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West Antarctica glaciers' melting 'have passed the point of no return', says NASA study

Wednesday, May 14th 2014 - 00:15 UTC
Full article 20 comments

A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea. Read full article


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  • Chicureo

    Yes, yes and yes... Oh by the way: olive oil, fatty fish and eggs will kill you... Along with red wine and consumption of salt and bacon. Oh my gosh, did they tell you also about cow generated methane causing global warming?
    What idiots!

    May 14th, 2014 - 05:23 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • zathras

    Oh my, olive oil and fatty fish are actually very good for you. Eggs in moderation are important for diet. Alcohol again in moderation is fine, maybe even a little beneficial. However Salt,oh and we are referring to the Sodium ions here, should be at moderate to low levels. Moderate amounts of Potassium ions found in for instance bananas are really good for you. Bacon tends to be very salty and too much red meat contributes to heart disease. Yes it is surprising but given the large numbers of cows in the world they do contribute to global warming. Greenhouse gasses are those that absorb/emit radiation in the infrared but not the visible wavelengths. Most significantly H2O, CO2 CH4, N2O, O3 and various CFC's. Although the is much less CH4 in the atmosphere then the CO2 CH4 is more than 30 times more “warming”. The other significant source of CH4 is wetlands including rice fields. Even Termites contribute, but at a much lower level.

    May 14th, 2014 - 07:48 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Mr Ed

    A few grams of sodium is likely to be fatal if swallowed, well, if it is in the metallic, elemental form.

    Note the stringing together of many ifs, buts, expectations but no science whatsoever, not even an extrapolation. No mechanisms are explained or even alleged, whereas science always has a mechanism that can be tested and rejected or accepted.

    Has anyone noticed that in Antarctica it is as cold as Dante's frozen Hell? Has anyone actually said 'It will all melt into the sea”, no, as they are not saying that, but hoping that people believe something like it.

    May 14th, 2014 - 08:49 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • zathras

    What has metallic elemental Sodium got to do with anything I was saying?
    I was talking about ionic Sodium found typically in many foods.
    As we know the ionic form is present in blood plasma typically about 140mM concentrations with for example Potassium 4mM.
    It is a significant issue that food labeling can be misleading as it may state a certain concentration or other quantity of a particular nutrient. However different forms of the came active ingredients can have different bio-availability. Similar in concept to different Compounds in the atmosphere having different magnitude of effect even though their concentrations may be similar.

    I notice two if in the article, both in the penultimate paragraph, describing how glaciers float. Couldn't spot a single “but”.

    It is quite clear the article is referring to a portion of Antarctica not the whole continent.
    It is a tactic often used by people losing a debate to take a sensible opposing point and extrapolate that until it is clearly nonsense in order to counter the factual argument they don't like.

    May 14th, 2014 - 10:13 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Brasileiro

    95% of the blame of the destruction of the natural environment of the planet is caused by the western countries.

    The real destroyers of the earth. And yet pose as good guys.

    May 14th, 2014 - 11:11 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    I often wonder if any of these “researchers” have a grain of commonsense. Put an ice cube in a glass of scotch. Watch it melt and see how the liquid level rises. except it doesn't. Especially if you take a quick drink. How do they think glaciers got there in the first place. Strange how glaciers advanced and then retreated and then advanced again. Strange how the Arctic icecap diminished until it “couldn't” recover. And now it's as big as it was years ago! Not so thick, but it's there. Over time, the researchers may reach the same stage. Not so thick, but still there.

    May 14th, 2014 - 11:25 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • zathras

    The Antarctic ice is over the land so any melt adds to sea level. So imagine a ledge in the glass on which the ice cube is sitting if you may. So any melt will increase the liquid (sea) level.
    Currently most glaciers are year on year advancing in the winter and retreating in the summer, though the obvious mechanism. However over years the amount the glaciers recovers is less and less so they are in effect retreating. Of course there are a very few glaciers which are growing, the vast majority are unfortunately retreating.
    The same can be said of the Arctic ice. Here of course these is no major landmass below the ice. The melt during the northern summers is very easy to observe and is clearly greater year on year. Check this data:
    The September sea ice extent in pretty unequivocal.

    May 14th, 2014 - 12:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • wesley mouch

    We are all dying. If we only send the Socialists more money to waste and give to cronies we will all be saved. A carnival barker at work here.

    May 14th, 2014 - 02:28 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Mr Ed

    #4: I was addressing the article, not your comment, sorry if it appeared to be a comment on your comment. My point being that in science, you have to be precise and deal with things as they are, not with extrapolations or by avoiding to mention material facts.

    But # 4, there is an argument based on a 'but' here ”They contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) and are melting faster than most scientists had expected.” the 'but' being 'but if the entire glacier should melt', which is not said, but should be, as the comment is utterly irrelevant at best, if not downright dishonest.

    Climate Scientist= Person looking for government funding.

    Government = Thieving shysters looking for pretexts for taxing, regulating and throwing money at people who give them pretexts.

    May 14th, 2014 - 02:35 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    I went through the science of this a few days ago. The glaciers, being fresh water are less dense than salt water and float due to that, not this crap written by a child.

    Ask him where the heat comes from to melt the glacier. If he knows and if he is truthful he will answer “the hot water streaming out the depths of the sea. We really don’t understand that yet as it has only just been discovered, sorry”.

    Anything else and he’s lying.

    May 14th, 2014 - 05:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ilsen

    I blame the penguins.

    May 14th, 2014 - 05:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2

    Conq #6,

    when the LAND-BASED ice sheets hit the sea - that when you will see the RISE.

    Because the land-based ice sheets are contiguous with Sea-based ice sheets, any permanent loss of 'geological' ice from Western Antarctica's SEA province will have a freeing effect on the land-based ice (and similarly in Greenland).

    P.S. Greenland is not in the 'top 100 favourite islands' but is sure is by far the most *important* island on earth.
    “KEEP Greenland's ice land-based!” I say.

    May 14th, 2014 - 05:51 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    @7 and 12. Where do you think the snow and ice come from? Where is there a source that could “release” water vapour that could coalesce into snow and then, under pressure, ice? Did you know that the Antarctic area is regularly subject to sea fog? Do you understand “fog”? Suspended water droplets! That may become......?

    May 14th, 2014 - 06:52 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Briton

    I blame all that hot air from CFK.

    May 14th, 2014 - 07:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Bisley

    There are numerous other scientists saying the exact opposite, that the volume of ice in the area is increasing. Someone is lying here, for political purposes. Who would you think it is? Maybe, the people who work directly for government, or survive on government grants, could be providing a “scientific” basis for government to tax and regulate everything, in the name of controlling “global warming”?

    May 14th, 2014 - 08:15 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 15 Bisley

    Just let me consider than for one Planck length (10 to the MINUS 43 seconds).

    I'll go with the ones that need to keep thier government grants!

    In my experience the government scientists are usually straight, it's their lying political masters that “adjust” their results that are the trouble.

    Ha, ha, ha.

    May 14th, 2014 - 10:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2


    ... and we are talking about the British Antarctic Survey.
    Though the presence of the world's nations on the continent of Antarctica can be considered to have a geopolitical dimension, the actual SCIENCE undertaken by the BAS is as honest as it is possible to be.
    Do you think that, knowing that it would destroy industry across the world, BAS scientists would have suppressed their results on Ozone Holes - of course they wouldn't .. and they didn't.

    May 15th, 2014 - 12:51 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 17 GeoffWard2
    “and we are talking about the British Antarctic Survey”

    Are we, where did that come from?

    “Eric Rignot, of UC Irvine and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.”

    NASA have been deliberately misleading the public in recent years because they NEED the money from the government to carry on with their main business which is not climate change.

    As for the BAS bending anything, forget, it just is not going to happen.

    May 15th, 2014 - 04:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    Amazing. From my original comment, it took an hour for a brainless response. Second reasoned comment. 12 hours and nothing. Argie losers!

    May 15th, 2014 - 04:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Falkland Islands

    The problem is Argentina is too close even Antarctica is trying to move away.

    May 16th, 2014 - 01:00 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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