June 28, 2011

Why an Antarctic Glacier Is Melting So Quickly

Posted by  Monday, June 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm

In the real world, however, ice-sheet modeling is incredibly complex, which means it's surprisingly difficult for scientists to predict just how quickly glaciers will melt—and sea levels will rise—as global temperatures increase. That's one of the reasons that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put forward a rather conservative prediction for sea levels in its 2007 report, estimating that they would rise by just 7 to 23 inches by 2100. The models around polar ice sheets were so uncertain at the time that the IPCC decided to largely disregard the role they might play in sea-level rise over the next century—focusing instead on thermal expansion of water as the oceans themselves warm—even though melting is already underway.
We already know that Arctic ice is melting faster than expected, and that sea level rise will likely bust the IPCC predictions. Now, thanks to a new paper published yesterday in Nature Geoscience, we have a better idea of why. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Columbia University examined the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica—one of the frozen continent's largest glaciers—and found that it was melting more than 50% faster than it had been just 15 years ago, when an earlier group of scientists visited it. The glacier is now losing 80 cu. km of ice a year, up from 50 cu. km in 1994.
(More from TIME: Unfrozen Tundra)
Though the water in Pine Island Bay has warmed by 0.2 C over the same amount of time, that heating alone isn't enough to account for the accelerated melting. (I told you ice-sheet modeling was tricky.) The researchers sent an autonomous submarine—named, not very creatively, the Autosub—to explore beneath the ice shelf. The robot found an underwater ridge on the seafloor that they believe might have once slowed the glacier as it flowed into the sea. Once the glacier broke free of the ice shelf, however, warmer water from the depths of the ocean could flow into the underbelly of the glacier, opening up a cavity inside it. The more the cavity grew, the more warm water that could flow in, accelerating the melting and allowing the glacier to speed towards the sea. (Or at least, speed in the glacial sense.) Said study co-author Adrian Jenkins of the BAS in a statement:
The rate at which the ice shelf is melting has increased significantly, because more warm water is circulating in the cavity beneath it...The inner cavity didn't exist at all before, so this is the most likely explanation for why a subtle change in temperature can have a huge effect.
Pay attention to the second part of Jenkins' statement. Those who are skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change often make use of the uncertainty inherent in climate models. If we can't be sure of the weather a few days hence, how can we be sure of changes in the climates over decades or even longer? And who's to say the uncertainty might flow the other way, that climate change might turn out to be much smaller than many of us thought.
(Photos from TIME: Greenland Odyssey)
It might—and let's hope it does. But it seems more likely that uncertainty will flow the other way, that relatively small changes in the Earth's temperature may have a large effect on the climate system, and the planet we live in. (If you really want to get scared, look at the possibility of positive feedback cycles in Arctic warming.) In his Rolling Stone essay last week—not all of which I agreed with—Al Gore summed up the state of climate science:
Scientists used to caution that we were increasing the probability of such extreme events by "loading the dice" — pumping more carbon into the atmosphere. Now the scientists go much further, warning that we are "painting more dots on the dice."  We are not only more likely to roll 12s; we are now rolling 13s and 14s. In other words, the biggest storms are not only becoming more frequent, they are getting bigger, stronger and more destructive.
Thanks to humans, polar melting may be ready to go to 11—even faster than we expected.

Read more: http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/06/27/why-an-antarctic-glacier-is-melting-so-quickly/#ixzz1QV9LFAfa

June 22, 2011

Anguished English

In a Tokyo Hotel: Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If youare not person to do such thing is please not to read notis. In another Japanese hotel room: Please to bathe inside the tub.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Leipzig elevator: Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.

In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.

In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursdays.

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

On the menu of a Polish hotel: Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.

In a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results.

Outside a Paris dress shop: Dresses for street walking.

In a Rhodes tailor shop: Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

Similarly, from the Soviet Weekly: There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

In a Vienna hotel: In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.

In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

A translated sentence from a Russian chess book: A lot of water has been passed under the bridge since this variation has been played.

In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency: Take one of our horse-driven city tours -- we guarantee no miscarriages.

Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?

On the faucet in a Finnish washroom: To stop the drip, turn cock to right.

In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.

On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong: Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.

Detour sign in Kyushi, Japan: Stop: Drive Sideways.

In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today -- no ice cream.

In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

In the office of a Roman doctor: Specialist in women and other diseases.

In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

In a Tokyo shop: Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.

From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner: Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.

From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo: When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
English well talking
Here speeching American

Some additions to anguished English from Israeli menus:
1) sechel [Hebrew/Yiddish for intelligence] = brains
2) fresh bread daily daily [apparently yom yom]
3) planted egg salad = eggplant salad

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 小説・エッセイ・詩の英語へ

Noting to say

It is ... a highly ironical and pathetic circumstance that the world has discovered how to say everything everywhere at the very same moment in all history when it has nothing to say.

G.K. Chesterton

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 小説・エッセイ・詩の英語へ

Good Books

Do you know why books such as this arre so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You'll find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more 'literary' you are. ... Telling details. Fresh details. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick gand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 小説・エッセイ・詩の英語へ

Latin Pronunciation

The "Oxford" pronunciation is an English peculiarity, still used in some legal phrases such as "sine die" (pronounced "sigh-knee die" where "die" rhymes with "sigh"). It was, I believe, once used extensively in England, and made a contribution to the development of the Westminster system of government. You see, when the German-speaking George I became King of England, he ordered cabinet meetings (at which the King presided) to be held in Latin. Alas, he found he could no more understand the ministers' spoken Latin than their English - so he stopped attending Cabinet, and ordered one minister to bring him a written summary instead. Thus developed the important office of Prime Minister - or so I was once told!
にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 小説・エッセイ・詩の英語へ

Puff the Magic Dragon

      Puff, the magic dragon, lived by the sea
      And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.
      Puff, the magic dragon, lived by the sea
      And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.

Puff, the magic dragon, lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee.
Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff, oh

Together they would travel on boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff's gigantic tail
Noble kings and princes would bow whene'er they came
Pirate ships would lower their flags when Puff roared out his name, oh

A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys
Painted wings and giants's rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his lifelong friend, Puff could not be brave
So, Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave, oh

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 小説・エッセイ・詩の英語へ


It's amazing how lies grow. You start with a small one that seems easy to cover, then you get boxed in and tell another one. Then another. People believe you at first, and they act upon your lies, and you catch yourself wishing you'd simply told the truth. (John Grisham, The Client)

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 小説・エッセイ・詩の英語へ