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Polar Ice Caps

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2005

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  1. Antarctica
  2. Arctic Circle
  3. Glaciers
  4. Threatened Oceans
  5. Towing Icebergs
Materials
  1. Map of the Arctic Circle (BugBog.com)
      Provides a map with the Arctic Circle clearly marked. 10-04

News
  1. -04-14-09 Polar Melting (MSNBC News)
      "At the North Pole, new satellite photos show Arctic ice is melting so fast, many scientists now predict it will be gone within 30 years. Some researchers think it could disappear in just six." 04-09

  2. -05-17-09 Study: Summer Arctic Ice May Be Gone by 2013 (BBC News)
      "The most extreme scenario was for the ice to retreat as soon as 2013, but that was dismissed by many as far too soon."

      "Now Professor Wadhams, who has studied the Arctic for the past 40 years, says that there is 'almost a breakdown' in the ice-cover."

      "Over most of the Arctic, there has been a massive decline in the amount of so-called multi-year ice - ice that is tough enough to withstand the summer warmth." 05-09

  3. -12-01-12 Studies: Polar Ice Melting Faster (Time.com)
      "The problem is that scientists have struggled to nail down just how quickly the polar ice sheets are melting. There have been more than 30 different estimates of sea level contributing due to polar ice sheet melting made since 1989. But in a new paper published in the November 29 Science, a team of researchers have gone through all of those estimates and come to a broadly agreed conclusion that melting from the ice sheets have contributed an average of 0.023 in (0.59 mm) to sea-level rise since 1992, with an uncertainty of 0.008 in. (0.2 mm) per year. That might not sound like much—ice-sheet melting has only added about half an inch (12.7 mm) to sea levels in that time span—but the new analysis means that polar ice sheets are melting three times faster today than they did in the 1990s, with much of the ice loss happening in Greenland." 12-12

  4. Understanding Climate Change in the Arctic (Damocles-EU.org)
      "Arctic news is a selection of international Internet news items related to climate issues in the Arctic and is updated daily." 05-09

Papers
  1. -Editorial: Polar Ice Caps Threatened (Awesome Library) star
      "Our greatest challenge today is to move the fresh, melting water in our polar caps and Greenland to safe land basins and water tables." 06-06

  2. -How Climate Change Has Disrupted the Polar Vortex (New Zealand Herald)
      "When the variable nature of global warming became apparent, scientists started calling it climate change. Now they are starting to call it 'climate weirding', which is an alarming step indeed."

      "The ice and snow storms currently affecting half of the US are attributed to the polar vortex, a prevailing wind pattern that circles the Arctic, flowing from west to east all the way around the Earth. It normally keeps extremely cold air bottled up toward the North Pole." 03-14

  3. Animated Pictures of Ice Flow in Antarctica (GreenhouseNeutralFoundation.org)
      Uses colors to show the flow of ice. Pictures were collected and compiled from satellite images. 02-12

  4. Antarctic Ice Melting Faster than Expected (Time.com)
      "We already know that Arctic ice is melting faster than expected, and that sea level rise will likely bust the IPCC predictions. Now, thanks to a new paper published yesterday in Nature Geoscience, we have a better idea of why. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory examined the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica—one of the frozen continent's largest glaciers—and found that it was melting more than 50% faster than it had been just 15 years ago, when an earlier group of scientists visited it. The glacier is now losing 80 cu. km of ice a year, up from 50 cu. km in 1994." 06-11

  5. Antarctica Ice Melting (Time.com)
      "According to a new report in Nature, glaciers are getting thinner all around the perimeter of Greenland, and in western Antarctica as well. It's not so much that they're melting, says lead author Hamish Pritchard, of the British Antarctic Survey; it's that their seaward motion is accelerating. And, says Pritchard, 'that's a much more rapid way of losing ice than through melting alone.' " 2-06

  6. Arctic Getting Worse: A Tipping Point? (CBS News)
      "A new report card from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rates the polar region with blazing red stop lights on three of five categories and yellow cautions for the other two. Overall, these are not good grades, but it doesn't mean the Arctic is doomed and it still will freeze in the winter, said report co-editor Jackie Richter-Menge."

      "The Arctic acts as Earth's refrigerator, cooling the planet. What's happening, scientists said, is like someone pushing the fridge's thermostat much too high."

      " 'We've got a new normal,' said co-author Don Perovich, a geophysicist at the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Research and Engineering Lab. 'Whether it's a tipping point and we'll never recover, who's to say?' " 12-11

  7. Arctic Ice on Greenland (GreatestPlaces.org)
      "In this frigid Arctic environment, approximately 85 percent of the island's surface is covered by a permanent ice cap. Averaging 5,000 feet in thickness, the ice cap in some places is as much as 14,000 feet thick and includes about 10 percent of all the ice in the world." 05-09

  8. Arctic Ice on Greenland (Physorg.com)
      "So far, flights led by Krabill have found evidence that, in general, ice along Greenland's coast is thinning while some areas inland are thickening. Still, the net change points to an overall loss. There's enough ice and snow in Greenland to raise sea level by about 7 meters (23 feet) if it were to all melt." 05-09

  9. Arctic Is Melting Fast (National Geographic)
      " 'The Arctic is the early warning for the rest of the world,' said Sheila Watt-Cloutier of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. 'What happens to the planet happens first in the Arctic. Protect the Arctic and we save the planet. … We must all take what action we can to slow the pace of climate change, while there is still time.' " 06-06

  10. Arctic Melt Is Releasing Methane (BBC News)
      "Scientists have identified thousands of sites in the Arctic where methane that has been stored for many millennia is bubbling into the atmosphere." 03-14

  11. Arctic Ocean (Wikipedia.org)
      "The Arctic Ocean, located entirely in the north polar region, is the smallest of the world's five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Southern Ocean), and the shallowest." 10-04

  12. Arctic Trek (MSNBC News)
      "Eric Larsen is attempting to be the first person to trek to the South Pole, North Pole and Mount Everest in one year. Larsen completed the South Pole leg in January, and on Wednesday began the nearly 500-mile North Pole trek along with two team members, Darcy St. Laurent and Antony Jinman, taking off from Canada's Cape Discovery on Ellesmere Island. Msnbc.com will be posting select dispatches from Larsen and his team." 03-10

  13. Exceptional Ecosystem Found Under Arctic Ice (New York Times)
      "The quantities of plankton are 'truly exceptional,' says Walker Smith, a marine biologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., who was not part of the team conducting the research."

      "If these blooms are widespread under the ice along continental shelves, the primary productivity in these regions could be up to 10 times greater than open-water productivity, the team estimates."

      "In addition, researchers have noted that the Arctic ocean is becoming an enormous sink for atmospheric CO2 as the waters open up in the summer. Yet the open waters in the Chukchi Sea don't show the levels of dissolved CO2 they should if that's the case. Now, it looks as though the answer lies with the under-ice phytoplankton blooms, because they consume the CO2 via photosynthesis, just as land plants do." 06-12

  14. Freshwater in the Polar Ice Caps (Hypertextbook.com)
      "Ice caps are found in several places in the Arctic region (Greenland, Iceland, Baffin Island, and the island of Spitsbergen) and over most of the Antarctic region. Approximately 90% of the ice on earth, is found either in Greenland or in Antarctica. The largest ice caps on the planet are found there. Greenland is a plateau surrounded by mountains. Antarctica is composed of mountains, valleys, and lowlands. From my research, I have found different values for the volume of the polar ice caps. For Antarctica, the approximate volume is 30,000,000 km3. For Greenland, it is approximately 3,000,000 km3."

      "The volume of the polar ice caps is very important, because it may provide answers to future problems regarding the earth's fresh water. In the future, fresh water in the other six continents might be depleted. Since ice caps contain over 80% of the earth's fresh water, they could be used in the future to provide fresh water for earth's growing population." 07-07

  15. Frozen Planet (Discovery.com)
      "From the makers of Planet Earth and Life, Frozen Planet is the ultimate portrait of our earth's polar regions, where the scale and beauty of the scenery and sheer power of the natural elements are unlike anywhere else on the planet." 03-12

  16. Giant Chunks Break Off Canadian Ice Shelf (MSNBC News)
      "Giant sheets of ice totaling almost eight square miles broke off an ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic last week and more could follow later this year, scientists said on Tuesday."

      "In a development consistent with climate change theories, the enormous icy plain broke free sometime last week and began slowly drifting into the Arctic Ocean. The piece had been a part of the shelf for 3,000 years."

      "Many scientists now believe that the Arctic will have ice-free summers by 2013 instead of 2030 as predicted by the International Panel on Climate Change." 07-08

  17. Global Warming May Trigger a Very, Very Long Warming (International Herald Tribune)
      "The Arctic, particularly, is filled with what amount to flippable climate switches, including natural repositories of carbon, like boggy tundra, that could emit vast amounts of greenhouse gases should the current warming trend pass certain points, said Jonathan Overpeck, the director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona."

      "This could amplify warming and take the climate into a realm beyond anything experienced through human evolution." 12-05

  18. Is It Too Late to Stop Global Warming? (ABC News)
      "A prime example: decayed vegetation in the Arctic, which contains massive amounts of carbon, used to be protected by the perpetual cold. As the climate warms — sped along by human beings burning fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide — scientists say the vegetation will dry out and break down, releasing even more carbon dioxide."

      " 'Humans are putting about 6 or 7 billion metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere a year, and we're standing on 200 billion tons here," says [biologist Walter] Oechel. 'Any significant portion comes out, that's worse than current human injection into the atmosphere. And once that runaway release occurs, there would be no way to stop it.' " 03-06

  19. Ocean Levels and Ice Melting (HowStuffWorks.com)
      "The main ice covered landmass is Antarctica at the South Pole, with about 90 percent of the world's ice (and 70 percent of its fresh water). Antarctica is covered with ice an average of 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) thick. If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet). But the average temperature in Antarctica is -37°C, so the ice there is in no danger of melting. In fact in most parts of the continent it never gets above freezing."

      "There is a significant amount of ice covering Greenland, which would add another 7 meters (20 feet) to the oceans if it melted. Because Greenland is closer to the equator than Antarctica, the temperatures there are higher, so the ice is more likely to melt." 05-09

  20. Polar Caps Explained (What-When-How.com)
      Provides a non-technical description of polar ice and includes a glossary at the end. 05-11

  21. Polar Caps Melting Fast (Time.com)
      "The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame." 08-06

  22. Polar Ice Caps and Rising Ocean Levels (HowStuffWorks.com)
      "The main ice covered landmass is Antarctica at the South Pole, with about 90 percent of the world's ice (and 70 percent of its fresh water). Antarctica is covered with ice an average of 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) thick. If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet). But the average temperature in Antarctica is -37°C, so the ice there is in no danger of melting. In fact in most parts of the continent it never gets above freezing."

      "At the other end of the world, the North Pole, the ice is not nearly as thick as at the South Pole. The ice floats on the Arctic Ocean. If it melted sea levels would not be affected."

      "There is a significant amount of ice covering Greenland, which would add another 7 meters (20 feet) to the oceans if it melted. Because Greenland is closer to the equator than Antarctica, the temperatures there are higher, so the ice is more likely to melt." 07-07

  23. Scientists: Arctic Ice Loss Triggering Global Warming (BBC News)
      " 'September 2005 will set a new record minimum in the amount of Arctic sea ice cover,' said Mark Serreze, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Boulder, Colorado.' "

      "The current rate of shrinkage they calculate at 8% per decade; at this rate there may be no ice at all during the summer of 2060."

      " 'These dark areas absorb a lot of the Sun's energy, much more than the ice, and what happens then is that the oceans start to warm up, and it becomes very difficult for ice to form during the following autumn and winter.' "

      " 'It looks like this is exactly what we're seeing - a positive feedback effect, a "tipping-point".' "

      "The idea behind tipping-points is that at some stage the rate of global warming would accelerate, as rising temperatures break down natural restraints or trigger environmental changes which release further amounts of greenhouse gases."

      "The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a four-year study involving hundreds of scientists, projected an additional temperature rise of 4-7C by 2100." 9-05

  24. Scientists: Arctic Ice Loss Triggering Global Warming (BBC News)
      " 'September 2005 will set a new record minimum in the amount of Arctic sea ice cover,' said Mark Serreze, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Boulder, Colorado.' "

      "The current rate of shrinkage they calculate at 8% per decade; at this rate there may be no ice at all during the summer of 2060."

      " 'These dark areas absorb a lot of the Sun's energy, much more than the ice, and what happens then is that the oceans start to warm up, and it becomes very difficult for ice to form during the following autumn and winter.' "

      " 'It looks like this is exactly what we're seeing - a positive feedback effect, a "tipping-point".' "

      "The idea behind tipping-points is that at some stage the rate of global warming would accelerate, as rising temperatures break down natural restraints or trigger environmental changes which release further amounts of greenhouse gases."

      "The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a four-year study involving hundreds of scientists, projected an additional temperature rise of 4-7C by 2100." 9-05

  25. Study: Arctic Was Once Tropical (Washington Times)
      "First-of-its-kind core samples dug up from deep beneath the Arctic Ocean floor show that 55 million years ago an area near the North Pole was practically a subtropical paradise, three new studies show."

      "Millions of years ago the Earth experienced an extended period of natural global warming. But about 55 million years ago there was a sudden supercharged spike of carbon dioxide that accelerated the greenhouse effect."

      "Scientists already knew this 'thermal event' happened but are not sure what caused it. Perhaps massive releases of methane from the ocean, the continent-sized burning of trees, numerous volcanic eruptions." 05-06

  26. Warmest Arctic in 400 Years (ABC News)
      "This season has ushered in the warmest Arctic summer in 400 years. A NASA report to be released this week finds the polar ice pack has shrunk by nearly 30 percent since 1978, and new satellite photos show the melting is speeding up." 9-05

  27. Water on the Earth (UMAC - OCP)
      Describes availability of water on the Earth, including Water Planet, Physical Symptoms of Water Stress, Hydrologic Cycle, and World's Water Supply.

      "Of all the water on Earth, more than 97% is salt water held in the oceans. The remaining 3% constitutes the fresh water supply on the planet. The majority of fresh water is held in ice (glaciers and polar ice caps) and a large proportion also lies too far underground to be exploitable. The amount of fresh water directly available is less than 1% of the total water in the Earth System." 4-02


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