Almost a quarter of all the glaciers in West Antarctica have been pronounced “unstable”. This means, in the simplest terms, that they are losing ice to the ocean faster than they can gain it from falling snow. In the last 25 years most of the largest flows have accelerated the loss of ice fivefold. And in places some glaciers, including those known as Pine Island and Thwaites, have “thinned” by 122 metres. That means that the thickness of the ice between the surface and the bedrock over which glaciers flow has fallen by almost the height of the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt, and far more than the Statue of Liberty in New York or the tower of Big Ben in London. “Altogether, ice losses from East and West Antarctica have contributed 4.6mm to global sea level rise since 1992.”
Climate News Network 31st May 2019 read more »
The head of Scotland’s nature conservation agency has warned the country faces an “apocalyse” of flooded towns, dead forests and polluted rivers unless urgent action is taken to cut CO2 emissions. Francesca Osowska, chief executive of Scottish Natural Heritage, said the world had barely a decade to shift to a low carbon economy before the effects of global heating were irreversible and catastrophic. She said there were very clear threats facing Scotland, and by implication the rest of the UK, unless radical action was taken by 2030. “Imagine an apocalypse – polluted waters; drained and eroding peatlands; coastal towns and villages deserted in the wake of rising sea level and coastal erosion; massive areas of forestry afflicted by disease; a dearth of people in rural areas; and no birdsong,” she told the Royal Society of Edinburgh on Thursday evening. “All of this is possible, and there are parts of the world we can point to where inaction has given rise to one or more of these nightmare landscapes.” Osowska said current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere meant global heating of 1.5C was almost inevitable, requiring adaptation in the way people lived.
Guardian 31st May 2019 read more »