Greenland Melting Faster

Photo courtesy Jens Buurgaard Nielsen, Wikimedia Commons

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Just in time for Copenhagen, here’s another shot of data to bust the policy clots preventing a meaningful agreement. According to a new study in Science, the Greenland ice sheet is loosing mass at an accelerating rate. The reason is twofold:

  • First, from increased iceberg production driven by acceleration of Greenland’s fast-flowing outlet glaciers. (I’ve blogged on the mechanisms of this several times.)
  • Second, from increased meltwater production on the ice sheet surface. (I’ve blogged on this mechanism too.)

The Greenland ice sheet contains enough water to cause a global sea level rise of 23 feet. Since 2000 it’s added to a global sea level rise of ~0.02 inch a year, for 0.2 inch total.

Recent warm summers between 2006 and 2008 accelerated the loss, adding 0.03 inches to the global sea level rise a year.

Jonathan Bamber, an author on the paper, told the U of Bristol:

“It is clear from these results that mass loss from Greenland has been accelerating since the late 1990s and the underlying causes suggest this trend is likely to continue in the near future.”

Now combine the Greenland meltwater with melting elsewhere in the Arctic and, increasingly, the Antarctic, plus thermal expansion of the warming ocean… combine with my blog from yesterday—about Europe freezing over in the span of a few months the last time the Northern Hemisphere saw a vast dump of freshwater into the Arctic and North Atlantic—and, well, it could get Biblical on us.
 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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