Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University College London, and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, (Belgium) reveal that stronger westerly winds in the northern Antarctic Peninsula, driven principally by human-induced climate change, are responsible for the marked regional summer warming that led to the retreat and collapse of the northern Larsen Ice Shelf.
Global warming and the ozone hole have changed Antarctic weather patterns such that strengthened westerly winds force warm air eastward over the natural barrier created by the Antarctic Peninsula's 2 km-high mountain chain. On days when this happens in summer temperatures in the north-east Peninsula warm by around 5 degrees C, creating the conditions that allowed the drainage of melt-water into crevasses on the Larsen Ice Shelf, a key process that led to its break-up in 2002.
Lead author Dr Gareth Marshall from the British Antarctic Survey said, "This is the first time that anyone has been able to demonstrate a physical process directly linking the break-up of the Larsen Ice Shelf to human activity. Climate change does not impact our planet evenly – it changes weather patterns in a complex way that takes detailed research and computer modelling techniques to unravel. What we've observed at one of the planet's more remote regions is a regional amplifying mechanism that led to the dramatic climate change we see over the Antarctic Peninsula."
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For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
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