Sunday, June 08, 2008

Antarctic Icemass increase is...Massive

The Antarctic icemass has set a new record for the period of observations.

May he, whom Nature's laws obey,

Who lifts the poor, and sinks the proud,

"Quiet the raging of the sea,

And still the madness of the crowd!"

While some build castles in the air,

Others build them in the seas;

Subscribers plainly see them there,

For fools will see as wise men please

"Now buried in the depth below,

Now mounted up to Heaven again,

They reel and stagger to and fro,

At their wits' end, like drunken men

Ye wise philosophers, explain

What magic makes snow and ice arise,

When dropt into the Southern main;

Or do these jugglers cheat our eyes?

(With apologies to Jonathon Swift)

An interesting perspective is as we see with a prolonged solar minimum,negative (inverse) climatic states such as the IPO and PDO and the ability of the Antarctic to act as a "heat sink" in the reversible carnot cycle ie in refrigerator mode.

Abstract.We discuss the heat balance of Antarctica using observations from satellites and automatic weather stations and modelling results. Qualitatively, the surface radiation budgets of Antarctica and Greenland resemble those of large deserts, with a small net surface radiation compared to the zonal mean. As a result, atmospheric radiative cooling over the large ice sheets is significantly smaller than, for instance, over the

Arctic basin. A unique feature of the large ice sheets is that the annual mean net radiation at their surface is negative. This is compensated by a flux of sensible heat from the atmosphere. This introduces additional cooling in the lower atmosphere, especially in the katabatic wind zone, where a positive feedback exists between surface cooling and downward sensible heat transport. This close interaction between the radiation

climate and boundary layer dynamics makes the large ice sheets extraordinary components of the global climate system.


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