Some people are using the annual variation is polar ice covering the sea as evidence that climate change and global warming is not actually taking place. This is misguided as the annual variations are not evidence of anything but annual variations. What is happening is indicated by trends. One thing is clear both in terms of an annual event and a trend. If you look beyond the polar sea ice and see what is happening to glaciers in Greenland and in Antarctica there are some very worrying trends.
Glaciers get bigger and smaller. In ice ages they got bigger from colder places sculpting the landscape. As climates warmed glaciers “retreated” or rather got smaller leaving behind such features as moraines. Glaciers also get fatter and thinner.
It is quite logical; if they receive more snow than they leak, they get fatter. If they receive less snow than they leak, they get thinner. They also get thinner when they work out.
NASA has been measuring glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica using their satellites. In these places the glaciers end at the sea and inevitably glaciers melt into the sea. Those dramatic pictures you see of glaciers breaking off are no more than dramatic pictures. The same glacier elsewhere will be receiving precipitation which will be formed into ice. The important thing is whether the glacier is melting faster than it grows and whether the galcier sppeds up, becasue if it does it becomes a leaner thinner structure.
The latest measurements show that most glaciers are getting thinner which means that there is more water in the sea and less frozen water on land. Glaciers are also flowing faster than have been previously measured, so that their rate of shrinkage seems to be accelerating. In fact the speed at which a glacier reaches the sea seems to be a bigger factor than precipitation.
It seems logical to me; a thinner glacier will move over land more quickly that it did when it was fatter, as there is less pressure exerting less friction to impede or slow down its progress.
Some glaciers are thinning at a rate exceeding nine meters a year. Some glaciers in Antarctica are getting fatter or staying the same, unaffected by their neighbours losing weight, but overall the trend is loss of ice height.
Normally these trends of fat and thin galciers and fast and slow ones, would be happen over millenia. An event that previously took a thousand years may now take a hundred years. This does not bode well for the future climate.