Planet Earth is beginning to say,
"I'm melting, I'm melting !!!"
(Top Posts - Science - 030306)

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March 2, 2006

North Pole meets South Pole:
Earth is Melting at Both Ends
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1678441
&page=1&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312

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Complete article:

For the first time, scientists have confirmed
Earth is melting at both ends, which could
have disastrous effects for coastal cities
and villages.

Antarctica has been called "a slumbering
giant" by a climate scientist who predicts
that if all the ice melted, sea levels would
rise by 200 feet. Other scientists believe
that such a thing won't happen, but new
studies show that the slumbering giant
has started to stir.

Melting at Both Ends

Recent studies have confirmed that the
North Pole and the South Pole have
started melting.

Experts have long predicted that global
warming would start to melt Greenland's
two-mile-thick ice sheet, but they also
thought the more massive ice sheet
covering Antarctica would increase in
the 21st century.

It seems they were wrong.

Two new studies find that despite the
increasing snowfall that comes with
global warming as a result of the in-
creased moisture in the air, Antarctica's
ice sheets are losing far more than the
snow is adding.

According to the National Academy of
Sciences, Earth's surface temperature
has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit
in the last century, with accelerated
warming during the last two decades.

Most of the warming over the last 50
years is attributable to human activities
through the buildup of greenhouse
gases - primarily carbon dioxide,
methane and nitrous oxide.

... the ice shelves, which the Antarctic
ice cap pushes out into the ocean, are
responding more than they expected to
Earth's warming air and water.

If the melting speeds up to a rapid runaway
process called a "collapse," coastal cities
and villages could be in danger.

James Hansen, director of NASA's Earth
Science Research, said that disaster could
probably be avoided, but that it would re-
quire dramatically cutting emission outputs.
If the proper actions aren't taken, Hansen
said, the sea level could rise as much as
80 feet by the time today's children reach
middle age.

"We now must choose between a serious
problem that we can probably handle and,
if we don't act soon, unmitigated disaster
down the road," Hansen said.

Scientists looking at ice cores can now
read Earth's temperatures from past mil-
lennia and match them to sea levels from
those eras.

"Based on the history of the Earth, if we
can keep the warming less than 2 degrees
Fahrenheit, I think we can avoid disastrous
ice sheet collapse," Hansen said.

Hansen and other scientists point out that
a rise of at least 1 degree Fahrenheit
- and another few feet of sea level -
seem virtually certain to happen because
of the carbon that mankind has already put
in the atmosphere.

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The glaciers of Greenland are melting at
an increasingly rapid pace, which some
scientists say could accelerate the pro-
gress of global warming.
(John McConnico/AP Photo)
http://a.abcnews.com/images/Technology/apr_glacier_060216_sp.jpg
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February 16, 2006

Increasingly Rapid Greenhouse Effect?
Scientists say the Melting Glaciers
Could Produce 'Runaway Effects'
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1627160&page=1
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Excerpts:

The hulking southern glaciers of Greenland
are melting rapidly - at a rate quicker than
previously thought.

In only five years, the amount of freshwater
the melting glaciers have dumped into the
Atlantic has nearly doubled, which has
caused many scientists to conclude that
current projections of how fast sea levels
will rise have been too low.

The melting glaciers, moving quickly across
the ocean, may account for about 17 per-
cent of the estimated one-10th of an inch
annual rise in sea levels, according to a
study released today ...

An increase in surface air temperatures ap-
pears to be causing the glaciers to flow
faster - at up to 8 to 9 miles a year at their
fastest clip. They have also been dumping
increased volumes of ice into the Atlantic.

...

Scientists also worry about the effect all this
fresh-melt water will have on the Atlantic's
Gulf Stream "conveyor belt" currents. These
currents have long kept the northeastern
United States, Britain and northwestern Eur-
ope relatively warm for their northern lati-
tudes by transporting heat up from the tro-
pics. Too much freshwater slows these
currents, said scientists.

A few weeks ago, scientists announced a
surprising discovery - currents have slowed
by 30 percent in recent years.

A dramatic sign of Greenland's melting is
the speeding up of the glacier "tongues" of
the ice cap as they push down to the sea,
and the disintegration of their front walls,
which means they spill out even faster. This
acceleration has been recorded in several
tongues on Greenland's southern coast
and is beginning to happen farther north
as well, the scientists said in their report.

This is the latest confirmation that global
warming is now accelerating and involving
interconnected "positive feedback" effects
in which the warming in different Earth sys-
tems reinforces overall warming, and it is
all now happening faster than scientists
recently thought possible, according to
the report.

...

"Human activities are releasing green-
house gases more than 30 times faster
than the natural rate of such emissions
that produced a similar period of extreme
warming in ancient times," according to
his study, which is based on evidence
from studies of sediment cores.

Ancient natural warming events started
slowly and then accelerated - worrisome
evidence that there are natural "positive
feedback loops," such as the release of
the greenhouse gases carbon and me-
thane as the frozen ground and seabeds
that have trapped them thaw, that become
"runaway effects" at some point, his study
found.

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March 3, 2006

Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Melting Rapidly
New Study Warns Of Rising Sea Levels
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2006/03/02/AR2006030201712.html

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Excerpts:

The Antarctic ice sheet is losing as
much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year
in a trend that scientists link to global
warming, according to a new paper
that provides the first evidence that
the sheet's total mass is shrinking
significantly.

...

The continent holds 90 percent of
the world's ice, and the disappear-
ance of even its smaller West Ant-
arctic ice sheet could raise world-
wide sea levels by an estimated 20
feet.

...

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March 3, 2006

Surf's Up: Antarctic Ice Sheet
Is Melting Steadily
http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=003000002P09
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Excerpts:

...

"We have got about ten years to get
really serious. In 15 years' time, if
[greenhouse gas] emissions globally
aren't going down instead of going
up, then we're in very serious trouble."

...

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March 2, 2006

New satellite data show Antarctic ice
loss -- Measurements run counter to
climatologists’ expectations
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11640662/
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Excerpts:

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An iceberg floats in waters off the Ant-
arctic Peninsula. Scientists say satellite
readings indicate that Antarctica is
undergoing a net reduction in ice mass.
http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/
Photos/060302/060302_antarctic_hmed_10a.h2.jpg

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Joining the growing list of places on
this planet that are melting, Antarctica
is losing about 36 cubic miles (150
cubic kilometers) of ice every year,
scientists reported Thursday.

...

Other studies have documented rapid
melting, unprecedented in modern
times, in Greenland
http://www.livescience.com/environment/ap_060216_greenland.html

and around the North Pole.
http://www.livescience.com/environment/050823_ice_free.html

And rapid melting of individual glaciers
has been noted in Antarctica.
http://www.livescience.com/environment/050421_glacial_retreat.html

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