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West Antarctica's ice sheet loss "appears unstoppable"

by Greg Bernhardt
Tags: antarctica, appears unstoppable, loss, sheet, west
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256bits
#19
May29-14, 08:15 PM
P: 1,497
Wikepedia gives a comprehensive glacial retreat worldwide
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat...ers_since_1850

A particular glacial retreat in N.America - the Saskatchewan Glacier
https://glacierchange.wordpress.com/...acier-retreat/

The nearby Athabasca Glacier ( seen in one of the pictures from Google Earth ), more easily accessable for tourists has been in retreat for at least since the 1850's, and is estimated to be non-existant within 100 years.
mheslep
#20
Jun2-14, 11:11 AM
PF Gold
P: 3,103
Quote Quote by 256bits View Post
...accessable for tourists has been in retreat for at least since the 1850's, and is estimated to be non-existant within 100 years.
I've not seen a firm conclusion on the reason for the warming/retreat starting in the 1850's? Yes this was the end of the Little Ice Age, but why the end? Solar something?
phyzguy
#21
Jun2-14, 01:08 PM
P: 2,195
I'd like to draw your attention to the attached excellent Nature paper from August, 2013 by Abe-Ouchi, et.al. If you look at Figure 1 especially C and D, the authors have done an outstanding job of modeling the rise and fall of the oceans over the last four Ice Ages, including modeling most of the little "wiggles" as the sea level rose and fell. Their model says that, based on the past history, we should already have turned the corner, and sea level should have begun to slowly fall. I'll leave it to others to speculate on why that might be.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Nature12374_IceAges.pdf (1.41 MB, 10 views)
D H
#22
Jun2-14, 01:30 PM
Mentor
P: 15,202
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
I've not seen a firm conclusion on the reason for the warming/retreat starting in the 1850's? Yes this was the end of the Little Ice Age, but why the end? Solar something?
An increase in the solar constant is the dominant hypothesis, but there are others. The Little Ice Age saw two major and one minor minima in solar output, the Spörer Minimum (1460 to 1550), Maunder Minimum (1645 to 1715), and the not quite as strong Dalton Minimum (1790 to 1830). The Sun's output increased from the end of the Dalton minimum until the 1950s/1960s. It has dropped slightly in the last 50 years. On top of that, volcanic activity was abnormally high throughout much of the Little Ice Age. This would have increased aerosols in the upper atmosphere, which in turn would have increased the Earth's albedo. The volcanic effect is typically viewed as having exacerbated the situation rather having been the driving cause of the Little Ice Age. The combination of the variability of the Sun and volcanic activity fits very nicely with historical climate records.


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