Friday, January 16, 2009

Rain Is Speeding Things Up
And there is more rain in Antarctica.
HELDON GLACIER, Antarctica (Reuters) - More rain on the Antarctic Peninsula is speeding a melt of glaciers such as the Sheldon, which has retreated 2 km (1.2 miles) in 20 years and is nudging up world sea levels, a leading expert said.

"Rain is very corrosive to glaciers and at least in part the reason this glacier is retreating," David Vaughan, a British Antarctic Survey glaciologist, said on an inflatable speedboat in a bay that had been blanketed by ice for thousands of years.

"The glacier has retreated since 1989 and left this open water. That's the same pattern for 87 percent of 400 glaciers along the Antarctic Peninsula," he told Reuters.[...]

Average temperatures on the peninsula have risen by up to 3 Celsius (5.4 F) in the past 50 years against a world average of 0.7 Celsius in the past century.

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