Antarctic waters changing due to climate: study

May 04, 2012
Ocean-measuring instruments are lowered through pancake ice to sample water at various levels from the seafloor to the surface. The densest waters of Antarctica have reduced dramatically over recent decades, in part due to man-made impacts on climate, Australian scientists said on May 4, 2012.

The densest waters of Antarctica have reduced dramatically over recent decades, in part due to man-made impacts on the climate, Australian scientists said Friday.

Research suggests that up to 60 percent of "Antarctic Bottom Water", the dense water formed around the edges of Antarctica that seeps into the deep sea and spreads out through the world's oceans, has disappeared since 1970.

"This is a response to changes that are happening to climate in the polar regions, both natural and human causes," lead researcher Steve Rintoul, from the Australian government's science body the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, told AFP.

"It's not driving changes in climate, it's responding to changes in climate. So it's a signal to us that things are changing around Antarctica."

Scientists are not sure what is causing the phenomenon but Rintoul said the leading hypothesis is that as more of the ice on Antarctica melts around the edges of that continent, it adds fresh water to the ocean.

He said this could be causing the "sinking" of the dense water at high latitudes, a process that has been linked to major changes in climate in the past.

"We're tracking these water masses to see if changes like have happened in past climates might be coming again in the future," he said.

"We don't see them yet, but this... contraction of the dense water around Antarctica might be the first indication that we're on the way to do that."

The research was done by Australian and US scientists onboard the Australian Antarctic Division's vessel Aurora Australis, which sailed to Commonwealth Bay, west along the Antarctic coast, and returned into Fremantle in Australia.

They took temperature and salinity samples at stages of the journey to the Earth's southernmost continent, also revealing that the dense water around Antarctica has become less salty since 1970.

Rintoul said the change was "likely reflecting both human impact on the planet as well as natural cycles".

"And the human impact includes both the increase in greenhouse gases but also the ozone hole over Antarctica," he said, adding that this hole had caused winds of the Southern Ocean to strengthen.

Rintoul said it was important to resolve why the changes were occurring because it was relevant to how fast sea levels may rise in the future.

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User comments : 46

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Egleton
3.1 / 5 (23) May 04, 2012
I'm waiting. Where are you? Hello? Where are the pseudo-skeptics?
Royale
3.6 / 5 (14) May 04, 2012
Egleton, perhaps they have finally realized that humans have actually affected the environment?
djxatlanta
3.3 / 5 (12) May 04, 2012
Indeed... one of my guilty pleasures is reading all the denialist and skeptic smack in the comments of environment- and climate-themed articles. That said, what is the conspiracy theory of the day? Al Gore living in an Antarctic base laughing maniacally as he melts the polar cap with Flash Gordon-era laser beams? ;-)
entropyrules
2.8 / 5 (6) May 04, 2012
NotParker
1.5 / 5 (26) May 04, 2012
The water froze. Antarctic Sea Ice is at record levels.

774,000 square kilometers above the long term average.

http://arctic.atm...ctic.png
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (24) May 04, 2012
"Scientists are not sure what is causing the phenomenon"
"both natural and human causes,""
Which is it?
A2G
1.7 / 5 (20) May 04, 2012
I would like each article publish here or in any other place clearly state where the source of funding for the study came from. Then also are the researchers receiving continued funding because of the conclusion they came to. I think this would be important to know on either side of the discussion.

I mean would you trust on study on tobacco funded by Philip Morris?
Lurker2358
3.4 / 5 (18) May 04, 2012
would you trust on study on tobacco funded by Philip Morris?


No more than a study done on pollution funded by an oil company.
A2G
1.7 / 5 (23) May 04, 2012
From the article above.

"Scientists are not sure what is causing the phenomenon...."

But the same scientists are saying this..

"It's not driving changes in climate, it's responding to changes in climate. So it's a signal to us that things are changing around Antarctica."

SO they are positive about the change is due to man made causes, but they really don't know what is causing it..

This is clearly someone who came into the study with a conclusion before they started. I also bet they have more funding coming now.

ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (25) May 04, 2012
would you trust on study on tobacco funded by Philip Morris?


No more than a study done on pollution funded by an oil company.


If all the raw data is made available, the funding source shouldn't matter.
Michael Mann refused to release his proxy data for quite some time. Wonder why?
A2G
1.5 / 5 (17) May 04, 2012
Lurker...I totally agree...That is exactly what I said if you bother to read it. All studies should clearly reveal the source of funding.. No matter whose side the study supports.
joefarah
1.5 / 5 (18) May 04, 2012
Here's the proof that it is in part from human causes: When scientists in Antarctica breath out, they warm up the air. Some of that heat is radiated to the ice on Antarctica. This causes the ice to warm up ever so slightly which causes the water to warm ever so slightly, which causes a decrease in water density. There you have it. REAL PROOF that the "densest waters of Antarctica have reduced dramatically over recent decades, in part due to man-made impacts on the climate".

By the way, the Sun is having an enormous impact on Global Warming. We should consider technology that will destroy the Sun or perhaps just shield the earth from the Sun's rays, and then we will stop Global Warming. Might have a side effect of killing all life which would definitely help reduce man's effect on GW. If we just destroy or contaminate all food sources on the planet, we could wipe out man and beast - no more human or animal effects on GW.
"Scientists are not sure what is causing the phenomenon"
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (24) May 04, 2012
would you trust on study on tobacco funded by Philip Morris?


No more than a study done on pollution funded by an oil company.


Or an AGW study funded by the EPA or Greenpeace or the WWF or any science organization dependant on the AGW scare stories.
Sean_W
2.1 / 5 (15) May 04, 2012
I'm waiting. Where are you? Hello? Where are the pseudo-skeptics?


You have no interest in listening to what the other side says; your just gloating over having posted the first comment and trying to make that look profound.
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (21) May 04, 2012
Here's the proof that it is in part from human causes ...


Or maybe the 6 million gallons of fuel used at one station in Antarctica.

http://www.msc.na...ss10.htm
Sean_W
2 / 5 (17) May 04, 2012
"Research suggests that up to 60 percent of "Antarctic Bottom Water", the dense water formed around the edges of Antarctica that seeps into the deep sea and spreads out through the world's oceans, has disappeared since 1970."

What researchers suggest is of little interest since most of what researchers suggest always turns out to be wrong. They mention two time periods--now and in the 70s. They don't even mention how many samples they made on this journey. Even if they have produced a detailed map of water salinity every year since the 70s (might we see the graphs) it would still be foolish to demand that this data be taken as proof of an interpretation just because it hit the popular press. It is the kind of bad reasoning used to underpin the entire field of climatology. Well, that and name calling and slander.
djxatlanta
4.1 / 5 (14) May 04, 2012
Most of the comments on environmentally-themed articles on this site seem to come from people who don't seem to take the time to research the answers to their own questions, and they complain that these press releases intended for the general public are too short on minutiae.

All studies should clearly reveal the source of funding.. No matter whose side the study supports.


In this case, it only took me two minutes to look up the **Australian Government** agency spearheading this research:

http://www.csiro....ing.aspx
djxatlanta
4.5 / 5 (15) May 04, 2012
What researchers suggest is of little interest since most of what researchers suggest always turns out to be wrong.


Except for the researchers in computing, networking, microchips, miniaturization, electricity and plastics all involved in developing the computer or smartphone you're now using... and every other scientist and researcher in the world is full of it? ;-)

They mention two time periods--now and in the 70s.


Data has been collected continually SINCE the 1970s.

They don't even mention how many samples they made on this journey.


77 samples were collected on a 25-day journey this time around.

Even if they have produced a detailed map of water salinity every year since the 70s (might we see the graphs)


The study hasn't even been published yet. Patience, young padawan...
NotParker
1.5 / 5 (26) May 04, 2012

The study hasn't even been published yet. Patience, young padawan...


CSIRO is chock full of alarmists. Not reliable.

"the projected impacts of the carbon price are relatively modest, and fall well within the range of recent historical experience of changes in consumer prices and household living costs; and

most households will receive assistance that offsets all or a significant portion of the cost impact of the carbon price."

http://www.csiro....ort.aspx

What a load of bull****.
djxatlanta
4.1 / 5 (14) May 04, 2012
CSIRO is chock full of alarmists. Not reliable.


So it sounds to me that you may already have your own personal list of authoritative agencies and organizations you've personally vetted... so have you blacklisted CSIRO entirely or just their environmental and climate science divisions?

http://www.csiro.au/Organisation-Structure/Flagships/Energy-Transformed-Flagship/CarbonPriceCostOfLivingReport.aspx
What a load of bull****.


Changing the subject is a defense strategy -- and is rather common among commenters here, which is why I rarely make any posts of my own. What does their policy statement on cost of living adjustments in Australia have to do with decades-long research of the waters of the Southern Ocean?
jet
2.1 / 5 (10) May 04, 2012
Dixatlanta "77 samples this time" would be effectively 1 data point in time, to have an idea what changes have been made more data points and consistent measurements. The pro AGW side of the argument often claim that having non climate specialists speak on the subject of climate is useless, should not the same criteria be used when csiro speaks on economics ?
NotParker
1.5 / 5 (25) May 04, 2012
CSIRO is chock full of alarmists. Not reliable.


So it sounds to me that you may already have your own personal list of authoritative agencies and organizations you've personally vetted... so have you blacklisted CSIRO entirely or just their environmental and climate science divisions?


I remember CSIRO repudiating its own researcher.

http://www.theaus...99350056

http://www.enviro...2205.htm
Urgelt
4.2 / 5 (20) May 04, 2012
Eh, I don't know why the crazies are hyperventilating. Unless that's the only kind of mouth breathing they can do.

The study just shows that fresh water coming off of Antarctica into surrounding waters has increased enough since 1970 to reduce the salinity of deep water.

It's a datum. It's not, by itself, proof of anything, it's just one more variable nailed down more tightly for climate models.

Better climate models are good, no?
MandoZink
3.7 / 5 (10) May 04, 2012
The study just shows that fresh water coming off of Antarctica into surrounding waters has increased enough since 1970 to reduce the salinity of deep water.

The SEA ice around Antarctica, which of course freezes in winter and thaws in summer, has NOT been diminished by global warming. It also has no effect on sea levels.

It is the LAND ice in Antarctica, which is much more massive, that has been experiencing considerable melting. That does have an effect on rising sea level and is adding fresh water to the locality.
Lurker2358
3.4 / 5 (17) May 04, 2012
It is the LAND ice in Antarctica, which is much more massive, that has been experiencing considerable melting. That does have an effect on rising sea level and is adding fresh water to the locality.


We've tried to explain this to Parker and his ilk numerous times, but to no avail.

Parker is convinced that the slightly positive sea ice area trend in Antarctica is evidence of cooling. It's not.

Obviously, since the water is being freshened by the net melting of land-locked glaciers, this increases the freezing point (fresh ater freezes at a higher temperature than salt water,) and therefore provide a short term window for sea ice area to increase.

Over the next 10 years, I would expect rising GHG to begin to over ride this "false negative feedback", and maybe then Parker will be convinced.
jdw
1.8 / 5 (15) May 04, 2012
I'm unconcerned that some of the stalest, least oxygenated water on the planet is, finally, getting some nice circulation. We should've caused this sooner!

But let's keep hearing from the Al Gores and the Ted Kayzynskis; political alarmists who've hijacked SCIENCE! and want to see us return to 19th century technological levels, after of course smiling, smiling! at effecting the deaths of some 80% of the world's human population, so's our 'Mother Gaia' can pointlessly orbit the Sun sans any human interference for a few scant billion more years.

Misanthropy, thy name is Global Warmalism.
NotParker
1.5 / 5 (24) May 04, 2012

It is the LAND ice in Antarctica, which is much more massive, that has been experiencing considerable melting.


The Antarctic Peninsula (less than 5% of Antarctic shows a small amount of warming).

East Antarctica (which contains most of the ice) has been cooling for 30 years.

"East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for last week's meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington noted the South Pole had shown "significant cooling in recent decades"."

http://www.news.c...00043191]http://www.news.c...00043191[/url]

The Peninsula is the tiny bit in the box:

http://www.news.c...00043191]http://www.news.c...00043191[/url]
NotParker
1.6 / 5 (24) May 04, 2012
NotParker
1.5 / 5 (24) May 04, 2012
"Further, ice core drilling in East Antarctica's Davis station by "Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre" has shown that the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m last year , which statistically is the densest thickness in 10 years and much above the average thickness since 1950s of 1.67m."

http://voices.yah...l?cat=16
gregor1
1.7 / 5 (22) May 05, 2012
If you're interested in the lack of credibility or otherwise of the CSIRO read this
http://tome22.inf...line.htm
"The CSIRO has been plagued by complaints about political or management interference for the past decade, particularly in regard to climate science.. These complaints, which of course originate from scientists themselves, reveal a picture of a continuing environment of politically inspired management interference in science. Further, the fact that this internal dissension has been continuing for so long clearly indicates a political and managerial unwillingness to rectify this situation. Even as long ago as 2006 Jenny Macklin described the situation as a (3) national disgrace and called for an enquiry"
gregor1
1.8 / 5 (21) May 05, 2012

Prof. Dr H. Stephen Schneider, lead author in Working Group II of the IPCC (said in 1989): For these reasons we have to announce terrifying scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements with no mention of any doubts whatever which we might have. In order to attract attention, we need dramatic statements leaving no doubt about what is said. Every one of us researchers must decide how far he would want to be honest rather than effective. [1]
MarkyMark
3.5 / 5 (11) May 05, 2012
Sadly Parker and his Tea party ilk wont be convinced by such reserch as such reserch is considered new and unproven, like for example String theory, Dark matter, the Wheel or such novell scientific tricks such as Microprocessors as ant Tea Party member will inform you the Processor chip is actually an Imp summoned by devil worshiping scientists and placed in a Silicon home. The heatsink is there to draw away the heat gnerated by the Hellfiend ;)
A2G
1.7 / 5 (23) May 05, 2012
NotParker and gregor1.

That is not fair posting links to articles and studies by top climate scientists that show actual FACTS about the AGW alarmism and dishonesty. You surely know that the AGW camp are much smarter than us mere mortals and we should blindly accept their position or we will be burned at the stake.

Why don't some of you bother to look at these links? Afraid of FACTS, are you?
A2G
1.6 / 5 (19) May 05, 2012
Marky..All you posted was slander. Why not look at other studies and quote FACTS from studies. Not your or others opinions.

This is a serious issue and we need FACTS, not opinions.

True science is about FACTS, not opinions.
Terriva
1.9 / 5 (9) May 05, 2012
True science is based on progress, during which the previous "facts" changed into unsubstantiated opinions.
NotParker
1.5 / 5 (22) May 05, 2012
Sadly Parker and his Tea party ilk wont be convinced by such reserch as such reserch is considered new and unproven, like for example String theory, Dark matter, the Wheel or such novell scientific tricks such as Microprocessors as ant Tea Party member will inform you the Processor chip is actually an Imp summoned by devil worshiping scientists and placed in a Silicon home. The heatsink is there to draw away the heat gnerated by the Hellfiend ;)


Is that really what you think? You think criticizing global warming scare stories with bad data is the equivalent of your projections?

You people are the deniers. You refuse to acknowledge that the LIA was the coldest period in 10,000 years and any warming after that should be welcomed, and was natural.

Your side has connived and tried to use one tree in Yamal to "prove" the MWP never existed, when it certianly did exist and was certainly warmer than today in all the literature up until Mann's Hockey Stick.

etc
Howhot
4.1 / 5 (13) May 05, 2012
It's interesting. The Deniers call us the Alarmists, but it is usually them that are alarmed that science does not follow their religion of false-hoods and mouth breather shill crap.

The can't admit that mankind is heating up the world with excessive CO2 admission at 400ppm now and climbing rapidly. See NOAA, NASA, and 99% of the scientific community for any credible info that you would like. R2 and Noparks are two peas in the shil pod.

ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (23) May 05, 2012
The Deniers call us the Alarmists,

AGWites are the ones shrilly demanding we are all going to die if we don't believe them and follow their commandments, NOW.

Sounds alarmist to me.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (20) May 05, 2012
True science is based on progress,

Progress towards what?
If it is progress towards a better understanding of the universe we are a part of, I may agree.
The scientific process is certainly not linear and will most probably force a retreat as new discoveries are revealed.
Shifts in paradigm mark true progress.
Lurker2358
2.4 / 5 (14) May 05, 2012
AGWites are the ones shrilly demanding we are all going to die if we don't believe them and follow their commandments, NOW.

Sounds alarmist to me.


Ever read Ezekiel 33?

Quite a different context, but here's my point.

If the alarm happens to be true, then they've done no harm, friend.

Case in point, the meteorologists and state and local governments and historians all warned everyone in NOLA to get the heck out of there. Many meteorologists and historians even pointed out the fact that the levees would not be sufficient. Quite a few people ignored warnings anyway and died. Then, after the fact, their friends and relatives blamed Nagin, Blanco, and Bush for not doing enough.

Will you disbelieve the warning, and then if and when it comes true, will you then try to blame the same people warning you?

For my part, I used to be one of the biggest skeptics on AGW, but doing enough research and thought experiments of my own, I realized how real it must be.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (21) May 05, 2012
For my part, I used to be one of the biggest skeptics on AGW, but doing enough research and thought experiments of my own, I realized how real it must be.

So you say.
I understand the limits to predictive climate models, the 'progressive' mindset and history.
AGW is a religion.
gregor1
1.6 / 5 (14) May 06, 2012
It's not a religion it's about making megabucks at the expense of the environment . Here's a wee story about the world wildlife fund's little scam which they didn't quite pull off. It goes like this. Infiltrate the IPCC and pervert the entire process to show catastrophic warming, secure the carbon credits to a large portion of the Brazilian rainforest, Sell carbon credits for $80 billion to large corporations so they can continue polluting.
http://www.telegr...led.html
A2G
1.2 / 5 (18) May 06, 2012
Sea Level? I am currently in the Palm Springs area. This of course is far inland and has been a hot place for as long as we know.

But it is very clear by the water line on the mountains and no one argues that the area where I am at was under water not too long ago. Not just a small area either. An area larger than many states in the US. So why is it so dry now?

Was it from the Native Americans burning wood?

The sea level has gone up and down and is clearly recorded on the sides of mountain ranges.

But now some have the belief that the ocean level must stay total stable or man is the cause for it.

Sorry, not buying it.
jyro
1 / 5 (12) May 06, 2012

The ONLY constant in climate IS change. Since the forming of Earth billions of years ago the climate has constantly changed. To reshape Earth's society based on climate change is insanity.
Use fuels and chemicals as efficiently and safe as possible. Climate change will always be happening.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.6 / 5 (9) May 07, 2012
And death is part of life. Perfectly natural.

"The ONLY constant in climate IS change." - ivro

So by your Tard logic there can be no such thing as murder.

What is your real name and home address?
tasha90
1 / 5 (5) May 09, 2012

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