Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

West Antarctic ice sheet: Waking the sleeping giant?

20.02.2006


Antarctic ice sheets



SYMPOSIUM TITLE: Vital Organs in the Earth System: What Is the Prognosis?
PRESENTATION TITLE: West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Waking the Sleeping Giant?
SYMPOSIUM DATE: 19 Feb 2006, 08.30-11.30 am
SYMPOSIUM ORGANISER: International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, IGBP



The contribution that key regions of the Antarctic ice sheet are making to global sea-level rise is a cause for concern according to Director of British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Professor Chris Rapley. Speaking this week at the AAAS in St Louis he summarised the latest understanding from one of the frozen continent’s most remote and inhospitable corners.

Professor Rapley said, "Parts of the Antarctic ice sheet that rest on bedrock below sea level have begun to discharge ice fast enough to make a significant contribution to sea level rise. Understanding the reason for this change is urgent in order to be able to predict how much ice may ultimately be discharged and over what timescale. Current computer models do not include the effect of liquid water on ice sheet sliding and flow, and so provide only conservative estimates of future behaviour. Only five years ago, Antarctica was characterised as a slumbering giant in terms of climate change. I would argue that this is now an awakened giant and we should take notice."

In recent years glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet and two in East Antarctica have shown rapid thinning. Their common feature is that they all lie on rock well below sea level. The discharge in West Antarctica prompted scientists from BAS, US National Science Foundation and the University of Texas to embark on an airborne geophysical survey of the little visited area of the continent. Using two Twin Otter aircraft kitted out with a suite of survey instruments, the scientists collected data from the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers and their catchments. These new results provide a quantum jump in our knowledge of the bed topography and internal layering of the ice sheet in the region, and will result in due course in much improved estimates of its future contribution to sea level worldwide.

Linda Capper | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bas.ac.uk
http://www.antarctica.ac.uk
http://www.igbp.net

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Earth Day: Disease spread among species is predictable
24.04.2015 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Warming climate may release vast amounts of carbon from long-frozen Arctic soils
24.04.2015 | University of Georgia

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

Im Focus: NOAA, Tulane identify second possible specimen of 'pocket shark' ever found

Pocket sharks are among the world's rarest finds

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting...

Im Focus: Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data.

Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing: making a change often requires starting...

Im Focus: Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding is published in Physical Review Letters on April 24th. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope located in the Netherlands.

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was...

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrons Move Like Light in Three-Dimensional Solid

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Connecting Three Atomic Layers Puts Semiconducting Science on Its Edge

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Understanding the Body’s Response to Worms and Allergies

24.04.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>