He who lives by the crystal ball must expect occasional bits of ground glass in his pudding, and the false prophets of global warming and their cheerleaders in the media are learning that lesson the hard way. After years of predicting that man-made global warming would melt the planet’s glaciers and drown coastal towns beneath rising oceans, the threat itself is melting like ice in April. That’s cause for both celebration and a little humility in the face of the many mysteries of nature still to be unraveled.
Data from two NASA satellites, employed in the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment between 2002 and 2014, enabled researchers to analyze the effects of glacier loss. They found to their surprise that trillions of tons of water wound up not in the sea but spread across the planet’s land mass. In fact, 3.2 trillion tons of water, equal to the volume of Lake Huron, soaked into thirsty soil or were collected in lakes and underground aquifers.“We always assumed that people’s increased reliance on groundwater for irrigation and consumption was resulting in a net transfer of water from the land to the ocean,” says the lead author, J.T. Reager. “What we didn’t realize until now is that over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping — causing the land to act like a sponge, at least temporarily.” So dry land soaks up water. Who knew? It’s always reassuring when science comports with common sense.