Periodically we share the latest climate change news with you. Today we’re covering fires in Australia, a methane leak in Ohio, and lots of melting ice.
Natural Gas Blowout in Ohio Released Huge Amounts of Methane
In February 2018, a blowout at a natural gas well in rural Ohio forced nearby residents to evacuate, but the incident received little national attention at the time. A new analysis of satellite data shows that the leak was far more significant than previously thought. In just 20 days, the damaged well platform spewed an estimated 60 kilotons of the potent planet-warming gas methane into the atmosphere, scientists say. That’s more methane than European countries like France, Spain and Norway release in a year.
Australia: Wildfires Again Spur Emergency Declaration
Australia’s most populous state declared its second emergency in as many months on Thursday as extreme heat and strong winds stoked more than 100 bushfires, including three major blazes on Sydney’s doorstep. A day after Australia recorded its hottest day on record, thick smoke blanketed the harbor city, shrouded the Opera House and brought many outdoor activities to a halt.
A Never-Before-Seen Event Is Collapsing an Ice Sheet in the Russian Arctic
For the first time, scientists think they’re watching a fast-moving river of ice being born. These so-called ice streams are rapid, long-lasting flows of ice that form in the middle of more static ice formations known as ice sheets. There are only a handful of them on Earth. They form in remote parts of the arctic and antarctic and, once established, can last decades or even centuries. Until now, no one had ever seen one emerge.
A Dark River Nearly 1,000 Miles Long May Be Flowing Beneath Greenland’s Ice
Far below the frozen cover of the Greenland ice sheet sprawls miles of bedrock — and extending through that bedrock for close to 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) is a valley that may contain a subterranean river, transporting water from central Greenland to the northern coast. In the past, planes flying overhead had partially mapped a rocky, subsurface valley under the ice, but their radar coverage of the region left gaps, said Christopher Chambers, a researcher at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.
Incredible Time-Lapse Video Shows Giant Greenland Lake Disappearing Within Hours
The Greenland Ice Sheet may be even more unstable than scientists previously thought, according to new research that reveals how lakes on the surface of Greenland’s glaciers drain toward the bottom of the ice sheet within hours. An impressive new time-lapse video shows one of these vanishing acts on Store Glacier in western Greenland. In July 2018, the lake lost two-thirds of its volume in a mere 5 hours, gushing out the equivalent of 2,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. Even after the lake finished draining, the fracture that emptied it remained, leaving an easy conduit from the surface of the glacier to its base just over a half-mile (1 kilometer) below.