(First published on Jan. 18, 2017, on State of the Planet.)
The news doesn’t come as a surprise to scientists and others who’ve been watching, but marks a milestone nonetheless: 2016 was the warmest year on record, dating back to the start of modern record keeping in 1880. And it’s the third record year in a row, keeping up a long-term trend of warming.
Glaciers seen during NASA’s Operation IceBridge research flight to West Antarctica on Oct. 29, 2014. Photo: NASA/Michael Studinger
Glaciers in one part of West Antarctica are melting at triple the rate of a decade ago and have become the most significant contributor to sea level rise in that region, a new study says.
The study found that the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica have shrunk by an average of 83 gigatons a year for two decades—the equivalent of the weight of Mount Everest every two years. And the loss rate is accelerating: The scientists estimate ice loss at 102 gigatons per year for 2003-2011.
Filed under Climate, Science
Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo: NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been at the forefront of climate science, launching satellites that take the pulse of Earth’s land, oceans and atmospheric systems, gathering data on climate, weather and natural hazards. But the agency is increasingly vulnerable itself to the effects of a changing climate.
Filed under Climate, Stories