Research: Increasing Antarctic Snowing Replacing a Third of Increasing Ice Loss

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 13 December 2018


Increased Snowing Replacing a Third of Ice Loss

100 Years of Accumulated Mass Change over Antarctica
100 Years of Accumulated Mass Change over Antarctica. Credit to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Antarctic Ice Mass Change Gauge, the Last Hundred Years, credit to NASA!
Credit to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Check out the Video on the Report.



Snow over Antarctica buffered sea level rise during last century,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, December 13, 2018.



Steadily Increasing Snowfall
“ increase in snowfall accumulation over Antarctica during the 20th century mitigated sea level rise by 0.4 inches. However, Antarctica's additional ice mass gained from snowfall makes up for just about a third of its current ice loss.”

“...without these gains, we would have experienced even more sea level rise in the 20th century."

The Ice Machine Mechanism
“The polar ice sheets grow via snow accumulation and shrink through melting and the production of icebergs. Presently, both ice sheets are imbalanced -losing more ice annually than they are gaining- and their ice loss is estimated to be currently causing about a half of the observed sea level rise. Sea level adjusts to changes in snowfall, which modulates how much water is locked into the ice sheets.”

The Observations
“...reconstructed how much snow fell over the entire Antarctic continent and nearby islands from 1801 to 2000 using 53 ice cores and three atmospheric reanalyses -climate models informed by satellite observations.”

The Results
“...found that snow accumulation increased over the 20th century by 0.04 inches per decade, and that rate more than doubled after 1979.”

Strange Times-Bad Omens
“...the current rate of change in snowfall is unusual in the context of the past 200 years.”

Different Causes of Climate Disruption
Same Source
“...investigated what caused the increase of snowfall and its distribution pattern over the ice sheet from 1901 to 2000. They found that it was consistent with a warming atmosphere, which holds more moisture, combined with changes in the Antarctic circumpolar westerly winds that are related to the ozone hole.”

"The increased snowfall is a symptom of the same changes in atmospheric circulation that are causing the melt of Antarctic ice."

Future Prospects
Ice Losing the War
“...snowfall will continue to increase into the 21st century and beyond, but our results show that future increases in snowfall cannot keep pace with oceanic-driven ice losses in Antarctica."



A Different Perspective

Nov, 2018

Antarctic Melting Slows Atmospheric Warming and Speeds Sea Level Rise



Antarctica, Recently

Dec, 2018

Totten and Four East Antarctic Glacial Neighbors are Moving




Antarctic Map
Canada/British Antarctic Survey detailed map of Antarctica
Canada's BAS PDF Antarctic Map




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Antarctic snowfall increases mitigated rising sea level


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