Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Alaskan glaciers melting 100 times faster than previously thought (nationalgeographic.com)
106 points by QuickToBan 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

"Only 50 of approximately 100,000 glaciers in Alaska are tidewater glaciers, and they’re some of the biggest."

The takeaways are not that all glaciers are melting faster but that this kind of glacier is melting faster and that similar underwater measurement now needs to be done on other types of glaciers (notably valley glaciers).

Most Alaskan glaciers don't end in the ocean, which is one significant factor. For Greenland where many do the ocean water is quite a bit colder - "water in LeConte Bay is warm relative to the ice, and even other fjords around the world."

Of course, further studies may end up being done without unemployed University of Alaska researchers[0][1].

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20479471

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20383708

> The success of the new method “opens the door for researchers to do this all over the world,” says Sutherland. Specifically, insight from the research at LeConte Glacier in Alaska could be used to study glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. “Submarine melting may matter everywhere,” says Enderlin.

Here is the link to the actual report:


People should try reading the actual science instead of some journalist's cherry-picked take on the science. It's also interesting that Disney ("evil media corporation") now controls NatGeo.

As Bill Gates recently noted, climate alarmists are more of a problem than the "deniers." Here's a story from the BBC this week titled, Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months:


This is getting ridiculous. The submitter, in this case, appears to have issues with civility, and is obsessively submitting climate related articles for an account that's less than 60 days.

The BBC story reminded me of Al Gore's 2006 prediction that stated unless nations took “drastic measures” then the Earth "would reach a point of no return within 10 years."[1]

It's weird how the deadline for point of no return is being pushed ahead every few years.

1. https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/annabel-scott/gore-dodges-fact-...

So, when do you think the point of no return is now? I've read that even if we stop all CO2 emissions now the heating will continue for quite some time before nature gets the 410ppm back to 350ppm or wherever it needs to be for stable state. So, in a way we're way past the point of no return and we probably were in 2006 already.

Ah yes, looking into it further, here is the claim: "25-50 years are needed for Earth’s surface temperature to reach 60 percent of its equilibrium response"


Do you have a link to Gates saying alarmism is the greater problem? I’m curious as to exactly what he said and I can’t find it.

It was from a live stream of a conference/interview that happened at the end of Feb. or March. I did read something about it at the time, but it wasn't the headline, nor am I likely to have gotten the phrasing correct exactly.

PEW put out a practical plan to address the issue a couple months ago that actually goes through the trade-offs, and then makes recommendations.

One problem with the current data ecosystem is that often misinformation is free, while hard science (and other reliable sources) are hidden behind paywalls. For example, I can read the abstract, which doesn't seem to conflict with the OP, but if I want to see the full text, I'm SOL.

I even have the Unpaywall extension installed (http://unpaywall.org), precisely to avoid this situation, but unfortunately the extension wasn't able to find a free version of this article.

This is one reason Open Access publishing is so crucially important to the public discourse. "Alternate facts" will win if people can read them for free but must pay to read peer-reviewed science.

Whether or not you think National Geographic has mischaracterized the science in this instance, I hope we can all agree that access to the original source would help everyone get their facts straight.


>Denial doesn't help

The problem is that people who do not want to enact federal policy that decimates the US economy (i.e. "Green New Deal"), are deemed "deniers." I'm not into extremism. The US emits 15% of GHG, and until you can get a commitment from countries where they are building new coal plants to this day, it's difficult to take seriously.

"Since 2005 annual U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined by 758 million metric tons. That is by far the largest decline of any country in the world over that timespan and is nearly as large as the 770 million metric ton decline for the entire European Union."


> The problem is that people who do not want to enact federal policy that decimates the US economy (i.e. "Green New Deal"), are deemed "deniers".

The problem is the lack of any alternate policy put forward, especially one that can compete with the flexibility, cost effectiveness and proven track record of emissions pricing. There aren't two competing solutions, there's one proposed solution up against wishful thinking.

> The US emits 15% of GHG, and until you can get a commitment from countries where they are building new coal plants to this day, it's difficult to take seriously.

And it's an indication of the trajectory of the US that they are no longer willing to be world leaders. Had they not done their best to sabotage previous efforts at international agreements we'd be well on our way to including developing countries, if not already there, and punishing those that don't sign on.

You also can't just look at current emissions, you have to consider how much CO2 already in the atmosphere the developed world contributed too, which is nearly all of it.

>federal policy that decimates the US economy

Either we tackle this problem in a timely way by choosing our tactics thoughtfully, or the near future will be decimated by an uncaring set of physics principles.

We must choose wisely.

You're too clueless to understand that the number one thing that is extremist is emitting so much CO2. It's pointless to debate anything with someone of significantly dissimilar intelligence.

We've banned this account for violating the site guidelines.


It would be a lie if I said I was surprised, currently I hear news from everywhere that climate change is moving faster forward than expected. The time window we have left to rescue what is left is shrinking. This worries me a lot.

So what are you doing about it?

(I was once talking to a friend over beers, ranting about some politics I was unhappy about. And he asked me: So what are you doing about it? Of course, I wasn't doing anything besides complaining, and this made something click in my head. All of my self-important opinions were worth nothing if I couldn't be bothered to do anything about them. I think about this a lot and it has changed the way I see the world.)

the topic follows me for the last 20+ years, I'm political active and argued in favour of reduction of co2 emission and transition to renewable energy. since I'm able to choose my own electricity supplier I chose one which only buys renewable energy. I do most of my daily things by walking and by public transit. I'm also active in a club for transportation transition and argue publicly that my town should be focus on bicycles and walking than cars. Sadly I don't see much success, because I'm confronted with a view that w/o cars it wouldn't work, that I have to be aware all the jobs my ideas would kill, and all other things. That is why I'm not very hopeful for the future.

P.S. the thing about what a single person can do is just so much, for a real impact it really needs governments to set policies which causes fundamental change. Does the government continue to build motorways, does the government sets up an environment which is benefitial for investments in renewable energy or in coal. all this has a much bigger influence then my personal decisions.

> So what are you doing about it?

Vote! While there are some things I can do personally (some I do, others I can improve on) the largest changes will be politically driven, so I'll vote for parties the promise the best policies to reduce emissions, whatever they may be.

When you have major political parties lined with deniers it's not a hard decision with pros and cons to weight up.

I hope people use this news to motivate changing their behavior. Of course we want governments, corporations, and other institutions to act. History shows that the fastest most effective way is for each of us to start first.

Even if disaster is inevitable, there are degrees of disaster and even individual actions can reduce suffering later.

The biggest thing I see everyone getting wrong about the environment is that acting on one's environmental values is a burden or chore. I used to think so, but found doing so improved my life, despite my expectations before acting.

Flying less, cutting out animal food, avoiding packaged food, etc. . . Now that I do them, I wish I had changed earlier.

> Of course we want governments, corporations, and other institutions to act. History shows that the fastest most effective way is for each of us to start first.

Exactly what history shows this? Every major case of social change I can think of (civil rights, women's rights, labor rights, what environmental regulations we have) has happened through mass movements not independent individual choices.

The time is for collective action on this. @GretaThunberg has been quite articulate about the need for immediate systemic change not just personal choices. Also, great news today, thanks to action on the part of @sunrisemvmt CNN will host a climate-focused Democratic primary debate. Movements can change what is "possible".

You're over estimating how much impact the West has on climate change.


There's only one solution that is known to be practical and based on non speculative approaches: nuclear fission power. And we have to do it globally. Even if emissions in the West drop to zero yesterday, it won't matter.

Your own source disagrees with you. It clearly shows the US is the top cumulative CO2 producer and one of the highest annually.

Right? The link also indicates that the US is one of the highest per capita emitters as well.

Title seems a bit click-baity implying some new discovery showing massive underestimation re global warming. The study itself was how fast does glacial ice melt when it's under water, nothing particular related to climate change.

Time to move to Nepal.

"The consequences of global warming have had the most impact in developing and mountainous countries like Nepal..."


>“These glaciers aren’t getting lost that fast…they’ll be around for decades to come,” says Sutherland.

Welp. Pack it in boys, it's all over.

"They’ve really discovered that the melt that’s happening is fairly dramatically different from some of the assumptions we’ve had"

Wait, you mean you actually have to validate assumptions against actual measurement to make accurate conclusions? Who knew?

The Bering Strait has already completely melted and because of this native tribes can no longer cross as they had for generations

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact