Sea-level rise will become unmanageable, and life will flee the world’s tropical oceans, if carbon pollution keeps rising, a new report from the UN climate panel says.
Melting Sea Ice
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With wildfires, heat waves, and rising sea levels, large tracts of the earth are at risk of becoming uninhabitable. But the fossil-fuel industry continues its assault on the facts.
Warning of a possible domino effect as multiple climate feedback loops are triggered within a dynamic cascade of rising temperatures and warming oceans, scientists behind a frightening new study say that for the sake of humanity’s future they hope scenarios explored in their new models do not come to pass.
This Sunday, the entire New York Times Magazine will be composed of just one article on a single subject: the failure to confront the global climate crisis in the 1980s, a time when the science was settled and the politics seemed to align. Written by Nathaniel Rich, this work of history is filled with insider revelations about roads not taken that, on several occasions, made me swear out loud.
But the just-released, roughly 30,000 word article by Nathaniel Rich is already being widely criticized by leading scientists, historians, and climate experts. As physicist Ben Franta, who studies the history of climate politics, put it, “Rich’s exoneration of fossil fuel producers as well as the Republican party seem based on logical non sequiturs.”
Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported Wednesday. The melt rate has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped.
The Atlantic Ocean circulation that carries warmth into the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes is slowing down because of climate change, a team of scientists asserted Wednesday, suggesting one of the most feared consequences is already coming to pass. The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation has declined in strength by 15 percent since the mid-20th century to a “new record low,” the scientists conclude in a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Nature. That’s a decrease of 3 million cubic meters of water per second, the equivalent of nearly 15 Amazon rivers.
Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing at a faster clip, according to a new report released Tuesday. Water is also warming and sea ice is melting at the fastest pace in 1,500 years at the top of the world.
Scientists are watching, but not alarmed by, a growing crack at the edge of a key floating ice shelf in Antarctica. The long-watched rift in the Larsen C ice shelf grew 11 miles in the last few weeks. The crack is now about 60 miles long and about 300 feet wide. If it grows another dozen miles, a Delaware-sized iceberg could break off and float away.
A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries.