Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s dwindling nuclear lobby pushes on, blind to the economic realities

Nuclear Power Is In Crisis As Cost Overruns Cripple Industry Giants, New Matilda.,  By  on February 26, 2017 “……….Shellenberger recently noted that: “Radical breaks from past designs sometimes work in industries that require little up-front capital, like Internet companies. It’s now clear that they are deadly when it comes to nuclear.”

nuke-spruikersSmThose comments refer to APR1000 and EPR reactors, which are just modified versions of long-established, conventional reactor technology. The likelihood of genuinely radical Generation IV concepts coming to the rescue is minuscule in circumstances where the inability to build a handful of conventional reactors on-time and on-budget has brought industry giants ‒ with decades of experience and tens of thousands of employees ‒ to their knees.

Yet Australia’s dwindling but determined group of nuclear lobbyists continue to press the case for Australia to take the lead developing Generation IV reactor types. So Australia ‒ a country with virtually no relevant expertise and even less experience ‒ should take the lead developing Generation IV reactors despite the fact that four global giants face crippling debts due to cost overruns building a handful of conventional reactors?

That proposition is beyond stupid and it was completely rejected by the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission last year.

The Royal Commission said: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven design. Development to that point would require substantial capital investment. Moreover, electricity generated from such reactors has not been demonstrated to be cost competitive with current light water reactor designs.”

On conventional nuclear power, the Royal Commission concluded that “on the present estimate of costs and under current market arrangements, nuclear power would not be commercially viable to supply baseload electricity to the South Australian subregion of the NEM from 2030 (being the earliest date for its possible introduction)”.

The dwindling nuclear lobby will continue with their beyond-stupid promotion of Generation IV reactors, and they’ll continue peddling misinformation about renewables, but there’s no longer any reason why the rest of us should pay any attention.

February 27, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Fairfax press tones down its “radioactive cow ‘” story, (caves in to Victorian government)

cow-radioactiveRadioactive cow site no cause for alarm, says state government,  The Age Carolyn Webb, Mark Hawthorne , 27  Feb 17 

Revelations of radioactive cow carcasses buried beneath land slated for a $20 billion education precinct in Melbourne’s west should be no cause for alarm, the state government says.

Fairfax Media revealed on Sunday 60 carcasses were buried at a Werribee site the government was trying to sell to a Chinese consortium.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media estimated the cost of cleaning up the radioactive waste could reach $300 million.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio did not deny the 775-hectare site was contaminated by toxic waste. But she said a more recent report to be released publicly shortly indicated there had been no flow-on contamination.

“I can assure everyone that with the more recent report into the extent of the contamination of that land … indicates that there is no cause for concern in terms of contamination to ground water in the effects beyond the actual area of the land itself.”

A consortium called Investors Direct is the last remaining bidder on the site, which includes parts of the old State Research Farm, laboratories and veterinary schools, where for decades there was scientific testing on animals.   Investors Direct, with former premier John Brumby an adviser, plans to build an Australian Education City, home to 80,000 residents  and 50,000 students on land adjoining the planned new youth detention centre.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media estimated the cost of cleaning up the radioactive waste could reach $300 million, with a further $770 million required to removed thousands more cow carcasses considered a biological hazard…….

February 27, 2017 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

Radioactive cows buried in Werribee, Victoria

According to the environmental report, in a worst-case scenario, “some radioactive isotopes may have entered surface water or groundwater”, in which case up to 130,000 cubic metres of contaminated soil would have to be excavated, and disposed of off-site.

That is the equivalent of 8125 standard dump truck loads of radioactive material travelling through Melbourne’s western suburbs, and would add $770 million to the clean-up bill, taking the total cost to $1.07 billion.

The report notes that the burial pits are “unsuitable to remain within the developed site beneath structures or anywhere within sites used for sensitive uses”. One of areas used to bury animal carcasses is now the site of a student residence.

cow-radioactiveA sewage farm. A youth detention centre. Now meet Werribee’s radioactive cows Mark Hawthorne, Senior Editor 

Sixty radioactive cow carcasses are buried beneath land in Werribee that the Andrews government is trying to sell to a Chinese consortium keen to build a $20-billion education precinct in Melbourne’s west.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media estimate the cost of cleaning up the radioactive waste could reach $300 million, with a further $770 million required to remove thousands more cow carcasses that are considered a biological hazard. Even conservative estimates put the cost of the clean up at $35 million.

Investors Direct is the exclusive bidder on the 775-hectare site, which includes parts of the old State Research Farm, laboratories and veterinary schools, where scientific testing on animals was conducted for decades.

The consortium, which has former Victorian premier John Brumby as an adviser, plans to build Australian Education City – a precinct that will be home to 80,000 residents and 50,000 students – on land that adjoins the site of the planned new Youth Detention Centre.

Fairfax Media can reveal the Victorian state government and VicUrban were told that radioactive cow carcasses were buried on four hectares of land in Werribee in early 2009, when Mr Brumby was premier. Another burial pit, which contains the remains of non-radioactive cows, is located on the site of the planned detention centre.

Coffey Environment completed a phase 1 environmental assessment report on the Werribee site in March 2009. The report found that “animals that have been subjected to testing with radioactive tracer dyes” were buried at the site. The report lists the cow carcasses as a “possible biological and radiological hazard” and says the contamination could impact both soil and groundwater.

The report states that “the tracer dye used was predominantly tritium” which “has a half-life of approximately 12 years”. Continue reading

February 27, 2017 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

Historic discussions in South Australia towards a Treaty with Aboriginal Nations

text TreatyTreaty: South Australian Government enters historic discussions with Aboriginal nations, The World Today By Caroline Winter 15 Dec 2016 South Australia is making history, with the State Government entering treaty discussions with Aboriginal nations to help address past injustices.

The Government has set aside $4.4 million over five years to support the treaty process and the appointment of an independent commissioner for treaty. At this stage it is unclear what the treaties will cover or whether compensation will be included, but South Australian Indigenous leaders said the process would set a positive course for the future.

Major Sumner, a Ngarrindjeri man at the Murray mouth, said the word treaty alone has important meaning.  “Even just with a mention of treaty, that opens up a different world for us to talk and put things in place, do all sorts of negotiations around how we structure our lives,” he said.

Mr Sumner joined other Aboriginal elders at the start of historic negotiations between the State Government and Indigenous communities.  The chairman of Narungga nations on the Yorke Peninsula, Tauto Sansbury, wants an open, transparent process about everything that has affected Aboriginal people.  “I think it’s going to mean the satisfaction of acknowledging that Australia was basically invaded,” he said.

“And that the process of sitting down and negotiating a final outcome for us — because we’ve been totally dispossessed of everything — and coming up with a good solution that could move our community, children and families forward.”

The South Australia Government said negotiations would be open-ended, but what form any treaty would take or whether compensation would be included, is not yet clear.

The State’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Kyam Maher, said it was hoped a treaty would be signed off on by the end of next year. Continue reading

February 27, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear experimentation brings fascism

Is Nuclear Experimentation Fascism? Wake Up World, 22nd January 2014 By Ethan Indigo Smith  Contributing Writer for Wake Up World   Definition of Fascism: “Any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship and forcible suppression of opposition.” ~  New Collegiate Dictionary based on Webster’s New International Dictionary second edition, copyright 1956.

fascism-1….The United States was formerly one of the few anti-institutional, anti-oligarchical nations in the world, but we have succumbed to the oligarchical corporaculture that has been pushed for the last couple of hundred years, whether fused by labels like the divine rite of kings or by corporate personhood. The United States used to push for individual rights, but now we yield to violent fascism just like the rest of the intolerant world. Hell, we were once so anti-fascist and anti-oligarchy that  it used to be illegal to do business in more than one American state, now the police and political system seems to only serve and protect business interests. But at what cost?

Imagine if this culture of anti-fascism were still the case, perhaps none of us would ever question our water supply, hijacked for a nuke plant or polluted by a petroleum conglomerate.

Learning from History

Recent events at Fukushima have highlighted the uncontainable dangers of nuclear experimentation. If one examines trends, there are bound to be more accidents, spills and ‘unprecedented events’ within the nuclear industry.

The first nuclear power generation experiment began at Oak Ridge in 1948, and first massive one began in the Soviet city of Obninsk in 1954. In the 65 years that followed, there have been  numerous known meltdowns  at nuclear facilities around the world,  as well as environmental, human and political destruction at other sites that did not (by luck only) experience full meltdown.

Hanford, USA, 1943 – 1987……. Bikini Atoll, Northern Pacific Ocean, 1946……Windscale Fire, UK, 1957……. Santa Susana, USA, 1959…. Three Mile Island, USA, 1979……. Chernobyl, Ukraine, 1986…….Rocky Flats Plant, USA 1987…… Fukushima Daiichi, Japan 2011….

Who is next?

The list goes on. And while this is a short summary of some of the nuclear industry’s worst failings – both environmental and political – what it does not take into account that there are now over four hundred nuclear power generation experiments in operation worldwide, and more being built, each one representing another potential disaster. Now factor in the endless radioactive pollution and dumped material (buried and sunken near you) involved in the process even when things go ‘right’ (by nuclear industry standards) and you get a clearer view of the impact of nuclear experimentation.

Under the terms of current policy, the US Federal Government simply incurs the financial costs and burden of dealing with nuclear ‘events’…. and by the ‘Federal Government’ I mean the U.S. taxpayer.

Regimentation of IndustryToday, the United States of America is fascist. So is China, Japan, Russia, France, England, Japan and every single nuclear nation. Australia is de facto fascist, being a major extractor of uranium for the nuclear fuel chain. The United States of America is fascist by way of one single act:  The Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act. There are many more acts and laws that strengthen nuclear fascism in the United States, but The Price Anderson Act seals the deal. Its main purpose is to indemnify  the nuclear industry against liability claims arising from  nuclear incidents.  And other countries have their own nuclear deals which also guarantee that those who profit from the nuclear industry are not held accountable for their work.

text-Price-Anderson-ActThe Price Anderson Act illustrates the U.S.A.’s fascist trail, and that nuclear experiment cleared the way for it in the first place. The Act makes it so that nuclear power generation experiments can operate at all, otherwise no insurance corporation would insure them.  The insurance companies that deal with nuclear experimentation only do so because the Act limits their responsibility in the event of an accident, such as the  Fukushima meltdown. If there is an accident that costs more than the capped amount, insurance companies pay out up to and including their cap, and communities and governments foot the bill for the remaining clean up costs. Put simply…. they profit, you pay.  Not to mention the non-financial costs of human and planetary health.

The Price Anderson Act endorses fascism in the United States, and in the bigger picture, nuclear experimentation guarantees fascism no matter what nation is doing the experimenting – whether Israel, China, Iran or the U.S. or Japan.  The nuclear power industry could not survive without placing all the risk on the shoulders of taxpayers. And by doing so, the Price Anderson Act enables nuclear oligarchical fascists to make a fortune by endangering everyone and everything on the planet.

Even if nuclear facilities operated to their original design specifications rather than running components on extended operation (by years) and  over-crammed fuel pools, as is the case today, the industry is still unworkable. But today,  most if not all nuclear power generation experiments in the U.S.A. have fuel pools loaded with waste material beyond original design specifications, but the nuclear industry and its regulators seem content continuing down this path — and waiting for our grandchildren to figure out what to do with the mess they leave behind.

Censorship and Suppression of Opposition

censorshipFurther fascism is evident through nuclear experimentation in the sense that it is a militaristic invention, put to use by engineering corporations that are linked with government entities, which also own news and information corporations. The GE/NBC corporation is the starkest, but not the only, example of this in the U.S.A. Being both the subject and reporter of news on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the GE/NBC corporation has placed itself in a clear conflict of interest. As the subsidiary of the failed nuclear reactor’s parent company, can you trust NBC News not to ‘spin’ glossy tales or omit details relating to the situation at Fukushima? Particularly details that might implicate GE in the chain of failings that caused the meltdown?

But news corporations are not the only parties able to censor or suppress information; government institutions have also closed ranks following the Fukushima disaster. As a prime example, the United States EPA (the supposed Environmental Protection Agency) went as far as disabling public access to radiation monitors in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown.  Do they really believe what we can’t see won’t hurt us? Or is the EPA, as part of the US government, trying to avoid adverse political fallout?

Furthermore, the  Fukushima disaster  has led to a practical elimination of free speech and free reporting of information from within Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Designated Secrets Bill  was arguably written for and because of the Fukushima disaster after authorities failed to manage the radioactive leaks and news spread around the globe. Since it could not contain the nuclear contamination, the Japanese government instead decided to contain information about it, creating laws that enable punishment of individuals for leaking or reporting information about their disastrous failure. Despite drawing criticism and protest at home and around the world, the Japanese parliament has since passed the law under which people convicted of leaking classified information will face 5 to 10 years in prison.

Clearly nuclear experimentation does not co-exist alongside freedom of speech or transparent access to information. It can only exist in a fascist state, which suppresses information and opposition.

Severely Nationalistic Policies  Continue reading

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ghillar Michael Anderson interviewed on CAAMA Radio News

Anderson,MichaelProposed changes to Native Title Act “one of the vilest racist acts we’ve seen” – Ghillar Michael Anderson February 2017:

“A Bill before Parliament to amend the Native title Act in relation to Indigenous Land Use agreements has been described by a veteran Aboriginal rights campaigner as
“one of the vilest racist acts we’ve seen”.

Ghillar Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union says
the proposed amendments are a complete violation of the First Nations laws and customs
because each clan makes its own decisions about its own land and what happens on and within those territories.

February 27, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Imminent collapse of the global nuclear indusrty

Four global nuclear industry giants ‒ French utilities Électricité de France (EDF) and Areva, US-based Westinghouse and Japanese conglomerate Toshiba ‒ face crippling debts and possible bankruptcy because of their investments in nuclear power.

The French government is selling assets so it can prop up its heavily indebted nuclear utilities. EDF plans to sell $13.8 billion of assets to rein in its $51.8 billion debt, and to sack up to 7,000 staff. Areva has accumulated losses of over $14 billion over the past five years.

French EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are three times over budget ‒ the combined cost overruns for the two reactors amount to about $17.5 billion. Bloomberg noted in April 2015 that Areva’s EPR export ambitions are “in tatters“, and now Areva itself is in tatters.

A government-led rescue of the nuclear power industry may cost the French state as much as $14 billion, Reuters reported in January, and in addition to its “dire financial state, Areva is beset by technical, regulatory and legal problems”.

Meanwhile, Japanese industrial giant Toshiba would like to sell indebted, US-based nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse, but there are no buyers so Toshiba must instead sell profitable assets to cover its nuclear debts and avoid bankruptcy.

One site where these problems come together is Moorside in Cumbria, UK. A Toshiba/Engie consortium was planning to build three AP1000 reactors, but Toshiba wants to sell its stake in the consortium in the wake of Westinghouse’s massive losses from AP1000 construction projects in the US.

Engie reportedly wants to sell its stake in the Moorside consortium, and the French government has already sold part of its stake in Engie… to help prop up EDF and Areva!

Deck-chairs are being shuffled. Cumbrians will be glad to see the back of corruption-plagued Toshiba ‒ but corruption-plagued South Korean utility KEPCO might take its place.

Another site where these problems come together is Hinkley Point in the UK, where EDF has a contract to build two EPR reactors at an estimated cost (including finance) of $40 billion ($20 billion for each reactor). Industry literature is replete with references to ‘learning-by-doing’, but all EDF and Areva have learnt over the past decade is how to fuck things up ‒ in which case Hinkley Point could be the fuck-up that kills nuclear power in the UK.

The French nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever“, former EDF director Gérard Magnin said last November. He said: “A lot of people in EDF have known for a long time the EPR has no future – too sophisticated, too expensive – but they assume their commitments and try to save the face of France… Renewable energies are becoming competitive with fossil fuels and new nuclear, such as Hinkley Point, where EDF will try to build the most expensive reactors in the world and provide electricity at an unprecedented cost.”

EDF Vice President Mark Boillot may be preparing to jump ship ‒ he recently wrote an article saying that the centralised model of power production is dying, to be replaced by local renewables supplemented by batteries and intelligent management of supply and demand.

The Carbon Commentary Newsletter saidIn most jurisdictions Mr Boillot would have been asked to clear his desk. What will EDF do about one of its most senior people openly forecasting the end of the large power station as it tries to raise the ten billion euros necessary to pay for its share of Hinkley?” ……

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Europe’s problem of radioactive boars

text cesiumWild boars roam Czech forests – and some of them are radioactive Reporting by Robert Muller and Jiri Skacel, editing by Larry King Feb 22, 2017 The Czech Republic has an unusual problem this winter with its wild boar meat, a local delicacy. The boars are radioactive.

Actually, it’s not the boars themselves, but what they’re eating. A cold and snowy winter is forcing them to feed on false truffles, an underground mushroom common in the Sumava mountain region shared by Czechs, Austrians, Germans – and wild boars.

The mushrooms can absorb high levels of the radioactive isotope Caesium 137. And three decades ago the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl released a fair amount of Caesium 137 that eventually drifted down on the Sumava mountains.

Now the boars are eating the mushrooms, and ingesting the Caesium 137 along with them. That’s making their meat radioactive, Jiri Drapal at the State Veterinary Administration told Reuters.

“It is more or less a seasonal issue,” Drapal said.

But it’s a long season. The half life of Caesium 137 is 30 years – that is, it takes 30 years for the radioactivity of the isotope to fall to half its original value. Then another 30 to fall to half again, and so on. The boars could be glowing for quite a while.

“We can expect to find (affected) food for a number of years from now,” Drapal said.

And that could cause some problems with the supply of boar meat, which is popular in the Czech Republic. It often shows up on restaurant menus in goulash, a thick stew of meat, sauce and dumplings.

Any boar that ends up as goulash ought to be safe. Every wild animal hunted, not only boars, must be inspected before its meat can get to customers. Radioactive meat is banned from circulation, Drapal said.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that 614 animals were inspected from 2014 to 2016, and 47 percent were above the limit – almost half.

The semi-good news is that even meat from radioactive animals would be a health hazard only in large doses, Drapal said. You would have to eat it several times a week for couple of months, to get sick, he said.

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Medical profession warns on Adani coal mine as a public health catastrophe

coal CarmichaelMine2Adani coal mine is a public health catastrophe  26 Feb 2017,The international medical community is watching Australia with alarm. This month The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, published a report about the giant Adani mine, titled: Australia’s new coal mine plan: a “public health disaster”. 

Coal mines are a health risk for miners, workers and local communities: they cause higher rates of childhood asthma, heart and lung disease, and some cancers. Frighteningly, there has been a recent resurgence in black lung disease – a potentially fatal disease caused by breathing in coal dust. More widely, the overwhelming majority of scientists say there can be no more coal mines if we’re to have any chance of a safe climate. Medical organisations are increasingly recognising the health risks, with the British Medical Journal describing climate change as, “a health emergency”.

The global health risks include increased severity and frequency of extreme weather, adverse changes in air pollution, the spread of disease vectors such as mosquitoes, food insecurity and under-nutrition, displacement and mental ill health.

In the UK, an alliance of 15 health bodies including seven royal medical colleges and the British Medical Association are calling for a rapid phase-out of coal to protect health and reduce costs. In Australia, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians recently described climate change as a “public health emergency”. The RACP board determined fossil fuel projects are inconsistent with its core business and, along with many other organisations around the world, has divested from fossil fuels.

Just as health professionals advocated against the tobacco industry, so we have a responsibility to speak up against fossil fuel projects such as the Adani mine, which present such unacceptably high risks.

February 27, 2017 Posted by | health, Queensland | Leave a comment

Block Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017

aboriginal-flag-native-title~ Sovereign Union 16 February 2017: “There is a grave concern that the national parliament will accept the bleeting of the racist fear mongers
who run immediately to the king of racism, George Brandis, Attorney-General,  to amend the Native Title Act.

The Commonwealth government is now desperate to overturn the recent decision of the full bench of the Federal Court in the McGlade v Native Title Registrar case v Native Title Registrar case, which puts the validity of many ILUAs in doubt as not all ‘named applicants’ who needed to sign an ILUA did so.
Incl: Hansard 2nd Reading Native Title Amendment”

“It truly represents that the Coalition government and the conservative Labor party govern for the non-Aboriginal society with little or no concern for inherent Aboriginal rights  and this is despite years of condemnation by the United Nations Human Rights Commission   and other treaty bodies such as the CERD, Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

“We cannot accept any further adverse changes to the Native Title Act, because the John Howard’s 10 Point Plan facilitated a repression and smothering of our inherent legal rights as the true land owners of this continent.

After the 1993 Native Title Act was passed, the late Nugget Coombs condemned the Keating Labor government and its Aboriginal advisors for agreeing to an Act to suppress Aboriginal rights and interests,   in favour of ensuring a free pathway of access to Aboriginal lands in right of the multi-national and trans-national corporations, in order to exploit mineral wealth and natural resources without having to pay any fair and equitable compensation and royalty to the rightful owners.

“I call upon the Aboriginal members in both upper and lower houses of Federal parliament to stand their ground and not allow the current Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill
to pass through the Federal Parliament.  There can be no compromise on this issue. … “

February 27, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

NASA project – Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) investigates sea level rise

sea-ice-meltingfOMG measurements of Greenland give us a glimpse of future sea rise 24 February 2017 by John Abraham  If you meet a group of climate scientists, and ask them how much sea levels will rise by say the year 2100, you will get a wide range of answers. But, those with most expertise in sea level rise will tell you perhaps 1 meter (a little over three feet). Then, they will immediately say, “but there is a lot of uncertainty on this estimate.” It doesn’t mean they aren’t certain there will be sea level rise – that is guaranteed as we add more heat in the oceans. Here, uncertainty means it could be a lot more or a little less.

Why are scientists not certain about how much the sea level will rise? Because there are processes that are occurring that have the potential for causing huge sea level rise, but we’re uncertain about how fast they will occur. Specifically, two very large sheets of ice sit atop Greenland and Antarctica. If those sheets melt, sea levels will rise hundreds of feet.

Parts of the ice sheets are melting, but how much will melt and how fast will the melting occur? Are we talking decades? Centuries? Millennia? Scientists really want to know the answer to this question. Not only is it interesting scientifically, but it has huge impacts on coastal planning.

One reason the answer to this question is illusive is that melting of ice sheets can occur from above (warm air and sunlight) or from below (warm ocean waters). In many instances, it’s the melting from below that is most significant – but this melting from below is really hard to measure.

With hope we will have a much clearer sense of ice sheet melting and sea level rise because of a new scientific endeavor that is part of a NASA project – Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG). This project has brought together some of the best oceanographers and ice experts in the world. The preliminary results are encouraging and are discussed in two recent publications here and here.

In the papers, the authors note that Greenland ice loss has increased substantially in recent decades. It now contributes approximately 1/3 to total sea level rise. The authors want to know whether this contribution will change over time and they recognize that underwater processes may be the most important to study. In fact, they note in their paper:

Specifically, our goal is improved understanding of how ocean hydrographic variability around the ice sheet impacts glacial melt rates, thinning and retreat.

In plain English, they want to know how water flow around Greenland affects the ice melt.

Their experiments are measuring a number of key attributes. First, yearly changes in the temperature of ocean water near Greenland. Second, the yearly changes to the glaciers on Greenland that extend into the ocean waters. Third, they are observing marine topography (the shape of the land underneath the ocean surface).

The sea floor shape is quite complicated, particularly near Greenland. Past glaciers carved deep troughs in the sea floor in some areas, allowing warm salty water to reach huge glaciers that are draining the ice sheet. As lead OMG investigator Josh Willis said:

What’s interesting about the waters around Greenland is that they are upside down. Warm, salty water, which is heavy, sits below a layer of cold, fresh water from the Arctic Ocean. That means the warm water is down deep, and glaciers sitting in deep water could be in trouble.

As the warm water attacks marine glaciers (glaciers that extend into the ocean), the ice tends to break and calve, retreating toward land. In some cases, the glaciers retreat until their grounding line coincides with the shore. But in other cases the undulating surface allows warm water to wear the glacier underside for long distances and thereby increase the risk of large calving events.

Oftentimes, when glaciers near the coast break off they uncork other ice that can then more easily flow into the oceans.

Click here to read the rest

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment