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February 9th News: Global Ice Loss from 2003-2010 Could “Cover the Entire United States in One and Half Feet of Water”

By Stephen Lacey on February 9, 2012 at 7:55 am

"February 9th News: Global Ice Loss from 2003-2010 Could “Cover the Entire United States in One and Half Feet of Water”"

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Other stories below: Solar power to pay Nevada city’s debt; Bank of England says to evaluate fossil-fuel investment risk

A new study confirms we are on track for significant sea level rise this century

Global warming: CU-led study pinpoints Earth’s ice loss

Earth’s glaciers and ice caps outside of the regions of Greenland and Antarctica are shedding about 150 billion tons of ice annually, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The total mass ice loss from Greenland, Antarctica and all Earth’s glaciers and ice caps between 2003 to 2010 was 1,000 cubic miles, about eight times the water volume of Lake Erie.

“The total amount of ice lost to Earth’s oceans from 2003 to 2010 would cover the entire United States in about 1 and one-half feet of water,” said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study….

The measurements are important because the melting of the world’s glaciers and ice caps, along with Greenland and Antarctica, pose the greatest threat to sea level increases in the future, Wahr said.

The researchers used satellite measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to calculate that the world’s glaciers and ice caps lost about 148 billion tons, or about 39 cubic miles of ice annually from 2003 to 2010. The total does not count the mass from individual glacier and ice caps on the fringes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which could add up to an additional 80 billion tons.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at all of the mass loss from all of Earth’s glaciers and ice caps with GRACE,” said Wahr. “The Earth is losing an incredible amount of ice to the oceans annually, and these new results will help us answer important questions in terms of both sea rise and how the planet’s cold regions are responding to global change.”

… According to the GRACE data, total sea level rise from all land-based ice on Earth including Greenland and Antarctica was roughly 1.5 millimeters per year annually or about 12 millimeters, or one-half inch, from 2003 to 2010, said Wahr. The sea rise amount does include the expansion of water due to warming, which is the second key sea-rise component and is roughly equal to melt totals, he said.

JR:  I checked with JPL’s Eric Rignot, who called the study “a solid confirmation” of his 2011 paper, which I wrote about here:  “JPL bombshell: Polar ice sheet mass loss is speeding up, on pace for 1 foot sea level rise by 2050.”

Bank of England Says to Evaluate Fossil-Fuel Investment Risk

The Bank of England will evaluate whether the U.K.’s exposure to investments in greenhouse gas- emitting industries poses a risk to financial stability, Governor Mervyn King said.

Responding to a Jan. 19 letter from Climate Change Capital Ltd. and more than 20 other investors, academics and campaign groups urging a probe, King said that while there is a “question” about whether any danger exists, he’ll try to investigate investments in polluting industries further.

“There is clearly a scope for further evaluation of these issues,” King wrote in his Feb. 1 reply, posted on the Climate Change Capital website and confirmed by the bank. “We will endeavor to include this in the list of topics we regularly discuss with market participants to assess whether or not this is a risk of which they are aware and the extent to which they are taking it into account in their investment decisions.”

Offshore renewable energy planning system to be streamlined

The planning system for offshore renewable energy projects in Scottish waters is to be streamlined.

The move was welcomed by renewable energy firms and environmental groups.

They said the new approach would reduce delay while taking account of possible threats to wildlife.

First Minister Alex Salmond said the changes would make the planning, development and deployment of offshore wind, wave and tidal generation more effective and efficient.

He said: “Scotland now has a world lead in offshore wind and we want to make sure the planning process doesn’t allow other countries to catch us, and make sure that the tens of thousands of jobs which are going to come to Scotland from this industry are not unnecessarily delayed by the planning process.”

Boulder City, Nevada is best known as the home of Hoover Dam, once the largest hydroelectric power plant in the country. But the rapid expansion of solar power projects is quickly making a name for the city as the first solar-financed town in America.

A solar power building boom is happening in the community, located about 25 miles south of Las Vegas. This boom will soon generate enough revenue to eliminate Boulder City’s municipal debt and stabilize its financial needs for years to come, according to Mayor Roger Tobler.

The city is already home to Copper Mountain Solar 1, the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the U.S. at 58 megawatts (MW), and Nevada Solar 1, a 65-MW concentrated solar power facility. But local officials, sensing a unique opportunity to expand renewable energy in their community, set aside 8,000 acres to develop an “energy zone.”

Renewable-energy executives want tax incentives extended

Executives from the U.S. hydropower, geothermal and biomass power industries called Wednesday for the passage of a congressional bill that would extend production tax credits to all renewable-energy projects.

The leaders were referring to H.R. 3307, the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act of 2011. The bill has been offered by Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and has drawn bipartisan support from more than 60 co-sponsors.

Failure to pass the bill, the executives said, would put thousands of jobs across the country at risk, stall active energy projects and make it very likely that few new projects would get the funding necessary to begin.

Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Assn., said that projects are already being hurt even though the current tax benefits assisting his industry do not run out until 2013.

Chargers for electric cars may become a “billion dollar business” by 2017

Chargers for electric cars may become a “billion dollar business” by 2017, said an executive at Swiss engineering firm ABB, which is teaming up with governments and companies such as RWE to roll out a network.

Building up a network of charging stations is vital to help fuel demand for electric cars, experts say, with some drivers put off by “range anxiety” — the fear their vehicle will run out of power miles from a charger.

The Zurich-based group, which makes equipment for oil, mining and utility companies, has announced a string of projects in recent months, including a 6 million euro deal to build 200 fast-charging stations throughout Estonia.

Canadian prime minister in China on visit focused on oil sales, other economic ties

Canada’s prime minister is visiting China to discuss oil sales and other economic ties following President Barack Obama’s rejection of a pipeline carrying Canadian oil across the continental United States.Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived late Tuesday, heading a 40-strong delegation of Canadian business leaders. He will meet with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other top Chinese officials following a welcoming ceremony Wednesday.

The visit highlights efforts by Canada to diversify energy sales. The U.S. market currently absorbs 97 percent of Canadian oil exports.

Chinese state-owned companies have invested more than $16 billion in Canadian energy in the past two years and hope to gain steady supplies to fuel their country’s booming economy. Chinese state-controlled Sinopec has a stake in a proposed Canadian pipeline to the Pacific Ocean that would substantially boost Chinese investment in Alberta oil sands.

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9 Responses to February 9th News: Global Ice Loss from 2003-2010 Could “Cover the Entire United States in One and Half Feet of Water”

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Doug Korthof, Enviro and Electric-Car Activist, Loses Battle with Lung Cancer
    http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2012/02/doug_korthof_electric_car_acti.php

  2. MarkfromLexington says:

    JR mentions that this study is consistent with earlier studies suggesting that the rate of ice melt is increasing. What is the estimated rate of increase?

    Will we be seeing melts of more or less than 200 – 300 Gt/year in 2050?

  3. prokaryotes says:

    I read in a newspaper today:

    For the first time since 25 years Germany has to import grains, due to poor winter grain harvest.

    Also Ukraine harvest is probably 50% lost..

    Wheat grain is now dealt with 280€ which is close to the last high in 2008 when prices reached 300€. 6% of German grain harvest is used for biofuels.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Omg i had to laugh so hard when this popped up on my stream…

    Santorum: Obama Has Put America On ‘The Path’ Of Executing Religious People By Decapitation

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/02/09/421882/santorum-obama-has-put-america-on-the-path-of-executing-religious-people-by-decapitation/

    • Dennis Tomlinson says:

      Reminded me of the opening of “Papillon”:

      “As of this moment… you are the property of the Penal Administration of French Guiana. After serving your full terms in prison… those of you with sentences of eight years or more… will remain in Guiana… as workers and colonists… for a period equal to that of your original sentences.

      As for France… the nation has disposed of you. France has rid herself of you altogether.

      Forget France and put your clothes on.”

  5. John Pangolin says:

    Why do I suspect that all of that water is going to come down in flooding rains somewhere?

    • prokaryotes says:

      The basis knowledge is that warmer temps, cause more water vapor from elevated evaporation. And then there are shifting jet streams (account for south and the newly discovered northern ozone hole).

      Antarctic ozone hole ‘creating rainfall in subtropical region’

      For the first time scientists have found evidence to suggest the depletion of the thin ozone layer high above the South Pole can alter the wind patterns thousands of miles away that bring rain to the subtropics.

      The researchers believe the thinning of the ozone layer in the polar stratosphere over the past few decades as a result of the build-up of man-made pollutants has caused a southern shift of the westerly jet stream, which has caused a corresponding migration of the climatic bands that result in dry or wet conditions south of the equator.

      “The ozone hole is over Antarctica but it causes a moisturising trend over subtropical regions of the world, such as eastern Australia,” said Sarah Kang of Columbia University in New York, who led the study published in Science. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/antarctic-ozone-hole-creating-rainfall-in-subtropical-region-2271987.html

  6. prokaryotes says:

    The SPIEGEL

    ‘I Feel Duped on Climate Change’
    Will reduced solar activity counteract global warming in the coming decades? That is what outgoing German electric utility executive Fritz Vahrenholt claims in a new book. In an interview with SPIEGEL, he argues that the official United Nations forecasts on the severity of climate change are overstated and supported by weak science. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,813814,00.html

  7. David B. Benson says:

    Ok, so in about 10 days Southern Company can begin pouring the protection concrete for the two Westinghouse AP1000s at Vogtle. Could article in today’s TNYT.