The ice at the South Pole is melting

Humans are very clever; they have figured out that object have mass. Mass is often thought of as weight but scientifically it is more than weight. It can describe the properties of a body when it moves, or the properties of a body when it active or passive gravity is applied to it. Einstein told us that energy is simply mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light. In simple concepts mass is part of energy and energy is part of mass. Humans are also clever enough to know that it follows that we can measure mass of an object from space using satellites which can measure the gravitational mass of an object.

So, when satellites measure the gravitational mass of ice sheets at the poles than can know whether the ice is shrinking or growing or remaining stable.  They have to make adjustments for known physical reactions when ice is resting on land (isostatic rebound), but having made these adjustments they conclude that both the East and West Ice Sheets are losing mass. These measurements are to scientists simple physics and unless Einstein and a whole bunch of scientists before him are wrong, we can now know exactly whether the ice at the poles is getting thinner or not.

Traditional surface ice measurements at the Antarctic have indicated in the past twenty years that the West Ice Sheet has been melting but the East Ice Sheet seems to have remained constant or may have marginally increased. It has been one of those anomalies beloved of climate change deniers.

Now the gravity mass measurements from satellites proves that the East Ice Sheet has been losing mass (in other words melting) over the past three years. So far climatologists have calculated rising sea levels based on the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melting; those two events would raise sea level by about six and a half metres; if the West Ice Sheet is also melting then sea levels would rise by sixty metres.

There is no fear that both ice sheets will melt rapidly; the Antarctic is very cold and it is possible that the isostatic rebound adjustments are not completely accurate, but the evidence is accumulating that the ice at the poles is melting. We do not need a clearly warning.

One Response

  1. I think science is a wonderful thing when its research is used in a non advantagous ways, the earth is warming but so are several other of the planet that are further away fro the sun to us, mars’s ice has been melting at several miles per year, here on earth the actuall recorded temprature is now actually decreasing, or are we in a different time zone to the rest of the solar system, the truth will out eventually.

    I am all for alternatives, not because of global warming but for the fact that our connections with fossile fuels is costing us all dearly and as it dwindles so will the prices rise to the detriment of the societies that reley on it today.

    Alternatives are already available but not in the forms of therms hat we get from the sun and waters in our rivers, large oil means large controls of our lives,

    Gore is good for alternatives if he starts to use them for what they are deserved, raising taxes, cap and trade is the wrong way to do things, which he will soon be bitten in the backside for running his current course, who do we believe, someone who has cooked the books or the scientists that are being sent to covenrty because of their truths.

    We are actually cooling on average, my next door neighbour has been running detailed weather records for over 25 years now and she has the same results, longevity over rules the short term every time.

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