California-Sized Area of Ice Melts in Antarctica


LiveScience – May 15, 2007

This is a news report about recent melting of ice in Antarctica.  The article does not make claims of the cause of the warming that melted this ice but does discuss the potential ramifications of the ice melt.

Warm temperatures melted an area of western Antarctica that adds up to the size of California in January 2005, scientists report.

Satellite data collected by the scientists between July 1999 and July 2005 showed clear signs that melting had occurred in multiple distinct regions, including far inland and at high latitudes and elevations, where melt had been considered unlikely.

Changes in the ice mass of Antarctica, Earth’s largest freshwater reservoir, are important to understanding global sea level rise. Large amounts of Antarctic freshwater flowing into the ocean also could affect ocean salinity, currents and global climate.

Maximum high temperatures of 41 degrees Fahrenheit that persisted for about a week in Antarctica caused a melt intense enough to create an extensive ice layer.

No further melting has been detected through March 2007.

Read the original article here.

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3 thoughts on “California-Sized Area of Ice Melts in Antarctica”

  1. jbbishop says:

    It’s 2009 now and there are greenhouse gasses and there is also Global Warming and there are also ice shelves breaking off. It is churlish to deny that these are related.

    The effects of warming in the Antarctic Peninsula have been dramatic. In 2002, the Larsen B ice shelf collapsed, with 500 billion tons of ice breaking up into icebergs in less than a month. The larger Wilkins ice sheet, which is further south, lost 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) in 1998 and began to break up further last February.

    I think of the ice pack as a gigantic cooling engine, stored as potential energy. It is the process of melting ice cubes that causes a warmer beverage to cool, for example. While there are substantial ice stores the cooling effect in the regions will offset the real significant measurements of actual Global Warming. When these reserves are depleted I suspect that measurable temperature increases in the polar regions will begin to rise more dramatically than expected. These real changes are being masked by the cooling effect of the melting ice pack but the melting ice is the real measurable symptom of the impact of the overall phenomenon, intuitively and logically.

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