Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Glaciers Not On Simple Upward Melting Trend

by Noel Sheppard

A report published by Science magazine on February 8 has gotten tremendously little coverage from the mainstream media. Given its findings -- that glacial melt in Greenland dramatically slowed in 2006 -- this certainly isn’t surprising.
So far, the most comprehensive report on this subject was done by YubaNet.com on Tuesday (emphasis mine throughout):
Two of Greenland's largest glaciers shrank dramatically and dumped twice as much ice into the sea during a period of less than a year between 2004 and 2005. And then, less than two years later, they returned to near their previous rates of discharge.
It should now make sense why this report got so little attention. The article continued:
The variability over such a short time, reported online Feb. 9 on Science magazine's Science Express, underlines the problem in assuming that glacial melting and sea level rise will necessarily occur at a steady upward trajectory, according to lead author Ian Howat, a post-doctoral researcher with the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory and the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center. The paper comes a year after a study in the journal Science revealed that discharge from Greenland's glaciers had doubled between 2000 and 2005, leading some scientists to speculate such changes were on a steady, upward climb.
"While the rates of shrinking of these two glaciers have stabilized, we don't know whether they will remain stable, grow or continue to collapse in the near future," Howat says. That's because the glaciers' shape changed greatly, becoming stretched and thinned.
Here’s likely the key finding the media want to keep from Americans:
"Our main point is that the behavior of these glaciers can change a lot from year to year, so we can't assume to know the future behavior from short records of recent changes," he says. "Future warming may lead to rapid pulses of retreat and increased discharge rather than a long, steady drawdown."
In sum, they really don’t know what is going to happen in the future based upon the activity of these glaciers during such a short period of time. Obviously, this is not the case the global warming alarmists are making, especially folks like Al Gore who claims that major population areas around the world are about to be flooded by rising ocean levels due to glacial melt. The article continued:
Getting accurate computer models of Greenland and Antarctic glaciers is important because 99 percent of the Earth's glacial ice is found in those two places. Glacial ice is second only to the oceans as the largest reservoir of water on the planet.
Previous findings published a year ago showed that Greenland's glaciers had doubled their discharge between 2000 and 2005, but these results were based on "snapshots" of discharge taken five years apart, Howat says.
"Did an equal amount of discharge occur every year? Did it happen all in one year? Is there a steady upward trajectory? We didn't know," he says."
They don’t know? But we’re constantly being told by the media that there is a consensus of scientists that do know. Why the contradiction?

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