Slide of Greenland glacier quickens, raising sea levels

Updated 14 November 2015
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Slide of Greenland glacier quickens, raising sea levels

OSLO: A glacier in northeast Greenland with enough ice to raise world ocean levels by 50cms (20 inches) has begun to slide faster toward the sea, extending ice losses to all corners of the vast remote island, a study showed on Thursday.
Warmer water temperatures meant the end of the Zachariae Isstrom glacier floated free from a ridge of bedrock below sea level on which it had rested until 2012, according to the US study reported in the journal Science.
Without that natural brake, the glacier in the cold north was now sliding quicker and more icebergs were snapping off, adding a net five billion tons of ice a year to the oceans, according to the study based on satellite and aerial surveys.
“Similar changes, even larger, are under way in the south,” Jeremie Mouginot, lead author of the study at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), told Reuters in an e-mail. Greenland contains enough ice to raise world sea levels by about 6 meters (20 feet) if it ever all melted in a slow-motion collapse that could take thousands of years.
Its ice losses, along with thawing ice from the Alps to Antarctica, have raised sea levels by about 20 cms since 1900. That aggravates storm surges for cities from New York to Shanghai and threatens low-lying tropical island nations.
A nearby north Greenland glacier, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, often called “79” for ease of pronunciation, was also melting fast, the study said. But its slide was restricted by an uphill section of seabed under its icy base.
“The changes are staggering and are now affecting the four corners of Greenland,” Eric Rignot, a co-author at UCI, said in a statement.
Almost 200 nations will meet in Paris for a summit starting on Nov. 30 to try to limit climate change. The UN panel of climate scientists estimates that sea levels may rise by between 26 and 82 cms (10 and 32 inches) this century.
Ruth Mottram of the Danish Meteorological Institute, who was not involved in Thursday’s study, said Greenland’s glaciers sometimes accelerate after small changes in the environment.
“A small retreat can become a much bigger retreat because these glaciers are only stable when they are resting on bedrock,” she said.
Another study has estimated Greenland lost a net 211 billion tons of ice annually from 2000-11, roughly 0.6 millimeters of global sea level rise a year, with icebergs and melting ice exceeding snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet.


Former US VP Biden announces 2020 run for White House

Updated 25 April 2019
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Former US VP Biden announces 2020 run for White House

  • Biden joins an already crowded list of presidential candidates running from the Democratic party
  • He served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president

WASHINGTON: Former US Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday he is entering the 2020 White House race, joining an already crowded list of candidates running on the Democratic Party platform.
In a tweet accompanied by a three-and-a-half minute video, Biden said he couldn’t stand idly by while US President Donald Trump “fundamentally altered the character of this nation.”
“The core values of this nation... our standing in the world... our very democracy... everything that has made America — America — is at stake,” he wrote in the post.
“That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.”
Even before his official announcement, Biden, who served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, led most surveys of Democratic voters.
The RealClearPolitics poll aggregate puts him as favorite with 29.3 percent support, followed by independent Senator Bernie Sanders at 23 percent.