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Most of us know that Most Glaciers ARE Melting. Here are some stats:

A Reply to the Attacks on Climate Change Science
The science is sound and the glaciers are shrinking, says the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A 2005 global survey of 442 glaciers from the World Glacier Monitoring Service found that only 26 were advancing, 18 were stationary, and 398 were retreating. Overall, about 90 percent of the world's glaciers that scientists have measured are shrinking as the planet warms.

And here's what a shrinking glacier looks like using time-lapse photography, to speed up the action ...

It's amazing how the right photography can make Earth Science leap to life. That amazing clip is from the NOVA episode: Extreme Ice.

That NOVA show has amazing photograhy and some excellent science as well. PBS aired this episode last night. It originally aired about a year ago:

TV Program Description: NOVA - Extreme Ice
Original PBS Broadcast Date: March 24, 2009

Remarkable time-lapse footage by one of the world's foremost nature photographers reveals massive glaciers and ice sheets splitting apart, collapsing, and disappearing at a rate that has more and more scientists alarmed. This NOVA-National Geographic Television special investigates the latest evidence of a radically warming planet.

"Extreme Ice" follows National Geographic-funded photojournalist James Balog to some of the most dangerous places on Earth as he documents the disappearance of an icy landscape that took thousands of years to form.
The effort involves deploying 26 time-lapse cameras in alpine and arctic locations across the Northern Hemisphere and programming them to shoot a frame every daylight hour for three years.

As the program shows, the resulting time-lapse movies give breathtaking evidence of geology in action. Ominously, the proverbial glacial pace of large masses of ice is no longer as slow as it once was, due to the warming of the planet that is accelerating the break-up of these titanic structures, including the separation of a Rhode Island-sized piece of the Antarctic ice sheet in 2002. Scientists are overwhelmingly convinced that the temperature increase is tied to the rise in greenhouse-gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels.

A NOVA-Nat Geo film crew accompanies Balog to EIS locations around the world.

You can still Watch that Nova Program: Extreme Ice online:

Entire Video

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As amazing as the Photography was, one of the Scientific discovery proposed then, has been confirmed in recent Science News:

Fjords Contribute to Melting of Glaciers

While warmer atmospheric temperatures thin all the glaciers from above, scientists have wondered if warmer waters are also melting the many glaciers that flow into the fjords.

Here are the "geeky" conclusions of the NASA study:

NASA Finds Warmer Ocean Speeding Greenland Glacier Melt

Glaciers in west Greenland are melting 100 times faster at their end points beneath the ocean than they are at their surfaces, according to a new NASA/university study published online Feb. 14 in Nature Geoscience. The results suggest this undersea melting caused by warmer ocean waters is playing an important, if not dominant, role in the current evolution of Greenland's glaciers, a factor that had previously been overlooked.
In recent years, scientists have observed a widespread acceleration of Greenland's glaciers, associated with thinning of their lower reaches as they reach the sea. In the past decade, surface melting of glaciers around Greenland due to warm air temperatures has increased in both magnitude and area, while snowfall has increased just slightly. The result is a tripling in the amount of ice mass lost in Greenland between 1996 and 2007. Of this loss, between 50 and 60 percent is attributable to a speedup in the flow of outlet glaciers, with the remainder due to increased surface melting.

But the glaciers also melt along their submerged faces, where they come into contact with warm ocean waters. A warmer ocean erodes a glacier's submerged, grounded ice and causes its grounding line -- the point at which a tidewater glacier floats free of its bed -- to retreat.
An ocean temperature of 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 degrees Fahrenheit) can melt glacial ice at a rate of several meters per day, or hundreds of meters over the course of a summer.

Uh oh!
How warm, and how fast can the Oceans near-by Glaciers, warm up anyways?

That NOVA program had proposed a melting feedback mechanism, that seems to be pulling in more Warm Water, in proportion to how fast the Ice was calving out to the sea.  In other words, this is another Positive Feedback Loop, previously unaccounted for by Climate Computer Models!

This hypothetical Feedback loop was setting up "mini conveyer belts" local to each Glacier, and had something to do with the buoyancy and salinity, of the increasing Cold Water Outflows. It seems indeed, "Nature does abhor a Vaccuum" -- since the relatively Warmer Water in the surrounding seas, rushes back in UNDER THE SURFACE, to make up for all those "galloping glaciers" and their meltwaters, rushing out to sea.

And Guess What?  that relatively Warmer Water rushing back in, is melting the Glacier's front, from underneath, causing them to Outflow even faster. Ad Nauseum, as the new studies from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and NASA, just confirmed this week.

Maybe there really is something to worry about with all this Climate Change stuff, afterall?  

NASA seems to think so.  And they ARE "rocket scientists" afterall!

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:49 PM PST.

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