Another explanation for the melting of the West Antarctic's ice sheet

Before anyone goes haywire, accusing me of being a global warming denier, I'm posting this only because it illustrates how complex science is and that there are alternative explanations for natural phenomena.

This comes from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

A new NASA study adds evidence that a geothermal heat source called a mantle plume lies deep below Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land, explaining some of the melting that creates lakes and rivers under the ice sheet. Although the heat source isn't a new or increasing threat to the West Antarctic ice sheet, it may help explain why the ice sheet collapsed rapidly in an earlier era of rapid climate change, and why it is so unstable today.

Illustration of flowing water under the Antarctic ice sheet. Blue dots indicate lakes, lines show rivers. Marie Byrd Land is part of the bulging "elbow" leading to the Antarctic Peninsula, left center. Credit: NSF/Zina Deretsky

Illustration of flowing water under the Antarctic ice sheet. Blue dots indicate lakes, lines show rivers. Marie Byrd Land is part of the bulging "elbow" leading to the Antarctic Peninsula, left center. Credit: NSF/Zina Deretsky

This research of course doesn't nullify other explanations for the melting. But it does provide another voice that is deserving of consideration. Voices such as this dire warning from Inside Climate News, "Are Antarctica's Ice Sheets Near a Climate Tipping Point?"

The world needs to eliminate nearly all carbon dioxide emissions from coal burning by 2050 to avoid pushing Antarctica's ice sheets past a tipping point that could cause a major surge in sea level rise, new research shows.

“Parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appear to already be in substantial decline. If that continues, it’s not a matter of how much, but how fast sea level will rise,” climate physicist Carl-Friedrich Schleussner said. Credit: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA

“Parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appear to already be in substantial decline. If that continues, it’s not a matter of how much, but how fast sea level will rise,” climate physicist Carl-Friedrich Schleussner said. Credit: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA

Both studies are not necessarily contradictory. But both studies are equally deserving of respectful analysis. Science--dare I say?--is not a matter of taking a poll. Respect the scientific method. Please.

dennis@dennisbyrne.net

www.dennisbyrne.net

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