Category Archives: Sea Level Rise

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Antarctica’s ice walls are no match for The Wall in ‘Game of Thrones’

Until a fire-spewing dragon breached The Wall in Game of Thrones, the 700-foot tall ice fortification kept murderous armies of resurrected dead from entering the Seven Kingdoms. 

Unfortunately, ice walls on Earth aren’t this robust.

Glaciologist Martin Truffer of the University of Alaska Fairbanks recently revealed this reality at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Earth’s Antarctic ice walls are far more vulnerable to collapse, and as new, unsettling research suggests, scientists may have underestimated the momentous impact this could have on sea level rise this century.  Read more…

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Seas may rise by 8 feet this century inundating land that’s home to 153 million people

The amount of sea level rise that most of us will experience in our lifetimes may be more than double what was previously anticipated, unless we sharply curtail greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study that factors in emerging, unsettling research on the tenuous stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. 

Importantly, the study highlights that cuts we could still make to greenhouse gas emissions during the next several years would significantly reduce the possibility of a sea level rise calamity after 2050.

Published Wednesday in the open access journal Earth’s Future, the study is the first to pair recently discovered mechanisms that would lead to the sudden collapse of parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, such as the disintegration of floating ice shelves and mechanical failure of tall ice cliffs facing the sea. The study also goes a step further by showing how the new projections could play out city by city around the world. Read more…

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NASA took the 1st, astonishing aerial photos of the giant new Antarctic iceberg

Each Antarctic spring and summer, NASA flies special aircraft over the continent to keep tabs on how global warming is altering the landscape. The agency does the same in the Arctic each summer, for a project known as Operation IceBridge. 

Just a few days ago, a NASA P-3 Orion aircraft flew from Ushuaia, Argentina, out over the Larsen C Ice Shelf, including the new, Delaware-sized iceberg that the shelf gave birth to sometime between July 10 and July 12 of this year. The iceberg, named A-68, was one of the largest ever observed on Earth, and though it has shed some small sections since then, it remains a behemoth.  Read more…

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With Hurricane Irma, Miami could be facing its nightmare storm scenario

It’s never good when an Atlantic hurricane is compared to Super Typhoon Haiyan, which wiped out the city of Tacloban in the Philippines in 2013 as one of the most intense tropical cyclones ever observed on the planet. Yet we find ourselves in the position to make that comparison with Hurricane Irma.

The monster storm in the Atlantic just broke the record for the longest-lived storm with winds of 185 miles per hour or greater, beating out Super Typhoon Haiyan for the title. Such records date back to the dawn of the satellite era in 1966.

The record-shattering storm is churning toward the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands on Thursday, where it threatens to bring a devastating 15 to 20-foot storm surge above normal tide levels. Irma — which is a Category 5 storm as of Thursday afternoon — has its sights set on the extremely vulnerable Southeast U.S., however, with the destruction it has wrought in the northern Lesser Antilles and Caribbean serving as an example of what it is capable of.  Read more…

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The other terrible thing Donald Trump did yesterday, you know, besides the neo-Nazi stuff

There’s an important rule to live by in covering the Trump administration, which tends to set off multiple dumpster fires every day: Pay attention to what the president and his team do, not just what they say. 

On Tuesday, the President Donald Trump hosted a now historic press conference in which he aligned himself with racist and extremist elements on the far right, including hate groups, white supremacists, and neo-Nazi organizations.

His words were of enormous importance for understanding this presidency and its place in history. 

But there was something else that Trump did yesterday that may also have far-reaching consequences. Read more…

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Scientists discover 91 volcanoes slumbering beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

In a discovery that sounds like the premise for an environmental disaster movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, researchers say they’ve identified 91 previously unknown volcanoes sitting underneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. 

Yes, that’s the same ice sheet that climate scientists are concerned has slid into an irreversible collapse, due to human-caused global warming.

If verified through other studies, the new results would bring the total number of volcanoes beneath this part of Antarctica to nearly 140, and raise the unsettling possibility that subglacial heat from these volcanoes could speed up the melting of the ice.   Read more…

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Sea level rise is accelerating, with Greenland in leading role


Global sea level rise is accelerating as the Greenland Ice Sheet sheds more of its ice, scientists have found. 

Given this quickening pace, it’s possible that by the end of this century, sea level rise could threaten coastal communities around the world, from Miami to Mumbai. 

A new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, is one of a few recent works to confirm an acceleration in sea level rise during the past few decades. There had been greater uncertainty about this before, with climate deniers latching onto that and arguing that such an acceleration has not, in fact, been occurring. Read more…

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Trump to mayor of sinking island: Don’t worry about sea level rise


Sea level rise caused by global warming is threatening the existence of the tiny community of Tangier Island, Virginia, located in Chesapeake Bay. 

Yet a CNN report on the town’s plight appears to have prompted President Donald Trump to call the town’s mayor to assure him that his town will not succumb to rising seas by the middle of this century, despite what scientists predict. 

Instead, Trump told mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge in a phone call on Monday that residents of Tangier Island have nothing to fear when it comes to rising sea levels. 

SEE ALSO: Apple is investing $1 billion in clean energy with this unique approach Read more…

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Glacier National Park used to have 150 glaciers. There are only 26 left


You might want to move up any plans to visit Glacier National Park in Montana. 

New data shows that the park’s namesake rivers of ice are rapidly disappearing due to global warming. 

SEE ALSO: Sea level rise could send U.S. ‘climate migrants’ fleeing to Austin, Atlanta

The warming climate has slashed the size of 39 Montana glaciers since 1966, according to data released by Portland State University and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on May 10. Only 26 glaciers in the park are large enough to still have flowing ice.

The new data includes boundary information for 37 named glaciers within the boundaries of the national park, and two glaciers on U.S. Forest Service land.  Read more…

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Uh oh: The rift that’s about to cleave off a massive Antarctic iceberg has a sibling


Scientists keeping close watch on the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica have noticed something new: The rift, which has been opening across the shelf for some time, now has a sibling. 

Using a highly-sensitive European Space Agency satellite known as Sentinel-1, scientists have been tracking the progress of a lengthening and widening crack across the floating Larsen C Ice Shelf. Once this crack reaches a certain point — exactly when is unclear — it could break off one of the largest icebergs on record. 

SEE ALSO: A lengthening crack is threatening to cause an Antarctic ice shelf to collapse

Recently, though, the main fissure has not progressed further across the ice shelf, since it’s hung up in an area of softer ice known as a “suture zone,” slowing its forward speed.  Read more…

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