There has been a recent spate of dramatic information about the Antarctic ice sheet because of an accelerated rate of melting and even more dramatic projections of what this might mean for serious sea level rise.
The statistic in question concerns the fact that Antarctica has lost about three trillion tonnes of ice since 1992.
This reported loss is actually mostly concentrated on instability in the western Antarctic ice sheet which is said to be in the process of being eaten away by warming ocean water.
However, the parts of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets that are melting are known to be over highly-active geothermal sites, so the observed melt could just be attributed to geothermal heat release.
Moreover, a NASA glaciologist has conducted a survey that indicates the eastern ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.
The total mass of the Antarctic ice sheet is 27,602 trillion tonnes, of which three trillion tonnes of lost ice is 0.011% of the total.
It is clear, therefore, that 99.989% of the Antarctic ice sheet has not melted.
Good news indeed. But there is more.
Research published in Nature shows much of east Antarctica has been solidly frozen for at least the past eight million years and was stable throughout the Pliocene when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were close to what they are today — around 400 parts per million.
The best news of all.
We need not worry about melting ice at the poles or about the possible sea level rise that might happen as a result.
The statements above are based on published information that is accessible to anyone prepared to look for it.
This year’s edition of BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy Report on Global Energy Use has now been published.
It contains a summary statement that in 1997, coal power had a 38% share of global power generation and in 2017, despite billions being thrown at renewable energy, it still had a 38% share of global power generation.
Good news or bad news?
It is not easy to discriminate between news and fake news in the settled science of climate change but if definitely pays to think about it. — Robert Sheppard, Hillside, Beckingham.