Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ice Melting Faster Than Expected

Scientific American has an interesting article about the accelerating rate of ice lost in the arctic and antarctic. It seems we've warmed the air and sea enough now that ice in Antarctica is melting, even though it's currently the middle of winter there.

Ice near the poles, especially on the western Antarctic Peninsula, as melting faster than any climate scientists or advanced climate models predicted, suggesting the possibility that global warming alarmists have not been over-hyping the situation, but possibly the opposite.

As the floating ice shelves break up and drift out to sea, the massive glacial ice on land becomes free to flow toward the water. According to Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, within a year or two of an ice shelf breaking up, glaciers that it previously held back could be moving toward the ocean up to four times faster than when the ice shelf was in place. That could (and most likely will) result in more ice flowing into the oceans at a faster rate than expected, and that will raise sea levels.

Another suggestion that we have perhaps underestimated the effects of warming on our ice, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center has warned that the North Pole could be free of ice in the summer—not in forty years, as previously predicted, but as early as this year.

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