Climate change and Global warming are often considered as hoaxes. Newsmax Media broke a story claiming that global warming is a $22 billion scam. Thus for obvious reasons, the involvement of political tantrums in the issue of global warming cannot be ignored.
The recent NASA report on Antarctica ice sheets exemplifies this fact. At least, if it is proven that there is no harm to the planet due to global warming, President Obama’s budget of $10 billion to fight climate change can be saved, and he can be made an easy target for attacks during the 2016 Republican campaign.
Already the new NASA report has provided enough room for the attack.
NASA came up with a report that suggests the opposite of what the climate scientists had believed so far.
The new report says that, contrary to the popular belief, East Antarctica has been gaining more ice in the recent years balancing the loss of ice in the West Antarctic region, which is considered the primary cause sea level rise.
Experts were quick to denounce the new report saying that it doesn’t match the measurements recorded over a decade, which includes data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Satellite (GRACE) that has been collecting information for 13 years.
The previous studies by NASA suggested that the sea level rise due to melting ice sheets in West Antarctica is unstoppable, whereas the new report saying the opposite has created a debate among the climate scientists.
Even though denounced by many scientists, the author of the new report, Jay Zwally says that his study includes improved models that were not used in the previous measurements.
Had this model been applied to the old data, there would be a perfect match between the old and the new, he adds.
His model of measurement studies the bedrock movement beneath the ice glaciers in Antarctica.
He says that the earth’s mantle will rise after being relieved from the burden of the ice sheets over it, and the mantle has been moving downwards as the burden due to ice sheets, and glaciers is on a rise.
That brings us to the next question: Why is the sea level rising globally if there is no melting of ice sheets or glaciers in Antarctica? Jay responds that there is something that we are missing which truly contributes to the rise in sea level and not the Antarctic ice melting as reported by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In 2013, IPCC reported that the sea levels across the planet have been rising at an average of 2.8 millimetres per year in the last decade. Now let us see some science behind the Antarctic Ice. There are two kinds of ice. Land ice and Sea ice.
The critics’ argument against the climate change is due to the misunderstanding of the differences between these two types of ices.
Land ice is the ice formed by snowfall that gets accumulated over the landmass of Antarctica, and the Sea ice is the ice formed during the winter season on the ocean’s salt water, which melts during the summer.
Melting of the sea ice does not contribute to the rise in sea level, whereas the melting of land ice can dramatically change the sea level rise over a period of time.
What data has been showing the climate scientists for over a decade is that the land ice is continuously decreasing.
Various approaches on measuring the loss of land ice agree that there have been a loss of 1350 Gigatonnes (1,350,000,000,000 tonnes) of land ice till 2011 since 1992.
This rate of loss of land ice equates the recent trends in the rate of rise of sea level, which remain unanswered by Jay’s latest report.
According to Professor Matt King, University of Tasmania, East Antarctica has been definitely gaining ice slightly, but not to compensate the loss afforded by the rest of the regions in Antarctica.
Reports from GRACE suggests that sea ice in Antarctic ocean is rising, which is often claimed as an argument against global warming, says Professor King.
The reason for the rise in sea ice is due to the warming of oceans which is a global phenomenon. During the past half century, oceans have been warming up to 0.10 C.
Glaciology is a very complex study, and it is quite difficult to explain the phenomenon why the ice sheets in West Antarctic and Antarctic Peninsula regions are losing its mass, whereas it gains a bit in the East Antarctic region, but not enough to compensate the loss.
The new report of Jay holds some ground, and it cannot be considered a white lie. But the report could have some more serious responsibility.
Image Source: NYTimes