Antarctica’s biggest glacier is thinning in patterns opposite to previously observed

Posted: January 27, 2020 by oldbrew in modelling, Natural Variation, research, sea levels
Tags: ,


Significant changes since 2007 or so are observed but not explained, which seems to leave them open to interpretation. To get that ball rolling the recent solar slowdown could be mentioned.
A 2015 NASA study said that ‘an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.’

Using the latest satellite technology from the European Space Agency (ESA), scientists from the University of Bristol have been tracking patterns of mass loss from Pine Island — Antarctica’s largest glacier, reports SciTechDaily.

They found that the pattern of thinning is evolving in complex ways both in space and time with thinning rates now highest along the slow-flow margins of the glacier, while rates in the fast-flowing central trunk have decreased by about a factor of five since 2007.

This is the opposite of what was observed prior to 2010.
[Animation of the thinning of Pine Island Glacier here].

Pine Island has contributed more to sea-level rise over the past four decades than any other glacier in Antarctica, and as a consequence has become one of its most intensively and extensively investigated ice stream systems.

However, different model projections of future mass loss give conflicting results; some suggesting mass loss could dramatically increase over the next few decades, resulting in a rapidly growing contribution to sea level, while others indicate a more moderate response.

Identifying which is the more likely behavior is important for understanding future sea-level rise and how this vulnerable part of Antarctica is going to evolve over the coming decades.

The results of the new study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, suggest that rapid migration of the grounding line, the place where the grounded ice first meets the ocean, is unlikely over that timescale, without a major change in ocean forcing.

Instead, the results support model simulations that imply that the glacier will continue to lose mass but not at much greater rates than present.

Lead author Professor Jonathan Bamber from the University of Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences, said: “This could seem like a ‘good news story’ but it’s important to remember that we still expect this glacier to continue to lose mass in the future and for that trend to increase over time, just not quite as fast as some model simulations suggested.”

Full report here.

Comments
  1. cognog2 says:

    They really don’t know do they? Probably because Pine Island sits over an active volcanic area and messes up their obsession with CO2 and so gets sidelined. Need to be careful here as without a CO2 cause the grants dry up.

  2. Alvin Scott says:

    Hi Roger,

    I understand that you were a part of Vote Leave and I am in no doubt that they were and are part of the Putin octopus, But since Vote Leave Broke the Law and Met Police handed files to CPS it has to be seen that the more serious offences were committed.

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    ________________________________

  3. ivan says:

    cognog2 it is interesting that they never seem to consider the existence of all those underwater volcanoes when they talk about the ice melting. It must be because that doesn’t fit the models or the UN Church of Climatology doctrine.

  4. BLACK PEARL says:

    “Alvin Scott says:”

    You for real ?

  5. oldbrew says:

    ‘rates in the fast-flowing central trunk have decreased by about a factor of five since 2007.
    This is the opposite of what was observed prior to 2010.’

    Nothing for alarmists there. Rapid change for some reason, though.

  6. stewgreen says:

    Does it ?
    I know that usually cherrypick the tiny West Antarctic Peninsula where there has been decline which fits that pattern of decline caused by undersea volcano.

    But this example sits on the main part of the Antarctic

  7. oldbrew says:

    The BBC is back on the alarm beat this morning with the Thwaites glacier, also in West Antarctica.

    Antarctica melting: Journey to the ‘doomsday’ glacier
    By Justin Rowlatt
    Chief Environment correspondent
    3 hours ago

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51097309
    – – –
    We can refer again to the 2015 NASA report.

    NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses
    Oct. 2015

    A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers. [bold added]

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

    This goes right over the heads of one-eyed BBC alarmists, it seems. They should ask themselves where all that snow is coming from – sea evaporation, perhaps? 🙄

  8. DB says:

    This is the same area where Barletta et al. reported the surprising result that the earth’s crust in West Antarctica is rising 41 mm/year, just under two inches. The researchers also estimate that in 100 years, uplift rates at the GPS sites will be 2.5 to 3.5 times more rapid than currently observed. This means that the grounding line, which is the spot where the marine-based ice shelf of the Pine Island Glacier meets bedrock, will have risen by 8 meters, or 26 feet, over the next century.

    Observed rapid bedrock uplift in Amundsen Sea Embayment promotes ice-sheet stability
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6395/1335

  9. oldbrew says:

    Why focus on Thwaites anyway?

    East Antarctica, also called Greater Antarctica, constitutes the majority (two-thirds) of the Antarctic continent, lying on the Indian Ocean side of the continent, separated from West Antarctica by the Transantarctic Mountains. It lies almost entirely within the Eastern Hemisphere and its name has been accepted for more than a century. It is generally higher than West Antarctica and includes the Gamburtsev Mountain Range in the centre.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Antarctica

    The Antarctic Plateau, Polar Plateau or King Haakon VII Plateau, is a large area of East Antarctica which extends over a diameter of about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi), and includes the region of the geographic South Pole and the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station. This huge continental plateau is at an average elevation of about 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) high.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Plateau

    The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) is one of two large ice sheets in Antarctica, and the largest on the entire planet. The EAIS lies between 45° west and 168° east longitudinally.

    The EAIS holds enough ice to raise global sea levels by 53.3 m[1] and is considerably larger in area and mass than the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). It is separated from the WAIS by the Transantarctic Mountains. The EAIS is the driest, windiest, and coldest place on Earth, with temperatures reported down to nearly -100°C. The EAIS holds the thickest ice on Earth, at 15,700 ft (4,800 m).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Antarctic_Ice_Sheet

    Next!

  10. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Alvin Scott: seek professional help.

  11. stpaulchuck says:

    so a glacier is melting… *yawn*

    Just another fund raiser.

  12. oldbrew says:

    BBC Accused Of Misleading Reporting About Melting Antarctic Glacier
    JANUARY 29, 2020

    By Paul Homewood

    Despite claims about climate change and admonition to lower our greenhouse gas emission as a way to ameliorate the melting of Thwaites, it should have been pointed out that what is happening underneath the glacier could be in large parts an act of geology and one of those natural and globally-important dynamics that have been occurring throughout the ages.

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2020/01/29/bbc-accused-of-misleading-reporting-about-melting-antarctic-glacier/

  13. oldbrew says:

    No joy for climate botherers in the Arctic this season…

    BAD NEWS ALARMISTS — OFFICIAL DATA REVEALS ARCTIC SEA ICE IS ONCE AGAIN GROWING
    JANUARY 29, 2020 CAP ALLON

    According to official government data from the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Arctic Sea Ice is once again GROWING, with current 2020 levels exceeding 8 out of the previous 10 years.
    . . .
    Arctic sea ice extent in January 2020 is sitting ABOVE levels observed in they years 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012 (record low extent), 2011, AND 2010.

    https://electroverse.net/official-data-reveals-arctic-sea-ice-is-growing-again/

  14. Gamecock says:

    ‘Using the latest satellite technology from the European Space Agency (ESA), scientists from the University of Bristol have been tracking patterns of mass loss from Pine Island — Antarctica’s largest glacier, reports SciTechDaily.’

    They use ‘latest’ to give validity to the article. Hype. Not science.

    Here’s their problem: ‘have been tracking patterns of mass loss from Pine Island’ is over time. The ‘latest’ hasn’t been available over time.

    THEY LIE! Openly and notoriously.

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