Study: Sea level rise accelerating more than once thought

Ethics Asylum

WASHINGTON (AP) – The world’s oceans are now rising far faster than they did in the past, a new study says.

The study found that for much of the 20th century – until about 1990 – sea level was about 30 percent less than earlier research had figured. But that’s not good news, scientists say, because about 25 years ago the seas started rising faster and the acceleration in 1990 turns out to be more dramatic than previously calculated.

The current sea level rise rate – which started in 1990 – is 2.5 times faster than it was from 1900 to 1990, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Scientists say that faster pace of sea level rise is from melting ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica and shrinking glaciers, triggered by man-made global warming.

“We’re seeing a significant acceleration in the past few decades,” said…

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A Hole in the Stars?


LDN 483Some of the stars appear to be missing, but the black gap in this starfield is not really a hole. It’s a region clogged with gas and dust. This dark cloud is called Lynds Dark Nebula 483 0r LDN 483. Clouds such as this are the birthplaces of future stars.

LDN 483 is about 700 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent). The cloud contains enough dusty material to completely block the visible light from background stars. Such a dense molecular cloud qualifies as a dark nebulae because of this obscuring property. One might think that the starless nature of a cloud like LDN 483 would suggest that it’s not a place where stars can take root and grow. The opposite is true: dark nebulae offer the most fertile environments for eventual star formation.

Studies of star formation in LDN 483 have discovered some of the youngest observable kinds of baby stars hidden in LDN 483. These gestating stars…

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Happy New Year, Sun


20150101_001043_coronal_holeWhile people on Earth celebrated the New Year with fireworks, the Sun was quite with very few small flares. Indeed, this image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a huge coronal hole present just after midnight on 1 January UTC.

Coronal holes are regions of the Sun’s corona where the magnetic field reaches out into space rather than looping back down onto the surface. Particles moving along those magnetic fields can leave the sun rather than being trapped near the surface. Those trapped particles can heat up and glow, giving us the lovely AIA images. In the parts of the corona where the particles leave the sun, the glow is much dimmer and the coronal hole looks dark.

Image Credit: NASA

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