9, pages 4168–4175; May 16, 2017. Known as East Antarctica, this section has an average altitude of about 2 kilometer (1.2 miles), higher than the American Colorado Plateau. Res. These radar data can reveal ice motion and, by the late 1990s, there was enough data for scientists to measure the annual motion of the Pine Island Glacier. This map shows Antarctic sea ice growth is not uniform. Larger Image. Regardless of what was happening in the Antarctic sea, melting in the Arctic affected wildlife, coastal erosion and solar radiation absorption in the Arctic, she pointed out. The latest data reveal that Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate, too. The Thwaites glacier is similar in size and shape to Idaho. A linear trend means you have the same mass loss every year. etermining whether Antarctica is melting or not is a topic of tremendous scientific and societal importance, even more so in the context of climate warming. yes New research shows growth of East Antarctic Ice Sheet was less than previously suggested Scientists have known for over a decade that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been losing mass and contributing to sea level rise. The oceans surrounding Antarctica have been warming 10, so Schodlok doesn't doubt that the ice shelves are being undermined by warmer water being brought up from the depths. The sea ice also responds to the level of ocean mixing, which is affected by meltwater from the Antarctic Ice Sheet," she said. 1 Marco Tedesco and Andrew J. Monaghan, "An updated Antarctic melt record through 2009 and its linkages to high-latitude and tropical climate variability," Geophys. 13 R. Kwok & D.A. One result was that a lot more people started to use the radar data to examine much more of Antarctica. Seals help scientists solve Antarctic mystery, Health care staff and long term care facility residents to get vaccine first, Georgia election official: Someone's going to get killed, Barr: No evidence of fraud that would affect election outcome, Family has heartbreaking dilemma amid pandemic, GA Lt. Gov. A new study helps solve the puzzle of why the continent’s western glaciers are melting so fast The turn towards melting is a new concern for scientists. Res.Lett. Lett., 36, L18502 (2009). Ice shelves are the part of a glacier that extends past the grounding line towards the ocean they are the most vulnerable to warming seas. Melting Antarctic sea ice does not add to sea level rise because the ice is already in the water. The retreat of West Antarctica's glaciers is being accelerated by ice shelf collapse. Larger Image The Antarctic ice sheet. A new NASA study says that Antarctica is overall accumulating ice. Since liquid water is denser than solid ice, enough meltwater on the surface can open the cracks up deeper down into the ice, leading to disintegration of the shelf. U.S. Melting of continental Antarctic ice could contribute to global sea level rise. And on the Antarctic Peninsula, the same wind patterns led to a lot of surface melting," he said. Determining whether Antarctica is melting or not is a topic of tremendous scientific and societal importance, even more so in the context of climate warming. The Reason Antarctica Is Melting: Shifting Winds, Driven by Global Warming. Constraining the Mass Balance of East Antarctica. Climate change is affecting the winds, but so is the ozone hole and short-term cycles like El Nino. Other NASA studies say different and research continues. Reporting on Antarctic ice often fails to recognise the fundamental difference between sea ice and land ice. While the Arctic sea ice is growing faster and higher during the winter months, it is more than offset by … NASA just released a study showing that Antarctica is actually gaining ice at a faster rate than it’s losing it. EXCLUSIVE: Ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is 'not melting', says global warming expert THE North and South Poles are "not melting", according to Dr Benny Peiser a global warming expert. West Antarctica is a series of islands covered by ice. The growing cavity sits in West Antarctica at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier, which is about as big as Florida and contains enough ice to contribute more than 2 … Geophys., 47, 1-38 (2009). That means more snow is falling on Antarctica, and more of the white stuff makes the top layers of the ocean less salty and thus less dense. 'alarmed' at election misinformation still circulating, Trump spars with top Georgia Republicans over voting results, Dr. Scott Atlas resigns from Trump administration, China document leak shows flawed pandemic response, See Melania Trump's last White House holiday decorations, Doctor comforting elderly patient in heartbreaking photo speaks out, Teenager shot for playing loud music, police say, Severe storms and snowfall for the Eastern US, Biden announces all-female communications team, diverse economic team, New York City public schools set to reopen, Giroir: This is how we get out of the pandemic. Antarctica faces a tipping point where glacial melting will accelerate and become irreversible even if global heating eases, research suggests.. A Nasa-funded study found instability in … The polar ice sheets grow via snow accumulation and shrink through melting and the production of icebergs. For more information about this topic, visit NASA's Global Climate Change website. There has been lots of talk lately about Antarctica and whether or not the continent's giant ice sheet is melting. Res. The ticking time bomb for sea-level rise is buried in the glaciers of Antarctica These charts show just how high sea levels will rise if Antarctica's ice continues melting at an alarming rate. Guy Williams is a sea ice specialist at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem CRC at the University of Tasmania. And the Pine Island Glacier would contribute about 10 percent of that. The polar ice sheets grow via snow accumulation and shrink through melting and the production of icebergs. Although found only in the Arctic and the Antarctic, it influences Earth’s climate in big ways. "And the … Known as East Antarctica, this section has an average altitude of about 2 kilometer (1.2 miles), higher than the American Colorado Plateau. 2, 859-862 (2009). The group of 80 polar scientists concluded that from 1992–2017, ocean melting and ice-shelf collapse caused the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica to lose ice at increasing rates: accelerating from 53 ± 29 gigatons to 159 ± 26 gigatons per year in West Antarctica over the period, and from 7 ± 13 gigatons to 33 ± 16 gigatons per year on the Antarctic Peninsula. Sea levels may rise much faster than previously predicted, swamping coastal cities such as Shanghai, study finds, Boaty McBoatface makes significant climate change discovery on first mission. But he admits that it hasn't been proven rigorously, because satellites can’t measure underneath the ice. 10 R. M. Robertson et al., "Long term temperature trends in the deep waters of the Weddell Sea", Deep Sea Research 49, 21, 4791-4806 (2002); http://condor.pems.adfa.edu.au/FD-Course/webpage/longterm.pdf. East Antarctica’s ice is melting at an unexpectedly rapid clip, new study suggests. "Growth of Antarctic sea ice over the past few decades had been a relief, because it offset some of the rapid losses in the Arctic," said Andrew Shepherd, director of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds. Another potential source of cooling and freshening in the upper ocean around Antarctica is increased melting of Antarctic continental ice, through ocean/ice shelf interaction and iceberg decay. Rignot's paper surprised many people. Over the last 25 years, melting Antarctic ice has added nearly 3 trillion tons of water to the ocean, enough to fill Lake Erie six times over. xmlns:xsl='http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform'">. Antarctica is growing not shrinking, the latest satellite records show. 11Isabella Velicogna, "Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE," Geophys. The Antarctic ice sheet. Antarctica is a continent 98% covered by ice, surrounded by local ocean with much of its surface seasonally covered by sea ice. Parkinson said that even before the turnaround in 2014, the idea that the sea ice increases contradicted climate change, an argument often pushed by climate skeptics, was flawed. Satellite data shows that the yearly average sea ice extent in Antarctica increased until 2014, when it reached a record high. A recent study by NASA found that sea ice is growing faster during the winter months today than it did decades ago. Algae is now growing on melting Antarctic snow due to climate change. (Greg Roberts, The Australian) Lett. Scientist were never able to determine why Antarctic sea ice increased prior to 2014. The continent of Antarctica has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002. If we want to understand how the ocean is impacting the ice sheet, go to where it's hitting the ice sheet with a sledgehammer, not with a little tack hammer. The thinner shelf is also more likely to crack. But research published on Monday shows things have taken a dramatic turn. 36, L19503 (2009). The continent of Antarctica has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002. 8 D. J. Wingham et.al., "Spatial and Temporal Evolution of Pine Island Glacier thinning, 1995-2006," Geophys. Parts of it are more than 1.7 kilometer (1 mile) below sea level. 36, L17501 (2009). The disintegration, which was caught on camera by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imaging instruments on board its Terra and Aqua satellites, was dramatic: it took just three weeks to crumble a 12,000-year old ice shelf. Other evidence that the amount of sea ice around Antarctica seems to be increasing slightly 2-4 is being used in the same way. The answer boils down to the fact that ice can flow without melting. Remember when sea ice in Antarctica was increasing? Larger Image. Since the early 1990s, European and Canadian satellites have been collecting radar data from West Antarctica. According to Bindschadler, Pine Island Glacier "is the place to go because that is where the changes are the largest. Regardless of what was happening in the Antarctic sea, melting in the Arctic affected wildlife, coastal erosion and solar radiation absorption in the Arctic, she pointed out. To get the best experience possible, please download a compatible browser. The dark red area at the bottom is the Ross sea, where 80% of Antarctic sea ice is being created by cold air blowing off the continent. But with only a few years of data, he couldn't say whether the retreat was a temporary, natural anomaly or a longer-term trend from global warming. After that, Parkinson said, it started decreasing "precipitously" and reached a record low in 2017. Res. If all of this ice melted, it would raise global sea level by about 60 meter (197 feet). The story lies in the magnitudes of both changes. This land ice therefore is actually stored ocean water that once evaporated and then fell as precipitation on the land, a fact with implicatio… 6 E.J. PUBLISHED: 03:58, Fri, Nov 6, 2015 | UPDATED: 07:46, Fri, Nov 6, 2015. Her work shows that the ice sheet is not only losing mass, but it is losing mass at an accelerating rate. Rothrock, "Decline in Arctic sea ice thickness from submarine and ICESat records: 1958 - 2008," Geophys. When temperatures warm over time and more sea ice melts, fewer bright surfaces reflect sunlight back into space. That meant that the glacier was losing mass. "It isn't just one type of measurement. 2 http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.south.jpg, 3 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090421101629.htm, 4 http://nsidc.org/seaice/characteristics/difference.html. Radar and laser-based satellite data show a little mass loss at the edges of East Antarctica, which is being partly offset by accumulation of snow in the interior, although a very recent result from the NASA/German Aerospace Center's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) suggests that since 2006 there has been more ice loss from East Antarctica than previously thought 5. Antarctic Glaciers Are Growing Unstable Above and Below Water New studies show fractures on surface ice and warm seawater melting the ice from underneath. Two-thirds of Antarctica is a high, cold desert. Unlike the Arctic ocean in the North, where sea ice has been melting steadily in the past decades, the sea ice surrounding Antarctica had been increasing for decades. Antarctica is 50% larger in area than the United States, or 12 million square kilometers. Sea ice surrounding Antarctica has long baffled scientists. "And the increases in the Antarctic sea ice were not coming close to balancing the decreases in the Arctic sea ice," she added. Parkinson said it is too early to determine what exactly caused the trend to reverse. A major review published in 2009 found that Rignot's Pine Island Glacier finding hadn't been a fluke 7: a large majority of the marine glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula were retreating, and their retreat was speeding up. Think of it as a frozen Hawaii, with penguins. Observational data offers clues climate models did not. East Antarctica is much higher in elevation than West Antarctica. But both of these data points are misleading. These findings don’t necessarily mean that Antarctica is growing; it’s still losing mass, even with the extra snowfall. While a few areas of the frozen continent’s gigantic ice sheet have been growing, overall Antarctica is losing ice, with glaciers in West Antarctica undergoing the most rapid melting. What these reports usually are missing are several critical points: This is one NASA study. Glaciologist Robert Bindschadler of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center intends to show just that. However, it is bad for wildlife such as penguins that rely on it. It is a mistake to simply assume that … Antarctic ice growing, not melting. javascript is enabled. But little, if any, surface warming is occurring over East Antarctica. It covers an area of almost 14 million square kilometres (5.4 million square miles) and contains 26.5 million cubic kilometres (6,400,000 cubic miles) of ice. 44, No. Overall, not much is going on in East Antarctica -- yet. Geosci. Antarctica is gaining ice " [Ice] is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap." in Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. "This means that Antarctic sea ice doesn't respond directly to global warming averaged over the whole planet, but rather to changes in these winds. As scientists continue to warn about melting glaciers in the Antarctic, one key glacier in Greenland is growing again, NASA says. By Alex Fox Jan. 14, 2019 , 3:30 PM. (CNN)Remember when sea ice in Antarctica was increasing? However, without these gains, the planet would have experienced even more sea level rise in the 20th century. The Antarctic ice sheet is one of the two polar ice caps of the Earth.It covers about 98% of the Antarctic continent and is the largest single mass of ice on Earth. Lett. The ticking time bomb for sea-level rise is buried in the glaciers of Antarctica These charts show just how high sea levels will rise if Antarctica's ice continues melting at an alarming rate. Gravity data collected from space using NASA's Grace satellite show that Antarctica has been losing more than a hundred cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice each year since 2002. There is a continent about the size of Australia underneath all this ice; the ice sheet sitting on top averages at a little over 2 kilometer (1.2 miles) thick. These findings don’t necessarily mean that Antarctica is growing; it’s still losing mass, even with the extra snowfall. "The important message is that it is not a linear trend. In the summer, meltwater ponds on the surface can drain into the cracks. This increased growth of sea ice has helped to … Climate models predict more snowfall than ice melting during the next 50 years, but models are not good enough for them to be confident about the prediction. The most recent minimum (February 2020) and maximum (September 2019) sea ice extents in the Antarctic were below average, but not record lows. Its bright surface reflects sunlight back into space. Other evidence that the amount of sea ice around Antarctica seems to be increasing slightly 2-4 is being used in the same way. Res. Michael Schodlok, a JPL scientist who models the way ice shelves and the ocean interact, says melting of the underside of the shelf is a pre-requisite to these collapses. "Sea ice also affects the polar ecosystem, including penguins and whales and seals, petrels and albatrosses, krill, and a whole range of additional animals and marine plant life," Parkinson told CNN. Antarctica seems to be both warming around the edges and cooling at the center at the same time. Rignot, "Fast Recession of a West Antarctic Glacier", Science 281, 549-551 (1998). Scientists have been watching this feedback loop of war… Map showing the rates of mass changes from … Pine Island is the largest of these islands and the largest ice stream in West Antarctica is called Pine Island Glacier. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. Credits: NASA's Operation IceBridge. If you know your browser is up to date, you should check to ensure that 7 P.A. Environment 20 May 2020 By Michael Marshall. This summer, a British group revisited the Pine Island Glacier finding and found that its rate of retreat had quadrupled between 1995 and 2006 8. 31, L18401 (2004). However, without these gains, the planet would have experienced even more sea level rise in the 20th century. Global warming is melting the Arctic and glaciers worldwide, but not so much the sea ice in Antarctica. Not any more. JPL scientist Ron Kwok saw it as demonstrating that "the old idea that glaciers move really slowly isn't true any more." West Antarctica is very different. Antarctic ice melt related to tropical weather shifts: Study by Gloria Dickie on 1 April 2020 Scientists predominantly believe that the tropics have the largest influence on global weather. Not any more. Instead of a single continent, it is a series of islands covered by ice -- think of it as a frozen Hawaii, with penguins. Its bright surface reflects 50% to 70% of sunlight back into space. The Antarctic has gained about 7,300 square miles of ice each year since the late 1970s. Using radar information collected between 1992 and 1996, oceanographer Eric Rignot, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), found that the Pine Island Glacier's "grounding line" -- the line between the glacier's floating section and the part of the glacier that rests on the sea floor -- had retreated rapidly towards the land. Where the Arctic provided scientists with a concrete and well documented example of the dire consequences of climate change, increasing sea ice around Antarctica was frequently pointed to by climate change skeptics as a counter-argument. And the ice gain in the Antarctic doesn’t cancel out the ice loss in the Arctic. U.S. ‘Teetering at the edge’: Scientists warn of rapid melting of Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday glacier’ Thwaites glacier is losing ice at an accelerating rate, threatening catastrophic sea-level rise Mass Gains of the Antarctic … Thinning of the ice shelf reduces its buttressing effect on the glacier behind it, allowing glacier flow to speed up. Sea ice is simply frozen seawater. Gravity data collected from space using NASA’s Grace satellite show that … There is a continent … Because it's a group of islands, much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS, in the jargon) is actually sitting on the floor of the Southern Ocean, not on dry land. In the past few decades, the maximum amount of Antarctic sea ice has increased slightly, but on land it’s a different story. Isabella Velicogna of JPL and the University of California, Irvine, uses Grace data to weigh the Antarctic ice sheet from space. One new paper 1, which states there has been less surface melting recently than in past years, has been cited as “proof” that there’s no global warming. The more light is absorbed, the warmer global systems become. Larger Image Two-thirds of Antarctica is a high, cold desert. 12 J. H. Mercer, "West Antarctic ice Sheet and CO2 Greenhouse Effect-Threat of Disaster," Nature, 271 (5643), 321-325 (1978). "Also, Antarctic ice shelves are currently losing most [of their] mass due to basal melting," or melting on the underside of the ice sheet, "in response to … Still, areas of the continent, like the Antarctic Peninsula photographed above, have increased their mass loss in the last decades. A longstanding theory in glaciology is that these ice shelves tend to buttress (support the end wall of) glaciers, with their mass slowing the ice movement towards the sea, and this was confirmed by the spectacular collapse of the Rhode Island-sized Larsen B shelf along the Eastern edge of the Antarctic Peninsula in 2002. Lett., 36, L15501 (2009), NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Follow this link to skip to the main content. Furthermore, while the Antarctic ice sheet is indeed increasing in size, this is not true for its northern counterpart, the Arctic. He's leading an expedition scheduled to start in 2011 to drill through the Pine Island Glacier and place an automated buoy into the water below it. Alba Martin-Español et al. East Antarctica is much higher in elevation than West Antarctica. "Antarctica is melting away," Rignot told CNN, "not just in a couple of places." The Jakobshavn … This dynamic process of ice flowing downhill to the sea is what enables Antarctica to continue losing mass even as surface melting declines. Your browser or your browser's settings are not supported. One new paper 1, which states there’s less surface melting recently than in past years, has been cited as "proof" that there’s no global warming. The WAIS, if it melted completely, would raise sea level by 5 to 7 meter (16 to 23 feet). The consensus view seems to be that Antarctica is experiencing melting in important ways and will likely contribute more to sea level rise in the coming centuries. According to this study, the gains in ice from increased precipitation in the continent's interior, particularly across the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, is enough to offset the melting occurring in the West Antarctic and Antarctic Peninsula. But when sea ice melts, it turns into dark ocean surface, which absorbs 90% of the sunlight. But both of these data points are misleading. "Now that sea ice is retreating in both hemispheres we should be concerned about our planet's temperature because it means less of the sun's heat is reflected back into space," he added. And she points out that it isn’t just the Grace data that show accelerating loss; the radar data do, too. ", Meanwhile, measurements from the Grace satellites confirm that Antarctica is losing mass 11. The fact that it’s above linear, this is the important idea, that ice loss is increasing with time," she says. By James Delingpole COMMENT. Scientists Have an Answer. Over the next few years, satellite radar data showed that some of the ice streams flowing behind Larsen B had accelerated significantly, while others, still supported by smaller ice shelves, had not 9. Dr Kaitlin Naughten, sea ice modeller at British Antarctic Survey, said Antarctica is largely protected from atmospheric warming by the westerly winds which surround the continent. Mayewski, et.al., "State of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Climate System," Rev. 9 E. Rignot et.al., "Accelerated ice discharge from the Antarctic Peninsula following the collapse of Larsen B ice shelf," Geophys. After decades of gradual increases, Antarctic sea ice is now decreasing, Sea ice has a crucial impact on the Earth's climate, says Claire Parkinson, a senior scientist at NASA and the author of the new study published in the. Larger Image. He attributed the retreat to the warming waters around West Antarctica 6. 0 Link copied. (Image credit: National Science Foundation) Antarctica is gaining more ice than it has lost, according to a new study by NASA. Antarctic land ice is the ice which has accumulated over thousands of years on the Antarctica landmass through snowfall. The ice and exposed seawater absorb more solar energy and this causes more melting and more warming. Icy areas absorb less solar energy and remain relatively cool. It's a series of independent measurements that are giving the same results, which makes it more robust.". How is it possible for surface melting to decrease, but for the continent to lose mass anyway? 5 J. L. Chen et al., "Accelerated Antarctic ice loss from satellite gravity measurements," Nat. Antarctic sea ice has greater year-to-year variability than the Arctic, and little evidence of long-term change. The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is pictured in this undated photo. Antarctica is 50% larger in area than the United States, or 12 million square kilometers. ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.