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 Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

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: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins

12.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Materials scientist creates fabric alternative to batteries for wearable devices

12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

A two-atom quantum duet

12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>