Antarctic glaciers may be melting less quickly

A study of some glaciers in Antarctica has found that they may be melting less quickly than previous studies have found.

UPI: Study suggests Antarctic glaciers are more stable than previously estimated

New research suggests ice flow among the glaciers on the southern Antarctic Peninsula isn’t as dramatic as previously estimated.

Glacial flow has increased since the 1990s, glaciologists at Leeds University found, but only a third as much as what was previously reported by scientists at the University of Bristol.

“Dramatic changes have been reported in this part of Antarctica, so we took a closer look at how its glaciers have evolved using 25 years of satellite measurements dating back to the early 1990s,” Leeds researcher Anna Hogg said in a news release.

Researchers used satellite data to track the advances of 30 different glaciers on the peninsula and found a significantly smaller rate of glacial advance and ice loss.

Bristol researchers reported significant ice loss and glacial thinning using a different set of satellite observations, but Hogg and her colleagues say their measurements don’t agree with such an interpretation.

The latest study, published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests most of the glaciers in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula known as Palmer Land are still moving relatively slowly and have only accelerated slightly over the last two decades.

This is how science works – more research generally moves science towards greater accuracy.

But glacial trends are complex. An acceleration may stop or reverse, or it may speed up.

A cynical post on this marred by omissions at Whale Oil: The south pole is melting at only a third of the rate “scientists” have been saying it has

“Cameron Slater” claimed:

They actually checked on the assertion made by “scientists” and found there was no basis to their inflated and scary numbers.

That’s not what the report or the scientists said at all.

I may be a layperson, but if the largest mass of ice on the planet is melting at two thirds of the rate we have been expecting, aren’t we just getting a bit ahead of ourselves predicting substantial sea level rises?

The report said “only a third as much”, but they also said “suggests most of the glaciers in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula known as Palmer Land” – that’s nothing like “the largest mass of ice on the planet”, it is just a part of the Antartic Peninsula, which itself is just a small part of Antarctica.

And “predicting substantial sea level rises” misrepresents the range of predictions that have been made about possible sea level rises.

And “Cameron Slater” omitted a key paragraph from the report:

The authors of the newest analysis say they aren’t discounting the risk of climate change and global warming’s effects on Antarctica glaciers. They say it’s essential that scientists continue to monitor the impacts of warming on glaciers and sea level rise.

Further scientific research is essential on such a complex and potentially world changing thing.

There is one certainty with climate change science – variability. The climate varies all the time. Research on climate and associated science will give us varying results. And if the planet is in fact warming there will be varying effects in different places, including different parts of Antarctica.

This will mean different rates of melting and different rates of accumulation of ice over time and in different regions.

Rubbishing past scientific research because newer research gives different results is either dumb or trying to discredit things people don’t want to hear.

All research has to be considered on it’s merits accumulatively, and if it is done well greater accuracy will be attained over time. As will better knowledge and more informed debate amongst those who want to consider all science and not just the bits that suit their agendas.

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1 Comment

  1. David

     /  May 6, 2017

    The problem with these global warmist exaggerating again and again is their credibilty is not enhanced. There is also a real world cost in their crazy predictions as people in Christchurch trying to get insurance in areas where it has been deemed at flood risk from rising sea levels, there is now only one insurer for vast areas of east Christchurch and it is very very expensive thanks to a ridiculous report commissioned by the council that has sea level rises twice the rate of the IPCC forecasts.