Global warming is thawing glacial areas - GulfToday

Global warming is thawing glacial areas

The Totten Glacier is the most rapidly thinning glacier in East Antarctica. AFP

The Totten Glacier is the most rapidly thinning glacier in East Antarctica. AFP

Over 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow fell on California since Christmas. Now this is a scenario that no one, let alone Americans, would want to see repeated in future.

The strongest of California’s storms from atmospheric rivers, long and wide plumes of moisture that form over an ocean and flow through the sky over land, would probably get an overall 34% increase in total precipitation, or another 11 trillion gallons more than just fell. That’s because the rain and snow is likely to be 22% more concentrated at its peak in places that get really doused, and to fall over a considerably larger area if fossil fuel emissions grow uncontrolled, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Climate change added at least 10% more rain to Hurricane Ian, a study prepared immediately after the storm shows. The research compared peak rainfall rates during the real storm to about 20 different computer scenarios of a model with Hurricane Ian’s characteristics slamming into the Sunshine State of Florida in a world with no human-caused climate change. The real storm was 10% wetter than the storm that might have been, according to an expert. Forecasters predicted Ian will have dropped up to two feet (61 cm) of rain in parts of Florida by the time it stopped. Global warming has also affected ice-cold countries. There has been a sharp increase in Greenland temperatures since 1995. The result is that the huge island is 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter than its 20th-century average. It is the warmest in more than 1,000 years, according to new data. Until now Greenland ice cores – a glimpse into long-running temperatures before thermometers – hadn’t shown much of a clear signal of global warming on the remotest north central part of the island, at least compared to the rest of the world. But the ice cores also hadn’t been updated since 1995. Newly analysed cores, drilled in 2011, show a dramatic rise in temperature in the previous 15 years, according to a study in Wednesday’s journal Nature.

“We keep on (seeing) rising temperatures between 1990s and 2011,” said study lead author Maria Hoerhold, a glaciologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany. “We have now a clear signature of global warming.”

The jump in temperature after 1995 is so much larger than pre-industrial times before the mid-19th century that there is “almost zero” chance that it is anything but human-caused climate change, Hoerhold said.

The warming spike also mirrors a sudden rise in the amount of water running off from Greenland’s melting ice. What had been happening in Greenland is that natural weather variability in the past had covered human-caused climate change, Hoerhold said.

But as of about 25 years ago, the warming became too big to be hidden, she said.

Past data also showed Greenland not warming as fast as the rest of the Arctic, which is now warming four times faster than the global average. But the island appears to be catching up. Hoerhold and outside scientists said the new warming data is bad news because Greenland’s ice sheet is melting.

All this highlights the need to reduce carbon footprint. As part of its participation in the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), held in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh from 6th to 18th November, the UAE launched the National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway, which sets the timeframe and identifies the mechanisms of implementing the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, introduced in October 2021.

The pathway defines the country’s climate ambition with an absolute emission reduction target of 18 percent compared to the UAE’s updated second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement by 2030, 60 per cent by 2040, and 100 per cent by 2050, compared to 2019.

Related articles