Data recorded by the European Space Agency-operated orbiting probe, CryoSat, show anomalies in the ice surrounding the continent’s Ross Ice Shelf that hint at the existence of trapped water beneath.
Pools of salty water underneath Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf could pull the climate north — and the Arctic farther south.
That’s what a recent study from Zuri Verwiel from the University of Leeds suggests. Verwiel analyzed images taken with the satellite CryoSat, and reports a range of feature changes in Antarctica.
The new evidence, he says, points to a seasonal warming of the ice sheet, melting twice in winter and twice in summer, potentially pulling the weather north as the water pools. This would counteract the drifts towards warmer waters from the top of the ice sheets, which would normally have sunk to the sea floor and melted away.
It would lead to a temperature increase of about 10.5 degrees F (6 degrees C) and an increase in average sea level of 3.5 meters (12 feet). These changes would reverse the current process, where colder Arctic waters melt the sea ice, which leads to warmer mid-latitude temperatures.
The change would come into effect in 2050 and beyond, Verwiel says. If this were to happen, Alaska would no longer be an ice bound state, as the glaciers and polar bears would be retreating. However, it could make Alaska even more attractive for oil drilling. The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The United States had its longest-running drought since the 1960s before finally getting rain in June and July this year. But how did New York get into this terrible drought in the first place?
The ongoing El Niño climate phenomenon has caused northern and central parts of the U.S. to experience very dry summers over the past two years, with parts of New York City being blanketed in less than half its normal rainfall for the past two years. The lack of precipitation has resulted in some cities facing higher-than-normal levels of infrastructure problems.
Scientists from Cornell University believe that while New York’s location has a lot to do with the entire dry streak, climate change is a major contributing factor. The New York Times’ Jane Perlez reports that the eastern half of the country is on the frontline for climate change, with temperatures rising by between 0.9 and 1.2 degrees F (0.6 to 0.8 degrees C) since the 1950s. The rate of warming, the scientists say, is greater in every region of the U.S.
These changes may be increasing the risk of droughts in the future.