Oceanography

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which holds enough water to raise global seas by several feet, is thinning and computer models predict that the collapse may already have begun. The Thwaites Glacier could disappear in a few hundred years, raising sea levels by nearly 2 feet. That glacier also acts as a linchpin on the rest of the ice sheet, which contains enough ice to cause another 10 to 13 feet of global sea level rise. 


Multiple lines of evidence incorporating 40 years of observations that six massive glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector "have passed the point of no return", a worrisome sign for melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Those glaciers already contribute to sea level rise, releasing as much ice into the ocean each year as the entire Greenland Ice Sheet does. They contain enough ice to boost the global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) and are melting faster than most scientists had expected. Rignot said the findings will require that current predictions of sea level rise be revised upward.

Is it The Day After Tomorrow imagery that environmentalists and a lot of journalists like to create?


Sea levels are always changing, they always have. We can't count how many glaciers there are because the number is different every year. But the big question is if sea level rise is inceasing or, worse, accelerating.

A new model may help figure out if sea levels might rise around the world throughout the 21st century and if the rate of sea level rise is currently increasing.

An international team of researchers analyzed data from 10 long-term sea level monitoring stations located around the world. They looked into the future to identify the timing at which sea level accelerations might first be recognized in a significant manner. 


We know some glaciers are growing and we know some glaciers are receding. What we did not know until recently is how many glaciers there are, where they are, and what their extents and volumes are.

That has changed - for the first time reliable calculations of the future development of glaciers and their contributions to regional hydrology and global sea-level rise can be derived from an accurate measurement.

The international team mapped all of the world’s glaciers so all glaciologists can study the impacts of a changing climate on glaciers worldwide, and determine their total extent and volume on a glacier-by-glacier basis. Overall, glaciers cover an area of about 730,000 km2 and have a volume of about 170,000 km3.

The melting of a rather small ice volume on East Antarctica's shore could trigger a persistent ice discharge into the ocean, resulting in unstoppable sea-level rise for thousands of years to come, according to computer simulations of the Antarctic ice flow by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

They detail their estimates in Nature Climate Change.


Aquatic algae can sense and adapt to changing light conditions in lakes and oceans, making them able to use a wide range of color, according to a new paper.

Phytochromes are the eyes of a plant, allowing it to detect changes in the color, intensity, and quality of light so that the plant can react and adapt. Typically about 20 percent of a plant's genes are regulated by phytochromes and the phytochromes use bilin pigments that are structurally related to chlorophyll, the molecule that plants use to harvest light and use it to turn carbon dioxide and water into food.


86-degree Fahrenheit water is quite comfortable for humans, but to many sea creatures it's deadly. If climate change heats up ocean temperatures, the future of species such as coral, which provides sustenance and livelihoods to a billion people, is threatened.

An experiment found that some corals can – on the fly – adjust their internal functions to tolerate hot water 50 times faster than they would adapt through evolutionary change alone. 


There has been a unique rhythmic sound emanating for decades from the Southern Ocean.

It was first described and named by submarine personnel in the 1960s who thought it sounded like a duck, and since then sailors and scientists alike have called it the "bio-duck."  It's source has been a mystery.


Think global warming might change things a little? You haven't seen anything compared to 50 million years ago.

Though Antarctica is year-round one of the coldest places on Earth, and the continent's interior is the coldest place, with annual average land temperatures far below zero degrees Fahrenheit, during the Eocene epoch, 40-50 million years ago, there was a period with high concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and consequently a greenhouse climate.  


Google Earth Mystery Object? - Hardly!

What is it that you can see in this snapshot of Google Earth in the vicinity of Amsterdam Island?


If you think it's a special antenna for transmitting earthquake waves in the general direction of people that a Secret Government AgencyTM hates, or if you just know that it's a secret underwater base you are probably a conspiracy theorist.

If you think it's Atlantis you are probably some kind of new age hippie.

If you think it's an image artifact you are probably very good at image analysis.  But wrong.