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Earth Science Technology

Drones Over Greenland Give Insight To Pollution's Effects On Melting 81

merbs writes Thank glaciologist Jason Box for the Arctic bird's-eye view of one of the most serene, alien landscapes on the planet. Box spends much of his time in Greenland, where he uses drones to measure 'dark snow'—snow that has accumulated soot and dust, thanks to human activity—which absorbs more sunlight and melts faster. Drone photography, then, may hold the key to understanding just how fast Greenland is melting.
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Drones Over Greenland Give Insight To Pollution's Effects On Melting

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  • fascinating... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hydrodog ( 1154181 )
    Makes me wonder if we can try to control the damage by shielding the drainage areas. Covering the whole ice sheet with mylar is obviously planetary engineering, but on a smaller scale, can you cover the lakes and get them to re-freeze? The lake has a lower albedo even than dirty snow, presumably. If you could re-freeze the water before it percolates down through the glacier, what would that do to the whole process?
    • Re:fascinating... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Saturday November 01, 2014 @02:58PM (#48288491) Homepage Journal
      No, we can't. Not for reasons of feasibility of engineering problems, but for political reasons. We'll stand by the sideline, the coming decades, and watch how the Greenland ice sheet begins melting, as the political in-fighting goes on, contributing another 6 meters to sea level rising.
      • Six meters? We've had like a foot of sea level rise over the last 100 years. That is about 12 inches. And while that is faster then the sea level rising before this century... in real terms it isn't a huge difference. In the prior century we had something like 8 inches. So that is the 20th century for you... 4 extra inches of sea level rise.

        Please rip off all your clothes, throw your hands in the air, run around in circles, and scream.

        Seriously though... I take the issue seriously but it is not helped by be

        • Re:fascinating... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Saturday November 01, 2014 @11:16PM (#48290893)

          We've had like a foot of sea level rise over the last 100 years. That is about 12 inches.,,, In the prior century we had something like 8 inches.

          Citation? We have possibly had 8 inches in the prior millennium - not the prior century. Average rate of 0.1–0.2 mm/yr over the last 3,000 years. 1.7 ± 0.3 mm per year in the 1900s. 3.3 ± 0.4 mm per year so far this century. - []

          • In the last 20 thousand years we've seen about 120 meters of sea level rise. The rate of sea level rise was much faster in ages past and it largely stabilized about 3 or 4 thousand years ago.

            It has however still been going up.

            If we took the average over time just to get a basic grasp of how much things have moved over what kind of time scale...

            20,000 years / 120 meters = 166.6 years per meter of sea level rise in the last 20,000 years.

            Now again, that is not the average rate of sea level rise today. Today, i

            • by Layzej ( 1976930 )

              we've seen about 120 meters of sea level rise

              Not over 20,000 years. That ended 8000 years ago. It rose 120 meters over a period of 5000 years. That's about 8 feet/century on average. Over the last 8000 years sea level has been stable. Now again it is rising at an accelerated rate.

              Any storm is going to bring in swells of several meters at least.

              Yes. Add 3-6 feet to the several meter swells from "any storm" and you have reason to be concerned. Add it on top of a moderately impressive storm and you start to have very expensive problems. .

              As far as the potential for flooding is concerned, every foot of sea l

              • 1. If by stable, you mean seas have risen at a slower rate, then yes. Stable.

                2. No, not 3 to 6 feet. One foot over 100 years. That is what has happened. Notice how all the ports in the world have been crippled by this unexpected rise in the seas?

                Me neither.

                As to hurricane categories... by this logic what would 120 meters be on your hurricane scale? You can't add the slow rise of seas due to slower processes to a hurricane rating.

                Are portions of the coast going to become a greater risk for storms etc? Sure.

                • by Layzej ( 1976930 )

                  You need to justify me entering crisis mode,

                  No I don't.

                  disrupting all public and economic policy... Do you have enough for that? Do you have enough to justify me going to War?

                  Alarmist much?

                  No, not 3 to 6 feet. One foot over 100 years. That is what has happened.

                  We are less concerned by what has happened than by what is going to happen. As you have admitted, the rate of increase is accelerating.

                  • Failure to justify crisis mode is failure to justify crisis mode.

                    Crisis mode was not justified so crisis mode is not approved.

                    Thank you, come again.

                    • by Layzej ( 1976930 )
                      No idea what you are talking about. Most people are only interested in reasonable and efficient mitigation and adaptation. Certainly relocating coastal cities as you have suggested is not reasonable adaptation. Some mitigation is warranted.
                    • well... you're going to get sea level rises.

                      Listen. It is going to happen. And after that happens, you're going to grow old... and you're going to die.

                      I know... and another thing... santa clause isn't real.


                      The sea walls are going to have to be able to take an extra foot of sea level rise over the next 100 years. And your dad bought you that bike. Give him a hug, he loves you a lot. :-)

            • by Layzej ( 1976930 )
              If you are right that the average storm causes swells of several meters at least, then hurricane Sandy was only exceptional by a few feet. Those few feet caused over $60 billion in damage. Your suggestion that "if they can't handle that then move" may not be welcomed by New Yorkers. - []
              • The foot happens over a century. Not all at once or out of nowhere. You have plenty of time to prepare for such an issue by adding 1 foot to your sea walls.

                As to old coastal cities not being viable forever without renovation?

                Both New York and Venice can break out the tiniest violin in the world.

                Deal with it. Those oceans are rising by another foot at least. If you're not going to fix your infrastructure to handle it then you can move now. Complaining to the UN isn't going to change that. It is happening.


                • by Layzej ( 1976930 )

                  Deal with it. Those oceans are rising by another foot at least.

                  More if we don't mitigate. Adaptation is certainly required, but at some point we will need to divert our attention from mopping up the floors to address the leak.

                  • As to it being more then that if we don't mitigate... you don't know that. And you don't know if your mitigations will have any impact on the rise at all.

                    Consider this for all your hysteria... what if it is already too late? What if we've already pulled the trigger and the bullet is just sliding down the barrel into our brains?

                    See the problem with this sort of nonsense?

                    What we know is 1 foot over 100 years. That is what we know. The rest is crystal ball gazing and people eating bath salts.

                    • by Layzej ( 1976930 )

                      What we know is...

                      What we know is in the scientific literature. You may suppose that science is magic, but it's not. It is our best tool for intelligent decision making.

                    • Debate is over then. No more needs to be said about global warming ever again.

                      You completely answered all questions and resolved all questions.

                      Good job. /s

                    • by Layzej ( 1976930 )
                      Beats makin' shit up.
              • by Splab ( 574204 )

                Screw New York, at least it was only parts of the city.

                As it looks now, most of Miami and big parts of southern Florida will be permanently flooded, yet you guys are still building in the lower areas. Some estimates that a sandy sized storm hitting Florida in the right spot could have the global insurance industry collapsing over night.

            • Can coastal communities expect rising seas? Yep. Of about 1 foot per 100 years so far. If they can't handle that then move.

              Worth mentioning that continental drift moves faster than that. Then there is this kind of thing []. If you live on the edge of the ocean, the dynamic nature of the coastline is just something you have to deal with.

              • Exactly.

                You live by the sea because it is beautiful, the weather is moderate, you have access to fresh sea food, etc etc etc.

                There is however a price. Let us be adults and simply accept that without blaming the whole planet for what those happen to be...

                If you live in the desert you are going to deal with the sun, the lack of water, the low humidity, probably the sudden cold nights... etc. Comes with the territory. Don't like it? - Leave.

                Living next to the ocean comes with its own set of pros and cons. Deal

        • You make it seem as if I were "running around in circles and screaming", i.e. as if I were hysterical. I am not. I am, however concerned about a point you completely ignore in your comments here, and that is the dynamics of ice sheet melting, of which we know not very much with certainty. It is very well possible that, when an ice sheet begins to melt, it reaches a "tipping point": a point where the whole process can not be reversed any more. You can do a simple experiment in your kitchen, in winter: take a

          • As to tipping points, since you're dutch... are you aware of the Dutch Tulip crash?

            Do you think your ancestors were morons? Why did they sell whole ships for such things? Why did the market get bid up insanely?

            Think about that mass hysteria. Your ancestors were very clever and educated. They were masters of trade, science, engineering, and art. And yet they collectively bought into a mass delusion that brought some of your wealthier tycoons to their knees when the market collapsed.

            Do you think you are immun

            • You are wrong, as to raising dikes regularly. For two reasons:

              1) you can't raise a dike indefinitely, for the simple reason that a dike's foundations sit on very humid soil, basically a sort of muck. Raising it above a certain height makes the dike collapse. Ergo: significantly raising a dike means rebuilding it, on broader / wider foundations. That costs a hell of a lot of money, especially in areas where, historically, houses were built against the dike: you need to buy out the owners, destroy the houses

              • Increasing the height of the dike of course involves making it wider. I didn't think I needed to be that precise?

                Do I have to issue engineering specifications with diagrams or can you connect the obvious dots.

                There is a ratio between the height of the dike and the width of the dike. Raise it up so much and you have to make it so much wider.

                As to needing to completely rebuild it every time it has to be made more massive... that seems unlikely but I'm not a dike engineer. I'll deferr to them on that matter.


  • I like to monitor the brown snow in the forest near my house. I have noticed that the deer and rabbit turds tend to collect more sunlight and cause the snow to melt around them. Porcupine turds tend to fall out of trees and usually embed themselves in the snow at a sufficient depth to prevent the sunlight from reaching them. Bird turds are generally whitish in color and do not attract sunlight and are therefore "turd neutral". Basically porcupines are good rabbits are bad and the leading cause of Turd Made
  • FTA:

    ..soars over browned ice for as far as the ice can see...

  • Pure CO2 causation, the forced feedback in climate models and the machinations on the data that attempt to leverage a 400% CO2 rise into an extremely-slight-yet-lost-in-noise rise or flatline (depending on how you rearrange the noise) average global temperature... it has been like a bad dream that does not end.

    Will the world end in ***FIRE*** [] or ***ICE*** []? Or will the world fail to end at all, that would be really embarrassing. It's time to put the steep rise in people-generated pure-CO2 and the observed

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll