Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Antarctica – the Thwaites glacier is losing ice

Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe  As the UN sits down for its annual climate conference this week, many experts believe we have passed the point of no return, Guardian, by Robin McKie, 2 Dec 18  “……. Antarctica

It is hard to get a grip of the sheerscale of the Thwaites glacier in west Antarctica. It’s more than 300 miles long and 200 wide – and more than a mile thick. It drains an area of ice that is larger than England and stealthily slides towards the sea by several metres every day. Only from satellite images have we understood the shape and power of this ice monster.

These now show the beast is waking up. Thwaites’s uptake of falling snow was once matched, fairly finely, by snow and ice being lost as icebergs. Now it has begun to flow faster, along with some of its neighbouring glaciers. More ice is being lost into the ocean than is being replaced, speeding up global sea-level rise.

The cause of the disruption at Thwaites is straightforward, researchers have discovered. Increasing amounts of warm ocean water coming from the north have been melting the floating parts of the glacier and this, in turn, is letting the inland glacier run more quickly into the sea. This much we know, but we have still to understand how this process is likely to accelerate. At present, Thwaites contributes around 4% of observed sea-level rise, but it is widely agreed that this could grow exponentially. Indeed, some glaciologists believe that a complete collapse of the Thwaites glacier over coming centuries is now inevitable – and that would raise global sea level by several metres, drowning coastal ecosystems around the world, damaging coastal investments and displacing millions of people………. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/02/world-verge-climate-catastophe

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December 3, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

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