July 23 News: Melting Glaciers Across The Globe Experiencing ‘Jokulhlaup,’ Icelandic For ‘Glacier Leap’


As temperatures increase, glaciers like the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska near Juneau are experiencing torrents of flooding that threaten homes downstream. [New York Times]

The idea that glaciers change at a glacial speed is increasingly false. They are melting and retreating rapidly all over the world. But the unpredictable flood surges at the Mendenhall Glacier, about 14 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska’s capital, are turning a jog into a sprint as global temperatures and climate variability increase.

Starting in July 2011, and each year since, sudden torrents of water shooting out from beneath the glacier have become a new facet of Juneau’s brief, shimmering high summer season. In that first, and so far biggest, measured flood burst, an estimated 10 billion gallons gushed out in three days, threatening homes and property along the Mendenhall River that winds through part of the city. There have been at least two smaller bursts this year.

“That first one caught us by surprise,” said Tom Mattice, the emergency programs manager and avalanche forecaster for the City and Borough of Juneau.

The new House GOP’s proposed budget would cut one out of every three dollars in the EPA’s budget, and prevent it from regulating carbon pollution. [AP]

The train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec caused around 1.5 million gallons of oil to spill into the town and surrounding lakes and streams. [Montreal Gazette]

A draft EPA report suggests that oil and gas disposal wells used for wastewater that “induce seismicity” should maybe stop if they’re really causing earthquakes. [E&E News]

New EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: “We have a clear responsibility to act now on climate change. That’s what President Obama has called on us and the American people [to do], so that we protect future generations. And he recently said the question now is whether we have the courage to act before it’s too late. This agency has the courage to act. We can make it happen.” [EPA Connect]

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. is now $3.68, or 5 cents more than a week ago. [ABC News]

Climate change is threatening Bangladesh’s Millennium Development Goals two years before the goals’ 2015 deadline. [Reuters]

Wildfires in the area just south of the Arctic Circle are more frequent than they have been at any point in the last 10,000 years, according to new records. [LA Times, LiveScience]

Northeast Brazil is experiencing its worst drought in 50 years, with some areas not receiving rain for more than a year. [Al Jazeera]

The slowdown in overall temperature increases over the past five years is likely due to warming of the deep oceans, which are some of Earth’s largest absorbers of heat. [Guardian]

The Department of the Interior announced a second offshore wind lease sale off the coast of Virginia for an installation that would generate 2,000 megawatts. [The Hill]

A new report claims Britain could be carbon-free as early as 2030 if a series of steps, including ramping up renewable energy and eating less meat, are taken. [TreeHugger]

Now that Australia has switched from a carbon tax to a cap-and-trade system a few years early, a look at the drive toward 100 percent renewable energy. [The Conversation]

The PAC operated by Koch Industries spent more in June than it has ever spent during a month in a non-election year: $262,000. [CPI]

U.S. company turns sewage into biofuel using algae on a rooftop in France. [CleanTechnica]

Western Australia will build a 40 megawatt tidal power plant that could power between 10,000-15,000 homes. [RenewEconomy]

16 Responses to July 23 News: Melting Glaciers Across The Globe Experiencing ‘Jokulhlaup,’ Icelandic For ‘Glacier Leap’

  1. prokaryotes says:

    The United Church of Christ is the first national denomination to divest from fossil fuels.

  2. prokaryotes says:

    New report exposes billions per year in new fossil fuel subsidies

    This has to stop NOW! The oil guys can divest themself into renewables or face trials

  3. Leif says:

    “The train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec caused around 1.5 million gallons of oil to spill into the town and surrounding lakes and streams.” I sure wish folks would stop calling DilBit, (which I believe was being transported), “oil.” The oil companies lobbied congress to not cover DilBit in the oil funded cleanup “fund” because is is much harder to clean up but also so the clean-up will be on “We the Peoples” dime. So DilBit is not “oil” it is more a kin to creosote, coal tar and thinners, but since we are not privileged to know what “thinners” are used, IMO it is anything but “OIL.”

  4. Zimzone says:

    10B Gal of water = 1.337B cubic ft of ice lost each year since 2011 puts ice lost at over 4B cft.
    Add the fact all this water ends up in the Arctic sea and you have a recipe for disaster.

  5. colinc says:

    Regarding “Glacier Leap”… Newton’s Laws of Heating & Cooling, first year differential equations, ice melts exponentially! A corollary to the Laws of Thermodynamics, the greater the temperature difference between the hot source and cold sink, the greater the rate of thermal energy transfer, again, an exponential. Sapere aude.

  6. Sasparilla says:

    Great post, nice to see this starting to happen.

  7. Sasparilla says:

    “Stable” parts of Antarctic ice may have retreated in the past

    This refers to the East Antarctic ice sheet which wasn’t supposed to be under much of a threat from our warming (at current levels), but apparently did melt significantly in the past at similar CO2 levels to what we have today already. I believe this was covered in other articles recently but its good to see it in Ars (mostly a tech site), they keep climate change stuff on the radar there.

  8. Daniel Coffey says:

    It’s important to keep reminding oneself that the net melting ice is the consumption of a thermal buffer which is not replaced, even as the energy accumulation rate due to increased greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere remains the same or increases. Thus, the melting of additional buffering ice structures, wherever located, will accelerate under any rational thermodynamic analysis. It’s the energy accumulation into the ice – without a temperature change – which is most perplexing to the uninitiated. However, once you understand what ice melting represents, you acquire a more appropriate sense of dread. There is no off switch for global warming once the GHG are in the atmosphere. Prevention, not adaption, is the only answer.

  9. Kelvin says:

    I think a process has been started that can not be stopped. Maybe it can be limited with action now. I can already see a climate shift happening here in Australia. Also we are now seeing extreme weather events (floods for example) that were once one in a 100 year event happening ever few years. National and local government planning for future roads, housing and foreshore development can limit the damage. The frustrating thing is, Australian politics has become short term poll driven based on 5 minute news grabs.

  10. David B. Benson says:

    Not Newton’s but J.J. Fourier’s.

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Unfortunately the basic science is lost on ‘democratic’ politicians, who are selected for photogenicity, facility at lying with a straight face, ability to excite the basest passions in the worst in society in order to garner their votes and absolute loyalty to their rich patrons who finance them. The science is totally irrelevant to the Rightwing flotsam and jetsam who comprise the ‘Fourth Estate’ in the Age of Murdochism, and who simply regurgitate their Masters’ opinions. And the science is simply ignored by businessmen, who, being unable to suborn, corrupt or purchase the Laws of Physics and Chemistry, simply replace them with the make-believe, ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ ‘Laws’ of ‘Economic Science’, and from the school of neo-liberal capitalist market fanaticism only. As a result, with the better fraction of humanity rendered utterly impotent, we go merrily upon our way to Hell, at express speed.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The Morons will Inherit the Earth, and they won’t like it.

  13. Merrelyn Emery says:

    We have lost one of our important metaphors! Glaciers no longer move at ‘glacial pace’. Help, all you creative types…a change of language required, ME

  14. John McCormick says:

    Galloping glaciers