The Antarctic’s “immense ice sheet is up to 4.8 kilometres thick and contains 90 per cent of the world’s fresh water, enough to raise sea level by around 60 metres, were it all to melt.” – Experts in the United Nations’ global weather agency
News from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization
Posted February 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
A Foreword from Doug Draper, a veteran environment writer, and a reporter and publisher of Niagara At Large –
Anyone who still thinks that the melting of our planet’s polar ice caps – happening much faster than experts predicted even 10 or 20 years ago – is not going to have a drastic impact on climate conditions for all of us – conditions that lead to even more costly and devastating floods, droughts, wildfires, violent windstorms and the collapse of plant and animal species – has not been paying attention to the science and the growing number of expert reports on what is going on.
Save Thundering Waters –
The more I read reports like this latest one from experts at the United Nations, the less patience I find myself having for the provincial and municipal politicians and bureaucrats in our Niagara region who refuse to think globally and act locally to do whatever needs to be done to join the world in addressing what countless thousands of experts now agree is a full-blown climate emergency.
When I read this report, one of the first things I thought of was that young Niagara mother at a recent public meeting in Niagara Falls, asking for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer out of Helen Chang, the president of a China-based company pressing to do urban development in the wetlands-rich Thundering Waters, to the question; “Do you believe we face a climate emergency?”
She did not get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, however many times she repeated the question.
Nor did others at that same January 30th public meeting on what one rightfully called that “abomination” of a Thundering Waters development plan get much in the way of detailed answers to questions about the environmental impacts or consequences of going into that ecologically sensitive area with heavy construction equipment.
Yet this GR development group and its consultants have now had more than four years to get the answers to those questions. It took the American military no longer than that to defeat the imperial armed forces of Japan to end the Second World War.
What is up with the bunch that is pushing this development project at this location and with Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and the majority on the city council who so stubbornly continue to support it?
Enough is enough.
It is time for a majority on Niagara’s Regional Council and on the board of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority to stand up and say they are going to do everything possible to stop this development proposal at this site from moving forward.
As the young mother said at the public meeting oabout the climate emergency our planet faces and about the need to save as much of what is left of our natural environment as possible to fight it; “Our house is on fire!”
We have no more time for activity like this.
Now here is the alarming report from the United Nations on the melting ice caps in the Antarctic –
From Experts working for the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, February 7th, 2020
UN Photo/Eskinder DebeFresh fears of accelerating damage to the planet’s ice sheets and sea level rise have been fuelled by confirmation from the UN’s weather agency that the Antarctic new temperature record of more than 18°C this past Thursday, February 6th, 2020.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, spokesperson Clare Nullis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said that the record reading taken in the north of the continent, would be considered unusual, even during the current warmer summer months.
WMO will set up expert panel to verify new record temperature for the #Antarctic continent reported by @SMN_Argentina of 18.3°C on 6 Feb at Esperanza research base. Latest news on this and Antarctic glaciers at https://bit.ly/2OyD2ju
“The Argentine research base, which is called Esperanza, it’s on the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula; it set a new record temperature yesterday: 18.3°C, which is not a figure you would normally associate with Antarctica even in summertime. This beat the former record of 17.5°C, which was set back in 2015.”
Experts at WMO will now verify whether the temperature extreme is a new record for the Antarctic continent, which is defined as the main continental landmass.
It should not be confused with the Antarctic region, which is everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude, and where a record temperature of 19.8C was recorded on Signy Island in January 1982.
‘Foehn’ phenomenon –
The WMO experts are expected to examine the meteorological conditions surrounding the event, particularly whether it is associated with a weather phenomenon known as “foehn”.
A common feature of life in Alpine regions, episodes of foehn often involve high winds at altitude and the rapid warming of air as it heads down slopes or peaks, driven by significant air pressure differences.
“It’s among the fastest-warming regions of the planet”, Ms. Nullis said of the Antarctic. “We hear a lot about the Arctic, but this particular part of the Antarctic peninsula is warming very quickly. Over the past 50 years it’s warmed almost 3°C.”
Amid steadily warming temperatures, Ms. Nullis also noted that the amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet “increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017”.
Most of this ice loss happens when ice shelves melt from below, as they come into contact with relatively warm ocean water, she explained.
Melting is especially marked in west Antarctica, according to WMO, and to a lesser extent along the peninsula and in east Antarctica.
Accelerated glacier retreat –
Turning to glacier melt, Ms. Nullis warned that around “87 per cent of glaciers along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula have retreated in the last 50 years, with most of these showing an accelerated retreat in the last 12 years”.
Concern is particularly high over the main glacier tributaries to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, in particular the Pine Island glacier, where two large rifts that were first spotted in early 2019 have each grown to some 20 kilometres long.
“There’s quite a lot of conversation on Twitter at the moment; the satellite image showing cracks in the Pine Island glacier in Antarctica”, said Ms. Nullis. “They’ve been growing rapidly over the past few days. The European Union has a satellite called Sentinel that’s been measuring and monitoring these, and there are pretty dramatic images.”
Roughly twice the size of Australia, the Antarctic is cold, windy and dry. The average annual temperature ranges from about minus 10C on the Antarctic coast to minus 60C at the highest points of the interior.
Its immense ice sheet is up to 4.8 kilometres thick and contains 90 per cent of the world’s fresh water, enough to raise sea level by around 60 metres, were it all to melt.
Millions at risk from ice melt –
In a key report last September from the highly respected UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), researchers warned that hundreds of millions of people are at risk from melting ice in the planet’s polar regions, linked to sea level rise.
For more click on – Climate Change
For a recent post in Niagara At Large on the January 30th Thundering Waters public meeting, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/02/01/niagara-citizens-pack-room-to-oppose-billion-dollar-development-abomination-for-thundering-waters-forest/
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