Best Antarctic Ice Data

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davew
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NASA has supplied the best data to date on the state of antarctic ice. They have been measuring the mass of the content since 2002. What they have found is every year since 2002 the continent has a whole has been losing mass. They have also concluded that the rate of mass loss is accelerating.

NASA image

This is why space is so cool. Instead of taking a bunch of diverse ground data and trying to stick it together with math, they just went ahead and weighed the continent. Ground science is still important for looking into causes and mechanisms, but nothing beats a direct measurement.

There are also satellites measuring global temperatures for both the air and the ocean. Hopefully this data in a similar fashion will be the gold standard for direct measurement of global climate change.

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MikeB
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Re: Best Antarctic Ice Data

davew wrote:

There are also satellites measuring global temperatures for both the air and the ocean. Hopefully this data in a similar fashion will be the gold standard for direct measurement of global climate change.

The current satellites used for measuring air and sea temps have a bit of a flaw: they're too close to the Earth. They produce wonderfully detailed data, but only over the spot they're currently above. They have a much harder time examining the bigger picture, such as measuring the total amount of energy re-radiated across a whole hemisphere, day after day. What we need is a satellite that is much further from earth, perhaps in deep space, that could observe 100% of the sunlit side of the planet at once.

Except we do have one, it's named the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). The bad news? It was supposed to launch in 2001, but is still sitting in a warehouse in Maryland. The reason it was never launched appears to be pure politics, blocked by the same politicians that claim that global warming isn't even happening. (I guess they were afraid to be proved wrong by irrefutable data.) My understanding is that launching it would cost $100M, which is very cheap in the whole scheme of things.

There's a second satellite that we don't have, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO). This one was supposed to measure carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, and would assist in tracking the sources of those emissions. The OCO was launched in Feb 2009, but failed to reach it's orbit. A replacement satellite has not yet been built, though an identical design using spare parts could probably be created pretty easily and inexpensively.

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Mik
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Re: Best Antarctic Ice Data

MikeB wrote:

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A replacement satellite has not yet been built, though an identical design using spare parts could probably be created pretty easily and inexpensively.

Sounds just like what I'm doing in my garage....HAHA! I knew it, it's practically rocket science after all!

Do they bring most of their money to Jaycar, too? ;-)

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