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Antarctic Sea Ice Hits New Max; Continent Still Warming

Antarctic Sea Ice Hits New Max; Continent Still Warming

The donut of sea ice encircling Antarctica is hovering around its yearly winter maximum area, and there’s little question that it’s going to set a record high this year. “Antarctic sea ice in 2014 is going to set a record for sure,” said Ted Scambos, a senior scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. This end-of-sea… Read More

Gravity Shift Reveals West Antarctic Ice Loss

Gravity Shift Reveals West Antarctic Ice Loss

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is headed toward “unstoppable” collapse according to recent studies. A new visual released by the European Space Agency show what the start of that collapse looks like both for the mass of the ice sheet and its signature on the planet’s gravitational field. We think of gravity as a constant, holding us in place on the p… Read More

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