back to article Greenland ice loss rates 'one-third' of what was thought

The rate at which ice is disappearing from Greenland and Western Antarctica has been seriously overestimated, according to new research. Contrasting estimates of Greenland ice melt. Previous analysis in blue: New in red. The colour bands represent uncertainty. Credit: Nature Geoscience 'Deviates rather sharply from general …

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What the previous researchers need to do

is get out all their SUV's and other CO2/Methane exhaling commodoties and constantly belch them out until the reality matches the original predictions made. Or, they could just let India and China do it for them.

Maybe West Antartica has a newly formed volcano area or maybe it is just aliens.

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Paris Hilton

very soon the new research will be old

and a newer research will say this research overestimated the underestimation.

Paris, coz she never undermates.

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2mm in 6 years?

So in 1000 year we can expect the oceans to have risen a little over 1 foot as a result of this.

Forgive me if this doesn't seem like a scary thought...

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Alert

Short Term Memories?

Maybe we're still coming out of the last ice age and humans place too much importance on themselves. Think they own the place and they've only been around a short time.

Planet farts and the scum on the top gets disturbed - nothing new.

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FAIL

this is a title that i am writing in the space allocated for needless titles

lol, at any form of climate "research". what a fucking joke.

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+9 Insightful

The dark ages are calling, they want their rationality back...

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Ironic of you to mention the dark ages.

Then we assumed that the sun and planets revolved around us, and now we assume the climate does.

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..an unpleasant lack of irony

The point made by the poster was that there is no form of research into what makes our climate tick - to demonstrate or refute anything, by anyone - that amounts to a hill of beans. It's all a 'fucking joke'.

No mention of who controls what (or rather doesn't) was made - and no-one worth their salt 'assumes' anything about that in the scientific debate about climate, regardless of their stance.

Not that it matters of course - we've been told the it's all a 'fucking joke' and that's that. Decisive thinking of that calibre must surely come from some powerful knowledge indeed.

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Go

so..

seeing as our gubbermint's response in real terms to the impending potential catastrophe of climate change has been approximately f*** all, does this mean they only have to do one third of f*** all to prevent it now?

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Anonymous Coward

"as little as 500 gigatonnes"

Even as a AGW skeptic I find it laughable that 500 gigatonnes of anything can be described as "as little as"

Sure, they got the figures wrong, massively and embarrassingly so, but the difference seems to be between whether only "shit loads" of ice has melted rather than "fuck loads".

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500 gigatonnes = 0.021%

1km^3 of ice weighs 0.9 Gt, so 500 Gt = 555km^3 ice.

Volume of Greenland ice approx. 2,600,000 km^3 according to USGS.

So, ice loss in the 6 years between 2003 and 2009 is 555/2,600,000 = 0.0214%. At that rate it will ice-free in AD30090.

Put into context, 500Gt of Greenland ice looks like 'fuck all', not 'fuck loads'.

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Anonymous Coward

You drink it then

If it is so small an amount.

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@Lee and the other plums

Lee -

"You drink it then

If it is so small an amount."

I will drink 2mm of water every 100 years or so - that should stop the sea level rise.

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That, sir, is a length.

Bit hard to drink a length of water.

Also, I thought normal humans had this awfully disgusting habit of excreting every so often - or did I get it wrong, meaning humans actually store all the water they consume, ever?

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Joke

3 dimensions vs. 1

you can drink a volume of water, not a height of water.

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@Andy 45

Good luck with your drinking. With the oceans covering about 3.6 × 10^8 sq km, 2mm is 7.2 x 10^11 tonnes, or 7.2 x 10^14 litres. Divide that by 100 years, or about 3.16 x 10^9 seconds and that amounts to around 228 tonnes per second, or, in international standard units, one Olympic swimming pool every 12 seconds or so.

That's some thirst you have there and as you aren't going to be able to excrete any of that, you might feel a trifle bloated.

Nb. you might also like to speak to your doctor about the salt intake in your diet should you follow this noble route.

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Go

It can be used for

Saline solution to fill Bulgarian funbags. I wait some some expert on Register weights and measures to tell me how many the solution would fill.

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Dead Vulture

You expect unbiased reporting from here?

Don't forget this is the register. Unqualified "journalists" regurgitating press releases, litter the article with their climate change denial.

The irony is, while trying to deny climate change, they are reporting an article that states it is happening.

The register need its own section on badscience - though it may well just link back to the original site.

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Unhappy

These discoveries should not be used as excuses for inaction

The trouble with suppositions that global warning is not as bad as first envisioned is that even LESS will be done to stop the otherwise inevitable.

Bush showed what a dummy can do when most of science was running against him so we should be on guard against complacency - think of all the wonders of nature that have disappeared already.

The UK will lose it's 'Gulf Stream', Manhattan will become submerged and London's geography will be rewritten and who knows how ever increasing populations will be fed from ever decreasing arable land masses.

I'm getting on in years but I do my part - avoiding use of my car, recycling heat between exhaust and intake air on my central system, solar water heating, etc. - not for me, but for the future generations.

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needless title no.2

"the UK will lose it's Gulf Stream"

WTF?

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Anonymous Coward

But is it anthropogenic?

You're assuming that human activity is responsible for climate change. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't - there's a bit of a debate about that at the moment:-) Personally, I walk to work and to the shops, but I really don't know if it makes any difference.

What is utterly certain is that climate change and sea level change is totally normal and happens all the time, witness the pebble beaches half way up hillsides in the Scottish Isles and the amount of land-mammal bones fished up from the previously dry bed of the North Sea.

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Headmaster

Could be...

The melting of the Greenland Ice cap could indeed lead to the Gulf Stream ceasing, and paradoxically for the British climate to get colder.

The Gulf Stream is driven by thermohaline (heat and salinity) flow and sinks off the coast of N Europe to form the Atlantic Conveyor deep water current which then heads south, and eventually to the Indian Ocean and thence back as surface warm currents via the Carribean and back to Europe as the Gulf Stream.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermohaline_circulation

However, fresh water is less dense than saline water. If the Greenland ice cap melts, it will dilute the salinity of the Gulf Stream, and could reach the critical point where the cooling Gulf Stream water is no longer saline enough (and hence dense enough) to sink and form the Atlantic Conveyor. This will then break the cycle, and the Gulf Stream will cease (for a period).

This is believed to have happened in the past, when the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet over N. America resulted in a massive ice-dammed lake (Lake Agassiz). Further melting then released the dam, and a massive amount of water poured into the Atlantic, and for a period the Gulf Stream stopped. This led to a renewed ice age for a time as the flow of heat from the equator to the north stopped (Younger Dryas stadial).

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Coat

Its true!

We're going to buy a Lear Jet instead.

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This May or May Not Be a Title

The theory goes that, if the ice melt from Greenland increases at the rate previously envisaged (and now appears to be bunk), that the resulting cold fresh-water flow into the North Atlantic would push the Gulf Stream south-wards, resulting in much colder weather in the British Isles.

What isn't clear from any of the models is how the flow would be affected in the manner predicted. There are arguments that the net effect of the cold water ingress could result in pushing the gulf stream further north, due to vortices created around the eastern edge of the cold water.

It's all highly speculative.

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FAIL

Errr too much Hollywood????

JaitcH,

you do know that The Day After Tomorrow was a fictional dont you? Bad fiction but fiction none the less.

I'm going to shatter a couple of other illusions for you, Father Christmas doesnt exist and neither does the tooth fairy.

TTFN!

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WTF?

3 questions

1. Does CO2 in the atmosphere retain heat?

2. Does burning fossilised organic matter generate CO2?

3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

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L.B
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Perhaps you should try getting information from somewhere else...

Just because Hollywood makes a totally crap film, does not mean that the scientific theories based on real research by oceanographers is not valid.

Although most of the media focuses on Greenland Ice melting, there have been other sources that increase fresh water entering the north Atlantic, mainly due to increased rain fall over northern Europe due to the general warming of the oceans, which cases more evaporation, which causes more rain.

The later effects on the weather (ie: more wind & rain) are the reason “Global Warming” was re-named “Climate Change” as the average mental midgets in society could understand why the former didn't mean having hot summers.

To those how cannot (or refuse to) believe that humans can effect the climate, do you also believe that we didn't cause deaths by pollution and smog in 1950's London, or that almost every river in the western world was devoid of life 40-50 years ago, and today in China.

I suppose you also think we have nothing to do with fish stocks being destroyed in just about every sea/ocean; I mean they are so big how can our little fishing boats do that!

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Are we not just a bit egocentric

in thinking that we can control global systems?

As other readers have correctly pointed out that climate change had been occurring throughout Earth's history, all of which are due to "natural" causes. Man's (I use that term generically) residency on this planet is nothing but a mere speck in Earth's timeline and we will all be dead, extinct and gone before Earth loses her natural ability to support carbon-based life-forms. Considering that Earth has been hit by at least one, if not more asteroids that wiped out most of lfe as we know it and we are here is a great testament to her tenacity to support life.

Personally I try and pollute and use up resources as little as I can for the simple reason that I actually like living in a clean environment and do not like wasting resources and money (I am a tight-fisted git). What I am not prepared to do is give up my lifestyle and pander to the hypocritical Green lobby so that they can salve their conscience to my detriment.

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@SimonW

In answer to your questions:

1. Does CO2 in the atmosphere retain heat? Yes

2. Does burning fossilised organic matter generate CO2? Yes

3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

Possibly more so (from things lke volcanoes/forest fires etc, possibly less so. You still have to take into account many other things such as the output of the sun and the fact that clouds also keep the warmth in. Whether man has increased the warming of the planet is still under debate but if he has it doesnt seem to be having any effect.

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@ 3 questions

Man's widespread clearing of forests and management of the remainder has reduced the amount of fuel available for natural forest fires (e.g. caused by lightning). This has been going on for thousands of years. Why didn't we see a corresponding dip in global temperatures caused by reduced forest fire CO2 emissions?

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@AC

>You're assuming that human activity is responsible for climate change.

Most of the people who know what they're talking about believe it is. So, where do you get your complacency from?

How certain do you have to be, before you take steps to avoid major damage?

If 98% of aeronautic engineers said that a particular plane had a 90% chance of crashing, would you ignore them - because the airline assured you it was perfectly safe?

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@andy 45

>3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

>Possibly more so

What utter, mind-numbing twaddle. In the past 100 years, we have burnt fossiled carbon that took millions of years to accumulate.

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maybe

What about if the aeronautical engineers didn't get paid if they didn't say that?

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Boffin

@Mountford D

"Are we not just a bit egocentric in thinking that we can control global systems?"

In a word yes.

The classic existence proof was the discovery of a hole in the Ozone layer over the poles seen in the early 90's.

The key point was that the CFC's identified as a key cause had a *very* precise initial manufacture date (1933 IIRC). This implied that human activity *can* change global climate (there being no CFC mfg plants within a couple of thousand Km's of the Poles) on a *very* short (by geological timescales) basis.

Are we doing it with CO2? That's another question entirely.

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FAIL

That's nothing!

Today I broke a stone with my hammer that had been around for hundreds of millions of years!

Why don't you think about what you are saying, instead of mouthing insults and cliches...?

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Coat

A pedant writes...

2. Does burning fossilised organic matter generate CO2?

3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

Fossilisation means to turn to stone. Therefore 'fossilised organic matter' is stone and is unlikely to burn.

Do not confuse with "fossil fuels" such as coal and oil, which are extracted from the ground, and do get burnt. And yes we are definitely burning more now than in the past, if only because there are vastly more humans on the planet than there were when coal/peat was first burnt instead of firewood.

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Welcome

@ ... "inaction".

While your post is well intended, I think your priorities are a little misplaced.

I, for one, would like to salute our CO2 producing overlords because that’s where plants get one of the basic components needed for photosynthesis. If I remember the whole concept of “cellular respiration”, during this process, a plant cell takes a lot of CO2, combines it with Oxygen, water and sunlight, chews it all up and digests it and the waste results in a net reduction of CO2 and a net increase in Oxygen. I want to say it’s like a 5 or 6 to one ratio. But I’m not a biologist, so I could be wrong.

I’d be more concerned by the ravages of Dihydrogen Monoxide. Throughout the course of a single day, Digydhydrogen Monoxide does 10,000 times more damage than any mass release of “greenhouse gasses”. Write Congress; call your MP; hell, stand on the street corner and demand sweeping reform to control this ugly chemical. Countless thousands of needless deaths of people, cattle and God knows how much property damage is caused by this environmental disaster.

Act now!

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Anonymous Coward

@@ 3 questions

At the risk of sounding serious, the natural loss of flora is one thing, but the whole sale clear cutting & burning of, say, the amazon forest is another. I read one artical that theorized that over 40% of the increase in CO2 in the past 30 years can be attributed to Brazil burning trees to make room for cattle ranches.

Considering that the Amazon river basin has been referred to as the "lungs of the world", at the rate they're destroying the forest down there, it's only a matter of time that the natural oxygen product ceases to be net gain and gets closer to a net-neutral or possible net-loss. Then we're all screwed.

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@bws - It's true, run for the hills!

Dihydrogen Monoxide is indeed very dangerous. I've seen reports that in severe cases of exposure, it can kill a person in around three minutes, and that's when it's in an inert state. And when it gets hot, it gets even worse, merely being near it can cause serious burns.

And what's more worrying is that I can guarantee everyone has at least some in their house somewhere, it's generally included at the constriction stage, like asbestos used to be.

How the governments of the world have kept this highly toxic substance quiet all this time is beyond me.

Dihydrogen Monoxide is dangerous. FACT

Dihydrogen Monoxide can cause serious injury. FACT

Dihydrogen Monoxide can kill you. FACT

People need to know these things.

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Forest Clearing

For multiple reasons - we still grow a lot of plant life in that cleared area - it has not been replaced by barren land - but now much of it is cut down annually (i.e. crops) insead of falling down every century (i.e. trees); however the growth levels (and hence CO2 consumption) are similar.

Contrast this with the burning of roughly 100,000,000 years worth of fossil hydrocarbons in roughly 100 years, to see why this may be doing more damage than replacing trees with corn.

We know we can collectively affect the atmosphere - the Ozone holes created by 30 years of CFCs in hairspray and fridges demonstrates that - so the idea that the vast amounts of heat retaining CO2 we have added to the atmosphere will have no affect seems at best cavalier and at worst a selfish delusion to keep our familiar comforts irrespective of future costs.

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Unhappy

Egocentrism

"Are we not just a bit egocentric in thinking that we can control global systems?"

Who claimed to control them?

Are we being egocentric in thinking that we can affect global systems?

No.

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Unhappy

Debate?

"You're assuming that human activity is responsible for climate change. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't - there's a bit of a debate about that at the moment:-)"

Is there?

Who are the participants in this "debate". How many of them have the vaguest clue what they're talking about?

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Unhappy

Volcanoes aren't fossils, neither are trees.

3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

"Possibly more so (from things lke volcanoes/forest fires etc,"

We know total CO2 output from volcanoes. It is a fraction of the output from burning fossil fuels.

Trees aren't fossils. Burning forests does not increase long term CO2 concentration (where do you think the carbon in the trees came from?).

Why are we still at the point where people who don't have a clue feel like they can add their 0.05EUR before making an effort to find out what the fuck is going on?

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Re: Most of the people who know...

"Most of the people who scream the loudest believe it is."

There, fixed that for you.

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Athropogenic

This isn't as important as those fillibustering the debate would have us think.

If it is happening and if it is undesirable then whether or not we are directly causing it is not urgently relevant - the primary concern is what we can do to slow / halt / reverse it.

-

Agree with the suggestion that The Register displays a tremendous lack of impartiality on these matters; I guess the biases on the various subjects that get the Vulture's goat are what gives it the particular character we all know.

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Flame

Big scam.

"The trouble with suppositions that global warning is not as bad as first envisioned is that even LESS will be done to stop the otherwise inevitable.

Otherwise inevitable? Says who? Why is every planet in Solar System also warming if this is a man made phenomenon? And please don't try to give 'coincidence' as explanation, like some proponents already did.

So called "global warming" is normal part of the Sun cycle (about 70 years, btw) and CO2 is brought to picture because state will and can tax you personally for producing it.

Which part of "scam" you do not understand?

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Flame

Where did Vikings and _Green_land disappear?

4. question:

Was there warm period, much, much warmer than now, in 10. century?

Yes, there was. Obviously that was also caused by burning fossil fuel.

Greenland was actually green and you could survive there by farming and cattle. Good luck for doing that now. That would require almost 10 C warmer climate than now, on average.

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Flame

Paid opinions, what a surprise

"Most of the people who know what they're talking about believe it is."

Essentially meaning that they don't have a clue what they are talking about. Either they are naive or get paid to say what they are saying: You have to remember that "climate research" is billion whatever, dollars, euros, pounds, bussiness and billions buy _a lot of yes-men_.

How many of these people make their living from saying what they are saying? Tell us.

When you get paid to say what you say, it doesn't matter what you know, you say what you are paid to say. That applies to anyone, even you and me.

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I suggest you start smoking

Because you know, there has been a lot of debate about tobacco being bad or not.

Earth is geting hotter, and that is a fact. Are we responsible? We are not sure, but we do know is that we are afecting the climate, in the wrong way (more heat).

As for the bones you are referring.. ahem, if you are ignorant, please don0r speak too much ;)

But I will not refrain from consuming, it is stupid to do so if the rest of the world continues to pollute...

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Linux

Debate?

John Hughes,

We know that the participants who have the vaguest clue are the those who share our own opinions.

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