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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jason Box and the Dark Snow Project, Part 2

The second video in a series about Dr. Jason Box and his “Dark Snow Project” - an effort to enlist the power of crowd sourcing and citizen science to pursue some of the most critical issues affecting arctic melt and sea level rise.

In the first video we heard from Bill Mckibben, whose article in Rolling Stone jumpstarted interest in Dr Box’s research. Following the shocking melt over nearly the full surface of the Greenland ice cap in July, 2012, it was clear that Dr. Box and his team had published a stunningly prescient paper, predicting melt over the whole surface of Greenland, within 10 years – What was stunning is that the melt materialized mere days after the paper came out.

Mckibben wrote:
Box had conservatively predicted that it might take up to a decade before the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet melted all at once. That it actually happened in just a few weeks only underscores how consistently cautious ice scientists have been in forecasting the threat posed by global warming. Now, however, that caution is being replaced by well-founded alarm. “Greenland is a sleeping giant that’s waking,” says Box. “In this new climate, the ice sheet is going to keep shrinking – the only question is how fast.”

The new data from Greenland matters for every corner of the planet. Water pouring into the North Atlantic will not only raise sea levels, but is also likely to modify weather patterns. “If the world allows a substantial fraction of the Greenland ice sheet to disintegrate, all hell breaks loose for eastern North America and Europe,” says NASA’s James Hansen, the world’s foremost climatologist.
In this new video, you’ll see Dark Snow team member Dr. Tom Painter of NASA JPL explain his work on dust in the Rocky Mountain snow fields, and Phd student Mckenzie Skiles describe how samples will be obtained – IF a large enough cohort of citizen scientists, activists, and just plain folks go to and kick in a tax deductible donation. Now is a critical moment, as commitments must soon be made for all the moving parts that go into making an expedition work. This science will have to be done – someone will have to do the ground truth sampling to tease out the secret of the ice.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

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