Antarctic Ice Loss Surges by 75 Percent

Antarctic ice loss surgesNew research indicates annual loss from the Antarctic ice sheet has surged [ark | moreark] by 75 percent in a decade as a result of global warming. The study by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory [ark] appears in the Journal “Nature Geoscience” and is described as the most comprehensive to date on the status of Antarctic ice sheets. Using extensive measurements by radar they found in 2006 some 192 billion tonnes of Antarctic ice was lost [search] into the sea from narrow glacier outlets.

While there has been little scientific doubt that Greenland's ice is melting [search], there has been more uncertainty over the fate of the larger stores of ice on Antarctica. Until now there has been no consensus whether ice cover is growing, shrinking, or stable — and various studies have had conflicting results. Some have suggested increased precipitation was leading to the accumulation of ice, a finding contradicted by this new study.

The shrinkage in the ice sheet was attributed to an upwelling of warm waters along the Antarctic coast, which is causing some glaciers to flow more rapidly into the ocean. The southern continent contains enough ice to raise ocean levels by 60 meters which would put every major coastal city in the world under water and make hundreds of millions of climate change refugees. The majority, 132 tonnes, was lost from the West Antarctic sheet, while the Antarctic Peninsula lost about 60 million tonnes. Yet there was a “near-zero” loss from the world's biggest ice sheet found in East Antarctica.

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3 Responses

  1. A few ideas on how to seek Economic Sustainability
    1) Individual consumers need to consciously consume less of whatever it is that they consume. The government or NGOs should incentivate families to benchmark their current levels of consumption on various fronts, then reduce them. Consuming fewer air-miles each successive year should be high on our list of priorities, considering their huge addition to our individual carbon footprint. (As a cheap and effective alternative to flying, we may consider video-conferencing.)
    2) Advertising aimed at making people buy more should be tapered off. Only adverts giving information should be allowed.
    3) Roadside advertising hoardings should be reduced by 50%, and they should not be illuminated, as they use up precious energy for a relatively non-productive purpose.
    4) Stop adding power generation capacities, whether thermal or otherwise. Freeze them at existing capacities and merely replace thermal capacities with wind-energy and solar generation capacities.
    5) Stop registering new private vehicles. NGOs or government should incentivate people to give up private transport (for instance by giving them free passes on public transport with 10-year validity.)
    6) Each year, taper off the numbers of private transport wheels by 10% or more, and enhance the capacity of public transport by 20%. This will result in a net improvement in the quality of transportation and reduced congestion each year. Also encourage biking and hiking by improving the quality of roadsides, and including rest facilities (lounges) every kilometre or two.
    7) Enforce a one-child policy with both carrot and stick. This means that within the span of 60-70 years, population would go down by about 50%.
    8) Build infrastructure for localised means of recreation such as playgrounds and stadiums, both indoor and outdoor. Encourage greater participation in physical and mental sporting activities by organizing competitions etc.
    8) Civic and governmental efforts to improve quality of life are crucial to wean off people from the rat-race.
    This is not saying that we shall have no more problems, and shall live happily ever after. Every situation and every lifestyle inevitably has its own set of problems… and we shall have to be alert and aware to deal with them as they arise.

  2. RAnthony80 says:

    Global warming appears to have taken a turn in 2008
    Record fast ice growth,
    melted ice replaced by new ice
    2008 expected to be coolest in 8 years,

  3. Dear Dr. Barry,
    I think that this post makes one think: we are constantly hearing about global warming and the environment, but how much pro-active and pre-emptive action do we actually take? This is a good question we need to ask ourselves. I think the point made by Krish above, about using alternatives to using fossil-fuel based transport is very good. We seriously need to look at new technologies like video conferencing, etc., to not only cut down on time and travel costs, but also to help preserve our environment.
    Best regards,
    GVO Conference Software.

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