Antarctica and Greenland Raised Sea Levels More Than Half an Inch in Just 16 Years, New NASA Data Shows
Greenland and Antarctica have raised global sea levels by more than half an inch in the last 16 years, according to data from the most advanced laser that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has ever launched into space to observe the earth.
Antarctica before and after its hottest day on record Feb. 6. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC.
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By Richard Connor
Scientists have recorded Antarctica's first documented heat wave, warning that animal and plant life on the isolated continent could be drastically affected by climate change.
Global Impact on Climate<p>The authors of the study said the local effects of climate change could have a global impact.</p><p>"Antarctica may be isolated from the rest of the continents by the Southern Ocean, but it has worldwide impacts," they said.</p><p>"It drives the global ocean conveyor belt, a constant system of deep-ocean circulation which transfers oceanic heat around the planet, and its melting ice sheet adds to global sea-level rise."</p><p>Co-author Dana Bergstrom said the hot summer could affect local populations positively at first, but could also lead to drought and heat stress on species adapted for the cold.</p>
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Antarctica's Denman Canyon is the deepest gorge on the Earth's surface, and, if the ice inside it melted, it could raise sea levels by almost five feet.
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The Antarctic region just recorded a temperature higher than 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time.
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The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than ever recorded in modern history. New research finds that the world's second-largest ice deposit is not just melting from the surface but from below as well, which adds a new twist to consider when predicting global sea level rise.
Scientists have discovered record warm water beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, leading to concerns for the glacier whose collapse could contribute nearly a meter (approximately 3 feet) to global sea level rise.
Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as "de-nihilism." One manifestation: An increasing number of people appear to have grown doubtful about the possibility of staving-off climate disaster. However, a new interactive tool from a climate think tank and MIT Sloan shows that humanity could still meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming.
Carbon Taxes Seen as the Most Effective Tool<p>According to Climate Interactive's climate and energy lead, Ellie Johnston, "Behind En-ROADS is a system dynamics model that weaves the interdependencies and feedbacks of our global climate system with the actions that we need to take globally to address climate change."</p><p>The simulation begins with a default business-as-usual scenario leading to 4.1 degrees Celsius (7.3 degrees Fahrenheit) global warming above pre-industrial temperatures by the year 2100. This outcome is essentially a worst-case scenario, assuming that current worldwide climate policies and pledges (which would limit warming to <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/global/temperatures/" target="_blank">approximately 3 degrees C</a>, or 5.4 degrees F) are not successfully implemented. For context, the international Paris agreement set a target of no more than 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) global warming, whereas 3 to 4 degrees C warming would likely result in disastrous <a href="https://skepticalscience.com/climate-best-to-worst-case-scenarios.html" target="_blank">climate change consequences</a>.</p>
Complementary Policies Are Needed<p>Similarly, the En-ROADS model also shows that a carbon tax alone would dramatically reduce the share of energy generated by coal, leading to continued high emissions as a result of more oil and gas production.</p><p>Oil consumption can be reduced in the En-ROADS model by strengthening vehicle fuel efficiency and electrification policies. In the real world, this approach translates to policies like <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_average_fuel_economy" target="_blank">vehicle fuel economy standards</a>, which can mandate increased efficiency and thus accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Projects to improve and electrify public transportation systems can also reduce demand for oil. Natural gas consumption can similarly be reduced by expanding energy efficiency and electrification of buildings and industrial activities. Together, the En-ROADS model suggests that these steps could curb global warming by one-half a degree Celsius.</p>
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200 Years of Exploring Antarctica — the World’s Coldest, Most Forbidding and Most Peaceful Continent
By Dan Morgan
Antarctica is the remotest part of the world, but it is a hub of scientific discovery, international diplomacy and environmental change. It was officially discovered 200 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1820, when members of a Russian expedition sighted land in what is now known as the Fimbul Ice Shelf on the continent's east side.
Antarctica is mostly covered by ice sheets on land and fringed by floating ice shelves. NOAA
Flags of the 12 original Antarctic Treaty member countries at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. U.S. Antarctic Program / Rob Jones
By Jason Bittel
High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.
From left: meltwater lednian stonefly (Lednia tumana); a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey looks for aquatic insects in an alpine stream at Glacier National Park.
Clockwise from top: a meltwater stonefly at Glacier National Park; close-up of two meltwater lednian stoneflies; close-up of western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier)
Glacier NPS / Flickr. Western glacier stonefly: Joe Giersch / USGS
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Signs added to Glacier National Park more than a decade ago predicting that the glaciers would be gone by 2020 are being taken down and replaced, as CNN reported.