:: Friday, September 24, 2004 ::
For Those Of You Still In Denial
Global warming is occuring and it is causing and will cause major climate shifts - the first apparently will be an increase in ocean levels due to glacial melt.
Large ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula disintegrated in 1995 and 2002 as a result of climate warming. But these floating ice shelves did not affect sea level as they melted.
Glaciers, however, are another story. They rest on land and when they slide off into the water they instantly affect sea level.
It was not clear how the loss of the Larsen B ice shelf would affect nearby glaciers.
But soon after its collapse, researchers saw nearby glaciers flowing up to eight times faster than before.
"If anyone was waiting to find out whether Antarctica would respond quickly to climate warming, I think the answer is yes," said Theodore Scambos, a University of Colorado glacier expert who worked on one study...
But not all the melting in the Antarctic can be seen as a "miniature experiment."
The Ross ice shelf, for example, is the main outlet for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, with several large glaciers that could, if they melted completely, raise sea levels by 16 feet (5 metres).
"While the consequences of this area are small compared to other parts of the Antarctic, it is a harbinger of what will happen when the large ice sheets begin to warm," Scambos said. "The much larger ice shelves in other parts of Antarctica could have much greater effects on the rate of sea level rise."
Don't buy land close to sea level.
:: The Squire 1:16 AM :: email this post :: ::