West Antarctic Ice Shelves Tearing Apart at the Seams

...the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea.

...their margins, where they grip onto rocky bay walls or slower ice masses, are fracturing and retreating inland. As that grip continues to loosen, these already-thinning ice shelves will be even less able to hold back grounded ice upstream,...

The shear margins that bound these ice shelves laterally are now heavily rifted, resembling a cracked mirror in satellite imagery until the detached icebergs finally drift out to the open sea. The calving front then retreats along these disintegrating margins. The pattern of marginal rifting and retreat is hypothesized to be a symptom, rather than a trigger, of the recent glacier acceleration in this region, but this pattern could generate additional acceleration. [emphasis mine]

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Yes! I was thinking the same thing Jonathan.

Sr. Senator from Oklahoma, Jim Inhofe, is the ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works said,  said,

"Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that 'as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.' My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous." 

Perhaps if Inhofe had a little less hubris and arrogance, he would see evidence that exists abundantly. 

The new report on the state of Polar Regions puts this one event into context.

Among the major findings is that global warming is changing the face of Antarctica and the Arctic faster than expected.

...we have a new benchmark. Seven of 12 Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves are either gone or now in severe decline," she adds. "This type of information makes the report all the more important because the changes we expect to see in the next few decades are going to be incredible."

New Report On the State of Polar Regions

"Two social advances to emerge from the recent IPY are a remarkable increase in the number of women and minorities in leadership roles in science compared to 50 years ago along with the "massive" educational effort and increased interest in and public awareness of issues facing polar regions, she adds."

This is not a gender or race issue, it is about a healthy planet with healthy inhabitants. 

Thanks for the link to the new report. You are on top of things Ruth!

NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) reveals that most Antarctic melting doesn't depend on warm air. The link has a nice computer animation showing currents and ice shelf thickness from space.

Warm Ocean Currents Cause Majority of Ice Loss from Antarctica

"We can lose an awful lot of ice to the sea without ever having summers warm enough to make the snow on top of the glaciers melt," said the study's lead author Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, United Kingdom. "The oceans can do all the work from below."

I just watched the video. They include a link to download it as well.

That's the catch. Most of the excess heat from Climate Change has been going into the ocean.

Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf Appears Doomed by 2100

In the researchers’ projected scenario, changing ocean currents push in warm waters that now circle Antarctica at a distance. By 2036 deep pulses of warm water reach up into shallow waters just offshore. By 2070 the heated currents completely displace the water that now fills the space between the ice shelf and the seafloor,... Melting would jump roughly 20-fold from today’s 82 billion metric tons per year to 1.6 trillion metric tons per year by the end of the 21st century — or sooner.

“We’re saying there’s a sensitivity to the oceans and to the climate that’s much greater than we previously realized.” If the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf were to start shrinking, things could go from bad to worse very quickly.




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