Is Antarctica Actually Snowballing?

NASA says Antarctica is gaining more ice than it is losing.

By China Magno- Intern, Larry King Now 

A recent NASA study revealed that Antarctica is actually growing, not shrinking. The findings say that Antarctica is accumulating more ice than it is losing in some areas. This poses a challenge on other studies including Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which identified Antarctica’s loss of glacial mass as one of the primary drivers of rising sea levels.

But the congregations of climate change deniers shouldn’t celebrate just yet. The study, which can be found in the Journal of Glaciology, isn't denying the increased rate of glacial loss as a result of climate change. With the help of satellite data analysis, researchers determined that Antarctica ice sheets had a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001, but from 2003 to 2008, the net gain decreased to 82 billion tons of ice per year. So for those of you that got your 'I told you so' picket signs ready, let me be clear. NASA scientists didn't just verify that the melting polar ice caps crisis is some mythological idea generated by polar bear fanatics. Yes, Antarctica is experiencing ice gains in some parts that are greater than the losses in the rest of the region, but our man-made global warming effects are still at play and the rate at which the frozen continent is losing ice is only getting faster. 

Check out Larry's interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson where he warns us about 'a recipe for disaster,' with an elected official that wields power over legislation and stands in denial of climate change as a key ingredient.

Using satellites, the researchers were able to look at height variation across the continent's ice sheet. “We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said Jay Zwally, a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center glaciologist and the primary investigator of this study. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.” 

Some scientists suspected that the increases in elevation were due to recent increases in snowfall. With the help of meteorological data dating back to 1979, however, Zwally struck down these speculations and showed that snowfall in East Antarctica actually decreased by 11 billion tons per year and that the ice cores in the area had in fact been thickening. So, congrats to Zwally for his 1-0 victory over speculating, suspicious scientists. 

Some of us might be relieved to know that Antarctica isn’t a culprit when it comes to rising sea levels. Scientists have warned, however, that it might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse. The study also raises a chilling question: if the sea level rise isn’t coming from Antarctica, then where is it actually coming from?

Watch this clip with our nation's most dependable weather man, Al Roker, where he discusses possible drivers of climate change and the extreme, visible weather changes across the U.S. 

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The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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