Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA Scientist Claims Warmer Ocean Waters Reducing Ice Worldwide

27.03.2006


Jakobshavn Glacier Retreat 2001-2003: Jakobshavn Isbrae holds the record as Greenland’s fastest moving glacier and major contributor to the mass balance of the continental ice sheet. Starting in late 2000, following a period of slowing down in the mid 1990s, the glacier showed significant acceleration and nearly doubled its discharge of ice. The following image from the Landsat satellite shows the retreat of Jakobshavn’s calving front from 2001 to 2003. Credit: NASA


Glaciers and ice sheets around the world have a big problem: warmer waters.

According to a NASA scientist, the pieces to a years-old scientific puzzle have come together to confirm warmer water temperatures are creeping into the Earth’s colder areas. Those warm waters are increasing melting and accelerating ice flow in polar areas.

This conclusion appears in an article by Robert Bindschadler, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. His article is in the March 24 issue of Science magazine.



Temperatures collected from ships and buoys showed a warming of all oceans. That increase began before satellite sensors detected temperature increases of sea surfaces. Most of the warming was limited to the oceans’ upper 1000 meters (.62 mile), except in the North Atlantic. In the cold North Atlantic waters, heat penetrated even deeper. This warming has increased the melting of sea ice in the North Atlantic. Overall ocean heat content changes are monitored by ocean altimetry missions like TOPEX and Jason-1 and the on site Argo buoy network floats that broadcast measurements to a satellite. These provide information on ocean temperatures.

It has another effect, however, which may potentially be of great significance to sea level rise, and that is that these warm waters are beginning to melt the underside of the floating fringes of the Greenland ice sheet, even at great depths, It is these fringes that have been holding back vast stores of ice locked up in the Greenland ice sheet, and as this ice has been melting, the glaciers have hastened their flow to the sea.

A recent assessment in the changes in speed and the amount of snow and ice around Greenland confirms a large melting of outflow glaciers and acceleration of ice flow. Three large glaciers, the Kangerdlugssuaq, Helheim and Jakobshavns Isbrae have been melting at a rapid rate over the past several years. Jakobshavns, the largest outlet glacier on Greenland’s east coast, has been annually thinning at 15 meters (49.2 feet) since 1997. The other two glaciers have also been thinning. Kangerdlugssuaq at 40 meters (131.2 feet) per year and Helheim at 25 meters per year (82.0 feet), which can’t be explained by normal melting. All of these glaciers have also been accelerating. This isn’t just happening in Greenland, scientists are seeing similar behavior in Antarctica as well.

"Deep outlet glaciers around both major ice sheets are accelerating and thinning means warm water has reached them," Bindschadler said. "I see no process to reverse this and expect increased ice sheet discharge to continue and probably to spread with the result being further accelerations to sea level rise."

"Understanding just how significant these rapid losses are to the overall ice sheet balance requires a comprehensive look at melt, accumulation and flow characteristics over the entire ice sheet," said Waleed Abdalati, head of the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at Goddard. "Various satellite and aircraft observations are providing this critical information and are shaping our understanding of Greenland’s behavior. The story is still unfolding, but the dramatic changes at the margins are quite striking."

The evidence is clear to Bindschadler that increased snowfall predicted in a warmer climate can’t possibly keep up.

While it is true that the piece is opinion, it fits previously disconnected pieces of the climate and ice puzzle together and attempts to draw conclusions. The conclusions cannot be verified without new measurements, and NASA is compiling them with satellites like ICESat. ICESat enables scientists to precisely measure changes in the elevation of ice and snow on glaciers and ice sheets as they respond to a changing climate.

In an effort to understand these changes, NASA continues to monitor sea surface temperatures; and, the behavior of glaciers and ice sheets around the world.

Bindschadler said as sea ice diminishes over time in the Arctic and parts of the Antarctic, warmer waters in polar areas will come closer to the surface. They will reach shallower tidewater glaciers, and increase melting at their bases triggering additional ice flow into the oceans. Over time, the warmer waters also will move northward along Greenland’s coasts initiating acceleration and thinning of additional glaciers, leading to additional sea level rise.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2006/ice_puzzle.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming
19.10.2017 | Rice University

nachricht NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters
17.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>