Is Antarctica Gaining or Losing Ice? Nature May Have Just Settled The Debate

By Eric Betz | May 16, 2017 12:57 pm
West Antarctica is rapidly melting, while some parts of East Antarctica have seen increased snowfall. (Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)

West Antarctica is rapidly melting, while some parts of East Antarctica have seen increased snowfall. (Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)

For years, scientists have debated whether heavy inland snowfall on the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet — Earth’s largest — balances out the rapid melting in West Antarctica.

Given enough snowfall, the continent might not yet be contributing to sea level rise.

Most research shows the melt rate is so high that the continent is indeed losing ice. But in 2015, a group of NASA scientists published a controversial study that found Antarctica was instead gaining ice. The NASA team combined space- and land-based measurements and found so much snow dropping in East Antarctica that even with drastic melting elsewhere, the continent was adding some 80 billion tons of ice annually.

It contradicted prominent previous findings — including reports from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The result drew global headlines and excited climate change skeptics. That’s despite warnings from the study’s lead author, NASA Goddard’s chief cryospheric scientist Jay Zwally, who predicted that melting would outpace increased snowfall in a decade or two.

(Credit: Zwally et al., Journal of Glaciology, Volume 61, Number 230, December 2015, pp. 1019-1036(18))

(Credit: Zwally et al., Journal of Glaciology, Volume 61, Number 230, December 2015, pp. 1019-1036(18))

For their part, a number of veteran climate scientists have challenged Zwally’s findings.

In one study published in Geophysical Research Letters earlier this month, researchers say East Antarctica is gaining three times less ice than the NASA scientists found — enough to easily tip the balance the other direction. The latest research was led by scientists at the University of Bristol and used data sets similar to those used by the NASA team, but also added in observations from the Grace spacecraft. The NASA satellite can measure minute changes in Earth’s gravitational field to watch Antarctica shed the weight of ice.

During their study period, which included data from 2003 to 2013, Antarctica as a whole added to sea level rise, they found. “In every experiment, mass loss from the west always exceeded gains in the east,” lead author Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol said in a media release.

Zwally says the problem is that East Antarctica is so enormous even tiny discrepancies can completely change the answer.

“In West Antarctica, you’re looking at bigger changes over a small area,” Zwally says. “And in East Antarctica, you’re looking at smaller changes over a much bigger area.”

Zwally, himself a veteran glaciologist, says the differences stem from how teams treat the density of the ice sheet, which is thousands of feet thick, as well as how the teams analyze the slow movement of bedrock under the ice. According to Zwally, on-the-ground studies have shown that Antarctica has seen unusually heavy snowfall over the last 10,000 years. That weight burdens the ice sheet and gradually makes the ground beneath it sink. These changes have to be accounted for, he says.

“It’s a debate over the methodology, and their methodology is primitive,” Zwally says. “It’s what we were doing 15 years ago, but we’ve advanced beyond that state. We no longer have to guess at that density.”

Zwally still stands by his 2015 study, but in an interview last week, he said nature has recently changed the equation. His team is crunching numbers from the past two years, looking at ice melting and snowfall rates in Antarctica. And they found something startling.

The melt rates in West Antarctica just increased significantly. His calculations now show that the continent is in overall balance. The findings haven’t been peer reviewed yet, but he plans to present them at a science conference later this year.

“In our paper we said that might happen in two to three decades,” Zwally says. “Well, this is an unpublished result, but now we’re very close to the zero line.”

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  • OWilson

    So much for “Settled Science”. :)

    • rrocklin

      The oceans are rising. This is an indisputable fact. The Greenland Ice caps are loosing ice. Antarctica may not be playing a part yet but it appears inevitable.

      • John C

        The global sea level has been rising approximately 1 inch each 14 years since 1880, with a very slight acceleration apparent in the data curve, very slight meaning it’s only mathmatically apparent not visually.

        Taking into account local variability due to estuary flows, land sinking or rising, etc. it seems that 1 inch per 14 years is something we can plan for and avoid.

        Especially considering the fact that people today aren’t tied to the land like Medieval serfs, they move great distances for work, to escape old neighborhoods, etc.

        Like the hair on fire doomsday Population Bomb prophesies of the 1970’s I think this will also work itself out better than any of us expect today.

        • rrocklin

          Current rate is now 1 inch every 8 years and can be expected to increase. About 40% of US population lives in coastal cities which will be effected by storm surges, erosion and flooding. While most will stay above water you can expect more frequent events like hurricane sandy and the new york experience. I live at 6000 feet and will be affected economically.

          • Deuce_2112

            “Current rate is now 1 inch every 8 years and can be expected to increase.”

            Submit your supporting evidence,

          • CHEMST

            Why are we expecting?

          • rrocklin

            NOA OR NASA Google Do your own research.

          • HenryC

            Maybe yes, maybe no. Using satellite data it remains one inch per 8 years. The human estuary measurements say it is increasing.

          • Barca Mantok

            How does 1 inch every 8 years translate to Manhattan being under being under water by 2015?

          • rrocklin

            Bogus

          • Rob Neff

            Manhattan, 2015? Nobody here said that. Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Venice, much of Holland, Bangladesh are all at greater risk than NYC, although Superstorm Sandy shows NYC is vulnerable to storm surge as well.

        • Malcolm

          Talking about the rate of sea level rise without acknowledging that the rate is increasing at an accelerating rate, or the fact that the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet will not happen in a linear, incremental way, is either intellectual dishonesty or ignorant stupidity.

        • birdpond

          Increasing droughts, deserts, severe, fatal, costly weather events. In the meantime, plants and animals are already trying to outrun warming habitats or acidifying oceans, and more and more are facing extinction. Farmers and horse owners know, drier summers, ruined harvests, more expense buying hay when there should be grass in spring and summer. Winter deer hunting, my elderly neighbors tell me, has gone from single digits to short sleeve weather in GA. We had no winter last year. How will this effect wildlife? Biodiversity? Disease? Pests? Our food supply? Everything is intricately interconnected – It’s not all about us.

          • OWilson

            Just for the record, warming temperatures (and technology) are helping set World Agricultural Food Production Records, year after year, to feed a hungry world.

            Just thought you should know that!

          • birdpond

            Like I said – It’s not all about us.

            Even if it were, some of us (a lot, actually) NEED the natural world, as it is, if not just to survive, then for our souls, our hearts. Much of what’s driving climate change is also driving the mass-extinction event we’re causing, a genocide unrivaled since the dinos. Much is driven by industry and greed, for manufactured markets, rather than actual need. Driven by need for control and ever-increasing wealth of the wealthiest -1% elite at the expense of all else. Including us.

            Why not aggressively combat the causes of climate change?Fund development of alternative fuel sources? Because the wealthy few want to hang on to their fossil-fuel income stream at any expense. That’s ALL.

            We continue to treat our home planet as a commodity, and tinker with her living systems at our peril. We are certainly neither smart enough nor wise enough to ‘improve’ the source that sustains all. We certainly must be arrogant to think we can ‘handle’ the catastrophic changes we’re wreaking. A little respect, humility and a paradigm shift would go a long way . . .

          • OWilson

            Are you aware that people have been killing each other for ever? Do you think that they will call a time out to talk about green energy?

            “Green” tanks, bombs and IUD’s?

            Speaking of ‘greed”, ever figure out why you need gun totin’ cops in pairs patrolling your very own neighborhood,?

            They are there to stop YOUR neighbors stealing YOUR stuff and doing terrible things to YOUR family.

            You might start there with your “respect, humility” and Kumbaya candle waving!

            Fix that, then we can talk about the rest of the world!

          • birdpond

            I totally understand your sentiment but maybe you have it backwards. Bear with me here. First, there is more than enough food being produced. We know that. It’s getting the food to the people where things break down. With all the food we grow, people are still starving, and it’s not for lack of science.

            Therefore, look at your comments above in a different light. What is a main cause of war? Resources. Food. WATER.

            Climate change may help SOME areas ‘for a time’, but not for long, and then things get much worse. Overall, most of the unrest in Syria etc is triggered by droughts, famines etc. People who have what they need are less likely to wage war than those fighting to survive. And scarcity of water is a prime driver of war.

            So as the oceans warm and acidify, mangroves are bulldozed and the sea is swept clean of life by giant trawlers, the Great Barrier Reef (nursery of our fisheries and the marine ecosystem) has bleached beyond repair. It’s dead.

            Less now for all. All the baby fish, shellfish, corals – All gone.
            Does that effect our global diet? EVERYTHING is interconnected and interdependent.

            SO – Maybe if we repair the biosphere, slow climate change, restore habitats and robust wildlife populations (because everything is interconnected and interdependent, including us with the natural world), and show the planet/nature/biodiversity that respect, so we ALLOW natural functions to take place without our interference, and heal, and flourish, then, maybe those other issues will take care of themselves.

            Just a thought.

            Peace.

          • OWilson

            Sorry but I couldn’t get past, your initial assumption:

            “What is a main cause of war? Resources. Food. WATER”

            Take away the gun totin’ cops away from your street, and see if your can satisfy the home invaders with bottles of Perrier! :)

          • birdpond

            I meant globally. Not just here in US. If you do research into the issue you will see there is merit and evidence for the statement. And yes, religion is another big contributing factor. Often though there is an underlying trigger that causes religious extremism. No one has to lose face by admitting it openly online, but maybe in one’s heart of hearts, this discussion might spark musings in some readers. That’s enough. We live in an interconnected world. You obviously have your point of view . Was just offering a way to think in a larger, more integrated fashion. Be well.

          • OWilson

            Go tell it to the more than half the world that hates us and wants to end our way of life.

            Don’t lecture me, I haven’t killed anybody (lately) :)

            Might make you feel good, but doesn’t help the innocent!

            Another bomb today, in Manchester, and you want the world to come together to talk about what the weather may be like in a hundred years?

            And I “have it backwards” ? :)

          • birdpond

            This site wouldn’t let me include the several supportive links to articles on the clear connection between climate change and political/civil unrest, war and terrorism, but if you google them, particularly one on the National Observer, called the Climate Change Drives Political Instability: CIA Director by Charles Mandel (among other sources) you can read and evaluate for yourself. That said, there’s no reason not to address both your concerns and the concerns of climate change together, as they really need to be. They are correlated. Without addressing the stresses caused by increasing droughts, floods, famine, disease outbreaks and the ways in which ISIS is using the resulting hunger, water and other crisis as a recruiting tool, though, events like last night will not just continue but get progressively worse and more frequent.

            Be well.

          • OWilson

            I am not religious but the story of Jesus on the Cross, has been repeated ad infinitum in your own country, which has abundant resources.

            From the Salem which trials, to the Civil War, the killing of Lincoln to the assassination of MLK and JFK, to your own neighborhood murders, it is the evil in men’s heart that politicians inflame and use for their own ends, not lack of resources.

            Unemployment has not yet been accepted as a defense for murder in any civilized society.

            I believe you are naive, and well meaning, but your freedom to live and express yourself here and anywhere in you country, was bought for you at great cost in blood and treasure over the years.

            Peace can only be achieved through strength, or slavery.

            If you are not militant and willing to defend it, or support those that do, you will quickly lose it.

            That much is certain. It is written plain, for all to see!

          • bwana

            “Resources. Food. WATER.” are NOT the prime sources of conflict. Resources (which include food, water, land), Ideology and Religion are the prime sources of any conflict!!

          • OWilson

            Thank you!

          • birdpond

            You misunderstood. I meant respect, humility, paradigm shift in regards to (our relationship with) our living planet.

          • OWilson

            Why not start with a loving relationship with the neighbors first, OK?

            I mean. if you are going to change the entire world, don’t be a piker, eh?

          • Donna Hamilton Horton

            Green IUDs? Intra-Uterine Devices? Included in a list of weapons? Hmmmm…. Makes more sense to say IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), but weaponized IUDs, green or otherwise, is thought-provoking.

          • OWilson

            Your point is well taken! :)

          • Rob Neff

            That’s largely due to increased population. More people = more demand for food. We can still keep up with demand, as long as we have enough phosphorus for the fertilizers.
            We haven’t seen the real effects of global warming yet, temps today have been reached many times in the past, but what will happen 20, 40 years from now is what has me concerned.

      • S Graves

        The oceans have been “rising” since the end of the last glaciation some 25kya. 12kya you could have have walked from what is now the Golden Gate to the hills to the west…now the Farallon Islands.

        • Courtney Schumacher

          And Russia and Alaska used to be connected. That’s how the original African natives came to be American Indians. They strolled over.

      • Chris

        The oceans rising is quite disputable. It entirely depends on what is acceptable in terms of what it means for the oceans to rise. Which may sound like nonsense if you are ignorant to the breadth of the topic and trying to argue a point in which you have no real education, so to be as quick and simple as I can to illustrate the problem, consider this: yes, there is a measured increase in surface area of the oceans, but, and this is the kicker, there is also measured increase in land mass above the ocean. If we take all the data and trust it implicitly, we would have to conclude that the earth is increasing in size and that the increase in ocean area and land are proportional.

        For every spot that you can show loss of land on a shore, there are many, many more spots where there is increased land at the shore, or, even land where there was never land before–new islands created by volcanic eruptions, new land at the shores created by the same, and there is a lot more land created through other natural processes as well, not to mention places like China creating man-made designer islands by dumping unimaginable amounts of concrete into the sea. If the earth isn’t getting bigger, and I don’t think it probably is, is it any wonder that the oceans might rise, what with the displacement of water by huge amounts of new land? But even that wouldn’t explain things because water displacement would still suggest decreasing shorelines everywhere and that simply isn’t the case.

        If you think this is a simple issue and if you think you can simply say the oceans are rising and therefore man-made climate change is everything the alarmists claim it to be, then you are nothing more than a useful idiot for people hell-bent on silencing debate on the issue.

        • rrocklin

          Wow, are you off your meds. Total BS.

    • Jay Zwally

      OWilzen,
      Don’t know who “Zwilly” is, but Zwally’s findings are supported by very sound scientific analysis and many peers! Jay Z

      • OWilson

        The NASA study, which referenced thousands of years of Antarctic precipitation, suddenly has a different interpretation, in one year, with data that goes only to 2013

        But we just have to take their word for it, because the NOAA satellite record of 38 years, is, after 38 flawlessly reporting years, “not available”. The program, using many different satellites, has been suddenly “broken” for the last year, so the folks at NSIDC tell us. We just have to take their word for it! :)

        The iRS tells us that a number of hard drives under subpoena, suddenly all crashed together at the same time. We just have to take their word for it.

        Hillary says running the State Department out of her home bathroom server “was allowed”, as was the Clinton “Family” Foundation’s amassing of a $3,000,000,000.00 slush fund while Secretary of State.

        Yep we just have to take their “word” for it! :)

        • Andrea Palmer McKinney

          Why is owilson so angry and unhappy. You have Trump and a Republican Congress, you should be mellow and happy. I mean, you can take their word for “it”.

          • OWilson

            You’re wrong on all counts! :)

            If you read it carefully, you’ll see my smileys, because I think your government and your Media are just a big joke. Your population is dumb for being so manipulated I wonder how long they could be insulted and duped.

            I guess we’ll have to wait until 2018 and 2020 to really find out, but those “referendums on Trump” in Georgia State elections are looking bad for the status quo swamp dwellers :)

            I’m Canadian, I live nearer the North Pole than you do do, but i’m not living in fear and loathing.

            It’s a beautiful world out there, and I’m just happy to be enjoying it.

            Especially this time of the year :)

            Peace!

          • Andrea Palmer McKinney

            Well, you got me – maybe. I grew up in Winnipeg and Calgary until my Dad decided to move to Louisville, Kentucky and I have to agree there’s a whole lot to be disturbed about in American media and government, but I also worked for the federal government for 30 years along with lots of friends. I, and everyone I knew, were the most conscientious and honest people you can imagine. Since I doubt you worked for the us government, you must be getting your opinion about it from the same media that you regard with contempt. You’re making the same mistake – visualizing ordinary civil servants as Machiavellian monsters. That’s just plain wrong.

          • OWilson

            I gave you examples, above, not personal anecdotal speculations.

            As a management consultant, I have actually worked for all levels of the Canadian Government, from Federal, down to Municipal. (proof submitted to any moderator, for a wager) :)

            Government workers, overwhelmingly lean left politically, as do those in the media, that’s just a fact of life, so the potential for bias and unfair, even illegal behavior, is huge, and doesn’t need to be “conspiratorial”.

            Given your own background, this should be common knowledge to you.

            It’s the denial of reality that is dangerous!

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Antarctica has seen unusually heavy snowfall over the last 10,000 years” That is weather not climate. Climate is singularly warming independent of data.

    • S Graves

      Did that comment need a “sarc” tag?

    • Civics201

      That is increased precipitation caused by the global warming event known as the Holociene. Also the end of the ice age, which reduced the global ice coverage from 30% to 10%, with the end of the arctic cold inducing droughts, seas rose 300 feet (so far).

  • Cliff Clavin

    Yes, the climate is changing. It always has changed, and always will change. Now that the snow is retreating scientists are finding year-round settlements that were buried underneath the snow. That means that in the past the climate was considerably warmer. maybe were just returning back to that kind of climate.

    i’m actually pretty excited about rising sea levels and watching all the rich people having to move out of their million dollar homes as the sea pulverized them.

  • Birdfish

    YES GLOBAL WARMING IS A TRUE FACT.

    WE MUST BAN COAL AND GAS AND OIL AND NUCLEAR NOW!!!!!!!

    WE MUST END CARS AND USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTS
    END AIR PLANE TRAVEL THAT IS NOT NEEDED
    AND GO GREEN WITH SAFE WIND AND SAFE SOLAR!!!!!!!!!!!

    WE MUST DO THIS NOW!!!!!!!!!!

    AL GORE WAS 1000% CORRECT!!!!!!!!!!!

    NOTE: I HAVE A HATEFUL CYBER STALKER. HE CAN EVEN POST WITH MY SAME NAME!!! PLEASE IGNORE HIS HATEFULMOCKINGS

    • Birdfish

      BUT TRUE I ADMIT THAT I HAVE NEVER WORKED A JOB OR PAID ANY TAXES IN MY LIFE

      I HAVE NEVER VOTED OR RODE ON AN AIRPLANE EITHER

      I GET THE WELFARE FATPAY BECAUSE IN JAIL I LEARNED FROM MY CELL MATE RUFUS WHO TAUGHT ME HOW TO CREATE A WELFARE DISABILITY THROUGH OBESITY

      THIS IS MY BUSINESS

      PLEASE IGNORE MY CYBER STALKER

      • Birdfish

        THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GLOBAL WARMING.

        AND YES I DID DO THE BABY SETTING.

        AND NO I NEVER HAVE BEEN ON AN AIR PLANE. THIS IS A GOOD THING. I DO NOT CONTRIBUTE SO MUCH TO THE GREENHOUSE GAS!!!!!!!

        RICH FOLKS FLY ON PLANES AND THEY NEED TO PAY MORE IN TAXES!!!!!!

        PLANES ARE VERY BAD AND POLLUTE AND NO WAY I COULD GO ON THOSE SMALL SEATS THEY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST BIG SIZED FOLKS.

        AND NO I DID NOT KNOW A RUFUS

        • Birdfish

          BUT SOMETIMES MY WELFARE FOOD MAKES ME GREEN HOUSE GASSY

    • Jeffrey A Jones

      You are being reactionary. The world doesn’t need to do that. Only the US needs to do it.

      • Birdfish

        YES THE US MUST ACT AT ONCE

        THE PEOPLE DO LISTEN!!!!!!!!!!

      • Birdfish

        WRONG!!!!!

        I MOSTLY REACT TO WELFARES BECAUSE I DO NO WORKINGS

    • rrocklin

      Whats with the caps. Do you think you will be more credible.

      • Birdfish

        I CAN WRITE BIG SIZED IF I WANT

        • Birdfish

          ALSO I CAN STEAL WELFARE IF I WANTED AND DO NO WORKINGS!!!!!!

          FATFACT!!!!!

          • Birdfish

            I DO NOT GET THOSE WELFARES
            I AM SICK
            NO WORKINGS

          • Birdfish

            I NEVER WORKED

            I’M A WELFARE GORILLA

          • Birdfish

            THAT IS VERY HATEFUL
            AND YES I DID THE BABY SITTINGS
            AND PUSHED THAT BROOM
            THAT IS WORKINGS

          • Birdfish

            BUT I NEVER PAY RENT, TAXES OR HEALTH CARE COSTS

            I JUST DRAIN THE SYSTEM

          • Birdfish

            I PAY $38 RENT
            THAT GREEDY LANDLORD GETS IT EVERY MONTH
            AND I PAY THE SALES TAX
            YES THOSE DOCTOR BILLS GO RIGHT IN THE TRASH
            DOCTORS ARE RICH
            THEY DONT NEED MY MONEY

          • Birdfish

            BUT I FORGOT THAT MONEY IS WELFARE MONEY GIVEN TO ME

            I PAY NOTHING

          • Birdfish

            I USE TO USE THAT BABY SITTING CASH MONEY

          • Birdfish

            ALSO I USE WELFARE

            BECAUSE I AM VERY LAZY AND FAT

          • Birdfish

            I AM TO OLD NOW FOR THE WORKINGS

          • Birdfish

            BUT I NEVER DID WORKINGS

            I GOT KICKED OUT OF THE 4TH GRADE

            I STOLE THINGS

            I WENT TO JAIL HARD TIME

            I MET RUFUS

            I GOT FAT

            I LIVE ON HANDOUTS

          • Birdfish

            IT WAS THE 6TH GRADE I LEFT
            AND I NEVER DID KNOW A RUFUS

          • Birdfish

            WELL OK IT WAS THE 4TH GRADE

            I WENT TO JAIL FOR THEFT AND CAT KICKINGS

          • Birdfish

            NO
            IT WAS THE 6TH GRADE
            AND I DIDNT EVEN DO JUVE HALL AND NEVER DID DO ANY CAT KICKERY

          • Birdfish

            I WAS BORN TO BE A FAT FELON

          • Birdfish

            I WAS BORN FAT, LAZY AND VERY STUPID

      • Birdfish

        FOR YOUR INFORMATION MY KEYBOARD GETS GLUED UP FROM THE FROSTING DRIPPINGS FROM MY WELFARE POP TARTS!!!!

        THAT IS WHY I TYPE IN THE CAPS!!!!!

        THIS IS MY BUSINESS!!!!

  • Douglas Hotchkiss

    I was surprised to learn that sea levels are not the same all over and can vary by 100s of feet.

    • rrocklin

      Not mean sea levels

    • OWilson

      The shoreline in NB, Canada is inundated by over 30 feet of water. twice a day.

      No problem. The locals love it!

  • Dave

    my beach condo in SC is still the same distance from the water. There you go.

    • rrocklin

      Yes and how precisely and for how long have you done the measurements. To within 1/8 inch every year

      • OWilson

        Id love to see you do that, Einstein.

        Make sure you roll up your pants, though! :)

        • rrocklin

          It is more or less what NOAA has been doing to get this data.

          • OWilson

            Ever hear of fractals?

            Fractals tell us the coastline of any country is almost infinite.

            You must make an assumption of which rock, inlet pebble, grain of sand (actually down to the otomic level if you insist on being scientifically accurate) marks the “boundary” of the land and sea.

            It’s human “assumptions” we argue with, not the actual science. :)

          • rrocklin

            Come on, fractals smactals. NOAA conclusions are based on millions of measurements from space and ocean gauges over decades, not what one sees in their backyard.

          • OWilson

            Some of you true believers are dismissing satellite measurements on another thread as we speak.

            It’s hard to keep up with y’all!

            Bye!

      • Dave

        The religion of climate change is not based on an honest review of empirical data. Anyone who disagrees for any manner of reasoning, is immediately labeled a “denier”. We cannot prove anthropogenic climate change, but for true believers there is simply no denying that humans are causing the oceans to rise.

        • rrocklin

          Yes, and can we prove that medicines work, or that there was a big bang, or that we have a precise model of gravity. We look at the data and it appears to fit the model and we develop confidence over time. It is better than sticking your head in the sand.

          • OWilson

            You can prove there was a Big Bang?

            That’s more than the originator of the theory, Alan Guth, claimed. It didn’t fit observation, so he invoked a “kludge”, “Inflation theory to make it work.

            The biggest danger to scientific progress, in all of history, has been the arrogant absolute certainty of true believers!

          • rrocklin

            Science works by collecting data, developing a theory and model, see if the model can make predictions, adjusting the model based on more data. If the model breaks down then adjust it or develop a new one. Repeat

          • OWilson

            That might make it the current theory, until the next one. :)

            Not “proof”!

          • rrocklin

            And do you have proof that you will not get in a car accident but still use a seat belt? How about a bike helmet. How about a flu shot even though it is not 100% effective. How about fire and flood insurance. How about water and air pollution regulations. How about the weather forecast. Do we ignore it because it is not 100% accurate. Air bags, building codes, guard rails, immunizations. All these represent risks much lower than the potential of altering the planet. AChet this point the data appear overwhelming that we are altering the planet. Check the ice core data, and NOAA web site not some Rush Limbaugh inspired propaganda from the wingers.

          • OWilson

            “Not 100% accurate”

            Thank you.

            In your rambling, you accidentlally touched on real science! :)

          • rrocklin

            Yes and what is 100% accurate. And if that is your bar then you probably discount most science.

          • OWilson

            In science there is no “absolute certainty”.

            It is a journey, where one open door leads to many more!

            You are mixing it up with Religion. Now THAT is 100% certainty! :)

          • Dave

            You did everything but actually address the issue in question. Anthropogenic climate change.

            Pretty easy to determine if medicine works. We know the universe had a beginning based on the law of entropy. However, not enough philosophical naturalists ask themselves what caused the Big Bang, or in other words what was the “uncaused first cause”.

            Those who want to create treaties and force massive transfers of wealth to cure the climate, have no evidence that human activity is causing variations in the climate similar to those that have occurred for millions of years.

            When it comes to climate change theology, always follow the money.

          • rrocklin

            There is an enormous amount of data and the models and physics appear to support the theory. Hardly a theology. Don’t confuse the solutions with the conclusions. There may be no solutions.

          • Dave

            Your acceptance of this logic means that humans can adjust the global thermostat by changing minute aspects of their behavior. You must pause and realize how nonsensical this notion has become, when put forth in sermons by movie stars, and rock musicians who have been recruited by the Al Gores of the world to frighten people.

            If we all reduced our carbon emissions to zero, would we send the planet into another ice age? Listen to what you are saying.

            External forces from the sun, ocean, wind, and volcanoes are the primary movers of what changes the climate. And yet we are being told to spend trillions battling the climate.

            The earth may be in a warming phase (or not), but human activity is not even a minor cause.

            This “cause” is primarily a way for global socialists to enact massive global wealth redistribution. That is an irrefutable fact. Follow the money all the from the Paris Treaty, to the contracts and grants to researchers and professors dependent on this cash. If they go off the plantation and preach a different theology, they lose their money. Those who argue against the dogma, are given the Scarlet Letter of being called a denier.

          • rrocklin

            Ah, the right wing global conspiracy theory. As stated, you confuse the conclusions with the solutions. Check the data. It is not a coincidence that we have seen a relatively rapid rise in global temps since the industrial revolution corresponding to rising co2 which has accelerated in the last 20 years. It is called physics. Are you blind to the disappearing arctic ice, ocean level rise, ocean temperature rise, changes in acidity, loss of glacial ice. You have billions of humans burning up fossil fuels at a staggering rate which will overwhelm any affect of volcanoes and certainly the very long term effects of the sun, the earth’s orbit and orientation.

  • Scott

    In some places it is gaining, in some places it is losing, in some places it stayed the same. This is a fact regardless of what panic you hear.

  • SnoCamo

    How do we know its not the mountains and plains naturally eroded by rain, being swept down water sheds and being deposited in the ocean?

    • Rob Neff

      ?

      That kind of erosion takes millenia, we’re talking decades. Plus, most of this area is covered in ice sheets, there are no rivers and there is no rain.

  • CHEMST

    Just keep reworking the data on it until you get a result that fits your hypothesis. Bad Science for all to see.

    • rrocklin

      Not all have your ethics

      • CHEMST

        The ethics of science are that nature is what it is, not what we wish it were and that the data shows us the Truth of nature.

  • john

    This is ongoing science published in peer reviewed journals. There is certainly nothing on this matter currently published that should drive policy change. This is just how science works. Data, analysis, data, analysis, rinse and repeat. In another 5-10 years science will arrive at a consensus on this matter. Until then reserve judgement please.

    • Rob Neff

      There is a lot of science, published over many decades, that supports policy change in favor of giving renewable energy at least as much federal support as we currently give fossil fuels (which is massive – fracking came from federal research grants, as an example).
      I can remembers deniers saying we need more time, more research since back when George H.W. Bush became president. 5-10 years of more research won’t change a thing as far as consensus, it’s already there in the scientific community.

  • MisterMoustache

    So what would happen if we took all the CO2 out of the atmosphere?

    • Small_Businessman

      All of the plants would die. Then we would have a REAL problem!

    • rrocklin

      What is your point.

    • Rob Neff

      Silly question and an impossibility. What’s the point of the question?

  • Steve Northrop

    At least all the hysteria on AGW is beginning o wane. It really is pretty simple and has been happening for millions of years. Long before Ma arrived and will continue long after we either leave or the sun eats the inner solar system on its way to red giant status.

    What is a Glacier? It is, in its simplest form, a river of ice. What do rivers do? They flow to the oceans and discharge their contents there. Glaciers are no exception. When the ice from a glacier meets open water, it interacts with that water that has warmer temperatures than the ice a alving occurs. In times of generally warmer temperatures, this happens more frequently and the glacier will lose mass. When temperatures are cooler, the glacier will gain mass as the warmer waters have less effect and are assimilated into the glacier, the snowfalls also feed these ice rivers and follow much the same pattern. even rainfalls that start as water can be assimilated by the glaciers as their warm energy is insufficient to counter the freezing temperatures of the glacier.

    There have been several periods in Earths history were virtually non existent and still others in which they covered much of the Earths surface. In neither instance was Mankind responsible for the natural fluctuations in this planets ancient cycle of hot & cold. What we’ve seen in the last couple of centuries is no accurate predictor of what the next few centuries will bring and we o not possess the technological capability to alter that fluctuation in a any meaningful way, at least not yet, nor in the foreseeable future. one day perhaps, but not yet.

    • rrocklin

      Yes and the earth used to be molten with no ocean. What is your point.

  • Barca Mantok

    Is Bristol still manufacturing data?

  • SILENTHAMMER

    Cycle in — Cycle out. Up…Down. How much of this is the dreaded “Anthropogenic” influence for which I am blamed when I start my car? Ah, THERE’S the question: How MUCH can I influence the change in climate by bathing in cold water rather than hot? Bicycling rather than driving? Are we the flea on the hippopotamus? What happens if I FART? Oh NO!, down with broccoli farms! Gimmie a break!

    • rrocklin

      You confuse solutions with conclusions

    • Rob Neff

      Everybody plays a part. I bike when I can (but more for health than anything). More importantly, who we elect and what we set as national policy plays a part. If we pursue renewable energy, giving them subsidies/research grants/regulation waivers equal in size to what we give fossil fuels, then green energy could easily become dominant in the next 20 years.
      But if we continue our path of giving mining rights on federal land to oil and coal interests for pennies on the dollar, funding things like fracking research, allowing coal to dirty our streams and air as they emit CO2, then we can expect global warming to cause serious problems for our children.

      • SILENTHAMMER

        Good for you. Truly! I walk three times a day, about five miles for my health. I’ve been around for quite a while now. Seen strip mining that literally poisoned to death rivers and margins. Seen hydro-mining that Destroyed land. Seen gas stations run out of gas during the ’70s, and PANIC that brought us the YUGO! So, where are we now? Solyndra — is that how it’s spelled? The answer is personal integrity. Moral conviction. You and I are not going to influence the oceans’ rise and fall. To avow this kind of leftist-panic crap is immoral. But we CAN use our wealth and innovation to keep the environment clean. I walk along the road and pick up aluminum cans for recycling. Do you? How many do? We watch the water we use. We keep the house temp “moderate”. Keep the foot out of the accelerator. Slow down in advance for stop signs and red lights. But the CO2 and CH4 I produce is infinitesimal. So — we have a pretty clean country, actually, especially for such a HUGE “consuming” nation. But we must STOP “BLAMING” this imaginary death of the earth on people. The Earth is NOT dying. Yes, China needs to “clean up its act”. As much for the personal health of the populace as for atmospheric good. But, once again, it’s moral integrity, not comic book threats, that will continue the progress we’re making.

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