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The Velocities of Tributary Glaciers to Antarctica's Amery Ice Shelf

Paper Reviewed
Pittard, M.L., Roberts, J.L., Watson, C.S., Galton-Fenzi, B.K., Warner, R.C. and Coleman, R. 2015. Velocities of the Amery Ice Shelf's primary tributary glaciers, 2004-12. Antarctic Science 27: 511-523.

Pittard et al. (2015) introduce their study by noting there is "large uncertainty regarding how ongoing climate change is impacting the Antarctic ice sheet," while noting -- most interestingly -- that "previous observations of ice surface velocity indicate that the Amery Ice Shelf and tributary glaciers have been relatively stable over the period 1968 to 1999." And, therefore, to see what may have happened subsequently in this regard, they set about to assess "the displacement of features on the ice surface over a sequence of Landsat 7 images separated by approximately one year and spanning 2004 to 2012," using surface feature tracking software and focusing on "the region surrounding the southern grounding zone of the Amery Ice Shelf and its primary tributary glaciers, the Fisher, Lambert and Mellor glaciers."

This work revealed, as the six Australian scientists report, that "no significant change in ice surface velocities was found between 2004 and 2012 in the Amery Ice Shelf region, which suggests that it continues to remain stable." And this finding, together with the fact that sea ice growth has been observed around much of Antarctica in recent years -- as reported by Fraser et al. (2012), Pezza et al. (2012) and Reid et al. (2013) -- clearly demonstrates that "global" warming (so-called) has yet to significantly manifest itself over the entire globe.

Fraser, A.D., Massom, R.A., Michael, K.J., Galton-Fenzi, B.K. and Lieser, J.L. 2012. East Antarctic landfast sea ice distribution and variability, 2000-08. Journal of Climate 25: 1137-1156.

Pezza, A.B., Rashid, H.A. and Simmonds, I. 2012. Climate links and recent extremes in Antarctic sea ice, high-latitude cyclones, Southern Annular Mode and ENSO. Climate Dynamics 38: 57-73.

Reid, P.A., Tully, M.B., Klekociuk, A.R., Krummel, P.B. and Rhodes, S.K. 2013. Seasonal climate summary Southern Hemisphere (spring 2012): Warmer and drier across much of Australia, along with a new Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent record. Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal 63: 427-442.

Posted 23 March 2016