Tuesday, August 30, 2016

An Inconvenient Truth: Few Signs Of Global Warming In Antarctica

Antarctica is a tricky topic for scientists. It has a long history of chaotic weather and dramatic changes in its ice sheet, and scientists are realizing just how difficult it is to predict future behavior down under. A recent study seemed to sum up what Knappenberger said should be the “consensus” of mainstream scientists: global warming has exerted little to no detectable influence in Antarctica. Scientists with Columbia University’s Earth Institute found there’s been little change in Antarctica’s annual snowfall, which flies in the face of what climate models predicted would happen as the planet warmed. They blamed strong “natural variability” for the models’ failures.  Scientists have also been warning for years that, on net, Antarctica has been losing 147 gigatons of ice per year for the last decade or so, mostly from melting on the northern Antarctic Peninsula and its western ice sheet. There’s seems to be a news story every day about how things are looking worse in the Antarctic. The Washington Post, for example, recently warned a long crack in western Antarctica’ ice was growing. Sounds scary, but sort of obscures what’s happening overall with Antarctica. A 2015 study by NASA found Antarctica’s ice sheet increased in mass from 1992 to 2008. The study found ice gains in Eastern antarctica more than offset ice loss from melting glaciers in the west. Zwally’s study was controversial and challenged years of assumptions about what was happening in the South Pole. But months later another study was published showing a “pause” in warming on the Antarctic Peninsula due to a recovering ozone hole and shifting wind patterns...more

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