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New Study: Global Warming Not The Only Factor In Arctic Ice Shelf Collapse

AHN – February 7, 2008

More studies and more contradictory conclusions! I feel like a broken record sometimes in this discussion of global warming and causality. As soon as one scientist puts out a hypothesis, another puts out a contradictory or modifying hypothesis. Perhaps the key thing to understand is that these aren’t facts but conclusions that have been reached by individuals.

A hypothesis (according to Dictionary.com) is:

a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.

The key point here is that it is not a fact.  It is a proposition.  An item to be discussed.

So which is it?  Did global warming cause the Antarctic ice shelf to collapse or did oceanic, glacial, and atmospheric factors have an influence?  I don’t know and I think the point of a “hypothesis” is to have a discussion on the subject.  You can see an image of this “collapse” here.

With apologies to Nobel laureate, Al Gore, I think the case is not closed on this discussion. In fact, I think we need more discussion.

Global warming was not the only factor leading to the 2002 collapse of a 500 billion tonne major Antarctic ice shelf, two Welsh scientists said scientists have claimed adding that glaciological and atmospheric factors were also involved.


In a paper published in the Journal of Glaciology, the findings refute the common belief that the collapse of ice shelf in Antarctica was a sudden response to climate change. The ice shelf had been in distress for decades, scientists now say. They also add that the shelf was riddled with cracks and fault lines and weakened by sea currents beneath.

You can read the entire news article here.

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