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Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica
What Happens in Antarctica Doesn't Stay in Antarctica
The Thwaites Glacier is often considered one of the most important when it comes to changes in sea level....
Along with Thwaites the overwhelming majority of the world’s glaciers have begun to withdraw...
Lately, I have been wondering if it might be possible to think of calving events as both a physical sign of the cracks our very lives press into the ice and also, as the definition suggests, a kind of birth. A rapturous moment where we might glimpse the opportunities that come with inhabiting an age of earth-shaking transformation, transformation that some human beings more than others set in motion, and that we, all of us together, have the power to slow and to shape.
The calving event in the unnamed bay is another sign that Thwaites is giving way, that the very thing we feared might come to pass looks like it might already be underway. The extent to which what follows breeds only further devastation or a shift in how we choose to inhabit the Earth, that much is, at least partially, up to us. Perhaps these bergs peeling away from Thwaites are sentinels urging us towards new politics (enter Flood Forum USA, a nation-wide coalition of flood survivors that are fighting for more just storm recovery, and the Green New Deal, its increasing supporters insisting that equity be chief among its guiding principles), new ways of relating to each other and the more-than-human-world.
On the bridge there is a hand-made sign tacked above the outdated navigational charts. It reads Never forget: The ice is telling you what to do and not you are telling the ice what to do. Thwaites speaks, its calving a message we must now labor to hear.
Elizabeth Rush is the author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore. She teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University. This article was supported by a National Geographic Storytelling Grant, the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artist and Writer in Residence program.
Scientists Detect an Enormous Cavity Growing Beneath Antarctica
- Researchers say the cavity would once have been large enough to hold some 14 billion tonnes of ice. Even more disturbing, the researchers say it lost most of this ice volume over the last three years alone.
- "We have suspected for years that the Thwaites glacier was not tightly attached to the bedrock beneath it," says glaciologist Eric Rignot from the University of California, Irvine, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
- "Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail."
- "For global sea-level change in the next century, this Thwaites glacier is almost the entire story."
- Rignot and fellow researchers discovered the cavity using ice-penetrating radar as part of NASA's Operation IceBridge, with additional data supplied by German and French scientists.
- Antarctica is losing ice 6 times faster today than in 1980s
- Antarctic melting study... 'reasons for concern'
Read this research data thread and Antarctic sea-level rise connection from @chriscmooney, environmental reporter from the Washington Post:
Scientists release the most accurate, high-resolution terrain map ever created (2018)
- The new Antarctic map shows a resolution of 2 to 8 meters – compared to the previous standard of 1,000 meters.
Large-format poster map of the Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA), rendered with a hillshade. Does not include any cartographic elements.
Large-format poster map of the Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA), rendered with a hillshade. Includes cartographic elements such as place name labels, graticules...
Use the links below to browse the directory for the entire REMA dataset. Refer to Documentation to see the directory structure, naming schemes, and download contents.
"Considering that Antarctica is the highest, driest, and one of the most remote places on Earth, we now have an incredible topographic model to measure against in the future," said Paul Morin, a University of Minnesota earth sciences researcher and the director of the Polar Geospatial Center.
"Up until now, we've had a better map of Mars than we've had of Antarctica," said Ian Howat, professor of earth sciences and director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at The Ohio State University. "Now it is the best-mapped continent on Earth."
"It is the highest-resolution terrain map by far of any continent,’ said Ian Howat, professor of Earth sciences and director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at The Ohio State University.
- Antarctic Treaty System
- NASA IceBridge Antarctica
- Antarctica's Flowing Ice
Antarctic Melt Needs to be Monitored More Closely
- How active are newly discovered Antarctic volcanoes?
- A new volcanic province: an inventory of subglacial volcanoes in West Antarctica
- ...the biggest cluster of volcanoes in the world.
The study, published in the Geological Society Special Publications series, does not indicate whether the volcanoes are active but the team is trying to find out.
As Dr. Robert Bingham, a glacier expert and one of the paper's authors noted to the Guardian, "The big question is: how active are these volcanoes?"
"That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible," Bingham continued. "Anything that causes the melting of ice—which an eruption certainly would—is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea."
Ominously, other experts have warned that a reverse situation could also happen — volcanic activity can be triggered by thinning ice sheets from rising global temperatures.
Trillion Ton Iceberg Breaks Off
- The Future of the US Antarctica Station and Research
This category has the following 5 subcategories, out of 5 total.
Pages in category "Antarctica"
The following 11 pages are in this category, out of 11 total.
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