Antarc­tic ‘melt’ triples

Warm­ing to ex­ceed 1.5ºC

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

PARIS, June 14, (Agen­cies): Antarc­tica has lost a stag­ger­ing three tril­lion tonnes of ice since 1992, ac­cord­ing to a land­mark study pub­lished Wed­nes­day that sug­gests the frozen con­ti­nent could re­draw Earth’s coast­lines if global warm­ing con­tin­ues unchecked.

Two-fifths of that ice loss oc­curred in the last five years, a three-fold in­crease in the pace at which Antarc­tica is shed­ding its kilo­me­tres-thick cas­ing, a con­sor­tium of 84 sci­en­tists re­ported in the jour­nal Na­ture.

The find­ings should dis­pel any lin­ger­ing doubts that the con­ti­nent’s ice mass is shrink­ing, the au­thors said.

They also high­light the ex­is­ten­tial threat facing low-ly­ing coastal cities and com­mu­ni­ties home to hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple.

“We now have an un­equiv­o­cal pic­ture of what’s hap­pen­ing in Antarc­tica,” said co-lead author Eric Rignot, a sci­en­tist at NASA’s Jet propul­sion Lab­o­ra­tory who has been track­ing Earth’s ice sheets for two decades.

“We view th­ese re­sults as another ring­ing alarm for ac­tion to slow the warm­ing of our planet.”

Up to now, sci­en­tists have strug­gled in de­ter­min­ing whether Antarc­tica has ac­cu­mu­lated more mass through snow­fall than it loses in melt­wa­ter runoff and ice flows into the ocean.

But more than two decades of satel­lite data — the new find­ings draw from 24 sep­a­rate space-based sur­veys

“By forc­ing through this vote, while ex­clud­ing UK com­pa­nies from the con­tracts on se­cu­rity grounds, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has put all of this at risk.”

Bebb ac­cused the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion of us­ing Galileo par­tic­i­pa­tion as a “ne­go­ti­at­ing tac­tic”, adding: “We would never ne­go­ti­ate on the ba­sis of our se­cu­rity con­cerns”.

The Galileo pro­gramme is in­tended both for com­mer­cial uses such lo­gis­tics as well as for armed forces and emer­gency ser­vices.

Brus­sels has said it will deny Lon­don — have fi­nally yielded a more com­plete pic­ture.

Cov­er­ing twice the area of the con­ti­nen­tal United States, Antarc­tica is blan­keted by enough ice pack to lift global oceans by nearly 60 me­tres (210 feet).

More than 90 per­cent of that frozen wa­ter sits atop East Antarc­tica, which has re­mained mostly sta­ble even as cli­mate change has driven up Earth’s aver­age sur­face tem­per­a­ture by a full de­gree Cel­sius (1.8 de­grees Fahren­heit).

Some stud­ies had sug­gested a net gain in mass over re­cent decades.

Mean­while, global warm­ing is on course to ex­ceed the most strin­gent goal set in the Paris agree­ment by around 2040, threat­en­ing eco­nomic growth, ac­cord­ing to a draft re­port that is the U.N.’s stark­est warn­ing yet of the risks of cli­mate change.

Gov­ern­ments can still cap temperatures below the strict 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius (2.7° Fahren­heit) ceil­ing agreed in 2015 only with “rapid and far-reach­ing” tran­si­tions in the world econ­omy, ac­cord­ing to the U.N.’s In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC).

The final gov­ern­ment draft, ob­tained by Reuters and dated June 4, is due for pub­li­ca­tion in Oc­to­ber in South Korea af­ter re­vi­sions and ap­proval by gov­ern­ments.

It will be the main sci­en­tific guide for com­bat­ing cli­mate change.

ac­cess to Galileo’s en­crypted sig­nals af­ter Brexit, cit­ing le­gal is­sues about shar­ing sen­si­tive se­cu­rity in­for­ma­tion with a non-mem­ber state. (AFP)

Hawaii vol­cano sum­mit erupts:

The sum­mit of Hawaii’s Ki­lauea vol­cano erupted early on Wed­nes­day and fis­sures on its eastern slope sent foun­tains of lava up to 160 feet (50 me­ter) high, as the vol­cano showed no signs of calm­ing down af­ter six weeks of in­ten­si­fied ac­tiv­ity.

A steam ex­plo­sion at the sum­mit will likely shower com­mu­ni­ties near the vol­cano with ash, the Hawaii Civil De­fense Agency said on Wed­nes­day.

“The sum­mit ex­plo­sion pro­duced an earth­quake with a mag­ni­tude of 5.4,” the US Ge­o­log­i­cal Ser­vice (USGS) wrote in a Twit­ter post on Wed­nes­day.

The vol­cano has pro­duced hun­dreds of mod­er­ate earth­quakes since it first be­gan erupt­ing on May 3, caused by magma drain­ing from in­side the vol­cano and mov­ing un­der­ground.

The magma has been spout­ing out of fis­sures from the ground along Ki­lauea flank, caus­ing mass evac­u­a­tions from com­mu­ni­ties. The most ac­tive fis­sure now, called “Fis­sure 8,” con­tin­ued to pour into the ocean at Kapoho Bay, pro­duc­ing a hy­drochlo­ric acid mist called “laze,” formed when lava en­ters sea­wa­ter. “Gas emis­sions from the fis­sure erup­tion and at the ocean en­try con­tinue to be very high,” the Civil De­fense Agency said. (RTRS)

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