Some Antarctic glaciers reached a tipping point in 2009 SARA PHILLIPS ABC Environmen t22 MAY 2015
Antarctic glaciers on the Bellinghausen Sea coast suddenly started melting in 2009.Credit: Alba Martin Espanol (Science)
Antarctic glaciers emptying into the Bellinghausen Sea all suddenly started melting around 2009. Scientists warn the sea level rise could be dramatic.
THE FIRST SIGNS Antarctic glaciers have reached some kind of melting ‘tipping point’ have been noticed by scientists from Europe.
The group of eight scientists, led by Dr Bert Wouters from the University of Bristol used sophisticated satellite measurements of the Antarctic glaciers that empty into the Bellinghausen Sea, on the Southern Antarctic Peninsula which reaches up almost to South America.
Glaciers are in effect, frozen rivers of snowpack, moving incrementally towards the ocean. These glaciers have existed in their current form for at least 5,000 years.
The scientists found that the height of the glaciers had dropped — some by as much as four metres. By analysing years of data, they could rule out the snow becoming more compact or a reduction in snowfall as the cause. This left only one possibility: that the glaciers were sliding faster towards the sea.
“The most likely explanation is that the glaciers have accelerated because the temperature of the ocean water has increased in the area, which we know from measurements. These warm waters will melt the floating ice shelves and the glaciers where they enter the sea from below and cause them to lose more ice,” said Dr Wouters, Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Bristol.
As the sea ice holding back the glaciers melts away, the glaciers slide faster into the sea. Last week researchers warned that elsewhere in Antarctica, the Larsen C ice shelf could collapse this century and what remains of the Larsen B ice shelf would be all gone by 2020, the majority of it having collapsed in 2002.
A tipping point
Curiously, the glaciers studied were relatively stable until 2009. After then, Dr Wouters said the glaciers appeared to have reached a “tipping point” with the glaciers studied simultaneously starting to slip into the sea…….http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/05/22/4239285.htm
‘Stable’ Antarctic ice sheet may have started collapsing, scientists say, Guardian, Karl Mathiesen, 22 May 15 Southern Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet losing ice 8,500 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza every year, satellite data shows A vast slab of Antarctic ice that was previously stable may have started to collapse, according to new analysis of satellite data.
Research published in the journal Science on Thursday found the Southern Antarctic Peninsula (SAP) ice sheet is losing ice into the ocean at a rate of 56 gigatons each year – about 8,500 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza. This adds around 0.16mm per year to the global sea level.
The sheet’s thickness has remained stable since satellite observations began in 1992. But Professor Jonathan Bamber of Bristol university, who co-authored the study, said that around 2009 it very suddenly began to thin by an average of 42cm each year. Some areas had fallen by up to 4m.
“It hasn’t been going up, it hasn’t been going down – until 2009. Then it just seemed to pass some kind of critical threshold and went over a cliff and it’s been losing mass at a pretty much constant, rather large, rate,” said Bamber……http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/21/stable-antarctic-ice-sheet-may-have-started-collapsing-scientists-say
Unsustainable: the ugly truth about Rio Tinto‘, also reveals that Rio Tinto’s sustainability reporting contrasts sharply with the company’s actual performance in all four categories. It shows how Rio Tinto’s reckless pursuit of profit at any cost has caused disputes with numerous unions as well as environmental, indigenous and community groups. Most of the disputes covered in the report are ongoing. Rio Tinto has continued to provoke disputes in the three months since the report was released:
- with South African regulators by illegally operating a coal mine for a decade;
- with injured Australian workers by systematically targeting them in a layoff;
- with leaders in Zimbabwe by reportedly reneging on a pledge to support community development programs;
- and with the people of Papua New Guinea by rejecting calls for an investigation into the company’s role in a bloody civil war.
Rio Tinto will go on provoking disputes and operating in an unsustainable manner unless it believes that doing so could threaten its license to operate. To reform Rio Tinto, first we must threaten its ‘license to operate’
Rio Tinto’s ‘Sustainable Mining’ Claims Exposed By Kemal Özkan http://www.globalresearch.ca/rio-tintos-sustainable-mining-claims-exposed/5394301 July 31, 2014 Global mining giant Rio Tinto markets itself as a ‘sustainable company’. But serious failures in its reporting, and its attempt to hold an Australian indigenous group to ransom, reveal a very different truth: the company is driven by a reckless pursuit of profit at any cost. Rio Tinto uses its sustainability reporting to bolster the argument that it is a responsible company and therefore entitled to a license to operate. Now, a global campaign is demanding that Rio Tinto live up to its sustainability claims.
Rio Tinto subsidiary, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), has threatened the Mirarr people that if it is not allowed to expand its Ranger uranium mining operations underground, it may be unable to fully fund rehabilitation of the open pit mine. The Ranger mine is located in the traditional lands of the Mirarr, the world heritage-listed Kakadu national park in Australia’s Northern Territory. If ERA does not complete rehabilitation of the site, which suffered a radioactive spill last year, the water, air quality and soil in the area could be scarred with toxic radiation for generations. Continue reading
Federal hearings exploring radiation exposure among McMurdo Navy veterans get underway in Washington http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/federal-hearings-exploring-radiation-exposure-among-mcmurdo-navy-veterans-get-underway-in-washington Prompted by exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation Ron Regan, newsnet5.com WASHINGTON – Federal hearings prompted by an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation into radiation exposure among McMurdo Navy veterans are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning.
Our investigative series revealed how a nuclear reactor at McMurdo Naval base in Antarctica continued to leak radiation for years and a possible link to cancer.
Our report documented 432 malfunctions at the plant from 1964 through 1972 while thousands of Navy veterans were stationed there.
Complaints from veterans dying from cancer were ignored by the Veterans Administration until our report exposed the radiation leaking that Navy veterans said was kept secret for decades.
Veterans have hope the hearings will provide them with assistance in compensation for their medical bills.
On Tuesday, the Veterans Advisory Board on Dose Reconstruction will discuss its final report and finding regarding the leaking nuclear reactor and veterans cancer.
Critics on all sides as Australia leads way on Antarctic protection BY: MATTHEW DENHOLM, TASMANIA CORRESPONDENT The Australian October 18, 2012 AUSTRALIA and France have developed a plan to protect 1.9 million square kilometres of east Antarctica as new marine parks, although a report today will call for an even larger reserve.
The Australia-France proposal, backed by the EU, covers seven coastal zones in east Antarctica…. (subscribers only)
Bomb spike hints on climate change AUSTRALIAN ANTARCTIC DIVISION 29 Nov 11 The discovery, reported in Global Change Biology, comes after researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the Australian Nuclear Science and TechnologyOrganisation (ANSTO) found that the dramatic increase in atmospheric radiocarbon (14C), known as the ‘bomb spike’, was detectable in living moss shoots 50 years after nuclear testing, and could be used to track changes in moss growth rates……Bomb spike hints on climate change. AUSTRALIAN ANTARCTIC DIVISION, 29 NOVEMBER 2011 Chemical clues absorbed from the atmosphere by Antarctic mosses during nuclear tests in the 1950s and 60s, have provided scientists with evidence of significant climate change in East Antarctica.
‘Our results point to a profound influence of recent climate change on the Antarctic flora, with δ13C profiles indicating the observed effects of temperature and wind speed are most likely due to the impact of these climate variables on water availability,’ Professor Robinson says. http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20112811-22889.html
Other McMurdo veterans across the US have now been revealed to have cancer………The first thing the doctors asked me was, well, that’s the type of cancer you typically get from exposure from radiation,” Boyles said.
Health fears around polar nuke leak | Stuff.co.nz, by Michael Field, 7 Mar 11, A small nuclear power plant used at McMurdo Sound near New Zealand’s Antarctic Scott Base is being implicated by US media in unusual cancers in men who worked on it in the 1960s.It has also been revealed the PM-3A nuclear power plant – known at MacTown as “nukey poo” for the way it leaked – had 438 malfunctions in its life between 1964 and 1973. Continue reading
Mawson Station has two turbines that provide more than 70 percent of its power needs. It should be noted, as the NREL explained, that often the combination of these two technologies is important. “Like many places, generating large amounts of renewable power in Antarctica with a single technology is unlikely. Fortunately, polar winds blow during the winter months when the sun does not shine.”
Clean Energy A Big Deal In Antarctica | EarthTechling by Nino Marchetti, July 19th, 2010“……….There seems to actually be quite a bit of renewable energy usage going on in Antarctica, according to the NREL. Continue reading
Australian uranium dust found in Antarctic ice ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) 3 May, 2010, An ice core from the Antarctic bears traces of uranium that may have been carried by the wind from Australian mines in 1995, a glacier expert has told a Chilean newspaper.The minuscule amounts of the radioactive element “correspond to a year (1995) when Australia increased its uranium production,” Ricardo Jana, who participates in an international research effort in the frozen continent, told El Mercurio daily.He said scientists theorise the uranium particles were carried by the wind from Australia and deposited in the northern part of the Antarctic’s Detroit peninsula. Australian uranium dust found in Antarctic ice – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporati
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