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Earth Science

Antarctic Ice Is Growing, Not Melting Away, At Davis Station 633

Posted by timothy
from the weather-is-what-you-get dept.
schwit1 writes "A report from The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research says that Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away. Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Australia's Davis Station in East Antarctica by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m. 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."
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Antarctic Ice Is Growing, Not Melting Away, At Davis Station

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  • Welp, (Score:5, Funny)

    by James Skarzinskas (518966) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:14PM (#27630055) Homepage
    All thanks to President Obama.
    • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Funny)

      by powerslave12r (1389937) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:15PM (#27630073)
      He solved the issue of Global Warming? Already?
      • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Funny)

        by dogmatixpsych (786818) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:18PM (#27630097) Homepage Journal
        No. Al Gore did. Pres. Obama just gets the credit just like other people received the credit for "the internet." ;)
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by MrNaz (730548) *

          Al Gore also invented general purpose computing. Why else do you think they call it an Algore-ism?

      • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:21PM (#27630125) Journal

        He solved the issue of Global Warming? Already?

        The audacity of hope.

        Don't worry, they are still going to implement the carbon tax. Never let a crisis go to waste.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jmorris42 (1458) *

          > Don't worry, they are still going to implement the carbon tax.

          Of course. Because it has never been about global warming or CO2. Otherwise CO2 emitted by India and China would have been as bad as emissions in the 1st world. But Kyoto exempted them. It is about a once in a lifetime opportunity for the 'enlightened good progressives' to get almost total control over all aspects of life in the West and thus finally stamp out everything they don't like by taxing it out of practicality. And the things t

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by maxume (22995)

            Ranting about Kyoto would make a lot more sense if the United States Congress had ratified it.

            I really don't think that the current Congress is a whole lot more likely to ratify it than any past Congress, but who knows.

          • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:05PM (#27631129)

            "Of course. Because it has never been about global warming or CO2. Otherwise CO2 emitted by India and China would have been as bad as emissions in the 1st world. But Kyoto exempted them."

            Yes. But you don't have any clue why.

            It has something to do with the fact that it is the industrialized countries that have been emptying CO2 into the atmosphere in ever-greater amounts for the last 2 centuries or so before realizing it might be a problem. The premise of the Kyoto agreement is: they are the ones that have created the problem so far, they're the ones that are already industrialized and have most of the money. They are therefore the ones best positioned to come up with technical solutions and ways to meet lowered targets or at least flatten out production. The race is to do that before countries like India and China ramp up as fast as people are expecting given their populations.

            How can we possibly say to countries that are in the early stages of industrialization "Oh, you can't do exactly what we've been doing for the last couple of centuries, or it will be a disaster!" It's like eating 3/4 of the pizza at the party and then telling a skinny latecomer: "Whoa there. Don't go eating all the pizza that's left. It's bad for you and we also have to share", while still stuffing your face as fast as ever.

            The whole point was to meet the goals of Kyoto and THEN say to India, China and other developing countries: "See? This can be done. Now it's your turn to meet the same targets." That was the bargain.

            Ever since then there has been this myth that India and China are somehow completely and forever off the hook. Well, they probably will be because we're dragging our asses on what we committed to do.

            Here's hoping the world can make do without any kind of agreement, and that the predictions expected from that scenario are wrong. Hope really hard.

            • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Informative)

              by genmax (990012) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:09PM (#27631165)
              I remember a quote from the former Indian prime minster Indira Gandhi - "Poverty is the biggest polluter."
              • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Informative)

                by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:36PM (#27631801)
                I remember a quote from the former Indian prime minster Indira Gandhi - "Poverty is the biggest polluter."

                Indeed. Images from Mumbai. [artsytime.com]
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by russotto (537200)

                "Poverty is the biggest polluter."

                That was back when pollution meant stuff like raw sewage. Nowadays, pollution means one of the inevitable results of complete burning of carbon-containing materials. Which, since there ain't no replacement for burning of carbon-containing materials (nukes ain't happening and the rest ain't sufficient), means pollution equals energy use. So in the guise of "stopping pollution", the EPA can ration energy. Cool, eh?

              • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Insightful)

                by wwwillem (253720) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @12:26AM (#27633777) Homepage

                "Poverty is the biggest polluter."

                I love Gandhi, but BS, the US is one of the richest countries in the world, but at the same time for sure the biggest polluter, thanks to ACs, SUVs, etc. and the lack of sidewalks, staircases (you must have been in an office building where people take the elevator from the 8th to the 9th floor), to name a few.

                The real fear for the environment is that India and China are coming out of poverty.

                • Different Gandhi (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by mangu (126918) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @04:38AM (#27634843)

                  I love Gandhi

                  Are you aware that Indira Gandhi [wikipedia.org] is not the same person one usually refers to as simply "Gandhi" [wikipedia.org]?

                  But I must say I agree with the rest of your comment, the US is the biggest polluter and owes the rest of the world some respect. We all share the same planet.

                  And going back to the article, this shows the typical tactics of people who don't want to do their part in fighting global warming. They try to imply that the enormous amount of evidence that has been collected demonstrating the anthropogenic influence in global warming is just a bunch of isolated data. Yet they want to use one single measurement as evidence that there really isn't something like a sudden raise [wikipedia.org] in temperatures over the last few hundred years that's more abrupt than anything ever seen on earth.

            • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Shivetya (243324) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:35PM (#27631795) Homepage Journal

              Honestly if we don't stop the up and coming countries from repeating our mistakes then what do we gain? A big fat nothing. A so hate this excuse of its not fair to them, well tough shit. We know better now and they can't claim to not know better either. If we get them off on the right foot it is going to be a lot easier for all of us. If we excuse them then we just push the problem off to the next generation. Of course that seems to be the aim of almost all politicians these days, push off to another generation what we are not willing to do today.

              I have a more apt analogy than your pizza one.... just because Jack murders a dozen people doesn't excuse John from killing one.

            • Re:Welp, (Score:4, Insightful)

              by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @12:07AM (#27633657) Journal

              How can we possibly say to countries that are in the early stages of industrialization "Oh, you can't do exactly what we've been doing for the last couple of centuries, or it will be a disaster!"

              Of course we can say that, because if they will do exactly what we've been doing for the last couple of centuries, it will be a disaster. No amount of political correctness bullshit can change that.

              Ever since then there has been this myth that India and China are somehow completely and forever off the hook.

              There's no myth, because there's no hook. If, as you say, Western countries impose those limits for themselves just to set a righteous example for everyone else to follow, then the most likely reaction you'll get from comrade General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party is, "gee, these guys are even more stupid than we thought". Since there's no obligation for China to follow suit, according to Kyoto, then why would they?

              Of course, this all is no excuse for doing some serious changes for the sakes of ourselves - like switching to mostly nuclear, investing heavily into thermonuclear, and using solar/wind/tidal wherever there's opportunity. But that's a whole different kettle of fish; and, I suspect, eventually, when time comes to bring China in line with regard to emissions, it will have to be done at a gunpoint, and no "gestures of goodwill" today will change that.

      • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Funny)

        by Kjella (173770) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:06PM (#27630587) Homepage

        Yeah, damn him here he was promising change and first thing he does is to halt everything and preserve the status quo. Politicans, you just can't trust them.

      • Re:Welp, (Score:4, Funny)

        by XavierItzmann (687234) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:14PM (#27630673)
        Well, in his nomination acceptance speech on June 3, 2008, Obama did say that his presidency would be remembered as:

        "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." [breitbart.com]

        Moses had nothing on this guy. He only parted one measly sea, let alone oceans.

      • Re:Welp, (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bricko (1052210) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:12PM (#27632477)
        What the big stink anyway...the earth has only had ice at its poles for about 30% of its existence. It comes and goes with or without humans and has for millennium. Some are being a tad arrogant to think the human can affect such a chaotic large system.
        • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Paltin (983254) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @11:07PM (#27633273)

          Yeah, and us humans have only been on Earth for 0.00002% of it's existence.... species come and go, mostly without humans. So why worry?

          Except, there is a problem in your logic. We can understand what has caused the coming and going of many of the global glaciations over the history of the world.

          For example, the glaciation that occurred in the late Devonian is linked to the spread of plants on land. Before this time, there were no trees. They captured a large amount of atmospheric CO2, triggering global cooling and glaciation. The result was one of the "big 5" mass extinctions on the planet, with about 50% loss at the genera level.

          Guess what? Humans have spread all across the planet! Guess what? It's not arrogant to collect data that shows we are actively changing the system and try to make predictions based on it.

          I'm not advocating any certain policy; but I am saying it is foolish to assume that we can't change the world, and that we can't understand complex systems.

    • Re:Welp, (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:06PM (#27630595)

      Actually, you should thank the Somali pirates. Now, I think we can all agree that, based on overwhelming evidence [seanbonner.com], piracy prevents global warming. There's UNDENIABLE PROOF for that. I mean, if you can't tell that correlation equals causation, well, you're just in denial, or being paid off. With the recent surges in piracy, how can that ice not grow? It is simple logic, stupid! Now, I know that the mainstream media will probably call them thieves and killers (because they are obviously in the pocket of Al Gore and Big Carbon Credit), but I'm going to call them what they really are: Heroes, righteous environmental crusaders, examples for all of us to follow. Somali pirates, I salute you!

  • Temperature (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RichMan (8097) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:24PM (#27630153)

    The antarctic is supposed to be a desert because it is too cold to snow.
    The fact the central area is now accumulating snow points to warming and accompanying increased precipitation.

    The ice sheets have increased their outward flow. Also another indicator of increased precipitation and warmth.

    One has to be very careful what one looks at for indicators of global warming/cooling.

    • Re:Temperature (Score:4, Interesting)

      by highvista63 (587404) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:29PM (#27630191)
      This is exactly what I've heard should be happening, as well. Global warming would evaporate more of the ocean's water, which falls on Antarctica as snow, resulting in more ice.
    • Re:Temperature (Score:5, Insightful)

      by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:42PM (#27630319)

      I don't mean to discredit what you say, but could you possibly give a better explanation of what's occurring and how it's related to global warming.

      It seems that some times every event is a sure sign that X is occurring, whether or not there's actually any scientific proof behind it or not. It reminds me of whenever something happened it would be attributed to God, the gods, or some other deity supposedly controlling the fate of mankind depending on the time period.

      I just don't want things to devolve to that point. I have no reason to doubt what you're saying, but could you provide some links that explain the science behind your comments or provide a more thorough explanation yourself. I don't mean to call you out as my own knowledge of climate science is largely non-existent, but I still tend to take statements without further explanation with a grain of salt.

      • Re:Temperature (Score:4, Informative)

        by RichMan (8097) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:00PM (#27630511)

        Actually the bit about snow was misleading. The article was about sea ice thickness. Sea ice is caused by cold air flowing from a pole toward the equator and cooling the ocean. More about that in a bit.

        Back to the bit about "to cold to snow". Really cold air carries very little water vapour.
        http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/222/ [theweatherprediction.com]

        Now back to the article. The article described 1 year sea ice thickness. This is ice that forms on the sea over one winter and is essentially a measure of how cold the air was that winter. So first thought is that more ice implies a colder winter. Yes I agree with that. The question is what is the average global temperature. Global warming (called climate change by those who think explaining all the details will confuse people) does not mean it warms up everywhere.

        Fact: Cold air does not come from the polar regions. Cold air comes from high in the atmosphere where air radiates heat to space. Warm air comes from contact with sun warmed ground and sea.
        http://www.rcn27.dial.pipex.com/cloudsrus/wind.html [pipex.com]

        So the polar regions are cold because they get more cold air dropped on them from high in the atmosphere. What pushes the whole cycle is "heat". We like to think of hot and cold as relative to our norms. Real tempeature is degrees Kelvin. So the polar regions just have less heat than the equatorial regions.

        Back to the circulation putting more heat into the system results in a global warming but also in an accelerated wind system. This will push more cold air down at the poles. Essentially making the poles colder and the polar winds colder. This will make the polar regions colder --- when they are not heated by the sun.

        So from global warming we can actually expect colder winters at the poles. Overall they will be shorter due to the added heat. There are lots of balances and more complex things. Particularly the global air circulation is not 1 cycle equator to poles, but banded. But the general idea is there.

        • Re:Temperature (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Illserve (56215) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:08PM (#27631155)

          So from global warming we can actually expect colder winters at the poles.

          Truly this is a theory that cannot be disproven.

          When we thought the poles were melting, the infamous pictures of a wet polar bear on a little ice shelf were everywhere and we were told that this was the direct result of warming.

          So now it seems the global warming theory can have its ice and melt it too.

          • Re:Temperature (Score:5, Interesting)

            by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:40PM (#27631829)

            Of course it can.

            Just like I can say we're getting less percipitation but more flooding in the northwest US. If there is a huge deluge of percipitation but then a 3 month drought then that can actually cause worse flooding later.

            Similarly it could rain more often but still rain less.

            That's why the leading worry about Global Warming isn't that you're going to need to get 3 more days of nice sunny weather every day. It's that Global Warming will cause UNPREDICTABLE weather patterns. Such as freak deep freezes. Unexpected ice patterns etc in addition to hotter summers and draught.

            Maybe a region will see its weather patterns change such that they receive tons of percipitation during the winter but none during the growing season. That's a bad change for agriculture even if the region receives "more rain".

            You're building a strawman against climate change that "Scientists claim that global warming will cause global heating in every point on earth." That's not a claim of global warming. And when shipping lanes open through the north pole (where polar bears reside) I would hardly be hasty to suggest that in general ice sheets aren't shrinking simply because one small region on earth is seeing increased ice.

            There's increased ice in my freezer too... does that disprove global warming? Look at the data as a whole not cherry picked exceptions to the data trends.

            • Re:Temperature (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @10:58PM (#27633205)
              Let me get this straight...

              The AGW camp is predicting that things will be unpredictable...

              ..in spite of the fact that no methodology has ever shown skill at predicting the climate before.

              Here is what I have observed:

              A few years ago hurricanes were all the AGW rage. They predicted more and stronger hurricanes as a result of AGW (the "more energy" arguement), but when that failed to happen they then predicted fewer and weaker hurricanes as a result of AGW (the "more energy produces windsheer" arguement.)

              Then, they predicted increased melting of the polar ice due to global warming (the "warmer atmosphere" arguement), but now we find out that when that didnt happen that they now predict a decrease in melting of the polar ice (the "warmer atmosphere causes greater circulation" arguement.)

              Here is the way I see it:

              Whatever data comes in, there is a pro-AGW arguement waiting to support it, and that tells me quite clearly that nobody has a god damn clue what the fuck is going on, but that AGW = DOLLARS FOR CLIMATOLOGISTS.
        • Re:Temperature (Score:5, Informative)

          by wasted (94866) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @08:44PM (#27632271)

          Fact: Cold air does not come from the polar regions. Cold air comes from high in the atmosphere where air radiates heat to space. Warm air comes from contact with sun warmed ground and sea.
          http://www.rcn27.dial.pipex.com/cloudsrus/wind.html [pipex.com]

          Your reference does not support your alledged Fact, and your alledged Fact ignores the concept of adiabatic warming [vsc.edu]. The poles are colder than the equator because they receive less energy from the sun, not because descending air is colder. This casts a LOT of doubt to the validity of the rest of your arguments as well.

          *Note that the adiabatic warming [vsc.edu] reference is from an education institution site [vsc.edu], not a property development site [pipex.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by thesandbender (911391)
      Just because it's a desert doesn't mean it gets no precipitation, just very little. It's been averaging 4" a year at the south pole since they started taking measurements. Besides, the idea of it being too cold to snow is a myth: http://www.weatherimagery.com/blog/too-cold-to-snow/ [weatherimagery.com]
      • Re:Temperature (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RichMan (8097) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:03PM (#27630545)

        > Besides, the idea of it being too cold to snow is a myth:

        The article you quoted says --
            Once it drops below -20F, your chances of snow are virtually nil (but still possible).

        I will take that "virtually nil (but still possible)" and say that effectively it does get to cold to snow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shadowofwind (1209890)

      The fact the central area is now accumulating snow points to warming and accompanying increased precipitation.

      Sure, but many climate change alarmists, including Al Gore, have been hyping the threat of rising sea levels due to melting ice. So if global warming is going to cause ice to grow in some areas and shrink in others, as it will, then that still weakens their argument.

      • Re:Temperature (Score:5, Informative)

        by RichMan (8097) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:19PM (#27630727)

        Sea ice has a minimal affect on sea level. So anything about more or less sea ice is to a first order irrelevant to global sea level.
        http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/04/ice-and-sea-level.html [blogspot.com]

        http://www.radix.net/~bobg/faqs/sea.level.faq.html [radix.net]
        ---
            In terms of the ice, there are five identifiable reservoirs, only one
        of which is expected to be able to have catastrophic effects on sea
        level. They are sea ice, mountain glaciers, the Greenland ice sheet,
        the East Antarctic ice sheet, and the West Antarctic ice sheet. The one
        expected to be potentially catastrophic is West Antarctica.
        Catastrophic is taken to mean meters of sea level in a few hundred years
        or less.

            First, why can't the other four be catastrophic? Sea ice cannot
        change sea level much. That it can do so at all is because sea ice is
        not made of quite the same material as the ocean. Sea ice is much
        fresher than sea water (5 parts per thousand instead of about 35). When
        the ice melts (pretend for the moment that it does so instantly and
        retains its shape), the resultant melt water is still slightly less
        dense than the original sea water. So the meltwater still 'stands' a
        little higher than the local sea level. The amount of extra height
        depends on the salinity difference between ice and ocean, and
        corresponds to about 2% of the thickness of the original ice floe. For
        30 million square kilometers of ice (global maximum extent) and average
        thickness of 2 meters (the Arctic ice is about 3 meters, the Antarctic
        is about 1), the corresponding change in global sea level would be 2
        (meters) * 0.02 (salinity effect) * 0.10 (fraction of ocean covered by
        ice), or 4 mm. Not a large figure, but not zero either. My thanks to
        chappell@stat.wisc.edu (Rick Chappell) for making me work this out.
        ---

        As an indicator of other things 1 year sea ice thickness is relevant on a second order. It is an indicator of the local winter average temperature. Local temperature changes are not global. I say that this indicator of a more cold winter shows an increased polar air circulation which is actually a positive indicator for global warming in general.

    • Re:Temperature (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JordanL (886154) <{jordan.ledoux} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:16PM (#27630699) Homepage
      Davis is not in central Antarctica. Nice try though.
    • Re:Temperature (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:24PM (#27630771)

      I haven't been involved in any climate research, but what matters is WHY this is hapening.

      Is it, as suggested above, because water falling there as snow instead of in Australia and Texas as rain is increasing volumes? Other explanations include:

        - Thermal expansion of the ice
        - Ice melting lubricates glacial movement
        - Ice sheets detatching allows faster glacial movement
        - Lower temperatures resulting in greater freezing of seawater.

      Honestly though, conceptually this isn't amazingly complex. If we see temperatures rising, as measured by reliable equipment, thats called warming. If the ice thickens as the termperatures rise, that means something interesting is happening; It doesn't mean things aren't getting warmer.

      When presented with scientific data, vested interests say "Oh yeah!? Prove it!". Instead of simply suggesting that they read the science reports and papers, many have tried to find anecdotes (permafrost, ice sheet collapse, etc etc) but these things don't 'prove' global warming any more than an ice thickening disproves it.

      If only the population at large had an education sufficient to allow public discussion of the data found through research, there would be a great deal more consensus on this and other issues.

      Science is not subjective.

  • by superwiz (655733) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:25PM (#27630159) Journal
    inconvenient truth?
  • Number juggling. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:26PM (#27630171)

    last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m.

    So?

    • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:33PM (#27630233) Journal

      Shhhh! Don't let frivolous things like logic and facts get in the way of bashing the environmentalism movement. Protecting the environment is bad for business and in a truly free market there shouldn't be any restrictions on my megacorporation's right to pollute the atmosphere. After all, people are smart, rational, and think ahead so if my company pollutes they'll just take their business elsewhere and I'll go out of business. Can't you see how beautiful libertarianism and the free market is? It solves climate change better than those silly scientists and regulations ever could.

      • You are confused. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:20PM (#27630733)
        Like many people, you have confused Libertarianism with lassez-faire government, or even Conservatism. They are NOT the same things at all.

        Libertarians believe in the least amount of regulation that is necessary to do the job. That is not even close to the same as no regulation.

        For example, either of last year's Libertarian candidates for President would have regulated the "financial industry" more, not less. Smart Libertarians support reasonable antitrust laws, not unbridled corporatism as they have so often been accused of advocating. And so on.

        It might pay to learn something about a philosophy before you go around publicly insulting it.
      • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:29PM (#27630811) Homepage
        The thing is, intelligent people realise, that being green is good for business. The middle east and a few other select areas own oil

        But any place in the US, Europe, etc can become a dominate energy player by inventing new means to generate energy. The green movement, silly or not, creates jobs rather than takes jobs away.
  • by Phat_Tony (661117) * on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:28PM (#27630189)
    Great data and interesting if it proves out. But all the "global warming doesn't exist people" are going to jump on this like every bit of news about cold weather to claim it contradicts the idea that there's global warming, which it doesn't.

    Global warming is not a powerful enough trend to counteract all other factors- it still get colder in fall and winter in temperate zones, and it's often colder from one day to the next. While the majority of ski resorts have reported a trend of less annual snowfall per year for the past twenty years or so, some individual years buck the trend, and some resorts (like Holiday Valley in New York) have experienced the opposite trend. It's a hugely complex system with a lot of random variation and unknown factors. While the satellite data tells us that the average temperature of the earth is increasing every year, that leaves a lot of room for variation from the mean, and some parts of the world are actually getting colder. Due to the complexities of weather, some areas may experience more snowfall when the temperature rises. So don't make this out to mean more than it is.

    But it is very interesting, and could force changes to models claiming rapidly rising sea levels due to global warming.
    • Where is that data? (Score:5, Informative)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:09PM (#27630619)

      While the majority of ski resorts have reported a trend of less annual snowfall per year for the past twenty years or so,

      Really? Where is that info from?

      Because the data I can see says otherwise - like the SNOTEL Precipitation Data Table [usda.gov] from Wolf Creek Pass [usda.gov] in Colorado. Or Squaw Valley [usda.gov] in California. Or Daisy Peak [usda.gov] in Montana.

      We've had dry years in Colorado over the past decade, but also some banner snow years. Similarly for other places in other states.

      So where does the data validating that generally ski resorts have lower snowpack over the last twenty years come from? Or is it just something everyone "knows".

      In reality I think that's a data point too variable to indicate anything one way or the other.

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:28PM (#27630801)
      ... before you can reverse its slope. Can you point me to one? Not the lines presented in "An Inconvenient Truth", because inconveniently for Al Gore, those have already been thoroughly discredited.

      So, where does your line come from? Show it to me, please. Credible data from one or more credible sources clearly showing this trend you claim.

      By the way, according to your pet satellite data, the upper atmosphere has not been warming in the way predicted by any of the greenhouse-gas warming models.
  • West-Antarctica (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yokaze (70883) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:33PM (#27630235)

    To my knowledge, it is already known, that the ice thickens in West-Antarctica (News from 2002 [bbc.co.uk]). Davis-Station seems to be located there.

    I am interested, what new findings in West-Australia lead to Dr Allison's evaluation on the development of the whole continent of Antarctica. The posted article itself is a bit sparse on facts.

  • Whoop de doo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:35PM (#27630257)
    Global warming exists, but it doesn't scare me. The earth wasn't always this temperature, and if things get hotter we will just have to deal. An Ice age would scare me but not global warming, the earth was much warmer than it is now several million years ago, if it gets that warm again it doesn't mean we are all gonna die. Sure things might get hairy for a while but seriously global warming isn't that dangerous to our survival as a race. This how ever doesn't mean we should abandon working towards more energy efficient and cleaner sources of energy. This has to happen for us to progress forward as a race and while it should happen naturally I've no problem with a bunch of alarmists freaking out and spurring the desire for better sources of energy. When these alarmists start infringing upon my freedoms though I'll have a problem.
    • Re:Whoop de doo! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:28PM (#27630807) Homepage Journal

      >Sure things might get hairy for a while

      Look at where the coastline was during warmer spochs. "Hairy" is a polite word.

      We also weren't trying to feed six billion humans last time it was seriously warm.

      • it also tended to be wetter. The amount of arable land that could be used for growing crops was larger, not smaller.
  • Oh boy! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Virak (897071) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:37PM (#27630287) Homepage

    Time for a mature, enlightened debate on climate change, by people with thorough knowledge of the field who don't parrot long-discredited bullshit at all! I do so enjoy these discussions. They're almost as intelligent as Slashdot discussions on economics.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:44PM (#27630341)

    People hear "climate change" and "global warming" and think all the ice is going away. Thing is, while there are certain large ice masses that are almost certainly going to melt - the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, for instance - it's an open question how the bulk of Antarctica and Greenland is going to respond to a warmer climate. There will certainly be increased summer melting around the periphery, but there is some speculation that the total ice volume in these places will increase due to warmer (but still below freezing) temperatures. Thing is, for much of the year the air is so cold there that it just doesn't have the carrying capacity for much total water volume. Warmer air can simply carry more water than colder air, which can mean more snow and more ice pack. I say "can mean" because climate change can also affect weather patterns, which can alter the amount of precipitation that falls or even alter the source region for the precipitation that eventually reaches a given location.

    However when it comes to smaller glaciers and ice fields, where the average annual temperature was significantly closer to freezing to begin with, it's more obvious that they're shrinking or completely going away.

    FWIW up until a few years ago I worked in a climate research lab where we studied the climate records in ice from Greenland and Antarctica.
     

    • by Idiomatick (976696) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:52PM (#27631003)
      Wait you actually worked in a research lab. I'm pretty sure here on /. that makes you biased. Since if you worked in a climate research lab you are pro-climate change. All them researchers are pro climate change so clearly your opinion is worthless.
  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:23PM (#27630763) Homepage
    Let's pretend that human activity has no effect on the environment.

    With that in mind there is still no reason not to be more green.

    Pollution shortens your life: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7946838.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    Pollutionis linked to Pneumonia: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7347065.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    Pollution affects birth weight: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7988619.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    Pollution alters brain function: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7288176.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    So why in the hell would anyone support polluting this planet?

    Installing solar panels and using water butts and various other green things can save money so why wouldn't people want to save money?

    You can't (shouldn't) drive while intoxicated so increased public transportation makes it better for me when I want to socialise with my friend with alcohol and what not. Riding on buses and trains I can sleep, read or use my laptop while going to work rather than just sitting behind the wheel stressing out. Those who insist on driving get the benefit of less traffic when more people use the train or bus So it's nothing but a benefit all around

    My main concern is looking out for number one and looking out for the environment results in nothing but benefits for me as it does for most people. Ignorant people should realise this and stop focusing on just the planet. This isn't about tree huggers. This is about saving money and improving your life. So even if you have a "fuck the planet" attitude making certain change benefits yourself as well as the tree huggers.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:59PM (#27631067)

      So why in the hell would anyone support polluting this planet?

      Because we are the purest form of evil! Anyone who thinks slightly differently from you, must be the spawn of Satan.

      You see, no-one wants to "pollute the planet". None of us like it because of the reasons you list. But in the real world it's a complex relationship between people living and the impact they have. Your edict to "reduce pollution" is all well and good, but in what ways? If the way you choose means a 10% increase in job loss, is that really OK? Disallowing all car travel in a state forever and ever would be a great way to reduce pollution - and to really screw over a lot of people.

      There are ways to reduce pollution and/or save the environment that are less impactful on people's lives. So rather than claiming everyone really wants to pollute, help people to understand how they can pollute less without losing much in return.

  • by Ranger (1783) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:33PM (#27630849) Homepage
    It's scientifically proven that there is a direct inverse correspondence between the number of pirates and global warming [venganza.org]. As the number of pirates decreased global warming increased. Now that piracy in Somalia has gone up the ice in that one tiny spot in Antarctica. It'll surely compensate for the rapid flow of glaciers in the West Antarctic icesheet as they flow unimpeded into the sea now that more of the iceshelfs are gone. All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster in his infinite wisdom for making that happen. He was none to happy about Obama killing those pirates.
  • by Greg Lindahl (37568) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:02PM (#27631097) Homepage

    This must be a first.

  • This is news? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @06:13PM (#27631195)

    To anyone who actually has done a bit of looking into Antarctica in climatic terms, this won't be surprising.

    Start with a good map of Antarctica: Wikipedia has an excellent picture. You can see the Transantarctic Mountains pretty easily on the picture--it's the line roughly in the center. To the right is East Antarctica; to the left West Antarctica.

    Now, you see those two patches of rather gray ice just west of the mountains? That's the part of the sheet that isn't on land. Much of West Antarctica is sitting on ice shelves. East Antarctica is basically a giant sheet of ice a few kilometers thick sitting on land.

    For climatic reasons, East Antarctica is colder than West, and it simply doesn't snow that much. The massive cyclone that appears each winter doesn't help.

    Gaining mass means you're getting more snow, which means that the temperature is, you know, getting warmer. The annual mean temperature is -57ÂC at the South Pole...

    Now, many of you will say "this debunks global warming", etc., but you're missing a key part of the equation. West Antarctica may be 10% of the ice sheet of Antarctica, but when you compare that the entire Antarctic ice sheet comprises the majority of freshwater on Earth, a collapse of its ice sheet would result in significant rise of sea levels. And what's preventing its collapse? The Ross and Ronne Ice Shelves. And yep, they're shrinking.

  • Nothing unexpected (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:36PM (#27631807) Homepage Journal

    The climate changes, because that is what climates do. Not only that, climates do not change in an orderly and expected fashion! The politicians and media pretend that all change is uniform. That if the climate is changing then it will change uniformly warmer and warmer until we all roast to death. Or that it will get cooler and cooler until glaciers roll over the continents. Neither view is correct, yet that is what we are told to believe. It is inconceivable to the politico-media complex that some places my get cooler and others warmer. Inconceivable that the climate has a balancing mechanism that prevents runaway change. Inconceivable that human beings are a part of nature and not an external contagion.

    This constant cry that we are "destroying the planet" must stop. It is an absurd claim. Certainly we human beings should be good caretakers of our planet. We should seek to reduce pollution and other environmental externalities. But the fear mongering is not helping, and must stop.

    • by chill (34294) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:17PM (#27632515) Journal

      A bit from George Carlin, the Big Electron rest his soul...

      * * *

      We're so self-important. So self-important. Everybody's going to save something now. "Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails." And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet, we don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven't learned how to care for one another, we're gonna save the fucking planet? I'm getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I'm tired of fucking Earth Day, I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren't enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don't give a shit about the planet. They don't care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don't. Not in the abstract they don't. You know what they're interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They're worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn't impress me.

      Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We've been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we're a threat? That somehow we're gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floatin' around the sun?

      The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles...hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages...And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet...the planet...the planet isn't going anywhere. WE ARE!

      We're going away. Pack your shit, folks. We're going away. And we won't leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

      You wanna know how the planet's doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet's doing. You wanna know if the planet's all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

      The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does. It's a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it's true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn't share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn'

  • Summary... (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @07:57PM (#27631953)

    Interesting about a regions ice thinkness; however, this has nothing to do with CO2 levels, or global warming...

    Maybe the politics and religion of SlashDot can for once leave the science to let's say the 'scientists'?

    ---

    There are so many factors in 'global warming' from desalination and currents to polar winds just to top off a couple of important things that makes this report have nothing to do with overall climate status/change.

    There is also the effect of mankind's pollution in opacity, as just the increases the Bush administration allowed in the past eight years would have once again decreased the amount of sunlight that gets to the surface, giving the earth a temporary cooling, that when stabalized could mean the global warming effects would hit many times faster than even the most extreme left alarmist would argue.

    I love the goofs that want to tell everyone the Global Warming is in effect on a hot summer day and the other goofs that tell us it doesn't exist on a cold day.

    Climate disturbance caused by man's contribution to enviornmental factors are not so easy to understand, but is something that needs to be taken seriously, as the science does show humans DO impact the climate. If it is more than expected, then watch as Europe and the north coast of America freezes over, which would be 'Global Warming'.

    Do people honestly think that Global climates changes are 'not' important to mankind? History shows that natural changes nearly caused the demise of the human race several times.

    It is something we should study as much as we can and prevent as much as we can, and with the 'chaotic' variable called man affecting the climate, the study and monitoring is needed now more than ever.

  • Blasphemer! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrmeval (662166) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lavemrm]> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:52PM (#27632787) Journal

    Heretic!
    Earth killer!
    LIES!

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

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