Glacier

Less Ice or More? What You Need to Know About Antarctica’s Meltdown

Publication: NBC News   Date: December 13, 2014   View Article

In Antarctica, glaciers are sloshing seaward at an ever faster clip, ocean waters are warming, and, perhaps counterintuitively, sea ice is expanding, according to a batch of recent studies that paint a stark picture of climate change unfolding at the far southern reaches of the globe. For people in North America, the distant events raise the specter of higher seas sooner than climate models suggest.

Here are answers to key questions about what’s happening on that cold continent.

Human Activity Really Is Melting Glaciers, Study Says

Publication: NBC News   Date: August 14, 2014   View Article

Time lapse photography of shrinking glaciers makes a powerful visual case for the impact of human-caused global warming. That’s why, for example, it’s used in former Vice President Al Gore’s slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth, and by GlacierWorks, a nonprofit started by famed mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears to document climate change in the Himalaya.

But is human activity really causing the world’s glaciers to melt? After all, these rivers of ice have been melting ever since the Little Ice Age came to an end nearly two centuries ago, long before humans pumped out enough greenhouse gases to change the global climate. Perhaps the glaciers would be retreating even if humans never once burned a fossil fuel or cleared a forest.

“It seems to be so obvious that when it is getting warmer — and it is getting warmer because of human activity — the glaciers are melting because of human activity, but that actually hasn’t been shown before,” Ben Marzeion, a climate scientist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, told NBC News.

Now it has.

Scientists More Certain Than Ever on Climate Change, Report Says

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 26, 2014   View Article

Experts are more certain than ever that human activity is changing the global climate, even though they don’t fully understand every detail of the climate system, according to a new report released Wednesday by two of the world’s leading scientific bodies.

The document from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the United Kingdom’s Royal Society aims to move the climate change debate beyond humans’ role in global warming to a discussion of how to limit the impacts on society.

“Climate change is happening. We see it in temperature, we see it in the melting ice, and we see it in sea-level rise,” Inez Fung, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Berkeley and a co-lead author of the report, told NBC News. The changes are due to rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide with a chemical signature from the burning of fossil fuels, she added.

Greenland to sprout new shades of green as planet warms, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: August 28, 2013   View Article

Scientists have long expected Greenland to get greener as the planet warms. Now they have a better idea of what trees will be able to take root on the Arctic island as the glaciers there retreat inland over the course of this century.

Newly published research shows that human assistance will be key to the spread of any trees over the coming decades.

60 years after first Everest ascent, anyone can climb (online)

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 29, 2013   View Article

Sixty years ago, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay struggled to make the first ascent of Mt. Everest — but today, anyone with an Internet connection can easily trek to basecamp, take a virtual flight over the region’s glaciers, and see how the mountain has changed over the years.

“What we’ve heard from the scientists that study these specific glaciers is that the melt rate is increasing dramatically,” David Breashears, a famed mountaineer and filmmaker, told NBC News.

“One then says, well if we continue to put more carbon into the air … what will the glaciers look like and what will the consequences be?”

Chill out? Greenland glaciers’ acceleration to slow, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 8, 2013   View Article

For the past ten years, skyscraper-sized icebergs have cracked off glaciers in Greenland and tumbled into the sea at an ever-quickening rate in response to global warming, raising concerns about runaway ice loss and rising seas. The good news? The rate of acceleration will slow, according to a new study.

The slowdown is related to the physics and geography that govern glacier movement, not a forecast that the rise in global temperatures will halt anytime soon. Indeed, the ice sheets will continue to melt and push up sea levels around the world, just not as quickly as feared, the study’s lead author said.

Kilimanjaro’s Snows Gone by 2022?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 2, 2009   View Article

Ernest Hemingway must be reaching for a bottle of grappa in his grave. The snows of Kilimanjaro—inspirations for a Hemingway story of the same name—could be gone by 2022, a new study confirms.

The ice atop Kilimanjaro “continues to diminish right on schedule for disappearing, unfortunately, in the next couple of decades,” said glaciologist Lonnie Thompson at Ohio State University in Columbus.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach