The icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica: are they melting?


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NASA scientists have published a paper warning that there is growing evidence that the melting at the polar caps is accelerating. From the press release:

The pace at which the polar ice sheets are losing mass was found to be accelerating rapidly. Each year over the course of the study, the two ice sheets lost a combined average of 36.3 gigatonnes more than they did the year before. In comparison, the 2006 study of mountain glaciers and ice caps estimated their loss at 402 gigatonnes a year on average, with a year-over-year acceleration rate three times smaller than that of the ice sheets.

Several things to note after reading the actual paper:

  • The scientists used two independent sources of information and found that they agreed.
  • One source involved the use of a computer model, which is always fraught with problems.
  • The other source was data from the climate satellite Grace. Here also they made some corrections and assumptions, but far less so.
  • Finally, the scientists themselves admit that there “is considerable uncertainty” about their conclusions.

The results are without doubt worrisome, especially because of the Grace data. However, before I would accept them wholesale, I’d want to see what other scientists say about it. Also, the amount of computer modeling and corrections in the research gives me pause. The results might be correct, but they might also be the result of “garbage in/garbage.” Sadly, we have had too many examples recently of pro-global warming scientists fudging their data to serve their political ends. It leaves me very skeptical of any of this work.

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One comment

  • Steven Lockhart

    Well said. Worst case is a foot rise by 2050– an anemic prediction, at best– my main question in all of this is, “Why is it assumed that man is a major/main contributor in all of this, one way or the other?” We have seen changes of hundreds of feet in sea levels over the last 100,000 years– and very major ones in the last 10,000– it would seem that rises and falls in ocean levels is the norm, not the exception. All the hype just seems agenda driven — and the solutions are not practical, unless you see humanity as an infestation.

    Love your spots on Batchelor– keep up the good work!

    Steven

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