Open Season on Climate Change News!

Last night I decided to round up some of the latest stories I’d run across concerning climate change. This morning, lo and behold, there’s a new clutch to catch up on!

The European Space Agency’s Cryosat has provided data for a new study on Antarctic ice loss, published in Geophysical Research Letters. The study confirms that, overall, the Antarctic is losing ice mass – some parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet at a rate of 9m of ice thickness per year, while the East Antarctic is basically balanced between snow falling and ice melting. While this has been the accepted position for some years, the new data confirms that the rate of thinning in West Antarctica is now 31% greater than it was between 2005-2011.

In Nature Geoscience, a paper published today suggests that Greenland’s fjords are very much longer than was thought, which in turn means that the glaciers that meet the sea in these fjords can retreat much further than previously believed before they lose contact with seawater and slow their rate of ice-loss. This, consequently, means Greenland’s ice sheet may melt faster and further than has been anticipated.

And on the adaptation front, the UK’s Environment Agency chairman has suggested that Dutch-style floating homes would be an appropriate response to the horrendous flooding experienced at the beginning of the year in some parts of England. There is, apparently, no chance that people might just stop building their homes on flood plains. I wonder why it’s taken them so long to realise that the Dutch have some excellent adaptation plans in hand and, perhaps more to the point, how long it’ll take to convince our bureaucrats to accept such ideas in the UK planning permission system? Hopefully, not too long – particularly if the exceptionally wet winter just past is any indicator of future trends!

And having rounded up these strays, I look forward to tomorrow’s fresh hatch of news….

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