Rapid changes in high latitude ice volumes
- --- Antarctic Ice Shelves:
9 December 2003
Antarctic Glaciers Speed Up: Scientists at NSIDC have found that glaciers
around the area of
the Larsen B Ice Shelf accelerated immediately after it collapsed early
in 2002, and are still
--- Arctic climate is showing signs of rapid change:
Changes beginning in the 1970s and 1980s include:
warmer winters and springs over North America and Eurasia
warmer air over the central Arctic Ocean
warming in the Arctic Ocean at 200 to 900 meters depth
reductions in sea ice and snow extent
increases in terrestrial precipitation
warming permafrost in Alaska and Russia
increased plant growth
northward migration of the treeline
increased heat and moisture advection into the
Greenland and Barents Sea regions
increase in the temperature of the Atlantic water flowing
into the Arctic Ocean
thinning of multiyear arctic sea ice,
negative mass balance of glaciers.
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All of these are features of climate change, though there is some
debate as to how fast the heating process is occurring, not to
mention how much altered micro-climate patterns might either slow or
speed up the process; in other words, the northern reaches of Europe
will certain endure a temporary cooling as a result of already
changing ocean currents in the Atlantic, but how long this cooling
lasts is anyone's guess at this point. Likely, though, the influx of
fresh water runoff from the eastern seaboard will speed up the
process as the density of ocean waters change and thus affect those
much-needed warm currents. Certainly the increase in precipitation
will continue to contribute to the freshwater influx.. so it's like
a new climate engine is being built against our collective will...