NASA observed a gain of altitude of much of Antarctica. From there NASA scientists deduced that Antarctica was gaining ice and snow. Unfortunately, as they admit, this leads them to predict that there is an unknown, massive cause of Sea Level Rise (SLR). The advantage is that this hypothesis makes nice with NASA’s sponsors (fossil fuels loving Republicans controlling Congress and the Supreme Court of the US). The disadvantage is that all SLR contributing factors have been accounted for, but one. And that one, NASA just denied, that it could possibly exist.
However, there is another interpretation differing vastly from the one NASA scientists made: Antarctica is gaining ice, snow, and… WATER. NASA did not see the water. How could it? Back to preschool: the water is below, the ice on top. See? The water is below, thus sight unseen. The ice is actually floating up. But that does not mean it’s not there. Actually the NASA map itself shows where the water is coming in. It’s not because one does not see something that one should not consider it. Progress in thinking is always achieved ONLY by considering what one has not considered before. So it’s always an exercise in atonement.
Of course such an explanation is valid only when there is water laying below the ice. But this is actually much of Antarctica, already. In some places, water goes below ice shelves, by 800 kilometers (500 miles). Much of the solid continent has lakes below the ice.
When NASA looks at this map, it claims that Antarctica is gathering snow. Indeed, globally, it is: warmer air carries more water, so, the warmer the air, the more it snows… until all turns to rain! This is why there are tropical downpours. This was fully expected by those, who, like me, believe in catastrophic temperature, and sea level, rise.
So NASA blares gigantic titles, to make its sponsors feel good about themselves, and thus expecting their gratitude: NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses. In truth, all what NASA saw was: NASA study: ALTITUDE Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses. Altitude is not mass. Oops!
However, the NASA map clearly shows something OMINOUS is going on. Antarctica is quite a bit like the space shuttle Columbia warmed by the hot fluid during its final re-entry in the Earth atmosphere. All the area in grey, green and a fortiori blue are losing altitude. They are not anymore north, or warmer: it is that water is sneaking in below, melting the ice which then contracts. Hence the loss of altitude, because ice occupies (roughly) ten percent more volume than water of the same mass.
So NASA’s map shows, at a glance, that around 10% of Antarctica is undermined by water (or then is in a zone of thinning due to accelerated flow, caused by underlining water, or proximity of underlying water accelerating and thining glacial flow).
WAIS is 1.97 x 10^6 square kilometers in area (a fifth of the area of the USA, Canada, or China). The ice sheet is more than 2,000 meters thick in many parts, and its icy belly rests 2555 meters below sea level, directly on the rock at its lowest (more than a mile and a half). If warm water got there, the WAIS, or portions thereof, would quickly disintegrate.
Remember the wing on Space Shuttle Columbia? Hot gases penetrated in one gap in the front of the wing, and then went all over inside, disintegrating the innards. Antarctica has at least a dozen similar holes, through which HOT WATER is sneaking in. Under the Totten glacier, the narrow gateway to the giant Aurora Ice Basin, hot water has already penetrated hundreds of kilometers.
More generally, this error of NASA, brings the question of what the scientific method is. One make a theory, and then one finds out whether the theory fits the fact better. If it does, it’s viewed as true (meaning more true). Depending how the new theory fits better and differs more, the difference between the new and the old theory can be viewed as the difference between “truth” and “error”.
That water is coming up below the ice explains SLR. NASA’s theory does not. This makes my theory experimentally superior to NASA. This is traditional evaluation of the correctness of one scientific theory relative to another.
However, there is more. I claim that when comparing scientific theories, one cannot just judge if one theory fits the known facts better.
An example is the theory of glaciations. It was started by a Frenchman in the early Nineteenth Century. The key observation was that huge continents are bunched around the North Pole, so their insolation is sensitive to Earth’s orbital elements.
The theory was launched by Joseph Alphonse Adhémar (1797–1862), a French mathematician. He published this fundamental idea in 1842, in his book Revolutions of the Sea. It took 160 years, and sophisticated computers to check that the theory was right.
So what was the difference? The idea. A new complexity. Adhémar introduced the completely new idea, that astronomical forces changed earth’s climate. It was a new dimension of complexity (at the time scientists, including Goethe, had just uncovered the existence of past extensive glaciations).
The difference between an erroneous, obsolete theory and a better one is often an addition of logical dimension(s). Thus Einstein’s “General Relativity” predicted a faster precession of the perihelion of Mercury, because time slows down closer to the massive sun. This was the introduction of a new element of complexity: classical mechanics, but with VARIABLE time.
Similarly, my theory on Antarctica introduces a new element: water. That element not considered by NASA adds a logical dimension. That makes my theory more sophisticated. When comparing theories, one has to compare not just their experimental predictions, but their logical sophistication.