Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/25/2014 (2 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Cryosat 2 has affirmed that ice mass is being lost at an unprecedented rate.

The European environmental satellite Cryosat 2, has independently confirmed what scientists have been saying for some time - the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are melting. The blame for this melting is laid squarely on global warming and correlates with global sea level rise.

An artist's impression of Cryosat 2. The ESA mission has confirmed that massive ice sheets are melting fast.

An artist's impression of Cryosat 2. The ESA mission has confirmed that massive ice sheets are melting fast.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/25/2014 (2 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Greenland, sea level, ice, global warming, Antarctica, Cryosat 2


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The European Space Agency's Cryosat 2 has confirmed that the world's largest ice sheets are losing ice much faster than it can be replaced. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting, losing thickness as their ice turns to liquid and flows into the ocean where it contributes to sea level rise.

The rate of loss has also doubled since just 2009, alarming scientists further. The concern is that the impacts of global warming are about to become increasingly apparent as climate change, spurred on by warming, becomes more dramatic.

Keep Catholic Online free, keep it going!

Notably, all of this appears to be happening at a time when the pace of global warming appears to be moderated to a minimal level, creating an apparent paradox that scientists have been struggling to answer. Global warming appears to be on "hiatus" with averages barely rising over the past decade. Despite this hiatus, other changes predicted by scientists as a result of global warming, appear to be developing.

The winter of 2014 was especially warm for most regions, including the western USA and Siberia. Nota

The winter of 2014 was especially warm for most regions, including the western USA and Siberia. Notably, it was exceptionally cold in the American east. This overall temperature pattern has remained constant into the summer of 2014.


Scientists can't agree on the reason behind the global warming hiatus, although they do not think the pace of warming has stopped -only that some previously unaccounted mechanism is absorbing more of the warming, keeping atmospheric temperature rise moderated. However, the hunt for the "missing warming" has continued.

Just last week, the most plausible explanation for this "missing warming" was announced. Scientists announced that the deep Atlantic could be storing the excess heat because of a natural process whereby the Atlantic currents absorb more heat and store it for an extended period. That period could last for another decade or even two, then it will reverse and release the excess heat, leading to a sharp spike in global warming.

However, in the meantime, global warming will remain moderated by the present natural cycle.

The problem with the Atlantic hypothesis is that good, comprehensive data is only dated to 2001 onwards which is right when the hiatus began. Before that time, records suggest the Atlantic was in a cool phase for the previous two decades, and was not absorbing as much heat. However, the data suggesting that isn't as comprehensive.

Scientists have also offered other competing hypotheses to suggest why global warming has paused, suggesting that solar activity or aerosols in the atmosphere could be to blame.

Despite this acknowledged speculation, the impacts of global warming appear to continue. As ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland melt, they powerfully suggest that the global climate is changing despite what temperature records suggest.

Also, 2014 appears to be among the hottest years on record, even with minimal warming occurring. A notable exception to global warming appears to be in the American east, where temperatures have hit record lows. Speculation also suggests that is also the result of global climate change.

It should also be recognized that the Cryosat 2 mission has demonstrated an increase in ice mass in some places in Antarctica, but mission scientists have warned this is not nearly enough ice increase to offset the losses from elsewhere in the continent.

What can be concluded with virtual certainty, beyond the raw data presented by the Cryosat 2 mission, is that climate models remain inadequate to explain precisely why the climate is behaving the way it is. There does appear to be a powerful, long-term correlation between human activity and global warming, however there remains a number of variables that are not yet factored into the equation.

For example, the north polar ice cap should be entirely melted, should we recall prior predictions from scientists. The fact that Arctic ice remains suggests that something is missing from the calculation. What those variables are and how powerful they are remains to be discovered.

Despite the imperfections in the models, we should rest confident that global climate change is real, the climate is warming, and despite any hiatus, the pace of climate change and warming will eventually increase leading to dramatic changes in many areas.

Certainly, global sea level rise continues at the rate of at least 3mm per year. This rate has increased within the past decade, during the current hiatus. In fact, sea level has increased by over one foot since 1870. Sea level rise is expected to increase for centuries with impacts on coastal communities and marine ecosystems.

All of the trends point upwards, so it is time to move the discussion from "if" global warming is real to "what" we ought to do about it. A delay in that discussion could lead to fewer options later on as the problem accelerates and grows increasingly critical for billions of people who are closely impacted by changes to the environment.

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Green

More people have cell phones than access to toilets in 21st century Watch

Image of Just as vital as it is for developing countries to have food and water, there is a strident call for ending open defecation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

World Toilet Day, established by the United Nations, is intended to draw attention to the fact that much of the world doesn't have access to proper sanitation. The issue is extremely relevant, with the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. It's estimated ... continue reading


California drought so bad, more residents forced to bathe out of buckets Watch

Image of Farmers feel they are competing with environmental concerns as meager water resources are allocated. This year, many farmers and communities received nothing.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While most Americans are digging out of an early freeze thanks to the "polar vortex" phenomenon, Californians are dealing with something of the opposite. While show piles in drifts and ice forms on the Great Lakes, more and more Californians are going without water. ... continue reading


Youngest human remains in North America discovered in Alaska Watch

Image of First discovered in 2013, it's the first time the find has been detailed by University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Ben Potter.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The remains of a pair of infants near the Tanana River in Alaska has been found by an archaeology team. The discovery represents the youngest human remains ever found in northern North America. It's hoped the find offers a fresh glimpse into life in Interior ... continue reading


Is the Polar Vortex evidence of global warming? Actually, yes it is Watch

Image of Frigid arctic cold will cover most of the United States this week.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

America is about to be plunged into a deep freeze this week with the return of the dreaded "polar vortex." As many people don heavy coats and take up snow shovels, they grumble "what global warming?" It's an understandable sentiment, but it's also misplaced. The ... continue reading


Bison 'mummy' may yield secrets as to how species became extinct Watch

Image of The beast is an extinct ancestor of the modern bison that still roam the plains of North America and northern Europe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The remains of an almost-perfectly preserved steppe bison, discovered by members of the Yukagir tribe in northern Siberia, is now being closely studied by researchers. The 9,000-year-old carcass may provide clues as to how the prehistoric animal went extinct. ... continue reading


It's time for Catholics to become an essential part of the global warming solution Watch

Image of The planet continues to warm with the past 30 years now the hottest in modern history.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations is reporting that as climate warms, poverty will grow. Meanwhile, the Church reminds that any solution to global warming must comply with the social doctrine of the Church and respect all life. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the ... continue reading


The desolation of smog: Carbon emissions must be cut - and soon Watch

Image of A new report found ways to avoid dangerous global warming that are both available and affordable.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly, climate change will inflict "severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts" on people and the natural world. A new report is the starkest assessment yet of man's stewardship of Planet Earth.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


California drought is only to get worse, scientists warn Watch

Image of The drought will impact all of the United States as California's Central Valley is the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Californians are praying for rainfall in the coming winter months. Everyone from the farmer to the well-heeled in Los Angeles, and San Francisco are praying for precipitation for relief from the sunbaked summer skies. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "El ... continue reading


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


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 10:8-11
8 Then I heard the voice I had heard from heaven ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
14 In the way of your instructions lies my joy, a joy ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 19:45-48
45 Then he went into the Temple and began driving out ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 21st, 2014 Image

St. Gelasius
November 21: St. Gelasius I, Pope (Feast day - November 21) Gelasius was born ... 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