27th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Polar bears in Russia’s Arctic are increasingly turning to cannibalism as growing human activity and development in the region shrinks their hunting grounds, scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences said Wednesday.

“Polar bear cannibalism most often happens when a malnourished male bear attacks a female and her cub, eating the cub, he said. The phenomena gained widespread attention when members of a 2017 National Geographic expedition captured it in a graphic video.

“Rising temperatures in the Arctic and melting ice cover have also forced polar bears further south in search of food, making them more likely to come into contact with human settlements.”


Across Northern Ireland, the total rain that has fallen from February 1, up to and including February 25 averages 195.1mm. This is 234% of the typical average February rainfall for the Province (with 83.5mm being the average monthly total).

“For comparison, Northern Ireland’s previous wettest February was in 1990, when an average of 194.4mm of rain fell across the month.”


Police have warned that people living along the River Severn [UK] could face another 10 days of flooding misery with more rain showers predicted to sweep across affected areas.

“Environment Agency officials and engineers were continuing to monitor a barrier at Ironbridge in Shropshire on Thursday after the weight of water caused it to buckle, prompting an emergency evacuation.”


The rains began in December, triggering landslides and massive flooding across northern Burundi, one of the world’s poorest countries. Roads, bridges and crops have been destroyed, livestock killed and vital water access points washed away.

“Houses built of mud bricks have literally melted in the rain, leaving hundreds of families with nowhere to go.”


For a modern American audience, it is hard to convey just how devastating swarms of locusts can be.

“The swarms that we’re talking about can move up to 100 miles in a day. They eat as much as 35,000 people. You really have to go back to decades ago in the U.S., to Dust Bowl days, to understand just how devastating this can be. So it really is a crisis.”


Rainfall doused the capital city of Tehran over the past two days, reaching 55.5 millimeters, which was unprecedented in the past 69 years.

“The precipitation station in Tehran was first set up in 1951, and this is the first time it has recorded such rainfall rate, Sahar Tajbakhsh, head of Meteorological Organization said.”


Climatologist Gopakumar Cholayil said that climate change is clearly visible in our state (Thrissur, India).

““During the last Christmas season there was no dip in temperature. Then we expected that cool climate would arrive in February this year.” But the mercury continues to soar and highest temperatures were recorded in many districts in February.”


Chinese duck platoons are waiting to be deployed to neighboring Pakistan to fight a swarm of crop-eating pests [locusts] that threaten regional food security.

“At least 100,000 ducks are expected to be sent to Pakistan as early as the second half of this year to combat a desert locust outbreak…”


Climate change-driven global warming is a factor behind repeated instances of severe flooding across Greater Jakarta since early January, including a flood that inundated parts of the capital on Tuesday, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.”


Torrential rainfall has blanketed Queensland [Australia] in a ‘once every 100 years storm’, with major highways closed and homes left without power.

“Thousands of residents on New South Wales’ south coast are suffering power cuts, with the worst of the dangerous storms yet to come.”


Sydney’s smoky, sweaty and dry start to summer has come to a soggy and stormy end to what will be one of the country’s three hottest seasons on record.

“With just a couple of days to the end of summer, the harbour city will probably end February with temperatures averaging about 27.3 degrees for the season… about 1.7 degrees above the long-term average…”


The New Zealand army has been sent to Northland to assist in drought relief efforts after months without any rain.

“The towns of Kaikohe and Kaitaia are the worst hit with severe water restrictions in place throughout February.”


The Central Valley is America’s fruit bowl, and the heart of California’s $50bn agriculture industry. But the 2011-2017 drought raised serious questions about the future of that industry and forced the state to grapple with regulating the one thing fueling much of it: groundwater.”


Stiff Santa Ana winds — including what could be the strongest gust ever recorded locally — buffeted the San Diego area Wednesday, causing widespread East County power outages and prompting school closures.”


Heavy downpours have continued to batter parts of South America.

“Hundreds of people were evacuated from the northern provinces of Argentina last Thursday due to widespread flooding… The same system went on to affect Brazil and Paraguay, resulting in landslides and flash-flooding which caused widespread destruction.”


Bumblebees are top pollinators and many essential food crops are pollinated by them. Their loss or decline would have serious impacts on food production at a time when rising temperatures are stressing both pollinators and the food plants themselves.

“It is sobering when you consider that the current decline in bumblebee populations has occurred over a single generation.”


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26th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

A riverside town in Worcestershire [UK] was underwater today after flood defences finally failed in the face of unprecedented flooding and the ever-rising River Severn

“Firefighters have been scrambled to the town to evacuate residents, with paramedics on scene to assist the vulnerable and elderly. Emergency workers also tried in vain to pump floodwater back into the Severn.”


“France has already seen record-high February temperatures – but more normal winter weather is on the way with widespread storms and snow predicted from Tuesday evening.

“French weather forecaster Météo France is predicting storms and a sharp drop in temperatures starting on Tuesday evening…”


Tomato prices in Kenya have skyrocketed in recent weeks, with some parts of the country paying up to seven times more. The price rises follow months of heavy rains across East Africa.”



A small group of desert locusts has entered Congo, marking the first time the voracious insects have been seen in the Central African country since 1944, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agency said Tuesday as U.N. agencies warned of a “major hunger threat” in East Africa from the flying pests.”


“During the Kharif season this time, due to too heavy rainfall and floods, over 91,000 hectares of paddy crop had suffered extensive loss. Now, during the Rabi season too, the planting of seedlings [Bengaluru, India] has slumped to record low, and is estimated to be only around 16 percent of the normal area under paddy cultivation.”


Five people have died and thousands were forced from their homes after severe floods in Indonesia while an earthquake also rattled the country today

“The heavy rains came only weeks after 70 residents of the low-lying megacity died in some of Indonesia’s worst flooding in recent memory.”


Ex-tropical cyclone Esther is tracking an unpredictable path across northern Australia and could re-intensify later in the week, with the Bureau of Meteorology describing it as “a remarkable system”

“Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Angeline Prasad said the low was now expected to move into Western Australia’s Kimberley region on Thursday morning, before potentially re-intensifying into a cyclone…”


A brief but ferocious storm has flooded shops, uprooted trees and sparked fires after smashing Perth [Australia] on Tuesday afternoon.

“The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm alert for the greater Perth area on Tuesday afternoon as wind speeds of up to 126km/h [78 mph] were recorded at Kalannie at 4.17pm.”


Flood waters in a rural Queensland town have shut a main highway and are expected to continue rising throughout the week

“But as St George faced floods, drought-stricken farmers just down the road had barely received a drop of rain.”


February 2020 is officially the 2nd wettest February on record, knocking February 2019 to the #3 slot. So far, there has been 11.39” that’s fallen in Chattanooga (with locally higher amounts in surrounding areas).

“11.31” fell February 2019 in Chattanooga. The wettest February ever on record was 1939 with 12.30” of rainfall.”


For many parts of the United States this winter has been one of the warmest on record.

“In fact, as the climate heats up, winters are warming faster than any other season. We recently asked how people around the country are seeing the effects of this in their everyday lives. Here’s a sample of what we heard back.”


Experts warn the entire world heading towards a climate crisis, but the Pacific edge of the Arctic Ocean is already feeling its effects.

“A new study reveals the region underwent a ‘sudden and dramatic shift’ from 2017 to 2019′ that experts fear is irreversible and may be ‘a sign of what is to come.'”


Glacier algal blooms on the Greenland Ice Sheet are so extensive that their presence in the surface ice is thought responsible for widespread darkening along the western margin of the ice sheet

“…known as the ‘dark zone’ that has appeared in satellite observations over the last two decades.”


When the weather warms as in the current Antarctic summer, nutrients become available and the algae spores germinate.

“This triggers an algal bloom which causes streams, patches, or small pockets of pink to emerge and creates the ‘watermelon’ phenomenon… It reflects sunlight due to its colour, which can speed up the rate of melting in the local region.

“The Ukrainian scientists say: ‘Such snow contributes to climate change, because the red-raspberry colour snow reflects less sunlight and melts faster.

“‘As a result, more and more bright algae are formed in the snow.'”


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25th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

More than 20% of Australia’s forests burned during the summer’s bushfire catastrophe, a proportion scientists believe is unprecedented globally, according to new research.

“Research published in a special edition of Nature Climate Change focused on the bushfire crisis finds that 21% of the total area covered by Australian forests – excluding Tasmania – has burnt so far in the 2019-20 bushfire season.”


Ocean temperatures across parts of the Great Barrier Reef have been above or close to thresholds where there is a high risk of coral bleaching for several weeks.

“During this time, temperature readings from marine weather stations operated by the Australian Institute of Marine Science have shown sea surface temperatures throughout most of the Reef at 1 to 2.5°C above average.”


An emergency situation has been declared in Queensland’s south-west town of St George because of expected major flooding.

“The [Beardmore] dam was on the brink of being empty at the start of February and filled in less than two weeks, Sunwater said. “In 10 days Beardmore Dam increased by 94%, from 6% to 100%.”


Brown grass and empty water tanks around the country [NZ] are set to stay that way for the next week as the hot, dry weather continues.

“The weekend’s fleeting wet spell is a distant memory with the chance of any decent rain unlikely for the next week, according to MetService.”


Flooding caused by torrential rain paralysed large parts of Indonesia’s capital on Tuesday,

“…major streets were inundated with murky, brown flood water and power supplies cut in certain parts of the city.”


In what has already been a lackluster winter season across much of California, a warm, dry and windy forecast to end the month will only add to the expanding drought concerns across the state

“…many cities across Southern California have only recorded a fraction of rainfall compared to average.”


Bats in December. Bluebonnets in January. Butterflies in February. These are a few of the unseasonal appearances Austinites noticed this warm winter. And, experts say, people should get used to such sights.

“The first two months of winter in Austin [Texas] were the second warmest in 122 years of records.”


The Northeast United States has had one of its mildest winters on record

“In the three winter months of December, January, and February, Boston has experienced more days above 60 degrees than below 32 degrees.”


With just weeks left to go, the world is heading toward the warmest winter ever recorded as a strange brew of weather patterns at the top of the world combines with the mercury-boosting influence of climate change

“A stubbornly extreme low-pressure system over the North Pole has pulled the jet stream north.”


Arctic ocean temperatures are rising at rates faster than previously thought by the scientific community.

“That’s the finding of a new study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which shows warming waters having an effect on everything from sea ice growth to marine ecosystems.”


An Arctic “doomsday vault” is set Tuesday to receive 60,000 samples of seeds from around the world as the biggest global crop reserve stocks up for a global catastrophe.”


If you live in central or southern Scotland then it’ll probably come as no surprise to you that it’s been the wettest February on record for quite a few locations… Edinburgh Botanics… has broken 78 years’ worth of records with 127mm of rain falling so far this month, which is two-and-a-half times the months normal rainfall.

“Bishopton in Renfrewshire has had a shocking amount of rain, at nearly 300mm [12 inches] for the month so far.”


Parts of England will be threatened with serious flooding for several days due to swollen rivers, the Environment Agency has warned.

“Rainfall is expected to continue hitting areas along the rivers Severn, Wye, Ouse and Trent. The agency has issued two severe danger-to-life flood warnings…”


Hedgehogs and other animals have not hibernated this winter, after ‘unprecedented’ mild weather [in the SE UK].

“That is according to wildlife rescuer Trevor Weeks, founder of East Sussex WRAS (Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service).

“He says the effects and implications of this ‘unheard of’ phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but we should be worried.”


“So far we’ve had very little winter, no cold waves, few snowfalls and barely frost”, said Efe Rubén del Campo, spokesman for Spain’s State Meteorological Agency AEMET

“The trend of 2019 continues when heat records were broken in several dozens of places in the peninsula…”


“After being the first visitors, we can now confirm that Sif Island [an island newly revealed by climate change in the Antarctic] is made of granite and that it is covered by remnant ice shelf, and a few seals,” wrote University of Houston marine geologist Julia Wellner on Twitter.”


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24th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

“…the [Swedish] town of Växjö – almost 200 kilometres north of the southernmost tip of the Nordic country – for the first time since its records began in 1858 did not experience winter at all.

“December, January and February were also record wet in Växjö. More than 279 millimetres of rain have so far fallen from December 1st, which already beats the previous record of 263 millimetres in 1995.”


Global warming has threatened winter sports, skiing in particular, around the world. But nowhere is that felt as strongly as in Norway

There’s growing concern that the changing climate is threatening the region’s wintry conditions, depriving the next generation of Norwegians of the chance to carry on the country’s skiing traditions.”


A storm is expected to bring further bands of torrential rain to flood-hit communities as it sweeps across Britain.

“Forecasters have issued a yellow weather warning as the 75mph storm brings a fresh deluge of rain, up to 50mm (2in) in some places.”


Agricultural workers in Jersey are rushing to pick their daffodil crop before it turns. Daffodil growers say another mild winter has seen their flowers bloom early.

Recent unpredictable weather patterns in the Channel Islands, with the hottest, coldest, wettest and driest days recorded makes planning planting very difficult.”


Spain’s airport operator AENA has suspended all flights in and out of Gran Canaria and all flights leaving Tenerife, according to Reuters news agency…

“…after clouds of red sand from the Sahara overwhelmed the northern Canary Islands, severely reducing visibility.”


Heavy rain in the mountains of Peru triggered flash flooding and deadly landslides while displacing hundreds of families from their homes in multiple districts across the country.

“Five people have been confirmed dead by the Ministry of Health following a landslide in Tacna, Peru.”


Residents from Letui and Aopo [Samoa] – who attended a church gathering at Faletagaloa Safune on Sunday – were stranded and unable to travel home because the water at Sasina Fiord was so high after the heavy rain [from Cyclone Wasi].

“Resident So’oalo Liki Selulo, who was stuck at Samalaeulu on Sunday evening, said it was unsafe to travel across to the other side of the island.”


Water in dozens of small coastal settlements in Northland [NZ] could soon become too salty to drink due the drought

“More than two dozen aquifers were nearing record low levels and shallow coastal groundwater systems were expected to drop to significantly lower levels than normal during the next few months…”


Third-generation sheep farmer Chris Blunt [NSW, Australia] has not seen rain for so long that all 30 dams on his 1,000-hectare farm are empty

“”The family has been here since 1902 … and I think this is probably the driest the forebears or myself have experienced,” he said.”


A truck driver has been rescued from raging floodwaters and major highways and towns cut off as heavy rainfall battered south-west Queensland on Saturday.

“The most intense period of the downpour on Saturday evening led to 193mm of rain falling near Roma in the six hours to 10pm – reaching 246mm [nearly 10 inches] by Sunday morning.”


Rural residents in Queensland’s southwest are bracing for a major flood after a weekend of heavy rain.

“Flooding along the Maranoa and Balonne Rivers started after the weekend’s drenching, with the town of St George expected to be hit by rising waters on Monday evening.”


“At least eight students have been killed and two others are missing after a flash flood hit a high school group who were hiking along a river on Indonesia’s main island of Java, a rescue official has said…

“…high waters pulled some students in, drowning them.”


Swarms of desert locusts have devastated crops in East Africa, hit the Middle East and moved into South Asia.

“They’re breeding fast thanks to changes in global climate patterns…

“So far, India has managed to prevent a swarm of biblical proportions from spilling over into Bangladesh, Burma, and then China—where the coronavirus has already paralyzed much of the country’s activity. But it’s not clear how long that line will hold.”


The mercury soared in many places in the state on Sunday with Kottayam district [India] recording its highest-ever temperature (38.5 Celsius) in February.”


“Mauri Pelto, a glaciologist at Nichols College, who observed the warming event as 0.9 square miles of snowpack became saturated with meltwater, said in NASA’s report:

“I haven’t seen melt ponds develop this quickly in Antarctica. You see these kinds of melt events in Alaska and Greenland, but not usually in Antarctica.”


The rate of melting of Greenland’s glaciers is happening at a far faster rate than climate scientists previously realized.

“This is based on new data which indicates that the rate of melting is happening below water as well as above.”


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21st Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

This winter, so abnormally warm in Lithuania, is bewildering everyone and is wreaking havoc both in the nature and on the store shelves.

“It is really an extraordinary winter. I cannot remember seeing so much greenery in the forests. Some trees and plants are budding, forget-me-nots are sprouting and moths and butterflies can be spotted flickering on a sunny day,” Erlandas Paplauskas, chief ecologist of the Pajūris regional park, told BNN…

“It is hard to predict how the Mother Nature will react to the record-high January and February temperatures…”


The exceptionally warm winter this year [in Sweden] has had a negative effect on economic growth, says a senior economist from Swedbank.

“The fall in logging activity and energy generation which the mild conditions have brought have not been mitigated by any improvements in construction or agriculture, Liis Elmik, Swedbank senior economist, said, according to BNS.”


Inured to interminable winters, Muscovites have been stunned this year by spring-like temperatures and virtually snow-free sidewalks after the Russian capital recorded its warmest January in history

“Experts say that Russia, which has a large portion of territory in the Arctic, is experiencing the effects of global warming faster than some other countries.”


Two Germans were killed on Thursday in an avalanche on an Arctic island off northern Norway, officials said.

“The tourists were part of a guided group traveling with a Russian company, and were on a snowmobile tour of the island of Spitsbergen in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago.”


It’s been a record-breaking winter on the Côte d’Azur; the warmest recorded during the months of December, January and up to now in February the Alpes-Maritimes since 1958.

“According to Météo France, the perched village of Seillans in the Var reached 27 degrees [over 80f] at the start of February, a whopping 5 degrees hotter than the previous record set at 22 degrees.”


Britain is being deluged by “atmospheric rivers” delivered on the jet stream, the Met Office has said. Experts believe the west-east band of high-altitude winds is currently pointed directly at the UK for the first time in years, enabling a “conveyor belt” of non-stop rain.

“This has been exacerbated by relatively mild temperatures that have forced extra moisture into the air.”


Severe Weather Europe said: “A rapidly developing extra-tropical cyclone is looking more impressive on the satellite, gradually developing hurricane-force winds around its core.

““With the pressure drop of around 35 mbar during the past 24 hours, the system is classified as a ‘bomb cyclone’.”


After a cold patch Thursday and Friday, temperatures are expected to rise into the 40s and 50s again over the weekend [Boston, US]…”


The sunshine, blue skies and warm weather we enjoyed on Wednesday [Seattle] were, officially, just as remarkable as they felt.

“The day’s high of 58 degrees, as recorded at the National Weather Service office near the University of Washington, tied the record for the warmest Feb. 19, the weather service said.”


“Rainfall soared 400 percent above normal levels for the month so far, driving the flood.

According to the Washington Post, Jackson has already seen 19.9 inches of rain this year, the greatest year-to-date rainfall recorded in at least half a century of record-keeping.”


The flow of the Colorado River is dwindling due to the impacts of global heating, risking “severe water shortages” for the millions of people who rely upon one of America’s most storied waterways, researchers have found.

“Increasing periods of drought and rising temperatures have been shrinking the flow of the Colorado in recent years…”


San Francisco and Sacramento have not seen a drop of rain this February, and climate scientists are expecting that disturbing dry trend to hold, in what is typically one of the wettest months of the year for California.

““This hasn’t happened in 150 years or more,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist…”


At least 9,000 years ago, humans began domesticating corn for the first time near Tehuacan, in the central Mexican state of Puebla, laying the foundation for permanent settlements in the Americas.

But in the past few years, more frequent and longer droughts have forced many farmers in the area to give up corn and other cereals…”


A torrential downpour has caused flooding in Hokitika [NZ].

“Westland mayor Bruce Smith said 40mm of rain fell in 20 minutes just before midday on Friday.

“”It just opened up. It was incredible,” Smith said.”


Heat stress is already building across the world’s biggest reef system [Barrier Reef], with reports of patchy bleaching already occurring. But a major widespread event is not currently taking place.

“”We are down to the wire,” said Prof Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.”


Hakuba, a northern Japan Alps village in Nagano Prefecture at the foot of some of the country’s most popular ski resorts, has a problem:

“Global warming could leave the area without the powder snow that has long been its lifeblood.”


“A grim prophecy made years ago by climate scientists and experts is coming true now.

World over, the effect of disasters is displacing more people as compared to other reasons for displacement like conflict and violence.”


A swarm of desert locusts is destroying crops and threatening the livelihoods of farmers in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

“The country, which is facing its worst locust infestation in two decades, declared a national emergency earlier this month.”


Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier has warm water from three directions well under it threatening to destroy the ice sheet and raise global sea levels by up to two feet.

“A team of scientists from Oregon State University made the most of ice free waters in West Antarctica to look under the glacier – which is about the size of Great Britain.”


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20th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

“Tiny bubbles of ancient air trapped in ice cores from Greenland suggest we’ve been seriously overestimating the natural cycle of methane, while vastly undervaluing our own terrible impact…

“…our own methane emissions might be up to 40 percent higher than suspected.”


Deluged communities in parts of the UK are facing more heavy rain as they struggle to cope in the wake of Storm Dennis.

“A month’s worth of rain in 24 hours could also hit north Wales and north-west England, forecasters said, falling on ground that is already saturated.”


Residents of a village near to Lyme Regis have told of their shock after a ‘tornado’ wreaked havoc in the early hours of the morning.

“It was in between Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis that Rousdon in East Devon saw the worst of the weather.”


Southwest Florida is known for having two seasons, but so far this year it’s more like one. This year has brought record-breaking heat, but scientists warn it could disrupt the ecosystem.

“”A quarter of 2020 so far has been record-breaking warm,” said NBC2 First Alert Meteorologist Rachel Duensing.”


Sprawling fields turned into large lakes throughout West Tennessee, including in the small town of Halls, where it turned cold and extremely wet…

“Forecasters expect more heavy rains in parts of the flood-ravaged south on Tuesday, prolonging the misery for worried people unable to return to homes surrounded by water.”


There was a mysterious yellow orb hovering above the Seattle skyline earlier this week. The National Weather Service said it last appeared 80 days ago

“All of the gloomy weather is directly due to a stuck weather pattern that has funneled storm after storm into the Pacific Northwest.”


Anchorage, Alaska, set two seemingly opposite records, one for high temperature and one for snowfall, on the same day.

“Just the right setup, with a moist and active pattern, allowed a warm temperature record to occur on the same calendar day as heavy snowfall.”


Oahu had a sweltering 2019. In fact, it was the island’s hottest year on record, NOAA has determined.

“Mayor Kirk Caldwell made the announcement Wednesday…

““Rising temperatures are no longer a projection for later this decade or later this century, our island is hotter here and now,” Caldwell said.”


Communities on the north coast of New South Wales are struggling to recover from an extraordinary series of natural disasters

“Six months ago the drought was the major environmental issue on most people’s minds, but since then the region has been hit by catastrophic bushfires, severe flooding, mass fish deaths, and landslides.”


Thai farmers said their troubles on the [Mekong] river began when the turbines of the Xayaburi Dam started churning upstream from Nong Khai in Laos seven months ago, further disrupting the river flow that was already drying out even at the end of the rainy season.”


The temperature [in Sri Lanka] is rising, rainy days are decreasing, and drought periods, intense rainfalls, weather-related disasters, and even thunder are increasing, to recap a few realities.

“It is time we focused on environmental conservation and disaster resilience on top of all other matters.”


Swarms of desert locusts, which have been ravaging crops and grazing land across east Africa, have now crossed the border into South Sudan, a country already struggling from widespread hunger and years of civil war.

“The UN has warned that an imminent second hatch of the insects could threaten the food security of 25 million people across the region.”


A century ago, more than one million giraffes used to roam across sub-Saharan Africa. But these gentle giants are now extinct in at least seven countries

“…with only 100,000 left in fragmented populations across the continent, wildlife experts warned on Thursday.”


Glaciologist Adrian Luckman from Swansea University in the U.K. said the changes in the west of Antarctica appear to be caused by a warming climate.

““Taken as a whole, the generalized retreat of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula, and especially the thinning elsewhere such as at Thwaites Glacier, shows clearly that climate change is causing accelerating mass loss from Antarctica to the oceans,” he said.”


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