Now a new theory expands on the impact of that deeper, warm water. According to Richard Bintanja and colleagues at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, glacial melting is causing the spread of plumes of cold surface water, which – similar to the effect hypothesized by Curry and colleagues at Georgia Tech – is insulating the ice from the warmer waters below and, being cooler, is freezing more easily in fall and winter, thus ensuring a continuing supply of fresh ice.
Of course, the climate is a complex system and it doesn't necessarily follow that these assorted theories are mutually exclusive (although this latest study suggests that colder surface waters would result in less water evaporating and falling as snow). Holland, the British Antarctic Survey researcher, responded to the new study by saying that, "The possibility remains that the real increase is the sum of wind driven and melt-water driven effects, of course. That would be my best guess, with the melt water effect being the smaller of the two."