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Earth Science

Scientists Cut Greenland Ice Loss Estimate By Half 414

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-bad-after-all dept.
bonch writes "A new study on Greenland's and West Antarctica's rate of ice loss halves the estimate of ice loss. Published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the study takes into account a rebounding of the Earth's crust called glacial isostatic adjustment, a continuing rise of the crust after being smashed under the weight of the Ice Age. 'We have concluded that the Greenland and West Antarctica ice caps are melting at approximately half the speed originally predicted,' said researcher Bert Vermeeersen."
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Scientists Cut Greenland Ice Loss Estimate By Half

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  • by Vintermann (400722) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:41AM (#33518810) Homepage

    It is now a known fact that at least one journal (Climate Research), when publishing papers that the "top dog" climate scientists didn't like, then faced retribution from those same "top dogs" who conspired to then boycott said publication (to not publish in it, or even cite any publications in it) to manipulate its editorial staff.

    That says very little unless you also say why they did it. If they suddenly started arguing for UFO abductions in the editorials, for instance, I think we all would agree that wanting to distance yourself from them would be a reasonable thing to do.

    You imply, without stating outright, that the paper CR published that climate scientists didn't like was perfectly honest, good science. It was not [wikipedia.org]. The reaction wasn't some secret scheme to manipulate the staff as you suggest, it was a highly public boycott campaign. Contributors were leaving it in droves. Even the climate scientist Hans von Storch, up to that time a darling of the climate denial movement for his bitter feud with Michael Mann, resigned in protest from his position as the board's chief editor because of that paper.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:00AM (#33518892)

    The amount of ice is dependant on altitude. I am sure that the climatologists know this, but just because the rate of melt at sea level is increasing doesn't mean that the amount of melt at moderate or high altitude is as well. If the average global temperature increased then the average air pressure would decrease meaning that snow and ice at higher altitudes would increase (due to the freezing point of water being dependant on air pressure). Therefore there will be an increase in snow/ice as you move up in altitude. So, the rate of melt might even remain constant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:25AM (#33519054)

    See this is typical climate change stuff..

    It says "thousands of indicators" and people think "oh no!" but there are not thousands of indicators at all... It's pretty much all made up, speculation and FUD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:32AM (#33519098)
    Some ice sheets are increasing in area but I think the consensus is that all the major ice sheets are losing mass. This includes Arctic sea ice and the Antarctic, Greenland, and Alaskan ice sheets. This new study may have an impact on how fast the rate of melting has been increasing, but it doesn't look like it shows they are not melting.
  • Rain, too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by overshoot (39700) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:52AM (#33519180)

    Snowfall above 3000 meters in greenland is increasing as predicted by climate models. This has nothing to do with the gulf stream (which is not significantly slowing down), it's due to increased water vapour which in turn is due to a positive feedback from global warming. Overall the extra snowfall at high altitudes does not make up for the extra loss at low altitudes, the extra snowfall may even speed up the loss of glaciers by making them top heavy.

    And: the increased precipitation, snow and rain, is further diluting the surface salinity in the North Atlantic. When it gets low enough, the Gulf Stream stops its current pattern of flowing north evaporating as it goes until it's salty enough to dive to the bottom and return deep. Much change occurs worldwide, but most immediately Europe gets colder and dryer.

    That's going to be very hard to ignore, and IMHO will most likely be the turning point in public and policy-making consciousness of climate change. The question is, when?

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:15AM (#33519332)
    "But 164 gigatonnes of glacial ice melt per year still sounds like a lot to me" Divide the volume of ice by the area of the oceans... 163e9 gigatons ice*1e6 grams/gigaton / (4 * 3.14 * 6.371e8**2 earth area *.70 sea area/earth area) * 100 years/century = 4.5 cm per century. Also, if this is only the melt rate not counting the snowfall or ice accumulation rate which could cut this by any amount including making it negative (sea level fall), then one could expect the net contribution to sea level rise to be even smaller. Regardless of any other issue related to global warming, the idea that this is "big" in the actual impact scale is simply being stymied by large absolute numbers which is a red herring. The *variability* in tidal fluctuations dwarfs this "correction" by orders of magnitude.
  • by Anynomous Coward (841063) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:35AM (#33519470)
    Cleared ?
    By who ? [heraldscotland.com]
    Whitewashed by a corrupt civil servant is more like it.
  • Re:Yeah right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by indifferent children (842621) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:46AM (#33519576)
    Also, all this means is that Greenland and West Antarctica are contributing less than 1/4 of the annual rise in sea levels rather than accounting for more than half. I guess we have to keep looking to find where the rest of the rise is coming from.

    Unless a "rebounding crust" can also cause sea-level rise?

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coren22 (1625475) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:43AM (#33521680) Journal

    The problem I have with the people who believe in AGW is that mostly they fall more in the religious category, anyone who tries to present results different then there's or question the methods used is subjected to public ridicule, not listened to. This is religious reasoning, not scientific, listen to the people who disagree and adjust your methods, stop believing that everything you have done is exactly correct and I will listen to you too. There are many flaws in the methodology, from sensors placed within 10 feet of AC exhaust to sensors placed in the middle of a asphalt parking lot, these things skew the results and aren't taken into account.

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PRMan (959735) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:24AM (#33522430)

    Is it just me, or was there somebody that tried to recover planes that went down in Greenland known as the Lost Squadron and they were expecting the ice to be 10 feet thick or less (according to scientists' best estimates). When they got there, they found that the planes were 268 feet deep.

    This was between 1942 and 1992. Over that 50 years the ice level went up over 5 feet per year. That's not melting. If you're trying to tell me (like the article is) that it's really the crust is going up instead of the ice level, you're full of crap.

    And, creationists actually have some very good explanations for the fossil record. In some cases they are far better than their evolutionary counterparts.

    Creationists have no trouble explaining why there are ocean fossils mixed with land fossils in the same areas in Kansas.

    Creationists can explain why the amount of helium found in deep rock is not all gone already (notice that it's becoming rare quickly and will soon all be gone).

    Creationists can explain why the fossils appear suddenly, in their modern-day forms with very few extinct species. Evolutionists actually have a hard time with that.

    Never forget that evolutionists are also religious. Richard Dawkins is anti-God more than he is a scientist. And Richard Lewontin even admitted that evolutionists will believe any absurdity necessary "for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Coren22 (1625475) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:40AM (#33522690) Journal

    So they don't actually use sensors to gather their data? Sounds more and more like religion then.

  • Re:Global warming? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @01:10PM (#33524186) Journal

    Quick! Change the name!

    CLIMATE CHANGE!

    Yeaaah! Then we'll be able to claim we're right, even when we're wrong! woo!

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it actually the right wing and their petrochemical backers who popularized the phrase "climate change" to squeeze the words "global warming" out of the debate?

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbengt (874751) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @02:31PM (#33525440)

    . . . its about how predictive is a hypothesis over the domain of interest. Thus far, to the extent that the climate modelers have deigned to make any predictions, the predictive value of those models has been crap

    In this case, however, the proposed new estimate of current glacial loss is closer to that predicted by the climate models and the need to explain why the glaciers in Greenland are retreating faster than predicted might be averted.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:39AM (#33531690)

    The next thing I did was superimpose the rise and fall of the great human cultures in both the Old World and the Americas, with a focus on equatorial civilizations. With a couple of exceptions, they all get their start during warming periods. A few, the Hittites, both Romes, Islam, see their fortunes literally rise and fall with temperature.

    These periods even have names - and were undisputed before the current crop of CAGW-proponents started to claim it's always been really really cold until now and that we'd soon burn in hell if we didn't immediately stop all technical progress.

    http://friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/HoloceneOptimumTemperature.jpg [friendsofscience.org]

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