a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew


Posted by Thomas Nephew on June 1st, 2007

They’re not usually news — except when there’s evidence of them within 350 miles the South Pole. NASA’s “Earth Observatory” web site reports that teams of researchers from NASA and the University of Colorado at Boulder using satellite radar “scatterometer” data

…found evidence of warming and melting as much as 900 kilometers (500 miles) inland. Just 500 kilometers (310 miles) from the South Pole, and more than 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level, portions of Antarctica’s interior experienced temperatures above freezing for about a week in January 2005.

From the New York Times report by Andrew Revkin:

Balmy air, with a temperature of up to 41 degrees in some places, persisted across three broad swathes of West Antarctica long enough to leave a distinctive signature of melting, a layer of ice in the snow that cloaks the vast ice sheets of the frozen continent. The layer formed the same way a crust of ice can form in a yard in winter when a warm day and then a freezing night follow a snowfall, the scientists said.

The reports indicate that none of the landlocked water probably flowed very far before refreezing, and that the phenomenon hasn’t occurred again through March 2007. More extensive thaws could eventually cause faster glacier movement, possible runoff to the sea, and higher sea levels.

4 Responses to “Puddles”

  1. Amber Says:

    Wow, awesome! This is a nice thing to learn about via Technorati search. 🙂 One update though – my URL has changed to

  2. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Fixed; thanks for dropping by!

  3. eRobin Says:

    As ever, may the best blog lose so that I can win.

  4. Mags Says:

    I didn’t even know I was nominated. Hmm. Maybe I nominated myself and then just forgot. Oh well. You Forgot Poland! will prevail … someday.

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