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Greenland And A Warming World


Gray-Wolf

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Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

In light of the accelerated pace of change in melt rates across Greenland over the past several years have we underestimated the impacts ,globally, that Greenland will cause us all?

It was once thought that the 'ice dome' atop of Greenland would not suffer any measurable changes in mass until beyond 2050 but it would now seem, from mass loss measurements taken over the last 5 years, that we have dramatically 'underestimated' the impacts there.

Seeing as there is no evidence of sea level rises associated with the 'warm period' that had Viking settlers surviving on the south of the island we must conclude that the changes we are witnessing today (with associated sea level hikes) are of a different nature to the changes back then (which were cyclical climatic events). We are currently not seeing a comparable climate, to the south of the Greenland, that allowed those Nordic settlements to endure yet we are measuring an acceleration in the amount of meltwater outflow from Greenland and it's impact on global sea levels.

So what is going on there?

We have witnessed an acceleration in the loss of ice mass across the Arctic since the late 90's culminating in the past two years of record ice loss. Scientist are putting these losses down to a 'climatic change' in Arctic currents and winds leading to a 'flushing out' of much of the older perennial ice and an ingress of warmer waters from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Initially a combination of 'favourable' NAO and PDO phases were held up as playing a driving role in the changes but surely ,if this were true, we would have evidence from past ,similar, conflagrations to base our prediction of future changes on, as it is science seems to on the 'back foot' reacting with surprise to the speed of the changes witnessed and amending predictions to suit.

With the Polar Jet now moving ever further north could it now be playing an ever increasing role in the climatic fluctuations there, changing the nature and routine of both the PDO and NAO?

As the 'temperate zone' expands ever further north (as the alterations in the seasons attest to) could we now be entering a time where we loose the old Atlantic/Pacific Oscillations to be replaced with a single 'Arctic' climate which is less and less impacted by the ocean basin flip,flops and more and more influenced by it's own self sustained 'arctic' climatic driver?

A few years ago I posted around the northerly migration of the 10c isotherm in both the Atlantic and Pacific and the possible impacts to the Arctic climate this would bring. At that time NASA had not released the evidence of the northerly migration of the Jet Stream but now we have both pieces of evidence in place can we really maintain that we can expect a Status Quo of both the PDO and NAO as the conditions alter around them?

If we can see a case for an ongoing 'augmentation' of these oscillations then can we further see a case for the loss of the old 'flip,flop' states completely as a more 'stable' setup evolves beyond 67 degrees north (and the move to an ice free Arctic Ocean over summer months)

Further more, as the 'new' climate imposes itself we can expect more losses of the ice shelves in the Canadian archipelago and continued snout retreat of the Glaciers throughout the arctic. For Greenland this means that even more ice mass will be lost ,via Glacial drainage, into the Atlantic ocean.

All of the changes we have witnessed thus far are self reinforcing making any 'recovery' doubly difficult in both Greenland and the Arctic as a whole. If the changes we have witnessed over the past decade are truely the slow modification of the 'old' climate drivers up there then we can only expect more of the same (even with 'cold winters thrown in for good measure....as seen last year and will, no doubt ,see this year). The global implications of change are traumatic. Significant sea level changes will impact directly upon the Antarctic continent floating off ice shelves and releasing the ice sheets behind.

Past 'climatic fluctuations' have been too slow to free up this process but today, with forced and continuous warming, we need to think the unthinkable.

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Posted
  • Location: Larbert
  • Location: Larbert

Greenland and warming world?

First things first, the world ain't warming.

Secondly, Greenland looks pretty healthy to me:

dailyiceconc.jpg

arctic.seaice.some.000.png

Greenland will soon become ice locked!

Honestly, GW. I think you start these posts to provoke people..it's just a rambling essay. The IPCC would be proud to have you :-)

Edited by Delta X-Ray
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Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

:D without you Monders I'd never question the validity of my opinions but, ta very much, Your gentle prods push me to examine my 'understandings'. Thankfully everywhere I look I find validation and ,should anyone seek to do similar then Google ing 'Greenland melt', 'Melting Ice sheets' will throw up a plethora of studies from the late 90's onwards questioning the stability of both Greenland and Antarctica's ice sheets. As they move forwards in time, and evidence amasses, predictions become ever more dire........making me look moderate in fact :D .

A heartfelt 'thanxs' from me and my conscience :)

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Guest mycroft

Quote from GW

Google ing 'Greenland melt', 'Melting Ice sheets' will throw up a plethora of studies from the late 90's onwards questioning the stability of both Greenland and Antarctica's ice sheets

Would these be the same studies that told us that melting ice would de- salinise the gulf stream and stop convection etc

strange that?

An article on the metoffice site state's

Co-author Professor Rowan Sutton said: "The freshening of polar waters in the Atlantic, which has raised fears about a collapse of the warm Gulf Stream current, leading to a significantly colder climate for Europe, looks not to be related to increasing greenhouse gases, but natural variability."

The words cake and eat it spring to mind!!

Edited by mycroft
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Posted
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada

Well like I said before, the only real problems with the global warming theory are the global part and the warming part.

Seriously, there is probably some risk of a faster melt in Greenland than had been postulated earlier. The only way we are going to know for sure is to keep watching. I don't think it is the most likely outcome especially now that the 2007 ice melt is looking a bit more like the high water mark of an episode that could well be reversing as we watch. The past two months have shown an encouraging amount of cold spreading from a "cold pole" that I would locate very close to the North Magnetic Pole, just west of Axel Heiberg Island at any rate, and including Greenland in its spreading influence.

So, I wouldn't want to say this concept of a rapidly melting Greenland is now off the table, but a balanced assessment would be that it is perhaps not as big a threat as it might have seemed 5-10 years ago as temperatures continued to climb in the subarctic and arctic regions, or even last year with the ice minimum.

Anyway, like I was saying in another thread, there is now general agreement in politics that we should be creating new and cleaner technology, cleaning up, cutting back, even pressuring China and India, so I am not sure what more can realistically be done to reduce the "carbon footprint" whether one believes in the science or not. Thus the only thing we can do is wait and see. I would give it about a one in three chance of happening, that is, substantial melting of the Greenland ice later this century. It is not guaranteed, and it is not totally ruled out. That's about all we can really say at this point.

I wish there would be more discussion of how to remove sea water through desalinization because that is a win-win situation, if the capacity were created to do some of that and have extra capacity if needed, then we wouldn't really need to worry about this issue at all and we would be getting a real benefit from our concern.

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Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
there is now general agreement in politics that we should be creating new and cleaner technology, cleaning up, cutting back, even pressuring China and India, so I am not sure what more can realistically be done to reduce the "carbon footprint" whether one believes in the science or not. Thus the only thing we can do is wait and see.

Indeed, there is general agreement, but the problem is agreeing how to do it, and taking associated action- and that's where the politicians are falling down. Good intentions, not so good actions. If we all just "wait and see", it's difficult to see the current status quo changing until fossil fuels become very limited indeed.

Interesting point about reclaiming water through desalinisation. I'd be interested to see, incidentally, how much of a sea level rise we can expect if Greenland's ice sheet melts almost completely. Antarctica melting, in contrast, isn't a big worry because the temperatures there are so much lower- we'd need a warming of several degrees there to have much impact I think, and that's predicted under only the most extreme of scenarios for 2100.

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Posted
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and heatwave
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft
Greenland and warming world?

First things first, the world ain't warming.

Secondly, Greenland looks pretty healthy to me:

arctic.seaice.some.000.png

Greenland will soon become ice locked!

Honestly, GW. I think you start these posts to provoke people..it's just a rambling essay. The IPCC would be proud to have you :-)

I do have some concern about the big Black hole though, no one seems to have picked up on this re the photo :o

Re reports from the late 90s what not reports from now :o

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Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
Antarctica melting, in contrast, isn't a big worry because the temperatures there are so much lower- we'd need a warming of several degrees there to have much impact I think, and that's predicted under only the most extreme of scenarios for 2100.

I don't think there is much talk about Antarctica 'melting' is there? (maybe in the peninsula and on the flanks of the trans-Antarctic mountains and ,of course on/in the ice shelves), just a lot of talk of it 'collapsing' (as far as I am concerned that is).

The two things are very different beasties , a wall will 'collapse if it's -50c outside, it won't necessarily melt though.

None of the 'melting' would appear to pose any threat to rapid sea level rises but the 'collapse' of the shelf systems would lead to a domino 'collapse' of the Glacier/sheets behind and then a mechanical emptying of the inner ice sheets as the peripheries become unstable/absent.

The transport of this 'debris' into the southern oceans, via the strong Katabatic winds blowing out from the continent, would indeed lead to rapid sea level rises further exacerbating the situation.

Antarctic collapse is, and has, always been more to do with mechanical failure of solids than the melting of solids.

The mechanism (for those who have not yet been exposed to it) goes like this;- Sea level rises put increased stresses on the fringing ice shelves, by 'floating them' ,and this in turn puts pressure on the areas of the shelf that contacts the coast. The strong offshore winds drive the ice shelf into the southern ocean (as has occurred with the shelfs that failed around the peninsula.

The amount of ice physically 'held back' by this 'girdle' of ice is immense. The sub surface mile high 'rucking ,measured by BAS back in 2002, illustrates well just how efficiently the last 'refreeze' of the ice shelves was in stopping the flow of ice from the interior but this motion is not just frozen is it? the potential energy in these structures ,pressing seawards, must be astronomical. Lose the shelf (Ross in this instance) and you start to loose the ice the shelf holds in place. We all know of the basal lubrication that exists under the 3km of ice in the Antarctic Interior. In fact the last 5 years has brought us a number of 'studies' highlighting these processes . Both NASA and BAS, in their respective 'sectors', have , via radar/satellite/seismometers measured these vast bodies of sub ice water with the most impressive (for me at least) being the heaving up of 3km of ice (by over 20m!!!) by the pressure of the waters below and then the subsequent subsidence as the water moved out under other areas of the ice sheet.

As shown on the Peninsula the inner ice sheet drains quite rapidly when it's 'girdle' is removed.

The high winds blowing out from the centre of Antarctica are more than up to the job of floating such ice masses into the southern oceans (remember the N.Z. bergs 2 years back???) and it is here that 'ice melting' takes place (and has done in each phase of ablation within Antarctica as debris from bergs show us).

So , and hopefully for the last time, Antarctica is at risk of a 'physical collapse' followed by melting of the 'collapsed ice as it pushes (or is pushed more like) into the Southern oceans, no matter what the inner continental temps do.

The impacts upon the climate within Antarctica will follow the initial collapse (as it has on the peninsula) and not take place before.

Thank you for listening. I hope you finally 'heard'.....................

Re reports from the late 90s what not reports from now :o

I take it from that you have not Googled Greenland anything then???

The last year of melt was the greatest yet and , strangely focused to the North of the island (and of course with the Ellesmere island shelf collapses thrown in for fun)

2007 was the second greatest melt but was more focused to the south of the island.

Every year since 2002 has claimed a 'record' mass loss from Greenland.

It does make me smile to see one so obviously informed willing to join the debate......it does your intellect a great service/credit (IMHO)

Edited by Gray-Wolf
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Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

Just for you stew...

North Greenland had record summer snowmelt

Marco Tedesco said melting in northern Greenland lasted up to 18 days longer than previous maximum values. And he said the melting index -- the number of melting days times the area subject to melting -- was three times greater than the 1979-2007 average.

by Staff Writers

New York (UPI) Oct 9, 2008

U.S. atmospheric scientists say satellite data indicates northern Greenland experienced a record number of melting days this summer.

City College of New York Assistant Professor Marco Tedesco said the northern part of the Greenland ice sheet experienced extreme snowmelt during this summer, with large portions of the area subject to record melting days.

Tedesco and his team said they based their conclusion on an analysis of microwave brightness temperature recorded by the Special Sensor Microwave Imager on the F13 satellite.

"Having such extreme melting so far north, where it is usually colder than the southern regions, is extremely interesting," Tedesco said. "In 2007, the record occurred in southern Greenland, mostly at high elevation areas, where in 2008 extreme snowmelt occurred along the northern coast."

He said melting in northern Greenland lasted up to 18 days longer than previous maximum values. And he said the melting index -- the number of melting days times the area subject to melting -- was three times greater than the 1979-2007 average.

The findings are reported in the Oct. 6 edition of "EOS," a weekly newspaper published by the American Geophysical Union.

Edited by Gray-Wolf
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  • 1 month later...
Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

Two degree rise could spark Greenland ice sheet meltdown: WWF

by Staff Writers

Geneva (AFP) Nov 26, 2008

A less than two degree Celsius rise in global temperatures might be sufficient to spark a meltdown of the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic sea ice, the WWF warned in a new study released Thursday.

"Scientists now suggest that even warming of less than 2 degree Celsius might be enough to trigger the loss of Arctic sea ice and the meltdown of the Greenland Ice Sheet," the WWF said in a statement to accompany the findings.

"As a result, global sea levels would rise by several metres, threatening tens of millions of people worldwide."

The melting of Arctic sea ice could affect ecosystems, while a meltdown of the Greenland Ice Sheet could lead to a sea level rise of up to seven metres, with a devastating impact for the rest of the world.

The WWF urged governments meeting for UN climate talks in Poland starting Monday to "develop a strong negotiation text for a new climate treaty" due at the end of next year.

Kim Carstensen, WWF Global Climate Initiative leader said: "The early meltdown of ice in the Arctic and Greenland may soon prompt further dangerous climate feedbacks accelerating warming faster and stronger than forecast.

"Responsible politicians cannot dare to waste another second on delaying tactics in the face of these urgent warnings from nature."

***********************************************************************

Now I find this a bit confusing. 2C from when? The high Arctic is warming at an alarming rate with even lower latitudes feeling the heat (Iceland's record temps last summer....whilst we shivered in the rain...). A 2C rise has already happen in some areas and, with the reduction of sea ice 'chilling' things down this figure is probably already tied up in the system waiting to emerge.

The other thing is,of course, the speed of any 'meltdown'. Are we looking a a 'Laurentide' event or a 'drip,drip'?

It's no wonder we have so many vocal contrarians eh?

Edited by Gray-Wolf
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Posted
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!

Thank you very much for that link, Blast. It is extremely interesting. If Ollier knows as much about the mechanisms of glaciers as he sounds like he does, it is an article that really made me think about my position.

However (and it is a big however), I have now realized that the people who published and presumably commisioned it - The Center for Science and Public Policy - are not as I'd hoped an august think-tank of neutral disposition, but a highly politicized anti-AGW group.

So regretfully (because for a moment there I was very excited that the future for the Greenland ice sheet might not be as awful as I feared), I am not convinced. I want to hear more - and in particular an equally knowledgeable and plausible 'melter's' detailed reply to what Ollier says.

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Posted
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!

Ollier's article has also been posted on this enviro blogpage, together with below it a very entertaining - but also interesting - "frank exchange of views" on the piece by some knowledgeable commentators. Makes our exchanges look like the vicar's tea party!

http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002510.html

Edited by osmposm
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Posted
  • Location: Redhill, Surrey
  • Weather Preferences: Southerly tracking LPs, heavy snow. Also 25c and calm
  • Location: Redhill, Surrey
Ollier's article has also been posted on this enviro blogpage, together with below it a very entertaining - but also interesting - "frank exchange of views" on the piece by some knowledgeable commentators. Makes our exchanges look like the vicar's tea party!

http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002510.html

Lol

Ta for that Os, good reading.

BFTP

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

Hansen who? yeah Greenland's stable......

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/...81215091015.htm

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The Greeland Ice cape will never melt. In fact it is the warmth of the Atlantic which is why Greenland Has an Ice cap while parts of Canada and Russia at the same Latidute dont. Further more Greenland has under gone warming and cooling before even in the last 1000 years agao. A 1000 years ago parts of it were warm enough for a tamperate way of living. then it turned far colder and that way died out. In fact in the future due to a change in the sun it may grow colder yet again and it may spread ice all away to Iceland and cold ice water over the north Atlantic which would cause strong cooling in Europe and North America. Climate is alway changing but there will never be a change so massive as to melt all of Greeland. not in human existant at least.

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Posted
  • Location: Inbhir Nis / Inverness - 636 ft asl
  • Weather Preferences: Freezing fog, frost, snow, sunshine.
  • Location: Inbhir Nis / Inverness - 636 ft asl
Seeing as there is no evidence of sea level rises associated with the 'warm period' that had Viking settlers surviving on the south of the island we must conclude that the changes we are witnessing today (with associated sea level hikes) are of a different nature to the changes back then (which were cyclical climatic events).

Are you insinuating that these changes are automatically caused by man? Because natural climat change is obviously very common throughout history and is certainly very varied in its nature. Why should we assume that if the climate change we see today is different from climate change of the past then it is automatically our doing?

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Posted
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex

One of the obvious things that nobody seems to take into account regarding the Viking settlement of Greenland was that there were coastal forests (poor as they were) at the beginning of the settlement, but there were none left when the settlement failed. Like another famous island settlement, Easter Island, the population diminished rapidly as they felled the last of the native trees. A colony of several thousand cannot depend on driftwood for heating and cooking.

It wasn't increasing cold climate that killed Viking Greenlanders, it was the growing lack of fuel and building materials (for shelter and boats), and unwillingness to change their sessile pastoral/fishing way of life away from that they had enjoyed in Norway, to the only sustainable lifestyle in those regions of the northwest Atlantic, that of the nomadic Inuit hunter-gatherers.

At that latitude, it hardly matters if the annual mean temperature drops by a degree or so over a century. It does matter if you cannot sufficiently cook spoiling food in the short summer to avoid food poisoning because there is too little wood available.

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Posted
  • Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

It may, or may not, have been a lack of wood that finished them off, but it wasn't a lack of wood that buried those settlements under the (advancing) ice, only to be found again recently as the ice retreated.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science...nd-vikings.html

This is interesting:

http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

'As the Greenlanders' isolation from Europe grew, they found themselves victims of a steadily deteriorating environment. Their farmland, exploited to the full, had lost fertility. Erosion followed severe reductions in ground cover. The cutting of dwarf willows and alders for fuel and for the production of charcoal to use in the smelting of bog iron, which yielded soft, inferior metal, deprived the soil of its anchor of roots. Pollen analysis shows a dramatic decline in these species during the Viking years. In addition, livestock probably consumed any regenerating scrub. Overgrazing, trampling, and scuffing by the Norsemen's sheep, goats and cattle, the core of the island's livelihood, left the land debased.

Greenland's climate began to change as well; the summers grew shorter and progressively cooler, limiting the time cattle could be kept outdoors and increasing the need for winter fodder. During the worst years, when rains would have been heaviest, the hay crop would barely have been adequate to see the penned animals through the coldest days. Over the decades the drop in temperature seems to have had an effect on the design of the Greenlanders' houses. Originally conceived as single-roomed structures, like the great hall at Brattahlid, they were divided into smaller spaces for warmth, and then into warrens of interconnected chambers, with the cows kept close by so the owners might benefit from the animals' body heat.'

Edited by LadyPakal
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Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
The Greenland Ice cape will never melt. In fact it is the warmth of the Atlantic which is why Greenland Has an Ice cap while parts of Canada and Russia at the same Latitude don't. Further more Greenland has under gone warming and cooling before even in the last 1000 years ago. A 1000 years ago parts of it were warm enough for a temperate way of living. then it turned far colder and that way died out. In fact in the future due to a change in the sun it may grow colder yet again and it may spread ice all away to Iceland and cold ice water over the north Atlantic which would cause strong cooling in Europe and North America. Climate is alway changing but there will never be a change so massive as to melt all of Greenland. not in human existent at least.

Both this year and last the 'ice' has nearly gotten to NW Iceland......sadly it's been melting Perennial drifting down the coast of Greenland. 3 Years ago over on 'Corinth's' thread was the first time my attention was drawn to the phenomena when an early question about ice extent was asked as a large mass of ice was extending down the East coast. When we looked at the sat images (it was still late sept so we had the 'visible spectrum' still available) it was obvious that the ice was large floats of (well rounded) perennial and bergs of glacier fronts. The availability of 'summer season' time lapse sequences that became available after 07' summer showed that this has been occuring for over 5 years (as the 'clips go').

The breakup of major Glacier fronts in Northern Greenland again this year has helped maintain a steady out flush of thick ice through into November (the recent stall in ice extent 'growth' may well be the loss of this ice into the North Atlantic over the past 7 days of storm surge in the regions) and the loss of so much shelf ice from Ellesmere Island only goes to complicate matters further(to me).

This final disintegration of the Northern ice that we have been witnessing has it's legacy of disrupted perennial to deal with. Apart from the block that beached off Siberia in 07' the majority seems bound for the North Atlantic. The 'Ice Jam; of perennial driven into the north of Svalbard this summer may have saved the East coast of Greenland from a lot of ice this summer but even so an awful lot appeared to get through (makes you wonder about 'local modifications' to synoptics and our pee poor summers over 07/08?).

For the first time on record Northern melt in Greenland outstripped the southern melt this year. how the hell does that work? Just the topography (a BIIIIIIG upland area falling away to the sea.....here in Hebden part of the Valley never now sees the sun......how can an area in permanent shadow be melted by the sun?) If the loss of permanent sea ice allows temps to rise over 80km inland then the breakup and loss of perennial ice , ice shelfs and glacier fronts must have it's cost on the fringing ice of Greenland.

I heard some wit taking about the 'bowl' that upland Greenland is (....so no ice can flow out....), the bloody sheet is over 2 miles thick!, how big a bowl is this? where does it's rim extend to??? how much ice (in terms of sea level rise) is exposed??

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Posted
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
It may, or may not, have been a lack of wood that finished them off, but it wasn't a lack of wood that buried those settlements under the (advancing) ice, only to be found again recently as the ice retreated.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science...nd-vikings.html

A belt of coastal woodland may have been the crucial barrier that prevented year-upon-year advancing ice reaching the locations of the settlements before the trees had been removed. Birch and willow trees protect the soil beneath from early and late radiation frosts, their leaf litter further insulates the soil below from low air temperatures, and even with a covering of snow, the overhanging branches reduce the overall albedo of the land, allow the sunlight to strike their darker young bark surfaces at a perpendicular angle and warm the air in the vicinity of the trees.

Melting snow from branches thus irradiated drips down and melts snow on the ground below, revealing the dark damp leaf litter below, further reducing albedo.

Stands of pine are even more efficient at low solar declinations and high snow levels at reducing local accumulations of snow, and utilizing low incident sunlight angles to provide local warming, and insulation of soils below their leaf litter.

This is interesting:

http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

'As the Greenlanders' isolation from Europe grew, they found themselves victims of a steadily deteriorating environment. Their farmland, exploited to the full, had lost fertility. Erosion followed severe reductions in ground cover. The cutting of dwarf willows and alders for fuel and for the production of charcoal to use in the smelting of bog iron, which yielded soft, inferior metal, deprived the soil of its anchor of roots. Pollen analysis shows a dramatic decline in these species during the Viking years. In addition, livestock probably consumed any regenerating scrub. Overgrazing, trampling, and scuffing by the Norsemen's sheep, goats and cattle, the core of the island's livelihood, left the land debased.

Greenland's climate began to change as well; the summers grew shorter and progressively cooler, limiting the time cattle could be kept outdoors and increasing the need for winter fodder. During the worst years, when rains would have been heaviest, the hay crop would barely have been adequate to see the penned animals through the coldest days. Over the decades the drop in temperature seems to have had an effect on the design of the Greenlanders' houses. Originally conceived as single-roomed structures, like the great hall at Brattahlid, they were divided into smaller spaces for warmth, and then into warrens of interconnected chambers, with the cows kept close by so the owners might benefit from the animals' body heat.'

It was a sad end for a Nordic dream that lasted 350 years. We have had about 150 years of a progressively oil-fuelled economy, and the warnings that it is about to end any time now are coming thick and fast. I wonder if we humans will ever learn from our past mistakes.

The Easter Islanders left an impressive array of giant heads looking away from the source of their self-destructive folly. Is our present folly any different?

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Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
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Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
The Greeland Ice cape will never melt.

Well, it's certainly melted before. How else does one explain the abundance of fossilized leaves from plant-species similar to rhododendron?

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    Chilly with an increasing risk of frost

    Once Monday's band of rain fades, the next few days will be drier. However, it will feel cool, even cold, in the breeze or under gloomy skies, with an increasing risk of frost. Read the full update here

    Netweather forecasts
    Netweather forecasts
    Latest weather updates from Netweather

    Dubai Floods: Another Warning Sign for Desert Regions?

    The flooding in the Middle East desert city of Dubai earlier in the week followed record-breaking rainfall. It doesn't rain very often here like other desert areas, but like the deadly floods in Libya last year showed, these rain events are likely becoming more extreme due to global warming. View the full blog here

    Nick F
    Nick F
    Latest weather updates from Netweather 2
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