The Hot Zone

Groundwater depletion adding to sea level rise

The melting of the polar ice caps gets a lot of attention for global sea level rise. But another contributing factor to higher tides is groundwater depletion. More than 6 percent of the sea level rise in the last century is from the movement of land-locked water to the oceans. That’s according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the most recent edition of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Groundwater depletion for human consumption and agricultural and industrial... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 30, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans, The man made climate

Oceans levels have always varied, despite today’s rising tide

The IPCC assumes sea levels have barely changed over the past two millennia, setting today’s rate of 2 to 3 millimeters per year in stark contrast. But some scientists are questioning that simplification. Ocean levels, it seems, have never been stagnant. Glaciers and ice sheets have come and gone. Land masses have moved course. The Earth’s crust has rebounded following glacial melt from the last Ice Age, and that’s changed the volume of water in the oceans too. Understanding... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on August 31, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Newly discovered jet stream off Iceland coast regulates climate

It’s not every day that you discover a new ocean current – especially one in the Arctic that could be impacted by climate change. But scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway, in concert with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, have done just that. Deep below the ocean surface off Iceland, Kjetil VÃ¥ge and colleagues came across what they’ve named the North Icelandic Jet, a key contributor to the Atlantic Ocean conveyor belt. This overturning of warm water from the... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on August 22, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Antarctic ice sliding along bedrock to melt in warming sea

Scientists trying to map the melting of ice in Antarctica have come up with a discovery. Much of the ice flowing into the ocean is not the result of “deformation” of glaciers. Rather, the ice is sliding along bedrock. “That’s critical knowledge for predicting future sea level rise,” said Thomas Wagner, a NASA cryospheric program scientist in a press release. “It means that if we lose ice at the coasts from the warming ocean, we open the tap to massive amounts... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on August 21, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Arctic ice might expand in coming decades

Arctic sea ice is melting at a fast and steady rate. Or is it?  Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have discovered that the polar ice might temporarily expand for as a long as a decade before succumbing to longer term melting trends. In a study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists explain this surprising conclusion. Using computer simulations, they found that the amount of sea ice loss over the 20th century could not be... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on August 12, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Impacts of climate change felt way into future

The delay, or lag time, in the Earth’s climate system means that the full impacts of global warming will be felt long into the future. Well past our lifetimes, even. Atmospheric warming is followed by ocean warming is followed by a melting of polar ice sheets is followed by sea level rise. Scientists are trying to predict this new, warmer state by looking into the record of past eras of climate change. In a study out of the University of Arizona, researchers found that melting ice sheets had... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on July 18, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Could farmers be a solution to climate change?

Here’s a bit of hope amongst the doom and gloom of climate change. Set aside for a moment the massive engineering feat that would be required of pumping CO2 into underground storage tanks. That idea is going who knows where. A potentially viable solution to restoring carbon back into the earth resides with simple changes in the way we farm. An aerial view of farms in Tansmania. Photo: A piece in Discover magazine, Could Dirt Help Health the Climate?, outlines the way agriculture... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on July 7, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Early warning of climate ‘tipping points’ is possible

A climate ‘tipping point’ occurs when a small change triggers a cascading set of catastrophes that upsets the entire climate system for a long time.  Examples? The melting of the Greenland ice sheet trigger accelerated sea level rise, a die back of the Amazon rainforest removes a crucial atmospheric carbon sink, and an alteration of the ocean conveyor belt shuts down the Atlantic Gulf stream. What if you could predict a ‘tipping point’? Almost like the arrival of a hurricane... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 23, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans

Atlantic waters rising at fastest rate in 2,000 years

Photo: Milan Boers on Flickr. The sea level rise off the U.S. Atlantic shoreline is rising faster than any time in the past 2,000 years, according to a new study published this week. Since the 19th century, sea level has shot up more than 2 millimeters per year on average, far faster than other periods of global temperature change. Yale University-led scientists came to that conclusion by reconstructing the first continuous sea-level rise rates for the past two millennia and then comparing it to... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 20, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans, The man made climate

Can species adapt to climate change within decades?

Do organisms have the ability to adapt to climate change on a timescale of decades? A study published in the recent online journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B set out to test that question with the little West Coast tidepool copepod, Tigriopus californicus, which normally shows an ability to tolerate wide ranges in temperatures. Photo: Ron Burton University of California at Davis lead author Morgan Kelly brought the little critters into a lab, selecting eight populations native within a range... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 14, 2011 No Comments »
Category : The Oceans, The man made climate

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