If Global Warming Is Real, Why Is Antarctic Ice Growing?

Is NASA lying to us? What’s happening? Antarctica is GAINING ICE! WHAT?! GLOBAL WARMING?! HOW?! Commonly, during these climate change, global warming conversations, people point at the horizon and shout, the polar ice caps are melting! But guess what, they’re not. NASA says so. In fact, according to new research, Antarctica has gained so much ice, it’s overbalanced for the ice the continent has lost. From 1992 to 2001, the continent gained more ice than it lost to melting to a tune of 112 billion tons every year! So wait, if global warming is real, how come Antarctica’s ice is thickening?! Okay, so, I apologize for the slightly clickbaity headline, but to be honest, whether they’re lying to us a real question! But did anyone lie?! No, Internet buddies. No. In fact, this ice research is consistent with other papers climatologists have released. In 2013, NASA’s Earth Observatory announced Antarctic sea ice had set a new record, another study said the same thing in 2012! There’s more sea ice now than the 1981 to 2010 average levels! I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing. If the globe is warming, how can Antarctica be gaining ice?! Okay so, don’t believe the hype.

Research still states, unequivocally, Antarctica is still losing ice at a fantastic rate across most of the continent. Ice has increased in “East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica.” But other parts of Antarctica are still melting. A lot, a lot. So, let’s be clear… gaining sea ice at this point is actually bad. Yep, you heard me. Bad. Well, there’s an annual cycle of sea ice melt and freeze, where ice is at it’s lowest point in February and March, and thickest in September and October. And according to a new not-yet-published paper, from a NASA Goddard, scientist brought to our attention by DiscoveryNews writer Patrick J. Kiger: global warming and climate change are actually INCREASING the sea ice. See, melting glaciers have been depositing freshwater into the Southern Ocean, and if you think about seventh grade science: which freezes first saltwater, or freshwater? Exactly, saltwater has a much lower freezing point; it can get colder before freezing.

This paper’s conclusion is the top layer of water surrounding Antarctica has been diluted by the massive freshwater melt from the ice shelves and freezes more easily today than in previous decades! The 2012 study found a 1.5 percent increase in sea ice accumulation each decade. And this isn’t the only paper reaching this conclusion. According to a 2012 paper in Nature which also predicted this effect, it’s happening more quickly in the real world than it did in their model; which is even more troubling. In a few more years, the new author James Hansen says, “it will be clearer,” because the sea ice will continue to expand. Even worse, however, is the overall ice trend is still more melty than freezy. It’s melting and freezing and MELTING and freezing. Plus saltwater underneath the freshwater dilution is still warming thanks to the overall climate trend. NASA scientists are quick to say, that it is very difficult to accurately measure all of these things, because of snow levels sitting atop the ice, and the constantly changing landscape of such a large area! The big learning from this, is that even though the UN announced in 2013 a .27 millimeter per year sea level rise, and blamed it on increasing sea ice; there’s more than meets the eye.

NOAA say YES the seas ARE rising, the thing is, now we aren’t 100 percent sure why. Which is almost scarier if you think about it. Moving forward, scientists know they have to learn even more about what is causing the sea level rise, because it might not just be ice melt. The oceans have warmed about zero-point-one Celsius over the last century, in the top 700 meters, and though that seems small, that’s just an average! Something so small, over something as large as the ocean, could completely change the topography, weather, and expected behavior of the largest single entity on Earth. Yikes. So, climate people, who I assume have already left this video huffing and hoing, more sea ice doesn’t mean no global warming, but in fact MORE global warming.

You’re welcome. Sincerely, your friend science. How are you all feeling about this? Tell me in the comments. Check out DiscoveryNews.com’s piece on this as well, and if you’re concerned about what would happen if all the ice in the world melts, Julia assuages your concerns over here — or maybe she doesn’t, you’ll have to find out ! TestTube now has a newsletter! Get a weekly round-up of our most popular videos across all our shows at TestTube.com/fwd.