Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antarctica - an awakening giant?

20.05.2005


The crucial role that Antarctica plays in global climate change and its future contribution to sea-level rise was highlighted today by Professor Chris Rapley, Director of British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Speaking at an international convention on climate change in Bonn, Germany* he presented a summary of the latest scientific results from Antarctica.

Professor Rapley said, “The issue of sea-level rise is of great concern to all of us – the contribution from Antarctica is the greatest uncertainty in the sea level rise debate. The last IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - 2001) report warned that Antarctica was a ‘slumbering giant’. Recent scientific evidence leads us to believe that the giant is waking up. Policy-makers need to know what the consequences will be for society.”

Computer models suggest that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet may thicken as a result of climate change, but observations from satellites and aircraft show that two other areas are thinning. These conflicting effects and the challenge of measuring them make it difficult at present to predict the contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, there is no doubt that its role will be significant.



In the last 50 years the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth. Predictions made by BAS scientists in 1998 that the warming threatened several ice shelves were realised in 2002 when, in less than a month, 3200 km2 of Larsen B ice shelf broke up into thousands of small icebergs. Recent research1 shows that as a result of ice shelf collapse, the glaciers that drained the peninsula have retreated1, thinned and accelerated dramatically2. BAS researchers have an urgent focus to assess how much these changes are contributing to sea level rise.

Elsewhere, satellite studies have shown that a large part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which may be prone to collapse, has been shown to be thinning. Earlier this year BAS and US National Science Foundation and the University of Texas scientists completed a huge airborne survey of this, the least explored area of the West Antarctic. The scientists flew 100 000 km collecting data that will allow better prediction of the future contribution of West Antarctica to sea level rise.

Linda Capper | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bas.ac.uk
http://www.antarctica.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>