Daily Roundup: Ice Melt Wins, Backs Get a Break, Discover(y) Returns

By Patrick Morgan | March 9, 2011 5:51 pm

  • Unwelcome melt: The results are in for a 20-year study of Antarctica and Greenland ice melt, and though you shouldn’t grab your swim trunks yet, the results show that ice sheets have been melting at an accelerated pace for the past 20 years. “What is surprising,” Eric Rignot from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, told the BBC, is that ice melt will soon be the single biggest driver of sea level rise.
  • But don’t take these dripping glaciers as a reason to sit on your hands: A new report says that climatologists aren’t factoring in soot in the climate debate—and that merely reducing the output from cooking fires and industry could cut global warming by 0.5C. Food for thought (oy) the next time you barbecue.
  • Lessons from a tree: Engineers have crafted a self-repairing plastic based on the natural self-repairing traits of rubber trees—a discovery that could save energy (and the planet) by extending the lifespan of many consumer products.
  • Talking about repairing worn-out products, scientists have for the first time grown intervertebral discs using living cells, giving patients better support and flexibility than their metallic counterparts.
  • Do we make tools or do tools make us? Identifying gripping skills that are different from the great apes, new research suggests that the human hand evolved partly because of our use of stone tools.
  • Goodbye space dust, hello museum dust: Discovery—America’s oldest space shuttle—touched down today, marking the end of its 27-year career. With its mission to the International Space Station complete, it’s museum time for this old craft.

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Hgrobe

  • John Lerch

    This is the first time I’ve heard of soot as a cause of global warming rather than a cause of global cooling. OTOH I confess that soot down here where we have to breath it probably causes warming by absorbing sunshine that might otherwise be reflected (in particular on ice sheets). But industry puts the soot up in the air where it causes cloud formation. So malfunctioning automobiles and barbequers are guilty, industry is not.

  • JaberwokWSA

    Soot is a factor when it falls on snow and ice. The dark color absorbs heat more easily than light reflecting colors, melting the ice and snow. (Try throwing coffee grounds on the snow on a sunny day and see what melts.) I’m not sure how big the effect is for climate change (I hate the term global warming), but just ignoring it will not give you the most accurate analysis.

  • http://www.american-dreams.info/ Stephanie 94

    Is it true that global warming will threaten humans in the next 20-30 years?


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