Antarctica’s melting ice shelves have unleashed 7.5 TRILLION tonnes of water into the oceans since 1997–Daily Mail
By Paul Homewood
We’re all going to drown – Part 94
Over the last 25 years, Antarctica’s melting ice sheets have released a staggering 7.5 trillion tonnes of water into the ocean, a study has revealed.
Analyzing over 100,000 satellite radar images, researchers from the University of Leeds discovered a steady erosion of the continent’s ice sheets, with over 40 per shrinking between 1997 and 2021.
While some ice sheets did grow in size during this time, the data revealed that a third have now lost more than 30 per cent of their initial mass – unleashing vast quantities of freshwater in the process.
Worryingly, scientists say this vast release of fresh water could threaten to destabilise ocean currents and contribute to global sea level rise.
What’s more, human-induced climate change means that ice melt will continue to happen faster in the future, the experts warn.
The scientists found that, while almost all the ice sheets on the east coast were melting, many ice sheets on the west coast stayed the same size or grew.
This is due to the patterns of ocean currents which surround Antarctica, carrying water of different temperatures.
While the Western side is exposed to warm waters which erode the ice shelves from below, East Antarctica is protected by a band of colder water close to the shore.
Overall, 59 trillion tonnes of water have been added to the continent’s ice shelves since 1975.
However, this was offset by the 67 trillion tonnes that were lost.
The biggest losses took place at the Getz Ice Shelf, which lost 1.9 trillion tonnes of water.
For perspective, one trillion tones of ice would make a cube more than six miles (10 km) in every direction – more than half a mile taller than Mt Everest!
Of this loss, 95 per cent was caused by melting and five per cent by ‘calving’, where large chunks of ice break off into the ocean.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Antarctica, the Amery Ice Shelf gained 1.2 trillion tonnes of ice due to the colder waters surrounding it.
Paul Homewood comments:
What this study does not mention is the fact that trillions of tonnes of ice are lost every year, due to both calving and melt. That is what ice sheets and glaciers do. And the loss is replenished by snowfall over the Antarctic continent.
So to argue that the influx of freshwater could destabilise ocean currents is frankly a con.
And as ever with these Antarctic studies, there is data prior to the handful of recent years, which are a mere speck in time. So we don’t know if any of this is out of the ordinary.
What is interesting though is this figure from the actual paper:
Now let’s home in on the top right graph:
We can see that the Total Mass Change (black line) has remained stable since around 2000. If anything it has risen slightly. This actually corroborates another study in May this year, which found that the Antarctic ice shelf had grown between 2009 and 2019.
All of the decline took place between 1997 and 2001. Whatever happened back then, and there must be question mark over the quality of the data then, it certainly is not occurring now, although there are evidently regional variations.
Also note the massive margins of error. We actually don’t know whether the ice sheets are growing, shrinking or staying the same.
This in itself makes the whole study meaningless.
But no doubt it will generate lots more grant money for “further research”!