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December 22, 2014

Antarctic Ice Sheet Falling Apart in ‘Irreversible Retreat’

New York Times: “A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries.”

“Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said.”

“Two scientific papers released on Monday by the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters came to similar conclusions by different means.”

Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine, said in a NASA news conference that the ice sheet’s retreat has “passed the point of no return.”

A separate team led by Ian Joughin of the University of Washington also “found that a slow-motion collapse had become inevitable. Even if the warm water now eating away at the ice were to dissipate, it would be ‘too little, too late to stabilize the ice sheet,’ Dr. Joughin said. ‘There’s no stabilization mechanism.’”

  • DarkSecretPlace

    All hail unfailing Science! Now somebody explain why the receding ice sheet is exposing medieval farms in Greenland? How did Polar Bears survive the 1200s?

    • zappa24

      Climate scientists already knew about the Medieval warming period. The polar bears survived then because the ice luckily didn’t recede so far back that the bears ran out of habitat. Since that was a fluctuation driven by natural cycles, it came to an end as the cycle looped back towards the Little Ice Age. Unfortunately, the current change is all in one direction because of our pumping carbon that took thousands to millions of years to be sequestered in the ground as coal and petroleum back into the atmosphere in a period of about two centuries. The ice will not stop receding this time.

      • creative_dude

        As I recall last year, 2013, was the year there was going to be no more ice at the north pole. Is that true ? Was that a prediction ? That 95 % confidence level in the models predictions has now fallen out of the range of observed temperatures. If the range of predictions from the models do not match with reality, would that not indicate that at least the code for those climate models needs to be rewritten ?

        Climate scientists already knew about the medieval warming period. Yes they did and tried to eliminate those from the temperature records. Look at Mann’s hockey stick, do you see any medieval warming stats in there. If people have had trouble accepting the hype about warmal cooling it is because there has been deliberate distortions and lies. Science is science. Wildly exaggerating your results to try to scare people into agreeing with your views is not Science.

        • zappa24

          While Al Gore was predicting that, most climate scientists were predicting that the Arctic would have an ice-free summer starting around 2050.

          As for climate scientists trying to “hide” the medieval warming period, you are going to have to show some evidence of that.

          • creative_dude

            There are more than a 150,000 results to a google search for Mann’s hockey stick. The first one here is from Wikipedia. Because it is so obviously false, the hockey stick has not only been thrown under the IPPC’s bus but discredited by everyone who has ever a sense of Honesty . . . The following is pasted from Wikipedia . . .In the hockey stick controversy, the data and
            methods used in reconstructions of the temperature record of the past
            1000 years have been disputed. Reconstructions have consistently shown
            that the rise in the instrumental temperature record of the past 150
            years is not matched in earlier centuries.

          • zappa24

            Actually, the Wikipedia article says that the IPCC found a few errors in statistical analysis, but those errors were not statistically significant to the final analysis. Further, since the Mann, Bradley, and Hughes paper, dozens of reconstructions of global temperatures of the past 1000 years using both the same temperature proxies of the original paper plus new proxies found that the graph is more or less correct.

          • creative_dude
          • zappa24

            The graphs you are using are cherry picking data. The “hockey stick” has now been replicated by two dozen different studies. The argument over the “hockey stick” is that the deniers are saying that the medieval warm period was warmer than today, but we now have two dozen studies that say otherwise.

            The two studies you are mentioning said that the ice sheet melting would increase sea level by anywhere from an inch to three inches by 2100. That is less than a century for a significant sea level rise. Further, the two studies were only on one ice shelf in Antarctica. It didn’t get into the other ones there or in Greenland that will also collapse if the current rise in temperature continues. Finally, you are using the point of collapse as the point of disaster, but sea level rises will be significant before the actual collapse. By saying we shouldn’t be worried because the full collapse won’t happen for a thousand years, it shows that you don’t quite get the dynamics of the receding and collapsing of the ice sheet.

          • creative_dude

            Antarctic
            ice shelf collapse will raise sea levels Two separate studies said
            the collapse cannot be stopped although it is still several centuries
            off, possibly as much as a thousands years off. Another crises that
            will change everything if we don’t do something right now. A crises
            that will not happen for several centuries. Don’t these guys read their
            own studies ?

        • pbrower2a

          What they said was that sea ice would no longer be permanent at the North Pole. Not that that matters much in itself. The Arctic ice shelf is itself shrinking — extending not so far in the winter and receding deeper in the summer. To be sure, the opening of sea ice in September matters little because of the low sun. But as huge patches of open sea become the norm in the early summer, then climates in the polar region will change dramatically.

          Polar regions receive abut as much sunlight in the summer as do the tropics due to the absence of darkness. As things now are, sea ice reflects the vast majority of the sunlight. But as the sea ice disappears the open water becomes a dark surface capable of absorbing huge amounts of heat. Such will lead to more atmospheric moisture and to heavy rains. The circulation of ocean currents will change in strange ways — perhaps to our detriment.

          No, I am not going to say that there will be palm trees and alligators replacing tundra grasses and polar bears near Barrow, Alaska — the High Arctic will still have real winters. But if we don’t fully understand the consequences we had better be careful.

    • moderatesunite

      we’re already well above the warming of the so called “medieval warm period”

      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/medieval.html

      by at least 0.5 degrees C and that rise has been quick and dramatic to the minor changes that appear to have occurred since the end of the last ice age.

    • pbrower2a

      The ice sheets are retreating. are they not? And fast!

  • pitch1934

    By a score of 97 to 3 qualified scientists believe that human activities are the greatest accelerant to global warning. That’s a pretty tough score to overcome.

    • pbrower2a

      But the special interests say that we need to accelerate our use of fossil fuels for…

      Never mind.

  • Dave Duffey

    The “97%” figure is not accurate, it is propaganda. That is from a study long discredited. Of 1200 scientific papers on climate, one third mentioned man made global warming, of those, 97% mentioned it could be a factor. Science is about hard facts, not consensus, and the facts do not support any of the global cooling, global warming, climate change, climate disruptions hypothesis. Climate is variable and chaotic by nature. The only support for anthropogenic climate change at all, and it is all warming, are the computer models, not the observations.

  • YONATAN C

    THIS IS A VERY SAD AND SORRY SITUATION FOR OUR COUNTRY AND OUR PEOPLE . WE HAVE ELECTED PUBLIC OFFICIALS WHO GET IN OFFICE, AND ONCE IN OFFICE,FEEL THAT THEY NO LONGER NEED TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.THESE SELF-IMPORTANT, SELF-RIGHTEOUS, SELF-INDULGED, CAREER POLITICIANS, ANSWER ONLY TO THEIR PARTY AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS. WE HAVE BEEN LET DOWN BY OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, AND ARE NOW AT THE MERCY OF POLITICIANS WHO REALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT THE POOR AND UNEMPLOYED WHO ARE STRUGGLING AND SUFFERING WHILE THEY TAKE BREAK AFTER BREAK, AND VACATION, AFTER VACATION. THE REPUBLICANS ARE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MORE THAN 2.6 MILLION UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES WITHOUT BENEFITS, BECAUSE THEY CHOSE NOT TO HELP THEM. IT HAS BEEN FIVE MONTHS THAT THESE FAMILIES HAVE BEEN WITHOUT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, AND THEY HAVE WATCHED THE REPUBLICANS PLAY THEIR WAITING GAME, MAKING EVERY ATTEMPT TO STALL THE VOTING ON THE EXTENSION BILL, IN THE HOPES IT WILL GET TOO LATE TO VOTE FOR IT. THEY HAVE DELIBERATELY WASTED FIVE MONTHS, WHILE THESE FAMILIES FACED EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS. THESE POOR FAMILIES HAVE LOST EVERYTHING, WHILE WAITING FOR THE HELP THAT THEY DESERVED . THE REPUBLICANS HAVE NOW JUST HANDED OVER TO THE DEMOCRATS 2.6 MILLION NEW VOTES IN THE COMING ELECTION. THESE UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES WILL NOT FORGET THE BETRAYAL OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

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