Connect with us

Science

'Antarctica Melts,' NASA Says, Showing Effects Of A Record Warm Spell – WJSU

Published

 on


Where there was a white ice cap, there are now brown blotches of land; melted snow and ice have created ponds of water. Those are the effects of the recent record high temperatures in Antarctica, according to NASA, which on Friday released stunning before-and-after satellite images of the northern Antarctic Peninsula.

The photos center on Eagle Island, part of the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula that stretches toward South America. Satellites took the images just nine days apart, on Feb. 4 and Feb. 13. But dramatic changes took place in that time span. Two days after the first photo was taken, the area hit 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.9 degrees Fahrenheit) — matching that day’s temperature in Los Angeles, NASA notes.

“The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers,” the space agency says. “Such persistent warmth was not typical in Antarctica until the 21st century, but it has become more common in recent years.”

On Eagle Island, the biggest loss of ice and snow came on Feb. 6, when an inch of snowpack melted, according to NASA’s climate models. By Feb. 11, the island had lost 4 inches of snow.

“I haven’t seen melt ponds develop this quickly in Antarctica,” Mauri Pelto, a glaciologist at Nichols College in Massachusetts, said in NASA’s news release about the phenomenon.

The nearly 65-degree temperature was reported by Argentina’s research station at Esperanza Base. Experts at the World Meteorological Organization are still verifying the record. The agency calls the Antarctic Peninsula one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth, with average temperatures rising almost 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past half century.

“These warm events are occurring more frequently” in that part of the peninsula, says Alexandra Isern, head of Antarctic sciences at the National Science Foundation.

Discussing the NASA images Friday, Isern also cautions, “We have to understand that those images were taken about as far north in Antarctica as you can get. So if any place is going to have those melt ponds, that’s certainly going to be one place.”

Still, she says, it’s surprising to see such a rapid and dramatic shrinkage of snow and ice.

“You see those sort of things in Greenland and in the Arctic more often than you see them in the Antarctic,” Isern says.

Because the recent warmup lasted for more than a week, she says, researchers are left with a troubling question: “Are we starting to see these warm events also lasting longer than they did before?”

The answer to that, Isern says, could have far-ranging impacts for the area, including the possibility that new invasive species could gain a foothold in Antarctica if its climate becomes more forgiving.

Isern agrees with NASA’s assessment that a number of weather conditions combined to create the unusually high temperatures in the Antarctic’s northern point.

“Typically, the peninsula is shielded from warm air masses by the Southern Hemisphere westerlies, a band of strong winds that circle the continent,” NASA says. “However, the westerlies were in a weakened state, which allowed the extra-tropical warm air to cross the Southern Ocean and reach the ice sheet. Sea surface temperatures in the area were also higher than average by about 2-3°C.”

The task now, Isern says, is to determine whether those factors created an anomaly or whether they hint at a new pattern.

“This is a weather event,” she says of the recent warm spell. She believes scientists will now try to figure out whether the warm weather event in Antarctica’s northern peninsula is on its way to becoming a climate event.

: 2/21/20

A previous version of this story incorrectly said the average temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula has risen 3 degrees Celsius or 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past half-century. The increase has actually been 3 degrees Celsius or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit in that time.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Scientists observe total solar eclipse in Antarctica – Global Times

Published

 on



Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 
Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 

Photo taken from Chilean Union Glacier Station in Antarctica on Dec. 4, 2021 shows a total solar eclipse.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken from Chilean Union Glacier Station in Antarctica on Dec. 4, 2021 shows a total solar eclipse.Photo:Xinhua

 

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Dinosaur Tail Found In Chile Could Point To Discovery Of New Species – NDTV

Published

 on



<!–

–>

Paleontologists have discovered 80 percent of the dinosaur’s skeleton.

Santiago:

Chilean paleontologists on Wednesday presented their findings on a dinosaur discovered three years ago in Patagonia which they said had a highly unusual tail that has stumped researchers.

The remains of the Stegouros elengassen were discovered during excavations in 2018 at Cerro Guido, a site known to harbor numerous fossils, by a team who believed they were dealing with an already known species of dinosaur until they examined its tail.

“That was the main surprise,” said Alexander Vargas, one of the paleontologists. “This structure is absolutely amazing.”

“The tail was covered with seven pairs of osteoderms … producing a weapon absolutely different from anything we know in any dinosaur,” added the researcher during a presentation of the discovery at the University of Chile.

The osteoderms — structures of bony plaques located in the dermal layers of the skin – were aligned on either side of the tail, making it resemble a large fern.

Paleontologists have discovered 80 percent of the dinosaur’s skeleton and estimate that the animal lived in the area 71 to 74.9 million years ago. It was about two meters (almost seven feet) long, weighed 150 kilograms (330 pounds) and was a herbivore.

According to the scientists, who published their research in the journal Nature, the animal could represent a hitherto unknown lineage of armored dinosaur never seen in the southern hemisphere but already identified in the northern part of the continent.

“We don’t know why (the tail) evolved. We do know that within armored dinosaur groups there seems to be a tendency to independently develop different osteoderm-based defense mechanisms,” said Sergio Soto, another member of the team.

The Cerro Guido area, in the Las Chinas valley 3,000 km (1,800 miles) south of Santiago, stretches for 15 kilometers. Various rock outcrops contain numerous fossils.

The finds there allowed the scientists to surmise that present-day America and Antarctica were close to each other millions of years ago.

“There is strong evidence that there is a biogeographic link with other parts of the planet, in this case Antarctica and Australia, because we have two armored dinosaurs there closely related” to the Stegouros, said Soto.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Chinese Rover Exploring What Appears to Be Cube-Shaped Object on Moon – Futurism

Published

 on


There’s a Moon cube now! At least, it looks that way based on some intriguing photos from the Chinese lunar rover Yutu-2, released by the country’s space agency this week.

The photos show a distant object that looks like a perfect cube, and China say the rover is headed to check it out.

It’s worth worth noting a few caveats about the photo, spotted yesterday by space journalist Andrew Jones, who described the formation as a “cubic shape.” For one thing, the object is just a few pixels in the photo, meaning it could easily be some sort of optical illusion that’ll be a disappointment up close.

And China has struggled with lunar science communication in the past. In 2019, Yutu-2 “discovered” a “gel-like substance” on the lunar surface, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be, well, rocks. It also trumpeted the discover of a “shard” on the Moon earlier this year, but that turned out to just be another interesting rock. Did we mention that there’s not a lot other than rocks on the Moon?

Advertisement

Jones, for his part, is managing expectations.

“So yeah, it’s not an obelisk or aliens, but certainly something to check out,” Jones tweeted in followup.

The idea of alien artifacts on the Moon runs deep in popular culture — remember that one scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey”? — but, needless to say, none have been found in reality.

The apparent cube sits in the Von Kármán crater, and China’s space program has been dubbed it, evocatively, the “mystery house.”

Advertisement

Yutu-2 will spend two or three lunar days traveling to investigate the cube; lunar days are about 50 minutes longer than solar days on Earth.

Jones speculated that the object could be a boulder carved out by an asteroid impact, and posted a photo of a similarly sharply defined boulder found previously on the Moon’s surface.

CNET’s coverage of the most recent discovery agrees with Jones’ analysis, saying the most likely explanation is that the Moon cube is a boulder.

That’s not to say Yutu-2 hasn’t ever found anything cool. In 2019, CNET reported the rover discovered that the Moon’s surface was made of different materials than we previously thought, a discovery that could better predict how Earth’s internal layers might change over time.

Advertisement

We’re not saying there isn’t weird stuff on the Moon. After all, we just recently found enough buried oxygen under its surface to sustain billions of people. But suffice it to say we aren’t holding our breath over Moon cube, and if it turns out to be anything other than a rock we’ll be really impressed.

More on space: Scientists Discover Enormous Black Hole Right Near Our Galaxy

Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending