Agence France-PresseAug 18, 2020 08:57:20 IST
The melting of Greenland’s ice cap has gone so far that it is now irreversible, with snowfall no longer able to compensate for the loss of ice even if global warming were to end today, according to researchers.
“Greenland’s glaciers have passed a tipping point of sorts, where the snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet each year cannot keep up with the ice that is flowing into the ocean from glaciers,” said a statement from Ohio State University, where several authors of a study published 13 August in Communications Earth and Environment are based.
Climate change is having a devastating effect on the world’s glaciers, with the ice melt posing a threat to millions of people around the world.
Alarming reports about the ice melt on the vast Arctic island – which is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet – have multiplied in recent years.
Eighty-five percent of the surface of Greenland, an island of two million square kilometres or four times the size of France, is covered in ice.
“The study confirms results from a lot of other studies … that the combination of melt and calving of icebergs explains the large amount of ice lost from Greenland over the last couple of decades,” Ruth Mottram, a climatologist at Denmark’s Meteorological Institute told AFP.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the ice cap lost around 450 billion tonnes of ice per year, which was compensated by snowfall, the scientists said after analysing 40 years of data.
But the ice melt has accelerated this century, climbing to 500 billion tonnes and it is no longer sufficiently replenished with snow.
“The Greenland ice sheet is losing mass at accelerated rates in the 21st century, making it the largest single contributor to rising sea levels,” the study said.
The melting ice actually causes more ice to melt, as the meltwater that collects on the ice sheet absorbs more of the Sun’s radiative force than snow and ice do – snow and ice reflect sunlight back into space.
In addition, the loss of ice exposes the permafrost, or frozen soil, which when thawed releases powerful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping heat.
Therefore the melting ice is not just a symptom of global warming, it is also becoming a driver of global warming.
Tipping point debate
While researchers are in agreement that the Greenland ice melt is worrying, not all agree that it has reached a ‘tipping point’.
“We don’t know how much greenhouse gas concentrations will rise,” Mottram said.
The published results show that “even if we stabilised temperatures (and greenhouse gas emissions) at the present level, the ice sheet would still continue to melt, but only until the size of the ice sheet is once more in balance with the climate,” she said.
As the ice sheet is rapidly losing mass in contact with the ocean, once the ice loses contact with the water the massive ice discharge will stop.
Meanwhile, a recent study from Britain’s University of Lincoln concluded that Greenland’s ice melt alone is expected to contribute 10-12 centimetres to the world’s rising sea levels by 2100.
The UN’s IPCC climate science advisory panel said in 2013 it expected sea levels to rise 60 centimetres by the end of the century.
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Air leaking from International Space Station but no danger to crew: Roscosmos agency – Reuters Canada
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The International Space Station is leaking air in above-normal volumes, but the leak presents no danger to the Russian-American crew, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday.
The leak has been localised to one section of a service module and the crew, made up of U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, plan to eliminate it in the coming days, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Roscosmos executive director Sergei Krikalev as saying.
Roscosmos said additional air may be delivered to the station.
Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kevin Liffey
Rare blue moon will bring a Halloween 2020 treat to the skies – CNET
Another highly unusual event is headed our way in this. The 2020 Halloween full moon will be visible to the entire world, rather than just parts of it, for the first time since World War II, astronomy educator and former planetarium director Jeffrey Hunt says.
“When I was teaching, my high school students thought a full moon occurred every Halloween,” Hunt told me. Not quite, though pop culture decorations sure make it seem that way. The last Halloween full moon visible around the globe came in 1944, he said. He’s written about the event on his web site, When the Curves Line Up. There was a Halloween full moon for some locations in 1955, but that didn’t include western North America and the western Pacific, Hunt says.
While this year’s Halloween full moon will be visible in all parts of the globe, that doesn’t mean every single citizen will have a view. Residents across both North America and South America will see it, as will India, all of Europe and much of Asia. But while Western Australians will see it, those in the central and eastern parts of the country will not.
Know time zones well? “Every time zone has it except those east of (GMT) +8 time zones if they have daylight time, or (GMT) +9 with no daylight time,” Hunt says.
Want to see the Halloween full moon? It’s so bright at the full phase it doesn’t matter if you’re in a crowded city or out on the farm. And you don’t need pricey equipment.
“Walk outside, and take a look,” Hunt says.
Don’t be surprised, though, if you snap a Halloween moon shot with your phone and the photo doesn’t match what you saw.
“When the moon is photographed with a smartphone the results can be disappointing,” Hunt admits. “A telephoto attachment will help make the moon larger. Be sure to check that the adapter fits on your make and model. Also don’t overexpose the moon. Adjust the camera’s brightness so that features are visible and not blotted out by the moon’s brightness.”
If you’re determined to get a good shot, Oct. 1 brings a full moon, so there’s time to practice. Because that makes two full moons in the same month, the Halloween full moon could also be known as a “blue moon.”
If you’re too busy watching horror movies (or doing whatever the coronavirus equivalent of trick-or-treating is), you’ll have to wait until 2039 for another global full moon.
“Of course, full moons occur in October during the intervening years, just not on Halloween,” Hunt says. And a Halloween full moon may appear in your region before then. It just won’t be seen around the world.
‘Earthgrazer’ meteor filmed skimming Earth’s atmosphere and bouncing into space – Yahoo Canada Sports
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This particular meteoroid got hair raisingly close, flying as low as 56 miles up, far below any orbiting satellites, before bouncing back out.” data-reactid=”24″>This particular meteoroid got hair raisingly close, flying as low as 56 miles up, far below any orbiting satellites, before bouncing back out.
The space rock whizzed through the night sky above Northern Germany and the Netherlands in the early hours of 22 September.
A meteoroid is typically a fragment of a comet or asteroid that becomes a meteor (a bright light streaking through the sky) when it enters the atmosphere.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: There might once have been life on the moon
Most of them disintegrate, possibly with pieces reaching the ground as meteorites. ” data-reactid=”29″>Read more: There might once have been life on the moon
Most of them disintegrate, possibly with pieces reaching the ground as meteorites.
Earthgrazers are a bit luckier, and don’t burn up, but bounce back out, only grazing the edges of our planet’s protective gassy shield.
Earthgrazers don’t happen very often, just a handful of times per year.
It was spotted by cameras in the Global Meteor Network, a project which aims to cover the globe with meteor cameras and provide the public with real time alerts, building a picture of the meteoroid environment around Earth.
“The network is basically a decentralised scientific instrument, made up of amateur astronomers and citizen scientists around the planet each with their own camera systems” explains Denis Vida, who founded it.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Exoplanet twice the size of Earth ‘could be habitable’” data-reactid=”34″>Read more: Exoplanet twice the size of Earth ‘could be habitable’
“We make all data such as meteoroid trajectories and orbits available to the public and scientific community, with the goal of observing rare meteor shower outbursts and increasing the number of observed meteorite falls and helping to understand delivery mechanisms of meteorites to Earth”.
Tens of thousands of meteorites have been found on Earth, yet, of these only about 40 can be traced back to a parent asteroid or asteroidal source.
By better understanding these small bodies we are able to build up a more complete image of the Solar System, including potentially dangerous asteroids, meteor shower outbursts which could endanger satellites, as well as the chemistry and origins of our Solar System itself.
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