Friday, March 10, 2006

While we are preoccupied with war, politics, religious controversy, and other diversions, the ice sheet of Antarctica is shrinking away

Credit: Ben Holt Sr. (South Pasadena, CA), GRACE team, DLR, NASA

Explanation: Is the continent at the end of the Earth slowly melting? For millions of years, Antarctica, the frozen continent at the southern end of planet Earth, has been encased in a gigantic sheet of ice. Recently, the orbiting robotic GRACE satellite has been taking sensitive measurements of the gravity for the entire Earth, including Antarctica. Recent analysis of Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet might have lost enough mass to cause the worlds' oceans to rise about 1.2 millimeters, on the average, from between 2002 and 2005. Although this may not seem like much, the equivalent amount of water is about 150 trillion liters, equivalent to the amount of water used by US residents in three months. Uncertainties in the measurement make the mass loss uncertain by about 80 trillion liters. Pictured above is an iceberg that is a small part of the Antarctic ice sheet. The picture was taken on the Riiser-Larsen ice shelf in December 1995. Future research will likely focus on trying to better understand the data, take more data, predict future trends, and understand possible effects of these trends on the future climate of our entire home planet.

EDIT: vjack at his new blogsite, Consequences of Republicanism has a post titled
Action Alert:: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Danger Again
He also has provided a link to write to let members of Congress know that you do not want them to support drilling in the refuge. If you go here, you can get more information on this important issue and send a message to your elected representatives.


vjack said...

Your readers may also be interested to know that Republicans are at it again with trying to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. See

Stardust said...

Thanks for the link vjack. One thing for certain about the Republicans is that they couldn't care less about the environment. It's all about oil, big business and they have no vision for the future. The Democrats are disorganized at the moment and need to get their shit together. I feel like this country is in one big mess and all of its own doing and they want to drag the whole world with us. There may not be a world left for future generations...(oh I forgot...they will have the "kingdom of heaven" or "paradise" when we are all dead...)

Anonymous said...

I used to be a global warming skeptic back when I was a more doctrinaire libertarian conservative Republican. I wrote off GW fears as doom mongering by leftist environmentalist whackos who had an anticapitalist and antifreedom agenda.

But as time went by, with consistent reports worldwide of glaciers retreating and ice sheets melting, I could no longer deny the reality of the situation.