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Study Shows Rapid Warming on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet


Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, ecosystems, environment, globalwarming, government, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, humans, nature, oceans, politics, pollution, protection, Sustainabililty, science, trees, water, wildlife, weathe )

Kit
- 664 days ago - terradaily.com
This temperature increase is nearly double what previous research has suggested, and reveals-for the first time-warming trends during the summer months of the Southern Hemisphere (December through February),



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Kit B. (276)
Friday December 28, 2012, 9:05 am
Graphic Credit: Terra Daily)


n a discovery that raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, a new study finds that the western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought.

The temperature record from Byrd Station, a scientific outpost in the center of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), demonstrates a marked increase of 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius) in average annual temperature since 1958-that is, three times faster than the average temperature rise around the globe.

This temperature increase is nearly double what previous research has suggested, and reveals-for the first time-warming trends during the summer months of the Southern Hemisphere (December through February), said David Bromwich, professor of geography at Ohio State University and senior research scientist at the Byrd Polar Research Center.

The findings were published online this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.

"Our record suggests that continued summer warming in West Antarctica could upset the surface mass balance of the ice sheet, so that the region could make an even bigger contribution to sea level rise than it already does," said Bromwich.

"Even without generating significant mass loss directly, surface melting on the WAIS could contribute to sea level indirectly, by weakening the West Antarctic ice shelves that restrain the region's natural ice flow into the ocean."

Andrew Monaghan, study co-author and scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), said that these findings place West Antarctica among the fastest-warming regions on Earth.

"We've already seen enhanced surface melting contribute to the breakup of the Antarctic's Larsen B Ice Shelf, where glaciers at the edge discharged massive sections of ice into the ocean that contributed to sea level rise," Monaghan said.

"The stakes would be much higher if a similar event occurred to an ice shelf restraining one of the enormous WAIS glaciers."

Researchers consider the WAIS especially sensitive to climate change, explained Ohio State University doctoral student Julien Nicolas.

Since the base of the ice sheet rests below sea level, it is vulnerable to direct contact with warm ocean water. Its melting currently contributes 0.3 mm to sea level rise each year-second to Greenland, whose contribution to sea level rise has been estimated as high as 0.7 mm per year.

Due to its location some 700 miles from the South Pole and near the center of the WAIS, Byrd Station is an important indicator of climate change throughout the region.

In the past, researchers haven't been able to make much use of the Byrd Station measurements because the data was incomplete; nearly one third of the temperature observations were missing for the time period of the study.

Since its establishment in 1957, the station hasn't always been occupied. A year-round automated station was installed in 1980, but it has experienced frequent power outages, especially during the long polar night, when its solar panels can't recharge.

Bromwich and two of his graduate students, along with colleagues from NCAR and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, corrected the past Byrd temperature measurements and used corrected data from a computer atmospheric model and a numerical analysis method to fill in the missing observations.

Aside from offering a more complete picture of warming in West Antarctica, the study suggests that if this warming trend continues, melting will become more extensive in the region in the future, Bromwich said.

While the researchers work to fully understand the cause of the summer warming at Byrd Station, the next step is clear, he added.

"West Antarctica is one of the most rapidly changing regions on Earth, but it is also one of the least known," he said. "Our study underscores the need for a reliable network of meteorological observations throughout West Antarctica, so that we can know what is happening-and why-with more certainty."
********

by Staff Writers | Terra Daily
 

Dave C. (216)
Friday December 28, 2012, 12:25 pm
the future will be a very different world for those having to live with it....
 

Jaime A. (33)
Friday December 28, 2012, 9:42 pm
Noted, thanks.
 

Robert O. (12)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 12:57 am
Worrisome to say the least. Thanks Kit.
 

Bruno Moreira (61)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 1:38 am
so scary!
 

Ro H. (0)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 7:22 am
scary
 

Diane O. (159)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 7:23 am
Kit, one quadrant of the South Pole and not the others???? Ridiculous. Think about it, Kit. The data is suspect.
 

Patricia H. (468)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 12:12 pm
noted
 

Kye J. (41)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 1:01 pm
These morons who disbelieve climate change need to gain an education.
Climate change/global warming is a reality
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 1:06 pm

For that part of the tiny bastion of climate change deniers or the low information commenter I will re post a part of the article that specifically addresses the silly statement.

From The Article:

While the researchers work to fully understand the cause of the summer warming at Byrd Station, the next step is clear, he added.

"West Antarctica is one of the most rapidly changing regions on Earth, but it is also one of the least known," he said. "Our study underscores the need for a reliable network of meteorological observations throughout West Antarctica, so that we can know what is happening-and why-with more certainty."

Indeed Diane - think about it - then do attempt to draw (if possible) logical conclusions.
 

tiffany t. (148)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 2:19 pm
surprise surprise we have known for long time, the nole pole has been moving about 40 miles a year, instead of the 9 miles a year in the 70's
 

Diane O. (159)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 2:21 pm
No need for me to read it again, Kit, because I read it the first time. It is called a "study" for a reason. People conduct studies all the time on various topics and situations. Climates don't stay the same. They have been changing for centuries. They are cyclical. I'm from a city in Virginia that use to get record snowfalls in the winter and then poof.....they went away....and we started having warmer winters and then poof.....back came the snowstorms. Same with the summers. We lived through summer months where the temps were as high as 100 degrees. The next year we had mild temperatures all summer long. Can you give me a study done on cyclical weather patterns? Or don't you believe that this very thing can happen in the Antarctic or have you ruled it out because it is too logical?

 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 2:34 pm

I don't to cause an information over load, but here a few of the hundreds of scientific research studies done on the cause and effect of cyclical weather patterns.

http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.html

http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=115207

http://www2.ucar.edu/news/backgrounders/weather-maker-glossary
 

tiffany t. (148)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 2:55 pm
sorry north pole
 

Natasha Salgado (542)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 3:33 pm
This ice shett willexist no more very soon...waiting onthe geedy poachers to open up shop here...what a sad state of affairs...true reality.
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 3:43 pm

Things are showing some signs of imminent problems in the southern polar regions, the worst is still in the north arctic area, where like Greenland and Iceland there is major loss of glaciated regions. Loss of ice and snow means more absorption of solar heat. As this article makes clear this about one region of the Antarctic, that is showing signs of hot spots. We do know about other areas of the Antarctic that have already lost huge amounts of glaciers.
 

Ann Breeden (65)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 3:55 pm
Thanks for the update. I definitely think this is worrisome.
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 5:36 pm
Thanks again Kit.
 

Tammy Taylor (12)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 6:40 pm
It's all very scary...
 

Christeen Anderson (515)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 8:00 pm
Thanks for sharing this with us.
 

Debbie Williamson (270)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 8:10 pm
thanks
 

Ro H. (0)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 6:55 am
noted
 

Mónica AYUGA (109)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 8:05 am
A ver, si todos los ciudadanos del mundo que están preocupados por el planeta y los seres vivos que habitan en él nos juntamos para presionar a los Gobiernos, no creéis que millones de personas tendrían más poder que todos los Gobiernos juntos??
 

James Maynard (68)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 11:37 am
Troubling news.
 

Lois Jordan (56)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 3:39 pm
Noted with thanks for posting, Kit. These science non-believers will be screaming rightwingnut protests even when they're hip-deep in water due to flooding that we have never seen the likes of before. Talk about drowning them out....
 

Melania Padilla (179)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 4:46 pm
Thanks
 

Ro H. (0)
Friday January 4, 2013, 7:39 am
ty
 

Barbara Erdman (63)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 6:31 am
Noted Thnx Kit :-0 Tnx
 

Marina M. (143)
Sunday September 1, 2013, 3:11 pm
Noted. Thank you
 
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