Scientists say Antarctic climate evidence too strong to ignore

February 9, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- More than 50 top international polar scientists will meet at Victoria University of Wellington this week to discuss their cutting-edge climate change research.

The focus will be establishing models that explain how Antarctica’s ice sheets have behaved in Earth’s recent past and explore how they may change in the future.

For several years, scientists from Italy, Germany, New Zealand and the United States have been studying a 1300 metre-long rock core recovered by the multinational ANDRILL (ANtarctic geological DRILLing) programme from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

The core was recovered in 2006 by a team of drillers and engineers from Antarctica New Zealand, who drilled through the ice to a record-setting depth.

The rock core contains valuable evidence of how Antarctica’s ice sheets and climate have changed over time and scientists use this information to learn what is likely to happen to Antarctica’s ice masses in the future and determine how these changes might affect the world’s climate and sea level.

Professor Tim Naish, Director of Victoria’s Antarctic Research Centre, and Professor Ross Powell from Northern Illinois University in the United States are Co-Chief Scientists of the collaborative research project.

Professor Naish says the workshop from 10 to 13 February is the culmination of many years of intensive work and new discoveries by a huge team of scientists, engineers, drillers, and educators.

He says Antarctica’s ice sheets have grown and collapsed at least 40 times over the past five million years.

“Much of our research has focused on the time interval from three to five million years ago. This period in Earth’s history is extremely relevant as it represents a global climate analogue to that projected for our very near future.”

“So far results from our studies on this extraordinary archive of Antarctica’s environmental history are providing critical new insights into past changes in Antarctica’s most vulnerable element: the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. If this ice mass were to melt, global sea-level would rise up to 5 metres - our world would be a very different place.”

Dr Richard Levy of GNS Science, Project Staff Scientist and workshop convenor says the workshop provides a rare opportunity for us to review all aspects of research carried out during the project - work by some of the world’s best polar earth scientists.

“This is a chance to combine our findings and take a huge step forward in our understanding of the Antarctic ice sheet’s response to global climate change.”

Scientists will spend the four days sharing results and debating models and interpretations. A key aim is to establish a strategy to deliver key results to the broader scientific community, general public, and policy makers.

Provided by Victoria University

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7 comments

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Velanarris
3.9 / 5 (7) Feb 09, 2009
He says Antarctica%u2019s ice sheets have grown and collapsed at least 40 times over the past five million years.

%u201CMuch of our research has focused on the time interval from three to five million years ago. This period in Earth%u2019s history is extremely relevant as it represents a global climate analogue to that projected for our very near future.%u201D

No mentions of AGCC specifically, using facts, exploring evidence:

I'm genuinely interested to see what their research has found, but what's up with the title of the article?
deatopmg
3.9 / 5 (7) Feb 09, 2009
"Scientists will spend the four days sharing results and debating models and interpretations. A key aim is to establish a strategy to deliver key results to the broader scientific community, general public, and policy makers."....to maximize grant money.
dachpyarvile
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 09, 2009
"He says Antarctica's ice sheets have grown and collapsed at least 40 times over the past five million years."

And, over 50 million years ago there were no ice sheets on Antarctica. Antarctica was once a forested land before ocean currents changed due to continental drift.

120,000 years ago, sea level was 6 meters higher than present--and there were no massive CO2 emissions caused by man way back when.
GrayMouser
3.8 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2009
"Scientists will spend the four days sharing results and debating models and interpretations. A key aim is to establish a strategy to deliver key results to the broader scientific community, general public, and policy makers."

And 4 days isn't long enough to do anything substantial.
lengould100
1 / 5 (2) Mar 03, 2009
... Antarctica was once a forested land before ocean currents changed due to continental drift. ...
Depends what eon you're talking about, but in the distant past, the landmass now known as Antartica may have been very near the equator. So what's your point?
Velanarris
not rated yet Mar 03, 2009
No, it was a forested land, in it's current location according to multiple archaeological finds.

Climate changes Len, and as so far, it's been natural every time.

The poles were not always cold. We didn't always have polar ice, or sea ice for that matter and this is during periods of far lower and far higher ghg content. Now it's the AGW proponent's turn to put up some facts and support their arguments with more than an "I told you it is so it is" argument.
dachpyarvile
not rated yet Mar 04, 2009
... Antarctica was once a forested land before ocean currents changed due to continental drift. ...
Depends what eon you're talking about, but in the distant past, the landmass now known as Antartica may have been very near the equator. So what's your point?


I stated what I did and stated about the general period, which is when it was in its current position. An underwater landbridge connecting Antarctica and South America broke just over 50 million years ago, causing the ocean current to circulate around Antartica and plunging it into a perpetual winter wasteland. That is my point. Antartica was a forested land 55 million years ago in its current position at the Southern pole.

On the rest, Velanarris is correct.

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