Dan Boone wrote:Landon I don't know if you have access to the HBO weekly docu-news show VICE that airs on Friday nights. But the most recent show ("Our Rising Oceans") looked in part at ice melting patterns in Antarctica. The emotional moment for me was when the interviewer and an unflappable-sounding ice scientist were discussion things while on board the NASA DC-8 that measures glacier/icefield ice thickness with lasers (bouncing off the top) and radar (bouncing off the earth beneath the ice). Some frightening datum about missing glacier ice caused the interviewer to say "You're telling me this is a 'Holy Shit' moment, aren't you?" And the interviewer nodded calmly and said "Actually we're way past 'Holy Shit' now..."
The thing I learned from the episode is that tracking the extent of sea ice isn't even all that relevant compared to watching changes in the thickness of glaciers and ice fields. Sea ice is rarely more than a meter or so thick, whereas some of the continental ice is closer to a mile. All the sea ice melting hurts us a lot less than when the glaciers go, as they are beginning to do in Antarctica and Greenland. (Of course, it's a different story for arctic bears.)