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Antarctic Ice Sheet Growing?

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the weird-science dept.

Science 40

kraut_juice writes: "The West Antarctic Ice Sheet just may have stopped melting, scientists reported on Thursday. Experts have been saying there is little evidence that global warming is responsible for melting the ice sheet."

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I wonder... (1)

Stone Rhino (532581) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861852)

How long until it hits australia/south america/NZ at this rate?

Re:I wonder... (1)

Score0, Overrated (550447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862006)

Quite a long time - the ice didn't reach there during the last ice age [uwyo.edu]
Sydney is 33 degrees South of the equator (The US-Mexico border is nearly 33 North in California)

Won't somebody think of the penguins?!? (2, Informative)

Score0, Overrated (550447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861873)

The penguins are suffering [nationalgeographic.com] this year because of the strange behaviour down there.

Good grief. (1)

BigChigger (551094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2863127)

If the ice were melting you'd complain about that. The ice is getting thicker, you complain about that. There is no pleasing you.

Re:Good grief. (1)

Score0, Overrated (550447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2865135)

There is no pleasing you.

Or the penguins.

Echo's.. (3, Insightful)

AnalogBoy (51094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861878)

Every year i hear "Global Warming is Occuring" and "The icecaps are melting", but then i also hear "The icecaps are expanding! another ice age is coming!"

-make up your scientific minds already-. You're worse than the local weatherperson.

Now.. do i need this fleece sweater or not?!

Re:Echo's.. (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861915)

Both.

Interesting thing really, if you think about it. Ice ages are part of a natural cycle... now, with global warming, it just might be preventing the next ice age... for now at least...

IANAS (I am Not a Scientist... so I could be way off the mark)

Re:Echo's.. (1)

AnalogBoy (51094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862077)

I like the cold - I'd welcome an ice age or two. If only people would learn how to drive.

Is there any correlation between the ice ages and the flux of earths magnetic field?

Re:Echo's.. (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862142)

I'm not sure of the correlation between the two myself, I think that the flux of the magnetic field happens more than the ice ages, going by what I've read, so they're likely unrelated... or related through some way that hasn't been thought of yet.

Re:Echo's.. (2)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862185)

IANAS but I thought the Earth's magnetic field flipped with a frequency on the order of millions of years, but Ice Ages come on the order of thousands or tens of thousands of years.

Are we talking about the same thing? I think it's fascinating if there is a correlation.

Re:Echo's.. (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862213)

Hmm. I could be mistaken of course... seeing I just got off a 8.5 hour shift at work.

Yeah, we're talking the same things, although i always though that the frequency of the magnetic shifts was much more common (relitively speaking) than millions of years.

It's hard to imagine though, just what would cause a shift in a magnetic freild, expecially on one so huge as Earth.

Re:Echo's.. (1)

AnalogBoy (51094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862263)

Thats what I was thinking.. I'm too tired to research it myself.. Just a passing ponderance.

The earths magnetic field is also supposed to be degrading. THATS interesting, and if i remember correctly this is the first time that, instead of shifting, it's weakening. What are we going to do in 2,000 or so years when its gone? Wear armani lead coats to business meetings?

Re:Echo's.. (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862293)

Well, actually, seeing that there's no real way to study how the change took place eons ago, what's happening now could be the same thing.

Re:Echo's.. (1)

AnalogBoy (51094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862313)

Well, they can look in the rock strata and see the domains of iron molecules.. At least thats how i *THINK* they do it.

Re:Echo's.. (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862366)

Yeah. That I know, they get the best readings of this in the atlantic ocean, where the sea's expanding.

However, the molecules would align with the magnetic field, as long as it was present, even if it wasn't particuarly strong... wouldn't it?

Re:Echo's.. (1)

Reggyt (107999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862574)

I think from memory planet earth flips its magnetic polarity every 11'000 years. Its kind of spooky because the Sun's sunspot cycle has max and mins on an 11 year cycle.

If you ask me, that kind of coincedence is a doom monger's dream LOL The end is nigh!

Re:Echo's.. (4, Informative)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2864159)

The earth's magnetic field has nothing to do with the weather going on about the surface of the earth. When the earth's magnetic field changes (which it does... and we think it has a couple of times), all that is happening is a shift in the flow of the super-hot, liquid metal core (since it is iron, and iron is one of the naturally occuring ferromagnets, along with nickle and some other elements). So when the magnetic field changes, it's just showing that the direction of the flow within the earth has shifted... it can even shift direction entirely. Just think... north becomes south, and south becomes north.

Although you may think that the flow in the hot core may change things above the surface... the heat that disipates up to the surface is very very small (except for volcanos and such). The only flow that effects the climate on earth is (besides the jet stream) the ocean currents.

Re:Echo's.. (1)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2864328)

"The only flow that effects the climate on earth is (besides the jet stream) the ocean currents."

Rethinking that statement, I guess the change in the magnetic field could effect the earth's climate. If the magnetic field is weakened (...it's already pretty damn weak itself), then it could allow for more radiation coming into the earth's atmosphere, and then warming up the climate... but that's just my guess.

Re:Echo's.. (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2872023)

Just think... north becomes south, and south becomes north.
And, if it shifts once more, then Earth's north pole will actually be a magnetic north. Right now it's a magnetic south; that's why the north pole of a magnetic compass is attracted to it.

Re:Echo's.. (1)

Yazeran (313637) | more than 12 years ago | (#2881110)

Actually the earth's magnetic field has changed direction at least a hundred times during the last 400 million years. It was discovered in the 60 and 70'es as the US first produced magnetic maps of the north atlantic (possibly in orer to later be able to tell if a particular magnetic anomaly was a submerged russian submarine). They found long linear magnetic anomalies, which were parallel to the mid atlantic ridge. They found out, that each linear anomaly had a 'twin' on the other side of the ridge, and that the ridge was exactly in the middle of the twins.

It was concluded, that each magnetic anomaly corresponded to a 'magnetic reversal' where the magnetic field had either been parallel to the pressent day field (a magnetic possitive anomaly) or anti-parallel to the pressent field (a magnetic negative anomaly).

Yours Yazeran

Plan: To go to Mars one day with a hammer.

Re:Echo's.. (2)

Syre (234917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2886126)

some scientists have said that they think there would be an ice age starting now if not for global warming...

who knows?

But remember: we don't want to end up like venus (600 degrees) which apparently is the way it is because of greenhouse effects...

Yea but (2)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861894)

It's shrinking [cruisingworld.com] as well. The iceberg reported in the link was enough to cause a concern for shipping lanes, at the time. I don't know whatever happened to it.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. (4, Insightful)

schwap (191462) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861968)

A lot of the debate about global warming reminds me about all the Y2K talk a few years ago. Its one of those things that unless it happens no one is going to believe that its real, but if it is real and something wasnt dont about it and disaster resulted, then enough wasnt being done, but then again if something was done to prevent the disaster, then all that money and time was spent for nothing because there was nothing to worry about in the first place.

Also, the only thing that anyone involved in the science of the whole thing is that global warming will have an effect on the climate. Its anybody's guess, really. I could mean that in the sort term temperatures rise a little allowing snow to fall in places in which it used to be too cold to snow in large quantities resulting in more sun light being reflected back. Who knows? The problem as I see it is not climate change itself. The climate will change with or without our pollution. The problem it seems is our unwillingness to deal with the fact that we will face problems. Again, contingency is seen as a waste, and disaster is seen as the failure of those who were supposed to have the contingency that was so wasteful. Shit happens. Seas rise, lakes dry up, rocks fall from the sky and stars explode.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't. (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 12 years ago | (#2863038)


> The problem it seems is our unwillingness to deal with the fact that we will face problems. Again, contingency is seen as a waste...

Hardly surprising in a society organized to optimize quarterly earnings reports.

Global warming not involved (1)

DustMagnet (453493) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862046)

None of the experts think global warming can effect the ice sheets, yet. These ice sheets are huge. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is over 4km thick. The bottom of the ice will not feel global warming for hundereds of years.

We'll all be dead before global warming has any real effect on these ice sheets. So don't worry be happy?

increased snowfall was predicted in some areas (4, Interesting)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862588)

Global warming is incredibly complex - it does not mean that everything is the same except that the temperature is a few degrees warmer everywhere.

Specifically, there were some predictions that GLOBAL warming would cause LOCAL cooling and increased snowfall. The reason is simple - increased temperatures means increased evaporation and increased clouds. Some early naive rebuttals thought that the cloud cover would increase globally, reducing the amount of sunlight and throttling global warming, but more sophisticated models (and experience) shows that there will be stronger "high pressure bubbles" that keep the skies clear of all clouds for prolonged periods. Read: expect more droughts, and more severe droughts.

In the high latitudes, there's been relatively little cloud cover or snowfall because cold air can't hold much moisture. I live in Colorado and can definitely see that here - we get heavy snow in the fall and spring, but in deep winter a heavy snowfall will be 2-3 inches instead of 9-12 inches. Global warming means that upper atmosphere warms up enough to sustain more clouds and more moisture, so you'll see local temperature drop and increased snowfall.

I saw a map of predicted changes over North America a while back. There were small pockets over SE Alaska and coastal British Columbia (IIRC) that showed modest temperature drops, but most of the rest of the continent showed larger temperature increases. In the dustbowl states the temperature was much higher.

Bottom line - the real question here is if this was predicted by the current global warming models.

Global Warming (2, Insightful)

ryanb100 (542951) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862621)

As you point out unless something is done about the problem then the effects of global warming could be disastrous, but the causal link that using aerosols (with cfc's)(or any one of a hundred atmospheric no-no's) is not clear in most peoples heads and hence convincing them that the massive spend is necessary is going to be difficult. I can give you a very simple example in London there is a flood defence system which is basically a system of barriers that can be swung up or down to protect London against high tides even though the barriers have been raised several times to protect the city against floods. The money spent on this is still considered by some to be a waste.

Please read this book (1)

pease1 (134187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2862746)

A must read for both sides: The Satanic Gases [amazon.com] .

Depends on which level you're talking about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2863132)

I just finished a graduate-level Physics of the Weather class. The strange thing about global warming vs. cooling is that both sides are right. It depends on which scale you look at. For example, the long-term trend is towards warming while the short-term trend is towards cooling. You look at the graph of (estimated, very estimated) temp vs time, and it looks somewhat like a sine wave with a period of 10,000 years with a superimposed sine wave with a period of 400 years. In other words, it's a graph of something with changes occuring at different frequencies. For any EE that knows the slightest thing about FFT's, it's obvious. Apparently for your average journalist or weatherman, the concept is above them. When you mention changes with a complicated system, you need to include the scale. Are you talking about warming over a 100 period or our overall cooling trend?

Warming Schwarming... (-1, Troll)

ovit (246181) | more than 12 years ago | (#2863134)


We should have spent all of the money we've
wasted over the years on Environmentalism and
built up some kind of defensive asteroid shield..
Their's REAL environmental protection for you...
BTW, we really should all drive alternatively
fueled vehichles (sp?), not for environmental
reasons, but to stop terrorism...

What "Global Warming" is really about (-1, Troll)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 12 years ago | (#2863458)

Before I launch into what, in fact, "Global Warming" is really about, allow me to share some insight on how preposterous the very idea is.

First of all, the only time we hear about "Global Warming" is during the summer; ironically the same time that temperature (in the northern hemisphere anyway, I'll address this later) is, in fact, rising! I really hope that the predictable rise in temperature in Summer isn't that much of a surprise to anyone.

But what really confuses scientists is the fact that this "Global Warming", aka "Summer" happens at a completely different time of the year in the southern hemisphere. I am thoroughly convinced that for the sake of some agenda (which again, I will address later) these "scientists" are ignoring all that "Winter" that occurs between the cyclical warmings, in favor of reporting a constant heightening of temperatures worldwide.

That, or course, is pure balderdash, but these "scientists" need SOMETHING to justify the millions of research dollars they leach from the public tax coffers. What is actually going on is that these "scientists" really aren't the great, prophetic thinkers they promote themselves as.

Every argument I have heard supporting "Global Warming" indicates that the effects of this phenomena won't be observed for hundreds, even thousands of years! That's easy to say when nobody now will be alive to disprove their theory. Present them with a very current, very REAL problem that affects us today, and their true ignorance wouldn't be hard to spot.

But year after year, we give credance to these "scientists" who make a good living by spouting theory and conjecture that has no basis on reality. When are we going to expose these charlatans for the fakes they are? When are we, as taxpayers, going to end the exhorbitant flow of cash into the greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon the world's peoples?

I propose we organize a similar movement that acknowledges the global cooling (Winter, for us laypersons) that is always occuring SOMEWHERE in the world. Perhaps the funding for this research should come from these "Global Warming" funds, as there is at least equal evidence supporting a "Global Cooling" theory.

Thank you for your time.

Re:What "Global Warming" is really about (1)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2864277)

"Present them with a very current, very REAL problem that affects us today, and their true ignorance wouldn't be hard to spot. "

-So we should stop researching problems that might arrise in the future? Ok, lets just sit back, pollute our skies, use up all the oil, and then when we can't drive our cars, or breathe without an environment suit, THEN we'll start thinking of what to do...

"First of all, the only time we hear about "Global Warming" is during the summer"

-The only reason we hear about it during the summer is because the news stations wouldn't air it during the winter... no one would believe it. "Today's high will be around 15 degrees... next up, an interview with a top scientist in the research of global warming" ...their ratings would drop right after that sentence.

"I propose we organize a similar movement that acknowledges the global cooling (Winter, for us laypersons) that is always occuring SOMEWHERE in the world"

-I think you have your definiton of Global wrong. You say that global warming and global cooling is always happening SOMEWHERE in the world... but that's not "Global"... it's "Local".

If you did research the findings that the scientists have brought in, it shows the effects of green-house gasses in the air (CO2 and other compounds), and it's effect on our (here's that word again) Global climate. After drilling into the ice caps and measuring the concentration of the CO2 levels in the past, they matched up the rise and fall of CO2, and mapped it against the ice ages... and found how they match up. If you couldn't guess, the more CO2, the hotter it is. (Less CO2, the colder it is). Guess what... the CO2 levels are on the rise (the highest they've EVER been... besides when earth was forming)... and this is how they justify the global warming...

Re:What "Global Warming" is really about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2864613)

That's it buddy, feed that troll.

global go warm warm or the ice doth not melt (1)

derryboy (257753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2863869)

The polar ice caps both north and south are getting thicker and bigger.Just like the few half-brain cell types who still believe in global warming.Come on huge climatic changes occured long before man or woman for that matter set foot on our lovely little planet.Catch on the earth is a living, breathing,ever changing eco planet thing.GROW-UP learn to read the signs that gaia gives and adapt!

Re:global go warm warm or the ice doth not melt (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2867547)

Alright, so it's ok if we pollute because the earth will adapt to it. Sure.

The problem is we might not. I've always wondered at the incredible foolishness of people who frantically cling to the idiotic notion that the massive amounts of carbon dioxide we've pumped into the atmosphere, and the disruptive change in global climate over the past few years, are unrelated COINCIDENCES. I mean, what do you think happens to all our pollutants? They magically disappear? Do you believe in the tooth fairy as well? You think all those trees are going to be able to handle all the excess carbon dioxide? Hell, they might have if the same people who insist that they can hadn't chopped so many of them down.

Re:global go warm warm or the ice doth not melt (1)

derryboy (257753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876585)

Like i said try using the whole half-brain cell.Any moron knows that mt pinatobo ( i probably spelled it wrong)CAUSED MORE CHANCES AND RELEASED MORE IN THE WAY OF HARMFULL CHEMICALS,THEN ALL THE POLLUTION THAT MAN HAS SINCE THE INDUSTRIAL REVELOTION TO THIS DAY.Take off the blinders look at all the info with an open mind .Let us work on the real problems.

Re:global go warm warm or the ice doth not melt (1)

freek_daddy (250162) | more than 12 years ago | (#2879839)


Nonsense.
Two seconds of research would've told you that the arctic sea ice is receding [daviesand.com] , not increasing.

That you got the central fact wrong does not bode well for the rest of your "argument".

Another Version (2, Informative)

DustMagnet (453493) | more than 12 years ago | (#2865631)

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/i ce020117.html

This one gets the science a little better.

Too bad no one is reading this low. :-)

Re:Another Version (1)

Niet3sche (534663) | more than 12 years ago | (#2890425)

I am! (hopefully this isn't triple-posted)

Listen to explanation... (3, Interesting)

BMazurek (137285) | more than 12 years ago | (#2872517)

The CBC [www.cbc.ca] 's radio science program Quirks and Quarks [radio.cbc.ca] interviewed one of the researchers on this topic. You can listen to the MP3 here [radio.cbc.ca] . Other stories this week had to do with the Spider Goats, among others.

Summary: The majority of the Anarctic continent is isolated from the rest of the world when it comes to weather patterns. Most research stations aren't in the isolated part, they are in the most northerly portions of the continent. They are warming. The isolated part of Antarctica is cooling. It's basically a re-analysis of existing data that has resulted in this conclusion.

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