WEST ANTARCTIC IS CRACKING UP

Jan 20, 2017 by

 

Temperature trends in West Antarctica (left) have greatly exceeded the global average. East Antarctica will soon join suit if present trends continue unabated.

The highly unusual move is necessary because the Brunt Ice Shelf on which the research station sits has developed a big new crack. BAS officials say neither staff nor the base are in any immediate danger but believe it would be prudent to withdraw while the situation is assessed.

The plan would be to go back once the Antarctic winter is over, in November. Halley station comprises a series of hi-tech pods that are mounted on hydraulic legs and skis so that they can be moved periodically further inland, to get away from the shelf edge where icebergs are calved into the ocean.

West Antartica is quite literally cracking up. The culprit is anthropogenic climate change, a steady rise in global temperatures produced by accumulating industrial emissions. Climate change is particularly virulent near the poles, where a vicious feedback phenomenon called polar amplification kicks in, causing sustained temperatures well above the delta produced by global warming in more temperate regions.

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