Friday, August 29, 2014

New paper shows ice mass stable to increasing over most of Antarctic ice sheet

A paper published today in Earth & Planetary Science Letters evaluates snow and ice-mass changes in Antarctica using both satellite altimetry [Envisat] and gravimetry [GRACE] between 2003-2010. The data shows most areas of the ice sheet are stable to increasing in ice mass, including the East Antarctic ice sheet, which alone contains over 80% of the total ice mass of Antarctica. The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in West Antarctica, which overlie geothermal heat sources are found to be losing ice, but represent relatively small regions of the ice sheet. The entire Dronning Maud Land north coast of Antarctica was found to have increasing snow accumulation. 

The changes shown appear to be highly regional and/or related to known geothermal sources, rather than more uniform changes as would be expected from global warming. 

Antarctic sea ice extent has recently hit record highs, but that too is being [falsely] blamed upon global warming. Climate models falsely claimed Antarctic sea ice would decrease, and that Antarctic sea ice would decrease more than Arctic sea ice. 

Top graph is satellite altimetry, bottom is gravimetry [measurement of gravity] from GRACE. Red areas are increasing ice mass, blue areas losing ice mass, white areas no change. 

We combine GRACE and Envisat data to examine snow and ice-mass changes in Antarctica.
We account for leakage effects in surface-mass rates estimated using GRACE solutions.
We estimate regional change in air and ice content of the Antarctic Ice Sheet surface.
Estimated snow accumulation rates agree well with predicted surface-mass balance rates.


We combine the surface-elevation and surface-mass change derived from Envisat data and GRACE solutions, respectively, to estimate regional changes in air and ice content of the surface of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) between January 2003 and October 2010. This leads, upon certain assumptions, to the separation of the rates of recent snow-accumulation change and that of ice-mass change. We obtain that the height of ice in Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers sectors decreases (≤−15.7 cm/yr) while that in the Kamb glacier sector increases (≥5.3 cm/yr). The central part of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is mostly stable while the whole Dronning Maud Land coast is dominated by an increase in snow accumulation. The Kemp land regions show an ice-mass gain that accounts for 67–74% of the observed rates of elevation change in these regions. A good agreement is obtained over 68% of the investigated area, mostly in the East AIS, between our estimated rates of snow accumulation change and the predicted rates of the monthly surface mass balance derived from a regional atmospheric climate model.


  1. researchers-find-major-west-antarctic-glacier-melting-from-geothermal-sources

  2. Overall land ice mass is in decline.

    1. Extent is in fact quite useful and correlates with surrounding ocean and atmospheric temperatures. The data on ice mass is VERY short term and your conclusions about ice mass debunked here: