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Upcoming Research Will Buck The ‘Consensus’ And Show Antarctica Is Still Gaining Ice

June 17, 2018

By Paul Homewood


I mentioned a new study the other day, which claimed that Antarctica is losing more and more ice.

This was in total contrast to the study by Jay Zwally in 2015, which showed that the continent was gaining ice.

It appears that Zwally has a new paper on its way, which will corroborate his original findings:



Is Antarctica melting or is it gaining ice? A recent paper claims Antarctica’s net ice loss has dramatically increased in recent years, but forthcoming research will challenge that claim.

NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally first challenged the “consensus” on Antarctica in 2015 when he published a paper showing ice sheet growth in eastern Antarctica outweighed the losses in the western ice sheet.

Zwally will again challenge the prevailing narrative of how global warming is affecting the South Pole. Zwally said his new study will show, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.

Much like in 2015, Zwally’s upcoming study will run up against the so-called “consensus,” including a paper published by a team of 80 scientists in the journal Nature on Wednesday. The paper estimates that Antarctic is losing, on net, more than 200 gigatons of ice a year, adding 0.02 inches to annual sea level rise.

“Basically, we agree about West Antarctica,” Zwally told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “East Antarctica is still gaining mass. That’s where we disagree.”

Reported ice melt mostly driven by instability in the western Antarctic ice sheet, which is being eaten away from below by warm ocean water. 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. (RELATED: Earth’s Largest Ice Sheet Was Stable For Millions Of Years During A Past Warm Period)

“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.

So, why is there such a big difference between Zwally’s research and what 80 scientists recently published in the journal Nature?

There are several reasons for the disagreement, but the biggest is how researchers make what’s called a glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), which takes into account the movement of the Earth under ice sheets.

Scientists use models to measure the movement of land mass in response to changes the ice sheet sitting on top. For example, Zwally said eastern Antarctica’s land mass has been going down in response to ice sheet mass gains.

That land movement effects ice sheet data, especially in Antarctica where small errors in GIA can yield big changes ice sheet mass balance — whether ice is growing or shrinking. There are also differences in how researchers model firn compaction and snowfall accumulation.

“It needs to be known accurately,” Zwally said. “It’s an error of being able to model. These are models that estimate the motions of the Earth under the ice.”

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.

Shepherd’s recently published paper found Antarctica lost 219 billion tons of ice from 2012 to 2017, about triple what annual ice mass loss was in the previous decade.

“There are several potential reasons for the remaining disagreement among the various satellite techniques, such as the models we use to account for snowfall and glacial isostatic adjustment,” Shepherd told The DCNF.

“But the ice losses we detect in West Antarctica are highly accurate, and outstrip by far the signal or uncertainty in East Antarctica,” he said.

Zwally said the ice sheets are reacting to climate warming, the question is when receding started and how far it would go.



As I pointed out previously, nobody really has the first idea what is happening. Measurements are fraught with difficulties, not least how to calculate GIA.

The best methodology we have is to monitor tide gauges, which continue to show no acceleration in sea level rise, which is increasing at a similar rate to the 1920s to 50s.

  1. June 17, 2018 4:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Rangitikei Enviromental Health Watch.

  2. June 17, 2018 4:56 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

  3. HotScot permalink
    June 17, 2018 5:05 pm

    Sadly, it will go ignored by the MSM because simpleton journalist’s seeking a sensationalist story will be unable to wrap their tiny minds round the concept.

  4. June 17, 2018 5:58 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  5. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 17, 2018 6:04 pm

    I think you’ve nailed it, Paul.

    “Scientists use models to measure the movement of land mass in response to changes the ice sheet sitting on top.”

    Or put another way, neither Shepherd nor Zwally really have a clue what’s happening. All they “know” is what they have programmed their computers (whether consciously or unconsciously) to tell them.

    Shepherd admits there has been no significant trend over the last quarter century and if the best (or should it be worst) he can do is threaten us with 0.5mm which is unmeasurable outside the mind of a scientist why are bothering — especially since there is nothing we can do about it. Study it if that’s what floats your boat but don’t pretend it means anything!

  6. Mack permalink
    June 17, 2018 7:21 pm

    As you say Paul, no one really has a clue what is happening. Accurate, detailed and extensive data for the entire continent simply doesn’t exist. Interesting that both papers refer to the influence of ‘climate warming’ with regard to ice loss. But, surely, the elephant in the room, completely ignored by the Shepherd paper, is the geothermal activity from volcanos that ring the hinterland of the entire western Antarctic ice sheet? When one considers that the Southern Ocean appears to be cooling, according to recent Argo data, so there appears to be no upwelling of unprecedented warmer waters undermining the ice sheet from below at its’ fringes, are we expected to believe that there is a Co2 hotspot undermining the Western sheet in a way that mysteriously avoids the much greater Eastern sheet? The miracle molecule at work again perhaps?

  7. In the Real World permalink
    June 17, 2018 7:56 pm

    An underwater study by the British Antarctic team a few years ago showed that the sea ice was a lot thicker than previously believed .
    This proved that the total ice mass was far greater than what was estimated from the satellite data .
    So the melt from the volcanic activity is a lot smaller percentage than claimed by the AGM supporters .
    And the gain from the snowfalls on the ice , & the fact that the temperature over most of Antarctica is always many many degrees below freezing , means that the real truth , [ as admitted by NASA ] , is that the ice is increasing .

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 17, 2018 8:30 pm

    That’s presumably +/-46 Gt at one standard deviation. So that should be +/-90Gt for us normal folk.

  9. June 17, 2018 8:41 pm

    When scientific education becomes subjective as opposed to objective and absolute; as has happened over the last 20+ years,this will continue. The medical world has induced us to have diets based on dogma. The result; more diabetes and obesity, measles is now a problem due to fake science. Diseases caused by lack of Vitamin D are on the increase because of the perceived risk of skin cancer (the majority of which, are not life-threatening anyway)! It is about Grants, paid for by the taxpayer to pursue some exercise in futility with yet another scare story to pay the authors of these stories
    The “funded Holy Grail” is of course AGW, where literally, £Trillions have been wasted to counter a non-threat! The current situation is no different to the situation that existed in Ancient Egypt, when the Priests knew when to sow the crops based on astronomical observation. The Catholic Church and the Earth centered universe with circular orbits and then epicycles when the planetary motions defied dogma! Centuries of been there and done it, have not changed science one jot. The exception of course is in the Modern Pure Sciences’ Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry and Biology and many others.
    There needs to be a massive change in the Applied Science funding to counter this never ending stream of fake science!

  10. June 17, 2018 9:38 pm

    True that the measurements are uncertain and the record is short. And the estimates range from -200 Gt/yr to +100 Gt/yr against Antartcica ice sheet estimated to contain 27,600,000 Gt of ice. Even if it lost 200 Gt/yr for the next 1000 years, it would only approach 1% of the total mass.

    If like Al Gore you are concerned about sea level rise, that calculation starts with the ocean area estimated to be 3.618 x 10^8 km2 (361,800,000 km2). To raise that area 1 mm requires 3.618×10^2 km3 or 361.8 km3 water (1 km3 water=1 Gt.) So 200 Gt./yr is about 0.55mm/yr or 6 mm a decade, or 6 cm/century.

    But the media are all confused because they see charts like this one:

  11. Broadlands permalink
    June 18, 2018 12:11 am

    Ten years ago Jay Zwally was quoted: Within “five to less than 10 years” the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer. Climatologist Al Gore picked up on that and ran with it in 2009.

  12. Geoff Sherrington permalink
    June 18, 2018 1:22 am

    In ‘hard’ science, when 2 researchers make plausible estimates that differ, the error bounds are changed to accommodate both estimates.
    Those little grey or blue envelopes that sit aside the lines of graphs have pathetically little real meaning when this is done. Pseudo-scientific eye candy. Geoff.

  13. June 18, 2018 12:37 pm

    The hand wringers always look at the western ice sheet which has active volcanic beneath it.

  14. June 22, 2018 3:26 am

    by climate deniers?

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