The Hot Zone

Polar ice sheet melt largest source of sea level rise

Melting ice sheets from Greenland and Antarctica has long been tied to rising sea levels. But these two sources are outpacing all others — including mountain glaciers and ice caps — t0 become the dominant feature in raising the seas, according to a new study slated for publication this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Part of the reason for the significance of these polar ice sheets is that the rate of melt is accelerating. Researchers at the University of California,... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on March 9, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Earth Systems, The man made climate

Melting Arctic ice the result of warming Atlantic waters, not just atmosphere

Although air temperatures are often to blame for the melting of sea ice at the North Pole, scientists have been looking for another culprit, this time from below. Like a hot plate warming up a refrigerated meal, warm water circulating at 200-800 meters in the Atlantic flows underneath the surface layer of ice in the Arctic, toasting its underside. Normally, Arctic ice would be thick enough to create a cool enough buffer to the warm water below. But the underlying layer of warm water has further... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on January 11, 2011 1 Comment »
Category : Climate Science and Scientists, Earth Systems

Energy Audit

Where has all the energy from global warming gone? Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado trying to track global warming couldn’t account for about half of where the all net energy  goes. In a piece published today in the journal Science, the authors looked at measurements of incoming solar energy and outgoing radiative energy to show that the Earth is, indeed, warming. But they concluded that we have no idea where the excess energy is going. Certain... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on April 15, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Earth Systems

Fury of the Earth

By Alison Hawkes When the 7.0 magnitude earthquake ripped apart Haiti, I was reminded of how vulnerable we are to the Earth’s natural systems. Despite our ability to drastically change the climate, in the end we are subject to the forces of nature, whether they have been unleashed as a result of human actions or not. The images below were taken by the EO-1 spacecraft managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. They show the fault line south of Port-au-Prince that slipped and the resulting... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on February 15, 2010 1 Comment »
Category : Earth Systems

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