Huge fleet of icebergs hits North Atlantic shipping lanes
About 450 icebergs – up from 37 a week earlier – have drifted into waters where Titanic sank, forcing vessels to divert and raising global warming fears
6 April, 2017
More than 400 icebergs have drifted into the North Atlantic shipping lanes over the past week in an unusually large swarm for this early in the season, forcing vessels to slow to a crawl or take detours of hundreds of kilometres.
In India, it was still February. The hot season was supposed to begin two months later in April. But temperatures in some coastal provinces had already rocketed to above 100 degrees F (38 C).
The India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) seasonal forecast shows the worst is yet to come, as vast swathes of the country are set to reel under scorching heat from April to June before the monsoon arrives…The forecast is a reflection of the searing heat in most parts of India, including the national capital, since March. New Delhi endured its hottest March in seven years this season, and the mercury is refusing to relent.
All eyes are on the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, where an iceberg 2,000 square miles in area will soon break away. The only thing keeping the chunk of ice attached to its shelf is a 12-mile “thread” that could vanish at any time.
Larsen C began to calve in summer 2016, and the crack grew rapidly, from 300 feet wide in November to 1,500 feet in February. The crack first formed in 2010 but seemed on the verge of breaking away entirely once calving began, having grown to 110 miles long.
Since February, though, the growth of the crack has slowed to a crawl. "It is particularly hard to predict when it will occur," said Adrian Luckman of Project MIDAS, a British government group that has been monitoring Larsen C for years, in an email to USA Today. "I am quite surprised as to how long it is holding on!"
Antarctic Ice Crack to Produce Monstrous Iceberg Later This Year (VIDEO)
There may be more surprises coming, however, as Luckman pointed out that, "this is not a predictable process because we know only a little about the nature of the ice. It could go today, or it may be months."
Ice shelves already float on top of the water, so the breakaway of a chunk of Larsen C won't raise sea levels very much. A relatively small amount of ice trapped in the ice shelf will fall into the sea when the iceberg completes the process.
The Larsen ice shelf has been slowly disintegrating over the last few decades, with Larsen A breaking away in 1995 and Larsen B in 2002. Larsen C itself isn't going to break away, just a piece of it that makes up about a tenth of its overall area. The piece is still quite large, a good bit larger than the US state of Rhode Island.
Gigantic as the crack is, it will not create a new iceberg. The object will float into the sea, break apart into pieces and then melt into the ocean, according to Project MIDAS.
But for a brief moment between calving and dissolving, the Larsen C chunk will be the fifth largest iceberg on record.
If fossil fuel use continues unabated, atmosphere could revert "to values of CO2 not seen since the early Eocene (50 million years ago)," new report finds
Current carbon dioxide levels are unprecedented in human history and could reach a level unseen in millennia if their rates continue at this pace, a new report out Tuesday warns.
Research published in Nature Communications finds that if fossil fuel use continues unabated, the atmosphere could revert "to values of CO2 not seen since the early Eocene (50 million years ago)," a time when humans did not exist, by the middle of the 21st century.
Dana L. Royer, a paleoclimate researcher at Wesleyan University and co-author of the study, told Climate Central, "The early Eocene was much warmer than today: global mean surface temperature was at least 10°C (18°F) warmer than today. There was little-to-no permanent ice. Palms and crocodiles inhabited the Canadian Arctic."
Because carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for centuries, climate change would continue to impact the planet even if humans miraculously dropped emissions to zero after hitting that mid-century peak, Royer said.
Indeed, global warming may have already locked in the Antarctic ice sheet for unstoppable melting—driving sea level rise and threatening coastal communities worldwide.
The authors continue, "If CO2 continues to rise further into the twenty-third century, then the associated large increase in radiative forcing, and how the Earth system would respond, would likely be without geological precedent in the last half a billion years."
The report comes as the Trump administration turns its back on climate regulations, issuing an executive order last week that aims to undo Obama-era policies keeping a lid on greenhouse gas emissions.
"Aside from provoking a large-scale nuclear war, it is hard to imagine an American president taking an action more harmful to the U.S. than [President Donald] Trump's effort to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions," David J. Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen's Climate Program, said at the time.
"This day may be remembered as a low point in human history—a time when the world's preeminent power could have led the world to a better future but instead moved decisively toward catastrophe," Arkush added.
Here is the latest from Paul Beckwith, who seems to be back on-message after lashing out at the NTHE community and Guy McPherson.
Do Jet Streams Vanish with Arctic Sea-Ice?
What happens to the jet streams when we lose all Arctic sea ice and snow cover? Do they vanish? Do they still exist as a weak remnant farther north? Does the 3 cell atmospheric circulation reduce to 2 cells or even 1 cell? It would be nice knowing these things, before they actually happen in a few short years.