Friday, October 3, 2014

Understanding the Greenland Ice Sheet’s meltwater channels

Scientist's camp on the Greenland Ice
Sheet. (LANL Photo)
The Greenland Ice Sheet's movement speeds up each summer as melt from the surface penetrates kilometer-thick ice through moulins, lubricating the bed of the ice sheet. Greater melt is predicted for Greenland in the future, but its impact on ice sheet flux and associated sea level rise is uncertain.

"Although the Greenland Ice Sheet initially speeds up each summer in its slow-motion race to the sea, the network of meltwater channels beneath the sheet is not necessarily forming the slushy racetrack that had been previously considered," said Matthew Hoffman, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist on the project. (full story)

Team advances understanding of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s meltwater channels

Greenland meltwater channel
An international research team’s fieldwork, drilling and measuring melt rates and ice sheet movement in Greenland is showing that things are, in fact, more complicated than we thought.

A high-profile paper appearing in Nature this week notes that observations of moulins (vertical conduits connecting water on top of the glacier down to the bed of the ice sheet) and boreholes in Greenland show that subglacial channels ameliorate the speedup caused by water delivery to the base of the ice sheet in the short term. (full story)

LANL introduces ATHENA, the desktop human ‘body’

Artificial lung developed at
LANL. (LANL image)
Creating surrogate human organs, coupled with insights from highly sensitive mass spectrometry technologies, a new project is on the brink of revolutionizing the way we screen new drugs and toxic agents.

“By developing this ‘homo minutus,’ we are stepping beyond the need for animal or Petri dish testing: There are huge benefits in developing drug and toxicity analysis systems that can mimic the response of actual human organs,” said Rashi Iyer, a senior scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (full story)
The tech to stop new airline threats

A bottle of white wine is loaded into
the MagRay system. (LANL image)
Do airport security teams have the necessary tech to stay ahead of this threat? Security experts say that trace detection machines are capable of picking up residue, no matter how small.

Los Alamos National Lab created its own system, the MagRay (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), that combines X-ray and MRI techniques to create 3-D images that reveal a liquid's proton content and density, which can tell you more about what it is. (Currently, most liquids scanners are slow and give a lot of false positives.) (full story)

LANL licenses polarization cryptography technique

Quantum key device. (LANL image)
Quantum encryption technology based on random photon polarization could give ordinary people access to truly secure commerce, banking, communications and data transfer.

Developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the technology has been licensed to Whitewood Encryption Systems Inc. for commercialization.

The LANL technology uses random polarization to generate random numbers for real-time encryption at high data rates. It represents an improvement over existing random-number generators based on mathematical formulas that can be broken by a computer with sufficient speed and power. (full story)

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