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Loss of Antarctic Ice Increases

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  • npat1
    Fw: [fuelcell-energy] ... Loss of Antarctic Ice Increases By ANDREW C. REVKIN Two new satellite surveys show that warming air and water are causing Antarctica
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2006
      Fw: [fuelcell-energy]
      ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
      Loss of Antarctic Ice Increases
      Two new satellite surveys show that warming air and water are causing
      Antarctica to lose ice faster than it can be replenished by interior
      snowfall, and thus are contributing to rising global sea levels.

      The studies differed significantly in estimates of how much water was
      being added to the oceans this way, but their authors both said that
      the work added credence to recent conclusions that global warming
      caused by humans was likely to lead to higher sea levels than
      previous studies had predicted.

      The earlier projections presumed that snowfall over Antarctica, as
      well as Greenland, would increase as warming added moisture to the
      air, compensating for the losses of ice from crumbling or melting
      along coasts.

      Several independent experts agreed with the new conclusions, saying
      they meshed both with more localized studies of trends in Antarctica
      and with evidence from warm spells before the last ice age.

      "Snowfall will matter less and less," said Robert Bindschadler, an
      expert on polar ice at the National Aeronautics and Space
      Administration who was not involved in either study. "We know that
      warmer climates eventually lead to less ice."

      Most of the ice is being lost in western Antarctica, where warming
      air and seawater have recently broken up huge floating shelves of
      ice, resembling the brim of a hat. That, in turn, has allowed ice in
      the interior to flow more readily to the coast.

      One of the new surveys, led by H. Jay Zwally, a NASA scientist, used
      satellites and aircraft to measure changes in the height of ice
      sheets in Antarctica and Greenland over the decade ended in 2002. It
      found a loss of volume in Antarctica and a small overall gain in
      Greenland, where inland snows have outpaced ice flowing into the sea,
      at least temporarily. It was just published in The Journal of

      The other study, by scientists at the University of Colorado, looked
      at changes from 2002 to 2005 using NASA satellites that detect subtle
      changes in Earth's gravitational field that can be used to estimate
      the weight of water in an ice sheet.

      "The changes we are seeing are probably a good indicator of the
      changing climatic conditions there," said Isabella Velicogna, the
      lead author of the gravity-sensing study, which was published online
      yesterday by the journal Science.



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