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Topic: Arctic

NASA Scientists report Warming Climate taking its toll on Greenland, Antarctica Glaciers

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that when an ice cube is exposed to a heat source, like warm water or air, it melts. So, it’s no surprise that a warming climate is causing our glaciers and ice sheets to melt. However, predicting just how much the glaciers and ice sheets will melt and how quickly – key components of sea level rise – is not nearly as straightforward.

Glaciers and ice sheets are far more complex structures than ice cubes. They form when snow accumulates and is compressed into ice by new snow over many years.

NASA scientists traverse Antarctica's icy landscape, towing scientific instruments and cold-weather gear with them. The team was tasked with collecting ground data to verify the accuracy of measurements made by the IceSat-2 satellite. (NASA)

NASA scientists traverse Antarctica’s icy landscape, towing scientific instruments and cold-weather gear with them. The team was tasked with collecting ground data to verify the accuracy of measurements made by the IceSat-2 satellite. (NASA)

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NASA study shows Earth, Moon used to share Magnetic Shield

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – But a neighboring shield may have helped our planet retain its atmosphere and eventually go on to develop life and habitable conditions. That shield was the Moon, says a NASA-led study in the journal Science Advances.

“The Moon seems to have presented a substantial protective barrier against the solar wind for the Earth, which was critical to Earth’s ability to maintain its atmosphere during this time,” said Jim Green, NASA’s chief scientist and lead author of the new study. “We look forward to following up on these findings when NASA sends astronauts to the Moon through the Artemis program, which will return critical samples of the lunar South Pole.”

This illustration shows magnetic field lines that Earth generates today. The Moon no longer has a magnetic field. (NASA)

This illustration shows magnetic field lines that Earth generates today. The Moon no longer has a magnetic field. (NASA)

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NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) discovers millions of Methane Hotspots in the Arctic

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that the Arctic is one of the fastest warming places on the planet. As temperatures rise, the perpetually frozen layer of soil, called permafrost, begins to thaw, releasing methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

These methane emissions can accelerate future warming – but to understand to what extent, we need to know how much methane may be emitted, when and what environmental factors may influence its release.

The image shows a thermokarst lake in Alaska. Thermokarst lakes form in the Arctic when permafrost thaws. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The image shows a thermokarst lake in Alaska. Thermokarst lakes form in the Arctic when permafrost thaws. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Scientists reports Ocean Currents are changing due to Arctic Ice Melt

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A major ocean current in the Arctic is faster and more turbulent as a result of rapid sea ice melt, a new study from NASA shows. The current is part of a delicate Arctic environment that is now flooded with fresh water, an effect of human-caused climate change.

Using 12 years of satellite data, scientists have measured how this circular current, called the Beaufort Gyre, has precariously balanced an influx of unprecedented amounts of cold, fresh water – a change that could alter the currents in the Atlantic Ocean and cool the climate of Western Europe.

Arctic sea ice was photographed in 2011 during NASA's ICESCAPE mission, or "Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment," a shipborne investigation to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean's chemistry and ecosystems. The bulk of the research took place in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in summer 2010 and 2011. (NASA/Kathryn Hansen)

Arctic sea ice was photographed in 2011 during NASA’s ICESCAPE mission, or “Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment,” a shipborne investigation to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean’s chemistry and ecosystems. The bulk of the research took place in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in summer 2010 and 2011. (NASA/Kathryn Hansen)

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NASA’s Operation IceBridge finishes Eleventh Year of Polar Surveys

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – For eleven years from 2009 through 2019, the planes of NASA’s Operation IceBridge flew above the Arctic, Antarctic and Alaska, gathering data on the height, depth, thickness, flow and change of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets.

Designed to collect data during the years between NASA’s two Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellites, ICESat and ICESat-2, IceBridge made its final polar flight in November 2019, one year after ICESat-2’s successful launch.

As the team and planes move on to their next assignments, the scientists and engineers reflected on a decade of IceBridge’s most significant accomplishments.

NASA’s Operation IceBridge, a ten-year mission to collect polar data between ICESat and ICESat-2, may be coming to a close, but its hundreds of terabytes of data and the expertise of its team will continue to fuel research and discovery for decades to come. (NASA / Jim Yungel)

NASA’s Operation IceBridge, a ten-year mission to collect polar data between ICESat and ICESat-2, may be coming to a close, but its hundreds of terabytes of data and the expertise of its team will continue to fuel research and discovery for decades to come. (NASA / Jim Yungel)

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NASA research shows Arctic Permafrost thawing could boost of Methane released into Atmosphere

 

Written by Ellen Gray
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – New NASA-funded research has discovered that Arctic permafrost’s expected gradual thawing and the associated release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere may actually be sped up by instances of a relatively little known process called abrupt thawing. Abrupt thawing takes place under a certain type of Arctic lake, known as a thermokarst lake that forms as permafrost thaws.

The impact on the climate may mean an influx of permafrost-derived methane into the atmosphere in the mid-21st century, which is not currently accounted for in climate projections.

Methane bubbles up from the thawed permafrost at the bottom of the thermokarst lake through the ice at its surface. (Katey Walter Anthony/ University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Methane bubbles up from the thawed permafrost at the bottom of the thermokarst lake through the ice at its surface. (Katey Walter Anthony/ University of Alaska Fairbanks)

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NASA reports new study reveals Arctic Carbon Cycle accelerating

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – When people think of the Arctic, snow, ice and polar bears come to mind. Trees? Not so much. At least not yet.

A new NASA-led study using data from the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) shows that carbon in Alaska’s North Slope tundra ecosystems spends about 13 percent less time locked in frozen soil than it did 40 years ago. In other words, the carbon cycle there is speeding up — and is now at a pace more characteristic of a North American boreal forest than of the icy Arctic.

A 2017 image of Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island Territorial Park in the Yukon shows more vegetation, shrubs and water compared with the 1987 image of the same area. (Isla Myers-Smith/University of Edinburgh)

A 2017 image of Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island Territorial Park in the Yukon shows more vegetation, shrubs and water compared with the 1987 image of the same area. (Isla Myers-Smith/University of Edinburgh)

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NASA study shows Permafrost thawing to release Carbon into the Atmosphere in coming years

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Permafrost in the coldest northern Arctic — formerly thought to be at least temporarily shielded from global warming by its extreme environment — will thaw enough to become a permanent source of carbon to the atmosphere in this century, with the peak transition occurring in 40 to 60 years, according to a new NASA-led study.

The study calculated that as thawing continues, by the year 2300, total carbon emissions from this region will be 10 times as much as all human-produced fossil fuel emissions in 2016.

Tundra polygons on Alaska's North Slope. As permafrost thaws, this area is likely to be a source of atmospheric carbon before 2100. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Charles Miller)

Tundra polygons on Alaska’s North Slope. As permafrost thaws, this area is likely to be a source of atmospheric carbon before 2100. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Charles Miller)

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NASA reports 2015 Warm Cyclone thinned Arctic Sea Ice

 

Written by Maria-José Viñas
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A large cyclone that crossed the Arctic in December 2015 brought so much heat and humidity to this otherwise frigid and dry environment that it thinned and shrunk the sea ice cover during a time of the year when the ice should have been growing thicker and stronger, a NASA study found.

The cyclone formed on December 28th, 2015, in the middle of the North Atlantic, and traveled to the United Kingdom and Iceland before entering the Arctic on December 30th, lingering in the area for several days.

This image shows the winds and warm mass of air associated with a large cyclone that swept the Arctic in late December 2015-early January 2016, thinning and shrinking the sea ice cover. (NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/Alex Kekesi, data visualizer)

This image shows the winds and warm mass of air associated with a large cyclone that swept the Arctic in late December 2015-early January 2016, thinning and shrinking the sea ice cover. (NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Alex Kekesi, data visualizer)

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NASA Study reveals nearly one-fifth of Global Warming over the years has been missed

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA-led study finds that almost one-fifth of the global warming that has occurred in the past 150 years has been missed by historical records due to quirks in how global temperatures were recorded. The study explains why projections of future climate based solely on historical records estimate lower rates of warming than predictions from climate models.

The study applied the quirks in the historical records to climate model output and then performed the same calculations on both the models and the observations to make the first true apples-to-apples comparison of warming rates.

Difficulties in making weather measurements in the Arctic have led to underrepresentation of this rapidly warming area in historic temperature records. (British Columbia Ministry of Transport)

Difficulties in making weather measurements in the Arctic have led to underrepresentation of this rapidly warming area in historic temperature records. (British Columbia Ministry of Transport)

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