La última hora del deshielo en Groenlandia, según The New York Times


El blog Dot Earth de The New York Times actualiza día a día la información científica concerniente a los efectos que el calentamiento de la atmósfera ya está provocando en la Tierra. En esta ocasión, el corresponsal Andrew Revkin proporciona información detallada sobre la dinámica del deshielo en Groenlandia (con elocuentes gráficos), a raíz de nuevas investigaciones que ponen en cuestión algunos pronósticos hechos respecto a lo que ocurrirá con las corrientes marinas que se filtran por las grietas de las placas de hielo y el modo en que estos flujos incidirán en el incremento del nivel del mar. Revkin se refiere, especialmente, a un estudio anteriormente citado del Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences de la Administración Nacional norteamericana y la Universidad de Colorado, cuyos investigadores compararon imágenes en alta resolución tomadas en Groenlandia desde el año 1985 hasta 2009.

September 21, 2011, 2:58 PM
Updates on Greenland’s Ice
New research on the dynamics of Greenland’s ice sheets complicates efforts to forecast sea level rise in this century, as the Green Blog reports. Expanding fields of crevasses appear to be limiting the flow of water to the base of the ice through tube-like moulins. That flow has been thought to ease the seaward movement of the ice over bedrock. But the crevasses also warm the ice as liquid water descends deep inside the frozen mass, with that process also potentially speeding its flow. This diagram shows the two types of plumbing:

In the meantime, the high recent rate of ice loss in Greenland, according to other new research, has largely continued.

I’ve queried a batch of researchers focused on ice sheets and sea level on these findings, and asked them how their views of sea level changes in a warming world have evolved since the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I’ll be posting their thoughts soon (I’m tied up teaching today).

Unfortunately, the tough scientific work to clarify ice and sea trends and dynamics has largely been obscured online by coverage focused on an error on Greenland ice loss that many polar scientists say made it into the new edition of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World (that’s the British Times, just to be clear). Of even greater concern were unsubstantiated assertions made by the atlas’s publisher, HarperCollins (which, while defending its atlas, has since apologized for the news release).

The publisher’s overstatements created ample fodder for critics of warnings about human-driven climate change and, fortunately, were also quickly pointed out by two of the leading scientific teams tracking polar change, the Scott Polar Research Institute in Britain and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the United States.

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