Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.4 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits eastern Greenland.

5.2 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits the South Shetland Islands.

Global Warming

‘Unprecedented’ ice loss as Greenland breaks record

Scientists say the loss of ice in Greenland lurched forward again last year, breaking the previous record by 15%.

A new analysis says that the scale of the melt was “unprecedented” in records dating back to 1948. High pressure systems that became blocked over Greenland last Summer were the immediate cause of the huge losses.

Using data from the Grace and Grace-FO satellites, as well as climate models, the authors conclude that across the full year Greenland lost 532 gigatonnes of ice – a significant increase on 2012.

The researchers say the loss is the equivalent of adding 1.5mm to global mean sea levels, approximately 40% of the average rise in one year.

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Global Warming

Warming Greenland ice sheet passes point of no return

Nearly 40 years of satellite data from Greenland shows that glaciers on the island have shrunk so much that even if global warming were to stop today, the ice sheet would continue shrinking.

The finding, published today, Aug. 13, in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment, means that Greenland’s glaciers have passed a tipping point of sorts, where the snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet each year cannot keep up with the ice that is flowing into the ocean from glaciers.

Climate change, not hunters, may have killed off woolly rhinos

Rather than getting wiped out by Ice Age hunters, woolly rhinos charged to extinction in Siberia around 14,000 years ago when the climate turned warm and wet, a study of ancient DNA suggests.

Numbers of breeding woolly rhinos stayed relatively constant for tens of thousands of years until at least about 18,500 years ago, more than 13,000 years after people first reached northeastern Siberia, scientists report online August 13 in Current Biology. Yet only a few thousand years later, woolly rhinos died out, probably because temperatures had risen enough to reshape arctic habitats. A shift to warm, rainy conditions, which occurred between roughly 14,600 and 12,800 years ago, likely played a large role in the rapid decline of this cold-adapted species.

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Tropical Soil Leaks CO2

Tropical forest soil warmed in experiments to levels consistent with end-of-century temperature projections released 55 percent more CO2 than control plots, exposing a previously underestimated source of greenhouse gas emissions, researchers reported Wednesday.

Before humanity began loading the atmosphere with carbon pollution by burning fossil fuels, the input and outflow of CO2 into soil – one key element in Earth’s complex carbon cycle – remained roughly in balance.

Gases emitted by deadwood and decaying leaves, in other words, were cancelled out by microorganisms that feed on such matter. But climate change has begun to upset that balance, according to a new study, published in Nature.

In experiments, researchers placed heating rods in a one-hectare plot of undisturbed primary forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. They warmed the soil to a depth of just over one metre (three feet) by 4C over a period of two years. The findings shows an increase in in the release of CO2 of 55 per cent above the basal rates.

Global Warming

The true extent of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet loss

Using the most advanced Earth-observing laser instrument NASA has ever flown in space, scientists have made precise, detailed measurements of how the elevation of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have changed over 16 years.

The results provide insights into how the polar ice sheets are changing, demonstrating definitively that small gains of ice in East Antarctica are dwarfed by massive losses in West Antarctica. The scientists found the net loss of ice from Antarctica, along with Greenland’s shrinking ice sheet, has been responsible for 14mm of sea level rise between 2003 and 2019 – slightly less than a third of the total amount of sea level rise observed in the world’s oceans.

The study found that Greenland’s ice sheet lost an average of 200 gigatons of ice per year, and Antarctica’s ice sheet lost an average of 118 gigatons of ice per year.

The findings come from NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2), which launched in 2018 to make detailed global elevation measurements, including over Earth’s frozen regions.

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Global Warming

Greenland Glaciers Melting

Scientists have long known that higher air temperatures are contributing to the surface melting on Greenland’s ice sheet.

But a new study has found another threat that has begun attacking the ice from below: Warm ocean water moving underneath the vast glaciers is causing them to melt even more quickly.
The findings were published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience by researchers who studied one of the many “ice tongues” of the Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden Glacier — also known as the 79° North Glacier — in northeast Greenland.

An ice tongue is a strip of ice that floats on the water without breaking off from the ice on land. The massive one these scientists studied is nearly 50 miles long.

The survey revealed an underwater current more than a mile wide where warm water from the Atlantic Ocean is able to flow directly towards the glacier, bringing large amounts of heat into contact with the ice and accelerating the glacier’s melting.

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Global Warming

Venice Floods and Local Government

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Venice regional council’s offices on the city’s Grand Canal were flooded for the first time in history just minutes after officials rejected a plan to combat climate change.

Greenland airport becomes victim of climate change

Greenland’s main airport is set to end civilian flights within five years due to climate change, as the melting of permafrost is cracking the runway. Kangerlussuaq Airport, the country’s main hub, had 11,000 planes landing or departing last year. Permafrost, the layer of soil usually frozen solid, is shrinking as temperatures rise.

Global Warming

Greenland Melt

A staggering 217 billion tons (197 billion metric tons) of meltwater flowed off of Greenland’s ice sheet into the Atlantic Ocean this July. The worst day of melting was July 31, when 11 billion tons (10 billion metric tons) of melted ice poured into the ocean.

This massive thaw represents some of the worst melting since 2012, according to The Washington Post. That year, 97% of the Greenland ice sheet experienced melting. This year, so far, 56% of the ice sheet has melted, but temperatures — 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average — have been higher than during the 2012 heat wave. All told, this July’s melt alone was enough to raise global average sea levels by 0.02 inches (0.5 millimeters).

Environment

After Scorching Europe, Heat Wave Is Poised to Melt Greenland

A heat wave that shattered records in Europe this week is on the move, and it could melt billions of tons of ice in Greenland.

Hot air that originated over Northern Africa recently brought blistering heat to Europe, Paris sizzled at a staggering 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit (42.6 degrees Celsius), and temperature records were broken across the continent by up to 6 degrees F (3 degrees C).

A representative of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that atmospheric flow would carry this scorching heat to Greenland, which lost over 170 billion tons (160 billion metric tons) of ice in July and 80 billion tons (72 billion metric tons) of ice in June from surface melting alone. When this warm air arrives in Greenland, it will likely cause “another major peak in melt area.

Pumping Deeper

The first nationwide study of U.S. groundwater wells shows that they are being dug deeper and deeper to supply the country’s expanding freshwater needs.

But scientists caution that the practice is not sustainable because groundwater supplies are dropping in many of the major aquifers that supply fresh water to more than 120 million people and half of U.S. farming irrigation.

Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara caution that deeper wells may eventually tap into saltier water, requiring desalination. The U.S. Geological Survey says that between 1950 and 2015, aquifer levels have dropped by about 10 feet on average.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Greenland

Satellites spotted another bushfire in western Greenland this week. The blaze first showed up on Wednesday. Fire crews were able to smother the flames according to the Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation, but forecasts from the European Commission’s Global Wildfire Information System shows that the risk of fires remains high to very high over the next week in western Greenland.

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Global Warming

Rain melting Greenland ice sheet ‘even in winter’

Rain is becoming more frequent in Greenland and accelerating the melting of its ice, a new study has found. Scientists say they’re “surprised” to discover rain falling even during the long Arctic winter. The massive Greenland ice-sheet is being watched closely because it holds a huge store of frozen water.

Precipitation usually falls as snow in winter – rather than as rain – which can balance out any melting of the ice in the summer. Even if it falls during winter, and then quickly refreezes, the rain changes the characteristics of the surface, leaving it smoother and darker, and “pre-conditioned” to melt more rapidly when summer arrives.

The darker the ice is, the more heat it absorbs from the Sun – causing it to melt more quickly.

Whereas in 1979 there were on average 2 spells of winter rain, by 2012 the analysis found there were 12 spells of winter rain.

In stable times, snowfall in winter will balance any ice melted or breaking off into the ocean in summer. But research has shown how in recent decades the ice-sheet has been losing vast amounts of mass.

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Global Warming

Climate Change Threatens Greenland’s Sled Dog Culture

People in Greenland have long relied on sled dogs to hunt and fish on the ice.

But this tradition is slowly fading. Unstable winter seas are forcing fishermen to use boats instead of sled dogs to fish and hunt seals, threatening the historic tradition of its unique hunting lifestyle.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Greenland

Rare wildfires are burning in Greenland. Today marks day 10 since the blaze was first detected by instruments aboard NASA satellites.

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Wildfires – France

A forest fire raged in parched southern France on Thursday, forcing 400 campers and residents to flee, firefighters said.

The blaze has been contained after ravaging 500 hectares (1,250 acres) of pine forest and bush 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of Montpellier, the fire service said.

Some 200 firefighters were still battling the blaze, with strong winds expected during the day. At the height of the blaze 800 firefighters were involved.

Wildfires – Montana, USA

There are new evacuations for the Sunrise Fire, which is burning about 14,500 acres between Superior and Alberton. The fire is 10-percent contained.

The Rice Ridge is now 10-percent contained at 9,286 acres.

The Lolo Peak Fire ten miles southwest of Lolo now clocks in at 7,453-acres.

The 4, 231 acre Liberty Fire southeast of Arlee is now 90-percent contained.

The 13, 236 acre Meyers Fire is burning about 25 miles southwest of Philipsburg and is now 4-percent contained.

30-percent containment now reported on the 860-acre Sliderock Fire.

the 8,056 acre Little Goat Fire which is now 75-percent contained.

The Sapphire Complex, 25 miles south/southeast of Missoula in the Rock Creek drainage is at 27,528 acres and 32-percent containment.

Global Warming

Rare mega-tsunami in Greenland

On the evening of June 17, residents in the Greenland village of Nuugaatsiaq felt a low rumble shake the ground.

Within five minutes, a giant tsunami arrived, caused by a massive landslide in Greenland’s Karrat Fjord. The wave washed away 11 homes, leaving four people in the town of 84 residents presumed dead. But because the tsunami struck in a remote location, researchers didn’t know how exactly it had originated and how big it had been. That’s crucial information, since another landslide is likely to happen in coastal Greenland very soon—and even more enormous waves will be on the way around the world as climate change worsens.

Tsunamis caused by landslides in bays can rise to incredible heights, travel at devastating speeds, and cause massive destruction. The biggest one ever recorded occurred in 1958 in Lituya Bay in Alaska, reaching more than 500 meters in height—almost as tall as the Sears Tower in Chicago or Canton Tower in Guangzhou. A similar, albeit smaller, tsunami is thought to have destroyed Geneva in 563 CE.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Flores Sea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Ceram Sea, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Earthquake and Tsunami in Greenland

A tidal wave struck a settlement on the northwest coast of Greenland late on Saturday. As a result of an earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter Scale, a tsunami-like wave and flooding struck a remote hamlet about 30 km from the village of Nuugaatsiaq in Greenland two days ago. The authorities are now busy evacuating the inhabitants, and so far 39 out of the village’s estimated 100 residents have been taken to Uummanaq. Reports indicate there have been a number of people killed, but so far the police have not released any casualty figures.

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Global Warming

Mysterious crack appears in one of Greenland’s largest glaciers

The first photographs of a new and ominous crack in Greenland’s enormous Petermann Glacier were captured by a NASA airborne mission Friday.

The NASA pictures make clear that a significant new rift has opened near the center of the glacier’s floating ice shelf — an unusual location that raises questions about how it formed. Moreover, this crack is not so distant from another much wider and longer crack that has been slowly extending toward the shelf’s center from its eastern side wall. The two cracks are clearly visible in this image taken from the aircraft: Oblique photo of a portion of the new rift, near bottom center, on Petermann Glacier’s floating ice shelf and an older curved rift from the flank of the shelf, near top center.

If the two cracks were to intersect, then a single break would run across more than half of the ice shelf. That might, in turn, cause the piece to begin to break away.

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