HUGE: Atmospheric Rivers Triggered Collapse of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves Larsen A and Larsen B

HUGE: Atmospheric Rivers Triggered Collapse of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves Larsen A and Larsen B // Apr 14, 2022

A HUGE and significant new peer reviewed scientific study/paper ties the collapse of both Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelf collapses on the Antarctica Peninsula to Atmospheric Rivers (ARs).

We know that ARs we’re recently blamed for the simultaneous heat waves in the Arctic (30 C temperature anomaly) and in Antarctica (40 C temperature anomaly).

Now, this new paper I discuss shows that ARs are responsible for over 60% of large ice sheet calving events in the last two decades since they:

bring extremely warm temperatures to the ice sheets
cause extensive surface melt, followed by ice fracturing via hydrofracking forcing
remove significant sea-ice in the proximity of the ice shelves
cause large ocean swells to destabilize the ice shelves
–Basically, Atmospheric Rivers are hammering the glacial ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic, greatly increasing ice calving and melt losses.

Since this AR mechanism is not accounted for in any climate models, it represents a mechanism to greatly accelerate polar warming, ice destruction, and sea level rise.

Ref: Intense atmospheric rivers can weaken ice shelf stability at the Antarctic by Peninsula, Wille, Favier, Jourdain, Kittel, Turton, Agosta,Gorodetskaya (et al), Published: . Download PDF–14 pp. here.

The disintegration of the ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula have spurred much discussion on the various processes leading to their eventual dramatic collapse, but without a consensus on an atmospheric forcing that could connect these processes. Here, using an atmospheric river detection algorithm along with a regional climate model and satellite observations, we show that the most intense atmospheric rivers induce extremes in temperature, surface melt, sea-ice disintegration, or large swells that destabilize the ice shelves with 40% probability.

This was observed during the collapses of the Larsen A and B ice shelves during the summers of 1995 and 2002 respectively. Overall, 60% of calving events from 2000–2020 were triggered by atmospheric rivers. The loss of the buttressing effect from these ice shelves leads to further continental ice loss and subsequent sea-level rise. Under future warming projections, the Larsen C ice shelf will be at-risk from the same processes.

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Atmospheric Methane Increases on a Tear + Ideas on Methods like ISA to Reduce Global Concentrations // Apr 14, 2022

Atmospheric Methane concentrations are rising like a bat out of hell.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) just reported that atmospheric methane concentrations rose in 2021 by a record setting 17 ppm, following on the heels of the previous record setting rise of 14.7 ppm in 2020.

Isotopic studies comparing the ratio of C-13 to the more common C-12 show that most of the rise in atmospheric methane since 2006 is due to natural emissions from things like wetlands. With a warmer climate there is much more water vapour in the atmosphere, and this ends up recharging and creating new wetlands.

The La Niña of the last few years means wetter equatorial regions with larger wetlands and thus more methane emissions from microbial decomposition of organic matter in the wetlands. Since methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2 on a molecule to molecule basis, this rise is extreme serious for amplifying climate warming. In fact the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of methane is 34x that of CO2 averaged over a hundred year timescale, and 86x over a twenty year timescale, and many reports and media still under quote these numbers in error.

The big question is what can we do, if anything, to remove methane from the atmosphere ocean system?

I chat about a couple of peer reviewed scientific papers that examine this is detail. My favourite method by far is to deploy Iron Salt Aerosols (ISA) to lower atmospheric methane concentrations, brighten low level clouds to reduce warming, and disperse iron on to the ocean surface to stimulate phytoplankton blooms to capture carbon.

These processes all occurred naturally as the Earth entered cooling ice-age periods in the deep past; and we need to trigger them now. Ice core samples in both Greenland and Antarctica show that this mineral dust had levels 4-7 times higher during these cooler periods than we have now.

Pole to Pole, with Paul Beckwith: Radio Ecoshock, podcast, 13 April 2022, with super host, Alex Smith:

Pole to Pole Climate Change.

Both Poles are strangely hot. Eastern Australia just had biblical rains; the Pacific Northwest too. Storms and record-setting numbers of tornadoes hammer the U.S. mid-west. This sounds like a good time to figure out what to do. From the results of thousands of scientific papers, experts at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just issued the last part of their every-five-years reports. It is called the Working Group III report – but who cares? The world is sick, broke, and at war right now.

Why is weather so strange so soon? What does the IPCC say we can do about catastrophic climate change? Paul Beckwith is the Canadian climate scientist who tracks all this. Paul has attended a couple of international climate conferences, including COP26 in Glasgow last November. He makes summaries of science for the rest of us in his popular YouTube channel.


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About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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