Conservation Laws for Antarctica: The Impact of Carbon Monoxide, Biological Diversity, and Environmental Impacts on the Economy and Humans
According to Lee, policymakers are not as aware of the threat to the animals and the environment of Antarctica. And finding the funds for conservation can be challenging.
Human presence and activity are also increasing in the region. The study shows that scientific expeditions and infrastructure are getting bigger and tourist numbers have skyrocketed since the 1990s.
A study earlier this year showed that more human presence in the region is causing snow melt. Scientists found black carbon – the dark, dusty pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels – settling in locations where people spend a lot of time. Even the tiniest amount of this pollutant can have a significant impact on melting.
But the study lays out several measures that are actually cost-effective, with an estimated cost of $1.92 billion over the next 83 years, or around $23 million per year – a fraction of the global economy.
The strategies include managing human activity, transport, and new infrastructure, as well as protecting native species and controlling diseases that enter the region.
The Paris Agreement, which aims to reduce global warming emissions and stave off a dire rise in global temperature, will also be included in the focus.
“The benefits of doing something about climate change is good for human health, livelihood and also the economy,” Lee said. The goal is to find the initial investment, and it depends on priorities.
The Trouble Underside of Thwaites Glacier: A Metamorphosis of an Antarctic Glacier, Discovered by a Robot
An assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder who has done extensive research on marine animals in Antarctica, said that the study is important to draw attention to how critically threatened their species is.
The latest research comes days after negotiators at the UN biodiversity summit in Montreal reached a landmark agreement to better protect the planet’s vital ecosystems, including a pledge to protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030.
For now, the work brings “neither good news nor bad news” in terms of sea-level rise, says co-author Peter Davis, a physical oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. The glacier is moving at a rapid pace.
It’s not currently on course to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature target, but glaciers are projected to lose 26% of their mass by the end of the century. Under a best case climate scenario, up to half the world’s glaciers could disappear by 2100, according to the report.
The use of satellite images to monitor glacier changes has been a revolution over the last few years.
In a pair of papers published today in the journal Nature, scientists describe what Icefin and other instruments have discovered underneath all that ice. Simply put: trouble. The ice shelf in the ocean has been described by models as being a simple, flat underside, but a robot found that 10% of it was much more complex. There are terraces in the 30 feet high range where melting occurs much quicker than in flat areas. That small portion is “contributing 25 percent of the melting that we see,” says Britney Schmidt, an Earth and planetary scientist at Cornell University, who leads the Icefin project. (She’s the lead author of one of the papers and coauthor on the other.) “So it’s a really outsized impact.”
And more bad news: This is from the eastern, larger and more stable part of Thwaites. Researchers were unable to land their plane and drill a hole in the main trunk, which is breaking up much faster because of the ice. And they also found staircase-like steps, those crevasses, in parts of the more stable eastern side where the break-up is far faster and worse.
The first-ever glimpse of the underside of Thwaites Glacier, a massive and unstable body of ice that has become an icon of climate change, will be seen by researchers after a hole in the ice is dropped on a vehicle.
Researchers think that grounding-line retreat is driven by warm ocean water melting the underside of the ice. Climate change has shifted wind patterns in the region, allowing a patch of warm water to flow towards the West Antarctic.
The water was above the freezing point. However, they found that a thin layer of cold, fresh melt water was coating the underside of the ice — and, because the water was very still, this prevented heat from being transferred to the ice. “There’s more than enough heat, actually, to drive really rapid melting, but you need to get that heat through the protective layer,” says Davis.
The melt rate was highest in areas under the ice where there were cracks and steep, staircase-like features2. These divert the cold, protective melt water, allowing the heat to reach the ice, and melt it to widen crevasses.
Both papers might help clarify what is missing from models of Antarctic ice that don’t seem to record large changes that took place during warmer periods of Earth’s history. The results show ways in which the ice might be more sensitive: glacial retreat can be rapid despite low rates of melting from underneath; and the most pronounced melting is helping to carve out crevasses from below, which might encourage large bits of ice to break off. “Maybe you don’t need as much melt to affect the structural integrity,” Steig says.
A $50 million multi-year international research effort better understands the widest glacier in the world. The name ” the doomsday glacier” is due to how much ice it has and how much seas could rise if it all melted, which is expected to take hundreds of years.
“Thwaites is very fast changing, much more so than when we started our work five years ago, and even since then,” said a researcher who isn’t in either study. “I am definitely expecting the rapid change to continue and accelerate over the next few years.”
The Anaemones at the Interstellar Density of Tidal Glaciers. I. The Resolved Ice
It looks like a set of sugar cubes, because the main trunk’s glacier surface is messed up by crevasses. There isn’t a place to land a plane.
Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who wasn’t part of the studies, said the results add to understanding how Thwaites is diminishing.
“Unfortunately, this is still going to be a major issue a century from now,” Scambos said in an email. “But our better understanding gives us some time to take action to slow the pace of sea level rise.”
It was cool to accidentally find them here in this environment. We were so tired that you wondered if I was actually seeing what I was seeing. The anemones are hanging out on the ice-ocean interface.
The background is filled with sparkling stars and things that were picked up from the glacier. And then the anemones. It’s a really wild experience.
Why the Antarctic Peninsula has a record low sea ice extent during the last few years? The National Institute of Oceanic and Tropical Sciences (NSIDC) estimates that 2022-2020
It’s still too early to say whether the record decline in sea ice is a new normal or if it will bounce back. The NSIDC points out that: “While 2022 and 2023 have had record low minimum extent, four out of the five highest minimums have occurred since 2008.”
It’s “not just ‘barely a record low,’” Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, told CNN. “It’s on a very steep downward trend.”
The two polar regions are very different. The ocean surrounding theAntarctica makes it possible for its sea ice to grow unconstrained by land. Ice in the south tends to be thinner than that in the north in the winter and summer.
It hit a record high for winter sea ice extent in the year of 2014, which seemed to support the idea that the polar bears may not be as vulnerable to global warming.
Another important consideration is the belt of westerly winds which circle Antarctica, known as the Southern Annular Mode. These winds, which can increase sea ice melt, have been stronger than usual, according to the NSIDC, and added to weather conditions that pump warm air to the region.
The increase in planet- warming pollution as well as the hole in the ozone layer over the continent is linked to the strength of the winds.
While it doesn’t directly affect sea levels, because it is already floating in the ocean, the loss of the fringe of sea ice around the Antarctic leaves coastal ice sheets and glaciers exposed to waves and warm ocean waters, making them much more vulnerable to melting and breaking up.
The Antarctic Peninsula, a spindly chain of icy mountains which sticks off the west side of the continent like a thumb pointing toward South America, is one of the fastest warming places in the Southern Hemisphere.
The conditions are against a backdrop of long-term change in the region, that is where the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research is located.
It is going to take a while to unpack. “We’re still reacting to a relatively sudden change. Certainly the last few years have been a dramatic exclamation point on a trend that was just developing after 2016.”