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CoastLine: Icebergs, Sea Ice, Land Ice And Their Role In The Climate System

polar_bears_across_the_arctic_face_shorter_sea_ice_season__29664357826_.jpg
By NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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Polar bears already face shorter ice seasons - limiting prime hunting and breeding opportunities. Nineteen separate polar bear subpopulations live throughout the Arctic, spending their winters and springs roaming on sea ice and hunting.

By the year 2100, sea levels could rise three to six feet.  That’s according to a study published in the scientific journal Nature just this month.  One of the major contributors:  ice melting in Antarctica.

Reuters reports the continent lost almost three trillion tons of ice between 1992 and 2017. And the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free during the summer by mid-century, according to the New York Times.  The reason, say researchers, is that young ice is melting before it has the chance to grow and thicken over years. 

The way researchers create climate models and integrate the melting ice from Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, and large icebergs is complicated.

And that’s where Till Wagner’s research comes in.  As Assistant Professor of Physics and Physical Oceanography at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, he just received a National Science Foundation grant, shared with researchers at Princeton University and the University of California San Diego, to study the impact of icebergs on the climate.

Guest:

Till Wagner, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR