It’s one of those little shareable nuggets people love to throw on Facebook: The Antarctic is gaining ice at roughly one percent every decade! Ergo, global warming is obviously a hoax! Suck it, Ed Begley Jr.!
But “ice growing” doesn’t tell the whole story.
The Journal of Glaciology reports that, indeed, things are freezing well in the Antarctic. Essentially, while the “land ice” of Antarctica is shrinking, the “sea ice”, the stuff it takes out of the ocean, is increasing. It’s taking a quarter of a millimeter of water per year out of the ocean. So that’s nice.
Unfortunately, that “land ice” we mentioned is, uh, kind of keeping the vast majority of Antarctica out of the ocean. And it’s melting at a scary rate, leading towards collapse being almost inevitable. To give you an idea of why this is bad, drop an ice cube into a drink. Notice how the level of your drink rises?
Now imagine that, but on a global scale. An ice sheet collapse in Antarctica would raise sea level by ten feet. That’s good enough to flood pretty much every coastal city; basically you don’t want to buy a beach house for, oh, the next sixty years, especially not in China. So, yeah, it’s nice the Antarctic is gaining ice… but it’s gaining it in all the wrong places.
(via New York Post)