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Comment: Re:Whoah, wait a minute... (Score 5, Insightful) 204

by riverat1 (#48033737) Attached to: Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

The article barks at the wrong tree. The cryosphere page at University of Illinois-Champagne shows that we are currently seeing 1.3 million sq. km more sea ice than the average, and the levels have been sharply rising the last few years.

There is a fine balance between trying to increase awareness and being a downright propagandist. Unfortunately, this article doesn't help the cause. This is exactly the kind of thing that make people believe environmentalists are exaggerating and grasping at straws.

Wired: Stop. You are not helping.

Before you go on you really should learn the difference between ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice. They are not the same thing. Talking about sea ice in response to this article about the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a non-sequitur.

Comment: Re:"Contrary to what we were sometimes taught" (Score 3, Informative) 204

by riverat1 (#48033713) Attached to: Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

The weaker gravity is the reason space missions are launched from places that are close to the equator, Florida in the US and French Guiana for the ESA.

You'll notice that most space missions are launched toward the east as well. This is mainly because the rotational velocity of the Earth is greatest at the Equator (~1,040 mph or 1,674 km/h) which means less fuel is needed to reach orbital velocity. I doubt gravity has a lot to do with it but it probably helps a bit as well.

Comment: Re:The last sentence in the summary... (Score 4, Insightful) 204

by riverat1 (#48033677) Attached to: Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

The whole story is. 4 years != climate. Not by anyone's measure. If skeptics tried to debunk AGW on this board with a 4 year trend, everyone would be all over them like white on rice. But 4 years in favor of AGW in the summary? A O K!

Yes but before the ESA satellite there were the GRACE satellites launched in 2002 that also showed West Antarctica losing ice and Antarctica overall is losing ice at a rate of almost 69 GT/year (graph). So it's more like 12 years of data. Even that is a rather short time period compared to the standard climatological period of 30 years. But the standard climatological variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind are very noisy compared the rate of ice loss so it takes longer to discern a significant trend with them than with ice. So 12 years may be long enough for significance. I'm not sure.

Comment: Re:Taxing the Congested Skies (Score 1) 221

... If the system cannot handle the current load, then the system needs to be upgraded.

The system handles the current load just fine. They just haven't gone to the expense of making it doubly redundant so when a major facility goes down it causes problems. Once ADSB becomes mandatory in 2020 this will be less of an issue for a radar facility like this since each airplane will be broadcasting it's position and vector to every other ADSB equipped airplane and they won't need ground based radar to maintain separation.

Comment: Re:Just in time for another record cold winter (Score 1) 200

If it's all global, why does ice melting in the arctic count as evidence of GW, but ice *expanding* in Antarctica not count as counter-evidence?

Because a simple analysis like that is seldom adequate. Scientists who have looked at the increase in Antarctic sea ice have found several reasons that combine to cause the increase. First the circumpolar winds have grown stronger apparently because of the ozone hole over Antarctica. That pushes the existing sea ice around more opening polynyas that subsequently refreeze increasing the ice area. Second global warming causes the ice sitting on the continent to melt and also increased precipitation which causes the water on the surface to freshen making it easier to freeze. Finally the fresher water is less dense than the warmer saltier water under it so the ocean stratifies and the the warmer saltier water is prevented from rising to the surface reducing ice melt from it.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter