A recent NASA study has come to a shocking conclusion that contradicts a host of other studies, multitudes of climate scientists, the UN, and even other scientists at NASA: Antarctica is actually gaining more ice than it's losing, despite global warming. How's that possible? Live Science reports the gains—approximately 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008—come from snow accumulating faster in parts of Antarctica than ice sheets are collapsing and glaciers thinning out elsewhere. Basically, warmer temperatures mean more moisture in the air, which leads to precipitation. NASA notes the study, which was published Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology, doesn't disprove global warming, and if warming trends continue the scales will eventually tip toward Antarctica losing more ice than it's gaining.
The Washington Post reports the study has—obviously—been controversial within the scientific community and led to climate-change deniers having "a field day." Skeptical scientists point out the most recent data in the NASA study comes from 2008, while others question the accuracy of its measurement and tools, according to LiveScience. The Post reports still others wonder what is causing the annual rise in sea levels if not the loss of Antarctic ice. The NASA scientists behind the study aren't swayed. “We have a very high confidence in our results,” one researcher says. “We have examined the accuracy of our results quite carefully. We believe they’re accurate." Still the controversy is unlikely to die out anytime soon. "Arguing that because their results are different, they must be better is unsustainable," one geoscientist says. (Read more Antarctica stories.)