic glacier of East Antarctica, which could set in motion roughly the same amount all over again. Northern Hemisphere residents and Americans in particular should take note when the bottom of the world loses vast amounts of ice, those of us living closer to its top getmoresea level rise than the rest of the planet,thanks to the law of gravity.

The findings about East Antarctica emerge from anew paperjust out inNature Geoscience byan international team of scientists representing the United States, Britain, France and Australia. They flew a number of research flights over the Totten Glacier of East Antarctica the fastest-thinning sectorof the worlds largest ice sheet and tooka variety of measurements to try to figure out the reasons behind its retreat. And the news wasnt good: It appears that Totten, too, is losing ice because warm ocean water is getting underneath it.

The idea of warm ocean water eroding the ice in West Antarctica, what were finding is that may well be applicable in East Antarctica as well, saysMartin Siegert, a co-author of the study and who is based at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.

[Research casts alarming light on the decline of West Antarctic glaciers]

The floating ice shelf of the Totten Glaciercovers an area of 90 miles by 22 miles. Itit is losing an amount of ice equivalent to 100 times the volume of Sydney Harbour every year,notesthe Australian Antarctic Division.

Thats alarming, because the glacier holds back a much more vast catchment of ice that, were its vulnerable parts to flow into the ocean, could produce a sea level rise of more than 11 feet whichis comparable to the impact from a lossof the West Antarctica ice sheet.And thats a conservative lower limit, says lead study author Jamin Greenbaum, a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin.

In its alignment with the land and the sea, the Totten Glacier is similar to the West Antarctic glaciers, which also featureice shelvesthat slope out from the vast sheet of ice on land and extendinto the water. These ice shelves are a key source of instability, because if ocean waters beneath them warm, theycan lose ice rapidly, allowing the ice sheet behind them to flow more quickly into the sea.

The researchersused three separate types of measurements taken during their flights gravitational measurements, radar and laser altimetry to get a glimpseof what might be happening beneath the massive glacier, whose ice shelves are more than 1,600 feet thick in places. Using radar, they could measure the ices thickness. Meanwhile, by measuring the pull of the Earths gravity on the airplane in different places, the scientists were able to determine just how far below that ice the seafloor was.

The result was the discovery of two undersea troughs or valleys beneath the ice shelf regions where the seafloor slopes downward, allowing a greater depth of water beneath the floating ice. These cavities or subsea valleys, theresearchers suggest, may explain the glaciers retreat they could allow warmer deep waters to get underneath the ice shelf, accelerating its melting.


Aerial photo of Totten Glaciers ice shelf edge taken during one of the teams geophysical survey flights. (Jamin Greenbaum)

In this particular area of Antarctica, Greenbaum says, a warmer layer of ocean water offshoreis actually deeper than thecolder layers above it, because of the saltwater content of the warm water (which increases its density). And the canyons may allow that warm water access to the glacier base.What we found here is that there are seafloor valleys deeper than the depth of the maximum temperature measured near the glacier, Greenbaum says.

One of these canyons is three miles wide, in a region that was previously believed to simply hold icelying atop solid earth. On the contrary, the new study suggests the ice is instead afloat.

The availability of warm water, and the observed melting, notes the study, support the idea that the behaviour of Totten Glacier is an East Antarctic analogue to ocean-driven retreat underway in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The global sea level potential of 3.5 m flowing through Totten Glacier alone is of similar magnitude to the entire probable contribution of the WAIS.

For Richard Alley, a glaciologist at Penn State University, the new research hints at a possible solution to a question that scientists have long had about the planets past and in particular thePliocene epoch, beginning 5.3 million years ago, when sea levels weredramatically higher, by as much as 40 meters.

The sea-level indicators from the Pliocene have suggested that an important amount of ice came out of East Antarctica into the ocean, says Alley. Sedimentary records offshore pointed in the same way, and recent modelingshows the strong potential for this to have happened. This new paper adds to the evidence the pieces are fitting together.

One limitation of the study is that the scientists were not able to directly measure the temperature of ocean water that is reaching the glacier itself. While this could be done with robotic underwater vehicles or other methods, that wasnt part of the study at this time. Thus, the conclusions are more focused on inferring the vulnerability of the glacier based on a number of different pieces of evidence topped off by the fact that the glacier is, indeed, retreating.

What we need now is a confirmation of the findings of the paper from oceanographic data, because it is one thing to find potential pathways for warm water to intrude the cavity, it is another to show that thisis actually happening, observesEric Rignot, an Antarctica expert at the University of California, Irvine. This paper comes short of the latter, but other research efforts are underway toget critical oceanographic information near Totten.

Maximum Antarctic sea ice 2014(0:42)

An animation of the Antarctic sea ice between March 21 and Sept. 19, 2014, when the sea ice reached its maximum extent. The red extent line shows the average of the annual maximum extents from 1979 through 2014. (NASA)

For residents of the United States and indeed, the entire Northern Hemisphere the impact of major ice loss from Antarctica could be dire. If Antarctica loses volumes of ice that would translate into major contributions to sea level rise,that risewould not be distributed evenly around the globe. The reason is the force of gravity. Antarctica is so massive that it pulls the ocean toward it, but if it loses ice, that gravitational pull will relax, and the ocean will slosh back toward the Northern Hemisphere which will experience additional sea level rise.

For the United States, the amount of sea level rise could be 25 percent or more than the global average.

Much as with the ocean-abutting glaciers of West Antarctica, just because a retreat has been observed and because the entirety of the region implies a sea level rise of 11 or more feet were all ice to end up in the ocean does not mean that well see anything near that much sea level rise in our lifetimes. These processes generally are expected to play out over hundreds of years or more. They would reshape the face of the Earth but we may never see it.

The problem, then, is more the world were leaving to our children and grandchildren because once such a gigantic geophysical process begins, its hard to see how it comes to a halt. With warming oceans, its difficult to see how a process that starts now would be reversed, or reversible, in a warming world, Siegert says.


Sea rise predicted at 11 feet.
Credits: source
There are 49 comments:
Male 9,769
Trimble

A 3rd post in a row where you didn`t remotely back up the retarded things you said or answer a direct question. Shocking.
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Male 4,155
HG, you poor uneducated little guy. Can`t figure out what point an adult is making? No, so you name call and say disgusting things - all of the time. Raving about Limbaugh and Hannity? Like I give a damn what they say? There are just as annoying as you.
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Male 4,099
@CreamK:
"Look at these guys still keeping their hands on their ears and pretending it ain`t real"

I backed up everything I said with peer-reviewed research, if you have a problem with anything I said, then say it.

Also Richard Muller isn`t a skeptic simply because he disagreed with Mann`s graph. He even stated:

"If you are concerned about global warming, as I am, and think that human-created carbon dioxide may contribute, as I do, then you still should agree that we are much better off having broken the hockey stick. Misinformation can do real harm, because it distorts predictions."
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Male 9,769
trimble

"If HolyGod were not such a prick I could feel sorry for him standing there in front of his mirror telling himself how wise he is and how everyone else is too ignorant to see it."

Can you attempt to make a point?

Take a cue from richanddead or 5Cats. At least they have something productive to add.

Limbaugh and Hannity s.hit in your mouth and then you just come in here and regurgitate it. It`s pointless. You`ve said NOTHING meaningful.

Back up your bulls.hit.

"now give up most of the things you enjoy in life, give all your money to the elitist that spew this crap and lower your standard of living to the lowest you can possibly imagine"

WHAT things?

All money to WHO?

Lower my standard of living HOW?

Are you capable of saying ANYTHING that makes sense?
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Male 40,772
@richanddead: Totally correct! There was a near-RECORD ice formation these past 2 seasons, on BOTH poles, which is highly unusual!

Normally one pole is "lower" and the other "bigger". They switch back & forth...

So, naturally, BIGGER chunks of ice will break away! QED.

We haven`t been studying either pole for all that long, we have NO IDEA what is "normal" and what`s extreme...
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Male 15,273
*Lex
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Male 15,273
Bagsie Marina Del Rex

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Male 1,152
Abby, not quite true. Antartica was still located at a pole during pangaea, some of the other super continents did have it located elsewhere.

More importantly, the lack of antartica at a pole, is not the same as a lack of an ice cap at the pole.
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Male 1,421
Lol.. Look at these guys still keeping their hands on their ears and pretending it ain`t real.. One by one all anti-AGW scientists are turning around.. Latest is professor Richard Muller, i`ll be submitting that story, well, i guess now is a good time..
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Male 4,155
If HolyGod were not such a prick I could feel sorry for him standing there in front of his mirror telling himself how wise he is and how everyone else is too ignorant to see it.
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Female 1,329
Once upon a time, there was a land mass called Pangaea, it broke apart due to earthquakes, volcanic activity, etc. The continents move across this ball of magma called continental drift. As of right now Antarctica was once not covered in snow and ice, not it is, some time in the future it won`t be. Nothing is ever permanent on this ball of magma, it is all fluid. The end. ;-) 8-)
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Male 15,273
F-ck it, bring it on. Most republican states will be fully aquatic.
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Male 4,099
I predicted this crap six months ago on the "Antarctic Sea Ice Biggest Ever!" post.


"Tuesday, September 16, 2014 11:25:14 AM
As it warms naturally during the year it will be time to start hearing about "Rhode Island" size icebergs coming off along with some study that finds "more ice melting then ever before." Both camps will phrase this in the most politically advantageous way they can."

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Male 4,099
Obviously Atmospheric and oceanic forcing also plays a role. The strongest negative melting anomalies, such as those in 2008 and 2009, are related to amplified large-scale atmospheric forcing when both the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode and El-Nino`s are in effect, which they are currently.

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Greenbaum has also found a previously unknown inland trough that connects the main ice-shelf cavity to the ocean. This trough MAY allow slightly warmer water access to the Glacier and this effect would be compounded by the blockage of the cooler polynyas waters.

That is what he found, not that this is a permanent effect, not that ocean temperatures are rising, and not that AGW is causing the Totten Glacier or Antarctica to melt like the author is implying.
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Male 4,099
Such currents are extremely important especially for the east antarctic because they generate ice from on the bottom of ice flows.
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The other processes at work here is the movement of the near by Moscow University ice shelf which acts as a buttress to the Totten Glacier. Both of which are heavily influenced by geothermal sub-glacial lakes that lubricate the bottoms of ice flows and allow them to move easier. Such lakes are heavily prevalent in the lower eastern Antarctica and have been found underneath both the Moscow University ice shelf and the Totten Glacier.
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Male 4,099
The "polynya activity" is a volume of cold water originating in polynyas that usually refreshes the bottom of the glacier. This cold water has recently been blocked or stopped for reasons that are still currently unknown. Unfortunately for the author of this article it also ruled out that it was caused by warmer oceans, which is most likely why he choose not to include it.

The conclusion was as followed:

"We therefore explain increased melting in the sub-ice-shelf cavity not by an encroachment of CDW or an increase in the temperature of existing water masses as is usually suggested, but rather as a consequence of the reduction or absence of a certain cooler water mass."

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Male 4,099

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Greenbaum is saying that the thinning of the glacier may be driven by melting due to normal ocean processes and polynya activity.
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Male 4,099
First off this is a biased article written by a major AGW advocate who only shows data that appears to show support for AGW. For example, he starts off by strongly implying that we are responsible for the destabilized the great ice sheet of West Antarctica and uses two studies that showed Warmer ocean waters are pushing up from below and bathing the base of the ice sheet. What he fails to mention is the tons of peer-reviewed research that this is due to volcanism. Here are just a few:
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Male 39,958

If the ice is melting why does the ice cap get bigger in the video?
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Male 5,620
"You are too ignorant to have any valid input. Just stay out of it."

Real talk.

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Male 40,772
The type of warming needed to melt ALL the icecaps & glaciers would be enormous! Well over +5C per century, iirc.

AGW`s highest predictions? +4.4C/century
Lately "revised" to about +2.5C
Skeptics say: +0.9C is `normal` since the Little Ice Age ended.

Current trend: About +1.2C per century.
>Not nearly enough to raise the oceans THAT much! Not even in 500 years...
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Male 1,417
blah blah blah blah, blahblah....blah blah blablah...global warming...blah...blablah....

just keep blahing about this global warming, we are no longer listening to your rants.
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Male 1,412
@Gerry1of1

Same goes for tobacco. There is such a huge, world-wide demand for American tobacco that even if we eradicated the practice of smoking in the USA, those two countries would keep the American tobacco industry afloat.
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Male 9,769
KLouD

"If global warming was real (pro-tip: its not) then why did i have 4 feet of snow in my yard in the last month? don`t make no damn sense"

OK. Let`s have a 3rd grade weather lesson to help you out.

It needs to be below freezing for snow to remain on the ground, 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

The average global temperature of the Earth has risen about 2 degrees in the past century.

So if your average winter temperature a century ago was colder than 30 degrees it still is below freezing. So you still have snow.

That`s explained like I would to a 10 year old. You seem dumber than a 10 year old.

Just for the record, as even 5Cats says, there is NO debate that the world is warming. The only debate is to the cause, the repercussions, and what if anything to do about it.

You are too ignorant to have any valid input. Just stay out of it.

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Male 39,958

China and India run on dirty coal and have no emission standards on factories and transports. You can go green all you want but until you get China and India to do the same your efforts are wasted.

That said I have an plug-in hybrid green car. 300 miles per gallon wooohooo
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Male 253
holygod proves once again that he/she has no idea what he/she is talking about.
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Male 40,772
@som-tam: No one needs 4WD in the city? Unless it`s covered with snow and ice 5 months of the year! ;-)

Anyhow, we don`t need the Government telling us what kind of car we`re "allowed" to drive!

@hg`s incentives would be fine, they`re voluntary. They wouldn`t take 20% off the road though, since lots of folks already take mass transit AND many cars and trucks are needed for work... but some folks, yes.

And an even better idea? Stop charging a FORTUNE to ride the bus! And stop cutting bus service!! In my city it`s outrageous how it goes up every year, and some new suburbs don`t even get bus services, meaning it`s cars or walking... crazy!

The reason? The City gets tax money off gasoline... lines their pockets! Reducing gas use would "cut" the budget, there`s NO WAY they`ll allow that! :-<
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Male 7,943
11 feet seems a tad bit excessive.
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Female 8,061
the good stuff is so easy- good public transport, bike lanes, renewable energy, reducing fuel use- all things which save us money- not cost it. Stop eating out of season luxuries, eat more veg, less meat. Stop buying disposable rubbish- good clothes last years, a phone should last years, as should a tv- and they should be repairable.
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Male 5,620
@jayme21 -

After the last argument, I altered mine some. Partly because I argued from the opposing side. This allowed me to gain insight. So, yes. It does somewhat.
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Male 714
I am not 100% sold on the idea of AGW, mainly due to how it is used as an excuse to raise taxes which is then invested into `green` companies that happen to have politicians or their wives on their board of directors.

However, HG idea of reducing 20% of the daily traffic is a great idea. No one wants all that smog that most cities are shrouded in. I would go further to suggest that anyone that lives in a city and owns a 4WD should pay an extra car tax that subsidizes public transport. No one needs a 4WD in the city.
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Male 9,769
Want to know my pitch to help the environment and curb traffic?

Give companies tax incentives for allowing a certain percentage of their employees to telecommute 2 days a week.

Take 20% of drivers off the road each day. Think what that would do for traffic and for emissions.

Who can`t get behind that?
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Male 9,769
trimble

"There, now give up most of the things you enjoy in life, give all your money to the elitist that spew this crap and lower your standard of living to the lowest you can possibly imagine."

What the holy f.uck are you talking about?

1. Recycle
2. Try to buy locally sourced foods
3. Buy an alternative fuel or hybrid vehicle, carpool, take public transportation when possible
4. Invest in solar if it makes sense in your area.
5. Support nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro in your area.

If everyone did that the world would be a much better place. What elitists are taking your money and lowering your standard of living?

WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT?
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Male 1,412
"The oceans "were deeper" based on WHAT measure?" There must have been fewer Sponges back in the day to soak up all that water...
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Female 8,061
Well, if we don`t act now, and try to stop it happening our grandchildren won`t love us. Greed- all for greed. A low impact lifestyle is perfectly doable and perfectly comfortable..we just need to alter our perceptions and stop putting value on stuff which is not necessary. We live totally unsustainable lives.. so sad.
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Male 684
Has anyone ever changed there mind after a climate change argument?
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Male 5,872
I was going to post the pic that appears on this link but it`s 600x427, so is too big, and I can`t be arsed to ponce about with photoposting bollocks.

Arctic versus antarctic ice levels
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Male 116
Learn to swim.
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Male 2,637
"What we need now is a confirmation of the findings of the paper from oceanographic data..."

Indeed.
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Male 4,155
There, now give up most of the things you enjoy in life, give all your money to the elitist that spew this crap and lower your standard of living to the lowest you can possibly imagine. You`ll be miserable but your "carbon footprint" will be next to nothing and theirs will continue to grow as they bask in the royalty you bestow upon them.
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Male 40,772
Lolz! Doom & gloom! It`s what sells!

Two things:
"For the United States, the amount of sea level rise could be 25 percent or more than the global average."
Huh? What? The water will NOT de roughly even over the globe? It will be 25% DEEPER around the USA? :-? How is that physically even possible?

#2: It`s buried in the text, but this is what MIGHT happen over the next 100-300 years... MAYBE.

It`s based on ALL the ice melting? Something even the IPCC says is NOT going to happen...

5.3 million years ago?? Are they JOKING??? The geology of the Earth has changed a LOT since then! The oceans covered more of the Earth, and the various continents were in different places.

The oceans "were deeper" based on WHAT measure? The total amount of water is roughly the same, correct? Just plain pseudo-science...
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Male 146
Count the number of if,could or could be,may, appears in the "research article...... And am i missing something with that video? It shows that the maximum extents is about where it should be!!
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Male 1,365
11 feet doesn`t sound too plausible...
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Male 253
If global warming was real (pro-tip: its not) then why did i have 4 feet of snow in my yard in the last month? don`t make no damn sense
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Male 550
And 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Cats.....
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Male 5,620
This seems the sort of alarmist nonsense that warrants no sort of serious scientific scrutiny.

Huff and Puff post, indeed.
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Female 4,441
"Predicted" (not directed at you, Orli... I agree that`s extreme, but then the chicken littles usually are)
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Male 1,412
11 feet? That seems excessive.
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Male 2,150
Link: Melting Of Antarctica Just Got Worse [Pic] [Rate Link] - Sea rise predicted at 11 feet.
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