Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A 5,800 Sq. Km. Iceberg - Updated

Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf just got a trillion tonnes smaller. That's the approximate weight of the massive iceberg that has now calved.  Then again it's only about half as big as B-15 that split from the Ross ice shelf in 2000.

The big concern is that, as these big icebergs calve off into the sea, they trigger a steady acceleration of the movement of the remaining ice behind them.


"Maps Will Be Redrawn."

Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University—the lead investigator of Project Midas—said that he and his team will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, and the fate of this huge iceberg."

"The remaining shelf will be at its smallest ever known size," Luckman added. "This is a big change. Maps will need to be redrawn."

While scientists acknowledged that it is unclear whether this particular event was caused by a warming climate, they argued that it could be "a sign of changes to come."

"Certainly the changes that we see on ice shelves, such as thinning because of warmer ocean waters, are the sort [of changes] that are going to make it easier for these events to happen," Twila Moon of the U.S. National Ice and Snow Data Center said in an interview with the Guardian.

Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science and senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, echoed Moon's argument, noting in a statement: "This is likely a harbinger of the pace and size of future ice shelf breaks in the Antarctic Peninsula."

"It's concerning that the ocean and air temperatures around the Larsen C Ice Shelf are so warm," Ekwurzel concluded. "Ocean warming could affect other ice shelves in Antarctica that are holding back massive ice sheets. Scientists, aware of these processes, are likely to adjust sea level rise calculations, reflecting higher levels arriving sooner than now projected."

Anticipating the break-off, climate activists have in recent days insisted that the event should be tied to the activities of fossil fuel companies. As Common Dreams reported, has called on the U.S. National Ice Center to "name the Larsen C iceberg #ExxonKnew."

"With one of the world's biggest ice shelves at a breaking point, this destruction should bear the name of its greatest perpetrator: Exxon," Aaron Packard,'s climate impact coordinator, said in a statement.


Toby said...

That's the key to GW, Mound, acceleration. Most of our leaders and news media are still thinking steady state rise with plenty of time to let another generation deal with it. They simply don't understand the exponential function. (This used to be taught in high school.) Anyone who wants to learn it can watch this.

Every calved ice shelf, every forest fire, all over consumption, every old person saved from a timely death accelerates global warming.

The Mound of Sound said...

Our political caste, Toby, is flat-footed when it comes to these existential threats which increases, by an order of magnitude, our chances of being overtaken, unprepared by their onset. No matter how dangerous, how obviously self-defeating, our leadership tenaciously cling to their orthodoxy.

I watched a Paul Beckwith (Ottawa U.) video on YouTube yesterday. He was discussing a bombshell research paper out of Russia on methane release. What I found most interesting was Beckwith's observation that it took a full year from the time the paper was submitted for it to be peer reviewed and finally published. Yet it won't make the next IPCC report. They only accept papers that have already 'soaked' for two full years. Then they spend years passing the research around and negotiating some watered-down consensus that the political caste then treat as gospel for planning and policy, long after that information is hopelessly stale. In essence they're setting us up for a hard landing, perhaps even collapse.

I had hoped a young guy who claims to trust science would have reversed Harper's course and brought the federal government up to speed on these threats. No such luck. Trudeau is utterly geriatric on climate change and its associated crises. I think he's too afraid - of the possible personal consequences - to show any genuine leadership.

Northern PoV said...

Justin is an empty suit, no doubt. What a disappointment.

But I am surprised about Butts - But then I paid more attention to the WWF part of his resume than the skulduggery he was obviously up to (in hindsight) as part of the atrocious Liberal Gov't in Ontario.

I was hoping that Sascha would be a bigger influence.

Corbyn and Saunders both do well cause they speak from long-standing convictions and are not trying to use pre-tested sound bites.

As an old-codger myself, I am amused by the feminist critique on both of these guys. (ie I do not buy it at all.) Funny how the "youth" are supporting both these old codgers and I think Canadian "youth" will desert the empty suit next time. Let's just hope credible candidate emerges from the NDP leadership, though I don't see a Bernie/Jeremy equiv there at all at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Anyong....There goes more of the salinity of the Oceans especially the Atlantic Ocean...