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New data from Antarctica suggests that the south pole icecap is not warming, as predicted by climate models.

New data from Antarctica suggests that the south pole icecap is not melting, as predicted by climate models.

It turns out that past studies, which were based on computer models without any direct data for comparison or guidance, overestimate the water temperatures and extent of melting beneath the Fimbul Ice Shelf. This has led to the misconception, Hattermann said, that the ice shelf is losing mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass, leading to an overall loss of mass. The model results were in contrast to the available data from satellite observations, which are supported by the new measurements.

The team’s results show that water temperatures are far lower than computer models predicted, which means that the Fimbul Ice Shelf is melting at a slower rate. Perhaps indicating that the shelf is neither losing nor gaining mass at the moment because ice buildup from snowfall has kept up with the rate of mass loss, Hattermann said.

In other words, the climate models were wrong. When actual data was obtained, first by satellites and now from the water under the ice shelf itself, the new data found that the ice shelf is stable, not melting as predicted.