nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Antarctic “doomsday glacier” melting at faster rate than in past 5,500 years

 Two Antarctic glaciers are now losing ice at a faster rate than any time
over the past 5,500 years, with “potentially disastrous” implications for
sea level rise, new research has found. The Thwaites Glacier, known as the
“Doomsday glacier”, due to the grave risk its melting poses to the world,
is around the size of Great Britain, and its neighbour, the Pine Island
Glacier is only slightly smaller. The two glaciers form part of the Western
Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is being impacted by warming temperatures due to
the climate crisis, and are already contributing to global sea level rise.

 Independent 16th June 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/antarctica-doomsday-glacier-ice-melt-b2102698.html

June 18, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Future of Antarctica’s Larsen C ice-shelf will have consequences for sea level rise world-wide

 Scientists know the surface of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica is
melting, making it vulnerable to collapse. For the first time, we can rank
the most important causes of melting over the recent past.

In a new two-part paper in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, we show how
the amount of energy reaching the ice from the sun is the dominant factor,
followed by warm winds, clouds and weather patterns. These drivers of
melting can interact and overlap to reinforce or counteract each other, so
it is a complex picture.

Understanding what is causing melting over Larsen
C is vital as it will help predict the future of the ice shelf, which will
have knock-on consequences for sea levels worldwide. In 2002, Larsen C’s
neighbouring ice shelf, Larsen B, experienced melting so severe that it
eventually caused the shelf to collapse completely. Larsen C restrains
glaciers that contain enough ice to raise global sea levels by around 22mm. 

Carbon Brief 14th April 2022 https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-ranking-the-reasons-why-the-larsen-c-ice-shelf-is-melting

April 21, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Hotter Antarctic summers posing increasing threat to stability of world’s largest ice sheet

Hotter Antarctic summers posing increasing threat to stability of
world’s largest ice sheet, satellite observations show. The East
Antarctic ice sheet is the biggest land-based piece of frozen water on the
planet. It holds about 80 per cent of all ice in the world, stretching up
to 4,800 metres in thickness in some places, and containing enough water to
raise global sea levels by 52 metres. Humans are generally keen for it to
stay in place. But new research shows that warmer summers due to the
worsening climate crisis are seriously threatening the floating ice shelves
which fringe the ice sheet, helping hold it in place.

 Independent 31st March 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/antarctic-heat-ice-sheet-threat-b2048301.html

April 2, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Scientists caught off guard by massive ice shelf collapse in ‘coldest, driest’ part of Antarctica

Scientists caught off guard by massive ice shelf collapse in ‘coldest, driest’ part of Antarctica

A huge ice shelf has collapsed in Antarctica, coinciding with a period of intense and unseasonal heat which may have been “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

March 29, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Antarctic heat – a horrifying reminder of the future with global heating

“Shocking,” said the Met Office head; “bonkers,” according to an Antarctic researcher. The heat at both ends of the planet this week has scientists straining for adjectives. 40°C above normal in Antarctica,
30°C hotter than usual in the Arctic.

With temperatures so much above anything on record, scientists had to confirm that, no, it isn’t a typo:
this is really happening.

Last week, the Conger ice shelf, which sits off the East Antarctic coast and is around 1,200 square kilometers across, collapsed completely. Ice sheets hold back the flow of ice into the sea.
“If they collapse, then ice flow from inland accelerates and leads to sea level rise,” said Andrew Mackintosh, a scientist at Monash University in Australia.

A natural reaction to such news is to fear the ice sheets might collapse entirely. If the West Antarctic ice sheet collapsed into theocean, global sea-levels could rise several metres – much faster and
further than expected – swamping coastal cities. That is not likely to happen soon, but the polar heat is a horrifying reminder of the stakes involved.

 Independent 25th March 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/opinion/higher-food-prices-climate-crisis-b2043988.html

March 28, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Temperatures in eastern Antarctica are 70 degrees warmer than usual


Temperatures in eastern Antarctica are 70 degrees warmer than usual 
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/e2-wire/598842-temperatures-in-eastern-antarctica-are-70-degrees-warmer BY SARAKSHI RAI – 03/18/22  

Eastern Antarctica on Friday recorded temperatures that are 70 degrees higher than normal for this time of the year, The Washington Post reported

Temperatures in the eastern part of the continent have soared 50 to 90 degrees above normal, raising concern from the scientific community.

The Post reported that instead of temperatures being between minus 50 and minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit, they’ve been closer to zero or 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered to be a massive heat wave by Antarctic standards.

BY SARAKSHI RAI – 03/18/22  

TheHill.com

Temperatures in eastern Antarctica are 70 degrees warmer than usual

BY SARAKSHI RAI – 03/18/22

Temperatures in eastern Antarctica are 70 degrees warmer than usual

© istock

Eastern Antarctica on Friday recorded temperatures that are 70 degrees higher than normal for this time of the year, The Washington Post reported

Temperatures in the eastern part of the continent have soared 50 to 90 degrees above normal, raising concern from the scientific community.

The Post reported that instead of temperatures being between minus 50 and minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit, they’ve been closer to zero or 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered to be a massive heat wave by Antarctic standards.

“In about 65 record years in Vostok, between March and October, values above -30°C were never observed,” climate journalist Stefano Di Battista told the news outlet in an email.

A researcher studying polar meteorology at the Université Grenoble Alpes Dr. Jonathan Wille also tweeted that this heatwave was “never supposed to happen.”

March marks the beginning of autumn in Antarctica, when temperatures usually tend to fall, The Post noted. 

Willie tweeted that the warmer than usual conditions over Antarctica were caused by an extreme weather system.

“[T]his is not something we’ve seen before,” he said. “This moisture is the reason why the temperatures have gotten just so high,” he told The Post.

March 21, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

World’s largest iceberg melted – now one trillion tonnes of ice – gone

 The monster iceberg A68 was dumping more than 1.5 billion tonnes of fresh water into the ocean every single day at the height of its melting. To put that in context, it’s about 150 times the amount of water used daily by all UK citizens.

A68 was, for a short period, the world’s biggest iceberg. It covered an area of nearly 6,000 sq km (2,300 sq miles) when it broke free from Antarctica in 2017. But by early 2021, it had vanished. One trilliontonnes of ice, gone.

 BBC 20th Jan 2022

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-60060299

January 22, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Fieldwork in the High Arctic found cataclysmic impact of climate change happening 70 years ahead of what the scientific models expected.


 During the month of December 2021 two warnings of impending sea level rise were issued by highly respected groups of climate scientists. These are professional scientists who do not deal in hyperbole. Rather, they are archetypical conservative serious-minded scientists who follow the facts.

The most recent warning on December 30th is of deteriorating conditions at the Arctic and Greenland.

The second warning is the threatening collapse in Antarctica of one of the largest glaciers in the world.

As these event unfortunately coincide so close together, one at the top of the world, the other at the bottom, should coastal cities plan to build sea walls? An article by M. Farquharson, et al in Geophysical Research Letters d/d June10, 2019 stated: “Observed maximum thaw depths at our sites are already exceeding those projected to occur by 2090.” In other words, fieldwork in
the High Arctic found cataclysmic impact of climate change happening 70 years ahead of what the scientific models expected.

 Counterpunch 7th Jan 2022

 https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/01/07/when-to-build-sea-walls/

January 13, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Enormous Antarctic glacier becoming unstable

Boaty McBoatface craft to explore further beneath ‘Doomsday glacier’ than ever before

Glacier the size of the UK contains enough water to raise global sea levels by 65cm

Harry Cockburn, Environment Correspondent,

Antarctica’s enormous Thwaites glacier, AKA the “Doomsday glacier”, is the size of Britain, but is becoming increasingly unstable and poses a major risk to millions of people living on coastlines around the world.

Thwaites contains enough water to directly raise sea levels by 65cm if it collapses, but there are fears it could also spark a chain reaction leading to

even greater sea level rises of several metres. Now, a new research mission has been launched using a fleet of underwater robots, to further investigate the melting ice sheet which is – for now – holding the
glacier back.

 Independent 6th Jan 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/boaty-mcboatface-doomsday-glacier-antarctica-b1987253.html

January 10, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Maori workers exposed to radiation in cleaning up USA’s failed nuclear reactor in Antarctica

Detour: Antarctica – Kiwis ‘exposed to radiation’ at Antarctic power plant,  https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/detour-antarctica-kiwis-exposed-to-radiation-at-antarctic-power-plant/NY5WTQ72JF4OFUW4F35ZSUCB6U/ 8 Jan, 2022 By Thomas Bywater, Thomas Bywater is a writer and digital producer for Herald Travel

In a major new Herald podcast series, Detour: Antarctica, Thomas Bywater goes in search of the white continent’s hidden stories. In this accompanying text series, he reveals a few of his discoveries to whet your appetite for the podcast. You can read them all, and experience a very special visual presentation, by clicking here. To follow Detour: Antarctica, visit iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Waitangi Tribunal will consider whether NZ Defence Force personnel were appropriately warned of potential exposure to radiation while working at a decommissioned nuclear reactor in Antarctica.

It’s among a raft of historic claims dating from 1860 to the present day before the Military Veterans Inquiry.

After an initial hearing in 2016, the Waitangi Tribunal last year admitted the Antarctic kaupapa to be considered alongside the other claims.

“It’s been a bloody long journey,” said solicitors Bennion Law, the Wellington firm representing the Antarctic claimants.

Between 1972 and the early 1980s, more than 300 tonnes of radioactive rubble was shipped off the continent via the seasonal resupply link.

Handled by US and New Zealand personnel without properly measuring potential exposure, the submission argues the Crown failed in its duty of care for the largely Māori contingent, including NZ Army Cargo Team One.

“This failure of active protection was and continues to be in breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” reads the submission.

The rubble came from PM3A, a portable nuclear power unit on Ross Island, belonging to the US Navy. Decommissioned in 1972, its checkered 10-year operating history led it to be known as ‘Nukey Poo’ among base inhabitants. After recording 438 operating errors it was shut off for good.

Due to US obligations to the Antarctic Treaty, nuclear waste had to be removed.

Peter Breen, Assistant Base Mechanic at New Zealand’s Scott Base for 1981-82, led the effort to get similar New Zealand stories heard.

He hopes that NZDF personnel involved in the cleanup of Ross Island might get medallic recognition “similar to those who were exposed at Mururoa Atoll”. Sailors were awarded the Special Service Medal Nuclear Testing for observing French bomb sites in the Pacific in 1973, roughly the same time their colleagues were helping clear radioactive material from Antarctica.

A public advisory regarding potential historic radiation exposure at McMurdo Station was published in 2018.

Since 1975 the Waitangi Tribunal has been a permanent commission by the Ministry of Justice to raise Māori claims relating to the Crown’s obligations in the Treaty of Waitangi.

The current Military Veterans’ Kaupapa includes hearings as diverse as the injury of George Nepata while training in Singapore, to the exposure of soldiers to DBP insecticides during the Malayan Emergency.

Commenced in 2014 in the “centenary year of the onset of the First World War” the Māori military veterans inquiry has dragged on to twice the duration of the Great War.

Of the three claimants in the Antarctic veterans’ claim, Edwin (Chaddy) Chadwick, Apiha Papuni and Kelly Tako, only Tako survives.

“We’re obviously concerned with time because we’re losing veterans,” said Bennion Law.

Detour: Antarctica is a New Zealand Herald podcast. You can follow the series on iHeartRadio, Apple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, health, indigenous issues, New Zealand, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate change has crashed Earth’s ”air – conditioners” – the North and South poles.

Though the continent stays frozen for much of the year, rising temperatures in the Pacific have changed how air circulates around the South Pole, which in turn affects ocean currents. Warm, deep ocean water is welling up towards coastlines, lapping at the ice sheet’s weak frozen underbelly, weakening it from below.

“This is triggering the beginnings of a massive collapse,” Scampos wrote in an email from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where he is preparing for a field trip to Thwaites Glacier’s failing ice shelf………………………………….

Climate change has crashed Earth’s ‘air-conditioners’, risking rest of planet, The Age , By Sarah Kaplan, 16 Dec 21,   The ice shelf was cracking up. Surveys showed warm ocean water eroding its underbelly. Satellite imagery revealed long, parallel fissures in the frozen expanse, like scratches from some clawed monster. One fracture grew so big, so fast, scientists took to calling it “the dagger”.

“It was hugely surprising to see things changing that fast,” said Erin Pettit. The Oregon State University glaciologist had chosen this spot for her Antarctic field research precisely because of its stability. While other parts of the infamous Thwaites Glacier crumbled, this wedge of floating ice acted as a brace, slowing the melt. It was supposed to be boring, durable, safe.

Now climate change has turned the ice shelf into a threat – to Pettit’s field work and to the world.

Planet-warming pollution from burning fossil fuels and other human activities has already raised global temperatures more than 1.1 degrees Celsius. But the effects are particularly profound at the poles, where rising temperatures have seriously undermined regions once locked in ice.

In research presented this week at the world’s biggest earth science conference, Pettit showed that the Thwaites ice shelf could collapse within the next three to five years, unleashing a river of ice that could dramatically raise sea levels.

Up north, aerial surveys document how warmer conditions have allowed beavers to invade the Arctic tundra, flooding the landscape with their dams. Large commercial ships are increasingly infiltrating formerly frozen areas, disturbing wildlife and generating disastrous amounts of rubbish. In many Alaska Native communities, climate impacts compounded the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to food shortages among people who have lived off this land for thousands of years.

“The very character of these places is changing,” said Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre and co-editor of the Arctic Report Card, an annual assessment of the state of the top of the world. “We are seeing conditions unlike those ever seen before.”

The rapid transformation of the Arctic and Antarctic creates ripple effects all over the planet. Sea levels will rise, weather patterns will shift and ecosystems will be altered. Unless humanity acts swiftly to curb emissions, scientists say, the same forces that have destabilised the poles will wreak havoc on the rest of the globe.

“The Arctic is a way to look into the future,” said Matthew Druckenmiller, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre and another co-editor of the Arctic Report Card. “Small changes in temperature can have huge effects in a region that is dominated by ice.”

This year’s edition of the report card, which was presented at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting on Tuesday, describes a landscape that is transforming so fast scientists struggle to keep up. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the global average. The October to December 2020 period was the warmest on record, scientists say.

Separately on Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed a new temperature record for the Arctic: 38 degrees in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk on June 20, 2020.

These warm conditions are catastrophic for the sea ice that usually spans across the North Pole. This past northern summer saw the second-lowest extent of thick, old sea ice since tracking began in 1985. Large mammals like polar bears go hungry without this crucial platform from which to hunt. Marine life ranging from tiny plankton to giant whales are at risk.

“It’s an ecosystem collapse situation,” said Kaare Sikuaq Erickson, Inupiaq, whose business Ikaagun Engagement facilitates cooperation between scientists and Alaska Native communities.

The consequences of this loss will be felt far beyond the Arctic. Sea ice has traditionally acted as Earth’s “air conditioner”; it reflects as much as two-thirds of the light that hits it, sending huge amounts of solar radiation back into space.

By contrast, dark expanses of water absorb heat, and it is difficult for these areas to refreeze. Less sea ice means more open ocean, more heat absorption and more climate change.

“We have a narrow window of time to avoid very costly, deadly and irreversible climate impacts,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Rick Spinrad said.

Record highs have also sounded the death knell for ice on land. Three historic melting episodes struck Greenland in July and August, causing the island’s massive ice sheet to lose about 34 trillion kilograms. On August 14, for the first time in recorded history, rain fell at the ice sheet summit…….

Though the Greenland ice sheet is more than a mile thick at its centre, rain can darken the surface, causing the ice to absorb more of the sun’s heat, Moon said. It changes the way snow behaves and slicks the top of the ice.

The consequences for people living in the Arctic can be dire. …………..

In Antarctica, University of Colorado-Boulder glaciologist Ted Scampos said “climate change is more about wind changes and ocean changes than warming – although that is happening in many parts of it as well.”

Though the continent stays frozen for much of the year, rising temperatures in the Pacific have changed how air circulates around the South Pole, which in turn affects ocean currents. Warm, deep ocean water is welling up towards coastlines, lapping at the ice sheet’s weak frozen underbelly, weakening it from below.

“This is triggering the beginnings of a massive collapse,” Scampos wrote in an email from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where he is preparing for a field trip to Thwaites Glacier’s failing ice shelf………………………………….

For many Arctic residents, climate change is a threat multiplier – worsening the dangers of whatever other crises come their way. Another essay in the report card documents the threats to Alaska Natives’ food security caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Quarantine restrictions prevented people from travelling to their traditional harvesting grounds. Economic upheaval and supply chain issues left many supermarkets with empty shelves.

But the essay, which was co-written by Inupiaq, Hadia, Ahtna and Supiaq researchers, along with experts from other Native communities, also highlights how Indigenous cultural practices helped communities stave off hunger. Existing food sharing networks redoubled their efforts. Harvesting traditions were adapted with public health in mind………………….

Though no place on Earth is changing as fast as the Arctic, rising temperatures have already brought similar chaos to more temperate climes as well. Unpredictable weather, unstable landscapes and collapsing ecosystems are becoming facts of life in communities around the globe.

None of this represents a “new normal,” Moon cautioned. It’s merely a pit stop on a path to an even stranger and more dangerous future.

Global greenhouse gas emissions are on track to keep rising. Governments and businesses have not taken the steps needed to avert catastrophic warming beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. There is every reason to believe that instability at the poles – and around the planet – will get worse.

But achieving the best case climate scenarios could cut the volume of ice lost from Greenland by 75 per cent, research suggests. International cooperation could prevent garbage from getting into the oceans and alleviate the effects of marine noise. Better surveillance and early warning systems can keep people safe when melting triggers landslides and floods.

“There’s such a big range and difference in what the future of the Arctic and the future anywhere on our globe can look like,” Moon said. “It all depends on human actions.”

The Washington Post   https://www.theage.com.au/world/north-america/climate-change-has-crashed-earth-s-air-conditioners-risking-rest-of-planet-20211215-p59hny.html

December 16, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain could ”shatter like a car windscreen” in the next 5 to 10 years

 An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain could “shatter like a car windscreen” in the next five to 10 years, causing a significant rise in global sea levels, scientists have warned. The Thwaites glacier in the western Antarctic is the widest on earth at 80 miles across.

A huge part of it is now in danger of breaking off and releasing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice into the ocean. Data from a comprehensive study by the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) shows that this colossal glacier is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and the effects of its collapse would be devastating.

Thwaites – also known as the ‘Doomsday glacier’ – has already lost an estimated 900 billion metric
tons of ice since 2000. Its annual ice loss has doubled in the past 30 years, and it now loses approximately 45 billion metric tons more ice than it receives in snowfall per year, according to The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC).

If the glacier were to break up entirely and release all its water into the ocean, sea levels worldwide would rise by more than 2 feet (65 centimetres), said ITGC lead coordinator Dr Ted Scambos. “And it could lead to even more sea-level rise, up to 10 feet (3m), if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it,” Dr Scambos said in a statement.

 Telegraph 14th Dec 2021

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/12/14/antarctic-glacier-size-britain-could-shatter-like-car-windscreen/

December 16, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Antarctic ice sheet changed alarmingly quickly in past – and may be happening again now

Our findings are consistent with a growing body of evidence suggesting the acceleration of Antarctic ice-mass loss in recent decades may mark the beginning of a self-sustaining and irreversible period of ice sheet retreat and substantial global sea level rise,

“When we might see the eventual stabilisation of the ice sheet is unknown, because it will depend significantly on how much future climate warming occurs.”

Antarctic ice sheet changed alarmingly quickly in past – and may be happening again now, more https://www.miragenews.com/antarctic-ice-sheet-changed-alarmingly-quickly-676904/  19 Nov 21, Patterns of rapid ice loss in the past could predict style of future Antarctic ice sheet retreat.

The melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet may have already passed a point of no return, a new study has found, and scientists say it could contribute to sea level rise over coming centuries and possibly millennia.

The study, published overnight in Nature Communications and co-authored by Dr Zoë Thomas and Professor Chris Turney from UNSW Sydney, used geological data from Antarctica combined with computer models and statistical analyses to understand how recent changes compare to those from the past going back thousands of years.

Our study reveals that during times in the past when the ice sheet retreated, the periods of rapid mass loss ‘switched on’ very abruptly, within only a decade or two,” says Dr Thomas.

“Interestingly, after the ice sheet continued to retreat for several hundred years, it ‘switched off’ again, also only taking a couple of decades.”

Dr Thomas says the Antarctic Ice Sheet went through many of these on/off episodes, each time contributing to global sea level rise as the world warmed at the end of the last ice age, about 20,000 years ago.

The researchers’ findings confirm computer modelling that had indicated that the diminishing ice sheet had passed a critical tipping point leading to irreversible loss of parts of the ice sheet below sea level.

“We have already observed over the last two decades that the Antarctic Ice Sheet has suddenly started losing ice which has contributed to rising sea levels around the world,” says Prof. Turney.

“But the satellite data showing this speed-up only go back about 40 years, so we needed longer records to put this change in context.”

Looking for clues

The researchers examined the gritty sediments released from melting icebergs that settled into mud on the sea floor for clues to the ice sheet’s history of retreat and growth phases.

By counting the amounts of this iceberg-rafted sediment through the core, the scientists were able to identify eight phases with high amounts of debris which they interpreted as retreat phases of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Each phase showed the same pattern – the ice sheet destabilised within a decade, contributed to global sea level rise for centuries to a millennium, and then subsequently re-stabilised equally rapidly.

Combining the sediment record with computer models of ice sheet behaviour, the team showed that each episode of increased iceberg calving reflected increased loss of ice from the interior of the ice sheet, not just changes in the already-floating ice shelves.

Professor Nick Golledge from Te Puna Pātiotio, the Antarctic Research Centre at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington, led the ice-sheet modelling.

“We found that iceberg calving events on multi-year time scales were synchronous with discharge of grounded ice from the Antarctic Ice Sheet,” he says.

Warning signs

Dr Thomas then applied statistical methods to the model outputs to see if early warning signs could be detected for tipping points in the ice sheet system. Her analyses confirmed that tipping points did indeed exist.

“If it just takes one decade to tip a system like this, that’s actually quite scary because if the Antarctic Ice Sheet behaves in future like it did in the past, we must be experiencing the tipping right now,” she says.

Lead author Dr Michael Weber, from the Institute of Geosciences at the University of Bonn, led the team that recovered cores of the sediment from the Southern Ocean.

“Our findings are consistent with a growing body of evidence suggesting the acceleration of Antarctic ice-mass loss in recent decades may mark the beginning of a self-sustaining and irreversible period of ice sheet retreat and substantial global sea level rise,” he says.

“When we might see the eventual stabilisation of the ice sheet is unknown, because it will depend significantly on how much future climate warming occurs.”

November 20, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

A nuclear arms race is unavoidable without serious intervention.

This one-upmanship will never provide a solution to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons. The only winning move is to step off the track and return to the negotiating table. The parties to the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty, including the P5 nuclear weapon states, are obliged to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race”. They will meet in January 2022 to take stock of their progress. Diplomacy, for all its certain challenges, is the only path forward.

A nuclear arms race is unavoidable without serious intervention. China, the US and Russia are each investing in highly effective missiles and defence systems,  https://www.ft.com/content/e30c0402-32a1-4c96-846d-48f2a2da7276 Ft.com LAURA GREGO  27 Oct 21, There are conflicting interpretations of the news that China has tested a specialised new long-range missile, capable of carrying a nuclear weapon around the Earth. US officials claimed it was part of a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) which could travel in Earth orbit and then release a manoeuvring vehicle to glide toward a terrestrial target. China’s Foreign Ministry objected to that description, calling the launch simply a test of reusable space technology.

Details may be obscure, but a few things are clear. One, none of these technologies are new, and it should be no surprise that China is capable of fielding them. Two, while China’s nuclear arsenal remains much smaller than that of the US or Russia, Beijing is pursuing strategies to make it larger and more sophisticated. A nuclear arms race is on, absent a serious effort to stop it.  

So why is China building new nuclear delivery systems and modernising its weapons after decades of retaining a modestly sized arsenal? One core driver is to make clear to an unconvinced United States that it is vulnerable to Chinese nuclear retaliation despite enormous investments in missile defences. Many of the technologies China is pursuing, including those believed to have been tested this summer, are designed to overwhelm or evade such defences.  

If this sounds familiar, it should. This dynamic has echoes of the US-Soviet Cold War arms race. Many of the technologies — FOBS, hypersonic gliders, missiles equipped with multiple nuclear warheads — are even the same. It took years for the United States and Soviet Union to arrive at a shared understanding that unconstrained pursuit of missile defences was destabilising the strategic balance.

However, having exited the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty designed to halt that race, the US has been developing a defence against intercontinental-range ballistic missiles for the past two decades. China’s new missiles hedge against the possibility that the United States may one day believe its technical advances permit it to strike China first while remaining invulnerable to a retaliatory nuclear attack.  


If this sounds familiar, it should. This dynamic has echoes of the US-Soviet Cold War arms race. Many of the technologies — FOBS, hypersonic gliders, missiles equipped with multiple nuclear warheads — are even the same. It took years for the United States and Soviet Union to arrive at a shared understanding that unconstrained pursuit of missile defences was destabilising the strategic balance. However, having exited the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty designed to halt that race, the US has been developing a defence against intercontinental-range ballistic missiles for the past two decades. China’s new missiles hedge against the possibility that the United States may one day believe its technical advances permit it to strike China first while remaining invulnerable to a retaliatory nuclear attack.

This one-upmanship will never provide a solution to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons. The only winning move is to step off the track and return to the negotiating table. The parties to the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty, including the P5 nuclear weapon states, are obliged to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race”. They will meet in January 2022 to take stock of their progress. Diplomacy, for all its certain challenges, is the only path forward.

October 28, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Scientists still don’t know how far melting in Antarctica will go – or the sea level rise it will unleash

Scientists still don’t know how far melting in Antarctica will go – or the sea level rise it will unleash

Chen Zhao and Rupert Gladstone

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest mass of ice in the world, holding around 60% of the world’s fresh water. If it all melted, global average sea levels would rise by 58 metres. But scientists are grappling with exactly how global warming will affect this great ice sheet.

September 21, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment