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Warming Air Was Trigger for Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse

Warming Air Was Trigger for Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse

It was clear to anyone who went to Antarctica in the summer of 2001-02 that it was an unusually warm one — record-setting, in fact — and just one in a series of warm austral summers. In December 2001, geologic oceanographer Eugene Domack, now at the University of South Florida, was part of an expedition sampling the Southern Ocean seafloor around… Read More

Antarctic Riddle: How Much Will the South Pole Melt?

Antarctic Riddle: How Much Will the South Pole Melt?

One of the biggest question marks surrounding the fate of the planet’s coastlines is dangling from its underbelly. The melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has long been a relatively minor factor in the steady ascent of high-water marks, responsible for about an eighth of the 3 millimeters of annual sea-level rise. But when it comes to climate change… Read More

Warming Puts Emperor Penguins at Risk of Extinction

Warming Puts Emperor Penguins at Risk of Extinction

The entire population of Antarctica's famous emperor penguins could fall by a third by the end of the century because of disappearing sea ice, putting them at risk of extinction, researchers said on Sunday. The finding justified protecting emperor penguins under the endangered species act – as America already does for polar bear – the researchers … Read More

Big Waves Bust Up Sea Ice, May Be Playing Role in Melt

Big Waves Bust Up Sea Ice, May Be Playing Role in Melt

Big ocean waves whipped up by storms hundreds or even thousands of miles away from Earth’s poles could play a bigger role in breaking up polar sea ice and thus contributing to its melt more than had been thought, a new study suggests. The study, detailed in the May 29 issue of the journal Nature, found that these waves penetrate further into the… Read More

Ocean Winds Put the Heat on Australia

Ocean Winds Put the Heat on Australia

The answer to one of the enduring puzzles of global warming — the apparently sluggish response of the Antarctic continent to rising greenhouse gas levels — may have been settled by Australian scientists. And, in the course of doing so, they may also have solved another problem: the parching of Australia itself. Nerilie Abram, of the Australian … Read More

Melt of Key Antarctic Glaciers ‘Unstoppable,’ Studies Find

Melt of Key Antarctic Glaciers ‘Unstoppable,’ Studies Find

Sea level rise estimates are going to need to be revised upward: A portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is home to some of the fastest-flowing glaciers on the continent appears to have entered a state of retreat and melt that is “unstoppable,” two new studies have found. “It has passed the point of no return,” said Eric Rignot, lead… Read More

Stability of East Antarctic Ice Basin May Be Overestimated

Stability of East Antarctic Ice Basin May Be Overestimated

Part of the East Antarctic ice sheet may be less stable than anyone had realized, researchers based in Germany have found. Writing in Nature Climate Change, two scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) say the melting of quite a small volume of ice on the East Antarctic shore could ultimately trigger a discharge of i… Read More

‘Oldest Living Things in the World’ Tell a Tale of Climate

‘Oldest Living Things in the World’ Tell a Tale of Climate

The spindly trunk of a Norway spruce reaches above the lichen-covered rocks. Nothing about the tree is remarkable aside from it being the only thing to reach more than a foot feet off the ground on a windswept plateau. Yet Rachel Sussman traveled the roughly 3,500 miles from her Brooklyn studio to western Sweden to photograph it. Its age is what d… Read More