Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Antarctic temperature rises above 20C for first time on record (theguardian.com)
48 points by melonkidney 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

As a lay person I find it really hard to understand the significance of this single days temperature reading. It sounds alarming but I have no idea how to view that single data point. I wish they'd go into more detail in explaining that in these sorts of articles.

Paper mentions Thwaites glacier but does not mention the subsea volcanoes contributing to ice loss in the West Antarctic: https://www.livescience.com/46194-volcanoes-melt-antarctic-g...

Antarctica as a whole has seen a slight increase in ice over the last 40 years, with record extent being achieved as recently as 2014:


Simply saying there’s more ice doesn’t attempt to get to the bottom of it.

“At the end of the last Ice Age, the air became warmer and carried more moisture across the continent, doubling the amount of snow dropped on the ice sheet,” Zwally said


We should start to go deeper.

Further, the submitted article here directly addresses it

"Schaefer said the temperature of the peninsula, the South Shetland Islands and the James Ross archipelago, which Seymour is part of, has been erratic over the past 20 years. After cooling in the first decade of this century, it has warmed rapidly.:

Unless the average geothermal heat flux is changing (and nothing about your link suggests this), this has been constant over the time spans in question and changes would be localized and temporary. Mt Erebus and its lava lake have been known to modern science for almost 200 years. The link you sent is talking about glacial motion and to what extent they've been under modeling contributions from meltwater from that existing geothermal effect that is reducing friction with the ground.

Even if that weren't the case, this is simply an article about air temperature. It broke the known record by a full degree celsius in the backdrop of massive, global record heat record setting as part of a long term trend.

Leaving that aside, what point are you trying to do with your comment? Do you think the southern polar ice sheet is melting from volcanoes, or getting larger?

The point I'm trying to make is the Antarctic isn't melting, and it's in fact, growing in ice extent.

However, you can make a headline out of tiny regional fluctuations and puff it up to be more than it is. I'm not impressed that a record from Antarctica was broken (1 degree warmer than 1982? Yawn). How long have we had stations in this particular location? 40 years? 50 years?

Meanwhile you've got sensationalist headlines like in the Daily Sun: "Antarctica is hotter than SPAIN this week as mercury hits 69F for first time"

Which is blatantly false. It's a single data point on a massive continent that is obviously not 69F across the whole island, nor is it a sustained 69F. I have a big problem with people blowing out of proportion every individual data point in the massively complex climate system of the planet earth. How many points on the earth experienced record cold on the same day? Quite a few!

'in fact' the ice mass is shrinking: https://www.pnas.org/content/116/4/1095

The ice extend increases.

"The total mass loss from Antarctica increased from 40 ± 9 Gt/y in the 11-y time period 1979–1990 to 50 ± 14 Gt/y in 1989–2000, 166 ± 18 Gt/y in 1999–2009, and 252 ± 26 Gt/y in 2009–2017, that is, by a factor 6 (Fig. 2, Table 1, and SI Appendix, Fig. S1). This change in mass loss reflects an acceleration of 94 Gt/y per decade in 1979–2017, increasing from 48 Gt/y per decade in 1979–2001 to 134 Gt/y per decade in 2001–2017, or 280%. "

I can't even pretend to care what the Daily Sun has as headlines, whether it supports my case or not.

The overall, global warming trend is increasing just as predicted (or a bit worse) decades ago based on continuing CO2 emissions and resulting increased atmospheric concentrations. This single, otherwise not so noteworthy observation is just a footnote in ongoing climate change disaster. The fact that an entire continent (Australia) broke its annual average temperature record by 3 deg F last year is much more alarming and relevant.

The fact that you talk about ice extension as anything relevant proves your lack of knowledge in this topic.

Ice extent is fairly irrelevant for sea level rise. Existing glacier melt for glaciers that are extremely large (kilometers deep) is extremely relevant for global sea level. The nelti of Antarctic glaciers has a very substantial impact on sea level and oceanic currents, which affects climate across the entire Southern hemisphere.

Wow it's almost like ice breaks off and drifts away increasing extent as it is melting. A smarter person might look for the total ice mass over time and would find a massive fucking decline. But yeah.


(That second link defaults to showing Arctic sea ice, which is declining much more rapidly than the Antarctic sea ice is increasing.)

Phew, nothing to worry about then.

Subsea volcanoes. Nothing to do with the term I am not allowed to use. What a relief.


Applications are open for YC Summer 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact