Thursday, March 02, 2006

Antarctica Losing Ice - Should You Care

Antarctica Losing Ice, Contrary to Expectations
By Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Managing Editor
posted: 02 March 2006
02:01 pm ET

Joining the growing list of places on this planet that are melting, Antarctica is losing some 36 cubic miles of ice every year, scientists said today.

Hot Topic

The Controversy

* Conflicting Claims on Global Warming and Why It's All Moot
* Baffled Scientists Say Less Sunlight Reaching Earth
* Scientists Clueless over Sun's Effect on Earth
* Key Argument for Global Warming Critics Evaporates

The Effects

* Greenland Melts
* Ground Collapses
* Allergies Get Worse
* Rivers Melt Sooner in Spring
* Increased Plant Production
* Animals Change Behavior
* Hurricanes Get Stronger
* Lakes Disappear
* Seas Rise

What about the potential positive effects.
* Deserts bloom
* Areas now uninhabitable become good places to farm, live.
* Some species gain from warmer climate
* More rain creates more clouds, creating cooling in some areas
* The list could go on for pages

The Possibilities

* More Rain but Less Water
* Ice-Free Arctic Summers
* Overwhelmed Storm Drains
* Worst Mass Extinction Ever
* A Chilled Planet

What About Positive Possibilities

* More water in some places that really need it
* A warmer planet
* Mass extinction of some species with mass increase in new
* Change in weather patterns creates great new tropical resort areas.

Strange Solutions

* Space Ring to Shade Earth
* Longer Airline Flights

For comparison, Los Angeles consumes roughly 1 cubic mile of fresh water a year.

The south polar region holds 90 percent of Earth’s ice and 70 percent of the total fresh water on the planet, so any significant pace of melting there is important and could contribute to an already rising sea.

It's nice that the article says "could contribute." But, the dynamics of oceans and weather systems is so complex that no one has a clue.

"This is the first study to indicate the total mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet is in significant decline," said Isabella Velicogna of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The study is detailed today in the online version of the journal Science.

Other studies have documented rapid melting, unprecedented in modern times, in Greenland and around the North Pole. And rapid melting of individual glaciers has been noted in Antarctica.

Note that the article specifically says modern times. Many studies have shown that these kinds of changes have happened before.

For now, the newly measured melting might seem like a small quantity. The loss of ice in Antarctica amounts to about 0.4 millimeters of global sea rise annually, with a margin of error of 0.2 millimeters, the study concludes. There are about 25 millimeters in an inch.

For those who aren't very good in math, lets put this in perspective. If this were an accurate estimate, and it continued at this pace for 100 years, there would be a total sea rise of 2 inches.

However, computer models run in 2001 predicted Antarctica would gain ice during the 21st century due to increased precipitation in a warming climate. But the new study, based on satellite measurements between 2002 and 2005, shows the opposite.

Here is the important, critical, should be headline making, paragraph. COMPUTER MODELS RUN IN 2001 are already turning out to be dead wrong. All of the global warming hystaria is based on computer models like this. They have a horrible record of accuracy. Here they are admitting that a recent, state of the art, model is just completely wrong based on current actual data. Where is this a headline? If this model is wrong, maybe they are all wrong. Maybe we are actually headed into an ice age.

Antarctica is twice as large as Australia. The ice sheet, which covers about 98 percent of the continent, has an average thickness of about 6,500 feet—more than a mile.

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