Scientists at the US space research agency use probes dropped from the air to study the melting of Greenland’s ice.
Josh Willis, the leader of the Oceans Melting Greenland Project hopes they will be able to determine exactly how global warming is destroying the Greenland ice sheet. They want to find out which is the stronger factor driving the melting of sea ice: the warming of air, or the warming of sea water. The answer may be crucial for the future of Earth.
Willis’s theory is that water is melting Greenland ice faster. If that proves to be true, it is highly likely that Greenland will melt faster than we had thought. This means that sea levels will also rise faster and larger coastal areas will be flooded. Greenland has so much ice that if it all melted, sea levels would rise by six metres worldwide.
When research of the melting ice in Greenland began in the 1990s, scientists didn’t think that water played an important part in it.
Willis claims that today the question is how fast the water is melting the ice. NASA researchers are measuring water temperature and salt concentration 200 metres below the surface, because the water is warmer and saltier down there than at the surface. To perform those measurements, they are flying all around Greenland for five years in a 77-year-old World War II airplane that has been converted for scientific purposes.
Source: MTI – Hungarian News Agency
“Ice is the canary in the global coal mine. It’s the place where we can see and touch and hear and feel climate change in action.” Internationally recognised nature photographer James Balog believes it is extremely important to pay attention to the processes underway in the polar regions.
Rising sea levels caused by climate change and global warming are an increasing threat to the Netherlands, so the Dutch have started using an innovative device, a storm surge barrier to protect against them. The world’s largest storm surge barrier was built in the south of the country, at Maeslantkering.
The melting of glaciers has broken new records in Switzerland this year; they lost two percent of their ice mass this summer, while over the last five years, they have lost 10 percent of their volume altogether, which is unprecedented in the existing records spanning over 100 years.
The typhoon raging in Japan has claimed more than fifty lives; the number of injured has exceeded two hundred.
As a result of climate change, humanity is expected to face growing numbers of destructive storms in the future.
The rising sea levels and melting permafrost caused by climate change are causing crisis situations in a number of places around the world, resulting in tens of thousands of people having to leave their homes, while important agricultural areas also fall victim to the changes.
Climate change is causing severe problems in Antarctica, too: recently, a piece of ice weighing 315 billion tonnes broke off the area, while scientists investigating satellite images covering an area of 5 million square kilometres found tens of thousands of meltwater lakes, which indicates severe problems.
Massive snowstorms hit a number of north-western and northern states of the USA on 29 September.
Monsoon rain accompanied by storms and lightning hit the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India on 27 September. Tempestuous winds toppled trees and utility poles and tore off roofs, killing more than a hundred people.
On 24 September, the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountain Foundation) issued an avalanche warning on the Planpincieux Glacier, which is located on the eastern slope of the Grandes Jorasses peak.