Water from the world’s shrinking glaciers was responsible for almost a third of the rise in sea levels between 2003 and 2009, shows new research.
An international team of scientist compared data gleaned from two NASA satellites as well as traditional ground measurements from glaciers around the world.
Their work, published in the journal Science , is the most accurate estimation of how glaciers contribute to sea level rises to date.
“For the first time, we’ve been able to very precisely constrain how much these glaciers as a whole are contributing to sea rise,” says lead author Assistant Professor Alex Gardner, assistant geography professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“These smaller ice bodies are currently losing about as much mass as the ice sheets.”
The most significant ice losses occurred in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalayas, the study found.
The glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic sheets lost an average of roughly 260 billion metric tons of ice annually during the period, leading to a rise in ocean levels of about 0.7 millimeters per year.
By contrast the glaciers in Antarctica, smaller ice masses that are not connected to the ice sheet, made scarcely any contribution to sea-level rise over the study period.
Note that sea level rise is uneven, and effects coastlines with high degrees of variability. Some coast will experience more rise and erosion, some less.
Via ABC.AU h/t Marcacci Comm.
Sunset, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Via Joe DiPeppo
Ship Strike = (Another) Dead #Humpback. This time a productive mother.
From the article:
They called her Istar.
The humpback whale that washed up dead on an East Quogue beach last week was well known to scientists and the whale community as a fertile mother tracked since 1976, researchers said this week.
Istar, named after Ishtar, an ancient Babylonian fertility goddess, mothered at least 11 calves, including two in consecutive years, 1988 and 1989, something previously undocumented, said Jooke Robbins, senior scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Tim asks, “I wonder what was on that ship. How important was it? How slow would ships have to go in the whale corridors to reduce the lethality of ship strikes? What would that cost?”
Stephen Flynn is one of America’s foremost experts on cities, disasters, and security. Here, Bloomberg News interviewed Flynn outside and near the Boston Marathon bombing. His answers about how the city will cope is incredibly surprising as he launches into an easy to understand overview of resilience thinking in city planning. A must watch for my readers interested in resilience and cities.
View from my window today. Got some nice, sloppy snow. Probably the last of the season.
Boston’s City Hall Takes It to the Street:
The idea is to meet people where they are — to make select government services available right there in the neighborhoods. via shareable:cities
City Hall via foodtruck. Reeeallly interesting project. Curious how they incorporate feedback from the public when the truck returns to the garage… There’s a twitter because of course there is - @cityhalltogo
Snow storm to hit New England Monday evening/Tuesday morning. Prepare for messy commuting.
There’s a new-fangled gadget in town. So far I’ve seen parked here - a Nissan Leaf, some Chevy Volts, and what looked to be a Toyota Prius Wagon?
akingamongrunaways asked: I'm studying the storm-surge buffering capabilities of the Boston Harbor Islands as well as possible plans to install barriers and sea gates between the islands in the future. What is the feasibility of such plans? How big of a role do the Harbor Islands currently play in protecting Boston Harbor? Do you have any suggested resources? Thank you for any help you can give.
I’m going to assume you’ve done a lot of research on climate, so I’ll just point you to some sources.
For climate science and some good maps, I’d check Woods Hole/USGS, MIT, and UMass.
Boston Harbor Association put out a brand new adaptation report, but on first glance it looks vague.
You might be surprised by calling the folks at Mass/DCR, they’re actually real friendly on the phone.
You may want to look into orgs that do disaster, conservation, and beach erosion management work on the Cape (possibly Manomet, but definitely check with MassDOT).
And I’m sure the Army Corps of Engineers has their hands in the harbor (the Corps websites are a nightmare, so be persistent. There are hidden gems!).
The City of Boston’s climate report is embarrassingly weak. But, you should scour the authors and sources of the report for leads.
VHB, an engineering firm, does a lot of work on infrastructure using climate data, and I believe they have several contracts with the City of Boston, Logan Airport (in fact, Logan and VHB hosted me on a tour of the airport’s infrastructure and facilities). VHB has a strong climate division, and they’re very friendly folks and if you ask nicely, they’ll send you some climate CDs and climate reports by mail.
And finally, check with MassPort Authority. You’ll run into roadblocks when calling them directly, so you should target specific people in the organization and be persistent. Nothing gets built in the harbor without MassPort’s blessing.
That’s all I got off the top of my head. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
- 350 Massachusetts coordinator
- Better Future Project Natural Gas Organizer
- Divest Harvard Research Associates
Smith College is a really great (and important) school in my town.
Nemocalypse, around Northampton, Mass. A couple interesting things about these.
The first pic is of our city’s beloved Forbes Library. A nice man was using a tractor with a snow blower attachment to clear a path. The snow made a nice, fluffy arch and I couldn’t resist taking the shot, clogging the side-walk while I was at it. He stopped the tractor to let us pass.
I just liked the colors, shapes, and textures in the second, third, fourth, and fifth shots. The sixth shot of the street (South 10, bottom right of the pic) is so hilarious to me. Plows in Northampton push the snow into the middle of the road. This allows cars to park in front of the shops. It also makes for an interesting adventure while crossing the street - you’re basically crossing through a 5-foot snowbank with a punched-out doorway.
And the last pic is of a red bike under two sets of wrought-iron stairs. I think a standard bike tire is 26 inches in diameter. So, this non-windblown snow under a structure hit close to 2 feet. Amazing storm to experience.
Probably 18 inches of snow with 4 foot snow banks here in Northampton, Mass. Snow is coming down fast and sideways. Stings the eyes. Hard to believe we’re only half way through.
Notice the half-buried cars on the far right in the last picture.
Snow plow, Northampton, MA.
Two feet? Bring it.
Northeast bracing for winter storm that could bring 2 feet of snow