Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ice shelf collapses in Antarctica

I must be developing a greater interest in global warming, or I am just coming across some amazing news (to me).

Today, scientists say that the Antarctic Peninsula is undergoing greater warming than almost anywhere on Earth, a condition that may be linked with human-induced greenhouse effects.

Says the journal Nature this week, "The spectacular collapse of Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf, an area roughly the size of Rhode Island, is unprecedented during the past 10,000 years."

Here is the gist of it from a press statement: "Evidence shows that the break-up of the ice shelf was caused by a combination of long-term thinning (by a few tens of meters) over thousands of years and short term (multi-decadal) cumulative increases in surface air temperature that have exceeded the natural variation of regional climate during the Holocene period (the last 10,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age)."

Eugene Domack, professor of geosciences at Hamilton College, authors this new report. He says that the Larsen B ice shelf is not alone in its demise. In recent years, the Antarctic Peninsula has lost ice shelves totaling over 4,825 square miles.

According to the G8 Summit Gleneagles 2005 in July, our "climate is changing. Over the past century average global temperatures have risen by 0.6° Celsius – the 10 warmest years on record have all been since 1990. There is now scientific consensus that this warming has been brought about by the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which in turn has been caused by human activities - primarily the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use."

Something to think about.

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