February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 5, NUMBER 12, DECEMBER 1992
GENERAL INTEREST--SCIENCE: ICE SHEET STABILITY AND GROWTH
"Is the Antarctic Ice Sheet Growing?" S.S. Jacobs
(Lamont-Doherty Geolog. Observ., Palisades NY 10964), Nature, 360(6399),
29-33, Nov. 5, 1992.
While a common perception is that global warming will accelerate the melting
of polar ice sheets, causing sea level to rise, a common scientific position is
that the volume of grounded Antarctic ice is slowly growing, and will damp sea
level rise. A review of recent observations of surface accumulation on
Antarctica shows that uncertainties prevent a prediction of the ice sheet's
behavior in a warmer world.
Two items from Nature, 359(6398), Oct. 29, 1992:
"Antarctic Ice Sheets at Risk?" D. Sugden (Dept. Geog., Univ.
Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH18 9XP, UK), 775-776. Discusses the research context of
the following article, concluding that it is still difficult to reconcile
contrasting views about the stability of the East Antarctic ice sheet under
"Geochronological Evidence Supporting Antarctic Deglaciation Three
Million Years Ago," P.J. Barrett (Sch. Earth Sci., Victoria Univ., POB 600,
Wellington, New Zealand), C.J. Adams et al., 816-818.
Resolves one uncertainty relating to the question of extensive deglaciation
of the East Antarctic ice sheet during the mid-Pliocene epoch, when temperatures
were only slightly warmer than today. Determined K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar ages for a
volcanic ash bed in diatom-bearing glaciomarine strata in Farrar Fiord. The
diatom ages from the cores (about 3 Myr) confirm the deglaciation.
"Sensitivity of Glaciers and Small Ice Caps to Greenhouse Warming,"
J. Oerlemans (Inst. Marine Res., Utrecht Univ., Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC
Utrecht, Neth.), J.P.F. Fortuin, Science, 258(5079), 115-117,
Oct. 2, 1992. A world-wide estimate, based on modeling 12 selected glaciers in
widely differing climatic regimes, shows that for a uniform 1 K warming, the
area-weighted glacier mass balance will decrease by 0.40 m yr-1, corresponding
to a sea level rise of 0.58 mm yr-1, a value significantly less than earlier
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