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Earth Science

Scientists Cut Greenland Ice Loss Estimate By Half 414

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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  • Re:West Antarctica (Score:3, Informative)

    by hldn ( 1085833 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:22AM (#33518720) Homepage

    same as there is a western hemisphere. it's arbitrary.

  • by jcupitt65 ( 68879 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:33AM (#33518772)

    It is now a known fact [snip] emails documenting their conspiracy against this publication.

    They've been cleared of this allegation. [] From the linked wiki article:

    The panel found that they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism as alleged, and that the key data needed to reproduce their findings was freely available to any "competent" researcher.

  • by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:52AM (#33518864) Journal

    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.

    What crap. Been reading much recently? []

    Try [] and follow the links, notably to the statement of the Editor-in-chief of "Climate Research", here: []

    "Climate Research" was indeed manipulated, but but the "skeptics", not the "warmists". One editor slipped in some crap papers (which have since been comprehensively demolished). When the other editors complained and requested that an editorial explaining what happened be printed the "skeptic" refused, so the other editors resigned.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Psychotria ( 953670 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:03AM (#33518908)

    Correction: the average pressure would increase

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Informative)

    by elbow_spur ( 749878 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:07AM (#33518934)
    > We all know that the ice is still melting (but slower than we thought).
    This year we are going to see a new record low for arctic sea ice --- surpassing even the dramatic 2007 decline. []
    What's really startling is that this year, both the NE and the NW passages are completely open. This animation tells the story []
    Typically, shipping through the NE passage relies on Russian icebreakers. Judging by the satellite photos, at this point the icebreakers aren't needed
    Source: cryosphere today []
  • by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:26AM (#33519066) Homepage

    Does it actually matter why? There was an organized conspiracy against a scientific journal that was intended to manipulate its editorial board, with financial harm used as the weapon.

    Did you read what I wrote at all?

    Conspiracies by definition are secret. This was a broad and highly public boycott campaign of a journal that had published a paper that should never have passed peer review (according to most of the people who did peer review for that journal!).

  • Re:Great news! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:35AM (#33519104)

    yes, you missed something: the details of glacial/crust rebound.
    They explained that all movement isn't just moving up - some is sideways, some is down.
    what is happening is that N. America is rebounding up for the last 20,00 years and this
    has actually pulled Greenland over/down.

  • Re:Great news! (not) (Score:2, Informative)

    by aggles ( 775392 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:03AM (#33519254)
    >This year we are going to see a new record low for arctic sea ice --- surpassing even the dramatic 2007 decline. []

    Another source, the Arctic News, differs with your conclusion. See link here: [] and the main site at []

    It is still bad. This year will be the runner-up, not the new record low for arctic sea ice. Perhaps, as before, the moisture in the arctic air will swirl down and result in a good snow year for the northeast US ski areas.
  • Re:Yeah right (Score:3, Informative)

    by Crypto Gnome ( 651401 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:05AM (#33519268) Homepage Journal

    That's not going to chase anyone out of their homes.

    Except for certain low-lying island nations in the pacific [], but fsck'em why should we care?

  • Re:Great news! (Score:3, Informative)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:29AM (#33519426) Homepage

    But the whole point of the second paragraph, curiously absent from your post, was that there is a warmer period in the history of civilization.

    And it had a LOT more usable land than we have today. And, before you claim it, if the future is independant from the past, climate science itself does not have a basis either.

    Change is disruptive ... newsflash ... you believe in evolution, right ? Does "Adapt or die" sound familiar ? It's just as valid for civilizations as it is for people, mice and bacteria.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:40AM (#33519522)

    It's amazing how reading the article clears up questions of this sort. The short answer being that you're looking at too small of an area. The rising area is in North America and the sinking area is Greenland. North America rises and it pulls the crust towards itself causing Greenland to sink.

    "These revealed, among other things, that southern Greenland is in fact subsiding, as the crust beneath it is pulled by the post-glacial rebound from northern America."

  • by lorenlal ( 164133 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:50AM (#33519622)

    Foul on both of you. I see no citations in either case. I'd love for this to be an honest debate or discussion. In fact, GP even states desire for good honest debate, but I see nothing in the post to back up the various "facts."

    As for parent... The Irrelevant replies I'll agree with because the associated points don't deal with facts. Observations and feelings don't count for much in a discussion talking about a lack of facts. As for the "wrong" entries, I'd love to see counter-examples. I'll certainly grant that in a 10 point post, it's hard to come up with enough sources.

    I'll attempt to contribute something useful now:
    Point #2, or the Hockey stick, considers more than just the last 10-15 years... To see the "stick" you have to look at the last 1000 years. Assuming measurements are proper, there is a noted effect in the last 100 years... Unfortunately, this does depend heavily on "proxy" indicators. There is a good size error field, which certainly contributes to the debate. []
    Point #4 may be mostly irrelevant, but I'd like to know why it's also wrong. The Global Cooling idea is certainly ingrained in the doubters, and it certainly does call into question what the research is indicating.
    Point #5 does have an example in the Aral Sea. []

  • by jmac_the_man ( 1612215 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:55AM (#33519670)

    The panel found that they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism as alleged, and that the key data needed to reproduce their findings was freely available to any "competent" researcher.

    The allegation, of course, is that the scientists were redefining "competent researcher" to mean "researcher that agrees with them." So the panel didn't really clear them of the allegation. Maybe it cleared them of something else, but not what people were actually complaining about.

  • by AmonTheMetalhead ( 1277044 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:55AM (#33519676)
    People not grasping the complexity of our world make me sad
  • Re:Great news! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:56AM (#33519686)
    Yes, it's often overlooked that, while there are fringe lunatics on both ends of the spectrum shouting that anyone who doesn't agree with their highly polarised view is either a climate change nut or a climate change denier, there are plenty of us in the middle who don't care to jump to sentimental conclusions and just want some good, old fashioned facts to make up our minds. As it stands now I find it hard to believe the "scientific facts" that either side present, as both have proven their bias as well as a subset willing to fudge the numbers to bolster up their argument. I believe somewhere in the middle is a sensible discussion to be had about sustainability in the face of massive population growth, but we can't get the lunatics to stop shouting long enough to have said discussion. It's deeply depressing as someone who wants to do the right thing but is yet to be convinced about what the "right thing" actually is (I'm sure it involves reducing fossil fuel consumtion - that's obviously a good idea even if all the climate claims are false, but what else?)
  • by ect5150 ( 700619 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:43AM (#33520526) Journal
    Not to speak for the OP, but I think he means Socialism in general is a bigger threat to most individuals than global warming.

    That said, I actually went out and looked up the temperature data for the past century not too long ago. There is certainly a general increase in global temperatures, but it was only roughly 1 degrees worth over 100 years. Now, I'm not so much of an expert to claim if that is enough to change everyone's life-style or not, but the general trend is there. Now, is it the fault of human beings? I would have thought there would have been a larger correlation with the population or seeing where the increases started with modern levels of pollution, but those didn't line up. So, I'm not entirely certain (yet - I'll hold judgment until I look at it more) than it was us that caused all of it.
  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:12AM (#33521102)

    This year we are going to see a new record low for arctic sea ice --- surpassing even the dramatic 2007 decline.

    No one can say with certainty what 'might' happen...but it can be said
    what has already happened with arctic sea ice extent...and you are
    wrong. Arctic sea ice extent this year is greater []
    than it was on the same date in 2007 AND 2008.


  • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:18AM (#33521236)

    I had my first doubts about global warming, when they introduced the term climate change“

    The general public/media did not understand that "global warming" refered to the global mean temperature. This meant it was possible for some regions to cool whilst others warmed. Despite this, the myth grew that Any cooling disproves global warming []. The change in terminology was a response to this confusion amongst the public, and wouldn't have been necessary if everyone understood "mean warming" actually meant.

    If the “hockeystick” were correct, we should have experienced a record-breaking hot climate in every year or at least most years between 2000 and 2010

    Incorrect. As already pointed out, some regions of the world may still cool despite the global mean increasing. (Incidentally, "the Hockey stick has been proven wrong" is a myth [].

    The warm periods, no matter when we talk about humans (medieval warm period, little ice age, etc.) or life in general were always the better periods

    Climate myths: It's been far warmer in the past, what's the big deal? []
    Climate myths: Higher CO2 levels will boost plant growth and food production []

    Well, science is not a popularity contest and is also not democratic.

    So we should always ignore the opinion of the majority of scientists if it disagrees with our personal opinion?


    ... has nothing to do with global warming. (Unless you believe it's all a conspiracy) []

  • Re:Great news! (Score:3, Informative)

    by AmonTheMetalhead ( 1277044 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:24AM (#33521352)
    Are you so dense that you can not comprehend simple english? Reread my posts, slowly.

    Study 1 uses dataset A and has result X.
    Study 2 uses dataset B (wich is A + new data) and has result Z

    Based on dataset A, result X is correct, this does not mean that it's true.
    Based on dataset B, result Z is correct, this does not mean that it's true.

    Both can have the same confidence %, both can conflict, because they are NOT THE SAME.
  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:32AM (#33521498) Homepage

    So even if there's no climate change, it verifies climate change.
    But if there's +5C change, then, by golly, global warming has been falsified! The results didn't match prediction.

    In all seriousness, though, I think there's a real paradox in what we consider falsification and verification in science if the above two statements are both true.

    Yes, there's a problem with what you consider falsification. Falsification applies to theories, not to observations.

    If the temperature rises 5C, it would falsify the theory by which we model and predict global warming. However, the observation of global warming would be stronger than ever. So, we'd have to change our theories.

    It's similar to how experiment falsified the Caloric theory of heat because the result did not match predictions, but did not falsify the concept of heat. Observations that did not match Newton's Law of Gravity did not "falsify" the observation that gravity exists.

    On the other hand, a temperature change of 0 degrees, that would validate the theory by which we model and predict global warming. However the observation would be of no global warming for that period. It would be correct to say "there was no global warming in this ten year period". Just remember that unlike a theory or model, this would not "falsify" the previous observations of warming.

  • by oiron ( 697563 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:54AM (#33521890) Homepage

    You really should read a little into the damn thing, and not just right-wing blogs...

    In early 2003, the small journal Climate Research published a paper by climate change “skeptics” Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which challenged the established view that the late twentieth century saw anomalously high temperatures. The paper didn’t present original research; instead, it was a literature review. Soon and Baliunas examined a wide range of “proxy records” for past temperatures, based on studies of ice cores, corals, tree rings, and other sources. They concluded that few of the records showed anything particularly unusual about twentieth century temperatures, especially when compared with the so-called “Medieval Warm Period” a thousand years ago.

    Soon and Baliunas had specifically sent their paper to one Chris de Freitas at Climate Research, an editor known for opposing curbs on carbon dioxide emissions. He in turn sent the paper out for review and then accepted it for publication. That’s when the controversy began.

    Soon mainstream climate scientists fought back. Thirteen authored a devastating critique of the work in the American Geophysical Union publication Eos. After seeing the critique, Climate Research editor-in-chief Hans von Storch decided he had to make changes in the journal’s editorial process. But when journal colleagues refused to go along, von Storch announced his resignation.

    Several other Climate Research editors subsequently resigned over the Soon and Baliunas paper. Even journal publisher Otto Kinne eventually admitted that the paper suffered from serious flaws, basically agreeing with its critics. But by that point in time, Inhofe had already devoted a Senate hearing to trumpeting the new study. However dubious, it made a massive splash.

    (source here [], all emphasis mine).

    I realize that you confused context with right wing punditry, but it's not.

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:2, Informative)

    by sarhjinian ( 94086 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:28AM (#33522492)

    It's not a matter of belief, it's a matter of refinement of the theory.

    Scientists don't "believe" in the big bang or evolution, but they don't automatically revert back to Intelligent Design just because someone found out that, oh, I don't know, there's two extra types of quark or something.

    I know that many "skeptics" desperately want to portray this as a black or white "religious" issue because it allows a convenient out. Of course they're adjusting the theory to fit the data because that's how science actually works.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:53AM (#33522912) Homepage

    Those sensors made old temperatures look warmer then they really were. Old temperature data had to be adjusted downwards to compensate, making modern readings higher by comparison.

    (Yes, they've moved them...and these days they measure temperatures via satellite, not manually-read thermometers)

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:3, Informative)

    by ehrichweiss ( 706417 ) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @12:22PM (#33523396)

    I think the "theory" in question here is the sensationalism and alarmism attributed to this mess. I'd have FAR less problems believing the climatologists predictions if they would avoid the sensationalism that they've presented in the past few years. Let me list a few so you'll be aware what I'm talking about...

    * Hurricanes will increase in frequency or strength, predicted specifically for 2009/2010. [] [] []

    Except they didn't. I can't find the link that compared the predicted versus actual numbers but there are far fewer hurricanes than previous years for 2009 and 2010 seems to be pretty low as well so far. *I* am predicting that the next prediction will be "global warming will cause a decreased frequency of hurricanes". And they never got stronger. That was, as usual, someone not understanding statistics.

    * Himalayas will be devoid of ice by 2035. Yes, it was a "typo" but everyone wanted to believe it..

    * Due to the Greenland glaciers, the ocean will rise 21 feet. Too bad it was recalculated closer to 7 inches.

    * And now the Antarctic and Greenland melting is happening at about 1/2 the rate they thought.. ZOMG the world is gonna end. WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!! Or not.

    I'm sure there are other examples but that's all I can think of right now without my caffeine..

    If the climatologists would stop predicting anything other than facts and trends, they might get less egg on their faces and be considered to be at least somewhat respectable. As it stands they prefer to play the role of seer/doomsayer and as such I'm committed to shoot them down when they get out of hand.

  • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @12:27PM (#33523504)

    Well it was reviewed, and the 4 recommendations that it be rejected based on egregious errors in methodology were ignored and it was published anyway.

    "These scientists" didn't fight the publication, they didn't find out about the paper until after it had been published. In fact, at first they had planned to simply to let it pass. It wasn't until the Bush Administration attempted to force the use of the paper in EPA reports against the wishes of the authors of those very same reports that they decided they had to take action to correct the record.

    You know what they did? They wrote a report enumerating all the problems with the paper and presented it to the editorial board. The chief editor, von Storch, a moderate sceptic of Global Warming then wrote an editorial admitting the paper should never have been published. The publisher refused to print the retraction and half the editorial board, including the chief editor resigned in protest. After the mass resignation the publisher relented and retracted the paper.

    So, in the end, a climate sceptic forced the retraction of the paper, one who did not have any dealings with the CRU other than reading their complaint and had in fact opposed them previously.
    It just doesn't look at all like "suppressing dissent", however, it does look a lot like correcting an error.

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @12:57PM (#33523952)

    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... 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.

    What makes you think they don't listen? With respect to station placement, much criticism has been leveled by Anthony Watts on With the help of volunteers Watts rated over 70% of the stations in the USA and found many to be poorly placed.

    Scientists did listen. They investigated to see whether the poorly placed stations (As rated by Watts) reported more warming. They did not. The well placed stations reported more warming. See

    Further, surface stations are not our only measure of the temperature. Satellite data shows a similar warming. Here is a fun site to play with:

    This allows you to plot various climate related data. The link above is a comparison between the UAH station data and two satellite data sets. They have an almost identical slope (you can select linear trend on each to see) You can also try comparing temps to CO2 or sun spot activity. Great fun.

  • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @01:02PM (#33524036)
    At first it seemed odd, but after I thought about it, your post really is quite insightful. It's posts like your which make me believe more strongly in global warming and what we're going to have to do to fight it. I'd hoped that we could simply show people the upcoming consequences and, you know, things would change. But if there's more people like you out there, it's going to be an uphill battle.

    1. "I don't understand climate change". A few degrees difference over the course of a century isn't really that big of deal all by itself. Even if it's hotter then it ever was before. But small changes can have big effects on systems like the climate. So, just as a layman's example, if the jet stream decides it's always going to come out of Canada rather then up from Mexico (or simply shift it's preference), then Omaha is going to go from having schizophrenic weather to having really shitty cold weather most of the time. And there will be only 2 wheat harvests instead of three. Likewise, if the jet steam decides to fluctuate over California, they can kiss their constant 70 degrees goodbye.

    2. "It should be more noticeable". Well it's measurable, it's just not as pronounced as you describe. If it were that bad, then humanity would probably be fucked no matter what we do. It may indeed be like a runaway train, but it's more like a train that's supposed to be standing still, but Lou forgot to put on the brakes, and we've noticed that it's starting to roll downhill.

    3. "Alarmism". This one I'll agree with. Humanity has a really bad tendency to preach doom and gloom. Fear sells I guess. I highly doubt the tales of apocalypse that some people are spreading. (also, the little ice age wasn't a warm period)

    4. "I don't trust experts". Ok... so the experts are wrong because
    • Science isn't a democracy.
    • Some sociologists didn't fix all the problems back in the 60's, so scientists are wrong today...
    • Science argued for big government. (really? REALLY?)
    • Ah, and some people were wrong about global cooling in the 70's.

    ... sure.

    5. "SOCIALISM!!!"
    . . . Global warming is a myth... Because of socialism? Ok, let's just dive in and take a look see.
    Ah, "Socialism has always been marketed as rule by the scientists and experts", Yes, well, I'm starting to see the connection now. I believe you may be mistaken though. That right there would be more of a technocracy. Socialism is more like the collective peter taking from selective paul, but paul not whining like a little bitch because he still drives around in a Mercedes, but now he can't afford two.

    6. "Stop calling me a conspiracy nutcase!" I think this probably stems from you saying things like in #5. That the scientists want to put you under their fascist boot of socialism.

    7. "And stop calling me names!" Sorry, but it appears that you have some fallacies in your logic. Like, saying that all scientists are wrong because sociologists tried something in the 60's. That's just silly. It doesn't put you in good light.

    8."I don't believe anything you say". Really? You're bitching about the polar bear video? It's marketing dude. As for "climategae", it really wasn't as grievous as the talking heads made it out to be.

    9. "I don't like polls". Yeah, me either. It's sort of a distraction, but it's what journalists do. But those models do exist, and they ARE forecasting the weather. And the answer is going to be a percentage chance.
    "I still don't understand the reason why they cannot predict the average temperature next year." Try to grok the butterfly effect []. Then realize we live in a probabilistic universe. So we can't see into the future, we can only give you the odds.

    10. "I don't like peak oil either". You really don't think the economy is ever going to come back? Hell, even if it doesn't, we're still going to hit peak oil. You should realize that we hit peak oil for the

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @01:29PM (#33524488)

    If your belief in AGW (or anything else!) is scientific and not religious, then you can both explain the belief at a qualitative level (quick: how does a greenhouse work?)

    The greenhouse effect does not work like a greenhouse. A greenhouse works by trapping warm air. The greenhouse effect works because greenhouse gasses are transparent to visible light but opaque to infrared radiation.

    If you are skeptical that CO2 acts like a greenhouse - you should be. It doesn't. If you are skeptical that CO2 is a greenhouse gas - you shouldn't be. It is. We have taken measurements that show that greenhouse gasses are absorbing radiation from the surface.

  • by emarkp ( 67813 ) <slashdot&roadq,com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @04:06PM (#33538242) Journal

    Yes, I've read that paper, but Menne appears to not be an honest broker. Not only did he use the data that Watts stopped updating publicly (to avoid ad hoc analysis) but he apparently deliberately excluded Watts from the article process [].

    The fact that I saw a false premise in the first paragraph of the paper (reviewing it again just now) didn't improve my opinion of Menne et al.

    I believe the "adjustment" process is fatally flawed (hence my "make stuff up" link in my prior post). Smearing the data around doesn't make it better (side note: my background includes physics simulations of rigorously tested data, so I have at least some experience with data quality like this), and when there simply isn't any data, fiddling with the gaussian isn't going to make the data appear.

    On top of all this, NOAA and NCDC appear to have colluded to hammer out talking points [] regarding Watts' "Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?" []

    Climate scientists simply cannot be trusted until all data and methodology are public and can be replicated by statisticians outside of the field.

System checkpoint complete.