You've probably noticed that you read a lot of stories on Arctic melt, how quickly it's progressing, opening up shipping lanes and hurriedly moving towards ice-free summers. But what you don't read much about is melting of Antarctica's ice sheets. If global warming is causing polar ice melt - why don't we hear about Antarctica?
Well, that's because the continent's ice sheets aren't melting that much - not yet. Warming and melting are happening: the Antarctic peninsula is continually melting, the Wilkins ice shelf is collapsing, but overall the change is happening slowly (thankfully).
The reason for this is higher temperatures are mainly occuring during the winter and spring instead of the summer when almost all of the melt happens. The summer has been shielded from warming by strong circumpolar winds. Stronger winds act like a cold air seal, keeping warm air out. Over the past few decades, the winds have been stronger because of a thinner ozone layer, but that is reversing itself. Over the coming decades, the ozone layer will thicken, winds will become weaker, and warming - and melting - will increase.
Now, here's why that's scary. Antarctica's ice sheets contain enough frozen water to raise global sea levels by 60 meters. We've all seen the slideshow. So, for now, Antarctic ice is acting a bit like a sleeping giant, let's hope we find a way not to wake it.
via New Scientist
written by Wind Technician, January 08, 2010
written by concerned, January 09, 2010
written by Docrings, January 11, 2010
written by Michelle, January 11, 2010
written by Martin, January 14, 2010
written by Fernando Emilio Valladares Fuente, January 29, 2010
|< Prev||Next >|