1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. Southern Africa
  4. Angola

Tipping points to future drowning

Crack in sea ice recorded along the Antarctic Peninsula on 2 January, 2009 by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's MODIS Rapid Response
(NASA)

The UN Environment Programme's 2009 Year Book lists disturbing evidence from studies in 2008, which show that the earth is losing its ice at a faster rate than previously thought.



[See: Getting to the bottom of sea-level rise]



- The Northern Sea Route along the Arctic Siberian coast opened, and the Northwest Passage through the islands of northern Canada was also ice-free, for the second year in a row. These two passages have not been open simultaneously since before the last ice age started, some 100,000 years ago



- The overall declining trend of sea-ice in the Arctic has now lasted three decades; the thickness of ice built up over the years is also decreasing



- A large part of the Wilkins ice shelf in the Antarctic collapsed in February 2008. "The shelves often act like corks in a bottle, holding back glaciers on land, whose loss will raise sea levels." More cracks were recorded in the Wilkins ice shelf in December 2008.



- The flow into the ocean of the Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier in western Greenland, one of the most important routes of ice loss, has doubled since 1997



- The loss of ice from the West Antarctic ice sheet increased by 60 percent in the decade to 2006



- Ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula, which extends from west Antarctica towards South America, increased by 140 percent



- The USA's National Snow and Ice Data Center recorded the second lowest figure for the area of ice surviving the summer thaw in the Arctic Ocean since satellite monitoring began in 1979.



- The atmosphere in the Arctic is warming twice as fast as in most other regions of the world; warming is amplified by the lower reflectivity of the earth's surface as ice and snow melt



- The International Polar Year, a scientific programme that focuses on changing Arctic and Antarctic conditions, has found evidence of large-scale water drainage systems beneath the polar ice sheets, causing renewed concern about ice-sheet stability. The two-year programme, which began in March 2007, will draw to a close in March 2009.



jk/he


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

It was The New Humanitarian’s investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation that uncovered sexual abuse by aid workers during the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and led the World Health Organization to launch an independent review and reform its practices.

This demonstrates the important impact that our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and shine a light on similar abuses. 

Become a member today and support independent journalism

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.

Join