Navigation Links
As Greenland melts
Date:10/19/2009

Princeton, New Jersey. October 19th, 2009 ~ Not that long ago the blink of a geologic eye global temperatures were so warm that ice on Greenland could have been hard to come by. Today, the largest island in the world is covered with ice 1.6 miles thick. Even so, Greenland has become a hot spot for climate scientists. Why? Because tiny bubbles trapped in the ice layers may help resolve a fundamental question about global warming: how fast and how much will ice sheets melt?

Monday night on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (PBS), a report by Climate Central's Dr. Heidi Cullen explores efforts by an international group of scientists looking for answers. Their method: drill down through 130,000 years of accumulated ice to unlock the secrets of climate history from what geologists call the Eemian period. That was the last time the average global temperature was significantly warmer than it is today, and tiny bubbles trapped in the ice preserve key planetary conditions from that time period.

Scientists from 14 nations are participating in the North Greenland Eemian Ice drilling project, or NEEM. Dr. Cullen, Senior Research Scientist for Climate Central (climatecentral.org), a non-profit, non-advocacy group of journalists and scientists dedicated to communicating about climate change, along with a television crew from StormCenter Communications, was invited to report the story. In July she accompanied scientists to North Western Greenland where she observed ice core drilling firsthand.

"Securing a pristine ice core dating back 130,000 years will provide a snapshot of conditions on Greenland when the average global temperature was 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today," says Dr. Cullen. "The Eemian provides a very realistic scenario of what we might see in the coming centuries."

Climate Central scientists calculate that in 2007, Greenland shed ice at a rate that, melted, equals the equivalent of draining San Francisco Bay once a week all year long. Some climate models suggest that if greenhouse emissions are not reduced, Earth's average temperature could approach Eemian era levels when today's children reach their 70's and 80's. Another key question the ice samples may help answer: how long would temperatures have to remain at those levels or higher to trigger a major rise in sea level?

Ice cores have been a tool for science since the Cold War, after it was discovered that air bubbles trapped in ice are science rich time capsules. Each layer of ice is a world unto itself. As Jeff Severinghaus, of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, tells Dr. Cullen, "The beautiful thing about an ice core is that it has all of these different indicators: atmospheric composition, mean ocean temperature, dust."

Dr. Cullen also reports that the Greenland project employs a new field technique cutting a thin slab of the ice core, melting it, and conducting a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of the drip water. When drilling ended for the 2009 summer season samples from one mile down had been retrieved, dating back over 38,000 years. Scientists hope to reach Eemian ice in the summer of 2011.

None of this is to suggest that a massive, accelerated melting of Greenland is in the offing any time soon but as the San Francisco Bay analogy highlights the melting in Greenland demands careful attention be paid.


'/>"/>

Contact: Iveta Weinberg
IWeinberg@ClimateCentral.org
609-924-3800
Climate Central
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. A survivor in Greenland: A novel bacterial species is found trapped in 120,000-year-old ice
2. Greenland ice core reveals history of pollution in the Arctic
3. What is really happening to the Greenland icecap?
4. Searching for an interglacial on Greenland
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
As Greenland melts
(Date:12/7/2016)... 2016   Veridium , a leader in ... new CEO James Stickland . Stickland, a ... experience, has served in senior executive roles for ... in expanding a pipeline of venture capital and ... recently served as managing director of U.K.-based fintech ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... Dec. 5, 2016  The Office of Justice ... "Can CT Scans Enhance or Replace Medico Legal ... of supporting or replacing forensic autopsies with postmortem ... In response to recommendations made by ... using CT scans as a potential component of ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016  higi SH llc (higi) announced today ... national brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity influencers looking ... for taking steps to live healthier, more active ... higi has built the largest self-screening health station ... people who have conducted over 185 million biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... 8, 2016 Eurofins announces the appointment of Sean ... Eurofins Scientific Inc. (ESI). Mr. Murray will bring ... and entrepreneurial experience in leading international business teams. As the National ... market to uphold Eurofins, status as the global leader in bio-analytical ... , , ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec. 8, 2016  Anaconda BioMed S.L., a pre-clinical ... the next generation neuro-thrombectomy system for the treatment of ... G. Jovin, MD to join its Scientific Advisory Board ... strategic network of scientific and clinical experts to Anaconda ... the ANCD BRAIN ® to its clinical phase. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016  Soligenix, Inc. (OTCQB: SNGX) (Soligenix or ... developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases ... today the long-term follow-up data from its Phase ... Innate Defense Regulator (IDR), in the treatment of ... patients undergoing chemoradiation therapy (CRT).  The additional 12-month ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016  Partnering to fuel Philadelphia,s ... of Southeastern Pennsylvania (" Ben ... of Independence Blue Cross; and Safeguard Scientifics ("Safeguard") (NYSE: ... a $6 million funding initiative over a four year ... Responding to a burgeoning economic vitality in digital health, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: