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One of the mysteries of Antarctica
Material posted: Publication date: 26-11-2016
The global sea level could rise more than a meter by 2100. In 1984, scientists from Ohio state University found in Antarctica, something unexpected. At an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level on the transatlantic mountain range they found traces of algae that usually are always on the bottom of the sea.

Question: How algae could get to such a height?

In 2002, the world in shock watched as the entire Larsen glacier in Antarctica disappeared within one month. The glacier area of 3 thousand square kilometers disappeared into the sea.

At the same time, the international group of UN experts on climate change have been criticized for the fact that existing climate models do not take into account everything that has an impact on the glaciers. It was, in particular, the observation of the cracking of glaciers in the Eastern part of Antarctica in recent years. Scientist and Professor reed Scherer (Reed Scherer) from Northern Illinois University and his colleagues now believe that they have found a model that is better suited for this area. And the results of their work are scary.

Big cities can be destroyed

In the 90-ies of the scientist Scherer, who at that time had a bachelor's degree, followed the debate around what happened in the Pliocene epoch three million years ago. Border disputes took place between those who believed that traces of algae, was found at an altitude of 1600 meters, due to the fact that the ice in East Antarctica at some time collapsed and fell down, and then was taken up, and those who believed that it is absolutely impossible and that, most likely, fossils were recorded by the wind at this height in the mountains.

Scherer thought about how all of these processes could be linked. But it took 20 years before the model was created, which can be tested. In this he was helped by Rob Deconto (Rob DeConto) from the University of Massachusetts and David Pollard (David Pollard) from Pennsylvania State University.

They published an article in the journal Nature, and before that the Washington Post said about them and their model.

"In a scenario with large emissions of the XXII century will be hell. The water level of the oceans will rise unimaginably. The result will disappear from the map many great cities and some Nations. This will be a century of the Exodus from coastal areas," says Ben Strauss (Ben Strauss), program Manager in sea level from Climate Central new Jersey in an interview with the Washington Post.

At the time, the group of UN experts on climate change suggested that if we continue to pollute the atmosphere to the same extent as it is now, the water level will rise to a height of from 0.5 to one meter by the year 2100. That alone will lead to serious consequences for the entire world, in particular, some areas of the Netherlands will go under water.

But if the new model is correct, the situation may be even worse.

Allegedly, the new model better explains the situation

All models are based on the assumption that the temperature in the atmosphere and ocean. In 2007, the Norwegian climate scientists also reported that the models did not match observations.

"In recent years there has been more and more intensive cracking of ice on the edges of Greenland and Antarctica. Many of the physical processes involved in the movement of the ice is not yet fully understood. Therefore, the existing models that can describe what is happening, not realistic," stated Ina Kindem (Ina Kindem) and Sigbjorn Granos (Sigbjørn Grønås) in your comments on the website forskning. no.

According to the assumptions, the main reason that causes the raising of the level of sea water, is the appearance of a larger amount of water in the ocean in connection with the increase in temperature. Another important reason is the melting of glaciers away from poles. The ice of Greenland and Antarctica were considered, on the contrary, very stable.

The material published in Nature, scientists (especially David Pollard) showed the developed model reproduces, in their opinion, the processes occurring during the melting of the glaciers.

According to their model, the ice of Antarctica will melt so that sea levels will rise one meter by 2100 and by more than 15 meters by 2500. It is — at the current rate of global warming.

Incorrect model or data

Dagbladet had the opportunity to talk with reed Scherer in the car on the way to the earth Observatory, Lamont (Lamont Earth Observatory), which belongs to Columbia University in new York. He said: "Erroneous or our data or our model. Now matches are better. The previous model did not include all physics that affect the ice. The ice disappears not only when it gets so warm they can melt it all the more difficult.

In 2002, the water got in the cracks of the glacier. The cracks became deeper and deeper as long as the glacier did not break up into large pieces. Due to this process is faster than in the "normal" melting.

The fact that the ice is melting fast and there when he falls into the water. It showed the disappearance of the glacier Larsen, in 2002. It told us a lot about how the process is going and what we should pay attention. It is not only the melting but also the approach to the end point".

When the data about finds of algae in the mountains was published, Scherer, still had only the degree of the bachelor, decided to take part in the debate.

"20 years ago I could draw just something that could look like a drawing, but now we have a model on which to test.

What is happening is a small victory for supporters of the dynamic theory. The theory is that the ice dynamic and rapidly retreats, being in contact with water, in contrast to what are considered as representatives of a static theory.

As the ice retreats, and the pressure on the land decreases, the land rises along the coast of Antarctica.

Where before was the sea, deposits of algae dry out, resulting in a lighter wind can lift them off the ice."
Not sure how he will take it

Scherer looks forward to a response specialists.

"I have not so many answers. There are still some specialists who believe that East Antarctica has not changed. Let's see what will be said in the coming weeks. Dave Harwood (Dave Harwood) who first found the fossil algae, said that the glacier size was more than three million years ago. Not sure how he will take it. I can say in that regard, he's right but for the wrong reasons. This confirms the view that it does not require too much heat to the ice rebounded strongly".

Cannot be stopped but can be slowed down

We asked Scherer about the possibility to avoid the most severe consequences of climate change, but his response was not very optimistic.

"We can't stop it but we can slow down the retreat of the ice edge", he said.

— How much better we have to become to achieve this?

The question is how much risk you can go, hehe. We do not screw the oil valves, but trump still wants to increase coal production, because they do not believe that climate change is happening due to human action. Scientists are the first to say that we know not all.... But this does not mean that we know no more than... other people. Only bad thing is that there are things that I know I don't know them.

— What do you usually say to people who do not believe climate change is the result of human activities?

— I first of all say that climate has no care about your political philosophy. The climate is what it is. And then I say that if you're sick, go to the best doctor with the best education, who knows the most about your illness. Not the guy at the end of the bar. So, why should this matter more to believe that guy at the end of the bar, not someone who has dedicated their entire life to understand this issue?

Another argument these people: your own study says that change happens all the time. Why do you then say that it is the result of human activities?

The answer is this: change is coming much faster than it would happen on the earth with smaller amounts of carbon dioxide. I study mainly Western Antarctica, not the East, and what I see there worries me even more. But this study also shows that there is reason to be concerned about the situation in the East is not only a stable block of ice.

— Why are you more concerned about Western side?

— Most of the ice is below the water level, and a large part is in contact with the sea, which heats it. We found fish under the ice far from the edge of the ice, and this leads to the sad reflections. But we'll cover that in our next publication.

He's not too optimistic about politicians and voters.

"We have to be reasonable. We had a lot of bad choices, and now we should be good."

The question is not whether that will happen

Kerim Hestnes, Nisancioglu (Kerim Hestnes Nisanciogluer), Professor at the Bjerknes Center for climate research University of Bergen, said that the group of UN experts on climate change are working to incorporate the new calculations into their models: "Feature of Antarctica is that the ice is in contact with the ocean. In a warmer climate with a large amount of melting cracks filled with melt water, the ice along the coast melts and breaks down quickly. New calculations show that the contribution of the icy mantle in the level of the ocean now more than ever. A group of UN experts on climate change did not include these processes in their calculations, but now actively engaged in it."

Professor talks about what they do based on their own research in Greenland see that the ice that is in contact with water, melts faster than ice on earth. This is because the surface is more melt water and the formation of cracks.

"We scientists are afraid that what we see in the data about the sea level in the Pliocene epoch, will become a reality in a warmer greenhouse climate, assuming that we continue the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 400 ppm, — he said in an interview with Dagbladet. — The issue is not that the water level in the oceans will rise by ten meters or more, the question is how quickly this will happen."

Cornelia Christiansen


Tags: Antarctica

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