The Greenland ice sheet is poised for another record melt this year, and is approaching a “tipping point” into a new and more dangerous melt regime in which the summer melt area covers the entire land mass, according to new findings from polar researchers.
The ice sheet is the focus of scientific research because its fate has huge implications for global sea levels, which are already rising as ice sheets melt and the ocean warms, exposing coastal locations to greater damage from storm surge-related flooding.
Trend in the reflectivity of high elevation ice in Greenland, showing the record low as of June 26, 2012. Credit: Meltfactor.org.
Greenland’s ice has been melting faster than many scientists expected just a decade ago, spurred by warming sea and land temperatures, changing weather patterns, and other factors. Until now, though, most of the focus has been on ice sheet dynamics — how quickly Greenland’s glaciers are flowing into the sea. But the new research raises a different basis for concern.
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Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. They’ve been recorded in Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Iceland and Mongolia.
Carbon dioxide is the chief greenhouse gas and stays in the atmosphere for 100 years. Some carbon dioxide is natural, mainly from decomposing dead plants and animals. Before the industrial age, levels were around 275 parts per million.
For more than 60 years, readings have been in the 300s, except in urban areas, where levels are skewed. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal for electricity and oil for gasoline, has caused the overwhelming bulk of the man-made increase in carbon in the air.
“It’s an important threshold,” said the Carnegie Institution ecologist Chris Field, a scientist who helps lead the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “It is an indication that we’re in a different world.”
It’s been at least 800,000 years – probably more – since Earth saw carbon dioxide levels in the 400s.
Humanity’s unquenchable thirst for fresh water is driving up sea levels even faster than melting glaciers, according to new research. The massive impact of the global population‘s growing need for water on rising sea levels is revealed in a comprehensive assessment of all the ways in which people use water.
Trillions of tonnes of water have been pumped up from deep underground reservoirs in every part of the world and then channeled into fields and pipes to keep communities fed and watered. The water then flows into the oceans, but far more quickly than the ancient aquifers are replenished by rains. The global tide would be rising even more quickly but for the fact that manmade reservoirs have, until now, held back the flow by storing huge amounts of water on land.
The ozone hole is now widely believed to have been the dominant agent of atmospheric circulation changes in the Southern Hemisphere in the last half century. The ozone hole, which is located over the South Pole, has affected the entire circulation of the Southern Hemisphere all the way to the equator. It has large and far-reaching impacts. The ozone hole is a big player in the climate system!” “It’s really amazing that the ozone hole, located so high up in the atmosphere over Antarctica, can have an impact all the way to the tropics and affect rainfall there — it’s just like a domino effect,”
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The last time carbon dioxide levels were apparently as high as they are today — and were sustained at those levels — global temperatures were 3 to 6 degrees Celsius higher than they are today, the sea level was approximately 25 to 40 metres higher than today, there was no permanent sea ice cap in the Arctic and very little ice on Antarctica and Greenland.
Can we understand what this means? Read this for what 2 and 3 degrees would be like.
The data collected Tuesday showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades.
The other two reactors that had meltdowns could be in even worse shape. The No. 2 reactor is the only one officials have been able to closely examine so far.
Tuesday’s examination with an industrial endoscope detected radiation levels up to 10 times the fatal dose inside the chamber. Plant officials previously said more than half of the melted fuel has breached the core and dropped to the floor of the primary containment vessel, some of it splashing against the wall or the floor.
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Nations will cut off rivers to prevent their enemies having access to water downstream, terrorists will blow up dams, and states that cannot provide water for their citizens will collapse. This is the future – as painted by a top US security report.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the organization that oversees US intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, was commissioned by President Barack Obama to examine the impact of water scarcity worldwide on US security.
And while the prospect of “water wars” has been touted for decades, it may start to become reality within a decade. The ODNI predicts that by 2040 water demand will outstrip current supply by 40 per cent.
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About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research.
If the pace of the rise accelerates as much as expected, researchers found, coastal flooding at levels that were once exceedingly rare could become an every-few-years occurrence by the middle of this century.
By far the most vulnerable state is Florida, the new analysis found, with roughly half of the nation’s at-risk population living near the coast on the porous, low-lying limestone shelf that constitutes much of that state. But Louisiana, California, New York and New Jersey are also particularly vulnerable, researchers found, and virtually the entire American coastline is at some degree of risk.
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Despite peak global temperatures in 2005 and 2010, unprecedented in the instrumental
record, a recent sharp plunge in volume of the Arctic Sea ice and a spate of extreme
weather events, coal mining, coal exports and carbon emissions continue to grow,
overwhelming any mitigation attempted by schemes such as the Australian carbon
With graphs and information report by Andrew Glickson click here