Future increases in snowfall will not prevent retreat of glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula

September 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —Dr Nicholas Golledge, a senior research fellow at Victoria's Antarctic Research Centre, is part of an international team of researchers studying a small glacier on James Ross Island, near the northern Antarctic Peninsula.

The team, led by Dr Bethan Davies, from Royal Holloway, University of London, found that surface melt in this region will increase greatly under even a slight warming, offsetting any gains from increased snowfall.

The currently observed glacier recession in this region is therefore likely to continue, and even accelerate, under the presently warming climate.

Published online in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, the study used a combination of glacial geology, ice-core data and numerical glacier and climate modelling. Dr Golledge developed the glacier used in the study.

The model uses a series of equations to simulate ice flow, and allows changes in climate to be translated into advance or retreat of the glacier depending on the balance between the accumulation of snow in higher areas, and the melting of ice at the glacier front.

Using this model, Dr Davies simulated the present-day extent and flow speed of the glacier, based on climatic conditions interpreted from the nearby Mt. Haddington ice-core record. The model was then applied to the last ten thousand years, guided by geological data, and then into the future using outputs from a regional model.

Dr Golledge says this is important research because it helps reduce some of the uncertainties about how these small glaciers will react to changing temperature and precipitation over the next two centuries.

"This glacier, though small, is typical of many of the smaller land-terminating glaciers around the Antarctic Peninsula. It is these small, peripheral that are likely to contribute most to sea-level rise over coming decades," he says.

Explore further: Human contribution to glacier mass loss on the increase

More information: "Modelled glacier response to centennial temperature and precipitation trends on the Antarctic Peninsula." Bethan J. Davies, et al. Nature Climate Change (2014) DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2369

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10 comments

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RobPaulG
3 / 5 (6) Sep 15, 2014
Scientists say the extent of Antarctic sea ice cover is at its highest level since records began.
http://www.abc.ne.../5742668

Satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometres covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent.

Jan Lieser from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) said the discovery was made two days ago.

"This is an area covered by sea ice which we've never seen from space before," he said.

"Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we've never seen that before, that much area.

"That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia."
agsb2
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 15, 2014
The article I read several hours ago says just the opposite so you or the other articl;e is lying!
Vietvet
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 15, 2014
The article I read several hours ago says just the opposite so you or the other articl;e is lying!


You refer to another article without providing a link. Is it because you don't no how or is it because it is from a right wing blog?
GoldenBoys
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 15, 2014
Researchers Find Major West Antarctic Glacier Melting from Geothermal Sources

June 10, 2014 AUSTIN, Texas — Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it's being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable. The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds.
runrig
4 / 5 (8) Sep 15, 2014
Researchers Find Major West Antarctic Glacier Melting from Geothermal Sources

The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable. The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds.


So your point is what?

Yes, yes, we know that just one of many glaciers in the WAIS has a partial contribution to melt of geothermal energy.
Are you saying the whole lot is, and that it is only geothermal that is doing it?
Amazing are the leaps of denialism.
alchemist from bristol
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 15, 2014
"Climate change is happening now. Just ask 97% of the top climate scientists & every major National Academy of Science in the world." http://clmtr.lt/c/Mgb0cc0cMJ
antigoracle
1.5 / 5 (8) Sep 15, 2014
increased snowfall

So, snow will no longer be something from our distant memory, as the AGW Cult prophesied?
Yet, the AGW Chicken Little's gobble this crap up like there is no tomorrow.
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (5) Sep 15, 2014
Another alchemist, hey! More the merrier.

As to the article, I sincerely hope it is wrong. Albedo increase may be the only thing that can reverse the bad situation deniers don't even see we're in. Blindness is truly amazing...

Everyone should know by now that I know temperature increase is not likely while there are significant ice caps to melt and damp the increase. It is happening slowly enough this is true.
Even though temperature is not increasing you can not deny the climate is changing. The Mid-West now has what I would call a new climate, a "hurricane" if not "Tornado-strength winds" climate-or at least season. Our seasons are whaked.

How can anyone deny this? It's observable and it is a logical conclusion to human input.

BUT anyone can goto Google Earth or Google Maps and LOOK at the North Pole, it is "watercolored" in, no real imagery. You can't trace glaciers, even badly, with it.
runrig
5 / 5 (4) Sep 16, 2014
increased snowfall

So, snow will no longer be something from our distant memory, as the AGW Cult prophesied?
Yet, the AGW Chicken Little's gobble this crap up like there is no tomorrow.


In the context of this article ... it is Antarctica. You have a house there do you?
orti
1 / 5 (4) Sep 16, 2014
Sorry, no facts here. All we have is predictions to scare you with.

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