The week that was, March 27-April 2, 2016

Posted on | April 3, 2016 | No Comments

NASA image from December 2015 of a long crack in the Nansen ice-shelf on the Antarctic coast. In early March 2016, with southern winter soon to set in, satellite imagery indicated that the cracking ice front was still attached to the shelf. Even in winter, strong winds can prevent the water beyond the shelf from freezing, so it is unclear whether the front will separate soon or hang on like a loose tooth.

Recent NASA image of the Nansen ice-shelf hanging onto the Antarctic coast “like a loose tooth,” according to the space agency. Click on the Operational Land Imager photo for more from the Earth Observatory post “Nansen Breaking Up with Antarctica.”

One water story dwarfed all others this week. A scenario modeled in the journal Nature suggests that sea level rise could exceed one meter (roughly three feet) by 2100 and 15 meters (49 feet) by 2500 if the melting of Antarctic ice sheets continues unabated. Before suggesting that anyone read it, this is to commend Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet forever. In this Guardian essay, writer Robert Macfarlane lays the kind of philosophical and linguistic track needed to help grapple with what is to come, be it in meters or feet, centigrade or Fahrenheit.

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