- surf's up? July 31
For the first time, researchers were able to measure waves in the Arctic's Beaufort Sea due to melting ice caused by global warming.
"Waves could accelerate the ice retreat," Jim Thomson of the University of Washington told The Washington Post. "We don't have much direct evidence of this, or knowledge of the relative importance compared with melting, but the process is real. We are conducting a large project this summer to answer just that question."
The waves are measured by sensors under the surface, which transmit their recordings to satellites. Thomson and W. Erick Rogers of the Naval Research Laboratory recorded the waves in 2012, and wrote about their findings in Geophysical Research Letters this year. The average size of a wave was three to six feet, and the largest wave recorded was close to 29 feet.
"The observations reported here are the only known wave measurements in the central Beaufort Sea," they wrote, "because until recently the region remained ice covered throughout the summer and there were no waves to measure." The pair believe it is likely that ice will break down in the area so that eventually there will be an "ice-free summer, a remarkable departure from historical conditions in the Arctic, with potentially wide-ranging implications for the air-water-ice system and the humans attempting to operate there."- - Catherine Garcia
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- The week's best photojournalism
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
Subscribe to the Week