Antarctica And Greenland Melt Accelerating, Study Claims

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According to innovations-report.de, a new paper on Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet melt will be published in the Geophysical Research Letters later this month. Its title: Acceleration of the contribution of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets to sea level rise.

It’s authors: E. Rignot and I. Velicogna both of the University of California, Irvine, California; M. R. van den Broeke of the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University; A. Monaghan of the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and J. Lenaerts of the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University claim the trend is “accelerating rapidly”.

According to innovations report (emphasis added):

The authors conclude that if current ice sheet melting rates continue for the next four decades, their cumulative loss could raise sea level by 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) by 2050. When this is added to the predicted sea level contribution of 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) from glacial ice caps and 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) from ocean thermal expansion, total sea level rise could reach 32 centimeters (12.6 inches).

Rignot’s used two decades (1992-2009) of monthly satellite measurements and advanced regional atmospheric climate model data to examine trends in acceleration of ice loss.

The paper’s abstract states:

Here, we present a consistent record of mass balance for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets over the past two decades, validated by the comparison of two independent techniques over the last 8 years: one differencing perimeter loss from net accumulation, and one using a dense time series of time-variable gravity. We find excellent agreement between the two techniques for absolute mass loss and acceleration of mass loss. In 2006, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets experienced a combined mass loss of 475 ± 158 Gt/yr, equivalent to 1.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr sea level rise. Notably, the acceleration in ice sheet loss over the last 18 years was 21.9 ± 1 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 14.5 ± 2 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica, for a combined total of 36.3 ± 2 Gt/yr2. This acceleration is 3 times larger than for mountain glaciers and ice caps (12 ± 6 Gt/yr2). If this trend continues, ice sheets will be the dominant contributor to sea level rise in the 21st century.

Jason/Topex however don’t show an acceleration in sea level rise over the last decade or so. If anything, one sees a deceleration. One has to wonder if ice sheet melt is still accelerating. It may have in the 1990s, but there’s plenty of data that say it isn’t so today.

One also has to question sea level rise due to thermal expansion. Ocean heat content does not seem to be rising. As far as measuring sea level rise, it is an extremely complex affair that is fraught with vast uncertainty. I’d also be very suspicious of anyone claiming they can measure sea levels to the millimetre. It’s hard enough to do it in inches. That’s why sea level projections among experts range so widely. Of course, that allows a lot of flexibility when drawing conclusions.

There are a number of studies out there that show no sea level acceleration. So one has to wonder where all those gigatons of melted ice sheet are going, and how much of it is being compensated by ice accumulation in other areas.

Other links:
http://earthsky.org/earth/melting-polar-ice-now-largest-contributor-to-sea-level-rise
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20110308.html

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4 responses to “Antarctica And Greenland Melt Accelerating, Study Claims”

  1. mindert eiting

    I think the problem with this research is capatalizing on a narrow time frame, chosen by us. See the conclusion ‘ if current ice sheet melting rates continue for the next four decades’. Just show us the developments of the past 100.000 years, please.

  2. R. de Haan

    Another pile of hog wash providing evidence of only one single but most worrying aspect of our current society.

    This is ‘Red’ propaganda….

    And no matter what sound scientific evidence we put on the table to counter it, it keeps on coming.

    We no longer live in a free world.

    This kind of publications are only the top of the iceberg.

    Just an example.

    On Breitbart today there was an article about the price hike in beef exports.
    I clicked the link because I want to know more about food prices and the sub link showed a whole list of climate related publications.

    Not as specific as this article about the ice melt of the Antarctic.
    But articles like this:

    Farm laboratories try moving crop production north eyeing warming +
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9I47IK80&show_article=1

    and

    Climate Change hits Nepal’s farmers
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9ABQRM82&show_article=1

    You simply can’t escape the constant flow of highly biased and insinuating articles that all point at Climate Change and it really doesn’t matter what subject you’re investigating.

    Today, Israel, Jerusalem and huge parts of Turkey got snow.
    I don’t know about Turkey but snow in Israel in March is an unusual event.

    Vietnam frequently in the news this winter because of several cold waves
    kiling water buffelo and cattle now faces wide spread crop losses.

    In China the current drought, according some of the local media the worst drought in 66 years, effecting China’s wheat belt is down played.

    Every person with the numbers and a calculator knows that a loss of the Chinese winter crop can’t be compensated with foreign imports.

    Not by a long shot.

    So why is it that our media continue to push the warming hoax, continue to push blatant lies about our economies and refuse to publish any information about the current cold wave that is going to have a massive impact on the food security of millions of people.

    Europe and the USA are under assault in a terrible manner and they don’t want you to know.

    We are responsible for the green scam converting 40% of the world food crops into bio fuels.

    The US and Europe are starving the world.

    And we the citizens of Europe and the US let them execute their dirty scheme.

    We can only stop this if we stop them and the clock say’s it’s one minute to twelve.

    Just telling how it is.

  3. richcar 1225

    Wrong. The latest estimate from the new glacial isotatic adjustment models using new GPS data now shows that the rock below the center of the Greenland ice sheet is sinking not rebounding as previously thought. The new estimate is -230 GT/yr.
    http://thegwpf.org/the-observatory/1438-ice-sheet-loss-cut-in-half.html
    As a result Isostatic rebound now is called isostatic adjustment. Look at the before and after isosatic adjustment maps in the above link.

  4. R. de Haan

    In fact, there are indications we are in for a ZERO Bond event.
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/dry-china/

    As for Chinese wheat production and the impact it would have if the upcoming crop fails:

    In 2004 China was the world’s #1 wheat growing nation producing 87,000 thousand metric tons. The US was third at 63,590 metric tons and we have declined since.

    China is currently producing more than twice the wheat we are in the US.

    Average 2007‐08 to 2009‐10 Marketing Years (1,000 metric tons)
    European Union, 138,143
    China, 114,500
    India, 80,680
    United States, 60,314

    We are currently fourth in world wheat production and in decline.

    While we exported 28,514 thousand metric tons, North America also imported 6,732 thousand metric tons.

    As for ending stocks, it looks like this:

    China, 49,211 thousand metric tons
    United States, 17,345 thousand metric tons
    India, 12,257

    So basically, we don’t have enough wheat to make much of a difference for China unless we switched out of corn and back to wheat in many parts of the country. If China were to take all of our ending stocks of wheat, it would amount to 15% of Chinese production. Or put another way, anything that would cause a 20% drop in Chinese production could not be made up even if China confiscated our entire supply (after exports we already would have made).

    China, with sufficient financial reserves to buy up crops at any price if necessary would shift a pending famine from China to other parts of the world like Egypt, Bangladesh or any other part of the world where populations earning less than 2 US dollar a day depend on food imports.

    Only a halt on bio fuel production can save them.

    Thanks to E. M. Smith.

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