Tag Archives: Antarctica

Arctic Sea Ice Melts To Near-Record Level

16 Sep

article Discovery News

Arctic sea ice melted over the summer to cover the third smallest area on record, US researchers said on Wednesday, warning global warming could leave the region ice free in the month of September 2030.

Last week, at the end of the spring and summer “melt season” in the Arctic, sea ice covered 1.8 million square miles, the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center said in an annual report.

“This is only the third time in the satellite record that ice extent has fallen below 1.93 million square miles, and all those occurrences have been within the past four years,” the report said.

A separate report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that in August, too, Arctic sea ice coverage was down sharply, covering an average of 2.3 million square miles, or 22 percent below the average extent from 1979 to 2000.

The August coverage was the second lowest for Arctic sea ice since records began in 1979. Only 2007 saw a smaller area of the northern sea covered in ice in August, NOAA said.

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A climate warning from the deep

6 Sep

article: The Guardian

The dispersal of tiny sea creatures in Antarctica has alerted scientists to the vulnerability of Earth’s ice sheets

Bryozoans

Bryozoans found in the Ross and Weddell seas were almost identical, meaning the ice sheet that separates them isn’t as ancient as once thought. Photograph: British Antarctic Survey

Bryozoans make unlikely prophets of doom. Nevertheless, scientists believe these tiny marine creatures, which live glued to the side of boulders, rocks and other surfaces, reveal a disturbing aspect about Antarctica that has critical implications for understanding the impact of climate change.

British Antarctic Survey researchers have found the dispersal of these minute animals suggests a sea passage once divided Antarctica 125,000 years ago. The discovery was made for the ongoing Census of Antarctic Marine Life project and involved comparing bryozoans from the Ross and Weddell seas. These two seas are separated by the west Antarctic ice sheet, one of the planet’s largest masses of ice. Bryozoans found in the Ross and Weddell seas should have been fairly different in structure if the sheet had been stable and ancient. The two populations would have slowly evolved in different manners, if the sheet was millions of years old.

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