Archive for January, 2016

Sea level rise

Reportedly that the rate of sea level rise may increase even faster than scientists could expect. Actually there are many causes why that can happen. But one of them is the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The ice sheet is accounted as an “unstoppable” yet. In the U.S. alone, nearly 30,000 square miles of land – home to 12.3 million people today – lies less than 10 feet under the high-tide line, including more than half the area of 40 large U.S. cities like New York City, Boston and New Orleans. Roughly one third of the U.S. population lives on low-lying land that is vulnerable to consequences of varying severity, from permanent inundation to saltwater intrusion into freshwater sources. Unless adaptation measures are taken, sea level rise could cost the globe $1 trillion annually by 2050.

What scientists just discovered in Greenland

A new study finds that climate change may affect the Greenland ice sheet more seriously than scientists could imagine.

The new study , published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, focuses on a part of the ice sheet known as “firn” – a porous layer of built-up snow that slowly freezes into ice over time. It’s considered an important part of the ice sheet because of its ability to trap and store excess water before it’s able to run off the surface of the glacier, an essential service that helps mitigate the sea-level rise that would otherwise be caused by the runoff water.

“As this layer is porous and the pores are connected, theoretically all the pore space in this firn layer can be used to store meltwater percolating into the firn whenever melt occurs at the surface,” said the new paper’s lead author, Horst Machguth of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland , in an email to The Washington Post. Over time, the percolating meltwater trickles down through the firn and refreezes.

Washington Post