Day Before Tomorrow: Earth’s Polar Ice Melting Less Than Thought

So it’s not “The Day After Tomorrow.”

U.S. News & World reports:

Nearly 230 billion tons of ice is melting into the ocean from glaciers, ice caps, and mountaintops annually—which is actually less than previous estimates, according to new research by scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

If the amount of ice lost between 2003 and 2010 covered the United States, the whole country would be under one-and-a-half feet of water, or it’d fill Lake Erie eight times, researchers say. Ocean levels worldwide are rising about six tenths of an inch per year (sic)*, according to researcher John Wahr.

While vast quantities of ice melting into the ocean is not exactly good news, Wahr says, according to his team’s estimates, about 30 percent less ice is melting than previously thought…

“Even with an eight-year estimate, it’s not clear how far into the future you can project,” he says. “A lot of people want to predict into the end of the century, but I think it’s too dangerous to do that … We don’t have enough info to know what’ll happen. There’s some ebb and flow to these things.”

Read the entire report.

Click for more useful news from this study.

* Note that they actually meant 0.06″ (six one-hundredths of one inch) – poor conversion from 1.5mm

4 thoughts on “Day Before Tomorrow: Earth’s Polar Ice Melting Less Than Thought”

  1. Yes, 6/10ths is a typo in the report, should be 6/100ths as in this Reuters piece.

    Note also that even the Reuters piece fails epically with their metric conversions – “found that thinning glaciers and icecaps were pushing up sea levels by 1.5 millimeters (0.06 inches) a year, in line with a 1.2 to 1.8 mm range from other studies, some of which forecast sea levels could rise as much as 2 meters (2.2 yards) by 2100.

    Um, no. The 1.2 to 1.8 mm range equates to 120 to 180 mm by 2100, or 4.7 to 7 inches if you prefer

  2. From “Nature” article earlier today. 1.5 mm/year is nowhere close to 0.6 inch/year. Why the discrepancy?

    “John Wahr and colleagues now assess ice mass loss by applying a consistent methodology to all ice-covered regions greater than 100 km2. From these data, the authors calculate that the total contribution to sea level rise was 1.48 ± 0.26 mm per year over the assessed period.”

  3. Science is like the weather, if you don’t like their conclusion, wait five minutes and it will change.

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