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Topic: Antarctica

NASA researchers report Antarctic Sea Ice growth hits Record high

 

Written by Kate Ramsayer
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached a new record high extent this year, covering more of the southern oceans than it has since scientists began a long-term satellite record to map sea ice extent in the late 1970s.

The upward trend in the Antarctic, however, is only about a third of the magnitude of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

The new Antarctic sea ice record reflects the diversity and complexity of Earth’s environments, said NASA researchers. Claire Parkinson, a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has referred to changes in sea ice coverage as a microcosm of global climate change.

On Sept. 19, 2014, the five-day average of Antarctic sea ice extent exceeded 20 million square kilometers for the first time since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The red line shows the average maximum extent from 1979-2014. (NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio/Cindy Starr)

On Sept. 19, 2014, the five-day average of Antarctic sea ice extent exceeded 20 million square kilometers for the first time since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The red line shows the average maximum extent from 1979-2014. (NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Cindy Starr)

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NASA Scientists find Hidden Canyons under Greenland that increases sea level rise estimates for the future

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists at NASA and the University of California, Irvine (UCI), have found that canyons under Greenland’s ocean-feeding glaciers are deeper and longer than previously thought, increasing the amount of Greenland’s estimated contribution to future sea level rise.

“The glaciers of Greenland are likely to retreat faster and farther inland than anticipated, and for much longer, according to this very different topography we have discovered,” said Mathieu Morlighem, a UCI associate project scientist who is lead author of the new research paper. The results were published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

A glacier in the Sukkertoppen ice cap, southwest Greenland, flows down a rocky canyon like those mapped in this study. (NASA)

A glacier in the Sukkertoppen ice cap, southwest Greenland, flows down a rocky canyon like those mapped in this study. (NASA)

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West Antarctic Ice Sheet unstoppable loss not unexpected by NASA Scientists

 

Written by Patrick Lynch
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The new finding that the eventual loss of a major section of West Antarctica’s ice sheet “appears unstoppable” was not completely unexpected by scientists who study this area.

The study, led by glaciologist Eric Rignot at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the University of California, Irvine, follows decades of research and theory suggesting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is inherently vulnerable to change.

Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). (NASA/GSFC/SVS)

Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). (NASA/GSFC/SVS)

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NASA study reveals West Antarctic Glacier melting appears to be irreversible

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.

The study presents multiple lines of evidence, incorporating 40 years of observations that indicate the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot, of UC Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Thwaites Glacier. (NASA)

Thwaites Glacier. (NASA)

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NASA’s AIM spacecraft data shows Teleconnections in Earth’s Atmosphere linking Climate and Weather across the Globe

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Earth’s poles are separated by four oceans, six continents and more than 12,000 nautical miles.

Turns out, that’s not so far apart.

New data from NASA’s AIM spacecraft have revealed “teleconnections” in Earth’s atmosphere that stretch all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again, linking weather and climate more closely than simple geography would suggest.

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NASA’s Johnson Space Center Scientists discover new evidence of Water in Mars Meteorite

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A team of scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, has found evidence of past water movement throughout a Martian meteorite, reviving debate in the scientific community over life on Mars.

In 1996, a group of scientists at Johnson led by David McKay, Everett Gibson and Kathie Thomas-Keprta published an article in Science announcing the discovery of biogenic evidence in the Allan Hills 84001(ALH84001) meteorite.

This scanning electron microscope image of a polished thin section of a meteorite from Mars shows tunnels and curved microtunnels. (NASA)

This scanning electron microscope image of a polished thin section of a meteorite from Mars shows tunnels and curved microtunnels. (NASA)

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NASA to launch five Earth Science Missions in 2014

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For the first time in more than a decade, five NASA Earth science missions will be launched into space in the same year, opening new and improved remote eyes to monitor our changing planet.

The five launches, including two to the International Space Station (ISS), are part of an active year for NASA Earth science researchers, who also will conduct airborne campaigns to the poles and hurricanes, develop advanced sensor technologies, and use satellite data and analytical tools to improve natural hazard and climate change preparedness.

Artist's rendering of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, one of five new NASA Earth science missions set to launch in 2014, and one of three managed by JPL. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, one of five new NASA Earth science missions set to launch in 2014, and one of three managed by JPL. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

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NASA’s AIM spacecraft examines Electric Blue Clouds forming over Antarctica

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Data from NASA’s AIM spacecraft show that noctilucent clouds are like a great “geophysical light bulb.” They turn on every year in late spring, reaching almost full intensity over a period of no more than 5 to 10 days.

News flash: The bulb is glowing.

As December unfolds, a vast bank of noctilucent clouds is blanketing Antarctica. It started on November 20th as a tiny puff of electric-blue and quickly expanded to overlie nearly the entire continent. AIM is monitoring the progress of the clouds as they swirl and ripple around the south pole.

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft provides view of Earth as it flies by

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on October 9th, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 3.9 kilometers per second), which set it on course for a July 4th, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

One of Juno’s sensors, a special kind of camera optimized to track faint stars, also had a unique view of the Earth-moon system. The result was an intriguing, low-resolution glimpse of what our world would look like to a visitor from afar.

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NASA reports scientists discover coldest place on Earth

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – What is the coldest place on Earth? It is a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night.

Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed with data from remote sensing satellites including the new Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

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