Monday 20th of May 2024

thin ice in our whisky...

melting ice...

As I have mentioned before, the melting of ice sheets is masking the full potential of global warming though we can measure a strong (in geological timescale) warming trend anyway...

Again here, I use the "ice in the whisky" image: the ice cools the whisky. Yet the sum total of temperature is rising despite the ice being cold... The ice melts and there is a tipping point at which the influence of the ice becomes so negligeable, the whisky temperature quickly rises to room temperature...

What is the room temperature for the surface of the earth? Well this is a difficult question answer at present, but we can be sure it is going to get hotter. One of the other major influences on climate apart from greenhouse gases is the position of continents... As far as I am aware, the earth has not experience such warming with this particular continental arrangement. The southern ocean presently acting a bit like a fridge...

The last time the earth experienced no ice on its surface, the sea levels were much higher than today and continents such as India, Antarctica and Australia were joined. The fossil record shows that these continents, including Antarctica were covered in "lush" vegetation.

Meanwhile the media prefers concentrating on the footy that on what will burn our butt within 50 years... Mind you there is a strong chance that powerful climatic events in the next couple of years (could only be months) will start untying our boots... But the media? Nah... It will still be far more focused on the footy results... See, one can live in short exciting anticipation of biffo and the score, whatever it is, can be seen by all in a couple of hours and then dissected with toady precision...

With global warming, there are days, and seasons, possibly years, in which we are fully comfortable with the weather — no trauma till we get hit for six and then we send reporters to where the trauma is, but none to analyse where the trauma came from... That would be boring. No image of dead people, no image of palm trees being flattened, no image of water engulfing houses with people on roofs... No... just a few set of figures in a dusty scientific centre somewhere with drab and cardiganed punny scientists explaining that a + b = more frequent traumatic climatic events...

But we can live with that, can't we?


The myth of Climate-gate has endured because of media failings.

Geologist and long-time climate change denialist Bob Carter materialised on this website on Monday, reprising a weary routine - tiptoeing through the scientific archive to find the morsels of data that might, with a twirl here and a shimmy there, contrive to support his theory that global warming is a big fat conspiracy.

Meanwhile, in real news, the journal Nature Geoscience published a paper by American and British scientists that found West Antarctica's Pine Island glacier is now melting 50 per cent faster than in 1994.

In an effort to better understand the hidden mysteries of ice sheet dynamics, which have obvious implications for every coast on the planet, the team also sent a submarine beneath the floating portion of the ice. It found the glacier had broken free from the ridge that once grounded it, allowing warmer waters to circulate and melt it from beneath. This had long been the theory - now they had some observed evidence.

The hastening retreats of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers have been closely monitored by scientists for decades. Their collapse is a nightmare cited as one of the tipping-point scenarios scientists most fear - potentially pulling the plug to drain the western ice plateau, and possibly even destabilising the sleeping giant next door: the East Antarctic ice sheet.

The uncertainties of these processes are to blame for the wide, wild variations in anticipated global sea level rise - the hottest, most disputed topic in forecasts for a warmer world. So you might imagine that this latest insight would merit a mention. But it didn't make the cut for publication in any Australian newspapers. (It did make an appearance on Fairfax's online news sites.)

Read more:

50 per cent faster...

West Antarctica's biggest glacier is melting 50 per cent faster than in 1994, adding to a global increase in sea levels, US and UK scientists found.

The Pine Island glacier is losing about 78 cubic kilometres (30 cubic miles) of ice per year, the researchers at Columbia University in New York and the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England, said today. That's up from 53 cubic kilometes in 1994. The study in the journal Nature Geoscience is based on data from a 2009 expedition.

Scientists are grappling to understand how much Antarctica's ice could contribute to higher sea-levels after the United Nations in 2007 predicted they'll rise by 18 to 59 centimetres this century. Just how much of that will come from the southern continent remains uncertain.

I know some people who are already preparing their waterfront property for a one metre rise by 2050... Studying the previous big melt 12000 years ago (which most likely gave birth to the Noah legend), such rise may not be out of the question.

central tropical Pacific warming...

Winter warming in West Antarctica caused by central tropical Pacific warming

The Pacific sector of Antarctica, including both the Antarctic Peninsula and continental West Antarctica, has experienced substantial warming in the past 30 years. An increase in the circumpolar westerlies, owing in part to the decline in stratospheric ozone concentrations since the late 1970s, may account for warming trends in the peninsula region in austral summer and autumn. The more widespread warming in continental West Antarctica (Ellsworth Land and Marie Byrd Land) occurs primarily in austral winter and spring, and remains unexplained. Here we use observations of Antarctic surface temperature and global sea surface temperature, and atmospheric circulation data to show that recent warming in continental West Antarctica is linked to sea surface temperature changes in the tropical Pacific. Over the past 30 years, anomalous sea surface temperatures in the central tropical Pacific have generated an atmospheric Rossby wave response that influences atmospheric circulation over the Amundsen Sea, causing increased advection of warm air to the Antarctic continent. General circulation model experiments show that the central tropical Pacific is a critical region for producing the observed high latitude response. We conclude that, by affecting the atmospheric circulation at high southern latitudes, increasing tropical sea surface temperatures may account for West Antarctic warming through most of the twentieth century.

industry to push our head in the sand...

AN ALLIANCE of some of the nation's biggest industry organisations is preparing to spend millions of dollars on a campaign to destroy the Gillard government's plans to put a price on carbon.

The group, which has called itself the Australian Trade and Industry Alliance, is prepared to spend at least $10 million on its campaign, which will mimic that which was run against the mining tax a year ago.

The alliance's strategy document, seen by the Herald, lists its key objective as to ''build public opposition to the carbon tax so that it is either substantially modified or fails to pass the Parliament''.

Read more:

It is sad to see usually smart people become rabid... May be they never were smart, just savvy at digging, making and selling things from their little corner without understanding the bigger picture...
"Industry" has to adapt to a world in which carbon usage will have to be heavily regulated. whether now or in two years, this is inescapable... Industry has been warned about it for more than 30 years and now comes crunchtime... Industry is still fiddle-faddling...
Industry, the extra carbon that we're unleashing into the atmosphere in the form of CO2 is modifying the behaviour of the said atmosphere... Another 20 years of carbon dioxide emissions at present level will delay our ability to minimise the consequences, by many more years... The only financial mechanisms we've got at present are limited by the construct of our capitalisation. Either, we impose a carbon tax, an ETS or enforce a painful shut down of trade of all products made using extra carbon. The least damaging to industry, and us in general, with more cushioning effect is the carbon tax. Industries, LISTEN UP! Just drink your medicine and get better at what you do by using less extra carbon... Be smart.

You might protect the planet from forces you seem not to understand...

a strong statistical relationship...

Climate researchers from Britain, the United States and other parts of the world have formed a new international alliance that aims to investigate exceptional weather events to see whether they can be attributable to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

They believe that it is no longer plausible merely to claim that extreme weather is “consistent” with climate change. Instead, they intend to assess each unusual event in terms of the probability that it has been exacerbated or even caused by the global temperature increase seen over the past century.

The move is likely to be highly controversial because the science of “climate attribution” is still in the early stages of development and so is likely to be pounced on by climate “sceptics” who question any link between industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and rises in global average temperatures.

In the past scientists have been extremely reluctant to link a single extreme weather event with climate change, arguing that the natural variability of the weather makes it virtually impossible to establish any definitive association other than a possible general consistency with what is expected from studies based on computer models.

However, a growing number of climate scientists are now prepared to adopt a far more aggressive posture, arguing that the climate has already changed enough for it to be affecting the probability of an extreme weather event, whether it is an intense hurricane, a major flood or a devasating drought.


Gus: I will be the first one to admit this is difficult to prove as a cause and effect proposition... a bit like proving that smoking gives lung cancer... But there is a strong statistical relationship between smoking and lung cancer occurence... And in the case of global warming, it is case of carrying on till the penny is found in the pudding... because observations tell us there is a penny in the pudding...

The correlation between carbon dioxide and warming is strong. The correlation between carbon dioxide and water vapor is strong. the correlation between all of these and more devastating extreme weather events is strong. The difficult part is to prove which part pushes which button in a somewhat flexible (in flux) system.

the cold, the warm and the hot...


The progressive shrinking of Arctic sea ice is bringing colder, snowier winters to the UK and other areas of Europe, North America and China, a study shows.

As global temperatures have risen, the area of Arctic Ocean covered by ice in summer and autumn has been falling.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a US/China-based team show this affects the jet stream and brings cold, snowy weather.

Whether conditions will get colder still as ice melts further is unclear.

There was a marked deterioration in ice cover between the summers of 2006 and 2007, which still holds the record for the lowest extent on record; and it has not recovered since.

The current winter is roughly tracking the graph of 2007, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

The new study is not the first to propose a causal relationship between low Arctic ice in autumn and Europe's winter weather.

But it has gone further than others in assessing the strength of the link.

Meanwhile in Central Park...:


Much to Savor, and Worry About, Amid Mild Winter’s Early Blooms



At the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, an experimental plot was in full flower on a recent February afternoon, as the thermometer edged toward 60.

The Japanese camellias, which typically bloom in early spring, have displayed their rose-hued flowers continuously since December. Honeybees, a rarity before late March, were nursing the tiny pink clusters on a Dawn viburnum, while the Adonis amurensis, a ground-hugging spring ephemeral, was a profusion of yellow.

“This is the earliest I’ve seen all of these things in flower,” said Todd Forrest, the garden’s vice president for horticulture and living collections. “The ground isn’t even frozen. That’s shocking.”

The horticulturalists in the Bronx call it the global-warming garden, and in a winter notable for its consistent mildness, it is hardly unusual. From the Shakespeare Garden in Central Park to the Chicago Botanic Garden, flowering bulbs and other plants are bursting out two to four weeks ahead of schedule. Snowdrops are up; daffodils, crocuses and hellebores are already in flower; trailing phlox has opened; and, farther afield, even magnolia trees are starting to bloom on the National Mall in Washington.

Complaining about balmy winter days and an early display of color might seem churlish, but the early run of warm weather is not without its downside.

For one thing, if there is a cold snap, plants and trees are vulnerable to damaged blossoms and, potentially, a falloff in seed production. With the ground still soft in many places and no snow cover, squirrels — already suffering from the acorn shortage last fall — have been digging up bulbs. Populations of insect pests, normally kept in check by freezing temperatures, are expected to grow this year.      


And Today in Sydneyland:

Sydney has just recorded its hottest day of the summer on the second last day of the season.

The city climbed above 33.4 degrees today, making it the hottest day of the summer, Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino writes.

It was only the second time this season that the city has experienced a day above 30 degrees.

Read more:


See toon at top..



800,000 years and counting...


Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are now higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years, while the last decade in Australia was the warmest on record, CSIRO scientists say.

The findings are released in the CSIRO's annual State of the Climate report, which has been released today.

The report says Australia's annual-average daily maximum temperatures have increased by 0.75 degrees Celsius since 1910.

Australian temperatures are forecast to rise by between 1C and 5C by 2070 "when compared with the climate of recent decades."

But CSIRO says 2010 and 2011 were the coolest years recorded since 2001, because of two consecutive La Nina events.

Dr Karl Breganza from the Bureau of Meteorology says that while 2010 and 2011 were slightly cooler due to high rainfall, temperatures are still increasing.

"Australia tends to be cooler during periods where you have intense rainfall. But despite that, the last decade was still the warmest decade that we've recorded in Australia," he said.



Warm weekend weather set to continue across the UK – but it comes at a priceLAST UPDATED AT 14:00 ON Mon 12 Mar 2012

HOSEPIPE bans affecting millions of people in London and the southeast of England appear inevitable as forecasters predicted another week of dry weather with little prospect of significant rain until after Easter.  
Temperatures soared across the UK over the weekend, with a high of 19C in the Midlands - well above the seasonal average of 9C, 
The Guardian reports.
With eight days to go until the 20 March equinox that marks the end of winter, Britain will continue to bask in above-average temperatures.


Read more:


The American chemistry professor who first discovered that the Earth's ozone layer was being dangerously depleted has died.

Sherwood Rowland, 84, known as 'Sherry', was one of three people awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work explaining how chlorofluorocarbons - or CFCs - could destroy the ozone layer.

The prize was given in 1995, two decades after he and a young researcher at the University of California Irvine realised that the chemicals in many industrial and consumer products were depleting the Earth's ozone.

The paper they published in the journal Nature in 1974 was met with scorn and derision, even among scientists.




flooding from tides...

 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.

“Sea level rise is like an invisible tsunami, building force while we do almost nothing,” said Benjamin H. Strauss, an author, with other scientists, of two new papers outlining the research. “We have a closing window of time to prevent the worst by preparing for higher seas.”

The project on sea level rise led by Dr. Strauss for the nonprofit organization Climate Central appears to be the most elaborate effort in decades to estimate the proportion of the national population at risk from the rising sea. The papers are scheduled for publication on Wednesday by the journal Environmental Research Letters. The work is based on the 2010 census and on improved estimates, compiled by federal agencies, of the land elevation near coastlines and of tidal levels throughout the country.

Climate Central, of Princeton, N.J., was started in 2008 with foundation money to conduct original climate research and also to inform the public about the work of other scientists. For the sea level project, financed entirely by foundations, the group is using the Internet to publish an extensive package of material that goes beyond the scientific papers, specifying risks by community. People can search by ZIP code to get some idea of their own exposure.

While some coastal governments have previously assessed their risk, most have not, and national-level analyses have also been rare. The new package of material may therefore give some communities and some citizens their first solid sense of the threat.       

monsoonal rains...


The weather bureau says monsoonal rains and squalls will linger in the Top End of the Northern Territory for the next two or three days and then another tropical low may develop in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

A tropical low is just north of Victoria River Downs and moving into the Roper McArthur District.

Senior forecaster Ashley Patterson says it has dumped torrential rain in several communities.

He says the bureau is monitoring another system in the Gulf of Carpentaria that may also develop into a tropical low in the next few days.

"We expect the monsoonal conditions to persist at least through to early next week," he said.

Mr Patterson says the squalls from the first low could last for several days and a severe weather warning has been issued.

"This squall line could get gusts for around of about 100 km/h," he said.


the earth is warming faster...


After suffering a harsh winter, the Balkans region in southeast Europe is facing one of its worst droughts in four decades.

As crops wilt and die, the cost looks set to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hot, dry weather in eastern and southern Europe has piled pressure on world grain markets already reeling from huge drought damage in the United States.

Al Jazeera's Peter Sharp reports.



Most of the ice being lost from Antarctica is going as a result of warm water eating the fringes of the continent, scientists say.

The researchers used a satellite laser to measure the thinning occurring on ice shelves - the floating tongues of ice that jut out from the land.

The team's analysis found the shelves' shrinkage could not be attributed simply to warmer air.

Rather, it is warm water getting under the floating ice to melt it from below.

This is leading to a weakening of the shelves, permitting more and more ice to drain from the continent's interior through tributary glaciers.

Previous studies have already indicated that warmer waters are being driven towards the continent by stronger westerly winds in the Southern Ocean.

The researchers say the new understanding has major implications for their ability to reliably project future sea-level rises as a result of Antarctic ice loss.




The recent Antarctic Peninsula temperature rise and associated ice loss is unusual but not unprecedented, according to research.

Analysis of a 364m-long ice core containing several millennia of climate history shows the region previously basked in temperatures slightly higher than today.

However, the peninsula is now warming rapidly, threatening previously stable areas of ice, the study warns.

The work is reported in Nature journal.


The Antarctic Peninsula, the rugged protrusion extending towards South America, is one of the most rapidly warming places on the planet.

Measurements taken since 1958 show that seasonal temperatures have increased by around 3C.

This has co-incided with a marked increase in glacial activity and the collapse of several ice shelves, including Prince Gustav and Larsen Aand B.

Ice shelves are floating extensions of the grounded ice covering the continent.

According to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), ice equivalent to 1,000 years of British domestic water consumption has been lost over the past half century.


See toon and read article at top...

And I nearly forgot to mention that yesterday (23/08/12) was the third warmest August day in Sydney ever recorded... and the warmest for the last 17 years with 29 degrees Celsius... But fear not, the storm, that this summer-like heat created, soon cooled things off down to about 16 degrees in a jiffy... and ONE MASSIVE bolt of lightning (that disrupted phones and computers), strong winds that fell a few trees, and pelting rain...





thin summer ice...


Scientists in the Arctic are warning that this summer's record-breaking melt is part of an accelerating trend with profound implications.

Norwegian researchers report that the sea ice is becoming significantly thinner and more vulnerable.

Last month, the annual thaw of the region's floating ice reached the lowest level since satellite monitoring began, more than 30 years ago.

It is thought the scale of the decline may even affect Europe's weather.

The melt is set to continue for at least another week - the peak is usually reached in mid-September - while temperatures here remain above freezing.


The Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) is at the forefront of Arctic research and its international director, Kim Holmen, told the BBC that the speed of the melting was faster than expected.

"It is a greater change than we could even imagine 20 years ago, even 10 years ago," Dr Holmen said.


thin ice arctic record...

Sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its smallest extent ever recorded, smashing the previous record minimum and prompting warnings of accelerated climate change.

Satellite images show that the rapid summer melt has reduced the area of frozen sea to less than 3.5 million square kilometres this week – less than half the area typically occupied four decades ago.

Arctic sea ice cover has been shrinking since the 1970s when it averaged around 8m sq km a year, but such a dramatic collapse in ice cover in one year is highly unusual.

A record low in 2007 of 4.17m sq km was broken on 27 August 2012; further melting has since amounted to more than 500,000 sq km.

The record, which is based on a five-day average, is expected to be officially declared in the next few days by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado. The NSIDC's data shows the sea ice extent is bumping along the bottom, with a new low of 3.421m sq km on Tuesday, which rose very slightly to 3.429m sq km on Wednesday and 3.45m sq km on Thursday.

ice cake...


The mystery of the expansion of sea ice around Antarctica, at the same time as global warming is melting swaths of Arctic sea ice, has been solved using data from US military satellites.

Two decades of measurements show that changing wind patterns around Antarctica have caused a small increase in sea ice, the result of cold winds off the continent blowing ice away from the coastline.

"Until now these changes in ice drift were only speculated upon using computer models," said Paul Holland at the British Antarctic Survey. "Our study of direct satellite observations shows the complexity of climate change.

"The Arctic is losing sea ice five times faster than the Antarctic is gaining it, so, on average, the Earth is losing sea ice very quickly. There is no inconsistency between our results and global warming."

The extent of sea ice is of global importance because the bright ice reflects sunlight far more than the ocean that melting uncovers, meaning temperature rises still further.

This summer saw a record low in Arctic sea ice since satellite measurements began 30 years ago. Holland said the changing pattern of sea ice at both poles would also affect global ocean circulation, with unknown effects. He noted that while Antarctic sea ice was growing, the Antarctic ice cap – the glacier and snow pack on the continent – was losing mass, with the fresh water flowing into the ocean.

Somewhere on this site, probably in this line of comments, I have mentioned old-fashioned non-self-defrosting fridges... What they do is accumulate more ice (caking), while producing less cold.... Eventually, they need to be defrosted... Meanwhile this information from the US military satellites is very much in line with global warming inducing "more" humidity in the atmosphere which will tend to also increase in Antarctica — the driest continent on earth (plemty of ice, little rainfall).

 See toon at top...


not struggling to explain it...

As many people know, the warming of the earth’s surface has slowed sharply over recent years. That slowdown did not match past computer projections of what the climate was supposed to do under the influence of greenhouse gases, and scientists have been struggling to explain it.


read more:


Scientifically, one has to understand how ice melts in a glass of whisky: It's as simple as this. (read article at top)

There has been a few mitigating factors in the last decade, but despite these and this "slowing down" of warming, Australia experienced its hottest year on record in 2013. 2014 could beat this, despite the present "cold wet miserable winter weather". Actually, this cold miserable wet winter is indication that things are warming up, usually in winter in Sydney it is clear crisp skies with cold nights.

The "High pressure systems" which normally sit in the centre of Australia in winter several days at a time are now nearly always passing about 700 kilometre south. Like eddies, these highs pressure systems collect the cold from further south than normal and move these cold wet air masses in regions such as Sydney, than in the past. This is global warming in action. The warming of the past couple of years has also "melted" some of the permafrost in Siberia, leading to release of methane.

The mitigating factors have also been varied, from the Icelandic volcano the name of which no one can pronounce which has added particles in the northern atmosphere, to the longer than usual La Nina to a quiet sun without sun spots. The report in the New York Times also mentions the particles from burning coal in China, as well we should not forget the burning of forest in Indonesia and the bush fires in Australia. All of these have added particles in the atmosphere. Presently there are wild fires in Canada and in California... All these thin particle cause dimming. They don't stop the warming, only mask its incoming effects and might delay a GREATER impact.

See toon at top.

See also:  antarctica conundrum...


And please do not forget — should we "feel" and observe warming from year to year with our "senses" (apart from scientifically measuring it) we would be cooked within five years.

severe frosts...


Widespread, severe frosts across South-East Australia are having an unprecedented effect on grain crops.

It's not uncommon to grain growers to get frosts during winter in the region, but the severity of the frosts and the subsequent damage have surprised many.


Senior researcher at the CSIRO's agriculture flagship, James Hunt, says it's hard to assess the damage of such an unusual event.

"Yeah, a lot of people are just checking crops now and finding things that don't seem quite right and trying to work out what it all means.

"We're looking to other regions like the Darling Downs in Queensland that get these events more regularly to work out what the implications might be."

Some Victorian lupin growers are worried that patches of their crops have been destroyed.

Mallee agronomist Andrew McMayne says it's too early tell definitively how much damage has been done, but it looks widespread.

"I'd say just due to the extreme temperatures we received at the start of last week, with four days being minus three, minus four, all in a row, I'd say most lupin crops have got some level of frost effect at the moment."

The frost damage has also been quite widespread throughout NSW this year.

Experts estimate between 20 to 30 per cent of the states cropping regions have been hit.

see article above this one... and toon at top...


See also: extreme temperature fluctuation due to global warming and impending el nino...


melting fast...


Deep in the Himalayas sits a remote research station that is tracking an alarming trend in climate change, with implications that could disrupt the lives of more than 1 billion people and pitch the most populated region of the world into chaos.

The station lies in the heart of a region called the Third Pole, an area that contains the largest area of frozen water outside of the North Pole and South Pole.

Despite its relative anonymity, the Third Pole is vitally important; it is the source of Asia's 10 largest rivers including the Yellow, the Yangzi, the Mekong, the Irrawaddy and the Ganges — and their fertile deltas.

Flows from the glaciers that give the pole its name support roughly 1.3 billion people in China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan — and the glaciers are melting fast.

Chinese authorities have opened up a remote research station on the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau and revealed alarming research on the pace of global warming.

Half a century of research shows the temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees in the area, more than double the global average. More than 500 glaciers have completely disappeared, and the biggest ones are retreating rapidly.


read more:


read from top...


loosing ice at a rate of billions...


As befits its mythical name, the domain of the Norse god of the dead, Helheim is truly an arbiter of Greenland's fate. The glacier is one of the ice sheet's primary drains, sliding into the sea at 8 kilometers per year and accounting for 4% of the ice sheet's annual mass loss. Its towering front, as tall as the Statue of Liberty, measures 6 kilometers across. Sea ice shed from the glacier chokes the fjord for tens of kilometers. The glacier's terminus has behaved erratically over the past 15 years, first retreating by 5 kilometers from 2002 to 2005 and then advancing and stabilizing for nearly 10 years. Then, in 2014, a more severe retreat began, sending the terminus 2 kilometers beyond its previous low. Meanwhile, the glacier has thinned by more than 100 meters, leaving a telltale “bathtub ring” high on the rock around the fjord.




Straneo's past work showed that warm Atlantic water is penetrating Sermilik Fjord, which researchers once thought was dominated by Arctic waters. Here, it meets cold meltwater draining through channels beneath the ice. Straneo believes the emerging freshwater, buoyant because of its low salinity, mixes with the warm water and forms a plume that wells up against the glacier's front, causing more melting and fracturing. It's like the ice in your glass of whiskey, she says. “If you just put it in and don't stir, it lasts a long time. If you stir it, it melts really quickly.”


Read more:

Science  11 Oct 2019:

Vol. 366, Issue 6462, pp. 170-175



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