Thursday, October 12, 2006

99.9% of glaciers shrinking

Dr Georg Kaser (University of Innsbruck), President of the IUGG Commission for the Cryospheric Sciences and one of the lead authors of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, and his team, have published the results of a global survey of glacier mass balance (Article: Kaser, G., Cogley, J. G., Dyurgerov, M. B., Meier, M. F. and Ohmura, A. 2006. Mass balance of glaciers and ice caps: Consensus estimates for 1961–2004, Geophysical Research Letters 33, L19501). The team concludes that there has been a sharp acceleration in the rate of glacier melting in the last five years and they attribute this directly to global warming. Worldwide glacier melting is likely to lead to substantial losses to water suplies for major areas of South America and Asia.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Exploratory drilling triggers unstoppable mudflow....

A team of geologists from the University of Oslo has stated that efforts to stop the mud flowing 200m from a 2km deep exploratory borehole in East Java are "unlikely to succeed". The mud started gushing from the hole on May 29th and is continuing at a rate of 50,000m3 per day. Two villages have already been flooded and another four will probably have to be destroyed. There are suggestions that the resulting environmental devastation could reach the catastrophic proportions of the Exxon Valdez sunken oil tanker disaster in 1989, Alaska. The geological team have suggested four possible fundamental causes for the mudflow; gas-rich fluid breaching coral mounds on top of the limestone rock; gas produced from a magmatic reaction; a new mud volcano; or migration of hydrothermal fluids from nearby.