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Earth Science

Greenland Is Getting Darker 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-not-dark-yet-but-it's-getting-there dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Greenland's white snow is getting darker. Scientists have generally attributed that darkening to larger, slightly less white snow grains caused by warmer temperatures. But researchers have found a new source of darkening taking hold: impurities in the snow. The new darkening effect could easily add 2 centimeters to the projections of 20 cm sea level rise by 2100—and perhaps more if impurity levels grow with time."
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Greenland Is Getting Darker

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:28AM (#47194863)

    And Leon's Getting Larrrrrrrrrrrrger

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course they will grow. As snow melts the impurities at the top get added to the impurities deeper in the snow.

    The only thing that can reduce it is if the melt water floats/washes the impurities way.

    • by cjjjer (530715) <cjjjer@hotma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:02AM (#47195091)

      Scientists have generally attributed that darkening to larger, slightly less white snow grains caused by warmer temperatures.

      Actually I cannot believe that scientists are that stupid. Maybe they should visit here in Winnipeg Canada where we see this every year from the tonnes of sand they put on our streets in the winter. As warmer temps rise the snow banks go from white piles to brown/grey mud piles and as more snow melts the darker it gets and the faster it melts.

      No wonder people doubt climate change when scientists say things like this.

      The only thing that can reduce it is if the melt water floats/washes the impurities way.

      Actual in 90% of the time this is not the case, we get rain in the spring with the piles of mud and all it does is causes the snow pack to compress more (unless the snow pack is already compressed).

      • by GNious (953874) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:12AM (#47195141)

        Cannot figure out if you're being serious or not ..

        Am fairly sure no-one is spreading sand across Greenland, in the same way they do on the streets of Winnipeg Canada [sic].

      • by radtea (464814) on Monday June 09, 2014 @03:25PM (#47197235)

        No wonder people doubt climate change when scientists say things like this..

        I'm just guessing here based on nothing but a few decades of involvement in the scientific community, but I'd say it's pretty likely that a) the scientists in question have thought of your objection already and b) they have quantified the relative contributions from increased grain size vs increased dark pollutants.

        What would be incredibly stupid is assuming that people who study this stuff professionally can be out-thought by a random Internet commenter who has just encountered the question for the first time.

        But just in case, let me ask you: what is the quantitative relationship between grain size and reflectivity of snow? Please respond with a graph or formula. You must have access to this information to judge the relative importance of grain size vs pollutant cover, and it would be a positive contribution to this discussion to share it.

  • China anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:35AM (#47194911) Journal
    As long as China insists on NOT using their pollution controls (they built them on new plants per the treaty with japan, but japan forgot to require china to turn them on; besides as we have seen with their money, they really do not care about treaties; only winning a cold war ), this pollution will continue.

    And yes, the pollution really carries that far. 10-15% of the western America's pollution is from China.
    • Considering that most of the pollution in China is due to them making products for the "west", I dare say that at best, 10-15% of the pollution in China is not our fault in the end...

      • Re:China anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Old97 (1341297) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:51AM (#47195025)
        No. It's China not implementing pollution controls that is the problem, not who they are manufacturing for. They could continue to produce these products and still implement the controls they promised, but they haven't. China and a number of other countries compete on cost not just with cheap labor, but by not requiring their manufacturers to minimize pollution. It's bad for their citizens and bad for the world.
        • Re:China anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:14AM (#47195153)

          Yes, and as long as WE keep buying their cheap crap, WE actually reward this behaviour.

          Remember, that thing called free market? Where the buyer decides what products flourish and what products perish based on his decision what he buys and what he doesn't? It's the only little bit of free market left that we have, and, well, it seems that we want China to pump out black smoke as long as it means we get to buy cheap crap.

          • Re:China anyone? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by WindBourne (631190) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:44AM (#47195469) Journal
            BTW, it is NOT we the end buyers that are making these choices. It is the buyers at large retailers that are making these choices. Having dealt with Home Depot, I found out that the buyers are given nice business and/or first class seats to China and then put up in 5 star hotels, and then they get a nice vacation paid by the Chinese gov.
            OTOH, here in America, IFF they go out (most stay in the office), it is coach, and then a motel 6.
            Is it any wonder why those buyers are choosing Chinese?
            • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:02PM (#47195619)

              It's very understandable why they prefer Chinese.

              But WE should make a difference. Yes, that often means we have to do without some goodie or some gadget, but I can live without the latest phone that falls apart in 2-3 years.

              Can they survive without our money?

              In the end, it is in our hands. Of course, since we're few and far between, nothing will change. But I, for one, will have the good feeling that I made the right choice by NOT buying Chinese.

      • Re:China anyone? (Score:4, Informative)

        by WindBourne (631190) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:19AM (#47195225) Journal
        Gads, What a total FUCKING IDIOT you are. The far right combined with you far left, are the real reason why we are not able to solve the CO2 problem. Look, China puts out over 33% of the emissions today AND RISING. And America is at 15% and dropping. Hell, China burns more than 50% of the world's coal.
        BUT, that is not the real problem. The problem is that you far lefties scream that you want America to lower our emissions, while you give nations like China and South Africa a pass on building massive new coal plants. These are plants that will NOT come down for the next 50 years. And most of China's emissions are NOT from old plants. The old ones were small plants. China will be killing those and building new much bigger ones to replace them. And in addition, to replacing the current ones, you will note that China opens 1-2 new ones EACH WEEK. CHina has plans to continue that until 2018, and I am sure that they will not slow that down because of idiots like you that give them a pass.

        Why does China do all this? So as to win a cold war against the west. They basically pollute heavily so that their electricity is cheaper. Hell, they have laws that say that western companies that employ chinese will pay a minimum, while their companies have laws that say that they pay a maximum (which is less than the western company).

        And before you scream that America has done the largest pollution 'historically', let me point out that the bogus studies only look at emissions from 1904 onwards. Worse, they simply allow the other govs, such as china, to declare how much coal that they burned. Yet, the majority of coal that was burned was NOT in the last 100 years, but more than 1/2 of it was from BEFORE 1900, of which nearly all of that was in Europe through asia.

        There is no doubt that the far right is wrong, know that they are wrong, and simply want to move the problem over to others (similar to china).
        BUT, you far lefties are just as wrong in that you are seeking to give China a pass without realizing that they are now the most destructive nation going and it will continue for the next 50 years.
        Grow up and learn to fucking think.
        • Re:China anyone? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:26AM (#47195293)

          Your sig coupled with how much more you know about what I think than me myself makes it kinda comical, you know?

          I honestly cannot remember me saying anything about the US lowering its emissions. Actually, if I was the US, I'd DEMAND global emission standards since that would mean China has to struggle to get its emissions at least close to where the US already is, boosting the US economy. But I guess I expect too much from politicians who are bought and sold by the same companies that profit from China NOT having to put up with rigid ecological standards.

          The pollution I blame on the US (and Europe, don't feel left out on the Asian peninsula!) is that WE let them get away with it. We buy their cheap, pollution producing crap. We buy it. And as long as we buy it, they will produce it. It is our pollution, whether you like it or not. It's not pollution we create here, allright, but still that pollution is done "in our name", for the sake of us getting cheap crap to buy.

          And if you stopped foaming from your mouth for just a moment and read my comment above again, you might notice that this leftist idiot here said exactly that from the start.

          • by PvtVoid (1252388)

            The pollution I blame on the US (and Europe, don't feel left out on the Asian peninsula!) is that WE let them get away with it. We buy their cheap, pollution producing crap. We buy it. And as long as we buy it, they will produce it. It is our pollution, whether you like it or not.

            Don't forget that we also sell them the coal. [thinkprogress.org]

            • Not even close. China does the majority of their own coal.
              • by PvtVoid (1252388)

                Not even close. China does the majority of their own coal.

                I didn't say we sold them all of the coal they use. The point is, that we sell them all of the coal we produce, then it doesn't much matter who's burning it, climate-wise.

            • Hey, at least China is buying something Made in the U.S.A.!

        • Look, China puts out over 33% of the emissions today AND RISING. And America is at 15% and dropping.

          This is deceiving. It implies that all countries should have equal emissions, regardless of the size of their population. While it's true that China's emissions are increasing (which is bad) and the United States' emissions are decreasing (which is good), as of 2010 the United States still puts out 3x the amount of CO2 as China on a per-capita basis (source [worldbank.org]).

          • You are the one being deceiving.

            First off, you use ancient data for your calculations. The fact is, that data on 2012 is fully available, but you purposely choose 2010. Why? Because USA is now below 15, while China using false estimates, is now more than EU. In addition, within another 3-4 years, even the estimates on China will have higher per capita than America.
            Secondly, Per capitia is one of the WORST approaches to normalization. Why? Compare China today to China 15 years ago. They were at the same e
    • I'm incredulous of that claim, not because it seems improbable, but because "pollution" is a multi-variable entity and reducing pollution as a whole to a simple percentage is the kind of claim I'd expect from someone with an agenda, and them picking a simplified metric that maximizes(or minimizes) that percentage.

      Where did you hear that number, and how did they establish it?

      • Yes, apparently, you kan reed, but you will not.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Interesting, I have not heard that story but it makes some sense because electrostatic precipitators, bag filters, scrubbers etc do have non-trivial running costs - have you got any links?
      Also there are plenty of sources of pollution in China that are not coal fired power stations or similar where exhaust goes up a nice easy to control stack. It's been twenty years since I've been near a blast furnace and don't have a clue what happens with the exhaust, plus there are a lot of vehicles in China now.
      Even th
      • look at what AC posted above.
        Most of my information came from some friends that took real measurements there, without guards (nearly all scientists that go there have guards with them; discrete, but they are still there to make sure of what instruments they have). They were not allowed to publish.
        BUT, as I said above, when OCO2 comes out, the world is in for a shock. Hopefully at that time, the far left will realize what idiots they are. Somehow, I doubt it.
        • by dbIII (701233)

          the far left will realize what idiots they are

          The far anything are idiots by definition since reality is considered less important than ideology (eg. the ideology of denying the that the century+ old established science of studying climate is valid - or even those that deny geology has worth).

  • by Roxoff (539071)

    ... when do we rename it Dark Greenland?

    • Maybe we should call it Brownland in a bit. Or, eventually, Blackland.

      Thinking about it, if that global warming keeps going, maybe Iceland should start pondering a new name, too...

    • by Artifakt (700173)

      Spruce Greenland, Hunter Greenland, Hooker's Greenland, Asparagusland (if it browns a bit as well), Army Greenland (once we're past Asparagus), Brunswick Greenland, #013220land...

  • I suspect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gonoff (88518) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:10AM (#47195127)

    The chronically uninformed and uninformable* will find some way to deny this is happening.

    * - people who feel that their ignorance outweighs the knowledge of any scientist and so nobody with an IQ over 125 has anything to tell them.

    • Dunning-Kruger strikes again.
    • by tp1024 (2409684)

      Everybody who disagrees with me is an asshole. Even an idiot like you should know that.

  • Right? Doesn't the moisture initially form around ash or a dust mote like with sand and a pearl?
  • ...under "Even MORE of the sky is falling!"

    News at 11.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:19PM (#47195743)

    Will they have to rename the country Dark-Greenland?

  • Melting snow freezes at night making a shiny reflective surface. Have they factored this into their estimates?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      yes. That why it darkening is an issue and shows we will warm even faster.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      If you read the article you should have noticed that melting and refreezing makes larger ice grains which have a lower albedo than snow.

  • by tomhath (637240) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:32PM (#47195831)
    The primary cause of glaciers shrinking is particulates in the atmosphere. This has been reported many times [scientificamerican.com], but it doesn't fit with the whole Global Warming [scientificamerican.com] sound bite so it's generally ignored.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      It fits exactly with climate change an pollution.
      AGW is just the increase in absorbed IR energy at the lower atmosphere due to an excess of green house gases, primarily CO2.
      Climate change is the impact of the energy increase on the climate.
      The increase glacier melt is on top of climate change, not in spite of it, or counter to it.

    • by Xyrus (755017)

      The primary cause of glaciers shrinking is particulates in the atmosphere. This has been reported many times [scientificamerican.com], but it doesn't fit with the whole Global Warming [scientificamerican.com] sound bite so it's generally ignored.

      It's not the primary cause. It is a contributing cause, and is perfectly consistent with global warming. Global warming is a combination of factors that lead to warmer global temperatures. Increased GHGs are just one factor.

  • Call me when it starts to increase the amount of Magenta

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