Environment Forum

Antarctic ice expands — global warming at work?

September 12, 2008

Adelie penguins in Antarctica are photographed in this January 18, 2005 file photo. The pesticide DDT, banned decades ago in much of the world, still shows up in penguins in Antarctica, probably due to the chemical’s accumulation in melting glaciers, a sea bird expert said on May 9, 2008. REUTERS/Heidi Geisz/Virginia Institute of Marine Science/Handout (ANTARCTICA).Ice getting bigger hardly sounds like a sign of global warming but that’s apparently what is happening in the seas around Antarctica.

Leading climate scientists say that a tiny trend towards bigger ice in winter floating on the oceans around the frozen continent since the late 1970s — the maximum extent is around now, in September — is consistent with models of climate change that predict harsher winds and less warmer water at the surface.

It may even be that there’s more snow and rain falling onto the southern oceans because of climate change — that can raise the amount of fresh water on the surface and, hey presto, fresh water freezes at a higher temperature than salt water.

At Reuters News my colleagues and I often write stories about the shrinking of summer ice at the other end of the world, in the Arctic, as one of the clearest signs of global warming that is blamed by the U.N. Climate Panel on human use of fossil fuels.

In response to those stories, I often get e-mails from people sceptical about climate change who say that ice at the other end of the earth, around Antarctica, is expanding.

But it turns out that leading scientists at NASA, the British Antarctic Survey and Norway’s Nansen Center say the two things are not contradictory — the world reacts to greenhouse gases in different ways.

Antarctica is a gigantic frozen continent and winds sweep around it in the southern oceans, without drawing in much warmer air from further north. The Arctic is an open ocean ringed by continents, and more vulnerable to currents and winds blowing up from the south.

So you really can have your ice and melt it, depending on which pole you’re talking about.

What do you think?

Comments
13 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

So now, in spite of hard (no pun intended) evidence is prensent in terms of expanding ice, our “political scientists” suggest that it “differnet ice.” Now come on that is clearly Orwellian “new speak.” All the snow and ice is first fresh wather ice. When it stays, it is colder than the day before. The article cites some scientist, but names none and does not refer you to any study. That is garbage science from my perspective.

 

The doom & gloomers are getting so desperate, that they heve now resorted to creating any sort of junk science that will continue their campaign of deliberate mis information about the causes of climate change!

The WWF are also trying to go one better today, with another unsubstaniated story about the summer Artic ice getting smaller and smaller in the summer months! Er! dose’nt all snow and ice melt in the summer? Because it has melted, are the doomers saying the ice has gone forever? Why don’t they publish all those evocotive pictures of polar bears on the ice in the winter???

Would that be unacceptable to the doomers as it might just show that the Artic does freeze up again when the winter comes!

Posted by james | Report as abusive
 

From Time Magazine 13. September 1937:

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Last week this new, shorter Northwest Passage’s navigability was dramatically demonstrated as Hudson Bay Company’s Eastern Arctic Patrol Nascopie sounded her way through Bellot Strait. Snow shrouded the Arctic dusk as head on through the haze came the bow of another ship. Nascopie’s Captain Thomas Smellie’s incredulous hail got a booming reply from veteran Arctic Trader Patsy Klingenberg, from the deck of the Schooner Aklavik, eastbound to Baffin Island, and astonished Eskimo cheers from both crews echoed through the rock-bound channel. That night captains of both vessels described from their anchorages to Canadian Broadcasting Co. and NBC audiences their historic meeting. Hopeful for the growing trade of the North were residents and sponsors of Churchill that somehow Northwest Passage II would bring business, help redeem millions of dollars sunk in Canada’s most northerly port.

Posted by Sveinn Sveinsson | Report as abusive
 

The new beak through achieved with Gravity Power Towers, replaces 70% of current energy use in transportation sector with eternal and omnipresent gravity power, at practically no cost! When used with Gravity Power Towers, the cost of solar/wind energies is only 1/3rd of current cost, making it attractive to users in transportation. Ref: http://gravitypoweredtransport.blogspot. com For example with an investment of US$150 in Gravity Power Towers, the USA can stop import and burning of 8m barrels of oil!!! That would go a long way to cause significant reduction in global warming even by one country. It is a win win situation- because USA will save $700b of oil imports too!

 

I’ll bet not one person (myself included) is a scientist or as any formal training in climatology or any scientific fields related to the current topic. Whats worse is people who are ignorant about the factors and science that is involved in these complex globally-dynamic issues flock to the science (and scientists)whose opinions best suit their own biases.

Let the scientists battle it out, and let the research and data prove the points (which involves more than the circumference of either pole). Opinions can’t change the environment, and only knowledge and research will allow us to find out how to.

Bottom-line: what we are doing IS not good for us as a species or the planet as a whole, no one can refute that. Beyond that it is all still being studied.

Posted by Tim in NC | Report as abusive
 

Tim in NC

I would agree we should let the scientists battle it out, but your last statement seems as baseless as those of the others you admonish.

“what we are doing IS not good for us as a species or the planet as a whole, no one can refute that”

Please tell me, what temperature should the earth be? And what temperature will provide optimal survivability for our species and/or the planet as a whole?

We, as a global community, fear change, and therefore label it as bad. It may well be that after an initial shock and adjustment, a warmer world may prove to be a far more bountiful place to live. Assuming the warming continues at all, that is.

Posted by Da6d | Report as abusive
 

Global warming may be happening, then again maybe it isn’t. I agree with the entertainers, Penn and Teller when they said, “I simply don’t know.” There is no irrefutable evidence out there on either side.

But what we do know is that the earth’s supply of oil, coal, natural gas, etc, is limited. We will reach an end. And for that reason alone, we do need reliable alternative energy sources.

The formation or melting of ice simply doesn’t matter. Sure it helps fuel arguments for both sides, but it’s a pointless academic issue.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

so the melting of 4,000 year old ice sheets in the Arctic can be resolved by the refreezing this winter!? No, there is no global warming or climate change just “gloom and doomer” hysteria. Right, time to get out some books and do a little studying and turn off the Fox News.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive
 

Only real sea level rise will prove global warming, so watch the shores. Sea level will be equal around the world. Latest studies show very, very slow rise. Rise at a level that mankind can easily adapt to, and manage.

Sea level rise does not mean that the warming is man made. Much of present continents was once under the ocean.

Posted by Ron Wagner | Report as abusive
 

Ron Wagner,

Those studies don’t point out that “while the ocean is rising” some places, it isn’t others. It is lowering at places.
I agree with patrick, the global warming fanatics realized their ideas were BS so they changed now to “climate change” so that anyone saying it is going up AND down can be refuted by “oh that is climate change” which is rather funny.

I do like to see lots of intelligent comment amid the few moronic ones.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive
 

Increasing CO2 levels coincide with increased ocean temperatures and melting sea ice. So does indoor plumbing but that proves NOTHING. Coincidence IS NOT cause, it is two things happening at the same time. According to ice cores increased CO2 levels precede ICE AGES too!! Increased underwater volcanic activity is warming the oceans and increasing dust and hydrocarbons in the atmosphere which will increase clouds and snow pack and reduce global temperatures and may cause a new ice age. Science is A causes B and here is how. Witchcraft is A causes B now shut up and burn the witch.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive
 

Its amazing how the skeptics are so incredibly knowledgeable and expert when it comes to climate change!.. I’m in absolute awe. Tell ya, who needs the climate scientists when you have such expertise at the layman level! Darn, I should have known climate change and all the so-called observed facts are only illusions and the vast majority of scientists a bunch irrational morons or outright liars.

But to be quite serious, continued skepticism when confronted with the overwhelming scientific concensus backed by the growing realities really boils down to this one glaring fact: barring complete intellectual ineptitude the skeptics that remain are not really skeptics at all.. they are morally bankrupt individuals who are too selfish and self-centered to be willing to face the prospect of making ANY effort and sacrifice that is needed to counter man-made climate change and are not honest enough to admit it.

Posted by JF | Report as abusive
 

Unless you have time machine to take you forward 100 years you can’t disprove the IPCC climate models. There is so much uncertainty in the models that everything is possible. Those with deeper interest should visit the science blog at the U. of Colorado site http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/promet heus/author/roger Lots of debat between climate scientist.

Mike

Posted by MIKE MCHENRY | Report as abusive
 

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