West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melt Expected to Greatly Accelerate as Southern Ocean Warms: Part 1 of 3 // Feb 19, 2020
An island off the northernmost tip of Antarctica reached a record breaking temperature of 20.75 C (69.35 F) for the first time, after setting a record the previous week of 18.3 C (65 F), besting the previous record of 17.5 C (63.5 F) in March 2015.
I show on Earth Nullschool how:
- a dip in the Southern Hemisphere jet stream let warm air penetrate the Antarctica Peninsula;
- temperatures over this region in the last 50 years have increased by 3 C (5.4 F),
- which is 4 to 5 times the global average rise.
However it is the temperature rise in the Southern Oceans that greatly accelerates West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt.
Ref: ‘Ancient Antarctic ice melt increased sea levels by 3+ metres – and it could happen again’, by Sherry Landow, 12 Feb, 2020, from unsw.edu.au.
Ref2: Seymour Island.
Ref3: Antarctic island hits record temperature of 20.75C, 14 Feb 2020 BBC.
How Southern Ocean Warming Drives Substantial Ice Mass Loss from Antarctica; Part 2 of 3 // Feb 20, 2020
I continue to discuss a new paper that examines:
- how southern ocean warming drove substantial ice mass loss from Antarctica early in the last interglacial period (129 to 116 thousand years ago),
- and the implications of this today.
Back then, with warmer polar temperatures, global mean sea level was +6 to 9 m (roughly 20 to 30 feet) higher than today. With Greenland ice sheet melt contributing about 2 m, and ocean thermal expansion and melting mountain glaciers contributing about 1 m; that means Antarctica would have contributed between 3 to 6 m, mostly from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).
Ref2: ‘Early Last Interglacial ocean warming drove substantial ice mass loss from Antarctica‘, from Pnas, 11 Feb, 2020.
How close are Southern Ocean Temperatures to a West Antarctic Ice Sheet Tipping Point? Part 3 of 3 // Feb 20, 2020
I continue chatting on the new paper examining how southern ocean warming drove substantial ice mass loss from Antarctica early in the last interglacial period (129 to 116 thousand years ago), and the implications for us today of accelerated melt and sea level rise.
According to the paper, an early last-interglacial warning of Sea-Surface Temperature (SST) of 1.6 C relative to present day occurred; meanwhile SST temperatures bracketing coastlines of the most vulnerable West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) increased as much as 1 C between 1981 and 2010. Not good; we may be very close to a tipping point.
And, just in case you missed this recent prior series, from 11 Feb: ‘Sex-Crazed Grasshopper (Locust) Swarms Amplified by Climate Change Caused Extreme Desert Rainfall‘ and ‘Climate Induced Frenzy: Grasshopper Metamorphosis from Loner to Ravenous Super-Swarm Munchers‘.
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