Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Friday, March 3, 2006

A picture named antarctica.gif

Most people tend to look at water issues from their personal point of view, parochially, asking, "Is my ox being gored?" A study released yesterday predicts dire consequences as a function of warmer temperatures. 10 of the warmest years on record have occurred since 1990. While there is great debate about whether the warming is natural or is being accelerated by humankind and industry there is little argument the the planet is warming. Here's an article about warming and the effects on the Antarctic ice sheet from

From the article, "Antarctica's mammoth ice sheet, which holds 90 percent of the Earth's ice, is showing 'significant decline' as world temperatures heat up, according to a new study released on Thursday.

"As Earth's fifth largest continent, Antarctica is twice the size of Australia and contains 70 percent of Earth's fresh water resources. British research suggests the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet alone would raise global sea levels by over 20 feet (six metres).

"And now a team of US researchers at the University of Boulder in Colorado say they have discovered that the Antarctic ice sheet is losing up to 36 cubic miles (152 cubic kilometres) of ice annually.

"The estimated ice mass in Antarctica is the same as 0.4 millimetres of global sea rise annually, with a margin of error of 0.2 millimetres, according to the study. There are about 25 millimetres to one inch.

"The study, however, appears to contradict the 2001 assessment by the UN-mandated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which forecast that the Antarctic ice shelf would actually gain mass in the 21st Century due to higher precipitation in a warming climate."

Here's another article about another study from the Sydney Morning Herald. They write, "Africa's rivers face dramatic disruption that will leave a quarter of the continent severely short of water by the end of the century, a separate study has found.

"An assessment of climate change on Africa's waterways revealed they are highly sensitive to shifts in rainfall patterns. Even modest decreases in rain in parts of Africa will mean rivers lose as much as 80 per cent of their water, triggering a surge of what the scientists call 'water refugees'.

"Maarten de Wit, a climate expert at the University of Cape Town who led the study, said the redrawing of Africa's waterways will pose serious political problems as people displaced by droughts are forced into other countries to be near water."

Here's the coverage from the Rocky Mountain News. They write, "Melting Antarctic ice is pouring the equivalent of Lake Tahoe into the ocean each year, contributing significantly to rising sea levels, University of Colorado researchers have concluded.

"Isabella Velicogna and John Wahr used a pair of NASA satellites to conduct the first ice-loss measurements of the entire Antarctic ice sheet, which holds 70 percent of the Earth's fresh water.

"They found that the ice sheet is shrinking, losing about 36 cubic miles of ice annually. That's about how much water the U.S. consumes in three months.

"The melted Antarctic water was responsible for about 13 percent of the observed global sea-level rise during the 34-month study period, Velicogna said...

"During their study, Antarctica lost enough ice to raise global sea levels by about 1.2 millimeters. That may not seem like much - a millimeter is about the thickness of the wire used in a paper clip.

"But the observed rate is twice as high as Antarctica's annual contribution to sea-level rise over the past century."

Here's the coverage from the Denver Post.

Category: Colorado Water

6:47:39 AM    

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