Thursday, January 24, 2008

More Snow in Antarctica

A blog post in The New York Times by John Tierney entitled "More Snow in Antarctica" tells us that the global warming and climate change "trend" still has not reached Antarctica:

There’s new evidence from an Antarctic ice core that the popular image of the melting poles doesn't quite fit reality at the southern one. Elizabeth R. Thomas of the British Antarctic Survey and colleagues report in Geophysical Research Letters that snow accumulation has doubled since 1850 in the western Antarctic peninsula, and that the trend has accelerated in recent decades.

I mention this not to suggest this means the planet is cooling, nor to argue that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is wrong in warning of future warming. Quite the contrary. An increase in snowfall in the Antarctic happens to jibe quite well with the projections in the latest IPCC report: "Current global model studies project that the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall."

But that consensus projection hasn't gotten as much attention as the dire warnings from some scientists of an imminent meltdown in the Antarctic, so this new evidence from one spot is worth noting.


His blog post goes on to quote from the World Climate Report blog:
Not only is there no evidence of melting at the Gomez site, snow is accumulating there at an amazingly high rate. Clearly, this paper adds to the evidence that suggests that we simply, as of yet, do not have a firm grasp on the climate changes and their drivers that are effecting Antarctica, past, present, or, much less, future.

That gets to the main aspect of the whole global warming and climate change "movement" that really bugs me: the claim that all of it is "beyond debate." Let's encourage scientists to keep doing what they do best and also encourage them to refrain from extravagantly speculating about the future of a system that they as of yet still do not deeply understand. Antarctica is a fairly big piece of the overage climate puzzle, so it shouldn't be ignored.

-- Jack Krupansky

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