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Science & Technology

Antarctica gaining more ice than it's losing

By T.K. Randall
November 3, 2015 · Comment icon 72 comments

Antarctica appears to be gaining a significant amount of ice every year. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Jason Auch
A new NASA study has called in to question what we know of global warming and rising sea levels.
For many years scientists have been warning that the ice caps are melting and that rising sea levels will eventually cause major flooding in low-lying coastal cities in countries all across the globe.

One of the biggest contributing factors has been a steady increase in the rate at which ice is melting at the poles - especially the Antarctic ice sheet which contains over 26.5 million cubic km of ice.

But not everything may be quite as it seems - that is at least according to researchers from NASA, the University of Maryland and the Sigma Space Corporation who have put forward a new analysis of satellite data showing that Antarctica has actually been gaining ice - not losing it.
The data, which indicates that the Antarctic ice sheet gained over 112 billion tons of ice every year between 1992 to 2001, is in stark contrast to research conducted by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which suggested that the total amount of ice was decreasing.

"The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away," said NASA glaciologist and lead study author Jay Zwally.

"But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for."

Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comments (72)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #63 Posted by socrates.junior 7 years ago
You should try to keep up since you responded to my response to Preacherman. Go back and check. I did, it's not there. He nowhere speaks of the total crust of the Earth being uplifted. You attempted to take things off course by pointing out that uplift can indeed lift the crust without pointing out that subduction will always compensate in the planetary system, resulting in no net upward movement of the crust when the planet is considered as a whole. Like pushing a balloon and watching it respond. That's a irretrievably flawed analogy to the Earth surface. Examine the bimodal topographic distr... [More]
Comment icon #64 Posted by The Black Ghost 7 years ago
All scientific findings need to be taken with a grain of salt, even ones from generally reliable institutions. Which is why the initial conclusions about Antarctic Ice melt needed to be questioned and why this same study needs to be questioned as well. There needs to be more research done now which will inevitably follow. However, the argument for climate change is so much more than just about ice melt.
Comment icon #65 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
The scientists already cross checked their results with ice core data. Br Cornelius Don't keep in suspense. Was there a recent change in oxygen isotope ratios? Doug
Comment icon #66 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
How was there any land at all back when CO levels were several hundred times what they are today? When all the ice melts, the water quits rising. No matter how much CO2 is in the air. Couldn't sea levels be rising cause of say a under water volcano? Cause if this rise isn't coming from the arctic, meaning we are losing it twice as fast from some place else, wouldn't that be pretty obvious where that's coming from? It would be shrinking at an amazing pace. Temperate zone glaciers are still melting and then there's Greenland... Doug
Comment icon #67 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
What is taking something with a grain of salt? My understanding of that English expression is that it means don't believe it, or at least demand more evidence. When it comes to Antarctic melting, that it is happening has been reported by genuine scholars in reputable journals, so, while it is of course subject to revision (as with all science) the natural reaction should be to tentatively accept it at face value. I saw a different report recently to the effect that weather change has also led to increased snowfall in certain parts of the continent, leading to more ice buildup. This too was fro... [More]
Comment icon #68 Posted by Doug1029 7 years ago
What is taking something with a grain of salt? Be extremely careful - it may not be true. Doug
Comment icon #69 Posted by Phaeton80 7 years ago
Climate change (not global warming) is an undisputed fact. The proposition of a decisive human factor (the dreaded CO2) in that climate change certainly is not. Three obvious facts can also be gleaned from the present situation; there are tremendous vested interests in the present global hype (based on the decisive human factor), tremendous propaganda employed (from schools to all forms of mainstream media) globally, and last but not least.. everyone not adhering to this human factor/CO2 hype is publicly banned.. scapegoated. ..Which strongly indicate a certain level of dishonesty at play, dec... [More]
Comment icon #70 Posted by coolguy 7 years ago
The earth is cooling
Comment icon #71 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
We are experiencing global warming, man caused, and that is the fact on the ground. The rest is rationalization and pseudo-science, economically and politically, not scientifically, motivated. Disputing this is like arguing for creationism or something similarly unscientific, and those who do it are to be disregarded. I do not think, however, that the consequences are nearly as severe as often painted -- again we are seeing political motivation and scare tactics, this time from the other side of the political spectrum. Still, there is within half a century going to be massive dislocations of p... [More]
Comment icon #72 Posted by Codenwarra 7 years ago
Accumulation of snow / ice in the Antarctic interior was predicted several years ago as a consequence of global warming. Since average surface temperatures there are far below zero Celsius, even a rise of several degrees in average global temperatures would cause more snow and ice in Antarctica. A small rise in the temperature of the Southern Ocean means greater evaporation and more snow in the continent. I do not have a citation for this but the original article from which the CSM story was based may mention one. [More]

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