London, Jan 25: Earth’s ice is melting faster today than in the mid-1990s, new research suggests, as climate change nudges global temperatures ever higher.
Altogether, an estimated 28 trillion metric tons of ice have melted away from the world’s sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers since the mid-1990s.
Annually, the melt rate is now about 57 percent faster than it was three decades ago, scientists report in a study published Monday in the journal The Cryosphere.
“It was a surprise to see such a large increase in just 30 years,” said co-author Thomas Slater, a glaciologist at Leeds University in Britain.
While the situation is clear to those depending on mountain glaciers for drinking water or relying on winter sea ice to protect coastal homes from storms, the world’s ice melt has begun to grab attention far from frozen regions, Slater noted.
Aside from being captivated by the beauty of polar regions, “people do recognize that, although the ice is far away, the effects of the melting will be felt by them,” he said.
The melting of land ice – on Antarctica, Greenland and mountain glaciers – added enough water to the ocean during the three-decade time period to raise the average global sea level by 3.5 centimeters. Ice loss from mountain glaciers accounted for 22 percent of the annual ice loss totals, which is noteworthy considering it accounts for only about 1 percent of all land ice atop land, Slater said.
Across the Arctic, sea ice is also shrinking to new summertime lows. Last year saw the second-lowest sea ice extent in more than 40 years of satellite monitoring. As sea ice vanishes, it exposes dark water which absorbs solar radiation, rather than reflecting it back out of the atmosphere. This phenomenon, known as Arctic amplification, boosts regional temperatures even further.
The global atmospheric temperature has risen by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times. But in the Arctic, the warming rate has been more than twice the global average in the last 30 years.
Using 1994–2017 satellite data, site measurements and some computer simulations, the team of British scientists calculated that the world was losing an average of 0.8 trillion metric tons of ice per year in the 1990s, but about 1.2 trillion metric tons annually in recent years.
Calculating even an estimated ice loss total from the world’s glaciers, ice sheets and polar seas is “a really interesting approach, and one that’s actually quite needed,” said geologist Gabriel Wolken with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. Wolken was a co author on the 2020 Arctic Report Card released in December, but was not involved with the new study.
In Alaska, people are “keenly aware” of glacial ice loss, Wolken said. “You can see the changes with the human eye.”
Research scientist Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado noted the study had not included snow cover over land, “which also has a strong albedo feedback”, referring to a measure of how reflective a surface is.
The research also did not consider river or lake ice or permafrost, except to say that “these elements of the cryosphere have also experienced considerable change over recent decades.”
New Taliban govt to uphold Islamic rules and Sharia law: Statement
(Asian News Hub) – Taliban soldiers walk towards Afghans shouting slogans, during an anti-Pakistan demonstration, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul.
The Taliban’s religious leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, hours after the announcement of the new Afghanistan cabinet, issued a statement saying the new cabinet will start its work immediately.
“As a caretaker and committed cabinet has been announced by the authorities of the Islamic Emirate to control and run the affairs of the country which will start functioning at the earliest, I assure all the countrymen that the figures will work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and Sharia law in the country, protecting the country’s highest interests, securing Afghanistan’s borders, and to ensuring lasting peace, prosperity and development,” Akhundzada said.
The statement also said the new government remains committed to protecting human rights.
“The Islamic Emirate will take serious and effective steps towards protecting human rights, the rights of minorities as well as the rights of the underprivileged groups within the framework of the demands of the sacred religion of Islam,” reads the statement.
PEC condoles demise of Afghan journalist Fahim Dashty
(Asian News Hub) – Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Switzerland-based global media safety body, expressed condolences over the death of
prominent Afghan journalist Fahim Dashty, who fell prey to clashes erupted between the Taliban fighters and the national resistance force
in Panshir valley on 5 September 2021.
Associated with Kabul Weekly newspaper, Fahim was lately working as a spokesperson for Ahmad Massoud led National Resistance Front of
Afghanistan. The anti-Taliban front officials claimed that Fahim was targeted by the Pakistani air-force drones at Anaba locality in Panshir valley. As the Taliban militants invaded Afghanistan, he joined the resistance force, popularly known as Northern Alliance.
Besides pursuing professional journalism, Fahim was also associated with Federation of Afghan Journalists and Afghanistan National Journalists Union.
Born into a progressive family at Dashtak village
under Anaba district in 1972, Fahim graduated from Istiqlal high school and studied law and political science at Kabul university.
“Fahim Dashty becomes the tenth journalist killed in Afghanistan since January 2021 turning the south-Asian nation the most dangerous place
for working journalists. The PEC is gravely concerned about the wellbeing of local journalists as well as journalists reporting for
international media outlets,” said Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC.
PEC calls on Afghanistan’s new authorities to ensure the safety of journalists and to respect press freedom, stated Lempen adding that
the global organisation was very concerned by the rapidly changing socio-political situation in Afghanistan for some years. He added that
over the past 20 years, independent media proliferated in the trouble-torn country.
As the Taliban gains power almost across Afghanistan, the journalists are coming under increasing attacks. Those who defy the Taliban face threats, pressure, kidnapping and murder. Female journalists are at greater risk due to their public roles and all of them are now banned
from presenting news in television channels, asserted Lempen.
“Altogether 55 journalists have been killed so far this year around the world and Fahim Dashty emerges as the latest victim,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s south and southeast Asia representative adding that the armed militants had earlier killed Bismillah Adil Aimaq, Shahnaz Raoufi, Saadia Sadat, Mursal Waheedi, Mina Khairi, Toofan Omar,
Alireza Ahmadi, Najma Sadeqi and Danish Siddiqui (acclaimed photo-journalist from India).
Magnitude 7.0 quake strikes Mexico, no reports of serious damage
(Asian News Hub) – A powerful earthquake struck southwestern Mexico near the beach resort of Acapulco on Tuesday night, causing rock falls and damaging buildings, though there were no immediate reports of casualties.
The 7.0 magnitude quake, which struck 11 miles northeast of the resort of Acapulco, Guerrero, shook the hillsides around Acapulco, downing trees and pitching large boulders onto the road.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said while the quake had sent rocks tumbling down hillsides and damaged walls, it had not caused major damages in Acapulco’s home state of Guerrero or the neighboring region of Oaxaca, or Mexico City.
“Fortunately there hasn’t been serious damage,” he said. “We have no information so far about the loss human lives.” Acapulco is roughly 230 miles (375 km) from Mexico City.
In the Roma Sur neighborhood of Mexico City, lights went off and scared residents rushed out, some wearing little more than pajamas, a Reuters witness said. Residents huddled together in the rain, holding young children or pets, too worried to return to their homes in the dark.
“It was terrible. It really reminds me of the 1985 quake every time something like this happens,” said Yesmin Rizk, a 70-year-old Roma Sur resident.
The USGS said the quake, initially measured at a magnitude of 7.4 and later downgraded to 7.0, was very shallow, only 7.8 miles (12.5 km) below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.
Reporting by Uriel Sanchez and Dave Graham, additional reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Writing by Shri Navaratnam; Editing by Sandra Maler, Christopher Cushing and Ana Nicolaci da Costa.
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