There is Ice or Frost In Antarctica? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)

There is Ice or Frost In Antarctica? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)

It has become part of the new discussion the incorporation of “new data” and “its interpretation” concerning the amount of ice recorded in Antarctica in contrast with the predictions from climate modelling (here some extracts from the publication at National Geographic, (Letters in Italic are pieces adapted from the post published by Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic PUBLISHED November 03, 2015):

Are the Antarctic’s ice sheets shrinking or growing? And what does that mean for global sea-level rise?

Those questions are being hotly debated by the world’s climate scientists as global leaders prepare for the UN climate talks in Paris at the end of this month. Now, a new study by a team of NASA climate scientists has sparked controversy by reporting that “Antarctica is actually gaining ice.”

Scientists concluded in the Journal of Glaciology that the loss of glacier mass in Antarctica’s western region is being offset by thickening of glaciers on the continent’s eastern interior, which has experienced increased snowfall. The result: A net gain of about 100 billion tons of ice per year, according to the report.

Once again, repeating ghosts appear in this debate:

(Letters in Italic are pieces adapted from the post published by Brian Clark Howard)

Is there an agreement among scientists? No.

No. Some leading scientists vocally disagree with the study, which also runs contrary to the prevailing view of experts that Antarctica has been losing ice mass over the past few decades.

“I think there’s a serious issue with the study,” says Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center in Colorado. “It’s unfortunate that it made it through peer review.”

The paper is inconsistent with other studies that show an overall loss of ice there of around 100 billion tons, based on satellite measurements of the gravity of the ice and snow.

What makes the scientific community to be divided? The methodology.

Zwally’s team used satellites to measure the elevations of glaciers on Antarctica. But University of Washington glaciologist Ben Smith, who was not involved with the study, points out that the technology might not be up to the task of distinguishing snowpack volume based on a difference in elevation of one or two centimeters.

Scambos agrees, adding that the complex geography of some areas of Antarctica make it hard to characterize with one satellite alone.

University of Alaska, Fairbanks glaciology professor Erin Pettit calls the methodology “a really, really hard measurement that I would take with a heavy load of salt.”

There are too many different lines of evidence and active inquiry “to let one paper hold sway,” says Scambos. The consensus view seems to be that Antarctica is experiencing melting in important ways and will likely contribute more to sea level rise in the coming centuries.

How does this paper affect the postures in the line of research towards global warming?

The new paper never says the planet isn’t warming. The best science available on the long-term trends still makes a strong case for that, with significant implications for the planet. Exactly how global warming will play out on every corner of the globe is largely unknown.

I want to humbly and with some humour, share my feelings about this situation.

If you are not familiarized with my work please read first the following posts:


My personal posture, based on my previous observations, analyses and discussions (published in this blog), is set on considering as a reality the fact of that there are dynamics in the atmosphere which point to alterations from previous stable patterns linked with climatic developments. And all the mechanisms involved in driving the forces dominating all the processes are closely interconnected with the transformation in composition and structure suffered by each component of our global ecosystem (atmosphere, ground, biological performance and water bodies) due to anthropogenic forcing.

Ultimately, my line of thinking and research has led me to consider that in order to study if the dynamics in the planet are indicating a contrast with average variations over time the best methodology should be based on considering that heat is just an expression of Energy and therefore, temperature does not resolve the question and neither the concept of Global Warming.

There is an ongoing process of adaptation in all those parts of our ecosystem being under transformation, which in total means “Global Adaptation to a Global Transformation due to a Global Changing Environment”.

Nobody denies the changes in Atmospheric composition or Land Use and Cover as well as in the Oceans and water cycles. The debate lays on how big or small is the capacity of our planet to absorb those transformations before “we” “feel” any perturbation.

The perturbations are there, but, are they perturbations from average variability or beyond average? So ultimately we need to learn to understand the language used by those perturbations that is telling us something because it seems that there is a lack in the agreement on what that language means. And yet, with such limitations considering that we are trying to understand a language that we do not dominate, mathematical modelling has become the learning school.

As I see it, a mathematical model is like a painting on a transparent canvas. The spaces not covered have a significant impact over the whole. An empty space in the real world has a different meaning, and implications, than in a mathematical model. It has very different repercussions to have a variable being 0 or false, than not having the variable playing any role. Each situation, defined by different variables, needs a different mathematical expression, but no expression can consider the repercussion of an “empty space” if it is considered in the expression. IF you paint a space as empty, it is not empty any more, so the option of being occupied by “new info” disappears.

So there is a language that we struggle to understand and that is the one behind all the perturbations that we are capable to identify in our environment (and the ones that we are not capable yet). There is also the language that it is being built in modelling but, I also feel that there is also a language that we can relate to and that it is part of our already familiar surroundings.

In a previous post I discussed atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics using a pressure cooker to point out some mechanisms being in place in our weather events and climatic development. Here in this post, and in relation with the question of how can Antarctica, the coldest part of our planet, gain Ice when the atmosphere seems to keep absorbing GHGs which in turn enhance its thermal conductivity through water vapour, I want to use a very common form of language that we encounter when we try to understand what is going on in the coldest part of our house, our freezer.

There is Ice or Frost In Antarctica?

Please, read it with some perspective and critical thinking. The similarities should make the point by themselves but I would discuss them if you want me to.


Cooling air must be circulated inside of each compartment in any time. If this cool air meets hot or humid air out of compartment, it makes frost at the point of contact.

[Related Symptom]

Weak Cooling system


1. Door Not Closed Properly

2. Improper Ventilation of cool air

3. Ice Flap (Cover Ice Route) is open


Freezer Compartment

Ice or frost in the freezer can be caused by one of Three issues:

• An improperly closed door.

• Improper ventilation of the freezer.

• The Ice Maker Flap.

1. Door Not Closed Properly

• Make sure that the freezer door closes completely.

• Make sure that the door gaskets are attached properly to the door and that they are clean. Also, make sure they are sealing properly and are not torn or split. 

Take a dollar bill and close it in the door. If you can pull the dollar out with no resistance, the seals should be replaced.

• Make sure there are no packages resting against the rear wall of the freezer.

2. Improper Ventilation

• Make sure there are no packages resting against the rear wall of the freezer.

• Space your food out as much as possible to improve ventilation.

• Make sure that the air vent in the freezer is not blocked.

3. The Ice Maker Flap (Cover Ice Route)

If the flap on the ice dispenser is not closing properly, it allows warm air to enter the freezer compartment, and causes frost build up in the freezer. To check the flap, open the left side door, and look at the black flap inside the ice chute. If the flap is in the correct position, it is flush against the housing. If the flap is not flush with the housing, check for ice, or any other debris, that may be keeping the flap open.

Refrigerator Compartment

If your refrigerator is freezing food, the temperature is set too low. Raise the temperature a few degrees to fix the problem.

If your refrigerator temperature is too high, condensation may build up and freeze on the bottom of the refrigerator. Lower the temperature a few degrees to fix the problem. (Ref)

[Important Reminders]

If your house, “or planet”, has a high humidity level, simply opening and closing the freezer door (polar Jet Streams) will cause some amount of frost to accumulate. The freezer has a built in heater to melt this build-up in the “Arctic specifications model”, but the “Antarctica model” does not.

Animation of carbon dioxide released from two different sources: fires (biomass burning) and massive urban centers known as megacities. The animation covers a five day period in June 2006. The model is based on real emission data and is then set to run so that scientists can observe how the greenhouse gas behaves once it has been emitted. Credits: Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Just a thought.

From a previous post

Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded.

A publication in Forbes magazine claims that “the total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.”

The publication, in order to defend their allegations, points to a graph published by “The Cryosphere today“. A webspace devoted to the current state of our cryosphere.

Curiously enough, looking at how much data is available in the actual times, this type of publications makes you consider the state of the debate on climate and how and by whom it is being run  (or trying to).

Looking at the disparity of opinions from those with fair and honest intentions, it seems to not be consensus on how to apply and interpret data. And then, there are also others.

The arctic-antarctic sea ice “dipole” is continuing. According to National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its maximum extent for the year on February 25 at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles). This year’s maximum ice extent is the lowest in the satellite record. Whereas, beginning in late April, Antarctic sea ice extent surpassed the previous satellite-era record set in 2014, and for the entire month of May it has set daily record high ice extents. This makes May 2015 the record high month for the 1979 to 2015 period.

If we look at the source for the graph pointed out in the article from Forbes for global average ice cover, we will also find other graphs showing the Northern Hemisphere loosing Ice in the last decades and the South Pole gaining in ice extend.

One of the explanations being under study for such bipolarity is the effect of melting water being incorporated into circulation from North Pole into the South.

Ultimately, we need to drink from the source to have our own criteria. It seems that intentionally “or not”, this publication failed to mention how the “total polar ice extent” is obtained.

—- xxx —-

(This post is part of a more complex piece of independent research. I don´t have founding, political agenda or publishing revenues from visits. Any scientist working in disciplines related with the topics that I treat in my blog knows how to judge the contribution that my work could potentially add to the state of knowledge. Since I am in transition looking for a position in research, if you are one of those scientists, by just acknowledging any value you might see from my contribution, would not only make justice to my effort as independent researcher, but ultimately, it will help me to enhance my chances to find a position with resources to further develop my work.

I believe that the hypothesis that I have presented in previous posts in this blog (here,here and here) could help to understand present and possible future scenarios in atmospheric circulation. However, this is an assessment based on observation which needs to be validated throughout open discussion and data gathering. So please feel free to incorporate your thoughts and comments in a constructive manner.

If you feel like sharing this post I would appreciate to have a reference about the place or platform, by private or public message, in order for me to have the opportunity to join the debate and be aware of the repercussion which might generate d.fdezsevilla(at)

For anybody interested in the posts related with this discussion here I leave you those more relevant in chronological order (there are comments bellow some of them. Please check them out):


About Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.

Citing This Site "Title", published online "Month"+"Year", retrieved on "Month""Day", "Year" from By Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD. More guidance on citing this web as a source can be found at NASA webpage:! DOIs can be generated on demand by request at email: d.fdezsevilla(at) for those publications missing at the ResearchGate profile vinculated with this project. **Author´s profile: Born in 1974. Bachelor in General Biology, Masters degree "Licenciado" in Environmental Sciences (2001, Spain). PhD in Aerobiology (2007, UK). Lived, acquired training and worked in Spain, UK, Germany and Poland. I have shared the outcome from my work previous to 2013 as scientific speaker in events held in those countries as well as in Switzerland and Finland. After 12 years performing research and working in institutions linked with environmental research and management, in 2013 I found myself in a period of transition searching for a new position or funding to support my own line of research. In the current competitive scenario, in order to demonstrate my capacities instead of just moving my cv waiting for my next opportunity to arrive, I decided to invest my energy and time in opening my own line of research sharing it in this blog. In March 2017 the budget reserved for this project has ended and its weekly basis time frame discontinued until new forms of economic and/or institutional support are incorporated into the project. The value of the data and the original nature of the research presented in this platform and at LinkedIn has proved to be worthy of consideration by the scientific community as well as for publication in scientific journals. However, without a position as member of an institution, it becomes very challenging to be published. I hope that this handicap do not overshadow the value of my achievements and that the Intellectual Property Rights generated with the license of attribution attached are respected and considered by the scientist involved in similar lines of research. **Any comment and feedback aimed to be constructive is welcome as well as any approach exploring professional opportunities to be part of.** In this blog I publish pieces of research focused on addressing relevant environmental questions. Furthermore, I try to break the barrier that academic publications very often offer isolating scientific findings from the general public. In that way I address those topics which I am familiar with, thanks to my training in environmental research, making them available throughout my posts. (see "Framework and Timeline" for a complete index). At this moment, 2017, I am living in Spain with no affiliation attachments. Free to relocate geographically worldwide. If you feel that I could be a contribution to your institution, team and projects don´t hesitate in contact me at d.fdezsevilla (at) or consult my profile at LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Also, I'd appreciate information about any opportunity that you might know and believe it could match with my aptitudes. The conclusions and ideas expressed in each post as part of my own creativity are part of my Intellectual Portfolio and are protected by Intellectual Property Laws. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial conditions. In citing my work from this website, be sure to include the date of access. (c)Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD, 2017. Filling in or Finding Out the gaps around. Publication accessed 20YY-MM-DD at
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