Saturday, April 18, 2009

is Antarctica melting?

A significant rise in sea levels depends on a good chunk of Antarctic ice melting, but the information coming from surveys isn't clear cut. This month the Wilkins ice shelf melted, and created a big media response. Wilkins is in the west.  In the east (and East Antarctica is four times bigger than West) the ice is growing and parts are cooling. The melting of sea ice doesn't affect sea levels as it is already in the sea, what does is the calving of icebergs from ice shelves. But there have been significant calvings in the West but ice shelves usually have episodic calving. And it is expected that reports will confirm that sea ice (fast and melt) has grown around the Antartica in the last 30 years. One measure of what is happening is the thickness of the sea ice - and that's at its densest in 10 years.