Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/17/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Green

More discoveries about Pluto: New Horizons finds second icy mountain range and new moon Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many people around the world have been celebrating the successful flyby, from the New Horizons NASA program, to the farthest planet in the solar system, Pluto. After the initial success and discovery of the first icy mountain range, the spacecraft found another equally ... continue reading


California farmers given mandate: Stop pumping form the San Joaquin River Watch

Image of A group of farmers has now been ordered to stop pumping water from a branch of the San Joaquin River. The severe measure was in order to protect waterways that are going dry during its drought.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They were given multiple warnings, but now its official. The State Water Resources Control board has issued a cease and desist order against an irrigation district that has been draining the San Joaquin River. The district has repeatedly failed to obey a ... continue reading


Unusual, new winged dinosaur fossil unearthed in China Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An almost complete fossil of a feathered bird-like dinosaur was dug up by scientists in northeastern China. Although the creature has wings, they doubt it could really fly, due to its proportion. Scientists speculate the wings were used similarly to the peacock. This ... continue reading


Pluto finally exposed: Pictures from Pluto reach Earth after amazing NASA mission Watch

Image of Images of Pluto, the lone dwarf planet is finally revealed to humankind

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pluto has finally revealed itself to humankind, after being a mystical planet located beyond the depths of the Milky Way for so long. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has finally sent images of Pluto to Earth last Tuesday. With the lone planet, located 3 billion miles ... continue reading


El Nino to the rescue: Is relief for drought-stricken California on its way? Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the years, El Nino has provided relief to drought-stricken areas in the U.S. The current weather forecast predicts hotter and drier weathers will be felt in the eastern part of the world, concerning Australia, Asia and the majority of the Pacific while wetter ... continue reading


Carnivorous plant quits insect-killing ways to become 'bat landlord' Watch

Image of A special species of bat - the Hardwicke's woolly bat-roost inside the plants, and nowhere else. Bat babies were often found snuggled next to their parents.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A most unconventional living arrangement has been struck in the jungles of Borneo. The carnivorous plant, Nepenthes hemsleyana lures bats to nest in its pitcher-shaped leaves. The bats are left undigested, and as part of their agreement, the bats defecate their ... continue reading


Will El Nino bring relief to drought-stricken California? Watch

Image of The State of California, along with the rest of the United States, that is reliant on California's crops to feed it, is praying for rain to end the state's worst drought in history.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The State of California, along with the rest of the United States, that is reliant on California's crops to feed it, is praying for rain to end the state's worst drought in history. Scientists say that El Nino weather patterns could mean more rain down the line - or ... continue reading


Mysterious massive bird migration leaves popular bird location a dead zone Watch

Image of Empty eggs were all that could be found in the once popular bird location.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of birds have left the Seahorse Key abruptly, leaving their nests and eggs behind. The mysterious phenomena has left scientists and bird watchers puzzled, especially when they found that the place is negative from any contamination. Biologists explain that ... continue reading


No longer little green men? Aliens may look more like us than traditionally believed Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have been conditioned to believe extraterrestrial life, or aliens, will look nothing like us. Aliens are commonly shown with large heads on tiny bodies with a pair of saucer-like eyes. They have long, thin arms and limbs, with the number of fingers being more or ... continue reading


TIME TO ACT: Vatican's Secretary of State says world leaders must heed Pope's encyclical Watch

Image of Cardinal Parolin spoke on the importance of

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, has expressed his hope that Pope Francis' recent environmental encyclical will have a strong impact on the United Nations' three major gatherings this year, and will inspire global powers not only to ... 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, Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
16 Moses did this; he did exactly as Yahweh had ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53
47 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2015 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... 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