Stories by Andrew Freedman

Trump moves closer to establishing the Space Force today

Moon with military goggles and a helmet.
Photo illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

President Trump will sign a directive on Tuesday that will call for the formal establishment of a U.S. Space Force as a 6th branch of the armed services, to be housed within the Air Force.

The big picture: The president's directive, known as Space Policy Directive 4, would task the Defense Department with submitting a legislative proposal to Congress to establish the Space Force as an armed service within the Air Force. The proposal would include the designation of a chief of staff for the Space Force, who would sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as an undersecretary of defense for space.

Melting ice sheets may alter our weather while raising sea levels

Terminus of the Russell Glacier. Landscape close to the Greenland Ice Sheet near Kangerlussuaq.
Landscape on the Greenland Ice Sheet near Kangerlussuaq. America. North America. Greenland. Denmark. Photo: Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images.

Sea level rise isn't the only thing we have to worry about as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt. A new modeling study finds that runoff from these ice sheets could significantly alter crucial ocean currents in ways that disrupt the Gulf Stream and accelerate ice loss in West Antarctica.

Why it matters: The study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, shows the potentially far-reaching ramifications of ice melt.

A 1,000-foot tall chasm is found within a crucial Antarctic glacier

An inlet filled with sea ice around Venable Ice Shelf.
An inlet filled with sea ice around Venable Ice Shelf, as seen during an Operation IceBridge flight on Nov. 16, 2017. Photo: NASA/Nathan Kurtz.

Two important studies on Antarctic ice shed light on how much progress scientists are making to predict the continent's future, and how little we really know.

The threat: The first study, published on Jan. 30 in Science Advances, used synthetic aperture radar from satellites and aircraft to determine the motion and structure of the rapidly melting Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.

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