An international team of scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has discovered a previously unknown volcanic hotspot beneath the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).
Their findings were published in the June 22 edition of the journal Nature Communications.
Dr. Pat Michaels: "This week’s good news is that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), by far the world’s biggest ice mass, was largely intact during the entire Pliocene epoch. The Pliocene was slightly less than three million years in length and preceded the Pleistocene, the epoch of the ice ages. The implications for human-caused warming from enhanced carbon dioxide are enormous. (Study published in the journal Nature) ...
We can now confidently say that human-induced climate change cannot make it happen... The Pliocene heat load was 1,200 times what humans could possibly exert on the EAIS, and it still remained largely intact. Because of that, fears about the ultimate climate catastrophe can no longer even be entertained."
Scientists tend to agree ice loss has increased in western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula has increased. Measurements of the eastern ice sheet, however, are subject to high levels of uncertainty. That’s where disagreements are. “In our study East Antarctic remains the least certain part of Antarctica for sure,” Andrew Shepherd, the study’s lead author and professor at the University of Leeds, told TheDCNF. “Although there is relatively large variability over shorter periods, we don’t detect any significant long-term trend over 25 years,” Shepherd said. However, Zwally’s working on a paper that will show the eastern ice sheet is expanding at a rate that’s enough to at least offset increased losses the west. The ice sheets are “very close to balance right now,” Zwally said. He added that balance could change to net melting in the future with more warming.
Zwally’s 2015 study said an isostatic adjustment of 1.6 millimeters was needed to bring satellite “gravimetry and altimetry” measurements into agreement with one another. Shepherd’s paper cites Zwally’s 2015 study several times, but only estimates eastern Antarctic mass gains to be 5 gigatons a year — yet this estimate comes with a margin of error of 46 gigatons. Zwally, on the other hand, claims ice sheet growth is anywhere from 50 gigatons to 200 gigatons a year.