Greenland ice sheet on course to lose ice at fastest rate in 12,000 years, study finds

“By 2100, the ice sheet will shrink to the size it was during the last time the world was hotter than today.”

Melt water sits on the Greenland ice sheet. (Thomas R. Chudley/University of Cambridge)

By Andrew Freedman and Brady Dennis
September 30, 2020 at 3:12 p.m. EDT

“The Greenland ice sheet is on track to lose mass at about four times the fastest rate observed over the past 12,000 years. At its current trajectory, such melting would dump huge quantities of freshwater into the sea, raising global sea levels and disrupting ocean currents, scientists concluded in new research Wednesday.

The new findings, published in the journal Nature, warn that the only way to avoid a drastically accelerated meltdown of the massive ice sheet in coming decades is for the global community to curtail emissions of greenhouse gases in the near-term.

Greenland’s ice losses have septupled and are now in line with its highest sea-level scenario, scientists say

Greenland is already the largest contributor to sea level rise, though Antarctica has the potential to increase sea levels even more. As sea levels creep upward, coastal storms including hurricanes and nor’easters become more destructive. Recent trends in more frequent “sunny day flooding” at high tide in places such as Annapolis, Md.; Norfolk; Charleston, S.C.; and Miami is also linked to sea level rise.”

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Permafrost thaw results in $20 million in water management expenses for Alaska zinc mine

“A company operating one of the world’s largest zinc mines in Northwest Alaska said thawing permafrost linked to global warming forced an expenditure of nearly $20 million on water storage and discharge management.

Teck Resources Ltd. says permafrost thaw in the watershed surrounding the massive Red Dog Mine is releasing higher natural levels of dissolved minerals and other particles into streams, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Tuesday.”

– via Anchorage Daily News. Read the full article here.

Trump orders fleet of icebreakers and new bases in push for polar resources

Article via The Guardian

“The intensifying rivalry over sea routes and mineral resources in the Arctic, itself a consequence of the climate emergency, has caused alarm over its environmental impact. 

“Even during a pandemic and nationwide protests against state violence, the Trump administration is still finding new ways to exploit the climate crisis. He is truly the worst president for the planet we’ve ever had,” Charlie Cray, a senior researcher for Greenpeace USA, said.

“There are so many ways our tax dollars could be used to support Arctic communities. Helping out the oil industry and the military with a new fleet of icebreakers is definitely last on the list.”

Polar military experts are also sceptical over the urgency of the “icebreaker gap” with Russia. 

“Icebreakers – even if armed – don’t really address some of the most commonly cited challenges that China and Russia might pose for the United States in the Arctic,” Paul Avey, assistant professor for political science at Virginia Tech university, argued. “This isn’t to say icebreakers can play no role in competition. But in narrow defence terms, I think that the best way to address China and Russia in the Arctic – and Antarctic – is to focus on issues in eastern Europe and the western Pacific.” 

Read the full article here