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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:25 AM
Original message
Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away
ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.The results of ice-core drilling and sea ice monitoring indicate there is no large-scale melting of ice over most of Antarctica, although experts are concerned at ice losses on the continent's western coast.
Extensive melting of Antarctic ice sheets would be required to raise sea levels substantially, and ice is melting in parts of west Antarctica. The destabilisation of the Wilkins ice shelf generated international headlines this month.

However, the picture is very different in east Antarctica, which includes the territory claimed by Australia.
East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for last week's meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington noted the South Pole had shown "significant cooling in recent decades".

Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison said sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years had been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica.
"Sea ice conditions have remained stable in Antarctica generally," Dr Allison said.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25348657-401,00.ht...

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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. ...
:popcorn:
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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. +1
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. +2
:popcorn:
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #2
14. OK, I have to ask..
I know what +n means, sort of, but can you tell me why it started as a trend on DU about a month ago?
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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. No clue.
Ba-a-a-a-a-a-h-h.
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. +1.5
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. +3
Edited on Sun Apr-19-09 11:32 AM by cliffordu
:popcorn:

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. I hope you all saved some for me......
:popcorn:

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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #12
29. Ok, so when you stand in the Antartctic, which way is West?
Edited on Sun Apr-19-09 12:19 PM by lunatica
But what I really want to know is which way is South? I can figure out which way is North, which over there, in all directions at once.

My head hurts now...
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
5. Well, winter IS coming on in the southern hemisphere
Oooops, did I let the cat out of the bag?
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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
33. the article said they used measurements over 30 years.
I don't think they are talking about only the last 12 months.
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
6. and this means???
Edited on Sun Apr-19-09 11:41 AM by spanone
it's a report that the right wing will point to time and again to dismiss global warming...nothing more
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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #6
17. It means we should take a look at it and discuss the issue
I swear some DUers are just as closed minded as the right wing.
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #17
26. i am not close minded, but one rupert murdoch newspaper article is not going to make me think
there is no global warming....right wing eh?
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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
7. This isn't from Rush Limbaugh
Is it really that controversial we can't look at the results of this study?

I have seen so many conflicting reports, I thought this might explain them....growing is some areas, shrinking in others?
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Not YET, anyway. Give it 3 days.
nm
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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. I'm sure he pick it up and start blabbing about it
But is this story just completely made up in everyone's opinions?
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
8. You clearly have no idea what you're talking about, and thus appear FOOLISH.
nm
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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I posted an article from the Australian Newspaper
Edited on Sun Apr-19-09 11:38 AM by Fireweed247
I just though it was interesting.
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Motown_Johnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. this is a Murdoch Paper, you should consider the source
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Australian_Newspaper

The Australian is published by News Limited,


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Limited

News Limited was the principal holding for the business interests of Rupert Murdoch until the formation of News Corporation in 1979. News Limited is now a subsidiary of that company



Interesting, but I need a more credible source to report on this before I can take it seriously.
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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. good advice
I did know that but they sound good "The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report" and "Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison"...it could be a bunch of made up BS by corporate funded scientists like the US likes to do....that is why I threw it out here to see what everyone thought.

This sounds promising...

"A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded."

How the hell do we know who to trust?
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Motown_Johnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. I tend to trust the consensus, There will always be outliers
but when 95% say one thing and 3% say another while 2% are not sure I will tend to trust the 95%
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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. This seems like new information and apparently the consensus of the group
no one is disputing the ice melting in the west, but now they say it has been growing in the east.
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Birthmark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Read these if you want to put the article in context
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-20-09 12:30 AM
Response to Reply #25
48. Thank you! That was a great explanation and the waters are warming
at an alarming rate. The ice melting is complex and I think that the right wing always uses this to deny climate change by focusing on this South Pole ice thickness issue, yet, it is the loss of arctic ice that cools climate. They all get the same e-mail and pass this around, have for years, this "new" research is familiar old stuff.


It's rightwing misdirection.

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northzax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #20
30. Yes, SCAR generally had a good idea of what they're talking about
And yes, there are parts of the continent that are trending cooler. Including the areas around the Ross Sea and the pole. (for the record, there are places near the pole where the ice is over two miles thick) and the continuing loss of WAIS will not directly affect sea levels (in fact, the entire global sea ice collection could spontaneously melt tomorrow and not raise sea levels one milimeter, since it is all currently displacing water. Think of a glass of ice water, when the ice melts, the level of the water doesn't go up.) but all of that isn't actually the potential problem. WAIS serve several important functions (besides being a home for krill, the baselie of the Southern Ocean food chain) ice, like everything else, flows downhill, towards the sea. When glaciers hit water, they tend to melt. (ain't that right, Captain Smith?) static ice sheets serve as a buffer, helping to hold back the constant gravitational flow off the continent. Break up the sheets into floes, and gravitational flow increases. More ice leaves land (where it was not displacing sea water) and enters the oceans. This does three things: it introduced new water to the system that has been out of play for hundreds of thousands of years; it continues to cool the oceans, and it wreaks havoc with local and global currents. None of these have fully predictable outcomes.

And this is exactly what SCAR members will tell you, although they don't have enough long-term data to prove it and SCAR requires hard data. (at least this is what the Current President of SCAR explained to me once a bit back)
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #30
37. Technically, WAIS is the term for the West Antarctic Ice *Sheet*, and does affect sea level
because it's the section above land (or, in some places, grounded on land that would be below sea level if the ice wasn't there at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Antarctic_Ice_Sheet

The ice *shelves* are the parts that won't directly contribute to sea level rise when they melt, but do, as you say, hold back the glaciers, and thus slow the rate of melt of things like the WAIS.
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northzax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-20-09 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #37
49. yes, of course
this is what I get for typing on the iphone and not really paying attention. thanks for the correction.
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Rage for Order Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #18
32. Yes, when you have no cogent argument against the message
Attack the messenger instead. Classic deflection, and right-wing tactic
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Motown_Johnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #32
38. "consider the source" is an attack? I didn't mean it that way but we do all know Rupert's agenda
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-21-09 03:07 AM
Response to Reply #9
51. I once "posted" a dog skull on a stick. That was "interesting". RELEVANT, though....not so much.
nm
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
11. So is Limbaugh's ass.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
13. tip of the ice cube
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
19. So I should bring my down jacket instead of the other one?
:popcorn:
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
21. This isn't really a new finding
It's been said for quite some time that it's the WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) which is melting. It was theorized that changes in circulating air patterns are leading to increases of warm deep ocean water paths off the coasts of the WAIS. This is in turn the speculated reason for the increased melting of the WAIS.

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GeorgeGist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
27. Q + A with Dr. Allison ...
Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:34pm BST
(Reuters) - The U.N. Climate Panel says seas could rise by 18-59 cms (7-24 inches) by 2100, without taking account the possible acceleration of a melt of ice sheets in Antarctica or Greenland.

Even a small thaw of Antarctica and Greenland would affect sea levels since together they lock up enough ice to raise sea levels by about 65 meters (215 feet) if they all melted.

Following are responses to questions from Reuters by a leading glaciologist as part of an ad-hoc global series of top climate change scientists, policy makers and academics.

Ian Allison is leader of the Australian Antarctic Division's Ice, Ocean, Atmosphere and Climate program and a researcher within the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center.
<snip>
http://uk.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=UKTRE53G3H...
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
28. "but making just that one point is very misleading and quite dishonest."....
...

Yes, the Antarctic ice sheet is growing in height in the central region, but making just that one point is very misleading and quite dishonest.

There is an enormous amount of research that has been conducted on the poles and there is much more to the story than just the increase in snow in the middle of the continent. Indeed the coast is where the real action is.

The leading U.S. climate scientist Dr. James Hansen responded via email saying "The most precise data on the mass of the ice sheets, from the gravity satellite, show that, overall, Antarctica is losing mass, as is Greenland, even though East Antarctica is gaining a small amount of mass."

"All of the models, and the observations, have the central parts of Greenland and Antarctica growing faster because of global warming. This is a consequence of warmer air holding more moisture, thus increasing snowfall. But the net effect of warming on both continental ice sheets is mass loss, the increased melting being a larger effect than the increased snowfall.

...

http://www.countercurrents.org/burbeck100108.htm
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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
31. This topic is being used by the elite as another divide and conquer tactic

WE need to find a way to unite with the right. Whether or not they believe in global warming, we can all agree that pollution is bad. The Corporations need to be forced to do what is right for the global population no matter what!

Pollution from Corporations is the biggest cause of global warming. No amount of changing our lightbulbs or using less plastic or becoming vegetarians(I do all of these) can counter the amount of crap that is being dumped into the atmosphere by the corporations. This is why I do not trust Al Gore. For all of his talk about global warming, he is the one that pushed NAFTA and the WTO allowing our Corporations to go to other countries with no environmental regulations. How much sense does that make? The powers that be have everyone focused on the wrong thing, blaming ourselves and not the real polluters, and then they will use the issue to charge us for our carbon footprint. This is why I do not trust either party, and am forced to think for myself.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #31
41. It's global climate change, rather than global warming.
Some areas are cooler, some warmer, some dryer, some wetter.

That's why the right loves to talk about "global warming" and then show an example of where it is unusually cool.

You are right, I agree, the pollution and CO2 is a major problem and being dumped into the atmosphere.

This thing about Antarctica is another example, I recall a rightwingnut throwing this line out: Look Antarctic is getting thicker ice!


If you think about it, it's a continent and it is huge.

The ice on the periphery does seem to be melting. In addition, the west side seems to be melting faster than the east side.

Also, Antarctica has always had ups and downs in it's ice depth because of precipitation, to it is a handy thing for them to throw at progressives, to "debunk climate change."

I totally agree with you self education is the key.

I posted some replies below with some unbiased data from NASA and Univ. of Ill.

PLus, wiki has a pretty good section on both Antarctica and also one on climate change, and the links are always good, even if it is an open source site and not peer reviewed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic#cite_note-econom...

>>Effects of global warming

Warming trend from 1957 through 2006
Most of the continent's icy mass has so far proven largely impervious to climate change, being situated on solid rock; its deep interior is actually growing in volume as a result of increased precipitation.<64> The Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise has long been uncertain. A recent report by CPOM suggests that Antarctica has provided, at most, a negligible component of observed sea-level rise - indeed a survey of 72% of the Antarctic ice suggests an attributable short-term lowering of global sea levels by 0.08 mm per year.<65> Conversely, a 10 year comparison of the balance between glacier decline and snowfall accumulation found that ice loss had increased 75%. In 2006, Antarctica lost a net 200 billion tonnes of ice.<66><67>

However, Antarctica's periphery has been warming up, particularly on the Antarctic Peninsula and in Pine Island Bay, which together are contributing to a rise in sea levels.<64> In 2003 the Larsen-B ice shelf collapsed.<68> Between 28 February and 8 March 2008, about 570 square kilometers of ice from the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Western Antarctica collapsed, putting the remaining 15,000 square kilometers of the ice shelf at risk. The ice is being held back by a "thread" of ice about 6 km wide.<69><70> According to NASA, the most significant Antarctic melting in the past 30 years occurred in 2005, when a mass of ice comparable in size to California briefly melted and refroze; this may have resulted from temperatures rising to as high as 5 C (41 F).<71>

In contrast to the break up of some ice shelves (ice that formed on land and has now moved so it is floating on the sea) along the peninsula, the amount of sea ice (ice formed by freezing ocean water) around Antarctica has remained stable, or even increased some, over the past 30 years.<72> The average extent of Antarctic sea ice in one month can differ by as much as 1 million square kilometers from the long-term average for that month. The area covered by Antarctic sea ice has shown a small increasing trend (0.8% per decade).<73> The sea ice concentration of Antarctica in June 2008 is virtually the same as that in June 1979.<<
..........

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change

This gives a nice overview.

Good luck with your research, this is an important topic and because it is so complex, the right can take advantage of if to cause confusion, although, there is some talk they are re-thinking their position on planet Earth. :)



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Richard D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
34. The same author published another article on the same day . . .
Of course faux et al ignored it totally:


Unlike the Arctic, there has been no certainty that global warming is having an effect across Antarctica, although temperatures have risen in parts of west Antarctica, especially on the Antarctic Peninsula. The peninsula is geologically more an extension of the Andes of South America than part of the Antarctic continent. The crucial distinction between west Antarctica and the much larger east Antarctica is rarely mentioned in media reports of ice shelf break-ups.

snip

Last week's SCAR report points to substantial ice losses in and around west Antarctica: for instance, 28 of 36 surveyed glaciers on South Georgia Island are retreating.

However, the picture in east Antarctica, which includes the South Pole and the territory claimed by Australia, is different.

Steig tells Inquirer that his study found some cooling in east Antarctica in the 1980s and '90s. He adds, however, that the evidence indicates the continent is warming overall.

"West Antarctica is warming significantly and has been for the entire 50-year period of our study. West Antarctica has been warming so much that the average over the entire continent, including east Antarctica, is significant warming."

Nonetheless, evidence supports anecdotal observations that over much of east Antarctica, the sea ice that fringes the continent, a key indicator of climate change, is becoming more extensive.


http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,2534...
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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. evidence indicates the continent is warming overall
Thanks for posting.

The ice is growing but the continent is still warming. This information is important for us to know to be able to discuss this with the right. Instead of reacting, we need to arm ourselves with knowledge.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #35
43. The ice grows in the center, and has, due to percipitation cycles
it's a vast continent. Imagine warm waters off NY and LA may not affect Kansas, nor the snow fall in
N. Dakota until much later, if the US were covered with ice the coastlines would melt first.

I'm glad you brought up this topic, it will be important in the decades to come.
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ChimpersMcSmirkers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
36. Uh huh...
Edited on Sun Apr-19-09 01:36 PM by ChimpersMcSmirkers
Even if increasing slightly this isn't exactly stellar news.

http://nsidc.org/seaice/characteristics/difference.html

I guess it's ok to not worry about this then:

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews /

http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/change.htm

What else ya got?
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
39. Compare for yourself, here are the pics.
Edited on Sun Apr-19-09 10:17 PM by bluedawg12
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. "the last remnant of the northern part of Antarcticas Wilkins Ice Shelf -- broke apart "
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/IPY/multimedia/ipyimg...

>>A narrow ice bridge connecting Charcot Island and Latady Island -- the last remnant of the northern part of Antarcticas Wilkins Ice Shelf -- broke apart in early April 2009. These photo-like images, from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), show the break-up of the ice bridge.

In the lower image, taken by the MODIS instrument on NASAs Terra satellite on March 31, 2009, the ice bridge was still intact. The ice appears to be smooth, an unbroken surface. Less than a week later, late on April 6, the MODIS instrument on NASAs Aqua satellite captured the top image. The smooth bridge is gone, replaced by chunks of ice. The breakup was initially observed in radar imagery by the European Space Agency.

The pieces of the former ice bridge join multiple other chunks of ice formed as the northern portion of the ice shelf broke apart throughout the previous decade. The broken pieces of the shelf have remained frozen in place since 1998, but now that the ice bridge no longer provides a barrier, the remnants of the ice shelf may flow out into the Southern Ocean. A careful comparison of the two images reveals that some of the ice nearest the bridge shifted between March 31 and April 6....<<

........

Here's more info. from NASA in case anyone wanted to check out more data on Arctic and Anarctic ice.

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/index.html

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roamer65 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:00 PM
Response to Reply #39
42. Just a few more years and the "Northwest Passage" will be fully open.
Edited on Sun Apr-19-09 11:01 PM by roamer65
Geopolitically, that's going to pose a lot of problems. Arctic countries are still squabbling about territory up there.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #42
44. The arctic (N. Pole) is melting very rapidly and affects climate the most.
They are sqaubbling over both poles. :eyes:

There's gas and resources up north.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic

I really don't think we are a sustainable species. So, we may be out of the equation in a few hundred years.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #42
45. looking at the pics- the passage across nortern russia may open just as soon...
providing another 'polar' route from atlantic to pacific
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-19-09 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. You're right, those are the arctic pics, not the antarctic.
Here we go, the arctic on top, the antarctic on the bottom. The antarctic has a little tail on top.





From NASA:

Antarctic ice loss between 1996 and 2006, overlaid on a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) mosaic image of Antarctica. The colors indicate the speed of the ice loss. Purple/red is fast. Green is slow. Image credit: NASA

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/antarctica-20...
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-20-09 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
47. For rw climate change deniers: it's the arctic ice that affects climate and it's melting.
Edited on Mon Apr-20-09 12:05 AM by bluedawg12
They do love to bring up the growing antarctic ice notion, but, it is the North Pole, the arctic that is the most important for global climate cooling and not the antarctic (South Pole) and sadly, the arctic is melting.

I found this from NASA that discusses this:


http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/arctic_thinic...

Satellites Show Arctic Literally on Thin Ice 04.06.09


This data visualization from the AMSR-E instrument on the Aqua satellite show the maximum sea ice extent for 2008-09, which occurred on Feb. 28, 2009.



Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio

<snip>

The decline in multiyear (including second-year ice) sea ice coverage has also been measured by NASAs QuikScat satellite from 1999 to 2009. Each field shows the coverage on January 1 of that year. There is a 40 percent drop in coverage between 2005 and 2007. Credit: Ron Kwok, NASA/JPL
> Larger image The latest Arctic sea ice data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the decade-long trend of shrinking sea ice cover is continuing. New evidence from satellite observations also shows that the ice cap is thinning as well.

Arctic sea ice works like an air conditioner for the global climate system. Ice naturally cools air and water masses, plays a key role in ocean circulation, and reflects solar radiation back into space. In recent years, Arctic sea ice has been declining at a surprising rate.

Scientists who track Arctic sea ice cover from space announced today that this winter had the fifth lowest maximum ice extent on record. The six lowest maximum events since satellite monitoring began in 1979 have all occurred in the past six years (2004-2009).

Until recently, the majority of Arctic sea ice survived at least one summer and often several. But things have changed dramatically, according to a team of University of Colorado, Boulder, scientists led by Charles Fowler. Thin seasonal ice -- ice that melts and re-freezes every year -- makes up about 70 percent of the Arctic sea ice in wintertime, up from 40 to 50 percent in the 1980s and 1990s. Thicker ice, which survives two or more years, now comprises just 10 percent of wintertime ice cover, down from 30 to 40 percent.

According to researchers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., the maximum sea ice extent for 2008-09, reached on Feb. 28, was 5.85 million square miles. That is 278,000 square miles less than the average extent for 1979 to 2000.

"Ice extent is an important measure of the health of the Arctic, but it only gives us a two-dimensional view of the ice cover," said Walter Meier, research scientist at the center and the University of Colorado, Boulder. "Thickness is important, especially in the winter, because it is the best overall indicator of the health of the ice cover. As the ice cover in the Arctic grows thinner, it grows more vulnerable to melting in the summer."

The Arctic ice cap grows each winter as the sun sets for several months and intense cold sets in. Some of that ice is naturally pushed out of the Arctic by winds, while much of it melts in place during summer. The thicker, older ice that survives one or more summers is more likely to persist through the next summer.

Sea ice thickness has been hard to measure directly, so scientists have typically used estimates of ice age to approximate its thickness. But last year a team of researchers led by Ron Kwok of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., produced the first map of sea ice thickness over the entire Arctic basin.

Using two years of data from NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), Kwok's team estimated thickness and volume of the Arctic Ocean ice cover for 2005 and 2006. They found that the average winter volume of Arctic sea ice contained enough water to fill Lake Michigan and Lake Superior combined.

The older, thicker sea ice is declining and is being replaced with newer, thinner ice that is more vulnerable to summer melt, according to Kwok. His team found that seasonal sea ice averages about 6 feet in thickness, while ice that had lasted through more than one summer averages about 9 feet, though it can grow much thicker in some locations near the coast.

Kwok is currently working to extend the ICESat estimate further, from 2003 to 2008, to see how the recent decline in the area covered by sea ice is mirrored in changes in its volume.

"With these new data on both the area and thickness of Arctic sea ice, we will be able to better understand the sensitivity and vulnerability of the ice cover to changes in climate," Kwok said.
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-20-09 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
50. sigh, DU's reaction to this is disappointing
Someone posts evidence that to someone who has no idea what's going on would appear to contradict global climate change research.

Instead of calmly explaining why the evidence doesn't actually contradict the research, people start attacking the messenger and engaging in various other tactics we use when we have nothing else in our rhetorical toolbox.

It suggests a limited understanding of global climate change research, and if this is typical of liberals, it's not too surprising that we're having a hard time spurring our governments into action.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-21-09 03:16 AM
Response to Original message
52. My ex-girlfriend was a glaciologist.
She was a cold, cold woman.
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and-justice-for-all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-21-09 04:29 AM
Response to Original message
53. I like pickles....do you like pickles? Because I like pickles....
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