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The Pine Island Glacier is about to calve another monster iceberg

This is doubly worrisome on the heels of the recent UN climate change report, which gave humanity an urgent deadline to cut carbon emissions: just 12 years.

Credit: Landsat OLI imagery. Processed by Stef Lhermitte/Delft University of Technology.
  • It's the same glacier that calved in September 2017, losing an iceberg 4.5 times the size of Manhattan.
  • The size of this one, however, is about 15% bigger than the last. It's the sixth large-calving event from this glacier since 2001.
  • The irreversible collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet would raise sea levels 20 feet, says the UN.

The Pine Island Glacier (a.k.a. PIG)

The area of the iceberg poised to calve off the Pine Island Glacier is about 115 square miles, or 300 square kilometers.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

About one year ago, in Antarctica, the Pine Island Glacier calved an iceberg about 100 sq. miles in size—4.5x the size of Manhattan.

It's about to do it again—and this one is 15% bigger than the last, at 115 square miles.

"As the planet warms from 1.5°C to 2°C, the risks grow rapidly for some very dangerous tipping points, including the irreversible collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (which would raise sea levels 20 feet)," reads the UN's recent IPCC Report.

It's doubly (trebly?!) worrisome on the heels of the above UN IPCC report, which basically tells us we're screwed unless we take drastic action—and, I mean drastic—in order to curb emissions and slow the inexorable drift into an Earth that looks like one of those terrifying science fiction novels.

A 19-mile-long (30 kilometers) rift is splintering across the ice sheet

That's the 2017 calving, in a GIF created by Stef Lhermitte.

If the West Antarctic ice sheet collapses, it will mean a 20-foot rise in sea levels. And it will release twice as much carbon into the atmosphere as exists today.

The fact that the United States has gone the opposite direction, abandoning the Paris Accord and even calculating a rise of 7 degrees (F) as acceptable and even inevitable when working on new automobile emission standards is contributing to a looming climate change catastrophe by 2040.

Vote like your lives depend on it, folks.

Because they do.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Mystery effect speeds up the universe – not dark energy, says study

Russian astrophysicists propose the Casimir Effect causes the universe's expansion to accelerate.

Black hole accretion disk visualization.

Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman
Surprising Science
  • Astrophysicists from Russia propose a theory that says dark energy doesn't exist.
  • Instead, the scientists think the Casimir Effect creates repulsion.
  • This effect causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate.
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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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