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Global warming influence on extreme weather events has been frequently underestimated

Global warming influence on extreme weather events has been frequently underestimated, Science Daily, March 18, 2020

Source:
Stanford University
Summary:
Analysis shows global warming is intensifying the occurrence of unprecedented hot spells and downpours faster than predicted by historical trends.

A new Stanford study reveals that a common scientific approach of predicting the likelihood of future extreme weather events by analyzing how frequently they occurred in the past can lead to significant underestimates — with potentially significant consequences for people’s lives.

Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh found that predictions that relied only on historical observations underestimated by about half the actual number of extremely hot days in Europe and East Asia, and the number of extremely wet days in the U.S., Europe and East Asia.

The paper, published March 18 in Science Advances, illustrates how even small increases in global warming can cause large upticks in the probability of extreme weather events, particularly heat waves and heavy rainfall. The new results analyzing climate change connections to unprecedented weather events could help to make global risk management more effective.

We are seeing year after year how the rising incidence of extreme events is causing significant impacts on people and ecosystems,” Diffenbaugh said. “One of the main challenges in becoming more resilient to these extremes is accurately predicting how the global warming that’s already happened has changed the odds of events that fall outside of our historical experience.”

A changing world……. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200318143722.htm

March 23, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Polar ice melting at an accelerating rate

Polar ice caps melting six times faster than in 1990s  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/11/polar-ice-caps-melting-six-times-faster-than-in-1990s

Losses of ice from Greenland and Antarctica are tracking the worst-case climate scenario, scientists warn  Damian Carrington Environment editor @dpcarrington,Thu 12 Mar 2020   The polar ice caps are melting six times faster than in the 1990s, according to the most complete analysis to date.

The ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is tracking the worst-case climate warming scenario set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists say. Without rapid cuts to carbon emissions the analysis indicates there could be a rise in sea levels that would leave 400 million people exposed to coastal flooding each year by the end of the century.

Rising sea levels are the one of the most damaging long-term impacts of the climate crisis, and the contribution of Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating. The new analysis updates and combines recent studies of the ice masses and predicts that 2019 will prove to have been a record-breaking year when the most recent data is processed.

The previous peak year for Greenland and Antarctic ice melting was 2010, after a natural climate cycle led to a run of very hot summers. But the Arctic heatwave of 2019 means it is nearly certain that more ice was lost last year.

The average annual loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica in the 2010s was 475bn tonnes – six times greater than the 81bn tonnes a year lost in the 1990s. In total the two ice caps lost 6.4tn tonnes of ice from 1992 to 2017, with melting in Greenland responsible for 60% of that figure.

The IPCC’s most recent mid-range prediction for global sea level rise in 2100 is 53cm. But the new analysis suggests that if current trends continue the oceans will rise by an additional 17cm.

“Every centimetre of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting people’s lives around the planet,” said Prof Andrew Shepherd, of the University of Leeds. He said the extra 17cm would mean the number of exposed to coastal flooding each year rising from 360 million to 400 million. “These are not unlikely events with small impacts,” he said. “They are already under way and will be devastating for coastal communities.”

Erik Ivins, of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in California, who led the assessment with Shepherd, said the lost ice was a clear sign of global heating. “The satellite measurements provide prima facie, rather irrefutable, evidence,” he said.

Almost all the ice loss from Antarctica and half of that from Greenland arose from warming oceans melting the glaciers that flow from the ice caps. This causes glacial flow to speed up, dumping more icebergs into the ocean. The remainder of Greenland’s ice losses are caused by hotter air temperatures that melt the surface of the ice sheet.

The combined analysis was carried out by a team of 89 scientists from 50 international organisations, who combined the findings of 26 ice surveys. It included data from 11 satellite missions that tracked the ice sheets’ changing volume, speed of flow and mass.

About a third of the total sea level rise now comes from Greenland and Antarctic ice loss. Just under half comes from the thermal expansion of warming ocean water and a fifth from other smaller glaciers. But the latter sources are not accelerating, unlike in Greenland and Antarctica.

Shepherd said the ice caps had been slow to respond to human-caused global heating. Greenland and especially Antarctica were quite stable at the start of the 1990s despite decades of a warming climate.

Shepherd said it took about 30 years for the ice caps to react. Now that they had a further 30 years of melting was inevitable, even if emissions were halted today. Nonetheless, he said, urgent carbon emissions cuts were vital. “We can offset some of that [sea level rise] if we stop heating the planet.”

The IPCC is in the process of producing a new global climate report and its lead author, Prof Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir, of the University of Iceland, said: “The reconciled estimate of Greenland and Antarctic ice loss is timely.”

She said she also saw increased losses from Iceland’s ice caps last year. “Summer 2019 was very warm in this region.”

March 14, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear testing left a signature of radioactive carbon all around the world

When Linus Pauling accepted the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning against hydrogen bombs, he said that carbon 14 “deserves our special concern” because it “shows the extent to which the earth is being changed by the tests of nuclear weapons.”
If people’s teeth have a very low level of radiocarbon, it means that they were born well before Castle Bravo. [thermonuclear atom bomb test] People born in the early 1960s have high levels of radiocarbon in their molars, which develop early, and lower levels in their wisdom teeth, which grow years later. By matching each tooth in a jaw to the bomb curve, forensic scientists can estimate the age of a skeleton to within one or two years.

Even after childhood, bomb radiocarbon chronicles the history of our body.

Your Inner H-Bomb  Nuclear testing left a signature of radioactive carbon all around the world—in trees and sharks, in oceans and human bodies. Even as that signal disappears, it’s revealing new secrets to scientists. The Atlantic, Story by Carl Zimmer, 2 Mar 20, 
“…… Among the isotopes created by a thermonuclear blast is a rare, radioactive version of carbon, called carbon 14. Castle Bravo and the hydrogen-bomb tests that followed it created vast amounts of carbon 14, which have endured ever since. A little of this carbon 14 made its way into Clark’s body, into his blood, his fat, his gut, and his muscles. Clark carried a signature of the nuclear weapons he tested to his grave.
I can state this with confidence, even though I did not carry out an autopsy on Clark. I know this because the carbon 14 produced by hydrogen bombs spread over the entire world. It worked itself into the atmosphere, the oceans, and practically every living thing. As it spread, it exposed secrets. It can reveal when we were born. It tracks hidden changes to our hearts and brains. It lights up the cryptic channels that join the entire biosphere into a single network of chemical flux. This man-made burst of carbon 14 has been such a revelation that scientists refer to it as “the bomb spike.” Only now is the bomb spike close to disappearing, but as it vanishes, scientists have found a new use for it: to track global warming, the next self-inflicted threat to our survival. ……. Continue reading

March 3, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, environment, radiation, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Antarctic ice walls protect the climate

March 2, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Scientists warn on the seriousness of the collapse of many insect species

February 24, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, environment | Leave a comment

All wars are serious, but this climate war could have the direst consequences

THE ONE WAR THAT THE HUMAN SPECIES CAN’T LOSE  The New Yorker, By Robin Wright, 20 Feb 2020  “……… For almost a half century, I’ve covered wars, revolutions and uprisings on four continents, many for years on end. I’ve always been an outside observer watching as others killed each other. I lamented the loss of human life—and the warring parties’ self-destructive practices—from an emotional distance. In Antarctica, I saw war through a different prism. And I was the enemy. “  “Humans will be but a blip in the span of Earth’s history,” Wayne Ranney, a naturalist and geologist on the expedition, told me. “The only question is how long the blip will be.”

Last week, the temperature in Antarctica hit almost seventy degrees—the hottest in recorded history. It wasn’t a one-day fluke. Famed for its snowscapes, the Earth’s coldest, wildest, windiest, highest, and most mysterious continent has been experiencing a heat wave. A few days earlier, an Antarctic weather station recorded temperatures in the mid-sixties. It was colder in Washington, D.C., where I live.  Images of northern Antarctica captured vast swaths of barren brown terrain devoid of ice and with only small puddle-like patches of snow.

The problem is not whether a new record was set, “it’s the longer-term trend that makes those records more likely to happen more often,” John Nielsen-Gammon, the director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A. & M. University, told me this week……

The iceberg that I watched break off from Antarctica was part of a process called calving. It’s normal and a necessary step in nature’s cycle, except that it’s now happening a lot faster and in larger chunks—with existential stakes. The ice in Antarctica is now melting six times faster than it did forty years ago, Eric Rignot, an Earth scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and a co-author of a major study of the continent’s ice health, told me.

This month, an iceberg measuring more than a hundred square miles—the size of the Mediterranean island of Malta, or twice the size of Washington, D.C.—broke off the Pine Island Glacier (lovingly known as pig, for short) in West Antarctica. It then broke up into smaller “pig-lets,” according to the European Space Agency, which tracked them by satellite. The largest piglet was almost forty square miles.

The frozen continent is divided into West Antarctica and East Antarctica. (The South Pole is in East Antarctica.) Most of the melting and much of the big calving has happened in the West and along its eight hundred-mile peninsula. But, in September, an iceberg measuring more than six hundred square miles—or twenty-seven times the size of Manhattan—calved off the Amery Ice Shelf, in East Antarctica. Calving has accelerated in startling style. Two other huge soon-to-be bergs are being tracked as their crevices and cracks become visible from space. One is from pig in the West, the other is forming off the Brunt Ice Shelf in the East……….

“By 2035, the point of no return could be crossed,” Matthew Burrows, a former director at the National Intelligence Council, wrote in a report last year about global risks over the next fifteen years. That’s the point after which stopping the Earth’s temperature from rising by two degrees Celsius—or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit—will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, in turn triggering “a dangerous medley of global disasters.”

And that, in turn, goes back to ice and its role in fostering human civilization. “What’s coming—or is happening—is the end of the earth’s stability,” Glendon told me. “In human terms, that means a return to migration, but in a population of not just a few million, but several billion.”

Before I went to Antarctica, I checked in with Donald Perovich, a geophysicist at Dartmouth who tracks sea ice. We got to talking about wars. “You can argue that in all wars, there are winners and losers. Afterward, societies go on. There’s an opportunity to recover and move forward. If you approach climate change as a war, there are some really severe consequences across the board,” he told me. “This,” he added, “is the one war we can’t lose.” https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/antarcticas-ice-the-one-war-that-the-human-species-cant-lose?source=EDT_NYR_EDIT_NEWSLETTER_0_imagenewsletter_Daily_ZZ&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_source=nl&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_Daily_022020&utm_medium=email&bxid=5bea00ac3f92a404693b7a69&cndid=46508601&esrc=&mbid=&utm_term=TNY_Daily

 

 

February 22, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Giant iceberg ‘calves’ from Antarctic ice shelf

Shrinking Antarctic ice shelf Pine Island Glacier sheds giant iceberg, ABC News, Digital Story Innovation Team  By Mark Doman 14 Feb 20,  In one of the fastest-changing areas of the Antarctic ice sheet, satellites have captured the formation of a giant, 300-square-kilometre iceberg.

Researchers monitoring satellite imagery of the Pine Island Glacier (PIG), in west Antarctica, first noticed two large rifts forming in the shelf in 2019.

Over the next few months, as the glacier moved out towards the Amundsen Sea, the rifts expanded, eventually leading to the splitting of the iceberg from the glacier on February 9.

Within a day, the iceberg had broken up into smaller pieces.

Only one of the pieces was large enough to be named (B-49) and tracked by the United States National Ice Centre.

It comes just days after a station on the Antarctic Peninsula logged its hottest day on record, registering a temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius.

The peninsula, which juts out to the north-east of the Pine Island Glacier, is among the fastest-warming regions on the planet. Temperatures there have increased almost 3C over the last 50 years, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

Last month, scientists also recorded unusually warm water beneath the Thwaites Glacier, a neighbour to Pine Island.

While the calving of icebergs from shelves such as the Pine Island Glacier is a natural process in the life of a giant glacier, the rate at which this glacier and others in the region have been disintegrating is a cause of concern for scientists.

Previously the ice shelf calved once a decade. By the early 2000s, it started calving once every five years. But since 2013, the glacier has calved five times, according to Stef Lhermitte, a remote sensing scientist from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands……. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-13/antarctic-ice-shelf-pine-island-glacier-sheds-giant-iceberg/11957770

February 15, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Antarctic ice sheets could be at greater risk of melting than previously thought

December 3, 2019 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Radioactive chlorine from nuclear bomb tests still present in Antarctica

October 17, 2019 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, environment, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Surface melting causes Antarctic glaciers to slip faster towards the ocean

Direct link between surface melting and short bursts of glacier acceleration in Antarctica

Date:
September 20, 2019
Source:
University of Sheffield
Summary:
Study shows for the first time a direct link between surface melting and short bursts of glacier acceleration in Antarctica. During these events, Antarctic Peninsula glaciers move up to 100% faster than average. Scientists call for these findings to be accounted for in sea level rise predictions…….

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190920111355.htm

 

September 22, 2019 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns, and we are mostly to blame

 

 ABC , BLexi Metherell 6 May 19,

One million of the world’s species are now under threat of extinction, according to the biggest-ever review of the state of nature on Earth.

Key points:

  • The report, which draws on 15,000 scientific and government sources, says human use of land and ea resources are mostly to blame
  • The decline in nature is happening at rates that are unprecedented in human history, the UN report reveals
  • More than 40 per cent of amphibian species, almost 33 per cent of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened

The UN-backed report was three years in the making and was based on systematic reviews of 15,000 scientific and government sources.

Among a vast number of alarming findings is that the average population size of native species in most habitats on land has fallen by at least 20 per cent, mostly since 1900.

More than 40 per cent of amphibian species, almost 33 per cent of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are now under threat.

“We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” said Sir Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which put together the report.

The IPBES has 132 nation-members and is known as the equivalent of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but for biodiversity.

Human expansion and exploitation of habitats to blame

The report says that human use of the land and sea resources are mostly to blame, followed by direct exploitation of animals, climate change, pollution and invasive species.

More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75 per cent of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production, while urban areas have more than doubled since 1992.

Meanwhile, 300-400 million tonnes of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other waste is dumped into the world’s waters every year.

The decline in nature is happening at rates that are unprecedented in human history.

“It’s like reading a paper that says the natural world is in catastrophic decline and there is a chance that this catastrophe will take us all down with it,” said Tim Beshara, federal policy director of Wilderness Society.

Humanity is causing a slow-motion apocalypse of the natural world and that’s getting faster and faster as time goes on.”…………

Next year is a big year for global conservation. The signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is the global treaty meant to safeguard biodiversity, are scheduled to meet and sign a new post-2020 strategic plan.

Professor Watson said it’s an opportunity to reset the clock and design a global deal for nature and biodiversity.

“The sad thing is Australia has gone missing in these negotiations, they haven’t even turned up to the last major international negotiations around this matter, and as you are seeing in the federal election, biodiversity is just not even mentioned,” he said.

“That’s a shame because Australia is one of the few mega-biodiverse countries around the world — we have more species than just about every other country.”   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-06/biggest-global-assessment-of-biodiversity-sounds-dire-warnings/11082940  

May 7, 2019 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, environment | Leave a comment

Antarctic ocean heating up – caused by greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion

What’s Causing Antarctica’s Ocean to Heat Up? New Study Points to 2 Human Sources

With help from floating data-collectors, a new study reveals the impact greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion are having on the Southern Ocean. Inside Climate News, Sabrina Shankman SEP 24, 2018 The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is warming at an alarming rate—twice that of the rest of the world’s oceans. Now, researchers have developed more powerful evidence pointing to the human causes.

Though warming had been observed in the past, there was little historical data to allow scientists to pinpoint the causes with much certainty.

In a new study, researchers used climate models, the past observations that did exist and data flowing in from new ocean-going sensors to show how greenhouse gas emissions and the depletion of ozone in the atmosphere have led to both a warming of the Southern Ocean and an increase in its freshwater content. The findings also rule out natural variability as a major source of those changes.

“The observed warming is due to human influence,” said oceanographer Neil Swart, a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada who led the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience. “That may have been suspected or proposed before, but this is the evidence that really proves it.”

Ocean-Going Floats and Climate Models……..https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23092018/antarctica-warming-southern-ocean-human-greenhouse-gas-ozone-ice-loss-stu

September 26, 2018 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Sea levels could rise by up to 30 feet, due to Antarctic melting

At this rate, Earth risks sea level rise of 20 to 30 feet, historical analysis shows  New research finds that a vast area of Antarctica retreated when Earth’s temperatures weren’t much warmer than they are now, WP  Chris Mooney, September 20  2018

Temperatures not much warmer than the planet is experiencing now were sufficient to melt a major part of the East Antarctic ice sheet in Earth’s past, scientists reported Wednesday, including during one era about 125,000 years ago when sea levels were as much as 20 to 30 feet higher than they are now.

“It doesn’t need to be a very big warming, as long as it stays 2 degrees warmer for a sufficient time, this is the end game,” said David Wilson, a geologist at Imperial College London and one of the authors of the new research, which was published in Nature. Scientists at institutions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Spain also contributed to the work.

The research concerns a little-studied region called the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, which is roughly the size of California and Texas combined and contains more than 10 feet of potential sea-level rise. Fronted by three enormous glaciers named Cook, Mertz and Ninnis, the Wilkes is known to be vulnerable to fast retreat because the ice here is not standing on land and instead is rising up from a deep depression in the ocean floor.

Moreover, that depression grows deeper as you move from the current icy coastline of the Wilkes farther inland toward the South Pole, a downhill slope that could facilitate rapid ice loss.

What the new science adds is that during past warm periods in Earth’s history, some or all of the ice in the Wilkes Subglacial Basin seems to have gone away. That’s an inference researchers made by studying the record of sediments in the seafloor just off the coast of the current ice front……..

Humans have caused about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming above the preindustrial planetary temperatures experienced before the year 1880 or so. The world has pledged to avoid a warming above 2 degrees Celsius, and even hopes to hold the warming to 1.5 degrees, but current promises made by countries are not nearly enough to prevent these outcomes.

n other words, we are already on a course that could heat the planet enough to melt some or all of the Wilkes Basin.

“We say 2 degrees beyond preindustrial, and we’re already beyond preindustrial,” Wilson said. “So this is potentially the kinds of temperatures we could see this century.”

The study cannot reveal, however, just how quickly ice emptied out of the Wilkes Basin. The past warm periods in question are thought to have been driven by slight variations in Earth’s orbit as it rotates around the sun, leading to stronger summer heat. That warmth was maintained for thousands of years.

…….. The new research “contributes to the mounting pile of evidence that East Antarctica is not as stable as we thought,” Isabella Velicogna, a glaciologist at the University of California at Irvine, said by email. Velicogna was not directly involved in the paper…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/energy-environment/2018/09/20/antarctica-warming-could-fuel-disastrous-sea-level-rise-study-finds/?utm_term=.7c426ea2a985

September 21, 2018 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

New Zealand’s Antarctic veterans are advised on effects of their exposure to nuclear radiation

New Zealand warns its Antarctic veterans about radiation risks from leaky US Navy reactor  https://www.stripes.com/news/new-zealand-warns-its-antarctic-veterans-about-radiation-risks-from-leaky-us-navy-reactor-1.533546  By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES  June 19, 2018

The New Zealand government is warning personnel who worked in Antarctica in the 1960s and ‘70s about radiation from a leaky U.S. Navy reactor.

Alerts were posted online by the New Zealand Defence ForceAntarctica New Zealand and other government entities in January and reported by local media last month.

They advise people to contact the New Zealand Office of Radiation Safety or their doctor if they think they may have been exposed to radiation from the reactor used to power McMurdo Station, Antarctica, from 1962 to 1979.

The U.S. Department of Defense has assessed the risk of radiation exposure for those who worked near the power plant as low.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs ruled in November that retired Navy veteran James Landy’s “esophageal, stomach, liver, and brain and spine cancers, [were] incurred in active duty service.”

Landy worked at McMurdo as a C-130 flight engineer from 1970 to 1974 and from 1977 to 1981 before dying at age 63 in 2012, said his widow, Pam Landy.

He had pain in his kidneys and went to the doctor and they sent him to an oncologist who said he had cancer from radiation exposure,” she said in a phone interview Monday from her home in Pensacola, Fla.

Veterans who served in Antarctica should have been warned about the radiation risk, Pam Landy said.

“The government knew that thing was there. If they had given people a heads up he could have been diagnosed early and might have a shot at being alive,” she said. “I got a payout from the VA, but it’s a pittance compared to a life.”

The McMurdo reactor had many malfunctions, but personnel might also have been exposed during its decommissioning when soil and rock from the site was trucked through the base to be shipped off the continent, she said.

Peter Breen, 64, was a New Zealand Army mechanic about 2 miles from McMurdo at Scott Base from 1981 to 1982. Rock and soil from the reactor site was taken to a wharf in open trucks, and Breen fears he could have been exposed to contaminated dust blown by the wind or on ice harvested from nearby cliffs.

He’s campaigning for New Zealand Antarctic veterans to be recognized with a medal and offered health checks.

“It is not compensation that guys are after,” he said in a phone interview from his home in Tauranga, New Zealand. “They want a health-check program.”

robson.seth@stripes.com
Twitter: @SethRobson1

June 20, 2018 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, health, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Faster global warming predicted, with new Antarctic study

Climate Central   By Mikayla Mace, Arizona Daily Star  10 June 18

A group of scientists, including one from the University of Arizona, has new findings suggesting Antarctica’s Southern Ocean — long known to play an integral role in climate change — may not be absorbing as much pollution as previously thought.

To reach their contradictory conclusion, the team used state-of-the-art sensors to collect more data on the Southern Ocean than ever before, including during the perilous winter months that previously made the research difficult if not impossible.The old belief was the ocean pulled about 13 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change — out of the atmosphere, helping put the brakes on rising global temperatures.

Some oceanographers suspect that less CO2 is being absorbed because the westerlies — the winds that ring the southernmost continent — are tightening like a noose. As these powerful winds get more concentrated, they dig at the water, pushing it out and away.

Water from below rises to take its place, dragging up decaying muck made of carbon from deep in the ocean that can then either be released into the atmosphere in the form of CO2 or slow the rate that CO2 is absorbed by the water. Either way, it’s not good.

The Southern Ocean is far away, but “for Arizona, this is what matters,” said Joellen Russell, the University of Arizona oceanographer and co-author on the paper revealing these findings. “We don’t see the Southern Ocean, and yet it has reached out the icy hand.”

Oceans, rivers, lakes and vegetation can moderate extreme changes in temperature. Southern Arizona has no such buffers, leaving us vulnerable as average global temperatures march upward.

“Everybody asks, ‘Why are you at the UA?’” Russell said about studying the Southern Ocean from the desert at the University of Arizona. She said the research is important to Arizona and the university supports her work.

…….. scientists know less about the Southern Ocean than the rest of the world’s oceans. What they do know is mostly limited to surface CO2 levels in the summer, when it’s safer to take measurements by ships with researchers aboard. Shipboard sensors that directly measure CO2 are the accepted scientific standard in these types of studies.

Understanding CO2 levels within the air, land and sea and how it is exchanged between the three is necessary for making more accurate future climate predictions.

To fill the gap in knowledge, Russell and her team have deployed an array of cylindrical tanks, called floats, that collect data on carbon and more in the Southern Ocean year-round. Russell leads the modeling component of this project called Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling, or SOCCOM.

The floats drift 1,000 meters below the surface. Every 10 days, they plunge a thousand meters deeper, then bob up to the surface before returning to their original depth.

For three years, 35 floats equipped with state-of-the-art sensors the size of a coffee cup have been collecting data along the way and beaming it back to the researchers, like Russell in Tucson. Within hours, the data is freely available online.

They measure ocean acidity, or pH, and other metrics to understand the biogeochemistry of the elusive ocean, but not without controversy.

Making a splash

Alison Gray, an oceanographer at the University of Washington, is the lead author on the study. She said there are two reasons the study may contradict what has previously been thought of about the Southern Ocean: The lack of winter-time observations at the ocean by other researchers and the fact that ocean carbon levels might vary throughout the year.

So while SOCCOM is making it possible to get more data than ever before, others question her nontraditional methods. ………http://www.climatecentral.org/news/antarctic-ocean-discovery-warns-of-faster-global-warming-21865

June 13, 2018 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment