Monday, November 22, 2010

Looks hot to me. It only has to be above freezing to melt. There is nothing magic about ice in Antarctica. It is still ice. Just compaced in a large volume.

The Coldest Reporting Station

Vostok, Antarctica

Local Time :: 7:10 AM VOST (GMT +06)

Lat/Lon: : 78.4° S 106.9° E

Elevation :: 11220 ft

Temperature :: -54 °F

Conditions :: Clear

Humidity :: 36%

Dew Point :: -63 °F

Wind :: 7 mph from the SSW

Wind Gust :: -

Pressure :: in (Steady)

Visibility :: 12.0 miles

Tbe Warmest Reporting Station

Base Jubany, Antarctica Local Time: 1:33 AM GMT (GMT +00)

Lat/Lon: 62.2° S 58.6° W

Elevation :: 13 ft

Temperature :: 38 °F

Conditions :: Partly Cloudy

Humidity :: 66%

Dew Point :: 31 °F

Wind :: 6 mph from the ENE

Wind Gust :: -

Pressure :: 28.78 in (Falling)

Visibility: 7.0 miles

UV: 0 out of 16 Clouds:
Scattered Clouds
Mostly Cloudy
(Above Ground Level)
6890 ft
984 ft

A glory over the Brunt Ice Shelf. Credit: Michael Studinger

...A glory  (click title to entry - thank you) is an optical phenomenon which appears much like a saint's halo about the head of the observer, is produced by a combination of diffraction, reflection and refraction by a cloud of uniformly-sized water droplets. Diffraction is what occurs when a wave of light encounters an obstacle and is bent, and refraction is the change in the direction of a wave, due to a change in that wave's speed, usually as it passes through a medium, such as water or a crystal. Reflection is the return of a wave after striking a surface.

Glories are much smaller than the typical  rainbows that stretch across the sky. The size of a glory depends on the size of the droplets that create it....

Losing Antarctica is an extreme worry. Not just for penguin survival.

Warming across Antarctica, 1957-2007. The rapidly warming areas of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, at left, are in orange and light brown.

My concern is not just about plankton, but, the continent is so massive that the abundance of only 20% of 'normal' and the abundance of somewhat more is probably both true.  Depending on the winds, temperature and 'nutritional content' with warmer waters the 'biotic' content of sea life is going to be spotty, rather than ABUNDANT in its entirety as is 'normal.'

22 Nov 2010: Report

The Warming of Antarctica:
A Citadel of Ice Begins to Melt

The fringes of the coldest continent are starting to feel the heat, with the northern Antarctic Peninsula warming faster than virtually any place on Earth. These rapidly rising temperatures represent the first breach in the enormous frozen dome that holds 90 percent of the world’s ice....

by fen montaigne 
...The physical changes — especially the drop in sea-ice duration — have had major ecological effects. Ice-dependent organisms, including certain species of phytoplankton, are declining where sea ice is disappearing. The most important link in the Antarctic food chain — ice-dependent Antarctic krill, on which just about every seabird or marine mammal in Antarctica feeds — also appears to be in decline. (One study suggested that krill in the southwestern Atlantic sector of Antarctic waters had fallen by 80 percent, but other krill specialists think the decline is not nearly so steep.)...

This color-enhanced map of Antarctica, (click here - picture contained in photo gallery) produced by NASA scientists, shows the rate of ice loss from Antarctica’s glaciers, with the glaciers that are shedding ice most rapidly colored pink and red. The Pine Island Glacier, which drains part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is discharging more ice into the sea than any other glacier on the continent. The net loss of ice in Antarctica — meaning the amount of ice that melted or calved into the sea without being replaced by more snow and ice — increased from 112 billion tons a year in 1996 to 196 billion tons in 2006.