Where Did All the Indonesia Tsunami Debris Go?Published Dec 23 2014 07:32 AM EST Associated Press 2004 Indonesia Tsunami Before/AfterBefore/After images of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in 2004 after the tsunami and in 2014, a decade later. (Getty Images)
Greenland’s Ice Loss Now Comes from Surface By Becky Oskin13 hours agoMeltwater channels from the previous summer and the terminus of Violingletscher (Violin Glacier) in East Greenland are seen during a NASA Operation IceBridge survey flight April 5, 2014. IceBridge is a six-year NASA airborne mission which will provide a yearly, multi-instrument look at the behavior of the Greenland and Antarctic ice, according to NASA. Picture taken April 5, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Studinger/NASA/Handout (GREENLAND – Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENVIRONMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS SAN FRANCISCO — Greenland’s disappearing ice shifted gears in the past decade, switching from shrinking glaciers to surface melting, researchers reported here last week at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting.Instead of losing ice where massive glaciers meet the sea, Greenland now sends meltwater rushing into the ocean via a vast network of lakes and rivers, according to several studies. The results do not mean that glaciers have stopped their speedy flow, only that surface melting now exerts a more powerful influence on ice loss, researchers said.”We no longer see giant icebergs calving” from glaciers, releasing ice into the sea, said Lora Koenig, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who led one of the new studies. „The majority of water is coming from surface melt.” [Photos: Under the Greenland Ice Sheet]Koenig discovered that lakes in west Greenland now stay liquid through the frigid winter, as long as an insulating snow blanket keeps the water warm. These lakes get a head start on melting the next summer. „Water is not a good thing to have persisting year-round,” Koenig said Dec. 15 at a news conference. „What this water is really doing is priming the pump [for melting] for the next season.”The meltwater boosts sea levels, which are projected to rise by 1 to 4 feet (0.3 to 1.2 meters) by 2100, according to the National Climate Assessment. Water that percolates beneath the ice sheet can also lubricate the underside of Greenland’s glaciers, speeding up ice flow. But researchers are still figuring out where all of this new surface meltwater will end up.”The water is what we have to follow,” said Vena Chu, a hydrologist and graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles.Follow the water For instance, each summer, a vast network of rivers appears in Greenland, channeling meltwater off the ice surface. Researchers said they want to know how much water refreezes in place, how much ends up under the ice sheet and how much flows out to sea. By tracking west Greenland’s rivers on satellite images, Chu discovered that the river water all disappears into moulins — deep cracks that steeply plunge into the ice, she reported at the meeting.”Now we need to know if the water gets stuck in there or if it comes straight out [to the ocean],” Chu said.The growing flood of surface runoff has also transformed snow layers that blanket the ice sheet, researchers reported Dec. 16. Typically, the top of the ice sheet is blanketed by partially frozen, old snow called firn, which can suck up summer meltwater like a sponge. But 12 years of heavy summer melts have overwhelmed the firn’s capacity in southwest Greenland, said Mike MacFerrin, a glaciologist and graduate student at the University of Colorado, Boulder.The waterlogged snow is now frozen solid in many places, with ice more than 15 feet (4.6 m) thick just below the surface, he said. Now, summer meltwater streams over the ice instead of sinking into the snow. In 2012, this triggered record flooding during a huge melt event in Greenland, said MacFerrin, who led the study.However, in other regions, Greenland’s old snow still stockpiles huge amounts of water. Rick Forster, a glaciologist at the University of Utah, has uncovered additional evidence of a shallow aquifer of liquid water in southern and western Greenland. In 2013, Forster reported that parts of Greenland’s snow firn hold an estimated 100 billion gallons of water through the winter months in the southeast. From sea to surface Koenig said global warming has triggered the shift to surface melting, which took place between 2006 and 2009. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as quickly than at lower latitudes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual „Arctic Report Card.”Greenland’s glaciers have responded quickly to changing temperatures in the past, said Anders Bjork, a researcher at the Natural History Museum of Denmark.Using historical photographs from Danish aerial surveys of Greenland, Bjork mapped out the advance and retreat of glaciers that occurred when temperatures climbed between the years 1900 and 1930. The retreat was more rapid than has been seen in the last 15 years, he said.Though the past century of change appears remarkably rapid, overall, the Greenland Ice Sheet is more resilient than most people assume, said glaciologist Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, head of the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Ice and Climate. The ice has survived 900,000 years of climate change, and it would take a temperature rise of 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) before a forest starts to grow again in Greenland, she reported here Dec. 17.”We are just seeing the beginning of a reaction to the warming,” Dahl-Jensen said.Follow Becky Oskin @beckyoskin. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+.Originally published on Live Science.
#9 of 10 Most Popular Galleries of 2014: The first total lunar eclipse of 2014The ‘Blood Moon’ rises over the water in Wlliamstown on April 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images) The first total lunar eclipse of 2014 occurred on April 15, 2014 marking the start of an eclipse tetrad – four back-to-back total lunar eclipses. (Live Science).Check back daily for the countdown of our most popular galleries of the year!Find more news-related pictures in our photo galleries and follow us on Tumblr.
CDC monitoring tech for possible Ebola exposure By PHILLIP LUCAS1 hour agoFILE – In this Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, file photo, licensed clinician Hala Fawal practices drawing blood from a patient using a dummy in Anniston, Ala. A laboratory technician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being monitored Wednesday for possible accidental exposure to the Ebola virus that came during an experiment, officials said. The person working in a secure laboratory in Atlanta may have come into contact with a small amount of a live virus, CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said in an emailed statement. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)ATLANTA (AP) — A laboratory technician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was being monitored Wednesday for possible accidental exposure to the Ebola virus that came during an experiment, officials said.The person working in a secure laboratory in Atlanta may have come into contact with a small amount of a live virus, CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said in an emailed statement. The experimental material was on a sealed plate, but wasn’t supposed to be moved into the lab in which the technician was working, Reynolds said. The worker will be monitored for 21 days and the person’s name hasn’t been released.Additional employees have been notified, but none has required monitoring, Reynolds said. Other staff will be assessed for exposure.There is no risk to the public and lab scientists notified CDC officials of what happened on Tuesday, Reynolds said. The lab has been decontaminated twice, and the material in question was destroyed before CDC officials became aware of the mistake.The possible exposure is under internal investigation and has been reported to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, Reynolds said.Transfers from the lab the experiment material came from have been stopped during the internal review, and the lab the exposure may have happened in is closed, Reynolds said.The technician’s potential exposure is at least the second to prompt a precautionary response from the agency in six months.In June, at least 52 workers at the CDC took antibiotics as a precaution because a lab safety problem was thought to have exposed them to anthrax.News of the technician’s possible exposure to Ebola comes days after CDC Director Tom Frieden returned from West Africa, where an outbreak of the virus has killed thousands. Frieden said Monday that response to the outbreak has improved significantly in recent months, but the virus continues to spread in Monrovia, Liberia and Conakry, Guinea.Public health officials have said Ebola spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected with the virus — putting health care workers and those in close quarters with infected people at higher risk of contracting the virus. Four health care and aid workers who contracted the virus have been treated and released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.In a statement, Frieden said he’s troubled by the technician’s potential exposure and the CDC has worked to improve safety protocols as it helps respond to the outbreak in Africa.”I have directed that there be a full review of every aspect of the incident and that CDC take all necessary measures,” he said.The CDC plans to publish a report on what happened, Reynolds said. It is also planning to report the potential exposure to an external advisory committee that offers advice on best practices in lab science and safety.