Washington Post correspondant Juliet Eilperin, in her 12-26-08 report entitled “New climate change estimates more pessimistic,” dutifully surveys the latest bleak findings of the climate change community. Her primary source is a recently released survey comissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program – expanding on the findings of the 2007 4th IPPC Report on Climate Change. Apparently this “new assessment suggests that earlier projections may have underestimated the climatic shifts that could take place by 2100.” One of Eilperin’s primary examples of alarming new data is reported as follows:
“In one of the reports most worrisome findings, the agency estimates that in light of recent ice sheet melting, global sea level rise could be as much as 4 feet by 2100. The IPCC had projected a sea level rise of no more than 1.5 feet by that time, but satellite data over the past two years show the world’s major ice sheets are melting much more rapidly than previously thought. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are now losing an average of 48 cubic miles of ice a year, equivalent to twice the amount of ice that exists in the Alps.”
This indeed sounds ominous, until one recalls the data from just over two years ago, released and reported with similar overtones of dreadful urgency. Our October 20th, 2006 report entitled “Greenland’s Ice Melting Slowly” referenced then recent findings from NASA indicating that Greenland’s ice was melting at “a net loss of 27 cubic miles of ice per year.”
In our above-noted critique of this 2006 NASA report, we correctly noted 27 cubic miles of new water in the world’s oceans per year would result in a net rise of sea level of 1.2 inches per century. The calculations for this claim are fairly straightforward and are outlined in that post. Now in this new 2008 report in the Washington Post, not only Greenland, but Antarctica as well are only combining to contribute 48 cubic miles of net ice-melt per year into the world’s oceans on average during the last three years. That is about 2.0 inches per century, and clearly these datapoints don’t indicate a trend towards faster melting, when Antarctica’s ice mass is nearly 10x that of the Greenland ice cap.
It would help if Eilperin and others would have included links to the original just-released study from the USGS Climate Change Science Program, “Abrupt Climate Change.” Using the key words “USGS faster climate change feared,” the many, many links found on Google, including the Washington Post story’s own link to the study, only reference the Washington Post story itself. And despite the overwhelming intent of all these posts spawned by Eilperin’s latest dispatch, to crow yet again that our worst primal diluvian fears could come true, the most supposedly alarming data they themselves have cited suggest strongly otherwise. Three years ago what NASA quantified as an alarming loss of annual ice loss from Greenland was easily demonstrated at that time to be an insignificant loss, and today NASA’s updated data appears to suggest the annual rate of global polar ice loss has actually decreased since then.
Read Arctic Cooling on Schedule, “Hottest Year? 1934,” “Greenland’s Ice Melting Slowly,”Greenland’s Ice Cap”,” and “Antarctic Ice,” for more on the relationship between land-based polar ice mass and sea level rise.
Greenland’s Riviera – their green southwest. Will another Maunder minimum
grip the region in cages of ice again, or will bells ring in the portside squares,
as they did in the 1300′s before that cooling came, and ships sailed the fiords?