Feeds

NASA blows whistle on Antarctic Y2K (+5) meltdown

Continent swaps snow for ice

Top three mobile application threats

The summer of 2005 saw enough snow to cover the whole of California melt from the face of our coldest continent.

According to NASA, this was the first widespread Antarctic melting ever spotted with its QuikSat satellite.

Researchers checked through data for snow accumulation and melt starting in 1999, through to 2005 [looking for the much anticipated Y2K meltdown? - Ed]. They found evidence of melting as much as 560 miles inland, and at altitudes that melting had not been expected.

The satellite takes advantage of the fact that snow, when it melts, refreezes as ice. The satellite's scatterometer uses radar pulses to scan the surface of the ice sheet. It can pick out the particular signature of refrozen snow and map the pattern of melting.

The summer in question was exceptionally warm, with air temperatures reaching as high as 5°C, and staying above melting point for more than a week at a time. It was warm enough to create an extensive ice layer, but not so warm, or prolonged, that the melt water had a chance to run off into the sea. Nonetheless, the researchers argue that the findings are significant.

Konrad Steffen, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado said that although warming in the far south has so far been confined to the Antarctic peninsula, the QuikSat data suggests this is changing.

He said: "Increases in snow-melt, such as this in 2005, definitely could have an impact on larger scale melting of Antarctica's ice sheets if they were severe or sustained over time.

"Water from melted snow can penetrate into ice sheets through cracks and narrow, tubular glacial shafts called moulins," he added. "If sufficient melt water is available, it may reach the bottom of the ice sheet. This water can lubricate the underside of the ice sheet at the bedrock, causing the ice mass to move toward the ocean faster, increasing sea level." ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.