Ice Shelf Breaks Off Antarctica Coastline
DATE: March 21, 2002
BACKGROUND: Scientists believe the 12,000 year old ice shelf which broke off the coast of Antarctica over a recent 35-day period detached as the result of warming in the region over the last 50 years or more. But they could not conclude that it was the result of human activity such as greenhouse gas emissions. Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Center told the San Francisco Chronicle, "It will take a lot more evidence and a lot more worldwide climate modeling before we can say anything for certain."
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Scientists again admit that there isn't enough evidence to point to man as the cause of warming events.
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: Scientists studying Antarctica acknowledge that there's been a warming trend there for hundreds of years1 - long before greenhouse gas emissions became an issue. Temperatures in the interior of Antarctica have actually been cooling since the mid-1980s. It's another case of the power of nature.
DISCUSSION: The 1,250 square mile piece of the Larsen B ice shelf broke off Antarctica on January 31. Scientists continued to watch it break apart via satellite photos. It broke into icebergs of various size over 35 days.
The interior of Antarctica has shown a cooling trend since the mid-1980s, according to the National Science Foundation's Longterm Ecological Research team. Nature magazine reported in January that these scientists found that temperatures in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of east Antarctica have dropped 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 1986.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For background on cooling trends in Antarctica, see: "Antarctica Cooling Despite Supposed Global Warming" by Gretchen Randall at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR11502.html.
For an analysis of media coverage of this story, including links to stories in the Washington Post and New York Times, read the Media Research Center's March 21 CyberAlert at http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2002/cyb20020321.asp.
by Gretchen Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or GRandall@nationalcenter.org
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613
1. David Perlman, Science Editor, "Antarctic
Ice Shelf Disintegrating," San Francisco Chronicle,
March 20, 2002, downloaded from the Internet on March 20, 2002.