London, 15 Jan 2007.
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ITN Antarctic Ice Scare Unfounded
This week sees the start of yet another series of global warming scaremongering reports from ITN as it attempts to link man-made CO2 emissions with the claim that the Antarctic's ice is 'disappearing' and the rate of sea level rise is increasing.
 
Such tenuous claims ignore a growing body of scientific literature. The Ross Ice Shelf has disappeared and reformed many times due to natural cycles. Indeed, during the past million years, temperatures were often 2 or 3 degrees higher than now despite CO2 levels never rising above 300 parts per million, compared to today's 380 ppm.
 
Pudsey et al (2006, 2001) have published data that indicates the Larsen A and B ice shelves suffered "widespread break-up in the mid-Holocene" (about 5,000 years ago). The break-up and subsequent re-formation likely took centuries to complete. They therefore note that "the maximum ice shelf limit may date only from the Little Ice Age," just a few hundred years ago (appox. 1300 to 1850 AD).
 
Using limited data to produce best estimates of differences in the density across the Antarctic ice sheet, Wingham et al (2006) show that "72% of the Antarctic ice sheet is gaining 27 ± 29 gigatons per year." To put this into perspective as it relates to global sea level, the authors indicate that this gain in mass is enough "to lower global sea levels by 0.08 mm per year." These results are very similar to the findings reported in Science magazine (2005) by Curt Davis et al, Joughin and Tulaczyk Science (2002).
 
ABD spokesman Paul Biggs adds:
"It comes as no surprise that global temperatures have risen slightly following the continuing recovery from the Little Ice Age. The recurring conclusion is that recent global warming is not unprecedented, and that most of the warming is natural."
Furthermore, a new sea level study was published in the respected journal Geophysical Research Letters, on 4th January 2007. The author concluded that global sea level rise slowed during the second half of the 20th century, when conversely carbon dioxide emissions rose, and noted that the high variability in the rates of sea level change observed over the past 20 years are not particularly unusual.
 
ABD environment spokesman Ben Adams concludes:
"Alarmist claims that coastal regions of the world will be inundated as glacial melt water streams into the world’s oceans have been met with evidence that a large portion of the Antarctic ice sheet has thickened over the latter part of the 20th century. Don’t sell the beachfront property or your 4x4 just yet."

 

 
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS
 
References:
 
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, 4 January 2007
 
On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century.
Nine long and nearly continuous sea level records were chosen from around the world to explore rates of change in sea level for 1904-2003. These records were found to capture the variability found in a larger number of stations over the last half-century studied previously. Extending the sea level record back over the entire century suggests that the high variability in the rates of sea level change observed over the past 20 years were not particularly unusual. The rate of sea level change was found to be larger in the early part of last century (2.03 ± 0.35 mm/yr 1904- 1953), in comparison with the latter part (1.45 ± 0.34 mm/yr 1954-2003). The highest decadal rate of rise occurred in the decade centred on 1980 (5.31 mm/yr) with the lowest rate of rise occurring in the decade centred on 1964 (1.49 mm/yr). Over the entire century the mean rate of change was 1.74 ± 0.16 mm/yr.
 
S. J. Holgate, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Liverpool, UK
 
Church, J.A. and J.M. Gregory. 2001: Changes in sea level, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pp. 641–693.,UK and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
 
Ian Joughin, Slawek Tulaczyk, 2002: Positive Mass Balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctica. Science 18 Vol. 295. No. 5554, pp. 476 – 480.
 
Davis, C. H., et al., 2005. Snowfall-driven growth in East Antarctic ice sheet mitigates recent sea-level rise. Science, 308, 1898-1901.
 
Wingham, D.J., A. Shepherd, A. Muir, and G.J. Marshall. 2006: Mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 364, 1627-1635.
 
Pudsey, C.J., Murray, J.W., Appleby, P., and Evans, J. 2006. Ice shelf history from petrographic foraminiferal evidence, Northeast Antarctic Peninsula. Quaternary Science Reviews, 25, 2357-2379.
 
Pudsey, C.J. and Evans, J. 2001. First survey of Antarctic sub-ice shelf sediments reveals mid- Holocene ice shelf retreat. Geology, 29, 787-790.
 

 
 
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