ice sheets melting
In Greenland, a once doubtful scientist witnesses climate change's troubling toll
Petermann glacier has lost huge ice islands since 2010, and Andreas Muenchow thinks another break is coming.

Half a decade before he took this trip to the farthest reaches of the north, Andreas Muenchow had his doubts about whether warming temperatures were causing one of the world’s great platforms of ice to melt and fall apart.

He even stood before Congress in 2010 and balked on whether climate change might have caused a mammoth chunk of ice, four times the size of Manhattan, to break off from this floating, 300-square-mile shelf. The University of Delaware oceanographer said he wasn’t sure. He needed more evidence.

But then the Petermann Ice Shelf lost another two Manhattans of ice in 2012, and Muenchow decided to see for himself, launching a project to study the ice shelf intensively.

He was back again in late August, no longer a skeptic. It was hard not to be a believer here at 81 degrees north latitude, where Greenland and Canada very nearly touch. The surface of the bumpy and misshapen ice was covered with pools and puddles, in some cases frozen over but with piercing blue water beneath. Streams carved through the vast shelf, swelling into larger ponds or even small lakes.

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Alive and Well: Microbes Add to Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet.  

Scientists are investigating a new “positive feedback” in Greenland’s melting ice sheet - as climate warms, more microbial growth on the ice sheet is darkening ice, and hastening ice melt and sea level rise.


Overlooking A Mere In Delamere Forest.

‘Meres’ are ponds, or lakes, created at the end of the last Ice-Age by huge ice blocks (once part of the ice sheet) finally melting - but leaving a depression in the soft earth.  Cheshire’s water table is particularly high and so it fills these depressions - producing ponds that attract a huge variety of animal & plant life.

Cheshire, England.   October 2015.

Nikon D300 17-55 f2.8G   Shot at 17mm f22 1/40th sec. + fill-in flash (Nikon SB 800) + Manfrotto 190XB & 804RCII


Satellites Spy Nearly Quarter-Century of Sea Level Rise

These globes show a visualization of global sea level rise. The data used here, accurate to around 1.6 inches, comes from 23 years of direct NASA satellite measurement of changing ocean surface topography.

Josh Willis, the project scientist for JASON-3, NASA’s next mission to measure sea level rise from space, says what we see here is explainable by a simple fact. “As water heats up it takes up more room. This drives sea level rise,” he says in a recent video. “In addition, as glaciers and ice sheets are melted, extra water is added to the ocean–just like when you turn on your faucet in the bath tub.”

As the data shows, though, the simplicity of the drivers doesn’t mean the results around the planet are simple. Some parts of the ocean are rising faster than other areas, and a few regions are even seeing falling sea level heights. In the Eastern Pacific, for example, sea height dropped over the observation period due to a recurring phenomenon called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. See the video below.

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What Happens If All The World’s Ice Melts?

Climate change is causing the ice sheets to melt at an alarming rate. What would happen if all of the frozen ice in the ocean melted?

*spoiler* It’s not good…


Greenland ice sheet’s “extreme melt event” shatters temperature records, stuns scientists

Seasonal melt is normal in Greenland: Parts of the ice sheet melt each spring and then freeze again when the weather gets cold. But this year, when climate scientists at the Danish Meteorological Institute began to measure the seasonal melt, the data was unlike anything they had ever seen before. Here’s how much higher the temperature is compared to last year.

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