Jordan Candler / May 14, 2015

No, Antarctica Is Not Experiencing Rapid Ice Melt

Antarctic sea ice is so expansive that researchers are exploring ways to avoid more embarrassing mishaps. Writing in The Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch says, “50 scientists have gathered in Tasmania to discuss more accurate ways to predict Antarctic sea ice levels so researchers don’t get stuck in ice pack when traveling southward.” So it was richly ironic when CBS News reported this week that “Antarctica is melting from above and below.” The article, which documents a new alarming study on how global warming is supposedly eating away at the giant ice cap, begins with an outrageous claim — “It’s no secret that ice shelves in Antarctica are thinning” — and warns that “warming air temperatures and warmer ocean currents together could explain why the Antarctic Peninsula’s floating ice shelves are losing volume and becoming more vulnerable to collapse.” The truth? As of Wednesday, sea ice extent was breaking the previous record high set just last year, according to data from the National Snow & Ice Data Center, and the trend for decades now has been a steady increase in areal ice coverage. In fairness, the exception is the western portion of the continent, where ice is lagging behind the 1981-2010 average. But averages are based on the whole, not cherry-picked portions of the data. This is nothing more than selective outrage.

Addendum: Between 1981 and 2010, Arctic sea ice extent decreased by an average of 2.4 (+/- 0.6) percent per decade. Meanwhile, Antarctic ice increased by 4.1 (+/- 2.6) percent per decade. Source: NSIDC.

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