ice shelfs

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A crack in the Larsen C ice shelf grew by 11 miles in the last week of May

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris climate agreement. Thousand of miles away in Antarctica, the devastating effects of climate change were making themselves abundantly clear.
  • Scientists at Project MIDAS tracking the Larsen C ice shelf reported that a rift in the ice shelf grew by an additional 17 kilometers, or 11 miles, between May 25 and May 31.
  • It’s just the latest period of rapid growth for the rift, which previously grew by 10 kilometers in January and 18 kilometers in the second half of December 2016. Read more (6/2/17)

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Sweat [M]

Pairing: Hoseok x reader x Yoongi

Summary: It’s a hot summer day and your boyfriends have an unorthodox method of trying to keep you cool.

Genre:  smut, pure smutty threesome, goodness, Poly!yoonseok

Word Count: 

Warnings: graphic depictions of sex, dirty talk, ice play

Originally posted by rapmonsexpensivegirl

The sun was already shining high in the sky when your eyes fluttered open. The overwhelming heat of the day had your shirt soaked to your skin. You groaned, reaching over to chug the glass of water on the table next to you. But the room temperature water wasn’t enough to satisfy your thirst. “It’s so fucking hot.” you mumbled as you slid off your mattress. The sheets were crumpled in a pile on the floor, somehow the 3 of you managed to kick them off the bed in your sleep. 

You padded down the hallway and the familiar sounds of your boyfriends arguing rang through your ears. Yoongi and Hoseok were on opposite sides of the spectrum. Fire and ice. Water and oil. But there was something about you that brought the two of them together.

Hoseok’s eyes immediately fell onto yours as you entered the living room, “Tell Yoongi you want to go to the beach today. He’s being a lazy ass and won’t let us go.”

You chuckled, “The beach does sound nice, Hobi. But it’s probably going to be packed.” you squeezed his shoulder gently as you made your way to the fridge and out of the corner of your eye you could see him pouting. Clearly not happy that you were siding with Yoongi in this democratic household.

“See, I told you she wouldn’t want to go.” Yoongi teased as he laid back down on the floor, a gummy smile spread across his glistening face. He stared at you with mischief in his eyes, but the thought of intertwining limbs in this heat sounded like the worst possible idea, no matter how hard he made you cum.

You opened the door to the freezer, finding sweet relief in the blast of cool air rushing towards your skin. It was days like this when you cursed your boyfriends for letting them talk you into this place. Your apartment was beautiful, and you loved it, but it didn’t have A/C. So every summer the three of you wandered across the apartment in various states of undress, hoping that the lack of clothing encasing your skin will offer relief.

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Ash by Malinda Lo (Cinderella)

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.


Cinder Ella by S.T. Lynn

Ella is transgender. She’s known since she was young; being a woman just fit better. She was happier in skirts than trousers, but that was before her stepmother moved in. Eleanor can’t stand her, and after Ella’s father passes she’s forced to revert to Cole, a lump of a son. She cooks, she cleans, and she tolerates being called the wrong name for the sake of a roof over her head. Where else can she go?

An opportunity to attend the royal ball transforms Ella’s life. For the first time, strangers see a woman when she walks down the stairs. While Princess Lizabetta invited Cole to the ball, she doesn’t blink an eye when Cinderella is the one who shows. The princess is elegant, bold, and everything Ella never knew she wanted. For a moment she glimpses a world that can accept her, and she holds on tight.

She should have known it wouldn’t last. Dumped by her wicked stepmother on the farthest edge of the kingdom, Ella must find a way to let go of the princess and the beautiful life they shared for an hour. She’ll never find her way back. But it’s hard to forget the greatest night of her life when every rose she plants is a reminder.

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Rewatching The Force Awakens the other day got me to thinking about some things. Bear with me. As Skywalker men go, Ben is so much like Anakin. Ben is a few years older than Anakin was before his ‘transformation’, but still. Angry, impatient, brooding, short tempered. Dare I say whiney? Three scenes which contrast his stoic power are when he twice smashes the computer consoles with his lightsaber (when he was told the droid had help escaping and when he returned to the cell to find Rey gone) and when he actually yelled like a petulant child to Snoke that Rey is strong with the Force. We all know how short fused Anakin was during his training and when he became a Jedi Knight. Constantly challenging the counsel, his temper flaring when things didn’t go his way. In that respect, they are very much alike.

As a Reylo shipper, I feel this way: Anakin and Padme’s relationship began in harmony, friendship, and love…yet turned to violence, grief, and a bit of hatred on Anakin’s part (as he mistakenly accused Padme of bringing Obi-Wan to destroy him). Kylo Ren and Rey’s relationship may mirrior that, just flipped around. Beginning in violence and hatred, ending in love. We shall see.

I also noticed something very telling during the lightsaber duel at the end. Yes, Ren flung Rey against that tree. But it was only because she attempted to fire the blaster at him. During their fight, I noticed that he never really swung the blade at her, but mostly at her lightsaber to perhaps knock if out of her grip and disarm her. He, as a Master of the Knights of Ren, could no doubt have taken that girl out with one blow - her newfound powers growing or not. It leads me to believe that he couldn’t harm her, for what is to come in their relationship. The writer’s have a plan. He never even rendered a jab to her, such as her arm, leg, etc. which he could have done for good measure just to weaken her or out of rage. They were in a battle, of course. Yet she jabbed him everywhere. The hip/leg, shoulder, face. The icing on the cake, was when the ice shelf fell away and their sabers locked. Come on. He could have pushed that wisp of a girl over the edge with a finger. A kick to her midsection. A blow of breath! But he didn’t. Not only that, he offered to keep her alive to train her. Sure, it would look good on his Galactic resume; turning a force sensative newbie to the darkside. But common sense tells me he wanted to keep her alive for another reason. Even after that, when she gathered stregth to fight him off, he knew he was in trouble. He should have ended it right there, before she grew even stronger in the force. But he didn’t, and it weakened him to the point of her her victory over him.

I don’t think he will too happy seeing Rey again, at least not initially. Sure, he admired her talent and was in awe of her abilities. But she bested him, and neither his inner self nor his Master will let him forget it. He may even grown to dispise Rey before he (hopefully) learns to love her. Again, we shall see.

I can understand why some fans don’t like a Reylo pairing. We all view Rey as the Heroine, and Ren the Monster. Yet the whole entire franchise was founded on the fall of a man who loved his woman so much he turned to the darkside to protect her. How is that different? As far as I’m concerned, (don’t send pitchforks my way) Kylo Ren had a terrible life. He doesn’t look like he’s had a moment’s peace since he was a child. Someone like Snoke can swoop in and exploit that with no problem. I watched through three original films hating Darth Vader and thinking 'I can’t wait until he gets his’. Yet at the eleventh hour, he redeemed himself and I was so happy! Then upon seeing the prequels I was heartbroken for him. So much manipulation on this good, brave man by the dark side. All he wanted was to love Padme. One side of the force told him that was a sin, and the other told him his love would destroy her. Ben Solo is no exception. Granted, he has a LOT of redeeming to do. When Han fell off that bridge I nearly choked. And it was at the hand of his son. But the fact Han cupped Ben’s cheek, letting him and US know he forgave him, makes me believe that we may be able to forgive him, too.

DON’T WORRY, IT’S JUST FAKE NEWS

A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Is 8 Miles From Creating an Iceberg the Size of Delaware

A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf is getting close to a full break, according to scientists. It has accelerated this year in an area already threatened by warming temperatures, and is now only about eight miles from the edge of the ice shelf.

The crack in Larsen C is more than 120 miles long, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles.Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, it will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, a research team from Swansea University and Aberystwyth University that has been monitoring the rift since 2014.

Because of the amount of stress the crack is placing on the remaining eight miles of the shelf, the team expects the break to happen soon.

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A Delaware-sized sheet of ice is about to break off from the Antarctic shelf

  • A Delaware-sized portion of the Antarctic ice shelf is poised to break off and float away.
  • The departing chunk of ice is part of what’s known as the Larsen C shelf, the site of a crack that got significantly larger in the latter half of 2016.
  • When the 2,000-square-mile iceberg finally breaks off, it will leave the remaining mass in a rather tenuous state.
  • But scientists still can’t say for sure what the long-term consequences will be. Read more

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Ice Ice Baby~ Victor Nikiforov for @forovnix / @slightlied ’s KIC verse. It is really A+ stuff guys!

This actually looked good until I got to the face and then once I had the face looking good everything was out of proportion so I had to redo it all which is why the legs aren’t there cause my hand cramped and- basically lads start drawing with the face and work your way down. Don’t be a Fool like me.

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Summary: Before Sansa leaves for King’s Landing, Jon unexpectedly gives her comfort, and something more, in a time of trouble. Ned Stark puts a stop to it.

For @jonxsansafanfiction Day 7: Flowers (Jon x Sansa: 15 Days of Valentines). Multiple POV.

Shoutout to @janebrkin for the lovely idea of Jon comforting Sansa during thunderstorms when she was little - I was inspired by your story and people should go read it! :)

Jon

Jon knew it was wrong, truly wrong, because his father was angry. Lady Catelyn had been known to come down hard on him for some perceived slight, but his father was fair, and rarely raised his voice. Lord Stark’s face was stormy now, his grey eyes like chipped flint.

“Never again, Jon, do you understand? You cannot–” Jon had seen his father at a loss for words before, but never with his mouth working quite this way. “Sansa is meant for–”

“A prince, I know, father.” Joffrey had pranced into Winterfell like the spoiled brat he was, and something about the way Sansa looked at him made Jon’s blood boil.

His father swallowed, then nodded. “Yes. A prince.”

Jon shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His father had ordered him into the Lord’s Chambers and pointed for him to sit, after bellowing at Jon and Sansa in the godswood. Sansa had fled. “Why were you cruel to her, father? I gave her the crown. It was my fault. Sansa didn’t do anything wrong.” Jon wasn’t sure what he’d done wrong either, but he knew Sansa was blameless.

His father ran a hand over his face. “I’ll talk to her, Jon. It’s not your fault, either, you just – you must promise me, now, never to be alone with Sansa again.”

Jon didn’t fully understand why he had to stay away from his half-sister, but he swore the oath then and there. He didn’t even risk saying goodbye to her when he left for the Wall. Sometimes, when he took the watch at night, he’d look out over the shelf of ice and remember the crown he’d placed in Sansa’s red hair. He’d whisper a prayer into the cold air that Joffrey had become the prince Sansa deserved.

***

It was only flowers. Sansa liked flowers, liked to plait them in her hair and tuck them into Lady’s collar. So when Jon learned what had happened to upset her, he picked most of the blue roses in the glass gardens. He snapped off the thorns and wove a kind of crown –lopsided, hardly the perfect construction Sansa would have made. Jon might not get along with Sansa easily, but he cared for her, just like he cared for all his family. Maybe not quite the same way, since Sansa had come of age and he’d been less able to meet her eyes. Something tightened in his chest now when he saw her toss her hair over her shoulder, and he wasn’t inclined to examine the feeling too closely.

Sansa was ecstatic when the royal visit was announced. Jon would need to practice staying out of the way, but Sansa was to be put forward as a candidate for betrothal to the Baratheon prince. Sansa had always been a thoughtful, courteous girl, and she’d made a gift for Joffrey. Jon had seen her bent over her work in her lap, the tip of her tongue sticking out as she concentrated. She’d presented Joffrey with a handkerchief, emblazoned with a golden lion, that even Jon could tell was finely worked. Joffrey had bowed to her, and Sansa glowed with happiness.

At least, she did until she picked up the handkerchief by the corner that afternoon, where Joffrey had dropped it in the mud. Joffrey and his guards had just passed by the training yard, where Robb and Jon were sparring. The sound of their ugly laughter made Jon angry. He came at Robb quicker than he should have, and got in a few blows before getting thwacked in the shoulder by Robb’s wooden sword. He was rubbing his arm as he saw Sansa and Jeyne walking together. 

Robb kept striding towards the gate. Jon saw Sansa was slumping, with her head down, and he slowed his pace. Being a bastard had few privileges, but this was one of them. Jon noticed things others didn’t, and since his station lent him a kind of invisibility, he was able to hear and see details others missed. He’d surprised his lord father more than once with his knowledge of the goings-on around the castle.

“I’ll never be able to get it clean, but I suppose it makes no difference. He didn’t care for it anyway.” Sansa was twisting the dirty handkerchief in her hands. “Oh Sansa, I’m so sorry, I’m sure he didn’t mean what he said.” Jeyne sounded as if she didn’t believe her own lie. Sansa had shaken her head. “It doesn’t matter, Jeyne. I’ll stitch him finer things. I’ll be more beautiful, I’ll make him love me.” The tremor in Sansa’s voice scared Jon the most, made him afraid for her, afraid of what she might give away to this boy. So he decided to give her something of her own.

He’d found her in the godswood the next day, and listened to her, and held out the makeshift gift. “The crown of love and beauty, for you, you’re already beautiful, Sansa. He’s your prince, he’ll love you and treat you kindly. He has to. Any prince would.” You’re worth loving, he wanted to say, but he thought that might be a step too far, even though it was true. Jon placed it on her head. She’d smiled, and asked him to play an old game. Father had crashed through the branches a few minutes later, yanking him by his injured arm, while Sansa ran. 

Sansa 

The stitching, Sansa thought numbly, I’ll never get the mud out. She’d begged gold thread from her mother, too, to make sure the lion’s head gleamed. Her favor had floated half-in, half-out of the puddle. Joffrey’s sneering remark echoed in her ears. All she could think was that her needlework must have been coarse, and uneven, though she’d checked and checked. She had to do better, though she wasn’t sure how. So when she heard someone step through the trees into the godswood, she was momentarily angry. Couldn’t she be left alone, to cry, to be unladylike for once in her life? She wiped her eyes, and held tight to the low tree branch. A light rain had started to fall, and the bark was slightly slippery.

Jon emerged from the leaves. He was prone to sulking, and there was an anger and melancholy that never left him. But before her mother made it clear she was to have nothing to do with Jon, when she was very little, and scared of storms outside her window, Sansa would sometimes go to him at night and ask to sleep in his bed. Robb would let her too, of course. He would chuckle, and muss her hair, and tell her there was nothing to worry about before falling back asleep. Sansa would still shake, though, each time the thunder boomed. Robb was big and strong, her oldest brother. He wasn’t frightened by the storm. But Sansa was small, so small it was hard for her to climb into Robb’s bed. She couldn’t stop the fear that coursed through her each time the thunder sounded as if it would swallow her up. Jon would tell her it was all right to be scared. He would hold her, and talk to her, until the rain ceased. She could still recall how warm he’d been, how he’d sing to her in a high, sweet voice if she asked. Her lady mother forbade her from joining her half-brother in bed when she turned six, and Sansa learned that the word “bastard” separated Jon and Robb. Although Sansa dutifully turned her head away now when Jon walked by, she remembered that he’d been gentle with her, when they were children.

Still, she was ashamed of her tears, and wasn’t sure she wanted to share them. “Did you come to mock me too, Jon?” She heard the thread of anger in her voice, but held her chin high. Jon stopped in front of her, strangely quiet. It took her a moment to realize he was holding a mass of blue flowers in his hand.

“No, Sansa. I – I came to see if you were all right.”

If he had been wheedling, or commanding, she would have sent him packing. Instead he let the silence draw out between them, and Sansa began to relax. Then, slowly, she began to talk, in fits and starts. “I wasn’t – the gift, Jon, I made Joffrey a favor, I spent weeks on it, getting every stitch right, though there’s no reason for you to know that–“

“I saw you,” Jon said. “You’d work on it day and night. You brought it outside a few times, while we trained.”

“The sunlight, it’s best for certain techniques, I – you noticed?” She thought Jon Snow would be the last person to pay attention to an embroidery hoop.

“You seemed…tense, while you did it. And you stuck your tongue out.” The corner of his mouth quirked.

“I do that when I’m concentrating. Though I’d rather others couldn’t tell.”  She gathered her skirts in an effort to look dignified, even when sitting in a tree. “Yes. Well. I’d hoped – I’d hoped the prince would like it. I’m only a lady, Jon, not a princess, I have to show him I’m not stupid, I’m worth marrying, worth bringing to King’s Landing, there are so many others he could choose. I heard him, did you know that? I heard what he said, when he dropped it. ‘Trust a dog not to know a lion’s likeness.’” She twisted her damp hair around her finger. Jon listened to her, really listened as she talked, it felt liked so few people did that anymore. “I did my best, Jon, I asked Maester Luwin to show me pictures in the library, I stitched the lion as fine as I could.”

He held the flowers out to her mutely. “Thank you Jon.” Sansa was polite, but puzzled. “What is it?”

“It’s a crown,” Jon said. “Love and beauty.” She and Robb and Jon had played this game a thousand times when they were younger, the Queen of Love and Beauty. Robb, her bright-eyed brother with the easy laugh, had always won, and named her his queen. Jon was the one before her now, serious and solemn. She bowed her head. When he placed the crown on her hair, his touch was light. He told her she was beautiful, and any prince would love her.

She drew strength from his gesture, enough to bring back some of her good humor. “Should you swear fealty then?” Robb would have teased her, and chucked her under the chin. She half-expected Jon to stammer out an excuse, and leave the way he came. Instead Jon simply went down on one knee, and took her hand. They were too old for this game, and perhaps that was the reason for the flush on her cheeks. His curls were wet, and stuck to his forehead. He brushed the back of her hand with his lips. “My queen.” Jon looked up at her with dark eyes as if she already was a queen, as if there was no room for doubt.

She held onto that look, even after father’s lecture, even after arriving in King’s Landing. She thought back on it when Joffrey’s men struck her, when Littlefinger undressed her with his eyes.

After she bled, when she was to be wed to the man she knew to be a monster, she picked at the blue roses she’d embroidered on her gown. I’m already beautiful. Any prince would love me. Sansa started to cry. Jon had spoken those words that day as if they were as true and as plain as the rain that soaked her hair. 

Ned

Promise me, Ned. Ned knew he was terrifyingly close to failing Lyanna, when he saw Jon Targaryen kneeling before his daughter in the godswood, as a crown of winter roses graced her hair. Sansa’s gaze was rapt, and Jon looked at her like she was the sun and stars together. No, he thought, Jon, stop, you can’t, a love like this once broke the world apart. So he shattered the scene, sending Sansa running, dragging Jon back to Winterfell’s halls. He’d forbid his daughter and his nephew from spending time with each other. He’d send Jon to the Wall, and escort Sansa safely to King’s Landing, before he’d let a love so strong and dangerous bloom again.

A newly formed crack in the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica extends as far as the eye can see. The fracture is currently measured at 100 feet wide and over 100 miles long, growing more than 50 miles alone since 2011. If this chunk of ice breaks away, roughly 2,000 square miles will be lost - that’s roughly the size of the state of Delaware. The break is the latest example of major ice loss in the fast warming Antarctic Peninsula and could lead to a rise in global sea levels by roughly four inches (10 centimeters).

Photo taken from airplane by John Sonntag for NASA

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The Seafarer’s Kiss, by Julia Ember

Friends have been telling me for ages that I absolutely needed to read Julia Ember’s books.  Unicorn Tracks has been a favorite in my bookworm groups, and people won’t stop telling me how fantastic her YA writing is. So when the opportunity came to read her new book, The Seafarer’s Kiss, I leapt at the opportunity. And, excuse my all caps here, THIS BOOK WAS INCREDIBLE!

Summary

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Musings

If you were to combine The Littler Mermaid with The Handmaid’s Tale and Norse Mythology, you might have something that looks a little like The Seafarer’s Kiss. It tells the story of a young mermaid who finds a shield-maiden who’s been shipwrecked near her ice craves, and their relationship as they both deal with separate objectifying societies. Ersel the Mermaid lives in a restrictive and patriarchal society, where women are valued only for their fertility due to te harsh cold of the icy northern waters. Ragna was born blessed with moving tattoos, making her a prize catch for rival clans.

The worldbuilding in this novel was exquisite. Everything was carefully thought through and relevant, managing to surprise the reader at every turn. Including Loki as a main player in the novel - who has they/them pronouns, which I thought was a nice touch - elevated the story to a complexity you don’t always get to see in YA novels. This is not a simple retelling of the Little Mermaid, it’s so much more than that. It’s got real magic running through it.

Ember has created a society for the merpeople that makes sense in their context, something not modeled off human society as you might expect. Explaining how their biology has adapted to the cold was brilliantly done: the scales that trap the heat and keep the merpeople warm when they dive deep, or how they eat to grow their blubber. It was funny to me that Ersel’s first thought when she saw Ragna was how scrawny she was.

Not only was the character development masterfully crafted (Ersel’s growth was perfection) but the relationships were relatable and compelling as well. There were so many different kinds of love here: maternal love, friendship, romance… beautiful bonds that explored relationships both healthy and toxic.

If I was a little ticked off, it was by Ersel’s “I’m not like other girls” mentality. She loves to explore shipwrecks, is/was best friends with a guy, and doesn’t want the life of eternal motherhood that everyone else her ages does. She’s sometimes cruel and mocking towards others of her age. But can we really blame her?

And if you’re into YA for the romance, then you’re going to love the relationship between Ersel and Ragna.  Their friendship that grows into something more, their fierce independence and respect for each others worlds… and not to mention their insane cuteness. Love them!

Please read this book! If you love YA, you’re going to love Ersel and Ragna. But make no mistake: this book is crazy dark. Dark, beautiful, and powerful. An instant favorite you won’t be able to put down.  

5/5 Stars!

rollingstone.com
Jeff Goodell, The Doomsday Glacier
In the farthest reaches of Antarctica, a nightmare scenario of crumbling ice – and rapidly rising seas – could spell disaster for a warming planet.

This is terrifying.

A few years ago, James Hansen, the godfather of global-warming science, told me that he believed the IPCC estimates were far too conservative and that the waters could rise as much as 10 feet by 2100. For Hansen, the past is prologue. Three million years ago, during the Pliocene Epoch, when the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was about the same as it is today, and temperatures were only slightly warmer, the seas were at least 20 feet higher. That suggests there is a lot of melting to come before the ice sheets reach a happy equilibrium. Mountain glaciers could contribute a little bit, as would the thermal expansion of the oceans as they warmed, but to get to more than 20 feet of sea-level rise, Greenland and Antarctica would both have to contribute in a big way.

[…]

But in recent years, things have gotten weird in Antarctica. The first alarming event was the sudden collapse, in 2002, of the Larsen B ice shelf, a vast chunk of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula. An ice shelf is like an enormous fingernail that grows off the end of a glacier where it meets the water. The glaciers behind the Larsen B, like many glaciers in both Antarctica and Greenland, are known as “marine-terminating glaciers,” because large portions of them lie below sea level. The collapse of ice shelves does not in itself contribute to sea-level rise, since they are already floating (just like ice melting in a glass doesn’t raise the level of liquid). But they perform an important role in buttressing, or restraining, the glaciers. After the Larsen B ice shelf vanished, the glaciers that had been behind it started flowing into the sea up to eight times faster than they had before. “It was like, ‘Oh, what is going on here?' ” says Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. “It turns out glaciers are much more responsive than anyone thought.”

[…]

One day, Alley was thinking about a problem that Dave Pollard, a colleague at Penn State, and Rob DeConto, a climate scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, had been having with their climate model. DeConto and Pollard had been collaborating for years to develop a sophisticated model to help them understand the impact of warming from fossil-fuel pollution on Greenland and Antarctica. Climate models are computer programs that try to capture fundamental physics of the natural world, such as, if the temperature warms one degree, how much will the seas around the world rise? It is not a simple question, and requires calculating everything from changes in how much sunlight the ice reflects to how much one degree of heat causes the Atlantic Ocean to expand. Models have gotten a lot better in the past few decades, but they still can’t simulate all the processes in the real world.

One way that scientists test how well a model might predict the future is by seeing how well it recreates the past. If you can run a model backward and it gets things right, then you can run it forward and trust that the results might be accurate. For years, DeConto and Pollard have been trying to get their model to re-create the Pliocene, the era 3 million years ago when the CO2 levels in the atmosphere were very close to what they are today, except the seas were 20 feet higher. But no matter what knobs they turned, they couldn’t get their model to melt the ice sheets fast enough to replicate what the geological record told them had happened. “We knew something was missing from the dynamics of our model,” DeConto tells me.

Alley suggested they plug in his new understanding of ice physics, including the structural integrity of the ice itself (or lack thereof), and “see what happens.” They did, and lo, their model worked. They were able to get the Pliocene melt just about right. In effect, they found the missing mechanism. Their model was now road-tested for accuracy.

The next thing that DeConto and Pollard did, of course, was run the model forward. What they found was that, in high-emissions scenarios – that is, the track we are on today – instead of virtually zero contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctica by 2100, they got more than three feet, most of it from West Antarctica. If you add in a fairly conservative estimate of the contribution to sea-level rise from Greenland in the same time frame, as well as expansion of the oceans, you get more than six feet – that’s double the high-end IPCC scenario.

For anyone living in Miami Beach or Brooklyn or Boston’s Back Bay or any other low-lying coastal neighborhood, the difference between three feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and six feet is the difference between a wet but livable city and a submerged city – billions of dollars worth of coastal real estate, not to mention the lives of the 145 million people who live less than three feet above sea level, many of them in poor nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia. The difference between three feet and six feet is the difference between a manageable coastal evacuation and a decades-long refugee disaster. For many Pacific island nations, it is the difference between survival and extinction.

[…]

In any case, the threat is clear. In a rational world, awareness of these risks would lead to deep and rapid cuts in carbon pollution to slow the warming, as well as investment in more research in West Antarctica to get a clearer understanding of what is going on. Instead, Americans elected a president who thinks climate change is a hoax, who is hellbent on burning more fossil fuels, who installs the CEO of the world’s largest oil company as secretary of state, who wants to slash climate-science funding and instead spend nearly $70 billion to build a wall at the Mexican border and another $54 billion to beef up the military.

[…]

In the end, no one can say exactly how much longer the West Antarctica glaciers will remain stable. “We just don’t know what the upper boundary is for how fast this can happen,” Alley says, sounding a bit spooked. “We are dealing with an event that no human has ever witnessed before. We have no analogue for this.” But it is clear that thanks to our 200-year-long fossil-fuel binge, the collapse of West Antarctica is already underway, and every Miami Beach condo owner and Bangladeshi farmer is living at the mercy of ice physics right now. Alley himself would never put it this way, but in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered the engine of catastrophe.

Struggles of a Body Double

[finally getting around to filling out some Borderlands Summer Bingo prompts. Not…particularly summer oriented in this case, but yeah.]

His teeth are chattering within his skull as he just…well staring is too light a term for what he’s doing at the moment.

Gawking is probably more accurate.

They’re in the middle of the Frozen Wastes, Timothy bundled up so tightly that he’s practically lost all mobility in his limbs…and his boss is eating a popsicle.

Not just any popsicle, though. Oh no no no. A normal popsicle would never suit the great (and clever, don’t forget to mention that cleverness and wit) Handsome Jack.

No. Jack, at that precise moment, is gnawing on a frozen replica of his head. Not licking. Gnawing, teeth sinking into the ice with such relish that a shiver runs down his spine.

An ice shelf cracks in the distance, and if Tim could bundle up any further into his parka he would.

At the moment, however, the only exposed feature are a pair of mismatched eyes. Currently watching in horror as Jack takes one of the eyes from the treat and pops it into his mouth.

He lets out a contented groan, his teeth stained blue before he offers the treat out towards the body double.

The man politely shakes his head, Jack only shrugging before he goes back to eating.

“Remind me why you brought us here, sir?” Tim asks through chattering teeth, the syllables as choppy as the waves Tim sees in the distance.

“Coupla Vault Hunters coming,” Jack somehow manages to say around the frozen piece in his mouth. “Need to plan.”

He turns back towards the railway, new and gleaming in the sun as he suddenly pops the whole popsicle into his mouth.

He says something as he gestures grandly with his hands, turning to Tim with a grin. The popsicle is between his teeth, and when Tim only glances back at the railway Jack frowns.

He pops out the treat, looking at his body double with disapproval.

“So handsome and yet no vision,” Jack tuts, his double shifting uncomfortably at the compliment. “Keep that up and I might put ya on the train with them.”

Tim blanches as he looks at his boss, eyes wide as his heart thuds in his ears.

Jack has shifted to sucking on his mouth now, and Tim is grateful for the hood to hide his grimace.

Probably would suck tongues with himself, the narcissistic prick.

There’s a sudden pressure on his arm and he glances down, a gloved hand around his forearm.

“And what’s this?” Jack chastises, raising Tim’s arm. Well, a few inches from his side, but enough to make his point. “You’re supposed to be building muscle, not having arms like a pool noodle.”

He drops his double’s arm sharply before he looks at the railway again.

The popsicle is out of his mouth with an audible pop, and based on his expression Tim halfway expects him to start tapping it against his jaw thoughtfully.

Instead, the man reaches forward, tugging down Tim’s hood before he squeezes his jaw between his thumb and forefinger.

Tim can barely open his mouth to protest before the popsicle is shoved in, the coldness causing Tim to jolt.

Jack pats his cheek before he turns back to the train, grinning to himself.

“Ya know kiddo, sometimes I really am just a genius,” Jack murmurs, looking at the railway with a fondness most people would reserve for their children.

He turns on his heel, whistling to himself as he stuffs his hands into his pockets.

Tim waits until he’s a good distance away before he all but spits out the popsicle. Wiping his mouth with a grimace before Jack whistles at him to catch up.

The treat sinks into the snow as Tim trudges away with a long sigh reserved for one Handsome Jack.

Not that he ever lets Jack hear, of course.

He’s not a man with a death wish.

Indiana Gothic
  • it was 80 degrees yesterday. today it snowed. it’s april. you won’t be able to fall asleep tonight completely terrorized on how the fuck you will ever dress for the weather tomorrow
  • you wonder how many people will drown to death in Lake Michigan this summer, and how many people will fall through the shelf ice next winter. the numbers are ever increasing. 
  • HELL IS REAL signs dot every country road and highway. “I know hell is real”, you think to yourself. “I’m living in it”. 
  • each road is cragged and crevassed with potholes and cracks. you hit a particularly deep one with your tires as you drive through town. the check engine light flashes on. it will never turn off again
  • even the smallest towns have at least five churches. you’ve never attended a service. strangely and sadly, none of them offer the salvation you crave.
  • your town is dead after 8 pm, even on weekends. the aged neon signs of each and every business, bar and brothel ceremoniously die for the night. you wish you had died with them.
  • Eerily, all Hoosiers live 200 years in the past. Amish folk can often be observed ambling down the road in horse drawn carriages. We also have a brand new law allowing businesses to discriminate against gay people and refuse them service.