Monday, June 21, 2010

Ice at the Poles

Antarctica: There is not so much concern that the whole of Antarctica is losing ice, or even most of it: the concern is about the southern peninsula, and perhaps one glacier, Pine Island Glacier, in particular.

A new study says the ice may be melting because it shifted off of an underwater ridge, and became exposed to warm ocean currents. It's at least possible that this has nothing to do with global warming.

Lead author Dr Adrian Jenkins of British Antarctic Survey said, “The discovery of the ridge has raised new questions about whether the current loss of ice from Pine Island Glacier is caused by recent climate change or is a continuation of a longer-term process that began when the glacier disconnected from the ridge.

As for the Arctic, once again there will be a summer when the ice retreats rapidly. But one of the experts who contributed to the scare in 2007 is now expressing caution.

“In hindsight, probably too much was read into 2007, and I would take some blame for that,” [NSIDC director Mark] Serreze said. “There were so many of us that were astounded by what happened, and maybe we read too much into it.”

h/t on both pieces to Anthony Watts; Watts points out that on the Arctic, Serreze referred to a “death spiral" in 2007. Donna Laframboise has pursued this farther. It turns out it was actually in 2008 that Serreze said Arctic ice was in a "death spiral," and Serreze wasn't the one who said the Arctic could be nearly ice-free in five years.

Should we say some of these people have made iceholes of themselves?

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