Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Misrepresenting Antarctic ice and climate change

Tim Lambert over at the Deltoid blog would probably be better at this, but he’s been quiet lately and I have a few minutes to spare, while I wait for a university to answer my call.

The Australian, courtesy of Graham Lloyd, is running with the old “what about Antarctic sea ice? Huh? Huh?” line, here. As is noted all over the world, at a time when Arctic sea ice has shrunk dramatically, there has been an increase in the sea ice down around the Antarctic.

And because there are still people in the world who want to muddy the climate change waters, the Antarctic is now becoming the poster-child for the denialist mentality.

So I guess I may as well spend a few minutes on the issue. I’m not going to refute The Australian point-by-point, but here are details to keep in mind when skeptics roll out the “Antarctic sea ice growing” argument.

      1. Most of the Antarctic’s ice is on land, not sea – and the land ice extent is shrinking, because the southern land ice loss is greater than the sea ice gain (source:
2    2. Sea ice formation in the Antarctic is being influenced by factors like the ozone hole (which reduces atmospheric temperatures), water freshness (rising, which makes it easier to freeze), winds and so on.
3    3. While the extent (ie, the area in square kilometers) of Antarctic sea ice is growing, some research suggests it might be getting thinner ( - so the change in the overall volume of sea ice is much less well understood.
4    4. The Southern Ocean is still warming (

That should do for now, I suppose …

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