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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Down To Earth

Tuesday Video - short but sweet

“Our results show that the ice loss, which has been well documented over southern portions of Greenland, is now spreading up the northwest coast.” - Shfaqat Abbas Khan, lead author of the study that will appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters

Today's video is our shortest Tuesday Video to date - but scray nonetheless.  What you will see below is the rate of ice loss in Greenland from 2003 to 2009 - the slowest melting ice is in turquoise and the fastest in black.  Scientists have been concerned for sometime about the loss of glaciers in southern Greenland, but new data shows that loss spreading to the nortwest parts of Greenland.  Accroding to a recent study conducted by scientists at the Denmark Technical Institute’s National Space Institute and the University of Colorado at Boulder using gravity-measuring GRACE satellites and a network of GPS sensors, scientists have shown that the loss of ice in northwest Greenland has caused the earth’s crust to rise by 1.5 inches from 2005 to 2009. According to the scientists, the uplift of the earth’s crust is directly related to the loss of ice pressing on Greenland’s bedrock and indicates that some large glaciers in northwest Greenland are warming and sliding more rapidly to the sea. 

What does this mean you ask?  Well, there's enough ice on Greenland to fill the United States like a pool 2,940 feet at its deepest.  Check it out.

Video is below, and more news on sea level rise can be found after the jump.

We've all seen the videos, the diagrams and the Hollywood scenarios - carbon dioxide and other human-generated greenhouse gases are warming the planet and our sea levels are rising and will continue to rise - as much as a meter by 2100 some say.  As for the warming, recent projections suggest a global average warming of perhaps 3 to 4 degrees C, or 5.4 to 7 degrees F, by the end of this century.

Projects sea level rise is partly due to the melting of the Greeland and West Antarctic ice sheets - which leads scientists to that projected 1 meter by 2100 figure.  However, as a recent piece in Yale's environment360 digest points out, that is just a global average.  "In some places — Scotland, Iceland, and Alaska for example — it could be significantly less in the centuries to come. In others, like much of the eastern United States, it could be significantly more," Michael D. Lemonick, a senior writer at Climate Central points out. 

Factors for varying levels of rise include prevailing winds, powerful ocean currents, and the gravitational pull of the polar ice sheets. According to Lemonick, in some coastal areas — most notably along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana — the land is falling as well: Thanks to massive oil and gas extraction, the continental shelf is collapsing like a deflated balloon. “The rate of subsidence measured at Grand Isle, Louisiana,” says Rui Ponte, of the private consulting firm Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc, “is almost 10 millimeters per year, compared with two or three in other areas.” That’s especially problematic for a city like New Orleans, which already lies partly below sea level.

Lemonick points out that not much has been made about these varying factors, because, "the experts themselves are only now beginning to fully realize what might cause such differences, and how significant they might be."  Read more HERE. 

Down To Earth

The DTE blog is committed to reporting and sharing environmental news and sustainability information from across the Inland Northwest.