Rising seas

News Today 07.07.2022

The global thermostat is set by the amount of solar energy retained by the Earth’s atmosphere. Land and water absorb incoming sunlight and transform it into heat, which is released back into the air as infrared radiation. Like the glass walls of a greenhouse, atmospheric gases, principally CO2, water vapour, and methane trap most of the ascending heat and keep it in the lower atmosphere making Earth hospitable to life.This is commonly known as the greenhouse effect. If the Earth, like the moon, had no greenhouse gases (GHGs), then it would be a much colder place and would not support life. Without greenhouse effect, the average Earth temperature would be around 6.80F (minus 140 C), well below the freezing point of water. But the system’s stability has now been jolted. (Rising seas -I)

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest mass of ice in the world, holding around 60 percent of the world’s fresh water. Scientists are grappling with exactly how global warming will affect this great ice sheet. Scientific understanding of ice sheet processes, and of the variability of the forces that affect ice sheets, is incredibly limited. This is largely because the ice sheets are in very remote and harsh environments and difficult to access. However, research has identified so-called ‘basal melt’ as the most significant driver of Antarctica ice loss. Basal melt refers to the melting of ice shelves from underneath, and in the case of Antarctica, interaction with the ocean are thought to be main cause. (Rising seas – II)

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