More surprisingly, the current warming is not the largest to occur in the last three centuries, according to the BAS.
“Larger 50 year warming trends occurred in the middle to late eighteenth century… and the mid-nineteenth century… with several equally large cooling trends,” the study found. “Overall, there is no signiﬁcant trend in the [deuterium] record since 1702 A.D.”
Media reports have hyped the collapse of several large western Antarctic glaciers, quoting scientists who said the melting ice could raise sea levels by another 4 feet. Left-leaning news outlets ran with headlines like “This Ice Sheet Will Unleash a Global Superstorm Sandy That Never Ends” and “Global warming: it’s a point of no return in West Antarctica.”
“The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable,” said NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot, whose research on the collapsing ice sheets made waves.
“The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating sections of the glaciers,” Rignot said. “At this point, the end of this sector appears to be inevitable.”
But as BAS research shows, the collapse of Antarctic glaciers is nothing new. In fact, studies show this has been happening for thousands of years — without the help of mankind.
“Our results show that the large isotopic warming… since the 1950s is not unusual, with equally large warming and cooling trends observed several times over the past 308 years,” BAS scientists found. “This is consistent with a study from continental West Antarctica [Steig et al., 2013] which concluded that this recent warming is not unprecedented in the context of the past 2000 years.”
“The record reveals a reduction in multidecadal variability during the twentieth century and suggests that the warming since the late 1950s has not yet taken the system outside its natural range” the scientists continued. “This is not inconsistent with the exceptional recent global warming, during which approximately 20% of the observationally covered Earth’s surface still does not show 100 year trends that are signiﬁcantly larger than internal variability.”
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