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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
Polar Regions and Glaciers
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26 Articles
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Polar Region Sea Ice

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Here is a series of real time graphs of sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, as globally measured by satellites.

NASA Study Shows Antarctica is Gaining Ice at About 82 Billion Tonnes per Year

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A new NASA paper shows that the Antarctic Ice Sheet has grown in mass by about 82 billion metric tonnes of ice per year (Gt/yr) between 2003 and 2008. This article summarizes reviews by Jim Steele and Steve McIntyre. The ice gain estimate is based on altimeter satellite measurements and new Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA)estimates. The IPCC AR5 reported that the ice sheet has been loosing mass at about 147 Gt/yr, but this was based on obsolete GIA estimates. GIA estimates impact the altimeter ice mass estimates by less than 17% of the impact on the gravity ice mass estimates.

Industrial Soot Linked to the Abrupt Retreat of 19th Century Glaciers

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A NASA-led team of scientists has uncovered strong evidence that soot from a rapidly industrializing Europe caused the abrupt retreat of mountain glaciers in the European Alps that began in the 1860s, a period often thought of as the end of the Little Ice Age. Black carbon is the strongest sunlight-absorbing atmospheric particle. When these particles settle on the snow blanketing glaciers, they darken the snow surface, speeding its melting and exposing the underlying glacier ice to sunlight and warmer spring and summer air earlier in the year.

The Melting North? No Increase in the Greenhouse Effect

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The Economist magazine article "The Melting North" claimed that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing Arctic warming. We show that the greenhouse effect has not increased in the Arctic since 1979, so CO2 emissions cannot be the cause of the warming.

Greenland Glaciers to have Tiny Impact on Sea Level Rise

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The flow rates from nearly 200 glaciers across Greenland were analyzed by satellite radar data for the decade 2000 to 2010. The paper shows that fast-flowing glaciers sped up by about 30% over the decade. A previous study by Pfeffer et al projected that a 100% increase in flow during the decade would lead to a sea level rise of 9.3 cm by 2100, but could cause up to 47 cm rise by 2100. The new data implies that sea level rise from Greenland's glacier will be only 6 cm by 2100. (9.3 cm x 1.3/2)

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