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LFC's Photo LFC 07 February 2020 - 05:20 PM

There's more bad news concerning the Thwaites Glacier.


For the first time, scientists have measured the presence of warm water at a vital point underneath rapidly melting Thwaites Glacier – which the BBC once labeled as Doomsday Glacier – in western Antarctica. With Pine Island and Smith Glaciers, Thwaites is sometimes called the weak underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. At its surface, it moves at 1.2 miles per year (2 km per year) near its grounding line. The water below it was measured earlier this year, through a small but extremely deep hole drilled in Thwaites Glacier at the point where the bedrock underlying the glacier meets the sea. A January 29, 2020, statement from New York University (NYU), which conducted the research, said this finding is:


… an alarming discovery that points to the cause behind the gradual melting of this ice shelf while also raising concerns about sea-level rise around the globe.

The recorded warm waters were more than two degrees above freezing.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet – whose bed lies well below sea level and whose edges flow into ice shelves that jut out and float on the Amundsen Sea – has been watched carefully for some years. Scientists believe it has the potential to collapse suddenly, raising sea levels around the world. The new measurement of warm water under Thwaites Glacier is just a small piece of the puzzle of this region, one of many studies that have been conducted in recent years, as scientists try to determine the stability of the ice sheet. According to the scientists who conducted this study:


Thwaites’ demise alone could have significant impact globally.

It would drain a mass of water that is roughly the size of Great Britain or the state of Florida and currently accounts for approximately 4 percent of global sea-level rise. Some scientists see Thwaites as the most vulnerable and most significant glacier in the world in terms of future global sea-level rise. Its collapse would raise global sea levels by nearly one meter, perhaps overwhelming existing populated areas.

David Holland and Keith Nicholls led the expedtion to Antarctica in January 2020. Here they are operating a borehole winch to lower a turbulence device into the ocean cavity on Thwaites Glacier. Image via David Holland/ NYU.

The new measurement was made at the glacier’s grounding zone; that’s the place at which the ice transitions between resting fully on bedrock and floating on the ocean as an ice shelf. The scientists’ measurements were made in early January 2020, after the research team used hot water drilling to create an access hole in the glacier. The hole was not very wide (35 cm or about a foot wide). But it was extremely deep – 600 meters (2,000 feet) deep – or about the depth of 6 1/2 American football fields laid end to end. The researchers then deployed an ocean-sensing device to measure the waters moving below the glacier’s surface.

Traveler's Photo Traveler 07 February 2020 - 10:19 PM

This is just bad luck. It ain't AGW. This has been known for a while.

MSheridan's Photo MSheridan 08 February 2020 - 02:06 AM

You've seen this rebuttal?

AnBr's Photo AnBr 08 February 2020 - 08:18 AM

What a piece of work this James E. Kamis is.

"I stand by all the Plate Climatology Theory articles because they represent and prove my belief that geological forces have a strong influence or in some cases control climate and climate-related events."

It "proves" his theory? Beyond a shadow of a doubt I take it. He only holds a BS and was an employee of oil and mining companies for most of his adult life. Hmm...

Traveler's Photo Traveler 08 February 2020 - 08:27 AM

View PostMSheridan, on 08 February 2020 - 02:06 AM, said:

You've seen this rebuttal?
I had not. I had heard about the subglacial melting from other sources, so I just googled what came up. Seemed reputable. Thanks for the correction. I still think subglacial warming contributes, in that it lubricates the glacier. But the real issue is subglacial melting in the ocean, which drives the glacier. Best of both worlds...

HockeyDon's Photo HockeyDon 09 February 2020 - 09:12 AM

Those disinformation re-colorings shouldn't be a surprise.

Personally, I like the XKCD chart. It starts at the last glaciation, but even just cutting it off at the 1500 A.D. to present shows just how drastic the change is.

LFC's Photo LFC 12 February 2020 - 05:41 PM

Ooooohhhh, the sacrifice I'm willing to make.


Researchers may have found a form of climate action even those most apathetic about the planet's future can get behind. Airthena is a demonstration unit that sucks carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Among its likely applications is making beer, and it could be the entry-point the technology needs to go on to much bigger things.

Airthena harnesses the power of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), lattices whose holes can be tuned to capture a specific gas even at low concentrations. A decade ago, scientists were excited about the potential to collect carbon dioxide released in electricity production so that it could be stored underground rather than adding to global warming. Today, with fossil fuels struggling to compete on price with the plunging costs of wind and solar, this is looking less economic, but Dr Aaron Thornton of Australia's CSIRO thinks the same technology could cool the world in other ways.

Besides making drinks fizz, carbon dioxide is used for industrial cleaning, and the first Airthena will keep hydroponic tomatoes fed. Some of this CO2 is produced by yeast in the process of beer production, while some is currently collected from power plant or ammonia factory waste streams. However, in Australia some is deliberately mined or from on-site methane burning, making its release into the atmosphere after the drinks' consumption bad for the planet.

Moreover, Thornton told IFLScience, even when carbon that would have been released anyway is captured, “there's a lot of energy used in transportation”, a particularly big problem in spread-out countries like Australia where large-scale capture only occurs at a few sites. These issues hit small CO2 users like microbreweries much more than big ones. Capturing two tonnes a year without needing a lot of space, Airthena could fit this market well.

"As it requires just air and electricity to work, Airthena offers a cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally-friendly option to recycle CO2 for use on-site, on-demand," Thornton said in a statement.

Although this is better for the environment than consuming drinks made with carbon dioxide from other sources, Thornton readily acknowledges that customers breathe the gas out, rather than sequestering it. Beer made this way doesn't directly help the environment compared to drinking tap water.

LFC's Photo LFC 13 February 2020 - 05:30 PM

More Antarctic toastiness.


The Antarctic region has set another stunningly high temperature record: 69.35 degrees Fahrenheit (20.75°C).

Brazilian scientists detected the balmy temperature on February 9 on Seymour Island, just off the tip of the Trinity Peninsula, the section of Antarctica closest to South America, first reported by The Guardian.

“We are seeing the warming trend in many of the sites we are monitoring, but we have never seen anything like this,” said Carlos Schaefer, a Brazilian government scientist who studies the Antarctic, told The Guardian.

The new record came less than two days after a temperature of 64.9 degrees F (18.3°C) was recorded on the continent — which broke the previous record set in 2015.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that Esperanza, Argentina’s research base on the Trinity Peninsula, detected the previous balmy temperature spike on February 7. The record prior to that, 63.5 degrees, in 2015.

golden_valley's Photo golden_valley 13 February 2020 - 06:32 PM

My husband has been saying we should take a cruise to Antartica soon before all the penguins die.

LFC's Photo LFC 14 February 2020 - 10:16 AM

View Postgolden_valley, on 13 February 2020 - 06:32 PM, said:

My husband has been saying we should take a cruise to Antartica soon before all the penguins die.

While that's not going to happen in our lifetimes I wonder how long Glacier National Park is going to last as an exceptional site.

Traveler's Photo Traveler 15 February 2020 - 08:26 AM

Interesting article on how the fires have affected Australians' perceptions. Really sad for me, remembering what many of those places looked like. Glad I had the chance when I did. Which is really selfish, I know. Sorry.

AnBr's Photo AnBr 15 February 2020 - 03:17 PM

It is an article that almost makes me want to breakdown and cry. Right-wingers are literally destroying the world around us,

Beelzebuddy's Photo Beelzebuddy 18 February 2020 - 11:39 AM

View PostAnBr, on 15 February 2020 - 03:17 PM, said:

It is an article that almost makes me want to breakdown and cry. Right-wingers are literally destroying the world around us,
So much winning

LFC's Photo LFC 18 February 2020 - 11:46 AM

Japan is hitting the accelerator on coal fired power plants.


Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is leaning into coal power, a striking move at a time when the climate crisis is accelerating and most of its economic peers are cutting back on the high-polluting energy source.

The prospect of more coal has been looming for years: In 2018, Japan proposed adding 36 new coal plants to its fleet. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that Japan has revised that plan but is still on track to add a total of 22 coal-fired power plants at 17 sites in the next five years. Some 15 of these plants are already under construction.

If all 22 plants were to come to fruition, Japan will install enough new coal power capacity to emit an additional 74.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, more than the total emissions of countries like Norway and Sweden.

This coal buildout would make Japan, the world’s fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, the only G7 country building more coal power plants domestically and the largest G7 financier of coal generation in other countries.

pnwguy's Photo pnwguy 18 February 2020 - 02:29 PM

View PostLFC, on 18 February 2020 - 11:46 AM, said:

I get why they have a difficult relationship with nuclear power, especially after the Fukushima disaster and their WW2 suffering.

But maybe they feel a need to suck up to the chief MAGAt, who "digs coal". Well, only in his imagination. He couldn't work the mines with those bone spurs...

Rich T Bikkies's Photo Rich T Bikkies 19 February 2020 - 04:12 AM

View Postpnwguy, on 18 February 2020 - 02:29 PM, said:

But maybe they feel a need to suck up to the chief MAGAt, who "digs coal".

Scene: a mortician's office, San Francisco, 1967.

Prospective customer Do you dig graves?

Mortician: Yeah, man, they're cool.

I didn't put this in the Non-Political Humour thread because you all (not y'all!) would jump down my throat and say it wasn't funny.

AnBr's Photo AnBr 20 February 2020 - 12:56 PM

From Christians Against Drugs

Posted Image

LFC's Photo LFC 20 February 2020 - 03:12 PM

Coral reefs are dying.


As our planet warms, thousands of species will struggle to adapt, becoming confined to smaller spaces or dying out altogether. One group of life on Earth already feeling the heat, and projected to decline severely in the years to come, is corals. New research, presented at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting, predicts that coral reef habitats may have disappeared almost entirely by 2100.

The key contributors, the researchers say, are warming waters and ocean acidification, both the result of human-driven climate change. The team believes that in the next two decades, we could lose between 70 and 90 percent of the world’s coral reefs, an alarming statistic.

So are mussels.


Whilst walking along Maunganui Bluff Beach in New Zealand’s North Island, resident Brandon Ferguson made a startling discovery: hundreds of thousands of mussels cooked to death. “Heat-stress” from lying in the Sun and mid-day low tides are thought to be responsible.

In a video recently posted on Facebook, Ferguson could not hide his shock at the mass of dead mussels.


Ferguson was out on the coast gathering food with his friends and family when they came across swathes of them. Concerns for the green lipped mussels were raised last year in a report by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, which laid out the state of New Zealand’s marine environment and how climate change is affecting its life.

Amongst other findings, the study found that from 1981 to 2018, sea surface temperatures increased between 0.1°C and 0.2°C every decade. The report explained that warming seas could affect the timing and development of green-lipped mussel larvae.

However, it is not just rising sea-temperatures that prove threatening to the mussels. Lying exposed in the scorching summer Sun likely added to the “heat-stress” the mussels were under, Andrew Jeffs, a marine scientist at the University of Auckland, told the New Zealand Herald. “You imagine lying in the midday sun every day for four hours for the best part of a week. You'd be pretty sunburnt at the end of that," he told The Herald, as quoted by Business Insider.

The mussel graveyard was found days after New Zealand’s North Island recorded an inland temperature of 40°C (104°F) for the first time in at least 15 years. Record-breaking temperatures have already been recorded this year in other parts of the world, from Norway to Antarctica.