The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a landbound mass of ice larger than Mexico, experienced substantial surface melt through the austral summer of 2015-2016 during one of the largest El Niño events of the past 50 years, according to scientists who had been conducting the first comprehensive atmospheric measurements in the region since the 1960s.
The science team conducting the ARM West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego reports that the melting caused by warm air bearing moisture and extensive cloud cover was likely delivered by El Niño over the ice sheet.
"These atmospheric measurements will help geophysical scientists develop better physical models for projecting how the Antarctic ice sheet might respond to a changing climate and influence sea level rise." Scientists had been able to see melt episodes in Antarctica via satellite during El Niño years of the past.
The 2015-2016 event was the first, however, in which sophisticated instruments from the DOE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility installed on the ice sheet and at Mc Murdo Station adjacent to the nearby Ross Ice Shelf were present and able to make detailed measurements of atmospheric conditions at the time of a large-scale melt.
Maps are compromises between distorting the angles of latitude and longitude lines and the relative areas of the continents and oceans.
Some were made for specific purposes, while others just tried to find the cartographic sweet spot.
The standard classroom maps we all learned geography from are based on the Mercator projection, a 16th century rendering that preserved lines used for navigation while hideously distorting the true sizes of continents and oceans further from the equator.
The result is a widespread misconception that Greenland is as big as Africa, Siberia and Canada are disproportionally massive, and that Antarctica apparently just goes on forever.
Meteorological data gathered during AWARE found that in this instance, the latter effect was the more influential. "We were extraordinarily fortunate to be able to deploy state-of-the art equipment to West Antarctica just before this large melt event occurred," said AWARE principal investigator Dan Lubin, a research physicist at Scripps Oceanography.He claimed that it was capable of dating animal, plant and human remains of fairly recent origin. As they say on Star Trek, we are all carbon based units.Laboratory research has shown that the radioactive decay of Carbon-14 occurs in a half-life of 5,73040 years through beta decay that causes the Carbon-14 to revert back to Nitrogen-14.But the Autha Graph may be the pinnacle of accuracy.For centuries, cartographers have made numerous attempts to account for the inconsistency.For some reason, which I have not yet figured out, at least one person per week has been asking me about the Carbon-14 Radiometric Dating Technique.