Antarctic Ice Melting?

Friday, September 16, 2005

I was fortunate enough today to have the opportunity to listen to one of the world's foremost experts give a lecture on Antarctica. His subject was ice. Everyone wants to know if it's melting. The area is so fraught with politics that it's almost impossible to discuss it, let alone study it honestly.

This man is an honest man and he showed us the very latest known results.

The evidence is still tenuous, we still don't have good sensors for all the measurements, and the models are still feeble. Nonetheless, there do seem to be some specific patterns developing. Envelope please....

At the edges, the Antarctic Ice Shelf seems to have lost 0.8% of its mass since the Sixties. On the other hand, there appears to be a buildup of ice in the middle of the continent. In between, the situation appears to be more or less stable.

Those are the best known facts at the present moment.


Knucklehead said...


Hmmm... breaking down at the fringe but building up in the center...

Perhaps one of our more scientific contributors will comment but, off the top of my head, this might seem very similar to the behavior we'd expect for ice gathered around the axis of rotation of a large, spinning sphere.

I suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to work up an experiment with a spinning ball and some water spray on a very cold day. Remind me this winter.

Just a wild ass guess on my part.