The trouble with Thwaites, which is one of the largest glaciers on the planet, is that it's also what scientists call "a threshold system." That means instead of melting slowly like an ice cube on a summer day, it is more like a house of cards: It's stable until it is pushed too far, then it collapses. When a chunk of ice the size of Pennsylvania falls apart, that's a big problem. It won't happen overnight, but if we don't slow the warming of the planet, it could happen within decades. And its loss will destabilize the rest of the West Antarctic ice, and that will go too.
The acceleration is making some scientists fear that Antarctica’s ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration.
Because the collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheet could raise the sea level dramatically, the continued existence of the world’s great coastal cities — Miami, New York, Shanghai and many more — is tied to Antarctica’s fate.
Tens of thousands of people across the planet marched for science on Saturday. The first-ever March for Science was a pro-science and political event, according to the march organizers, but not a partisan one. But in Washington, as the crowd streamed down Constitution Avenue, several marchers broke away from the pack.
The Earth Day 2017 March for Science signals resistance to Donald Trump’s sharp infusion of irrationality into the national discourse.Official support for climate-change denial and other anti-science agendas has suddenly become much more explicit. At the same time, many protestors recognize a continuity linking Trump’s bizarre bluster with a pre-existing condition sometimes referred to as the “Republican war on science.”
On a predictably gorgeous South Florida afternoon, Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason sat in his office overlooking the white-linen restaurants of this affluent seaside community and wondered when climate change would bring it all to an end. He figured it would involve a boat.
In about the last 100,000 years, there have been 23 abrupt temperature changes in Greenland ice cores. In those moments, the temperature abruptly jumped or fell 9 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit across the planet and 25 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit in Greenland. The changes typically took decades to generations, but at their most extreme, they only took two to three years.