Tag Archives: ice

Video: North Pole shrinks to record levels, could be gone in 4 years

 

This animation shows the 2012 time-series of ice extent. The black area represents the daily average (median) sea ice from 1979-2000. Layered over are the daily satellite measurements from January 1 — September 14, 2012. A rapid melt begins in July, whereby the 2012 ice extents fall far below the historical average.

 

This melting has caused many to reconsider their predictions. A Cambridge scientist in the Arctic believes we could be only 4 years from a North Pole without ice.

From Yale’s Environment 360:

Peter Wadhams, who heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge and who has measured Arctic Ocean ice thickness from British Navy submarines, says that earlier calculations about Arctic sea ice loss have grossly underestimated how rapidly the ice is disappearing. He believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015 or 2016 — decades ahead of projections made just a few years ago.

 

 

// Thx – DB

World scientists – we can’t raise the temperature by more than two degrees Celsius

The official position of planet Earth at the moment is that we can’t raise the temperature more than two degrees Celsius.

Some context: So far, we’ve raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.)

Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.

We’re not getting any free lunch from the world’s economies, either. With only a single year’s lull in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis, we’ve continued to pour record amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, year after year. In late May, the International Energy Agency published its latest figures – CO2 emissions last year rose to 31.6 gigatons, up 3.2 percent from the year before.

  • America had a warm winter and converted more coal-fired power plants to natural gas, so its emissions fell slightly
  • China kept booming, so its carbon output (which recently surpassed the U.S.) rose 9.3 percent
  • Japanese shut down their fleet of nukes post-Fukushima, so their emissions edged up 2.4 percent.

 

Keep reading: Rolling Stone - Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

 

 

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Low-tech ways to make ice cream

Here are a few of our favorite alternative ice cream-making apparatuses, ranging from low — to even lower — tech:

 

#1

plastic Ziploc bag inside a larger bag filled with ice and rock salt applies the standard equation — freezing temperature plus agitation for 5 minutes — and wins the prize for the most elegantly simple solution of all.

 

 

#2

It doesn’t get more basic than a coffee can filled with an ice cream base that’s placed inside a larger can filled with ice and rock salt. Close both cans with plastic lids, shake for 25 minutes and, voilà, ice cream.

 

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MESSENGER sends first data back to Earth – uncovers ice on Mercury

For several years scientists have been begging to test their theories about Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. You see, the radar signals come back showing ice exists on the planet, but how could ice exist on a planet so incredibly hot?

NASA sent the spacecraft MESSENGER to orbit the planet and figure the mystery out (among other things). It turns out that ice exists at the planet north and south poles and possibly underneath some “dirt-shielding”.

All of this was uncovered by Professor David Paige, who has previous experience with Mars and the Moon, as he explains in his own words:

 

“I was able to use the Mercury laser altimeter in conjunction with a three-dimensional ray-tracing thermal model that I built to study ice on the moon, Paige said. “Using these models, I calculated the average temperature on the surface of the planet and concluded that the surface temperatures were too warm to permit the long-term stability of ice. The only possibility was some sort of thin layer of cover that allowed the ice to survive.”

This thin, dark layer is called a regolith and is probably made of organic substances like the Earth’s soil, rich in hydrocarbon compounds that may have come from the comets and meteorites that struck the planet over time. The comets and meteorites may have also contributed the water that seeped under the soil cover to form the icy patches.

***

MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Its goal is to collect better data about the composition and atmosphere of the planet, and it just completed its first year of information gathering.

***

While the mix of water and organic compounds on another planet may raise the possibility of extraterrestrial life for some scientists, this is not what excites Paige. For him, the discovery of ice on Mercury is the triumph of science.

“We’re getting a good agreement between models and observations,” Paige said. “What we thought was true is true. The most exciting part of this? We may not know lot of things, but on Mercury we have things under control.”

via UCLA Today

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The Army’s secret Arctic underground nuclear base in Greenland

No, this picture doesn’t show a black and white image of the rebel base on the ice planet Hoth. It’s part of a semi-secret, nuclear-powered U.S. Army base that was built under the Greenland ice cap only 800 miles from the North Pole. The base was officially built to conduct scientific research but the real reason was apparently to test out the feasibility of burying nuclear missiles below the ice under an effort known as Project Iceworm.

Remember, Greenland is way closer to Russia than the ICBM fields located in the continental U.S. Rumor has it that the Danish government had no idea that the U.S. was considering installing nuclear missiles on Greenland.

The base was massive, described by some as an underground city, and consisted of 21 steel-arch covered trenches; the longest of which was 1,100-feet long, 26-feet wide and 26-feet high. These tunnels contained numerous prefabricated buildings that were up to 76-feet long. The base was powered by a portable PM-2A nuclear reactor that produced two megawatts of power for the facility.

“The camp was staffed year round, with population peaking at nearly 200 over the summer months.”

via Defense Tech

The base makes sense if you look at maps with the Arctic Circle at the center, Russia is a direct shot over the ice.

 

// Thx to Dave Schroeder

Amsterdam's famous canals are frozen – time to lace up those ice skates!

For the second time in three years, Amsterdam’s famous canals have frozen. You know what that means? It’s time to lace up the ice skates.

After temperatures dropped to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) this past weekend, Dutch young and old flocked to the city’s famous waterways, gliding across the frozen surfaces on ice skates. The canals also froze in 2010, which was the first time it happened in more than a decade.

Amsterdam’s frozen canals are the latest European waterway to freeze this winter. Earlier this month, Venice’s famous canals froze, a rare feat. Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube, has also frozen.

Keeping Europe frozen is a climate pattern called a “Russian Winter.” In this pattern, a strong Siberian anticyclone hovers over northern Russia and triggers intense cold and snow, according to a NASA statement.

via Our Amazing Planet

Amsterdam’s famous canals are frozen – time to lace up those ice skates!

For the second time in three years, Amsterdam’s famous canals have frozen. You know what that means? It’s time to lace up the ice skates.

After temperatures dropped to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) this past weekend, Dutch young and old flocked to the city’s famous waterways, gliding across the frozen surfaces on ice skates. The canals also froze in 2010, which was the first time it happened in more than a decade.

Amsterdam’s frozen canals are the latest European waterway to freeze this winter. Earlier this month, Venice’s famous canals froze, a rare feat. Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube, has also frozen.

Keeping Europe frozen is a climate pattern called a “Russian Winter.” In this pattern, a strong Siberian anticyclone hovers over northern Russia and triggers intense cold and snow, according to a NASA statement.

via Our Amazing Planet