Glaciers melting faster than originally thought: study

Apr 04, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier report

(PhysOrg.com) -- A team of scientists from Aberystwyth University, the University of Exeter and Stockholm University, led by Welsh scientist and Professor Neil Glasser, have released at study published in Nature Geoscience showing that the glaciers of Patagonia in South America are melting at a much faster rate than originally thought.

Utilizing a new technique for loss calculation, these scientists used the spread of glacier debris and the lines where vegetation starts on the mountainsides to create a series of calculations determining the amount of ice that has melted since the ended there 350 years ago.

Calculations show that the some 270 glaciers that cover the area have lost 606 cubic kilometers of ice. This is the first time that a loss of volume has been calculated to include this far back in time. Recent studies of glacial loss have only gone as far back as to when of the glaciers could be used to calculate loss.

While this study does show that the rate this glacial melting and its contribution to the sea level rise is increasing, this was not their most alarming discovery. Research shows that the rate of melting from the beginning of the 20th century was slower than previously thought; their research, however, also shows that since 1980, the rate of glacial loss has increased by over 100 times that of the previous 320 year long-term average.

The team points out that the Patagonia are located at a latitude in the equal to the Alps in the , and suggest that if the team were to use the same calculations there, they would see a similar pattern of loss rate increase.

By using these new calculations going back over a much longer period, the team of scientists has been able to estimate possible sea level rises for over three centuries.

Explore further: Fighting the global water scarcity issue

More information: Global sea-level contribution from the Patagonian Icefields since the Little Ice Age maximum, Nature Geoscience (2011) doi:10.1038/ngeo1122

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Quantum_Conundrum
3.3 / 5 (14) Apr 04, 2011
Based on the formula for the volume of a sphere, the melting of 606 cubic kilometers of ice would contribute slightly more than one millimeter to the mean water levels of the ocean.

1.3875 millimeters to be precise.

Not bad for 350 years and an entirely NATURAL rebound from the Little Ice Age.
mysticshakra
3.5 / 5 (13) Apr 04, 2011
Its always worse than previously thought....then nothing happens. Werent they sayinin the 70s that we would all be underwater and be a million degrees hotter by now....
Quantum_Conundrum
3.1 / 5 (15) Apr 04, 2011
Its always worse than previously thought....then nothing happens. Werent they sayinin the 70s that we would all be underwater and be a million degrees hotter by now....


No, that's the 80s.

In the 70s they were predicting a new Ice Age.
gmurphy
3 / 5 (8) Apr 04, 2011
"glacial loss has increased by over 100 times that of the previous 320 year long-term average", that is not normal, not by any measure of the word.
Moebius
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 04, 2011
You skeptics better get used to stories like this. Everything is not only worse than you think, it's worse than almost everyone thinks.
Parsec
2.7 / 5 (14) Apr 04, 2011
You skeptics better get used to stories like this. Everything is not only worse than you think, it's worse than almost everyone thinks.

It simply will not matter. No matter how bad it gets, no matter how clearly the data screams the obvious in the faces of deniers, they will continue to doubt what is in front of them.

To do otherwise would be to admit that they are wrong, which is a fate worse than death. Worse than their death, and the death of anyone else for that matter.

And at the end, as they are swallowed whole, still screaming, the survivors will realize that the stupid opinions of the idiots who deny reality never matter at all.
SincerelyTwo
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 04, 2011
I don't think people deny it's bad, I don't even see that most people deny it's happening, people clearly just disagree over the reasons for it.

There's quite a lot of data that shows just about everything is contributing, influenced by man and many even natural. It clearly makes the man-made warming people uncomfortable to hear that planets all over the system are under going warming trends as well, and you can some how magically dismiss those contributions on earth? How about the inconvenient truth that CO2 data shows it is a lagging indicator and not a leading indicator?

None of that means I deny it is happening, I'm just listening to raw data and ignoring opinions, in science -everything- must be explained and explored to full depth and detail.
Mazz
5 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2011

@Quantum_Conundrum

We are not just talking about the added volume of water from the melting glaciers when we talk about sea level raise.

Water volume expands as temperature raise.

The thermal coefficient of expansion of water is 0.00021 per 1° Celsius at 20° Celsius.

The total mass of the hydrosphere is about 1,400,000,000,000,000,000 metric tons or 1.4×10^21 kg = 1.4x10^21 l

Assuming the average temperature of the hydrosphere is 20° Celsius, increasing the average temperature by 1° Celsius increases the volume by
1.4x10^21 l x 0.00021 = 2.94x10^17 l

The total earth surface is 510,072,000 km2 out of which 70.8% is covered by water.

70.8% of 510,072,000 km2 is 361 130 976 km2 = 3.6x10^14 m^2 = 3.61x10^16 dm^2.

An augmentation of volume of 2.94x10^17 l spread over 3.61x10^16 dm^2 implies a raise of 8 dm = 80 cm... for 1° Celsius.

This is a very rough model, but this gives an idea.

- Mazz
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (10) Apr 04, 2011
@SincerelyTwo,
It clearly makes the man-made warming people uncomfortable to hear that planets all over the system are under going warming trends as well
Perhaps because it's a shameless lie?

http://www.skepti...stem.htm
How about the inconvenient truth that CO2 data shows it is a lagging indicator and not a leading indicator?
Only inconvenient to those who insist on equating apples and oranges.

Until our civilization started pumping additional (formerly fossil) carbon into the atmosphere at a rate of more than 100x greater than all natural volcanic emissions combined, CO2 acted as a feedback to global temperature (amplifying warming, and retarding cooling). Ocean warming led to CO2 out-gassing.

Now the situation is quite different, and far from natural as mentioned above.
I'm just listening to raw data and ignoring opinions
Nope, it's manipulated and false data, provided by opinionated deniers.
Pete83
5 / 5 (3) Apr 05, 2011
I would go so far to say that the entire climate change debate is a moot point. Essentially, everyone who thinks it's a sham is saying:

"What if we make the world a better place, and it turns out we didn't have to?"

Just do it anyway! Who cares whether it's happening, whether we did it or not, who cares? Let's clean up our act anyway, because we KNOW that it will be better for us in the long run. It's not like there are any economic reasons against this, we all know that the GDP going up only helps the rich and punishes the poor anyway.

I think I'm over it though, we can't save ourselves. We are probably one of the last generations of humans to ever live in this universe (I hope aliens somewhere succeed where we are currently failing.)
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 05, 2011
Its a computer model. Dumber than the models that predict the weather, and we know they never get that right.

This "paper" is just grant trolling.

Suck up to AGW, get a grant.

Tell the truth that its natrual variability, and you get fired and never get another grant.
NotParker
2.1 / 5 (11) Apr 05, 2011
OMG ... some glaciers have melted before too! For soem reason, when the Little Ice Age ended, some of the glaciers that grew, then meelted

ht_delete_tp://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_4CE_Glaciers.htm

Natural variability.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (4) Apr 05, 2011
Its a computer model.
What's a computer model?
This "paper" is just grant trolling.
As opposed to your posts, which are just trolling for trolling's sake...
since 1980, the rate of glacial loss has increased by over 100 times that of the previous 320 year long-term average
Yup. Sounds like "natural variability" to me, too.
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (7) Apr 05, 2011
Mazz:

Well, see, your own math proves the earth cannot be warming as much as has been allegedly "observed" by NOAA and other organizations, which claim the temperature has already risen by more than a degree F (0.45C or so) in the past 30 to 40 years. If it had, sea level in the past 30 to 40 years would have risen about 40cm, or 16 inches...

I can tell you with all certainty that sea levels have NOT risen by 16 inches in the past 30 to 40 years.

And also, if your citation and math is correct, then if temperatures rose by the alleged 11.2F by 2100, as that other article claimed, then that is 6.2C, and would produce, by your own math, roughly 4.98M (16.34 feet) of sea level rise by 2100 from thermal expansion alone, which is completely ludicrous and NOBODY anywhere has been insane enough to try to make that claim...

Your information is wrong.
PinkElephant
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 05, 2011
If it had, sea level in the past 30 to 40 years would have risen about 40cm, or 16 inches...
There's just one, GLARING error in your reasoning. And that is: the oceans take a VERY LONG time to warm up (and they will correspondingly take a very long time to cool down, if/when we stop the insanity.) The oceans are the main cause for most of Earth's climate inertia.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2011
Did any of you bother to look up the abstract on Science?

The full text is behind paywall, but the abstract is quite detailed. The above article does not compare very well with the actual abstract.

I especially do not like this part of the above article:

equal to the Alps in the northern hemisphere, and suggest that if the team were to use the same calculations there, they would see a similar pattern of loss rate increase


The original abstract does not lump all of the Patagonia ice into one basket. They talk about north and south, with different results in each area. When they say that the Alps would be the same, I don't think that's a very obvious conclusion, especially since the two geographically close areas they studied here are not the same. What makes them think that a place 1/4 of the way around the world in another hemisphere would be the same as either n or s patagonia? the same as which area of patagonia?
GSwift7
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2011
as for the amount of ice lost in the above glaciers, as you guys were talking about, they have a figure in the abstract:

This equates to a sea level contribution of 0.0018 +/-0.0004 mm/yr since 1870 from the north and 0.0034 +/-0.0007 mm/yr since 1650 from the south
GSwift7
3 / 5 (2) Apr 08, 2011
In conclusion, I would be highly skeptical of a "new method" that comes up with strikingly different results than all of the very carefull studies done previously. This new method involves looking at photos from overhead and trying to identify features on the ground that show where the ice boundaries have been in the past, like looking at soap rings in your bathtub. The old way of doing it, looks at those features on the ground and they take samples and do carbon dating. I have looked into the old methods before, and the experts say that it is a difficult and time-consuming process. Because surface features are exposed and prone to disturbances they have to be very carefull that samples are not contaminated or mixed by being physically moved around on the ground by things like floods, fires, wind, humans, mud slides, etc. It takes quite a few samples to verify results. There's been a lot of work done in this area. These people use photos and claim better results than ground work? Hmmm
kivahut
1 / 5 (2) Apr 10, 2011
I'm so sick of glaciers. I prefer the valleys that they carve. Last time I was on a glacier, I froze my butt cheeks to it's surface whilst trying to eat my sandwich. Next time, I'm bringing my blowdryer to help speed up the melt.
FrankHerbert
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 10, 2011
^what a retard.

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