Skip to comments.Warmer Air May Cause Increased Antarctic Sea Ice Cover
Posted on 06/30/2005 3:45:00 PM PDT by beavus
WASHINGTON - Predicted increases in precipitation due to warmer air temperatures from greenhouse gas emissions may actually increase sea ice volume in the Antarctic's Southern Ocean. This finding from a new study adds evidence of potential asymmetry between the two poles and may be an indication that climate change processes may have varying impacts on different areas of the globe.
"Most people have heard of climate change and how rising air temperatures are melting glaciers and sea ice in the Arctic," said Dylan C. Powell, lead author of the paper and a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. "However, findings from our simulations suggest a counterintuitive phenomenon. Some of the melt in the Arctic may be balanced by increases in sea ice volume in the Antarctic."
For the first time, the authors of the paper, published this month in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Oceans), used satellite observations from NASA's Special Sensor Microwave/Imager to assess snow depth on sea ice and assimilated the satellite observations into their model to improve prediction of precipitation rates. By incorporating satellite observations into this new method, the researchers say they achieved more stable and realistic precipitation data, to counter the great variability in precipitation data sets typically found in the polar regions.
"On any given day, sea ice cover in the oceans of the polar regions is about the size of the U.S.," said Thorsten Markus, a co-author of the paper and a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Far-flung locations like the Arctic and Antarctic actually impact our temperature and climate where we live and work on a daily basis."
According to Markus, the deep and bottom water masses of the oceans make contact with the atmosphere only at high latitudes, near the poles. Polar processes, such as sea ice formation, are driving a huge, global, ocean heat pump, called thermohaline (or saline) circulation. To a large extent, this heat pump impacts the climate at lower latitudes.
Typically, warming of the climate leads to increased melting rates of sea ice cover and also increased precipitation rates. With increased precipitation rates and consequently deeper snow, the snow load on the Antarctic sea ice becomes heavy enough that it suppresses the ice below sea level. This results in even more and even thicker sea ice when the snow refreezes as more ice.
The paper indicates that some climate processes appear to actually be counterintuitive. "We used computer-generated simulations to get this research result. I hope that in the future we'll be able to verify this result with real data through a long-term ice thickness measurement campaign," said Powell. "Our goal as scientists is to collect hard data to verify what the model is telling us. It will be critical to know for certain whether average sea ice thickness is indeed increasing in the Antarctic as our model indicates, and to determine what environmental factors are spurring this apparent phenomenon."
Achim Stössel of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, the third co-author on this paper, advises that "while numerical models have improved considerably over the last two decades, seemingly minor processes like the snow-to-ice conversion still need to be better incorporated in models as they can have a significant impact on the results and therefore on climate predictions."
The study was funded by NASA.
This calls for in-depth study!
so wait... we're not all gonna die?
i'm so confused.
so much for my investment in ohio atlantic shore properties consortium
I suggest we cut ALL carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) emissions to zero. Then the trees will all suffocate, and we won't have to worry about saving them.
"Mr. Chairman, technically you're correct that the real-world results aren't completely in sycnh with the simulation, but that's just because the simulation needs a little more tweaking. Could you give us three more years and twenty million more dollars?"
You should have invested in the Nevada Oceanfront Property Developer's Association, because according to the custom tailored, Clinton administration orderes, Study on Climate Change, global warming will cause volcanic eruptions and earthquakes which will drop California into the Pacific, (just HOW global warming is supposed to alter the tectonic plates as they float on their sea of lava is not explained) as well as traffic jams, an increase in muggings, confusing the Indians so they won't know when to plant, screwing up the migratory patterns of the ungulates who's farts CAUSE global warming....and a host of other calamaties that I now forget.
I read today that LA had more rain this year than anytime in the last 125 years. It didnt break the record, but came close. The cause is obviously global warming, SUVs, industrial imperialism, and stupid American ignorance. But I wonder what cause the record setting rainfall 125 years ago?
LOL....you're on a roll, seem to have covered most of them.
Good point. You don't seem to be a proponent of induction from outliers.
"Is China, the world's largest polluter, subect to the rules of Kyoto? No, it is not."
And it won't be, either, because China doesn't care what the EUweenies and the leftist envirowhackos here think of it, so it won't be shamed into any of this nonsense. This global warming stuff is just so much junk science, but the envirowhackos love it because of the money.
We are probably all going to die from exploding heads from trying to make sense of these pinheaded predictions. BTW who defined the optimal temp for the planet?
Don'tya know? Cigarettte smoke.
And if there is less ice, that proves global warming.
What if the ice doesn't change?
Based on the analysis of entrapped air from ice cores extracted from permanent glaciers from various regions around the globe, it has been demonstrated that global warming began 18,000 years ago, accompanied by a steady rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. What caused this phenomena is a matter of ongoing debate. Clearly, though, global warming and rising CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere started long before the industrial revolution.
Global warming started long before the "Industrial Revolution" and the invention of the internal combustion engine. Global warming began 18,000 years ago as the earth started warming its way out of the Pleistocene Ice Age-- a time when much of North America, Europe, and Asia lay buried beneath great sheets of glacial ice.
Earth's climate and the biosphere have been in constant flux, dominated by ice ages and glaciers for the past several million years. We are currently enjoying a temporary reprieve from the deep freeze.
Approximately every 100,000 years Earth's climate warms up temporarily. These warm periods, called interglacial periods, appear to last approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years before regressing back to a cold ice age climate. At year 18,000 and counting our current interglacial vacation from the Ice Age is much nearer it's end than it's beginning.
Global warming during Earth's current interglacial warm period has greatly altered our environment and the distribution and diversity of all life. For example:
-- Approximately 15,000 years ago the earth had warmed sufficiently to halt the advance of glaciers, and sea levels worldwide began to rise.
-- By 8,000 years ago the land bridge across the Bearing Strait was drowned, cutting off the migration of men and animals to North America.
-- Since the end of the Ice Age, Earth's temperature has risen approximately 16 degrees F and sea levels have risen a total of 300 feet. Forests have returned where once there was only ice.
FUN FACTS about CARBON DIOXIDE
-- Of the 186 billion tons of CO2 that enter earth's atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth's oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.
-- At 368 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth's atmosphere-- less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth's current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.
-- CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life-- plants and animals alike-- benefit from more of it. All life on earth is carbon-based and CO2 is an essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide.
-- CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth's oceans-- the great retirement home for most terrestrial carbon dioxide.
-- If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions would have a negligible effect on global climate!
Above courtesy of http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html
Lots of well written and easily readable stuff there. T'would be nice if some of the semi-literate snooz reporters/reporterettes and generally illiterate scientists went and read a bit of it. But that would be beyond the grasp of their mentally retarded, liberal minds, I suspect!
So the earth continues to balance itself? Huh. Imagine that. Just like it has for millions of years now.
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