Antartica may be more sensitive to small climate changes than thought

Yippee, more great news. This time from the planet’s primary air conditioner and sea level manager, which may be way more sensitive to small increases in temperature than some researchers thought:

Disc News) — Scientists have long known that the wide platforms of ice extending from the southernmost continent have been shrinking away. But what’s behind the melting hasn’t been clear — whether warm ocean currents or surface winds have a bigger impact on the ice.

Now, a new satellite survey of Antarctica places the blame largely on the water. “In most places in Antarctica, we can’t explain the ice-shelf thinning through melting of snow at the surface,” said study team member Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey in a statement. “So it has to be driven by warm ocean currents melting them from below.”

Isn’t that just dandy? Of course water carries far more thermal energy per unit volume than air — try sitting naked in a chilly tub of water and a chilly room for a half-hour if you don’t get that — and thus erodes/melts the ice from below much faster than air at the same temperature would from above, all things being equal.

Also, too, notwithstanding and heretofore … polemic. … Sorry, inside joke for reg readers. Anyway, I’m sure there’s a lucrative disinformation/conflation angle in there somewhere. The Watts posse and the AEI boyz will be all over it in no time, if they’re not already. Let’s give ’em a hand. How about this, ‘until Antarctica is ice free can any of us truly be free?’ Or maybe ‘Rise up, fellow American Republicans, and Free Antarctica from its Icy Prison, for God-eh, for country, and for yourselves!’

See how easy it is to appear clever if honesty and accuracy are thrown out the window? Simply conflate the word free in ice-free with liberty as in the US Constitution! Sucker in as many right-wing blogs as possible and that could actually have an effect.

Thank you, thank you. Now, fossil fuel lobby; that will $80,000, small bills please, or better yet e-check into one of my offshore Freedom Accounts.


  1. d cwilson says

    Pfft. Who are you going to believe? Godless scientists or college dropout Sean Hannity? Godless scientists won’t even acknowledge that humans lived alongisde dinosaurs! How can you claim that the collapse of ice shelves is proof of global warming when Sean Hannity has astutely pointed out that it snows in February?

  2. says

    I bet the denialist response is going to be more something along the lines of “see, climate scientists were wrong again, how can we rely on any of their predictions” – never mind that they would just have relied on climate scientists to conclude scientists were wrong, or that scientists keep being wrong not by being too alarmist, but by being too conservative and by underestimating climate change.

  3. Skip White says

    The real challenge will be adapting all of our amazing ice-melting technology to work on Europa, in order to plunder its seas of its space-whales for their oil.

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