Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

Scientists Warn of Melting Ice Sheet, Rising Sea Level – WSJ.com

Ruh roh!

Scientists Warn of Melting Ice Sheet, Rising Sea Level

Melt Happening Faster Than Expected; Researchers Point to Broad Climate Change as Cause



Robert Lee Hotz

Updated May 12, 2014 7:34 p.m. ET

Thwaites Glacier is one of the six rapidly melting glaciers leading to the shrinking of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. AFP/Getty Images

Six rapidly melting glaciers in Antarctica are destabilizing one of the world’s largest ice sheets, a process which, if unchecked, could release enough water to raise sea levels world-wide significantly in centuries to come, two groups of scientists said Monday.

On the basis of decades of satellite measurements and aircraft observations, researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California at Irvine calculated that the glaciers’ retreat may have already “reached the point of no return.”

An ice sheet is part of a vast, continent-size ice cap—often miles thick—that is drained by flowing glaciers the way a lake is drained by streams.

By themselves, the Antarctic coastal glaciers already contribute as much to sea-level rise every year as, for example, the melting Greenland ice sheet in the Arctic. All told, melt water from the Antarctic glaciers could raise sea level by four feet, the researchers said at a news conference held by NASA. Their findings have been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters.

“Ice is going to retreat in this sector for decades and centuries to come and we can’t stop it,” said NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot, who led the study. “It is quite likely the retreat of these glaciers will accelerate in the future rather than slow down.”

The researchers said that the rapid melting was caused by broad patterns of climate change, including rising regional temperatures, warming ocean currents, and changing wind patterns.

In recent years, overall global surface temperatures haven’t risen as quickly as in the past, even as emissions of so-called greenhouse gases have continued to grow, leading some skeptics to suggest that global warming has already peaked. In their view, predictions of dire future climate consequences—such as the ice melts and sea-level rises projected in the latest findings —are overblown.

In all, Antarctica holds about 60% of the planet’s fresh water, locked into the millions of cubic miles of polar ice. Polar-ice experts worry about how the changes in these glaciers will affect the stability of the continent’s vast West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains enough fresh water in its ice to increase sea levels around the world by 10 feet or so.

Until now, polar experts were confident that the coastal glaciers, which were anchored to the sea floor, held the ice sheet in place. As the glaciers have been undercut in recent years by warming ocean water, they have floated free of the sea bottom and melted more rapidly.

Dr. Rignot and his colleagues relied on radar observations captured between 1992 and 2011 by the European Earth Remote Sensing satellites to track the ice. The Pine Island Glacier, for example, retreated 19 miles since 2005, according to the researchers, while the Smith and Kohler glaciers retreated 21 miles inland.

“In West Antarctica, the situation is particularly bad,” said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, a glaciologist at Pennsylvania State University, who has studied the ice sheet but wasn’t involved in the current research. “The ice is flowing faster, which puts more water into the ocean.”

That makes the entire region unstable, according to the scientists.

In an independent computer study released Monday, researchers at the University of Washington concluded that the coastal melting may have already set in motion the slow collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

By their calculations, to be published this week in Science, it could take from 200 to 900 years for the entire ice sheet to melt, they said.

via Scientists Warn of Melting Ice Sheet, Rising Sea Level – WSJ.com.

Mitt Romney Explains Where Obama Went Wrong (Hint: It Is ‘Everywhere’)

Not ashamed to admit I send monies to Wonkette for the pleasure she brings. For ten bucks, you really get bang for your buck.

via Mitt Romney Explains Where Obama Went Wrong (Hint: It Is ‘Everywhere’).

LET’S GO DO SOME CRIMEA 1:30 pm March 18, 2014

Mitt Romney Explains Where Obama Went Wrong (Hint: It Is ‘Everywhere’)

by Doktor Zoom

We need a leader who instills respect in his foesIt sure is a good thing that politics stops at the water’s edge, because otherwise this Mitt Romney pouting in the Wall Street Journal sure would be controversial, since basically he tells America that we really screwed up bad by choosing such a terrible president who is decidedly not Mitt Romney. You see, were it not for all of Barack Obama’s manifest failures to do things much differently, the world would be a pretty nice place, but as it is, everything that foreign countries have done is the result of Barry Bamz being a big weakling. Also, Hillary Clinton, too. Romney laments that there are “no good options” on a whole bunch of international issues, like Crimea of course, but also Afghanistan and Iraq and Iran and North Korea, all of which Obama really screwed up on, leaving America with its hands tied:

A large part of the answer is our leader’s terrible timing. In virtually every foreign-affairs crisis we have faced these past five years, there was a point when America had good choices and good options. There was a juncture when America had the potential to influence events. But we failed to act at the propitious point; that moment having passed, we were left without acceptable options.

Fittingly, the column was published on a Monday night; you sort of imagine Mitt in a helmet and shoulder pads, calling plays into the past. Because if you look at history, it’s clear that America can always make other countries do exactly what America wants when we have a good leader who does the right thing, as proven by that quote from Shakespeare about how you gotta catch the tide just right and ride it, because Charlie don’t surf.

First off, on Ukraine, Barry totally failed to recognize the possibility that Putin would invade Crimea, even though it should have been obvious once the government started responding violently to the protests:

That was the time to talk with our global allies about punishments and sanctions, to secure their solidarity, and to communicate these to the Russian president. These steps, plus assurances that we would not exclude Russia from its base in Sevastopol or threaten its influence in Kiev, might have dissuaded him from invasion.

Which is a pretty good backwards psychic prediction, because it doesn’t need to account for pesky details like the fact that shortly before the Ukrainian government started shooting protesters, it was looking like it was going to negotiate with them instead, and then that government fell almost as suddenly as it started killing people. But yes, had Obama just seen the situation with the clarity of a month later, he should have warned Putin, and we all know how Putin listens to other leaders.

Similarly, when protests in Syria first started to turn into a revolt against Bashar Assad, Mitt tells us that

the time was ripe for us to bring together moderate leaders who would have been easy enough for us to identify, to assure the Alawites that they would have a future post-Assad, and to see that the rebels were well armed.

Why, yes, all you have to do is look at the headlines from three years ago, when they all said “Good Guys In Syria Easy to Identify” — and when the administration sought to work with the moderate rebels, there certainly weren’t any teabaggers like Michele Bachmann screaming that the Arab Spring was just a cover for al Qaeda trying to take over everything.

And so on — in one foreign situation after another, Mitt Romney finds the perfect moment where Barack Obama was asleep at the switch again. Really, he should go back in time and fix stuff, but he refuses to because he is Weak. But has anything worked out for poor feckless Barack? Heck no, because he failed to bully the world into fearing America the way he should have:

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton traveled the world in pursuit of their promise to reset relations and to build friendships across the globe. Their failure has been painfully evident: It is hard to name even a single country that has more respect and admiration for America today than when President Obama took office, and now Russia is in Ukraine.

Because god knows, we were so very, very admired and respected under the able leadership of George W. Bush.