Earth Science News  





. Impact Of Climate Warming On Polar Ice Sheets Confirmed

Antarctica lost much more ice to the sea than it gained from snowfall.
by Staff Writers
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Mar 09, 2006
In the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of the massive ice sheets covering both Greenland and Antarctica, NASA scientists confirm climate warming is changing how much water remains locked in Earth's largest storehouse of ice and snow. Other recent studies have shown increasing losses of ice in parts of these ice sheets.

This new survey is the first to inventory the losses of ice and the addition of new snow on both continents in a consistent way throughout an entire decade.

The survey shows that there was a net loss of ice from the combined polar ice sheets between 1992 and 2002 and a corresponding rise in sea level. The survey documents for the first time extensive thinning of the West Antarctic ice shelves and an increase in snowfall in the interior of Greenland, as well as thinning at the edges. All are signs of a warming climate predicted by computer models.

The survey, published in the Journal of Glaciology, combines new satellite mapping of the height of the ice sheets from two European Space Agency satellites. It also used previous NASA airborne mapping of the edges of the Greenland ice sheets to determine how fast the thickness is changing.

In Greenland, the survey saw large ice losses along the southeastern coast and a large increase in ice thickness at higher elevations in the interior due to relatively high rates of snowfall. This study suggests there was a slight gain in the total mass of frozen water in the ice sheet over the decade studied, contrary to previous assessments.

This situation may have changed in just the past few years, according to lead author Jay Zwally of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Last month NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., reported a speed up of ice flow into the sea from several Greenland glaciers. That study included observations through 2005; Zwally's survey concluded with 2002 data.

When the scientists added up the overall gains and loses of ice from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, there was a net loss of ice to the sea. The amount of water added to the oceans (20 billion tons) is equivalent to the total amount of freshwater used in homes, businesses and farming in New York, New Jersey and Virginia each year.

"The study indicates that the contribution of the ice sheets to recent sea-level rise during the decade studied was much smaller than expected, just two percent of the recent increase of nearly three millimeters a year," says Zwally. "Continuing research using NASA satellites and other data will narrow the uncertainties in this important issue."

NASA is continuing to monitor the polar ice sheets with the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), launched in January 2003. ICESat uses a laser beam to measure the elevation of ice sheets with unprecedented accuracy three times a year. The first comprehensive ice sheet survey conducted by ICESat is expected early next year, said Zwally, who is the mission's project scientist.

Related Links
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Journal of Glaciology

Developing Discussion On Soil Carbon Decomposition
Falmouth MA (SPX) Mar 09, 2006
Significantly more carbon is stored in the world's soils than is present in the atmosphere. In a process called a "positive feedback," global warming may stimulate decomposition of soil organic matter, thus releasing heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere, possibly causing the rate of global warming to increase further.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Delta And Wetlands Management Contributed To Hurricane Problems
  • Agami Systems Eases Access Critical Disaster-Relief Imagery in Near Real-Time
  • Study Finds Californians Unmotivated To Prepare For Next Disaster
  • The Future Of Foreign Assistance

  • Impact Of Climate Warming On Polar Ice Sheets Confirmed
  • Developing Discussion On Soil Carbon Decomposition
  • Curbing Carbon Dioxide Emissions Affordable And Doable Says Brookings
  • WFP Warns Of "Large Scale" Deaths In Kenyan Drought Crisis

  • International Symposium On Radar Altimetry To Meet In Venice
  • Satellites Ensure Safe Passage Through Treacherous Waters In Ocean Race
  • ESA Satellite Program Monitors Dangerous Ocean Eddies
  • Envisat Marks Fours Year In ESA Mission To Planet Earth

  • Sandia's Z Machine Exceeds Two Billion Degrees Kelvin
  • Shanghai Launches Clean Electricity Scheme
  • World's Poor Can Have Energy Without More Global Warming
  • New Techs, Ideas Can Help In Bid Counter Global Warming

  • Incentive Plan Targets Neglected Diseases
  • Crippling Indian Ocean Epidemic Detected in France
  • People of African Descent More Vulnerable to TB
  • Americans Downplay Widespread Outbreak Of Avian Flu In Next Year

  • Which Carnivores Kill Other Carnivores
  • Early Land Animals Could Walk And Run Like Mammals
  • Threat To Last Stronghold Of Endangered Turtle
  • Bats Have Complex Skills To Deal With "Clutter"

  • New EU Waste Rules May Turn Poor Countries Into Dumps
  • Particlates Increase Hospital Admissions For Cardiovascular Disease
  • Manila's Garbage Dump Offers Lifeline For Poor
  • Pesticides In The Nation's Streams And Ground Water

  • Stuffing Our Kids So They Can Die First
  • Most Human Chimp Differences Due To Gene Regulation Not Genes
  • Humans Are Still Evolving
  • Magdalenian Girl Has Oldest Recorded Case Of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement