As sea ice in the Arctic retreats further and melts faster every decade, scientists are racing to understand the vulnerabilities of one of the world’s most remote and unforgiving places. A study appearing July 29 in the journal Heliyon details the changes that occurred in the Arctic in September of 2018, a year when nearly 10 million kilometers of sea ice were lost over the course of the summer. Their findings give an overview at different timescales of how sea ice has receded over the 40 years of the satellite era and show how the summer’s extensive decline is linked to global atmospheric processes as far south as the tropics.
At the peak of its melting season, in July 2018, the Arctic was losing sea ice at a rate of 105,500 square kilometers per day–an area bigger than Iceland or the state of Kentucky. “On the ground, I am sure it would have looked like an excellent summer month in the Arctic, in general, but over the past four decades, September sea-ice loss has accelerated to a rate of 12.8% per decade and 82,300 square kilometers per year,” says co-author Avinash Kumar, a senior scientist at the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in India.
by P. Homewood, March 24, 2020 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat
Scientists have found a new point of major vulnerability in the Antarctic ice sheet, in a region that already appears to be changing as the climate warms and has the potential to raise sea levels by nearly five feet over the long term.
Denman glacier, in East Antarctica, is a 12-mile-wide stream of ice that flows over the deepest undersea canyon in the entire ice sheet before spilling out into the ocean. That subsea trough is more than 2 miles deep, or double the average depth of the Grand Canyon. While there are far deeper trenches in the open ocean, such as the Marianas Trench, in this case the extreme undersea topography lies right on the outer fringe of the Antarctic continent — making it the “deepest continental point on Earth.”
In reality the scientists who wrote this study do not have a clue whether the retreat of the Denman is anything new or not, or whether the deep ocean temperatures are any warmer than before 1979. Or whether what they are observing is just a natural process.
We can then go on to explore sea level implications.
They claim that since 1979, 250 billion tonnes of ice has been lost, equivalent to 0.5mm of sea level rise. In other words, 1.3mm/C, hardly cataclysmic.
They then go on to talk about a potential loss of 540 trillion tonnes, raising sea levels by 5 feet. Yet at current rates, it would take 86400 years for this to occur!
As always with these sort of studies, the authors refuse to say how long all this will take to happen.
By some measures, the ice melt is more extreme than during a benchmark record event in July 2012, according to scientists analyzing the latest data. During that event, about 98 percent of the ice sheet experienced some surface melting, speeding up the process of shedding ice into the ocean.
The fate of Greenland’s ice sheet is of critical importance to every coastal resident in the world, since Greenland is already the biggest contributor to modern-day sea level rise. The pace and extent of Greenland ice melt will help determine how high sea levels climb and how quickly….
The Danish Meteorological Institute tweeted that more than half the ice sheet experienced some degree of melting on Tuesday, according to a computer model simulation, which made it the “highest this year by some distance.”
And there is no mention of the fact that the ice sheet grew substantially last year, and also the year before:
The simple fact is that the Greenland ice sheet melts every summer, particularly when the sun shines. That’s what it does. And it grows back again in winter as the snow falls. Indeed, if it did not melt, it would carry on growing year after year.
Inevitably there are some days when the weather is warmer and sunnier than normal, and others when it is colder. To pick an odd day or two is ridiculous and dishonest scaremongering.