Antarctic ice in broad-scale retreat: USGS

According to the USGS, the Antarctic ice shelves contain about 91% of the world's frozen water. So news that they are melting across the full extent of the planet's coldest continent, and have been steadily since l949 because of global warming, is not great news, despite what deniers such as George Will call the "tantrums" of climate scientists. 

In the introduction to the paper, the team of international researchers warns:

Antarctica is Earth’s largest reservoir of glacial ice. Melting of the
West Antarctic part alone of the Antarctic ice sheet would cause a
sea-level rise of approximately 6 meters (m), and the potential
sea-level rise after melting of the entire Antarctic ice sheet is
estimated to be 65 m (Lythe and others, 2001) to 73 m (Williams and
Hall, 1993).

Yes, that's a heck of a lot of ice. Won't happen overnight. But the map of the melting is not reassuring.

The geographers write (speaking of the ice shelf connection to Charcot Island):

From 1947 to 1986, southern Wilkins “b” [connection] was fairly stable, with only a slight amount of retreat. By 1990, southern Wilkins “b” exhibited an increased rate of retreat (table 7A). Retreat continued until 1997, then the rate of retreat increased from 1997 to 2000 and increased consider- ably more from 2000 to 2002 (the period of fastest retreat), with some measurements showing a retreat of more than 1.5 km a-1. The retreat of both Wilkins “a” and Wilkins “b” ice fronts from 2002 to 2009 left only a narrow strip of ice pin- ning the shelf to Charcot Island. When the ice bridge fractured in 2009, Wilkins “b” ice front disappeared. Considering that the flow of the ice shelf is in a northerly direction (Vaughan and others, 1993), there is little recharge of ice to this area, leaving it very unlikely that the ice shelf will recover.

Oh well. After all, George Will tells us we have had "no statistically significant warming since l995." 

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