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Climate Hustle

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24

Posted on 17 June 2017 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

Warm Waters in West Antarctica 

A recent paper in Reviews of Geophysics describes the atmospheric and oceanic processes that are causing ice loss in the Antarctic.

Antarctica Thwaites glacier NASA

Thwaites Glacier flows out into the Amundsen Sea Embayment where it floats on the seawater. The underside is being melted by relatively warm water. Credit: NASA  

The vast Antarctic ice sheet contains about 30 million cubic kilometers of ice, which is 90% of the Earth’s freshwater ice. If it were all to melt, it would increase sea level by about 70 meters. Fortunately, surface temperatures across most of the continent stay well below freezing all year round so there is virtually no ice loss through surface melt. Instead, most of the ice loss is through iceberg calving and ocean-induced melting from the under-side of ice shelves.

One area that scientists are keeping a close eye on is the Amundsen Sea Embayment to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula. Here the ice is being melted from below by warm ocean waters at a greater rate than ice is added through snow accumulation, and this region is currently contributing about a tenth of current global sea level rise. A review article recently published in Reviews of Geophysics examined the complex atmospheric and oceanic factors that control the delivery of warm waters to the sub-ice region of West Antarctica and considered the potential for ice loss in the future. The editors asked two of the authors to give an overview of scientific research in this area. 

Warm Waters in West Antarctica by John Turner & Hilmar Gudmundsson, Eos.org, June 16, 2017 


Links posted on Facebook

Sun June 11 2017

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Comments

Comments 1 to 2:

  1. As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!

    It doesn't make sense to attribute the, alleged, melting of floating sea ice as contributing to sea level rise. Melting ice does not change sea level if it is already floating.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "Melting ice does not change sea level if it is already floating"

    The melting ice referenced in the article refers to land-based ice sheets and the loss of the floating ice shelves that buttress them.  The loss of those ice shelves mean that the rates of land-based ice sheet mass losses via calving will increase dramatically, raising sea levels around the globe.

  2. SteveW: Who is making the claim that melting sea ice contributes to sea level rise?

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