NASA report on glaciers
adds fuel to partisan divide
California Gov. Jerry Brown skewered Republicans in Congress on climate change.
NASA researchers made a big splash recently with news that ocean levels could rise much more than anticipated due to a collapsing ice shelf in the Antarctic.
New findings from NASA this week on the opposite side of the planet add to the alarm. The same researchers report that Greenland’s ocean-feeding glaciers could increase even further the amount that sea levels will go up.
Meanwhile, Politifact finds that only eight Republican members of both houses of Congress (three percent) publicly accept the scientific consensus that humans are to blame.
The disconnect is frightening. It is obvious that in the US, climate science has become a partisan political issue.
We analyzed the news on the retreating Antarctic ice shelf recently in Climate change debate enters twilight zone where it was noted that an Antarctic ice shelf is melting much faster than anticipated and could add 4 feet to the predicted rise in sea levels by the end of the century.
The same researchers added to this on Monday with a less noticed report on the northern ice melt.
In Hidden Greenland Canyons Mean More Sea Level Rise we learn: “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 NASA report on melting glaciers in Greenland adding to sea level rise. Click image to enlarge.
“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 Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The researchers don’t explicitly add the total effects of the two studies, but logic dictates that if we do, the result would be even more drastic.
“Together the papers illustrate clearly the globe’s ice sheets will contribute far more to sea level rise than current projections show,” said co-author Eric Rignot of UCI and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena.
The study’s lead author was more explicit in a news release from EurekAlert!
Greenland will be far greater contributor to sea rise than expected
“The glaciers of Greenland are likely to retreat faster and farther inland than anticipated,” said lead author Morlighem. “This has major implications, because the glacier melt will contribute much more to rising seas around the globe.”
Meanwhile, the political divide on the human contribution to climate change is growing as wide as the gaps in the glaciers.
After California Gov. Jerry Brown asserted on Sunday that “virtually no Republican in Washington” accepts climate change science, Politifact checked his assertion against public records.
It’s “Truth-o-meter” finds this to be mostly true.
“When it comes to on-the-record comments of members of Congress, Brown’s characterization is about right,” they report.
It could identify only eight of 278 Republicans in Congress (three percent) who stood on the side of science.
“We found … many more conservative legislators who deny either a human link to the changing climate, or the fact that the climate is changing altogether.”
It is astounding that despite the overwhelming scientific consensus so many GOP leaders are outside in the cold. This should not be a political issue at all – and in most places it isn’t.
The global climate outlook is sufficiently gloomy. If we add in the political posturing, it becomes deeply troubling. The clock is ticking, but parts of the political elite are willfully blind.
Future generations will not look kindly on this period in US history – if they survive to even consider it.
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