Sunday, 1 February 2015

Is Antarctica gaining ice? No, it's an Urban Myth

Some people say "The ice sheets in Antarctica are growing".

This is very misleading.

First, the Antarctic has ice on land and in the sea.

The Antarctic is a continent covered by ice, unlike the ocean in the Arctic.

The sea ice surrounding Antarctica melts almost to the coast each summer.

The winter sea ice has increased by around 1 % over the last few decades.

This is due to complex processes.

It is linked to melting of the land ice on Antarctica…..

Antarctica is losing very large amounts of ice from its ice sheets and glaciers.

The graph is from data collected by the GRACE satellites.

Here is an outline of what is happening in the seas around Antarctica......

  • Seawater does not freeze until around minus 2 degrees C because it is salty.
  • This effect of salt, of course, is used to help defrost roads.
  • The meltwater off Antarctica’s ice sheets is freshwater.
  • Freshwater has a low density, so it forms a layer on top of the sea.
  • Freshwater freezes (of course) at zero degrees C.
  • So the top layer freezes more easily.
  • Also windchill helps to freeze that top layer.
Here is a useful comparison of Antarctic and Arctic sea ice ……

The Earth's poles are warming faster than the rest of the planet.

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