Monday 22nd of September 2014

ice depleted at an astonishing rate of 120 cubic miles each year...

 

melting grounds...

The planet's two largest ice sheets – in Greenland and Antarctica – are now being depleted at an astonishing rate of 120 cubic miles each year. That is the discovery made by scientists using data from CryoSat-2, the European probe that has been measuring the thickness of Earth's ice sheets and glaciers since it was launched by the European Space Agency in 2010.

Even more alarming, the rate of loss of ice from the two regions has more than doubled since 2009, revealing the dramatic impact thatclimate change is beginning to have on our world.

The researchers, based at Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research – used 200m data points across Antarctica and 14.3m across Greenland, all collected by CryoSat, to study how the ice sheets there had changed over the past three years. The satellite carries a high-precision altimeter, which sends out short radar pulses that bounce off the ice surface and then back to the satellite. By measuring the time this takes, the height of the ice beneath the spacecraft can be calculated.

It was found from the average drops in elevation that were detected by CryoSat that Greenland alone is losing about 90 cubic miles a year, while in Antarctica the annual volume loss is about 30 cubic miles. These rates of loss – described as "incredible" by one researcher – are the highest observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago, and they mean that the ice sheets' annual contribution to sea-level rise has doubled since 2009, say the researchers whose work was published in the journal Cryosphere last week.

"We have found that, since 2009, the volume loss in Greenland has increased by a factor of about two, and the West Antarctic ice sheet by a factor of three," said glaciologist Angelika Humbert, one of the study's authors. "Both the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Antarctic peninsula, in the far west, are rapidly losing volume. By contrast, East Antarctica is gaining volume, though at a moderate rate that doesn't compensate for the losses on the other side of the continent."

The researchers say they detected the biggest elevation changes caused by ice loss at the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland, which was recently found to be shifting ice into the oceans faster than any other ice-sheet glacier, and at Pine Island glacier, which like other glaciers in West Antarctica, has been thinning rapidly in recent years.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/24/incredible-polar-ice-loss-cryosat-antarctica-greenland

 

heat sinks... and ice in your whisky....

 

Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration

EDITOR'S SUMMARY

A vacillating global heat sink at intermediate ocean depths is associated with different climate regimes of surface warming under anthropogenic forcing: The latter part of the 20th century saw rapid global warming as more heat stayed near the surface. In the 21st century, surface warming slowed as more heat moved into deeper oceans. In situ and reanalyzed data are used to trace the pathways of ocean heat uptake. In addition to the shallow La Niña–like patterns in the Pacific that were the previous focus, we found that the slowdown is mainly caused by heat transported to deeper layers in the Atlantic and the Southern oceans, initiated by a recurrent salinity anomaly in the subpolar North Atlantic. Cooling periods associated with the latter deeper heat-sequestration mechanism historically lasted 20 to 35 years.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6199/897

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One has to recognise here that the rate and amount of melting ice at the poles ABSORBS a lot of heat from the biosphere. It is the ice in the whisky syndrome... Until most of the ice is melted in your glass, the temperature of your whisky stays basically a around zero degrees, then the temperature climbs very quickly to "atmospheric" room temperature...

For a complex system such as the earth, this MASSIVE ACCELERATING melting is RETARDING the full impact of global warming.

Should you be aware of the "unseasonal" rain pattern on the east coast of Australia in the last few days and be aware of atmospheric mechanisms, you would know that this has been a big part of the complex exchange of temperatures between a melting Antarctica and the rest of the planet. 

In the study above, there is one thing missing, the "elasticity" of the atmosphere to behave under various conditions. For example, there could be a big change in the behaviour of the the atmosphere should the ration of CO2 increases from 400 ppm to 410 ppm. 410 ppm will happen later this year...

For example this could push the dew point of clouds a few hundred metres higher, leaving higher concentration of clear water vapour for longer periods, leading to higher temperatures on the ground.

Meanwhile, it is my own estimate that summer in Australia will be another scortcher, this year, probably beating all previous records — despite the "noted" DECEPTIVE "slowing" of global warming which is warming up other parts of the globe apart from the atmosphere.


whisky

meanwhile, on the ozone depletion front...

 

Steve Cole and Kathryn Hansen, NASA

NASA research shows Earth’s atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide.

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which was once used in applications such as dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent, was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone and contribute to the ozone hole over Antarctica. Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012.

However, the new research shows worldwide emissions of CCl4 average 39 kilotons per year, approximately 30 percent of peak emissions prior to the international treaty going into effect.

“We are not supposed to be seeing this at all,” said Qing Liang, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study. “It is now apparent there are either unidentified industrial leakages, large emissions from contaminated sites, or unknown CCl4 sources.”

[ Watch: Ozone-Depleting Compound Persists ]

As of 2008, CCl4 accounted for about 11 percent of chlorine available for ozone depletion, which is not enough to alter the decreasing trend of ozone-depleting substances. Still, scientists and regulators want to know the source of the unexplained emissions.

For almost a decade, scientists have debated why the observed levels of CCl4 in the atmosphere have declined slower than expectations, which are based on what is known about how the compound is destroyed by solar radiation and other natural processes

 


Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113217137/ozone-depletion-from-banned-carbon-tetrachloride-082114/#06rkYkkQQFXbwqSx.99

 

The banned substance: CCl4

Carbon tetrachloride, also known by many other names (the most notable being tetrachloromethane (also recognized by the IUPAC), carbon tet in the cleaning industry, Halon-104 in firefighting and Refrigerant-10 in HVACR), is the inorganic compound with the formula CCl4. It was formerly widely used in fire extinguishers, as a precursor to refrigerants, and as a cleaning agent. It is a colourless liquid with a "sweet" smell that can be detected at low levels.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tetrachloride

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Gus: Is it possible that, as we still use a lot of chloride in our manufacturing and say swimming pools, that these chloride compounds react with other chemicals and make "unintended" CFCs and CCl4...?

 

Another possibility that should be explored is as the sea absorbs MORE ANTHROPOGENIC CO2 and becomes more "acid" in the process, the combination with salt could release CCl4 from the ion soup in the ocean under certain conditions of "oxygenation" such as waves and turbulent water.

This would lead to the loose sodium (Na) from the salt (NaCl) to become Na2O... while the chlorine ion from the salt would become bound to the extra carbon atoms from the decomposition of CO2 into ions? All this chemical reaction in MINUTE quantity (possibly happening under the presence of a "catalyst" such as gold or other "neutral metals"), that detecting this "rare" process has not been priority number one...

As well one would have to consider the power of cosmic rays in the polar regions, especially the south pole, where the Van Allen belts variations could also have an effect in ionisation of lower levels including oceans surfaces... Who knows... 

Just a few questions...


china's effort...

China, one of the biggest greenhouse polluters, may yet be one of the best chances the world has of avoiding dangerous climate change, according to climate policy expert Ross Garnaut.

Professor Garnaut, who addressed the University of Melbourne last night, said he was expecting emissions in China to peak soon and start to fall.

This, he said, would pressure Australia and other countries to stand by their commitments to cut emissions further if developing countries did so.

"For 11 years of this century, China was engaged in highly coal intensive and emissions intensive growth," Professor Garnaut said.

"But China in recent years has been introducing a new model of economic growth, but the overall effect of it is to change the relationship between GDP growth and coal use."

Professor Garnaut said China's coal use was going down and if emissions began to fall, it could "bring within reach the world's holding temperature increases to two degrees, or having a reasonable chance of doing so".

"[There is a] very big increase in the share of energy use coming from all of the alternatives to coal - hydro electric, wind, nuclear, solar, gas - all of the alternatives to coal are growing very strongly," he said.

Though Professor Garnaut said he expected the Chinese coal sector will resist cutting its use, he said there were strong forces propelling the government along a cleaner path.

"The problem of domestic pollution is leading to lower life expectancy of people in parts of China with a lot of carbon particulates in the atmosphere," he said.

"And this has become quite a big social and political issue in China and it adds to the reasons why the Chinese government is quite likely to stay the course."

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-26/china-can-help-the-world-avoid-climate-change2c-says-ross-garn/5696008

forget the sinking stinking budget...

Samoa's prime minister has called on Australia to lift its focus from the federal budget and lead the way on climate change.

"We do hope Australia's ... current leadership could look at the Pacific Islands as a special case in terms of climate change," said Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

"In saying that, I am aware of the extreme pre-occupation of the present leadership with budget savings."

His plea comes as Samoa prepares to host the United Nations' Small Island Developing States conference next week.

Delegates from over 100 countries are expected to attend the conference to discuss the specific needs of small island nations.

Mr Tuilaepa says climate change is a top priority for the meeting as small island states are most affected by rising sea levels.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-28/samoa-pm-calls-on-abbott-to-forget-budget-and-act-on-climate/5703948