by Robert Wilkinson
It seems that scientists have found “currents of warm water beneath (Pine Island) glacier are melting the ice at a staggering rate of about 2.4 inches (6 centimeters) per day.”
Thanks to a LiveScience report from Denise Chow via NBC titled Warm water under Antarctic glacier spurs astonishing rate of melting we read that
An international team of researchers journeyed to the southernmost continent to study the Pine Island Glacier, which is the longest and fastest-changing glacier on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This region, in the far reaches of Antarctica, has been of particular interest to scientists because it is among the most rapidly melting ice masses in the world, thinning as it flows to the Amundsen Sea at a rate of about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) each year.
... "Intensive melting under the Pine Island ice shelf, as observed in our study, could potentially lead to the speed-up and ultimate break-up of the ice shelf," David Holland, a professor of mathematics at the Center for Atmosphere Ocean Science at New York University, said in a statement. "That's important, as this ice shelf is currently holding back inland ice, and without that restraining force, the Pine Island catchment basin could further contribute to global sea-level rise."
The Pine Island Glacier currently acts as a plug that holds back the immense West Antarctic Ice Sheet, whose melting ice contributes to rising sea levels. If the glacier's seaward flow speeds up, there could be global consequences.
Just one more development indicating we really need to be taking care of our carbon problem. The thing about Antarctica (related to my recent article, Antarctica After the Ice Has Melted and All Coastal Cities are Under 190 Feet of Water is that while there is more ice on the eastern side of the continent, the ice shelves that protect glaciers and inland ice are thinning rapidly on the west side of the continent.
As those shelves melt, they will allow more of the inland ice to melt due to exposure to warm currents, both under the ice as well as those in the ocean. That means the rise in ocean levels globally will accelerate as this process continues.
On a related note, here’s an article in Buzzflash titled International Scientists Warn Climate Deniers Are Enabling Earth’s Suicide where the editor states “The climate deniers also, of course, don't believe that pillaging natural resources for profit -- instead of seeking sustainable alternatives -- creates a toxic imbalance that creates deadly climate change. They don't believe it or simply are indulging in a billionaire's carpe diem, an orgy of excess that has no regard for future generations.”
What’s important (besides the points he makes about the unsustainability of our global socio-economic model) is that he gives us a link to a very thorough Rolling Stone article titled Global Warming Is Very Real – Scientists are fighting deniers with irrefutable proof the planet is headed for catastrophe.
This extensive hard-hitting article brings us news that scientists are banding together to push back against the assertions of those with their heads in the sand denying that our planet is heating up AND it will have catastrophic results down the line if we don’t begin to do something to reverse what we humans have done to upset Nature’s balance. From Buzzflash, quoting the RS article:
Simply put in the sub-title to the Rolling Stone piece: "Scientists are fighting deniers with irrefutable proof the planet is headed for catastrophe." At the forefront of the counterattack against the false assertions of the massive industry-based campaign to deny the self-destruction of our planet is a body called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report [to be released on September 27] offers slam-dunk evidence that burning fossil fuels is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warn that sea levels could rise by almost three feet by the end of the century if we don't change our ways. The report will underscore that the basic facts about climate change are more established than ever, and that the consequences of escalating carbon pollution are likely to mean that, as The New York Times recently argued, "babies being born now could live to see the early stages of a global calamity."
Please go check out the Rolling Stone article, since it’s very well researched and written. Plus there’s a bonus! You’ll find links in that article to other articles titled “The 10 Dumbest Things Ever Said About Global Warming,” “Global Warming’s Denier Elite,” “Fact Checking the Global Warming Deniers,” and more, so if you want the inside skinny when it comes to refuting those who deny that global warming is a fact, go on over.
Copyright © 2013 Robert Wilkinson