Friday, June 13, 2014

Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting, But Not Why You Think

Look, folks, the climate changes, we all know this, and no reasonable person is denying that changes occur, but the reasons for the change are up for significant debate and disagreement.

Here's a study (and not some lame news report about it, it's the actual link to the actual study abstract) that finds that the geothermal activity under Antarctica is more involved that previously thought. Read it yourself, draw some conclusions.

Some pull quotes, from the study pdf:
Thwaites Glacier is one of the West Antarctica's most prominent, rapidly evolving, and potentially unstable contributors to global sea level rise. Uncertainty in the amount and spatial pattern of geothermal flux and melting beneath this glacier is a major limitation in predicting its future behavior and sea level contribution. In this paper, a combination of radar sounding and subglacial water routing is used to show that large areas at the base of Thwaites Glacier are actively melting in response to geothermal flux consistent with rift-associated magma migration and volcanism. This supports the hypothesis that heterogeneous geothermal flux and local magmatic processes could be critical factors in determining the future behavior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
and from the press release:
The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.
The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts.

Again, folks, this is what actual science looks like.

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