Ice melt projections may underestimate Antarctic contribution to sea level rise

Ice melt projections may underestimate Antarctic contribution to sea level rise
Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica, pictured in 2019. Credit: NASA

Fluctuations in the weather can have a significant impact on melting Antarctic ice, and models that do not include this factor can underestimate the global impact of sea level rise, according to Penn State scientists.


“We know ice sheets are melting as global temperatures increase, but uncertainties remain about how much and how fast that will happen,” said Chris Forest, professor of climate dynamics at Penn State. “Our findings shed new light on one area of uncertainty, suggesting climate variability has a significant impact on melting ice sheets and sea level rise.”

While it is understood that continued warming may cause rapid ice loss, models that predict how Antarctica will respond to climate change have not included the potential impacts of internal climate variability, like yearly and decadal fluctuations in the climate, the team of scientists said.

Accounting for climate variability caused

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2020 Antarctic Ozone Hole is one of the largest in recent years

2020 Antarctic Ozone Hole is one of the largest in recent years
2020 Antarctic Ozone Hole is one of the largest in recent years

Just one year after we saw the smallest ozone hole since its discovery, 2020’s Antarctic ozone hole has grown into one of the largest in recent years.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the 2020 Antarctic ozone hole has peaked in size and depth. NASA’s satellite measurements show that stratospheric ozone over Antarctica reached a minimum value of 95 Dobson Units as of October 1. With values on the rise again, this signals that the ozone hole as reached its maximum depth for 2020.

As of September 20, 2020, NASA recorded the ozone hole’s extent at an area of 25 million square kilometres. That’s the largest one-day extent measured since 2015.

“There is much variability in how far ozone hole events develop each year. The 2020 ozone hole resembles the one from 2018, which also was a

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Damage uncovered on Antarctic glaciers reveals worrying signs for sea level rise

Damage uncovered on Antarctic glaciers reveals worrying signs for sea level rise
Crevasses observed on Pine Island Glacier. These open fractures are a sign of structural weakening. Credit NASA

A new study into the structural damage of two major Antarctic glaciers reveals that ice shelf weakening has rapidly evolved in recent years. Multi-satellite imagery identified damage areas, sparking concerns that structural weakening could lead to major ice shelf collapse in the decades to come. This collapse, in turn, reduces the glaciers’ ability to hold back major sections of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet from running into the ocean.


Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier are located in the Amundsen Sea Embayment. The fastest-changing outlet glaciers in the region, they account for Antarctica’s largest contribution to global sea level rise. Scientists have anticipated for at least 20 years that these glaciers will be the first to respond to climate change, Jessica O’Reilly, an environmental anthropologist at Indiana University, told GlacierHub.

If the

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Antarctic Ice Sheet to melt, raise sea levels by 8.5 feet even under Paris Agreement

Sept. 23 (UPI) — The Antarctic Ice Sheet will suffer irreversible ice loss raising ocean levels by 8.5 feet even if the world meets global warming goals laid out by the Paris Agreement on Climate change, scientists said in a report published Wednesday.

The analysis determined there are a number of temperature thresholds above pre-industrial levels that will ultimately lead to increasing sea levels if the world’s nations don’t rein in emissions and global warming.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal nature, was conducted by researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the University of Potsdam in Germany, Columbia University in New York City, and Stockholm University in Sweden.

The researchers determined that if global warming is maintained at 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — as laid out by the Paris Agreement — sea levels would rise by 8.5 feet.

If the climate agreement is

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