Monday 18 July 2016

Greenland lost over a trillion tons of ice from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014 report claims

A new paper just published by scientists in Geophysical Research Letters presents results of their investigation into the ice sheet covering Greenland.
They found that over the four-year period from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014 Greenland lost over a trillion tons of ice.
Let me repeat that: More than a trillion tons of ice melted away from Greenland.
These results, using the Cryosat-2 satellite, actually matches pretty well with other measurements made using different methods; for example, using data from the GRACE satellites scientists found Greenland loses ice at a rate of about 287 billion tons per year.
These numbers are staggering.
To give you a sense of scale:
A trillion tons of ice would make a cube over 10 kilometers (six miles) high.
That's taller than Mt. Everest, and would have about three times that mountain's volume.
And that much ice disappeared from Greenland in just four years.
But no, really, it didn't disappear.
It had to go somewhere.
And where it went was into the ocean, adding water to it.
Distributed over the Earth, that means sea level rose about 2.5 mm over those four years.
That rate of sea level rise from Greenland ice melting was twice as rapid as the average rate from 1992-2011.
I'll note that 2012 was unusual across the Arctic, with far more warming than usual, less snow cover than usual, huge sea ice losses, and higher loss of Greenland land ice as well.
But even with that, the trend is, dare I say, alarming.
Mind you, that's just from Greenland, and doesn't include melting from Antarctica, which is occurring at about half the rate of Greenland (the Arctic is more prone to warming and melting that the Antarctic).
Every year, these two land masses lose about 400 billion tons of ice combined, draining it into the ocean, causing sea level rise.
This fresh, cold water also disrupts critical current flow that transports heat from the Equator to the poles, and cold water back again.
This may also affect the jet stream, which in turn gets weaker, allowing frigid Arctic air down to lower latitudes in the winter.
Common in this situation is the formation of stalled "blocking patterns" in summer that prevent storm systems from moving easily, bringing droughts in some areas and floods in others.
In 2013, a torrential downpour in my home of Boulder occurred because of one of these blocking patterns, and the results were horrendous-some places got nearly half a meter of rainfall in a few days.
That same year, Alaska had a terrible heat wave, again due to these blocking patterns.
The evidence that global warming is behind all this is so overwhelming is difficult to overstate.

Home page


Parts of Europe on alert as a heatwave moves in with some parts hitting 40C (104F)

Tropical Depression 6E (Estelle) to strengthen into tropical storm today

Tropical Storm Darby set to strengthen in the Eastern Pacific

New York set to beat July heat records as high humidity pushes temperature in Central New York to nearly 100F (38C)

3 dead due to heat wave in the Abruzzo region Italy

Hurricane Celia set to strengthen into a "major hurricane" in the East Pacific

A new record: Ten thousand lightning flashes lit up Hong Kong's night sky over the weekend

22 dead and 170,000 forced from their homes from Flash floods in India

11 dead 200 villages marooned as devastating flash floods hit Madhya Pradesh India

500,000 evacuated as deadly Typhoon Nepartak makes landfall in China

Super Typhoon Nepartak hit's Taiwan: 331,900 households without power, strongest winds since 1901

No comments: