Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/17/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pine Island Glacier hits uncontrollable retreat and could collapse within a few decades, scientists say

It's an alarming bit of news that raises concern for the world's ecology over the course of the next several decades. The Pine Island Glacier, which contributes more to sea level rise than any other glacier on Antarctica has hit a tipping point of uncontrollable retreat. The massive land mass could collapse as soon as the next 20 years, scientists say.

The researcher's findings suggest that this would cause the glacier to uncontrollably retreat about 25 miles over the next several decades, potentially raising global sea levels by more than 0.4 inches.

The researcher's findings suggest that this would cause the glacier to uncontrollably retreat about 25 miles over the next several decades, potentially raising global sea levels by more than 0.4 inches.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/17/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Pine Island Glacier, melting, tipping point, shelf, Antarctica


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The glacier accounts for about 20 percent of the total ice flow on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is a collection of glaciers that covers roughly 800,000 square miles. The landmass makes up about 10 percent of the total ice on Antarctica.

Researchers think that, given the size of Pine Island Glacier, its collapse could have an overall "domino effect" on surrounding glaciers. Over the course of many years would eventually lead to the collapse of the entire ice sheet, which would raise average global sea level by between 10 and 16 feet.

Remember Saint Nicholas with this special prayer card!


The Pine Island Glacier is by far the least stable of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet ice flows. The glacier's melting rate has accelerated due to relatively warm ocean currents that have seeped underneath its base and lubricated its flow seaward.

As the glacier slip further into the ocean, its ice shelf, the part that floats on water and extends beyond the glacier's base, disintegrates through a natural process called calving. An iceberg larger than the city of Chicago broke off into the surrounding Amundsen Sea last year.

Given the complicated nature of glacial dynamics, attempts to map out the disintegration have been limited and prone to error. Such variable such as precipitation, wind patterns, atmospheric temperatures, oceanic currents and the shape of bedrock underneath the glacier are only some of the many factors that control glacial growth and retreat.

Models predicting glacial behavior using mathematical figures are therefore very complicated and always prone to some degree of error.

Researchers based at the French National Center for Scientific Research in Grenoble have now developed state-of-the-art models that, while still limited, provide the best estimates yet of the future behavior of Pine Island Glacier. The glacier's grounding line, the point where glacier and its ice shelf meet is about to retreat over an oceanic trench that would increase the amount of water that seeps underneath and melts the glacier.

The researcher's findings suggest that this would cause the glacier to uncontrollably retreat about 25 miles over the next several decades, potentially raising global sea levels by more than 0.4 inches.

Once glacier passes the trench, it will not likely regain stability or enter a positive-growth phase.

"Whatever it will do, we are already engaged in a big change," study co-author Gael Durand says. "We have passed the tipping point."

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Green

The mighty blue whale would be just a snack to this giant mega shark Watch

Image of The massive Megalodon shark could have preyed on baleen whales, now the largest animals in the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study from the Florida Museum of Natural History reveals that the ancient and giant shark Megalodon-which could reach sizes in upwards of 40 feet-may have preyed on early baleen whales. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The paper also suggests a new date ... continue reading


Dinosaur with freakishly big arms even more amazing than believed Watch

Image of The creature's name, Deinocheirus mirificus means unusual, horrible hands.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Paleontologists had long been mystified by the dinosaur known as "deinocheirus mirificus." Since the 1960s, only the huge arms of the prehistoric thunder lizard had been discovered. As more bits and pieces of the dinosaur have been brought to light, it appears ... continue reading


Antarctic ice reaches record level, but is global warming to blame? Watch

Image of Ice is expanding, but scientists warn it is a sign of global warming.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Antarctic ice sheets have spread farther than any other time in modern, recorded history, according to scientists monitoring their spread. Scientists are unsure of exactly why the sheets are growing but that global warming likely has a role. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Where's the global warming? Tempratures remain flat Watch

Image of Global warming? Really Mr. Connolly?

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to climate change skeptics, the Earth's temperature has "plateaued" and global warming has taken a hiatus. Virtually all records seem to agree with this assessment, so what gives? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Is the sky falling or not? From the looks ... continue reading


Holy Bat Cave Batman: Miao Room cavern in China, world's largest could accommodate jumbo jet Watch

Image of The cave would comfortably fit a Boeing 747, if you could get one in there - and is located about 325 feet underground. The cave also contains stalagmites as tall as 148 feet, which are among the world's biggest.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The huge Miao Room cavern have been declared by a wide margin as the world's largest cave. Measuring 380.7 million cubic feet in volume, the cave achieved recognitions as the world's largest thanks to British explorers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Stanford scientists link California drought to global warming, NASA says 'not so fast' Watch

Image of California's farmers are asking people to pray for rain.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Stanford scientists say they have linked California's epic drought to global warming, although NASA scientists say they disagree. Regardless, the Golden State faces the most intense drought in recorded history with vast impacts on the state's residents. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Half the world's animals went extinct over past 40 years Watch

Image of Northern lapwings, pictured, an once-familiar sight on British farmlands have fallen 60 percent and grey partridges have halved in number.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The news for the Animal Kingdom is uniformly grim: Half of the world's animals went extinct over the past 40 years, all of it due to the fault of humanity. D4estruction of habitat, unlawful hunting and the destruction of the environment has sent countless ... continue reading


A new weapon in the war against Climate Change. How moderates and radicals are joining forces Watch

Image of More militant environmentalism is being fazed out as radicals and moderates band together and turn to civil disobedience as an effective weapon.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New York saw the largest climate-related march ever, where hundreds of thousands participated before the United Nations held a summit on climate change. The next day, hundreds were arrested in Manhattan as part of a demonstration against Wall Street, which blames ... continue reading


New hope for Monarch butterfly migration: butterflies seen entering Mexico Watch

Image of Butterflies have been sighted in the northern border state of Coahuila. This is slightly earlier than their usual arrival time when they come back in October from the United States and Canada, where they spend the summer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Much dismay surrounded the scarcity of Monarch butterflies last year. The colorful black-and-orange creatures had dropped to their lowest level in 2013. There is new hope, Monarch butterflies have been seen entering Mexico earlier than usual, which foretells ... continue reading


Mystery video: Remains of an ancient lizard - or just a rock? Watch

Image of Several professors and experts in paleontology have expressed their skepticism that the find is genuine, and say it might be a hoax.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Experts are still unable to identify exactly what the mystery crocodile-style object found buried in a Siberian river after a week of speculation. Fishermen supposedly bumped into the head of the "rock" last week. It has been confirmed by scientists to be the ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter