Thursday, March 27, 2008

Massive ice shelf collapses, but ice near record high

As reported by the Australian:

A CHUNK of Antarctic ice about seven times the size of Manhattan has suddenly collapsed, putting an even greater portion of glacial ice at risk.

British Antarctic Survey scientist David Vaughan said the collapse was the result of global warming.

While icebergs naturally break away from the mainland, collapses like this are unusual but are happening more frequently in recent decades, Mr Vaughan said.

Mr Vaughan had predicted the Wilkins shelf would collapse about 15 years from now.

Scientists said they are not concerned about a rise in sea level from the latest event, but say it's a sign of worsening global warming.

Such occurrences are “more indicative of a tipping point or trigger in the climate system,” said Sarah Das, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in the US.

However, as reported here

The full Wilkins 6,000 square mile ice shelf is just 0.39% of the current ice sheet (just 0.1% of the extent last September). Only a small portion of it between 1/10th-1/20th of Wilkins has separated so far, like an icicle falling off a snow and ice covered house. And this winter is coming on quickly. In fact the ice is returning so fast, it is running an amazing 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year when it set a new record. The ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979 and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere winter and 6 months ahead of the peak. Wilkins like all the others that temporarily broke up will refreeze soon. We are very likely going to exceed last year’s record. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is also starting to disappear.

Indeed that is true, because of current the world ice levels has no reached 1 million square kilometers above normal.


James said...

It's also convenient that they left out of the media reports the nearby volcanic activity....

Not that a volcano could possibly melt ice.


A chunk of Antarctic ice about seven times the size of Manhattan suddenly collapsed, putting an even greater portion of glacial ice at risk and an ice shelf about the size of Connecticut is "hanging by a thread", scientists told March 25, 2008. In my humble opinion this is a grand marketing exercise and an extreme example of ' Voodoo Science of global warming.'

Sensationalism works wonder, the scientist have learned this art well. The piece of news that a chunk as big as 7 times Manhattan or in 2005 as big as California has broken off Antarctica creates far more interest than a mere mention of 150 square miles out of 5.7 million sq miles of Antarctica.

Please note that most of the continent's icy mass has so far proven largely impervious to climate change, being situated on solid rock; its deep interior is actually growing in volume.

NASA, some time ago reported that the most significant Antarctic melting in the past 30 years occurred in 2005, when a mass of ice comparable in size to California briefly melted and refroze; this may have resulted from temperatures rising to as high as 5 °C (41 °F).

Lets analyze Antarctica beyond the hype of scientists..

Area (Overall) Area - 14,000,000 km² (5,405,430.2 sq mi)
Ice-free - 280,000 km² (108,108.6 sq mi)
Ice covered -13,720,000 km² (5,297,321.6 sq mi)

Manhattan is an island borough of New York City, New York, USA, coterminous with New York County a land area of 22.96 square miles (59.47 km²), it is the most densely populated county in the United States at 66,940 residents per square mile (25,846/km²).

If out of 5.29 million sq mile of area 150 square miles breaks away, so what is the big deal, in 2005 a chunk as big as California broke away and refroze? Nature has its own mechanism let’s stop playing God and stop micro managing. Perhaps, Antarctica's periphery has been noticeably affected by global warming, particularly on the Antarctic Peninsula and in Pine Island Bay which together are contributing to a rise in sea levels. In terms of size the break is minuscule, icebergs have been part of seas for quite sometime. The one that brought Titanic down as quite a big one under the waters. The natures course is dictated by 13.7 billion years old evolutionary course not 5000 years of human civilization which is just a foot note. Exaggerating our impact on Universe and on earth is the folly that great pharaohs and tyrants have always liked. Some of us have become environmental tyrants by playing inflated impact of our meekly presence here.

Kip Hansen said...

If one does the math, this is equivalent to a chunk of Manhattan, about 140 feet per side, falling into the Hudson River or 1.3% of the area of Chelsea Piers Sport and Entertainment Complex.


Anonymous said...

Sea ice is extremely bad news for the warmers, because it is a measure of current climate without no significant measurement issues.

Simply put, it is the most reliable measure of current climate we have.

Over the last year we have seen the largest increase in sea ice (measured as an anomaly) on record.

In both northern and southern hemispheres there are well over one million square kilometers more sea ice than this time last year.

The Earth's climate is cooling rapidly and there is no indication it will stop anytime soon.


climatesanity said...

Here is the most recent sea ice extent and the reason alarmists mention 2012 as the year the arctic may be ice free.

Best regards

Tim said...

Good JOb! :)