Home > Uncategorized > Climate Progress – As Antarctica warms, a citadel of ice begins to melt

Climate Progress – As Antarctica warms, a citadel of ice begins to melt

From Climate Progress:

As Antarctica warms, a citadel of ice begins to melt

November 23, 2010

This is a re-post from Yale’s e360 blog by Fen Montaigne, author of the new book, Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica.

The fringes of the coldest continent are starting to feel the heat, with the northern Antarctic Peninsula warming faster than virtually any place on Earth. These rapidly rising temperatures represent the first breach in the enormous frozen dome that holds 90 percent of the world’s ice.

In 1978, when few researchers were paying attention to global warming, a prominent geologist at Ohio State University was already focused on the prospect of fossil fuel emissions trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. His name was John H. Mercer, and when he contemplated what might be in store for the planet, his thoughts naturally gravitated to the biggest chunk of ice on Earth — Antarctica.

“If present trends in fossil fuel consumption continue…” he wrote in Nature, “a critical level of warmth will have been passed in high southern latitudes 50 years from now, and deglaciation of West Antarctica will be imminent or in progress…  One of the warning signs that a dangerous warming trend is under way in Antarctica will be the breakup of ice shelves on both coasts of the Antarctic Peninsula, starting with the northernmost and extending gradually southward.”

Continue Reading

Energy and Global Warming News for November 23rd: Massachusetts clears Cape Wind for construction; Simple discoveries could enhance wind turbine efficiency by 18%; Saving energy with a ’slow wall’

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