Whisper it quietly, but Antarctica ice is not making a comeback – because it never went away in the first place. Estimates of gains and losses vary in the scientific world, but NASA recently suggested the continent was losing 147 gigatons a year. Since there is an estimated 26,500,000 gigatons of ice lying about on the continent, this works out at an annual loss of 0.0005%. At the current ice melt it will all be gone in about 200,000 years. It might be argued that the current level of melting seems a tad on the slow side for a planet emerging from an ice age.
Obviously something must be done, instanter. On Radio 4 next week, the BBC’s green activist-in-residence Justin Rowlatt presents five short programmes updating us on the latest Armageddon climate scares. On Thursday, he will ask if Antarctic changes “will flood coastal cities for centuries to come”. What century, would seem a reasonable question to ask. In September 2021, Rowlatt reported that pre-pandemic he had flown over Antarctica and witnessed “an epic vision of shattered ice”. He continued: “It felt like I’d reached the frontline of climate change: a place where the equilibrium that has held our world in balance for thousands of years was slipping and crashing.” We are “overwhelming” the ice, he claimed. Of course a plug for the command-and-control Net Zero project is always at hand. “Needless to say,” continued Rowlatt, “this acceleration is a result of us humans polluting the air with greenhouse gases.”
As I noted recently, Reuters ran a story saying scientists had attributed the “disintegration” of an ice shelf to a period of “extreme heat”. It turned out the ‘heat’ was based largely on a computer model, and was gone within four days.