Why the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are Not Collapsing

http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003400/a003455/fullGreenlandElevChg.8188_web.png

Image: NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center SVS

Cliff Ollier
School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, The University of
Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.

Colin Pain
Canberra City ACT 2601, Australia.

Global warming alarmists have suggested that the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica may collapse, causing disastrous sea level rise. This idea is based on the concept of an ice sheet sliding down an inclined plane on a base lubricated by meltwater, which is itself increasing because of global warming.

In reality the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets occupy deep basins, and cannot slide down a plane. Furthermore glacial flow depends on stress (including the important yield stress) as well as temperature, and much of the ice sheets are well below melting point.

The accumulation of kilometres of undisturbed ice in cores in Greenland and Antarctica (the same ones that are sometimes used to fuel ideas of global warming) show hundreds of thousands of years of accumulation with no melting or flow. Except around the edges, ice sheets flow at the base, and depend on geothermal heat, not the climate at the surface. It is impossible for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to ‘collapse’.

In these days of alarmist warnings about climate warming, the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have an important role. Many papers have described their melting at the present times, and dire predictions of many metres of sea level rise are common. Christoffersen and Hambrey published a typical paper on the Greenland ice sheet in Geology Today in May, 2006.

Their model, unfortunately, includes neither the main form of the Greenland Ice Sheet, nor an understanding of how glaciers flow. They predict the behaviour of the Ice Sheet based on melting and accumulation rates at the present day, and the concept of an ice sheet sliding down an inclined plane on a base lubricated by meltwater, which is itself increasing because of global warming. The same misconception is present in textbooks such as The Great Ice Age (2000) by R.C.L. Wilson and others, popular magazines such as the June 2007 issue of National Geographic, and other scientific articles such as Bamber et al. (2007), which can be regarded as a typical modelling contribution. The idea of a glacier sliding downhill on a base lubricated by meltwater seemed a good idea when first presented by de Saussure in 1779, but a lot has been learned since then.

In the present paper we shall try to show how the mechanism of glacier flow differs from this simple model, and why it is impossible for the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets to collapse. To understand the relationship between global warming and the breakdown of ice sheets it is necessary to know how ice sheets really work. Ice sheets do not simply grow and melt in response to average global temperature. Anyone with this naïve view would have difficulty in explaining why glaciation has been present in the southern hemisphere for about 30 million years, and in the northern hemisphere for only 3 million years.

Read the complete paper here

103 thoughts on “Why the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are Not Collapsing

  1. I think the AGWiers underestimate THE POWER OF HYDROGEN BONDS.

    When you think that a 10 cm thick ice bridge can support a fully loaded 10 wheels truck, imagine how well the ice of glaciers that have been compressed for millions of years holds itself together because of THE POWER OF HYDROGEN BONDS!

    It’s like, when I stick a foot out of my bed, my whole body does not slide down to the floor.

  2. Ollier and Pain should submit their paper for participation in the upcoming Copenhagen conference, even though the odds are that it will be rejected, and they will be “uninvited.”

    In fact, I would like to see all the authors of recent papers deviating from the AGW dogma submit them. If most or all are rejected, an international class action suit should be filed against the IPCC.

    Very likely an argument would be made that they missed an early submission deadline, in which case they can protest late acceptance of all pro-AGW submissions.

  3. Thrust faults in the earth are a great example of gravity and a descending plane NOT being necessary to cause movement of a semi-rigid (rock moreso than ice) body.

    Fluids providing lubrication at the base of a thrust fault will make it easier for the fault to move though. The same can be said for the liquid water at the base of an ice sheet.

    The force driving a thrust fault is tectonic forces. That driving force behind glacier movement is the weight of the ice itself. Much like a bowl overfilled with water, the water will settle until it is at it’s lowest point and then any extra will exit over the basin. Same goes for ice, albeit at a much longer time-frame.

    As the ice thins, the basin, which is created by the weight of the ice itself, will begin to rebound making it less effective as a basin.

  4. I read that yesterday. There is one area where the ice sheet has regularly “collapsed” and that is a portion of the WAIS. The intervals … somewhere around 100K years, would seem to indicate that it is somewhat in sync with glaciation intervals. The notion being that natural melt at the base due to geothermal heating causes a layer of muddy goo and then some trigger, possibly seismic, causes liquifaction of the underlying material and the glacier rides out on a giant mudslide. This notion comes from study of sediment stratification that would seem to indicate larges flows of material at 100K intervals and alternating periods when parts of the ocean floor are under an ice covered surface and a surface apparently free of ice.

    Also, happened to notice that the Wikipedia article on the WAIS includes this:

    Warming

    The West Antarctic ice sheet has warmed by more than 0.1 °C/decade in the last 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring. Although this is partly offset by fall cooling in East Antarctica, this effect is restricted to the 1980s and 1990s. The continent-wide average surface temperature trend of Antarctica is positive and significant at >0.05°C/decade since 1957.[14]. This warming of WAIS is strongest in the Antarctic Peninsula.

    Footnote 14 points to the Steig paper published in Nature that has been shown to be faulty in its conclusions. Maybe someone with more authority than I would care to correct that portion of the article.

  5. But it is vital for the AGW promotion industry to be free to ‘emotionalize’ about threats, espcially if the threats are not real. and since none of the aGW threats are, in fact, real, ‘emotionalization’ is even more important.
    After all, the mission of AGW promotion, to save us from non-existant threats, is more importnat than any single fact or accurate statment.

  6. Loss is at margins. Central south is growing:

    The global warming doomsday writers claim the
    ice sheets are melting catastrophically, and will
    cause a sudden rise in sea level of many metres.

    Ice sheets are melting catastrophically! I’ve heard few if any people say this. Perhaps they say it could happen in worst case scenarios but not NOW.

    I think it would be hard to find statements in IPCC report that claim catastophic melting IS occurring!!!

  7. Volume of ice in Greenland Ice Sheets . . . . 26,000,000+ km3

    Average annual melt . . . . 200km3

    Melt as % of volume . . . 0.00077%

    Years required to melt Greenland Ice sheet at current rate . . . 130,000 years

    Repent !

    The End is Nigh

  8. There is also a new paper using the most detailed measurements and modeling for the Greenland ice sheet and it shows that the mass balance of the ice sheet is still increasing, not melting.

    Total snow accumulation was about 700 GigaTons in 2008 and total melt run-off, ablation and discharge was about 450 GigaTons.

    There is a small net loss along the southwest coast and in some small areas in the north, but the vast majority of Greenland is still gaining ice (although the rate of increase is declining).

    https://eng.ucmerced.edu/people/rbales/CV/PubsP/120

  9. Here is a cross-section of Greenland from GEUS (the Danish Geological Society) which clearly shows easily 95% of the ice on Greenland exists above sea level and the basin’s edge.

    Ice will flow and it will flow out of the basin!

  10. A subtle, but very effective, part of the ecotheist’s propaganda about Greenland’s icecaps – particularly when you ignore the geological principles detailed above – is the Mercator projections in hundreds of thousands of classrooms across the countries.

    The type of projection – seldom explained and not well-drawn anyway when Antarctica is usually cut-off, but Greenland prominently increased – exaggerates how small Greenland actually is. At 1.6 million km^2, it is the same size as Saudi Arabia, much smaller than Australia.

    Yet there is it, seemly bigger than South America – hanging like an icy sword of death over the innocently green rest of the world.

  11. Great read. I learned a lot about ice crystals and glacier flow. Now I am an expert and can make fun of all the people talking about melting ice caps.

  12. Here is a cross-section of Greenland from GEUS (the Danish Geological Society) which clearly shows easily 95% of the ice on Greenland exists above sea level and the basin’s edge.

    That’s nice. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to slide off, though. In fact, if if the ice sheet is similarly secured in the N-S direction, it means that it’s NOT going to slide off. It’d have to tip off, and that’s not going to happen. Sure, it could eventually melt away, or something could happen to otherwise accelerate the rate at which ice leaves the ice sheet, but there doesn’t appear to be any imminent catastrophe, there.

    Oh, and also: that’s a cross-section, not the cross-section, so I’m not sure what your point is. There may be more secure containment of the ice sheet, elsewhere.

    Finally, the fact that the vertical scale is greatly exaggerated (factor of about 80) makes things appear much less stable than they actually are.

    So: your point is what, again?

  13. ak (09:43:31) :
    “Here is a cross-section of Greenland from GEUS (the Danish Geological Society) which clearly shows easily 95% of the ice on Greenland exists above sea level and the basin’s edge.”

    Nice choice of dramatic scale. Glacier should be about 200km thick if that picture would correspond with reality.

  14. “”” ak (09:25:30) :

    Thrust faults in the earth are a great example of gravity and a descending plane NOT being necessary to cause movement of a semi-rigid (rock moreso than ice) body.

    Fluids providing lubrication at the base of a thrust fault will make it easier for the fault to move though. The same can be said for the liquid water at the base of an ice sheet.

    The force driving a thrust fault is tectonic forces. That driving force behind glacier movement is the weight of the ice itself. Much like a bowl overfilled with water, the water will settle until it is at it’s lowest point and then any extra will exit over the basin. Same goes for ice, albeit at a much longer time-frame.

    As the ice thins, the basin, which is created by the weight of the ice itself, will begin to rebound making it less effective as a basin. “””

    Lemme see if I have this right; you say that it is the weight of all of that ice (say in Greenland) that will squish the ice to flow out of the basin; but that as the ice thins (from getting squshed out by the great weight of all that ice) the basin bottom will rise; and presumably squish some more ice out.

    So now exactly what thickness of ice is stable, so that it isn’t losing ice by basin bottom rebound, nor is it gaining ice thickness, and squishing it over the rim of the basin ?

    What is the chance that the present thickness of Greenland ice, is at that stable level so it is neither squishing ice over the rim of the basin, nor having the basin bottom rebound and ejecting the ice. It does seem yo have been there for a good ling time, and not in any great hurry to go some place else.

  15. @NastyWolf – there are TWO scales on the diagram! Or rather, I should say, the ice sheet is only 18km wide! lol

  16. “It’d have to tip off, and that’s not going to happen”

    IT COULD…If you believe the previews to the movie 2012

  17. AK …

    For the Basin to push back up .. it would occurr in geologic time .. that’s thousands to millions of years.

    Thanks for supporting the featured authors position that the Greenland and Anarctic Ice sheets are not going to fall in to the sea and drown us all any time soon.

  18. ak (09:43:31) :
    “Here is a cross-section of Greenland from GEUS (the Danish Geological Society) which clearly shows easily 95% of the ice on Greenland exists above sea level and the basin’s edge.”

    If you had read the paper, you would know that the only real question is “does the plastic zone of the ice cap extend up beond the high mountains along the coast.

    Try reading the material before trying to argue against it.

  19. So, NastyWolf, you wanted them to draw it to scale so that it was 10 inches wide and 1/100 inch thick? And what would that teach us? Better yet, should it be a 10 inch arc representing the actual curvature of the Earth but still 1/100 inch thick?
    Or perhaps you’re suggesting that the 600 m tall heights to the West and 1700 m tall heights to the east aren’t going to hold back the glaciers becuase the slope is too low?
    I just want to make sure I understand your criticism.

    Thanks.

  20. It’s for certain that the given profile doesn’t cross Gunnbj&#248rn Fjeld, for instance, which has a bunch of peaks over 3500m.

  21. “”” ak (09:43:31) :

    Here is a cross-section of Greenland from GEUS (the Danish Geological Society) which clearly shows easily 95% of the ice on Greenland exists above sea level and the basin’s edge.

    Ice will flow and it will flow out of the basin! “””

    Well not so fast there; the link above is to a two dimensional vertical plane section; but the Greenland ice mass is actually a three dimensional object.

    Your picture creates the fictitious illusion, that that central 3 km thick pile of ice is going to extrude to the left, and all fall off the left edge of the drawing; whereas in fact it is going to spread in three dimensions, to an ever increasing perimeter, so the outward driving pressure keeps falling as the ice approaches the coast.

    According to your picture the basin depth at the left end is about 500 metres deep; yet the central bulge is only six times that thickness. That is hardly a highly stressed structure; and I would venture that the bottom of the ice is thoroughly locked to the rock base by the topography of the basin; so the only way for that ice mass to move is by extrusion of the ice itself; and the ice is crystalline; so it is not exactly a fluid; Also the temperature of most of that ice is so far below freezing, even the change in freezing point due to pressure is not going to melt the bulk of that ice; so only at the edges would there be any liquid lubrication flow.

    I would venture that any structural analysis of such a monolith would show that it is a robustly stable object; and as fast as ice can get lost from the perimeter, it will be replaced by precipitation; and if in fact temperatures get warmer, that precipitation in the middle of Greenland would be expected to increase, not decrease (see Wentz et al SCIENCE July 7 2007).

    Greenland ice sheet collapse is just a red herring; same goes for Antarctica; it hsn’t collapsed in over 700,000 years dsepite going through 8 ice ages and interglacial warm periods.

  22. One single meteor smashing in the ocean would cause more damage instantly than any catastrophic melting of all ice bodies of earth, even if it melted over a few years… which obviously will never happened. So, where should we put money to save the earth?

  23. @Slartibartfast, I never said anything about sliding, only flowing. That’s how ice behaves. It’s talked about in the linked paper, and in many Glacialogy textbooks. Not knowing that would logically lead to your second question about containment. Ice simply flows around the mountains.

    But just to entertain the idea that it is a single cross-section… well, it makes sense since I only linked one image. Regardless, if I were trying to ‘tip the scales’ in my favor, I would not have put a large mountain range in the east, but that’s just where this cross-section was taken. Fact is, it is the only cross-section I could find :)

  24. Sadly, it has now become necessary to publish papers simply to re-emphasize basic science, refute complete and utter nonsense and remind everyone about the facts.

    It indicates the incredible power of the propaganda that Ecofascists wield in our schools, in the fields and in the streets, in the hills and on the beaches, striking at the very heart of our industrial civilization. Many old and famous Institutions have fallen or may fall into the grip of the AGW and all the odious apparatus of Ecofascist rule.

  25. This image shows surface velocities of ice in Antarctica (mostly, it doesn’t take into account up and down movement) and shows that the ice flow does not move as a uniform block (for those still clinging to the ‘sliding’ canard) and will speed up closer to the margins due to lessening bounding ice on one side.

    from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_sheet_dynamics

    I agree with the author in the general point that most of the population may not have a strong grasp of the actual mechanisms of glacier behaviour, but only addressing the negligible aspect of glacial movement against bedrock is not doing much for educating that population.

  26. How do gwrs. explain that glaciers keep advancing upwards from its basins?; the only explanation is that they are growing up, as in antarctica. The well known , and previously explained here in WUWT, phenomenon of the “ice cube dispenser machine”.

  27. @Slartibartfast, @NastyWolf, my apologies… I misread your comments about the exagerated scale as non-existent scale. It’s common in geology to exaggerate the vertical axis – it would be kind of hard to view an image that is 10 million pixels wide :)

    I’ve linked to an image which shows actual values for the speed of glacial movement at the surface. While, it may take a 100 years for ice at the middle to flow to the edge, it is still moving and doesn’t rely on basal flow.

  28. This paper explains what was already explained, in detail, by Ian Plimer in his book “Heaven and Earth”.

  29. crosspatch (09:26:44) :

    Those recurring collapses of the WAIS are an AGW factoid. There is no credible evidence for them, no sudden d18O jumps, no IRD layers in the Southern Ocean, no abrupt sea-level rises anywhere.
    On the other hand there is now strong evidence that the WAIS has not been much smaller than at present since MIS 31, about 1,07 million years ago. During this exceptionally warm interglacial it was apparently at least much reduced, and temperatures in the Ross Sea significantly warmer than at present (see for example Wilson, G. S., et al. 2007. Preliminary chronostratigraphy for the upper 700 m (late Miocene-Pleistocene) of the AND-1B drillcore recovered from beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. USGS Open-File Report 2007-1047, http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1047/ and references therein).

    ak (09:25:30) :

    That is an absurd comparison. Movements on faults are driven by tectonic forces. There are no tectonics in ice-sheets, they are moved exclusively by gravitation. Also while the basin will undoubtedly rebound if the ice-sheet thins, it will not disappear since there are mountain-chains (up to 3700 meters high) around most of Greenland. This rather unusual configuration which is due to the way the north Atlantic opened is probably the main reason Greenlands ice-sheet is so uniquely stable compared to the Scandinavian and Laurentian ice-sheet. Furthe it is not at all clear that the ice will become thinner as it retreats. Once it has retreated far enough that it can no longer calve into the sea, it can only lose mass by peripheral melting which is a much slower process. This means that the ice-dome becomes steeper and higher. There is evidence that the northern dome of the Greenland Ice was actually a few hundred meters higher during the last interglacial, when the ice area was reduced.

    ak (09:43:31) :

    And that image you link to is somewhat misleading since the vertical scale is exaggerated about 35 times. The ice cap is actually very very flat. The map on page 10 of:

    http://www.geus.dk/publications/bull/nr14/nr14_p01-13_A1b.pdf

    gives a much better picture of the subglacial topography. As you can see there, it is only a very small part of the Greenland ice that could even theoretically “slide into the sea”. Also if these remarkable ice-slides are possible, why didn’t they happen in Scandinavia during the last deglaciation, where the ice retreated up-slope and there were handy seas to slide into on both sides of the divide?

    In short the ice will indeed flow, but very slowly, like it always does, and it definitely won’t flow uphill!

  30. Fred from Canuckistan . . .

    Well, yes. The end will be nigh……..eventually. Maybe. Possibly, but not just yet.

  31. As much as I’d like the world to not see another Ice Age while humans exist it looks like we can expect one in a few thousand years if not sooner. If you look at the climate record it seems overdue. So it isn’t reasonable to talk about 130,000 years of melting. This melting happens only a small fraction of the time.

    If you believe more CO2 is a problem, don’t worry too much about that. We won’t be able to keep enough CO2 in the air to prevent the next Ice Age and once the oceans cool they will suck up CO2 rapidly. And when we get into an Ice Age we stay in it for a long long time.

    Our money might be better spent on figuring how to breed hairy children with massive brows. When the time comes, they will appreciate it.

  32. AK-

    if the ice is a couple hundred thousand years old, and it has not slid off yet, why would it do so now? temperatures were much warmer in greenland during the medieval period, the roman period, and from there almost always at at least a degree warmer all the way back to the Holocene climate optimum which was 2-3 degrees C warmer than the present and lasted 3000 years.

    what’s so magic about now that suddenly the ice will alter behavior? might it shrink from 1850 to now, sure. in 1850, the little ice age was ending. that was the coldest period in the last 9000 years. but it’s not even as warm on greenland now as it was when the vikings settled there. i don’t recall the vikings getting pushed into the sea by a sliding ice sheet. i recall them getting frozen out by expanding glaciers and dropping temperatures that made the settlement untenable.

    if you’re going to claim: “this time is different” and this warming will do what others didn’t, you’re going to need to show us WHY it’s different.

  33. @Deanster I didn’t use timescales, because I felt like most people would know what they are, but good point. Yes, I agree with the author that there won’t be a big “kerplunk” episode anytime soon – continental glaciers falling into the sea! :/

    @Jeff in Ctown, see my later comments (updates around here are slow – why isn’t this a forum?) specifically (“I agree with the author in the general point that most of the population may not have a strong grasp of the actual mechanisms of glacier behaviour, but only addressing the negligible aspect of glacial movement against bedrock is not doing much for educating that population.”)

    @George E. Smith Yes, it’s 3-dimensional in reality and that movement can be clearly seen in the Antarctic image I linked to. I can’t find a similar velocity map for Greenland. And ice, even in it’s crystalline form, will not act as a solid body.

    @tty Good comments. I’m kind of at a loss about these ice slides everyone is talking about. There is no evidence for them happening before, but everyone is happy to argue against them! :)

  34. Interesting paper in nature

    “Most high-resolution climate reconstructions for the past millennia have focused on Northern Hemisphere land records. Ocean reconstructions have to date been rare and, critically, have missed the most recent centuries, preventing a comparison with the observational records. A new reconstruction of sea surface temperatures for the Indo-Pacific warm pool now provides a decadally resolved record that spans the last two millennia and overlaps the instrumental record, enabling both a direct calibration of proxy data to the instrumental record and an evaluation of past changes in the context of twentieth century trends. The data show that while recent decades have been anomalously warm, they are statistically indistinguishable from temperatures prevailing during the Medieval Warm Period from around AD 1000 to AD 1250 ”

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v460/n7259/edsumm/e090827-06.html

    Ubiquitous “global MWP” is against the “party line”

  35. While, it may take a 100 years for ice at the middle to flow to the edge, it is still moving and doesn’t rely on basal flow.

    Oh, sure ice flows. It flows because it’s continually being weighed down by new snowfall, as well as by its own upper layers. If you know this, then you know that ice flows all of the time, and that all warmer weather might do is cause it to melt a bit faster.

    If basal flow is irrelevant, why show the cross-section?

    I made the comment about cross-section location because I was confused as to what your point was, and now I’m even more confused. Is the shape of the terrain under the ice sheet important, or not important, in your opinion?

    I’m not trying to be difficult; I am simply attempting to understand what it is you’re trying to say, and how it relates to the main post.

    Thanks in advance!

  36. “Those recurring collapses of the WAIS are an AGW factoid.”

    The paper I read (and can not locate, though I admit I am busy with other things right now and haven’t looked with any diligence) wasn’t a “warmest” paper at all. On the contrary, the conclusion was that “collapse” of the sheet in that specific area was a normal cyclical event unrelated to “global warming”. The notion being that either seismic activity or possibly geothermal/volcanic conditions combined with the natural slope of that specific area would be enough to explain it and it wouldn’t be associated with climate change except possibly in periods when the glacial mass might be better optimized for the failure to occur, which might be related to long-term climate changes. These changes would be regular cyclical changes and not anything induced by humans.

  37. Our money might be better spent on figuring how to breed hairy children with massive brows.

    If you’ve ever seen my younger brother, well…success!

  38. John G. Bell (11:54:08) :

    Not at all unlike the Big Earthquake California or the Mississippi expects.
    Or the next supervolcano.
    Or when the next asteroid or comet comes sailing stright for the planet.
    The attention span is the same or less than the surveillance that currently missed the impact on Jupiter.
    Another overdue event.
    47 days and counting.
    So, while attention is focused on a ‘fake out’ emergency, things that are really happening or overdue to happen go unnoticed.

  39. Warming alarmists can be certain Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will evaporate – in 1,000,000,000 years when our sun becomes a red giant and consumes the earth. ‘Till then, we can probably keep ahead of sea levels rising at 2-3 mm/year for much less cost than “controlling climate”.

    What they have forgotten is that:

    As long as the earth endures,
    seedtime and harvest,
    cold and heat,
    summer and winter,
    day and night
    will never cease.” Genesis 8:22

    Relax, enjoy, and lets work on really serious issues like providing alternative fuels to accommodate the rapid decline in global oil exports after peak oil.

  40. This paper does not include the phrase “an area roughly the size of Manhattan”. Therefore it is not science.

    I’m off to watch Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow before my house burns down from global warming.

  41. So much theorizing of the anthropogenic global warming crowd is based on wishful thinking. What wish? The age old wish to be judged from on high. The story of Noah, passover, and apocalyptic doomsday (to name a few) are all inescapable features of our civilization, always on ready to seduce the uneducated and unthinking mind into making grave judgment on one’s fellow man. But this is the simpleminded outlook. The only known place of judgment in the universe is in the mind of humans. So it is naive to attempt blanket condemnation of modern man as so many current environmentalists do. The task of environmentalism will never be so simple. It will always take difficult and honest inquiry. This post on mechanisms of continental glaciers is a great addition to the inquiry.

  42. Ray (09:12:14) :

    When you think that a 10 cm thick ice bridge can support a fully loaded 10 wheels truck […]

    First off, you don’t state the length and width of the ice bridge, but irrespective, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would drive a loaded truck over a 10 cm thick ice bridge.

    By comparision, I understand that the ice road in the Canadian North, which is floating, is typically 3 ft thick.

  43. Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain are heroes. Simply presenting sound information to confound the alarmists. Well done.

  44. @Slartibartfast The author talks about “deep basins” in which this ice resides. Showing a cross-section of these “deep basins” shows that they really aren’t that deep. The ice isn’t filling in the basin with the basin edge acting as a physical barrier, rather it is sitting atop a very slight (given the scales) depression and the ice can flow over or around the edge easily.

    His wording conjured up the idea of a deep bowl filled to the top with ice-cubes versus a plate with the same amount of ice sitting on top, which would be closer to reality.

    Just to be clear, IMO, ice flow is far more important to continental glacial movement than basal conditions (except at the very edges of the sheet).

  45. There is a common misconception amongst some of the general publc that the Greenland and Artic ice sheets could suddenly melt or slide into the sea and cause catastrophic flooding. This lie has been fostered by extreme elements amongst the AGW bloc and it’s good to see a paper which firmly refutes such rubbish.

    Facts are the only method of dealing with AGW doom-mongering.

  46. Here’s another reason why the Greenland Ice Sheet is not collapsing. It snowed last night in Labrador City and Wabush (Latitude: 52°55’19″N (52.921944) Longitude: 66°51’52″W (-66.864444, altitude 525 metres) , Newfoundland and Labrador and almost 30deg S of the arctic circle – oh she’s going to be another cold one!

    http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/620/1451178/3/canf0145?ref=ugc_city_tumbs

    Skiing a few months early:

    http://www.theweathernetwork.com/your_weather/details/620/1451014/5/canf0145

  47. John G. Bell (11:54:08) :

    … Our money might be better spent on figuring how to breed hairy children with massive brows. When the time comes, they will appreciate it.

    QUOTE OF THE WEEK!

  48. why is so much money spent on trying to preserve beasts who murder daily and have no reason to exist except to kill again tomorrow? Would we try to save a human who did the same thing?

  49. Aron

    I presume you have mastered the art of living without eating. Othewise it would seem to me to be if anything more immoral to let somebody else kill your food, than doing it yourself.

  50. ak (13:10:20) :

    “The ice isn’t filling in the basin with the basin edge acting as a physical barrier”

    In the case of Greenland it actually is. The ice is only able to break through the coastal barrier in a limited number of places (usually deep and narrow fjords) and reach the sea. It is this that makes sites like Jakobshavns Isbrae so dramatic and sensitive to climate fluctuations (and consequently beloved as pilgrimages for the new climate religion). The ice accumulating over more than 100,000 square kilometers (6 % of Greenland) is funnelled through a gap only a few kilometers wide. The only places where the ice reaches the sea on a broad front is in the Kane Basin and Melville bugt in northwest and around Nioghalvfjersfjorden in the far northeast.

    And by the way basal sliding is not completely unimportant. On Greenland it is probably dominant for a few tens of kilometers and of some importance up to 300 km from the edge of the Ice-sheet.

    In Antarctica things are more complicated since there are areas of both cold-based (i. e. frozen to the ground) and warm-based (with a water film) ice een in the interior of the continent.

  51. ak (12:24:38) :

    @tty Good comments. I’m kind of at a loss about these ice slides everyone is talking about. There is no evidence for them happening before, but everyone is happy to argue against them! :)

    I would have to conclude that you are either completely disingenuous or live a life of unprecedented isolation. As others have pointed out above, the present culture is awash in alarmist propaganda about the pending “collapse” of one ice mass or another. All of the stories are based, either implicitly or explicitly, on the the notion that AGW will inevitably lead to large masses of ice slicing into the sea. In fact, as the legs have been taken out from under the other catastrophic elements of their predictions[hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, droughts, floods. etc.] by amassing observational data and catastrophic sea level rise has become their last bullet, the stories seem to be more frequent and more hysterical. As I have stated here several times recently, I take no pleasure from and, in fact, deeply resent the compulsion I feel to, in effect, rise to the defense of the undefensible i.e. the persistence of ice. That compulsion arises from the need I feel to resist the machinations of the believers in collectivist mythology, who are the primary exponents and funders of the “climate crisis” and its only possible beneficiaries. If you should question my need to resist their efforts, I recommend a short review of the history of the 20th century, focusing on the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, China under Mao, Cambodia under PolPot, and Cuba under Castro for starters. Each case clearly demonstrates the murderous lengths the collectivists were willing to go to to preserve their utopian delusions every time they’ve had an opportunity to inflict them on humanity. You may choose to believe that such a descent into chaos is not possible here and now, but I’m sure the millions of people who eventually found themselves ensnared in those historical disasters would not have believed it possible in their situations either, at least at the beginning. My view of history and grasp of “the precautionary principle” tells me the only prudent course is to resist their plans now, rather than awake at some point in the future with sad regrets over having failed to recognize what their goals really were.

  52. Daryl M (12:55:48) :

    I wouldn’t but I have seen it. Those truckers drive the bridge with their door opened. In the Spring it is even more scary as the bridge is flooded with water. But the ice is usually thicker where they remove the snow to make the ice bridge, but off the road the ice can be very thin because of the insulation effect of the snow over the ice.

  53. Ray (11:08:45) : “One single meteor smashing in the ocean would cause more damage instantly than any catastrophic melting of all ice bodies of earth, even if it melted over a few years… which obviously will never happened. So, where should we put money to save the earth?”

    Al Gore has a meteor offset trading scheme in the works.

  54. An excellent paper. Why aren’t school children being taught this stuff instead of alarmist rubbish ?

  55. Dave (10:38:25) : Taking your references in turn:

    Catastrophic Melting of Ice Sheet Is Possible

    If your simulations show the catastrophic collapse of ice sheets, under what circumstances can you ignore these predictions?

    The catastrophic increase in sea level, already projected to average between 16 and 17 feet around the world, would be almost 21 feet in such

    How fast would the ice sheets melt?
    The summer melting rate for snow and ice can be estimated by using a heat balance equation of

    Change should deal with the “frightening” possibility that both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets start melting at the same time

    So which of you references states that catastrophic melting IS occuring?

  56. I like the emotionalizing lately with the article warning about the potential loss of our national parks. They, of course, site Glacier. But Glacier isn’t named after the glaciers that are there now. It is named after the glaciers of the last ice age the created the form of the land that is there now.

    But, what the heck, as long as it sounds plausible and has emotional impact, there is no downside to being wrong. The major broadcast media will not ridicule you and you will not be held accountable as long as you follow the narrative. Now if you are country to the narrative, you are mentally deranged. You are some kind of raving lunatic on the payroll of the “big corporations” (which are really cool to hate and really uncool to like).

  57. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are not collapsing, Anthropogenic Global Warming is.

    The warming of the seas have been spuriously exaggerated and influence of the main driver of our climate, the Sun, not adequately taken into account.

    The nails are being hammered into the Anthropogenic Global Warming coffin.

  58. Here’s a better cross-section of the Greenland ice sheet. Sections of central Greenland are below sea level, which is different on the east and west sides of the country.

    Northern, central, and southern cross-sections, from the top of the image.

  59. Interesting that nowhere in the linked article do they show any map or cross-section of either Greenland or Antarctica. They just say “Greenland and West Antarctica are roughly similar to the Southern Africa in cross section, but with an ice cap in the depression.” While this generalisation seems to be largely true for Greenland, it doesn’t hold up for West Antarctica.

  60. Did someone make another ridiculous “peak oil” reference to the “oil drum”? This is a ridiculous argument that I am soooo tired of hearing. It is pure unadulterated BS. Please stop it !! We certainly will run out if we stop looking and we stop drilling. This is the agenda of the “oil drum”. The claim that no new large deposits are being found is rubbish and has been shown to be rubbish over and over. I would love to see the world get off oil, but at the moment we need it to provide us with the energy needed to develop an alternative that is not subsidized up the wazoo. The “oil drum” wants you to believe we only have a few minutes left. Have we not been fooled before? If it happens again, it will be shame on us this time. David L. Hagen, I’m sorry, but you have been misled.

  61. David Ball,

    Not to get into a debate on peak oil, but the last time I looked we are building a fleet of 6th generation rigs to go drill deepwater (10,000 feet) at a cost of $600 million and with well costs often north of $60 million per well.

    I can assure you we will NOT run out of oil anytime soon, however, you can be assured that with rising demand from the developing world (especially China) – the days of cheap easy oil are largely over. Sure there will be oil price peaks and troughs but on average, over the long term, oil prices are only headed one direction: UP.

    Read Peter Terzakian’s book if you want to grasp the issues. He correctly points out that as oil prices rise there will be a natural economic tendency to seek alternatives and to reduce consumption.

    For sure, those who say we will “run out” are being overly pessimistic but “cheap oil” looks likely to become a thing that future generations may look back on kind of like the “roaring twenties”.

    The analogy of hunters picking on the most abundant large prey first is quite valid with oil. We definitely got a lot of the easy stuff – certainly not ALL the easy stuff but everyone agrees we have already used up many if not most of the very biggest giant fields (cheapest oil)

  62. ginckgo (17:55:06) :

    You are right about West Antarctica. The ice there lies largely in a rift valley more similar to the Red Sea but wider. East Antarctica has more typical “Gondwana topography” with raised escarpments or mountain chains around most of the periphery (except the Prydz Bay rift and the Wilkes subglacial basin).

  63. crosspatch (09:26:44) :

    “…………..Footnote 14 points to the Steig paper published in Nature that has been shown to be faulty in its conclusions. Maybe someone with more authority than I would care to correct that portion of the article.”

    I’m afraid that there is in fact a warming wiki tag team – these people do understand the power of (mis)information. Or probably “control of the narrative” as they would call it. Plain lying in my book.

  64. Richard:
    The nails are being hammered into the Anthropogenic Global Warming coffin.
    The problem is it isn’t dead yet, continually reinvents itself, and keeps pushing the lid back up. We either need to kill it once and for all, or switch to sheetrock srews.

  65. My own research shows that Greenland ice is only resisting the centrifugal force of the earths rotation due to the frozen ice at the base that sticks it to the bedrock. In 95 months the friction of that base ice will give way and the whole ice sheet will travel tangentally across the globe like a hammer being released by an Olympic thrower. This ice sheet will travel into the stratosphere on a parabolic trajectory finally returning to earth in the Gulf of Mexico. This will cause a tsunami 500 meters high that will travel across the globe at the speed of sound.

  66. His wording conjured up the idea of a deep bowl filled to the top with ice-cubes versus a plate with the same amount of ice sitting on top, which would be closer to reality.

    Thanks for clarifying. I think “basin”, though, is a fairish descriptor, even if it’s not, scale-wise, like a bowl filled to the top with ice.

    I’ll leave it to folks more knowledgeable than I about glaciation in Greenland (which is just about everyone, I think) to discuss that sort of thing with you.

    Again, thanks for clarifying.

  67. Jeremy (21:36:40) The reason that deep sea drilling is looked at as a solution is simply because the envirowackos will not let us drill our own resources, oil or anything else. The amount of misinformation and obfuscation regarding oil resources are driven by the same agenda that is driving CAGW. Aside from the fact that the technology for location and extraction is moving by leaps and bounds, no one can predict the future. Who can say what developments are to come? Who can say what remains underground? There is so much that we do not know, that to claim that someone “knows” is a blatant fallacy. Paul Erlich has claimed that we are “running out of this and that” for a long time now, and the reverse has happened. Are you familiar with Saskatchewan? Your claim that we have drilled the “easy stuff already” is proven false in that province, as the resources there, other than potash and some uranium, have remained untouched. Saskatchewan is a very large chunk of real estate. There is a lot of oil that is already known about, and they are just starting to look closer. If you can show me that I am wrong, I humbly defer to you, sir.

  68. Ray: “When you think that a 10 cm thick ice bridge can support a fully loaded 10 wheels truck”

    Somehow, I don’t think that civil engineering is your strong point.

  69. @Slartibartfast No problem with the word ‘basin’, just the ‘deep’ modifier used. ;)

    @ginckgo Also interesting is that they bemoan textbooks for propagating the idea of glaciers sliding down an inclined plane as incorrect, so do they offer a more appropriate diagram? No. In fact, their figures 2 and 3 depict that same exact process!

  70. Okay, I found the book they criticized on the first page, The Great Ice Age (2000) by R.C.L. Wilson, on google. Not sure which version the authors of this ‘paper’ read, but the figure showing the ‘misconception’ of glaciers sliding down a plane is clearly labeled ‘Valley Glacier’. They even have an ‘Ice Cap’ laying on a level surface.

    You be the judge.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=M4Nq7BBVfngC&lpg=PA253&ots=mt5hKPO5nw&dq=The%20Great%20Ice%20Age%20(2000)%20by%20R.C.L.%20Wilson&pg=PA52#v=onepage&q=The%20Great%20Ice%20Age%20(2000)%20by%20R.C.L.%20Wilson&f=false

    The authors do themselves a great disservice by not clearly distinguishing between mountain and continental glaciers from the very outset, and resorting to a bait and switch argument. :/

  71. Vincent (05:36:35) :

    My own research shows that Greenland ice is only resisting the centrifugal force of the earths rotation due to the frozen ice at the base that sticks it to the bedrock. In 95 months the friction of that base ice will give way and the whole ice sheet will travel tangentally across the globe like a hammer being released by an Olympic thrower. This ice sheet will travel into the stratosphere on a parabolic trajectory finally returning to earth in the Gulf of Mexico.

    —–

    What!

    No, no, no. You’re wrong. Simply dead wrong. We’ve discussed this before, but this time I can’t let your math error continue.

    The Greenland Ice cannot fall back into the Gulf of Mexico – the earth’s rotation, plus the original latitude of the centroid of Greenland’s icecap at just above 72 degrees means that the impact point is west of Greenland.

    Never southwest.

    Yes, I concede you have the basic physics right. Melted water from the minus 30 degree surface goes down 3 km through the icecap, pools underneath the icecap on the parabolically smooth landmass under the icecap, then creates a slippery “tipping point” sloped ramp caoting the 2.2 million sq km under the ice. We “all” know that.

    But you have never – in any calculation! – accounted for the southerly acceleration needed to land the icecap in the Gulf. It goes up, pauses under gravity at its peak height while the earth underneath rotates at just at 1000 mph (at the equator mind you!). Then the icecap falls back – but at the same latitude.

    It will land approximately mid-Canada – depending on how much you assume for aerodynamic braking through the atmosphere compared to the lift as it flies “sideways” with both a rounded upper and lower surface. I must admit, the amount of net lift vs the changing “angle of attack” of the bottom surface may be endlessly debatable without wind-tunnel testing.

    But not the Gulf of Mexico. No. There simply can be no acceleration to the south.

  72. Ray & Larryoldtimer

    As for the strength of 10 cm thick ice, according to the standards of the Soviet Army it is sufficient (with peacetime safety margins) for a wheeled vehicle weighing 1550 lbs or a tracked vehicle weighing 2700 lbs. According to the Swedish Army it is safe for a wheeled vehicle weighing 2200 lbs, with the proviso that this only applies to solid, cold winter ice, not spring ice.

    It would have to be a very light truck!

  73. I presume the Antarctic Peninsula fits into the “Except around the edges” exception. The given arguments wouldn’t apply, since the AP is narrow and ‘highly mountainous’.
    But how do marine-based ice sheets fit into their arguments?

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is…classified as a marine-based ice sheet, meaning that its bed lies well below sea level and its edges flow into floating ice shelves…
    Polar ice experts from the U.S. and U.K….in March, 2007…discussed a new hypothesis that explains the observed increased melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. They proposed that changes in air circulation patterns have led to increased upwelling of warm, deep ocean water along the coast of Antarctica and that this warm water has increased melting of floating ice shelves at the edge of the ice sheet. An ocean model has shown how changes in winds can help channel the water along deep troughs on the sea floor, toward the ice shelves of outlet glaciers. The exact cause of the changes in circulating patterns is not known and they may be due to natural variability. However, the connection between the atmosphere and upwelling of deep ocean water provides a mechanism by which human induced climate change could cause an accelerated loss of ice from WAIS. Recently published data collected from satellites support this hypothesis, suggestin that the west Antarctic ice sheet is beginning to show signs of instability. Wikipedia

    …..Pine Island Glacier (which drains about 10% of WAIS):

    One of Antarctica’s greatest glaciers is thinning so quickly it could disappear within 100 years…jeopardising a volume of ice that could raise global sea levels by around 25 cm.
    …the rate at which the glacier is thinning has accelerated and spread inland…the central ‘trunk’ of the glacier lost four times as much ice in 2006 than it did in 1995…
    “As the glacier thinning speeds up, more and more ice is lost to the oceans and the supply of snowfall just cannot keep pace.”
    Sea water in this region is about 0.5 degree Centigrade warmer than scientists think it should be…And because Pine Island Glacier flows straight into the sea, its much more vulnerable to changes in water temperature than most other Antarctic glaciers which are buttressed by ((larger??)) floating ice shelves.
    “We know that warm water is the most likely candidate for the cause of Pine Island Glacier thinning. What we need now is for oceanographers to tell us why the ocean temperature is so high…”
    Some researchers suggest that warm water at the coastal end of the glacier may be melting the underside of the glacier’s floating ice shelf at an unsustainable rate. They say that this may have ultimately led to accelerated thinning inland.
    “This is perhaps the greatest signal of change in the cryosphere today…”
    The underlying danger is that most of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet lies on bedrock that rests well below sea level. If the Pine Island Glacier continues to thin and retreat it will eventually become afloat, leading to drawdown of ice from the deep interior of Antarctica. Planet Earth online, 14 Aug, 2009

  74. “”” Robert A Cook PE (12:03:24) :

    Vincent (05:36:35) :

    Yes, I concede you have the basic physics right. Melted water from the minus 30 degree surface goes down 3 km through the icecap, pools underneath the icecap on the parabolically smooth landmass under the icecap, then creates a slippery “tipping point” sloped ramp caoting the 2.2 million sq km under the ice. We “all” know that. “””

    Would you care to explain the physics (which you assert you both have correct (right)) that causes water ice at -30 deg (C ?) to “melt” into water.

    There are no physical conditions anywhere on earth, where ice exists, which permit the melting of ice at -30 deg C; or for that matter at -30 deg F if you wish to try and weasel out of it that way.

    So you both agree on the Physics; so enlighten us all; what is that Physics ?

    George

  75. “”” LarryOldtimer (09:50:30) :

    Ray: “When you think that a 10 cm thick ice bridge can support a fully loaded 10 wheels truck”

    Somehow, I don’t think that civil engineering is your strong point. “””

    Well I would agree with that; having designed a road bridge with a wooden deck and structural steel I-beam supports on a concrete base, that WAS capable of carrying a mythical 20 ton 10 wheeler H-20 truck; a truck which you can’t legally drive on any piece of US highway to get to my bridge. A District Civil engineer assured me my design was sound; in fact it could support an A-1 Abrams tank, carrying an identical tank on top of it. But the diustrict still wouldn’t allow me to build it without paying off all their parasites; so they have to make do with a “repaired” all wooden bridge, which I won’t guarantee to them is capable of supporting more than a 4000 pound vehicle of any kind.

    Now as I understand ice, it is similar to concrete and has very little tensile structural strength; which means it also has no flexural strength; so drive your truck on 4 inches of ice on your own time and property.

    You can learn something, by noting that the average pressure on the carrying surface cannot exceed the air pressure in the tires (maybe 150 psi max), plus whatever flexural rigidity rubber tires have which isn’t a heck of a lot. Typical 18 wheeler tires are rated for 125 psi (cold pressure) maximum, so my 150 would be close to the road point pressure limit.

  76. Reminds me of a debate either here or on CA in respect of the Greenland ice sheet and the extent to which it could be affected by solar irradiance . One particularly amusing post about someone not wanting to try and calculate how much it would take to make the water flow uphill sticks in the mind.

    Maybe this was humouralizing. It made me laugh anyway.

  77. George E. Smith (15:33:12) :

    “”” Robert A Cook PE (12:03:24) :

    Vincent (05:36:35) :

    Yes, I concede you have the basic physics right. Melted water from the minus 30 degree surface goes down 3 km through the icecap, pools underneath the icecap on the parabolically smooth landmass under the icecap, then creates a slippery “tipping point” sloped ramp caoting the 2.2 million sq km under the ice. We “all” know that. “””

    Would you care to explain the physics (which you assert you both have correct (right)) that causes water ice at -30 deg (C ?) to “melt” into water.

    ===

    Yes, you caught me in that slight (but really very trivial) exaggeration. I apoligize, I should have kept to Hansen’s highest level of accuracy. The surface melt water from today’s +.23 degree C increase in temperature is really at only -26.3 K; and it only flows down through an average 0f 2682 meters of ice before creating the meltwater under all that ice that will cause the Greenland ice cap to go sliding up into space.

    But it will fall down on mid-Canada. Not Vincent’s totally absurd Gulf of Mexico projection.

  78. The Greenland Ice cannot fall back into the Gulf of Mexico – the earth’s rotation, plus the original latitude of the centroid of Greenland’s icecap at just above 72 degrees means that the impact point is west of Greenland.

    Never southwest.

    I really, really hope that you are saying this tongue-in-cheek. This is not even wrong.

  79. I mean, assuming you are serious, what force balance could possibly result in a chunk of matter massing a couple of trillion metric tons being launched into space at sometime in the future, but not now? And not only not now with the ice cap, not now with the humans and various animals that currently inhabit that part of the world?

  80. Ok, so I was short a few orders of magnitude in the mass department. Still, the larger question stands.

  81. Vincent and Robert,
    Surely, the sudden negative pressure created by the departing ice would suck out both north poles ( the True and the Magnetic) and their acceleration could propel them far to the south. Ice may have more to do with polarity switcheroos than the models suggest.

  82. Robert A Cook PE & Vincent:

    Fascinating new scientific findings you’ve got there. Now that we’ve established you got the basic physics right, I think you need to hurry up and include an attribution study in time to have your research ready for Copenhagen.

    What’s “driving” this sudden ejection of the Greenland ice sheet into the stratosphere and subsequent landing in Canada? Are you suggesting natural causation or is it mainly caused by the evil ways of mankind? What about time scales, you need to show catastrophic impact by the end of the century, you know.

    Also, don’t forget about probabilities. This is climate science, so never mind statistical significance. Just pull some wild-ass guess out of your butt end. Shall we say 90% probably most likely due to man-made climate change?

    If you can get your study together for Copenhagen in December, you will certainly compete with Rahmstorf, Mann, et. al. for most catastrophic non-science in show.

  83. Slartibartfast (20:23:01) : “I mean, assuming you are serious. . .”
    LOL!

    JAN (01:40:59): “Are you suggesting natural causation or is it mainly caused by the evil ways of mankind? ”
    Answer: Evil ways, evil ways!

    Thanks all for playing along with a little light hearted fun!

    PS, I was wrong about Gulf of Mexico – Canada definately. Sorry Candadians.

  84. Vincent (06:28:48) :

    Slartibartfast (20:23:01) : “I mean, assuming you are serious. . .”
    LOL!

    JAN (01:40:59): “Are you suggesting natural causation or is it mainly caused by the evil ways of mankind? ”
    Answer: Evil ways, evil ways!

    Thanks all for playing along with a little light hearted fun!

    ***
    Light hearted fun? I’ve just managed to get a large grant to study this effect so you’d better all keep up the pretence…

    tonyb

  85. JAN (12:12:17) :

    TonyB, you’re not a grant foster, are you?

    Neigh, neigh m’lord Jan.

    I saw TonyB at the mall today as he’d hurried right around the optical shop, skipping both breakfast and lunch in the hopes of getting his account serviced in time downtown:

    If I’d had not seen him run right over EM Smith in his haste, I’d never have known he was a faster Foster Grant granted faster.

  86. Robert A Cook PE (18:09:40):

    That’s a relief then. If he were to be a grant foster, I am convinced his study would show that by assuming an oversimplified two box model unsupported by the physical world, and possibly in conflict with 2LOT, the ejection of the Greenland ice sheet would be granted by 2100.

  87. Jan and Robert

    With the amount we’re paying in the UK in ‘environmental taxes’ of one sort or another we have to grab any grants we can :)

    Unfortunately to date I’ve never managed to get a grant in my life, but it seems to me that recent threads here highlighting various areas of research open up lots of possibilities.

    Greenland seems a bit cold but perhaps I could grab a grant to study the effects of ice and snow on high level slopes during the forthcoming skiing season in the Alps? I’ll need a luxurious chalet as a base of course…

    tonyb

  88. TonyB (03:20:33) “perhaps I could grab a grant to study the effects of ice and snow on high level slopes during the forthcoming skiing season in the Alps? I’ll need a luxurious chalet as a base of course…”

    Perhaps you should become a medical consultant of some sort. I am always bumping into doctors or dentists attending conferences during ski season in the Alps. It seems possible to claim some sort of tax benefit for attending such conferences whilst missing some of the more boring seminars!

    Regards

  89. i have a big problem with the notion of melt water seeping down to the base of a 3km+ deep glaciar. Wouldn’t the water re-freeze as it passed by the 3000m of ice? The whole concept of the water lubricating the base of an ice sheet is just rediculous. The physics in this paper do a lot more to explain things better.

  90. As I recall from the ice cores, the Eemian interglacial was two to three degrees warmer than the present for several thousand years. The ice didn’t melt then, and I’d bet a nickel the humans surviving the coming ice age will find the Holocene well recorded in both Greenland and Antarctica.

  91. [snip] Greenland and Antarctica ARE NOT giant basins. [snip] The ice sheets lie on coastal plains that all incline to the ocean. If you really believe that Greenland and Antarctica are built like giant atolls [snip]. It means you don’t believe in the Transantarctic Mountain ranges. [snip]

    Reply: You’re welcome to post here if you change your tone. You’ll notice your main content has not be censored. First warning ~ ctm

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