Antarctic Ice shelf collapse – “worse than we thought”

Researchers Provide Detailed Picture of Ice Loss Following Collapse of Antarctic Ice Shelves

An international team of researchers has combined data from multiple sources to provide the clearest account yet of how much glacial ice surges into the sea following the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves.
The work by researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique at the University of Toulouse, France, and the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colo., details recent ice losses while promising to sharpen future predictions of further ice loss and sea level rise likely to result from ongoing changes along the Antarctic Peninsula.

disintegration of Larsen B ice shelf The Larsen B ice shelf began disintegrating around Jan. 31, 2002. Its eventual collapse into the Weddell Sea remains the largest in a series of Larsen ice shelf losses in recent decades, and a team of international scientists has now documented the continued glacier ice loss in the years following the dramatic event. NASA’s MODerate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured this image on Feb. 17, 2002. (Credit: MODIS, NASA’s Earth Observatory) › Larger image

“Not only do you get an initial loss of glacial ice when adjacent ice shelves collapse, but you get continued ice losses for many years — even decades — to come,” says Christopher Shuman, a researcher at UMBC’s Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Shuman is lead author of the study published online July 25 in the Journal of Glaciology. “This further demonstrates how important ice shelves are to Antarctic glaciers.”

An ice shelf is a thick floating tongue of ice, fed by a tributary glacier, extending into the sea off a land mass. Previous research showed that the recent collapse of several ice shelves in Antarctica led to acceleration of the glaciers that feed into them. Combining satellite data from NASA and the French space agency CNES, along with measurements collected during aircraft missions similar to ongoing NASA IceBridge flights, Shuman, Etienne Berthier, of the University of Toulouse, and Ted Scambos, of the University of Colorado, produced detailed ice loss maps from 2001 to 2009 for the main tributary glaciers of the Larsen A and B ice shelves, which collapsed in 1995 and 2002, respectively.

'flyover' view of the Larsen Ice Shelf The Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA) provides this “flyover” view of the Larsen Ice Shelf’s long reach out into the Weddell Sea. (Credit: LIMA)
› Larger image

“The approach we took drew on the strengths of each data source to produce the most complete picture yet of how these glaciers are changing,” Berthier said, noting that the study relied on easy access to remote sensing information provided by NASA and CNES. The team used data from NASA sources including the MODerate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments and the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat).

The analysis reveals rapid elevation decreases of more than 500 feet for some glaciers, and it puts the total ice loss from 2001 to 2006 squarely between the widely varying and less certain estimates produced using an approach that relies on assumptions about a glacier’s mass budget.

The authors’ analysis shows ice loss in the study area of at least 11.2 gigatons (11.2 billion tons) per year from 2001 to 2006. Their ongoing work shows ice loss from 2006 to 2010 was almost as large, averaging 10.2 gigatons (10.2 billion tons) per year.

An animation showing ice edge changes for the Larsen B ice shelf and its adjacent tributary glaciers can be viewed at http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3803.


Related Links

› Larsen B Ice Front Changes 2001-2009 (NASA SVS)
› Animation of Larsen B collapse (NASA Earth Observatory)
› Before and after Larsen A comparison (NASA SVS)


Goddard Release No. 11-046

=========================================================

UPDATE: The press liaison at NSDIC wrote to complain about  the “worse than we thought” title.

Dear Mr. Watts,

We noted that you republished a NASA/NSIDC press release regarding a new Journal of Glaciology paper. In the headline of your post, the phrase “worse than we thought” is in quotation marks. This makes it appear as if it is a quote from the press release, and a statement by the researchers. We request that you remove the quotation marks so that it is clearer that this is your headline.

NASA and NSIDC scientists are always willing to grant interviews to journalists if you have questions about their research.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Katherine Leitzell Science Communications National Snow and Ice Data Center Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences 449 University of Colorado Boulder, CO 80309

I replied:
Dear Ms. Leitzell

The “worse than we thought” is a cliché that reverberates through the climate science community and is well understood by my readers. It is a satirical statement, intending to convey the oft repeated science by press release position that climate change is an escalating series of alarming press releases, each worse that the other.

Quotation marks also serve to delineate a satirical statement, and is often visualized in person by the person taking two fingers (index and middle) and bending them. It has also been described as being a snowclone in the vein of.

X is  “worse than we thought”.

Thus, since satire is protected by free speech, and this is a fair use application of a publicly funded study and press release, the headline stands. I will however make a footnote at the bottom of the story stating that NSIDC has complained, and the title are my satirical words. You should know that the press release is not being well received. http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2011/07/antarctic-ice-allegedly-declining-at.html

Thank you for your consideration.
Anthony Watts

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132 thoughts on “Antarctic Ice shelf collapse – “worse than we thought”

  1. Now it occurs to me that any protuding out far enough will break off eventually. What was expected? For it to just carry on growing indefinitely?

  2. Just wait another 2 weeks we can really rub it in the AGW’s. Of course only trust Scandinavians when it comes to NH ice extent.

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

    Looks like RC is putting its foot in mouth again LOL!
    So Antarctica is melting????

    Pleeuuuuzzz!
    Even pro AGW CT can’t hide it

  3. FACT: The largest known ice island measured 31,000 km2 (335 km x 97 km) broke away from the Filchner Shelf in 1956 and was reported by the USS Glacier on November 12, 1956.
    Larsen B-15 by comparison is 295 x 37 km.
    EOM

  4. As of today, 26 July, the area of Antractic Sea Ice is at its 1979 to 2000 average. If it’s losing it at the Larsen Ice Shelf then it must be gaining it elsewhere.

  5. But Global Warming is going to cause increased precipitation, which will cause the glaciers to flow faster, which will cause larger ice-shelves to build up and subsequently break off, which will raise the seas even more! I mean, everybody knows that the snow atop the glaciers isn’t from the ocean, right? The ocean isn’t made of snow!

  6. This has been playing again on Cable (we’re doomed):

    Last Days On Earth 10/12 History Channel (guess what is the #1 threat?)

  7. So the ice loss has decreased by nearly 10 per cent in the period to 2010, compared with 2001 to 2006.

    And that would be a problem how?

  8. Accelerating Ice mass loss in both Antarctica and Greenland is undeniable. The only question is as to cause:

    1) Natural cyclic behavior
    2) Anthropogenic Warming
    3) A combination of 1 & 2

  9. Stark Dickflüssig says:
    July 26, 2011 at 9:39 am
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Increased precipitation indeed. So now that we have cubits and cubits of water lying in farmers fields all over North America replenishing ground water for the first time in 5 years, how much are the oceans going to drop leaving ports unaccessible? /sarc off

  10. 11 billion tons sounds like alot but it is equal to 11 cubic kms of ice. The antarctic is coverd by 3 million cubic kms of ice. 11 kms is absolutly insignificant.

    No matter how many gazzillion tons of ice has melted, the warmers always try to makee it sound so huge, but in reality the annual ice melt is nothing. It is so small, no wonder they have a hard time agreeing with the measurements.

    Cheers.

  11. Excuse me, I made an error. Antarctica is covered by 30 million cubic kms of ice, sorry about that. The 11 cubic kms of melted ice is ever more insignificant than I had realized.

  12. Stark Dickflüssig says:
    July 26, 2011 at 9:39 am

    But Global Warming is going to cause increased precipitation… The ocean isn’t made of snow!
    =========================
    Heh. Thanks, I needed that. :)

  13. Accelerating Ice mass loss in both Antarctica and Greenland is undemonstrated. The only question is as to cause:

    1) Natural cyclic[al] behavio[u]r
    2) Our models suck but they’re still right
    3) A combination of 1 & 2
    4) A combination of 1, 3, & 4
    5) A combination of 4 and 2
    6) All of the above except 1

  14. OK. So what is this?

    Science 22 July 2011:
    Vol. 333 no. 6041 p. 401
    DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6041.401

    Antarctic Ice’s Future Still Mired in Its Murky Past
    Richard A. Kerr
    Summary

    “A new reanalysis by two NASA scientists of the three standard ice-monitoring techniques slashes the estimated loss from East Antarctica, challenging the large, headline-grabbing losses reported lately for the continent as a whole. Although not the final word, the new study shows that researchers still have a lot to learn about the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6041/401.summary?ref=topst

  15. R. Gates
    Accelerating Ice mass loss in both Antarctica and Greenland is undeniable.

    Really? That’s news to all of us. Where is your evidence?

  16. Watching NASA’s animation of the “collapse of the Larsen-B ice shelf”, this looks like cherry-picking. All the ice in the Bay looks to my untrained eye to be normal pack ice which comes and goes seasonally during the period of the animation 2001-2009. However, in 2001 there was a bit more of the sea ice and in 2009 a bit less. And this is a very localised event, not representative of Antarctica as a whole.

    By the way, R Gates – Accelerating Ice mass loss in both Antarctica and Greenland is undeniable.
    Check the stats before hyperventilating too much: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png

  17. My advanced Toothpaste Model of sea ice represents the land ice as an open-topped cylinder containing and accumulating slow-flowing cold ice, and the bottom flange as an extrusion outlet where warmer faster-flowing ice gets squoze out. The faster it’s coming out, the higher the level of the cylinder’s ice must be.
    So more calving proves there’s more land ice.

    Q.E.D.
    :)

  18. I read some time ago that Larson B was a huge body of ice floating on water with a local anticyclone above it. I assume the air pressure was flexing this brittle material until it fractured and broke off. The removal of this ‘dam’ meant that glaciers would rapidly shed ice which was no longer blocked.

    The ice shelf did not melt. It is not an unusual occurrence, in fact any large body of ice floating on water will eventually fracture without any ‘warming’.

    Interesting, but no big story really.

  19. Watching a Glacier is just like watching the rapids of a great river, just in slow motion. If ice didn’t calf off from time to time, the ice would eventually close off the straits of Magellan.
    Physically, this isn’t very different from loading up one end of a cheap paper plate with too much potato salad, eventually, something’s got to give. This is my usual philosophical answer, it does not require “proof”, it is open to ridicule, but understand that it is Philosophy, and is based purely upon observation, not modeling.

  20. “Not only do you get an initial loss of glacial ice when adjacent ice shelves collapse, but you get continued ice losses for many years — even decades — to come,” says Christopher Shuman

    And they know this how? Because of a 10 year (one decade) picture collage?

    “Previous research showed that the recent collapse of several ice shelves in Antarctica led to acceleration of the glaciers that feed into them”

    All right, so the glaciers accelerate… Prove the connection is solely based on the ice shelf breakup and not just seasonal AND prove it is unusual. Sure is not done in the press release..

    “The authors’ analysis shows ice loss in the study area of at least 11.2 gigatons (11.2 billion tons) per year from 2001 to 2006. Their ongoing work shows ice loss from 2006 to 2010 was almost as large, averaging 10.2 gigatons (10.2 billion tons) per year”

    My first thought, Enough data for a yearly estimated average, to be corrected over the next few decades/millenia. Not enough info to show these breakups are unusual. My second thought, from the summary it sure seems like they are convinced that entire ice shelf is glacier derived. So is this supposed ice loss calculated directly from glacier movement or is it just a supposition based on the shelf area breakups? Once again, the press releases trumpet alarums e.g. the ominous yet typically hollow “decades to come”, but give us very little detail depth.

  21. Given an ice shelf is created by a growing ice sheet as it expands beyond the landmass and into the water (am I wrong here?) then would we not expect more ice shelf breakage as the ice sheet grows and expands. I think we should be worried only if these events (breaking ice sheets) ceased. This would be followed by a measurable reduction in the ice sheet thickness (no more expansion) and finally by measurable increases in the RATE of sea level rise.
    Also, why the link between ice shelf calving and sea level rise when the shelf is in water already?
    Finally:
    “Previous research showed that the recent collapse of several ice shelves in Antarctica led to acceleration of the glaciers that feed into them.”
    Isn’t this bass ackwards? Shouldn’t glacier acceleration lead to the collapse of more ice shelves as these are pushed further out into the sea?
    I would fail a climate science test every time.

  22. Ice loss in West Antarctica has been occurring recently, but this does not mean that Antarctica as a whole is losing ice in net terms. Increased precipitation (which is supposed to increase with global warming) leads to faster ice formation on the whole continent, especially the vast central and eastern regions, amply making up for any losses in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. The IPCC projects a net ice gain over Antarctica during the 21st century, thus detracting water from the sea and reducing the rate of sea level rise. Recent papers (such as Vaughan 2008 and his precedent papers: see refs below) review literature and present results that do not support the so-called Mercer hypothesis that West Antarctica ice shelf calving (and associated acceleration of land-based ice flow into the sea) has any relationship with global warming or SST.

    References to Vaughan’s papers:

    Vaughan, David G., & J.R. Spouge, 2002. Risk estimation of collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Climatic Change 52:65-91.
    Vaughan, David G., 2005. How does the Antarctic ice sheet affect sea level rise? Science, 308 (5730): 1877-1878. DOI: 10.1126/science.1114670.
    Vaughan, David G., 2006. Recent trends in melting conditions on the Antarctic Peninsula and their implications for ice-sheet mass balance and sea level. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 38 (1):147-152.
    Vaughan, David G., 2008. West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse – the fall and rise of a paradigm. Climatic Change 91(1-2):65-79.

  23. Steve,
    “Isn’t this [backwards]? Shouldn’t glacier acceleration lead to the collapse of more ice shelves as these are pushed further out into the sea?”

    From another apprentice in this matter:
    Most of the West Antarctic land-grounded ice sheet is a marine ice sheet, resting on a continental bed located below sea level, and kept in its place (in part) by the surrounding (floating) ice shelves. The idea of a melting West Antarctica (originating with Mercer two or three decades ago) is that global warming would cause the shelves to melt; and that once the shelves dissolve into the sea, this would release the marine ice sheet from its bed and cause further acceleration of grounded ice towards the sea, with possibly positive feedback i.e. increasing rate of melting. This hypothesis appears to have no grounds, and is not happening, according to existing literature (see my previous comment).

  24. When glaciers and ice sheets shrink, they do NOT do so by calving. They melt away from the face, and leave debris behind, and puddles like the Great Lakes.
    More calving = more core ice sheet buildup.

  25. PajamaMan et. al.,

    Yes, ice has been accumulating in the INTERIOR of Greenland, and of course, long term ice core studies show that this is to be expected during periods of warmer temperatures:

    See: http://rabbithole2.com/presentation/images2/ice_core/alley2000.gif

    Warmer Oceans=more evaporation=heavier snowfall in winter

    But taken as a whole, Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice faster than it is accumulating:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-09/ice-loss-accelerates-in-greenland-antarctica-nasa-study-finds.html

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144011.htm

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/us-finds-massive-melt-at-greenland-ice-sheet-20110629-1gr2l.html

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-greenland-ice-sheet-video.html

    ______
    Mike Jowsey,

    You need to understand the difference between sea ice and the continental glacial ice we’re referring to.

    July 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

  26. Now wha thappens when you put ice into a drink- it cools the liquid.
    now what could possibly happen if a big freakin’ piece of ice hits the
    water?
    Jes’ askin’

  27. If Klems figures are correct then 10.2 gigatons would represent a loss of Antarctic ice of 0.000034% per year.

    Not the most apocalyptic scenario!

  28. More gloom and doom anti-science as a foundation to demand more gloom and doom tax payer research to produce more gloom and doom what difference does it make research. Maybe when palm trees are growing on Antartica, and large hotels are racking in the cash via tourism, the gloomerdoomers can predict massive growing inescapable glaciers, once thought to be a thing of the past; poised to whipe us all from existance.

    The only consistancy is the over study of the last ten to 100 years. My farming grandparents know more about the climate than most climatologists, who suddenly are abundant and still can’t predict the weather, let alone climate change.

  29. @Hector M. Thanks for the comments and the references. A little more reading ahead for me!

  30. Oh Gawd, yet another ‘the world is ending’ story. The never ending fear mongering is insane.

  31. RGates,
    it appears indeed that Greenland has been losing ice in net terms, at least in a few years around 2000, but not Antarctica. And the latter is not predicted to lose ice in net terms during the coming century or so. See the IPCC AR4 report, and related (more recent) literature.

  32. Melting ice causes the pressure of the glacier to decrease, so the flow towards the sea or away from the center slows down. Gaining ice increases the pressure of the glacier, so the flow towards the sea or away from the center speeds up. During winter when the glacier is locked up in sea ice the pressure increases in areas with further snow. The locked up sea ice can hold this further pressure over time until whats holding it up begins to become weak. This depends on especially how much the build up of snow mass is and how thick/large the sea ice is. During the summer when sea ice regularly retreats, the forces holding up this glacier become weak. This enables carving and/or collapses of the glacier as it weakens and/or becomes prone to warmer ocean water the further out it spreads over the years.

    Retreating glaciers like observed in the Alps during the 19th century, were at the time advancing towards villages and people were getting very concerned. Warming occurred around the mid-19th century, the glaciers stopped advancing and were in fact retreating with patches of ice and debris remaining. Calving of ice only occurs when the glacier is advancing and this can fracture or break when the temperatures are well below zero centrigrade. Antarctica is not losing any ice that is not far from it’s coast. The West Antarctica shelve is well out from the coast and most of it in the sea. The calving/collapsing of parts of this glacier can’t rise sea levels while it is occuring already in the sea. The entire Antarctic continent in a radius excluding the Penisula, always remains below zero centrigrade even during Summer. (some areas get even more snow build up)

    Winter temperatures are extremely cold at this time of year even on the coasts.

  33. From an engineering perspective, I think ice shelves fail due to “fatigue” with the driving force being the tides. Ice shelves float on the open ocean yet they are at some point fixed to land. Thus, parts of it go up and down with the tide while other parts are immobile. This induces a lot of stress with the magnitude dependent upon how much moves up and down (i.e. how much of the shelf floats). This bending back and forth damages the ice over time and at some point it fractures, much like a paper clip that has been bent back and forth too many times. Seems kind of simple…

  34. BigBadBear says:
    July 26, 2011 at 9:17 am
    Now it occurs to me that any protuding out far enough will break off eventually. What was expected? For it to just carry on growing indefinitely?
    ————
    No, I hope not and I’m glad to see it stop before it reaches the Arctic.

  35. dtbronzich says:
    July 26, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Watching a Glacier is just like watching the rapids of a great river, just in slow motion. If ice didn’t calf off from time to time, the ice would eventually close off the straits of Magellan.
    Physically, this isn’t very different from loading up one end of a cheap paper plate with too much potato salad, eventually, something’s got to give. This is my usual philosophical answer, it does not require “proof”, it is open to ridicule, but understand that it is Philosophy, and is based purely upon observation, not modeling.

    Ah you have discovered there ia a tipping point.

  36. There seems to be quite the enthusiam that AGW is dead when this is ice mass balance in the negative from just one small part of Antartica. A 11.2 gt loss changing to 10.2 gt loss per year just off of the larsen ice shelf area is still substantial.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice-intermediate.htm

    The whole of Antartica is loosing between 100 to 300 gt per year. Most of it coming west Antartica.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larsen_Ice_Shelf

    The speed of Crane Glacier increased threefold after the collapse of the Larsen B and this is likely to be due to the removal of a buttressing effect of the ice shelf.[14] Recent data collected by an international team of investigators through satellite-based radar measurements suggests that the overall ice-sheet mass balance in Antarctica is increasingly negative.[15]

    I can understand that you believe the warmists are wrong, there is a lot of evidence that the ice all over the world is in negative mass balance. That kind of evidence would support the instrumental temperature record.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record#Warmest_Decades

    Adding more co2 to atmosphere is ignoring what you don’t want to look at. A warmer world.

  37. One gigatonne of ice is about one cubic kilometer of ice, which, as others have pointed out, makes the numbers on ice loss look relatively insignificant in relation to the volumes of ice in Antarctica. However the real telling comparison is to the volume of the world’s oceans which is generally given as approx. 1.5 BiILLION km3. Given the 3800m avg depth of the the oceans, the extra vol. generated by the claimed losses would amount to a couple of tenths of a millimeter of GMSL.

  38. As with most discussions regarding climate, we have all descended into school-yard taunts of “my scientists can beat up your scientists”, ‘Oh, yeah?”, etc, etc, etc with no chance of finding common ground or an agreed position.

  39. Hector M writes,
    “Recent papers (such as Vaughan 2008 and his precedent papers: see refs below) review literature and present results that do not support the so-called Mercer hypothesis that West Antarctica ice shelf calving (and associated acceleration of land-based ice flow into the sea) has any relationship with global warming or SST.”

    Vaughn does “not support the so-called Mercer hypothesis”? Perhaps we read differently. From the most recent paper that you cite (Vaughn 2008), emphasis added:

    West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse – the fall and rise of a paradigm
    David G. Vaughan, Climatic Change 2008

    “Abstract
    It is now almost 30 years since John Mercer (1978) first presented the idea that climate change could eventually cause a rapid deglaciation, or “collapse,” of a large part of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS), raising world sea levels by 5 m and causing untold economic and social impacts. This idea, apparently simple and scientifically plausible, created a vision of the future, sufficiently alarming that it became a paradigm for a generation of researchers and provided an icon for the green movement. Through the 1990s, however, a lack of observational evidence for ongoing retreat in WAIS and improved understanding of the complex dynamics of ice streams meant that estimates of likelihood of collapse seemed to be diminishing. In the last few years, however, satellite studies over the relatively inaccessible Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica have shown clear evidence of ice sheet retreat showing all the features that might have been predicted for emergent collapse. These studies are re-invigorating the paradigm, albeit in a modified form, and debate about the future stability of WAIS. Since much of WAIS appears to be unchanging, it may, no longer be reasonable to suggest there is an imminent threat of a 5-m rise in sea level resulting from complete collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, but there is strong evidence that the Amundsen Sea embayment is changing rapidly. This area alone, contains the potential to raise sea level by around 1.5 m, but more importantly it seems likely that it could alter rapidly enough to make a significant addition to the rate of sea-level rise over coming two centuries. Furthermore, a plausible connection between contemporary climate change and the fate of the ice sheet appears to be developing.

  40. More from Vaughn 2008 not rejecting the “so-called Mercer hypothesis”:

    “Indeed, all of the elements of the positive-feedback cycle that would, according to Mercer, lead inexorably to collapse, have now been observed on Pine Island Glacier: thinning of the ice shelf, inland migration of the grounding line, acceleration of the main trunk of the glacier, and thinning rates on the interior basins. In short, if 30 years ago Mercer and his colleagues had described the changes they would have expected as diagnostic of emergent collapse, this is the list that they might have written. Furthermore, the recently observed changes are occurring in the area of WAIS – precisely the area considered to be most vulnerable to collapse. Mercer himself noted that unlike, the Weddell and Ross sea sectors which drain through ~500-km wide ice shelves, the Amundsen Sea sector has only narrow ice shelves that might provide less buffering against collapse. Also, the Amundsen Sea sector rests on a deep bed and comparatively little thinning would be required cause widespread floating of previously grounded ice sheet. The Amundsen Sea sector was, perhaps over-dramatically, described by Hughes (1981), as “the weak underbelly of West Antarctica”. At least from the presently available observational evidence, an emergent collapse of this portion of WAIS seems distinctly more likely, than it did just 5 years ago when IPCC began their last (the third) assessment.”

  41. Hector M writes,
    “it appears indeed that Greenland has been losing ice in net terms, at least in a few years around 2000, but not Antarctica.”

    Greenland experienced record ice loss in 2010. Recent studies describe Antarctic mass loss as well.

    Rignot et al. (2008) Nature Geoscience,

    “In East Antarctica, small glacier losses in Wilkes Land and glacier gains at the mouths of the Filchner and Ross ice shelves combine to a near-zero loss of 4±61 Gt yr-1. In West Antarctica, widespread losses along the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas increased the ice sheet loss by 59% in 10 years to reach 132±60 Gt yr-1 in 2006. In the Peninsula, losses increased by 140% to reach 60±46 Gt yr-1 in 2006. Losses are concentrated along narrow channels occupied by outlet glaciers and are caused by ongoing and past glacier acceleration. Changes in glacier flow therefore have a significant, if not dominant impact on ice sheet mass balance.”

    Chen et al. (2009) Nature Geoscience,

    “Here we use an extended record of GRACE data spanning the period April 2002 to January 2009 to quantify the rates of Antarctic ice loss. In agreement with an independent earlier assessment4, we estimate a total loss of 19077 Gt yr-1, with 13226 Gt yr-1 coming from West Antarctica. However, in contrast with previous GRACE estimates, our data suggest that East Antarctica is losing mass, mostly in coastal regions, at a rate of -5752 Gt yr-1, apparently caused by increased ice loss since the year 2006.”

  42. Consider the estimated 10 Gtonnes of Antarctic glacial ice loss per year. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But take it in context. As klem pointed out earlier, that translates to 10 cubic km of meltwater. Spread that meltwater over the 360 million square km of ocean. All things being equal, those 10 Gtonnes per year would cause a rise in sea level of 0.3 cm — about 0.1 inch — per *century*.

    It’s far less than the loss in Greenland glaciers, which has been estimated at 200 to 300 Gtonnes per year. And even that doesn’t add up to much sea level rise.

  43. How absolutely insulting. This ice shelf/glacier on the peninsula is supposed to do what, grow until it reaches Tierra Del Fuego? If that’s the case, the article is bemoaning that Earth isn’t going straight down the frozen slope into the Ice Age, and it’s all your fault for using energy.

  44. two things:

    if you squeeze an ice cube with a c clamp it will melt faster and deform with additional pressure until it fractures.

    there is an occurance where if a piece of metal has a tiny bit of the protective covering removed a bit of corrosion forms and moves away by the circumstances (for the engineers among us see fretting corrosion) this continues until the circumstances are changed or until a pocket is formed where the corrosion bits have gone away.

    just for grits i wonder if there are large pockets between the lower surface of the ice and the ground that the glaciers are resting on that have “gone away” and are throwing the learned calculations off.

    C

  45. I find it absolutely amazing that anyone would be confused about whether or not, taken as a whole, both Antarctica and Greenland are losing mass. This reminds me of those who want to argue as to whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas or not. Please do some reading folks, if you really want to understand what’s going on. This is not an issue of attribution at all, but simply knowing the facts so you can at least speak intelligently on the issue. Suggest you begin here:

    http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/files/calottes-fondent.pdf

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL047879.shtml

    ftp://soest.hawaii.edu/coastal/Climate%20Articles/Greenland%20melting%20acceleration%20Bevis%202010.pdf
    ftp://soest.hawaii.edu/coastal/Climate%20Articles/Greenland%20melting%20acceleration%20Bevis%202010.pdf

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI3482.1

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2010AGUFM.U34A..01Z

  46. Assuming ice shelf breakup leads to faster glacial flow and a new ice shelf, then won’t the glacial flow decelerate again when the new shelf has formed? Presumably “all this has happened before and will happen again”, as they put it on TV’s “Battlestar Galactica” (the 21st Century version).

    So this story is basically a big yawn.

  47. renewable guy says:
    July 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    The rate of increased sea levels are declining over the decades so this contradicts the increasing loss in glaciers. The Antarctic glacier loss quoted with data from the gravity project estimation would result in much bigger yearly sea level rises than detected so far. (300Gtons) I have read a while ago about this gravity method being poor and not reflecting reality. This is a very good example so I wouldn’t have too much faith in this data.

    Regarding sea ice, the Arctic had a period of positive AO especially during the 1990′s and early 2000′s. This caused stronger oscillation and therefore winds circulating around the north pole with cooler temperatures, especially around Southern Greenland and Iceland for example. Yet the sea ice during this period was declining, but when the AAO has a positive period causing stronger oscillation apparantly caused by ozone (no conclusive evidence at all) this causes increased sea ice. Virtually anyone can see what a problem exists here with this big contradiction. Why isn’t there a big ozone hole over the Arctic when the AO was positive?

    This then goes further, so we have cooler temperatures via positive AAO and stronger winds because this tends to increasingly cut off warmer air from the North. Yet we have supposed to be losing ice at an accelerated rate. Temperatures are remaining well below zero virtually all year, so what is causing this glacier loss in Antarctica if it exists at all? Are you suggesting it is becoming drier, as this wouldn’t make sense either with positive AAO?

    Finally you have a cheap shot about AGW being dead from this gravity data period, that is less than supposingly too short a period where global temperatures have remained stable. None of these natural calving/collapsing episodes from Antarctica distinguish between AGW or GW or even GC.

  48. Pretty impressive ice-making machine down there – keeps overflowing – someone should turn the compressor down a fraz so not so much unnecessary spillage occurs – who knows, those expensive tourist boats might end up doing a Titanic, and Greenpeace might be able to hide behind one to sneak up on Japanese fishing vessels.

  49. I’m not a scientists by any stretch, so I could be way off. But shouldn’t the seas have gone up a bunch if this is true?

  50. Adriana Ortiz writes,
    “Just wait another 2 weeks we can really rub it in the AGW’s.”

    Help me out here, what do you predict that DMI graph will show in 2 weeks, so you can “really rub it in AGW’s”?

    I don’t understand your other comments either, care to explain? I’ve looked at all the same graphs but apparently saw different things.

    “Of course only trust Scandinavians when it comes to NH ice extent.”
    Looks like RC is putting its foot in mouth again LOL!
    So Antarctica is melting????
    Pleeuuuuzzz!
    Even pro AGW CT can’t hide i”

    Personally, I predicted months ago on WUWT a NH extent minimum of 4.6. I’m still comfortable with that, What’s your guess?

  51. FLOATING ice shelfs won’t change the world’s water level at all even if all of them broke off. They are already displacing Their volume/mass of water. Watch a floating ice cube melt in a glass – measure the height of water before and after…quibblers may say that fresh water is lighter than salt water (ice being fresh water) but I doubt it would amount to much.

  52. John Trigge writes,
    “As with most discussions regarding climate, we have all descended into school-yard taunts of “my scientists can beat up your scientists”, ‘Oh, yeah?”, etc, etc, etc with no chance of finding common ground or an agreed position.”

    Where do you see that on this thread? It seemed relatively civilized, with newer studies getting cited to supercede older, as happens in science.

  53. It’s amazing that people will continue to ignore Gates evidence.

    There is enough proof out there, but people want to continue in their own little fantasy land.

  54. R. Gates – thank you for adding nothing to my understanding, just a snide comment. Typical of a troll. You link to a bunch of alarmist press clippings, not peer-reviewed papers. The first has a couple of interesting points:

    They warned their 2100 figure can’t be considered a projection because of “considerable uncertainty in future acceleration of ice sheet mass loss.”

    Because the study covers less than 2 decades of data it is not at all surprising that this caveat is appended.

    “That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising — they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers,” said Rignot, also a researcher at the University of California, Irvine. “What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening.”

    So why is the rate of sea level rise decelerating? In his recent paper, P.J. Watson includes the following in his conclusion (emphasis mine):

    The longest continuous Australasian records, Fremantle and Auckland, situated on the western and eastern periphery of the Oceania region, respectively, exhibit remarkably similar trends in the relative 20-year moving average water level time series after 1920. Both time series show a rise in mean sea level of approximately 120 mm between 1920 and 2000 with strong correlation (R2 ≥ 0.93) to fitted second-order polynomial trendlines that reflect a tendency toward a general slowing in the rise of mean sea level (or deceleration) over time on the order of 0.02–0.04 mm/y2. The Fort Denison water level time series after 1940 similarly reflects a decelerating trend in sea level rise at a rate of 0.04 mm/y2 based on a strongly correlated fit (R2 = 0.974) to the second-order polynomial function.

    This decelerating trend was also evident in the detailed analysis of 25 U.S. tide gauge records longer than 80 years in length (Dean and Houston, pers. comm.) and a general 20th century deceleration, driven predominantly by the negative inflexions around 1960 evident in many global records, are well noted in the literature (Douglas, 1992; Holgate, 2007; Woodworth, 1990; Woodworth, Menédez, and Gehrels, pers. comm.).

  55. dtbronzich wrote:

    Physically, this isn’t very different from loading up one end of a cheap paper plate with too much potato salad, eventually, something’s got to give.

    Except in the case of the dropped potato salad, it’s a terrible waste. The normal calving of ice, not so much…

  56. R. Gates,

    I’m not so sure about Greenland losing ice; measurements of the ice sheet height, corrected for isostatic rebound, show the “spatially averaged increase is 5.4 cm per year over the study area”. That includes the edges which are losing ice, and the center which is gaining ice.

    Seems Greenland is getting thicker in the middle (like many of us as we age), and it more than compensates for the losses on the edge.

  57. I have a clever solution to the dreadful news that the glassiers are losing ALL their ice.
    Let’s build a large concrete wall complelely around Anartica to keep whatever small remenents of the former ice glory safe, while we turn the refrigerator down really low.
    But that takes time.
    so we need a very large, high, strong wall so any visiting polar bears can sleep safely tonight.
    And yes, I am serious, just as serious as our dear green government is to save the world.
    Come on Ausies – we can do it all by ourselves if we try.
    We Ausies always punch beyond our weight (so to speak).

  58. @- Mike Jowsey says:
    July 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm
    “So why is the rate of sea level rise decelerating? In his recent paper, P.J. Watson includes the following in his conclusion (emphasis mine):”…

    It might be unwise to give too much credence to the Watson paper. As others have already pointed out it has problems with the use of a 20yr moving average up to 2000. This largely removes any signal of acceleration after 1980 making the data inadequate for comparison with the satellite data which shows an acceleration since then.

    Looking at the raw data from both the Watson and Houston & Dean papers shows a common pattern. A clear rise from ~1900 to 1950s, then stasis followed by another rise from the late 1970s.
    This pattern of rise/flat/rise seems strangely familiar – it is of course a parallel with the temperature record. This is surely unsurprising, there is an obvious physical link between temperature and ocean volume both by expansion and melting land ice. All the mathturbation trying to match the data to complex mathematical functions – second order quadratics? It seems a little pointless when the best correlation is with the temperature record.

  59. Shanghai Dan says:
    July 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    R. Gates,

    I’m not so sure about Greenland losing ice; measurements of the ice sheet height, corrected for isostatic rebound, show the “spatially averaged increase is 5.4 cm per year over the study area”. That includes the edges which are losing ice, and the center which is gaining ice.

    Seems Greenland is getting thicker in the middle (like many of us as we age), and it more than compensates for the losses on the edge.
    _____
    You need to be careful about the sources you pick. That article is from 2005, which is pretty old in light of the vast amount of new research out there. More recent research indicates unequivocally that Greenland as a whole is definitely loosing ice mass. See:

    http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/files/calottes-fondent.pdf

    And by the way, for those who really would like to understand the current state of sea ice from a true long-term scientific perspective, this is some of the best research out there. (far better than a picture of a submarine coming up in a polynya in the 1950′s and claiming it proves anything).

    See: http://bprc.osu.edu/geo/publications/polyak_etal_seaice_QSR_10.pdf

  60. Let me get this straight.

    NASA. The National Aeronautical & Space Association.

    The Goddard Space Flight Center.

    In a day when we mothball space shuttles, rather than build more….what the HELL does NASA and the GSFC have any business (and at the taxpayer’s expense) studying sea ice and glaciers?

    Oh….right….they are trying to prove “Ice Shelf Collapses of My Grandchildren”. I get it now.

    Will the old NASA and GFSC please stand up??

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  61. R. Gates says:
    July 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Oh, you mean THIS picture that I remembered from back when Science was respected, and was bringing us views of ours and other worlds never imagined:

    THAT picture put finished to the wild speculation of AGW causing ice-free holes in the Arctic in winter.
    It proved that memory of past conditions trumps fact fudging.
    I’m proud to say that I first saw that picture in a magazine, when the ink was fresh from the presses, and it was delivered to my parents doorstep. In fact, I was 6 years old, and we were having Bean with Bacon soup made about 4 miles away.
    You know what Art Linkletter used to say about kids. Don’t you?

  62. renewable guy says:
    July 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Adding more co2 to atmosphere is ignoring what you don’t want to look at. A warmer world.

    Oops, except for example, the existence of inconvenient facts such as the at least two divergences of atmospheric temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the first being the increasing atmospheric temperatures starting well before the rise of CO2 concentrations, as per usual according to the ice core data, and the latest being the rise of CO2 concentrations without any increase in atmospheric temperatures over at least the past 15 yrs..

    In other words, renewable man, using CO2 concentrations as a proxy for atmospheric temperatures turns out to be about as reliable as using Briffa’s and Mann’s tree rings.

    Then there’s also the mere fact that the CO2=CAGW hypotheses have not yielded an empircally confirmed prediction yet, to say the least – with instead even the opposite empirical phenomenon having often occurred instead – nor indeed the production of any new climate, or now even weather event in need of any explanation via an invocation of the CO2=CAGW GCM “physics”.

    Only according to Climate Science’s CO2=CAGW “method” can a complete abscence of evidence along with the existence of directly contradictory evidence be things which don’t throw its own “hypotheses” into at least the categorey of being of insignificant use, if not even extremely dubious as compared to the realities according to real scientific method and principle science – things which you don’t want to look at, renewable man.

  63. savethesharks says:
    July 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    You have a very important point there, Chris.
    What the hell is Space Administration doing studying Antarctic Ice? Sounds suspiciously like money being wasted. Last I heard, Antarctica still has Terran atmophere over it, and it is still attached to planet Earth.
    I don’t mind seeing new eye-popping pics taken by satellites that they launch, but the studying part is best left to the proper researchers in thier respective fields.

  64. Gates is DFAA – Desperate For Any Apocalypse
    Far-fetched doesn’t begin to describe this bunch, pathetically rooting everywhere for any alleged ‘evidence’ that will convert the taxpaying sheep to True Believers.
    Just remember Mr. R., Al Gore lies and Eagles Die, the new Sacrifical Lambs of Eco Death-Worship.
    Windmills use 5 times the per-Watt load of cement, steel, and rare-earths than nuclear reactors, and they kill far more people every year than Chernobyl. They’ll never last long enough for energy-payback.
    Damnable windmills annually slaughter more birds and bats than DDT or oil slicks ever dreamed of doing in a thousand years. Aren’t you Warmistas proud?
    Big Climate has squandered over $100 Billion, robbed from innocent taxpayers, and all we got was slick propaganda-lies and gulled kindergardners.
    You babble endlessly about hypothetical ‘tipping points’ while not even one actual tipping point in Earth’s past has ever been computer-modeled.
    These same Lefties blindly promote social policies that have triggered a plethora of disastrous societal tipping points – illegitimacy, govt-dependance, fatherless gang members, job-destruction, capital flight, and a hyper-beaucracy that reaches out to stifle children’s lemonade-stands.
    Amercia is nearly choked to death already, perhaps past salvaging.
    The likes of Gates are willfully blind to to the social tsunamis unleashed by the vile Left, as they hopefully gaze blankly upon their hypothetical climate fantasies to rescue their mad statism.
    We all feel sorry for you, dude. Get a life.

  65. For R. Gates and Brian…

    ====
    In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

    ====

    South pole, 1969:

    South pole (right) – circa 2000:

    “Additionally, in geologic time scales, the ice caps may grow or shrink due to climate variation. ”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_ice_cap

    Is the warming observed on Mars misanthropic too?

  66. I’m all for going green and for actually starting to care for the Earth.
    I’m reading often about the melting Poles, and how much ice has already been lost.
    I also read prognostics of how much the sea levels will rise when/if the ice melts.
    Now… I’m putting these two pieces of information together and… notice that no one has had his city disappear in the sea, despite the mega-melt at both Poles.
    Therefore… something is wrong with the information and/or calculations that we are being fed.
    **sigh**
    I hate to get lied to and not knowing which side is telling me what lie.

  67. rbateman says:
    July 26, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    R. Gates says:
    July 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Oh, you mean THIS picture that I remembered from back when Science was respected, and was bringing us views of ours and other worlds never imagined:

    THAT picture put finished to the wild speculation of AGW causing ice-free holes in the Arctic in winter.
    ____
    Uh, since polynyas have been known about for centuries and are formed through sensible or latent heat mechanisms (i.e. warm water upwelling or wind and current driven). I don’t recall ever reading that their existence would be caused by AGW. Please cite your research to back up this statement. They can form pretty much anywhere in the Arctic.

    I know the submarine photo is a favorite among certain skeptics, but alas, it proves nothing scientific except that polynyas can make great photo ops for submarines.

  68. khwarquackers;
    R. Gates and Brian? You talkin’ t’ me? If you conceive of any overlap between the views of RG and myself, you’re smoking something weird.

    And “misanthropic” doesn’t mean what you seem to think it does. Though it has a significant pertinence to AGW theory!

  69. Interstellar Bill:

    Seems you enjoy political rants more than science. Maybe Glenn Beck could use a new assistant Producer?

  70. Amazing how sats can now let us study these things so easily in one of the remotest and toughest places in the world.

    Good stuff,

  71. Brian H says:
    July 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    khwarquackers;
    R. Gates and Brian? You talkin’ t’ me? If you conceive of any overlap between the views of RG and myself, you’re smoking something weird.

    And “misanthropic” doesn’t mean what you seem to think it does. Though it has a significant pertinence to AGW theory!
    ____

    I think he was talking to a different Brian, and probably thought this person had some sympathetic response to my posting of actual scientific research, based on this response:

    Brian says:
    July 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    It’s amazing that people will continue to ignore Gates evidence.

    There is enough proof out there, but people want to continue in their own little fantasy land.

    ___
    To which I would respond, that no, they’re not in their own little fantasy land, but the fantasy land call Groupthink.

  72. rbateman says:
    July 26, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    You have a very important point there, Chris.
    What the hell is Space Administration doing studying Antarctic Ice? Sounds suspiciously like money being wasted. Last I heard, Antarctica still has Terran atmophere over it, and it is still attached to planet Earth.
    I don’t mind seeing new eye-popping pics taken by satellites that they launch, but the studying part is best left to the proper researchers in thier respective fields.

    =================================

    Right on, Robert. Sort of like the hastily-drawn and unscientific G.I.Z.Z. temperature record they keep.

    How does the GISS “database” aid the study of space, space flight, and aeronautics?

    Seems to me that should be under NOAA but who am I to judge.

    With ideologues like Hansen at the helm…aggressively diverting tax-robbed dollars toward their interests…it is no wonder the space shuttle program has been shelved.

    Where is the NASA of our youth?

    Chris
    Norfolk,, VA, USA

  73. Interstellar Bill says:
    July 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    To R. Gates: “You babble endlessly about hypothetical ‘tipping points’ while not even one actual tipping point in Earth’s past has ever been computer-modeled”
    ____
    Tipping points are created in systems existing in spatio-temperal chaos, and as such, can’t really be modeled, but only seen after the fact. We have in fact seen tipping points many times in earth’s past, when the climate shifted suddenly, even violently. Witness, for example, the Younger Dryas cooling, when, in a matter of a just a few years, the global climate shifted from an interglacial kind of warmth to a glacial period. Some sort of “tipping point” was crossed, that totally altered earth’s atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns..

  74. R. Gates says:
    July 26, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I know the submarine photo is a favorite among certain skeptics, but alas, it proves nothing scientific except that polynyas can make great photo ops for submarines.

    ===============================

    Oh…so you DO admit to possible natural causes of ice changes in the arctic?

    You can’t have it both ways, Gates.

    One day, a huge polynya in the early 1960s in the Arctic, and it is from natural causes.

    After 1979, with satellites, it all becomes anthropogenic.

    I smell a rat.

    This photo may “prove nothing”…as you say….but it IS interesting, but even then…that is a side issue.

    Until you can do better (and yes, the burden of proof is on squarely on your side), the term “natural variability” is still the name of the game.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  75. Has the announcement that Antarctic ice is gaining mass downward been taken into account, or at least mentioned, in any other recent papers, studies, or whatever?

    – Ed

  76. There are three types of ice on and around Antarctica.
    The icecap and glaciers on land above sea level that is flowing slowly of the continent.
    The ice from the land that is resting on sea-bed. The seaward end of these ice shelves calves icebergs at a rate that matches the rate ice flows onto the shelf from the land.
    The sea ice that forms during the winter and is frozen sea surface.
    The seasonal cycle of sea ice around the Antarctic coast is a regional weather driven process and largely irrelevant to the melting of the land and ice-shelf ice.

    The ice-shelves have been in existence since at least the last inter-glacial maximum in the Eemian. They buttress the glacier flow from the land and when a shelf collapses the glacier flow increases. This results in greater rates of iceberg calving from the shorter ice shelf that is left.
    The continuing shrinkage of the ice shelves and measured increase in glacier flow is the mechanism that raises sea level. The shrinkage of the ice shelves is driven by warming oceans, as there is no prospect of ocean temperatures falling over the next few decades more ice will be lost from Antarctica and sea level will rise.
    The amount may be small, but the rate is unpredictable at the higher end of possibilities.

  77. >>Mike Jowsey says: July 26, 2011 at 10:37 am
    >>By the way, R Gates – Accelerating Ice mass loss in both Antarctica
    >>and Greenland is undeniable.
    >>Check the stats before hyperventilating too much:
    >> http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png

    That is probably the worst cherry-pick ever. We are looking at climate issues, not weather.

    Yes, over the last TWO years antarctic sea ice has reduced, but since 1979 it has put on 0.5 million sq km.

    .

  78. R. Gates

    It’s difficult to measure large continental ice sheets (if not ultimately impossible). But there’s a simple way to see if they are losing mass overall or not. Check to see if the steady 2mm/yr, or so, global sea rise due to thermal expansion is being added to. It isn’t. (See about half way down this page.)

  79. If ice shelves and sea icebergs are the measure of castastropic climate change, then the berg that sank the Titanic must have been a result of castastropic climate change in the 1910′s.
    Glacial advance. How surprising is it that the rates are much faster than previously imagined by those who never bothered to check thier history?

  80. @- Paul Clark says:
    July 27, 2011 at 1:41 am
    “It’s difficult to measure large continental ice sheets (if not ultimately impossible).”

    Measuring the changes in the gravity they exert is quite effective as seen from the GRACE satellite data.

    ” But there’s a simple way to see if they are losing mass overall or not. Check to see if the steady 2mm/yr, or so, global sea rise due to thermal expansion is being added to. It isn’t. (See about half way down this page.)”

    What the sea level graphs show is a seasonal/yearly variation of around 10mm. Trying to derive a trend from the last year is suspect to say the least. The graphs show a trend over decades and that trend is evident over the last century. There is no reason to expect this rising trend to reverse, it closely follows temperature and that shows no indication of returning to 1980s levels.

  81. We recently were asked to help with a little web research project. This post inspired me to do it again.
    Google “worse than we thought” and you get things like:

    http://earthfirst.com/7-environmental-problems-that-are-worse-than-we-thought/

    http://earthfirst.com/7-more-environmental-problems-that-are-worse-than-we-thought/

    http://www.celsias.com/article/oceans-far-worse-we-thought-toxic-combination-over/

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1685843/climate-change-is-worse-than-we-thought

    http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=165488

    http://vox-nova.com/2009/09/25/worse-than-we-thought/

    http://www.grinzo.com/energy/2010/11/10/himalayan-glacier-melt-its-worse-than-we-thought/

    http://wottsupwiththat.com/2011/05/06/more-arctic-sea-level-%E2%80%9Cworse-than-we-thought%E2%80%9D-scare-stories/ (doesn’t really count)

    http://sierravoices.com/2011/07/climate-change-it-may-be-worse-than-we-thought/

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/watercooler/2010/feb/15/al-gore-climate-crisis-unfolding-our-eyes/

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-vine/amazon-deforestation-even-worse-we-thought

    http://inhabitat.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch-is-worse-than-we-thought/

    http://current.com/community/90076793_is-climate-change-worse-than-we-thought.htm

    http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2008/11/acidic-oceans-faster-than-we-thought.ars

    http://www.purifymind.com/Dioxin.htm

    http://www.newsreview.com/reno/bpa-worse-than-we-thought/content?oid=1815753

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/08/ipcc-underestimates-impact-of-logging-on-climate-change.php

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/11/25/ocean-acidification-worse-than-the-big-problem-we-thought-it-was/

    http://ecolocalizer.com/2009/09/02/global-warming-in-the-arctic-much-worse-than-we-thought/

    http://efdl.cims.nyu.edu/publications/public_media/newscientist_sealevel_09.pdf

    http://www.beatenetworks.com/blog/index.php?/archives/325-Green-Trends-Worse-Than-We-Thought.html (this one seems real)

    http://www.colorado.edu/news/r/efcb5fcc44583874f06555c219320316.html

    http://sustlife.com/blog/climate-change/climate-change-worse-than-we-thought-global-dimming.html

    http://www.spur.org/blog/2009-12-18/sea_level_rise_way_worse_we_thought_again

    http://www.greenfudge.org/2009/11/09/methane-even-worse-greenhouse-gas-than-we-thought/

    http://www.thegoodhuman.com/2006/05/24/is-global-warming-worse-than-we/

    http://www.neutralexistence.com/blog/burning-coal-is-even-worse-than-we-thought/

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/climate-worse-than-we-thought/2007/11/29/1196037074795.html

    http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/2011/05/shock-its-all-worse-than-we-thought-sez-commission/ (some rare sanity)

    http://www.carbonplanet.com/blog/2007/02/03/global-warming-is-worse-than-we-thought-but-its-not-too-late-for-us-to-act/

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2007/feb/03/greenpolitics.science

    It’s interesting to compare the older examples to the newer ones. It’s pretty clear the newer ones realize the audience is getting more skeptical. My favorite old one has the picture of several polar bears standing on a melting iceberg apparently surrounded by open ocean.

    Apparently this scam will never end. I got 4,330,000 results.

  82. @:izen July 27, 2011 at 2:18

    Well there was an adjustment to the GRACE satellite altimetry recently by a factor of two as I understand it (a reduction by half of the previous estimate of ice loss.) It’s really an admission by NASA that they don’t know how to adjust for isostatic rebound by the continents after the last glaciation period. It’s guess work at best, therefore the sea levels, which are steady, are the best prognosticator.

  83. Huge ice bergs are always breaking off Antarctica and quite honestly just Google. One in 2010
    broke off because of a collision by one into another. There was worries that this could cause
    danger to shipping but so far it hasn’t caused any problem. What happens naturally and normally. Remember Antarctic is subject to seismic activity also. There is an active volcano in Australian territory and quite honestly most of the ice shelves is where the animals live being mainly king penguins so they can get access to the sea easily and it is warmer there. They see the ice shelves breaking off and scream ‘global warming’ forgetting that this is quite normal for that part of the world and isn’t a sign of global warming.

  84. Meanwhile, on the far side of Antarctica, is a feature that once was called Cape Amery, and is now called the Amery Ice Shelf. Ever hear of it? Of course not, because it keeps growing and growing. You will only hear of it when it sticks out too far, and cracks off.

    There was a flurry of excitement back in 2003, when it seemed it might break off, but, drat it all, it didn’t. Wait until next year.

    Link to 2003 excitement:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=2870

  85. Ice shelves are very vulnerable to storm activity. Since the ice is supported by the underlying sea water any storm wave action tends to start vertical shelf movement causing cracking and failure. A leap to accuse climate change for this shelf failure is a leap too far. As to the glacier continuing to flow, and become another ice shelf, is inevitable and gravity powered. Provided precipitation continues up glacier the glacier/shelf system should continue. This is a long time frame process.

  86. Mr R Gates, I can only say, and yet the world still cools regardless of your hot rhetoric. Perhaps a prayer to the ATON from the global warming brethren may do more for your cause than the anti science you espouse.

    The global warming doom is fading with the release almost weekly of real science made possible by the release of a few rather damning emails a little while ago, thus they are being reported even in the MSM, such a shame for your cause that so much reality is coming forth.

    I ask you to look at the solar influence and its rather easy to understand cycles, recent studies have shown a complete and accurate match to the temperature record, that correlates in hindsight and can be shown as the true driver of temperature and climate change. CO2 is irrelevant, all I ask is that you look at all evidence.

  87. It’s blatantly obvious that the ice caps are losing mass, the vast majority of observational detail confirms that. It could be suggested that this has a correlation with Co2, but if so, why is the loss of ice not following a smooth curve and reflecting the increase in Co2? Currently ice loss has to an extent flattened off, though not recovered. It strikes me that basic concepts of cause and effect must indicate that other factors are at play.

  88. R.Gates

    It is kind of hard to express how to interpret the data from the sources that YOU posted, given that you seem to believe that Antarctica is rapidly losing ice at an accelerating rate. The Harvard link that you posted (the last one), says this in the summary (cut and pasted);

    “Parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Antarctic Peninsula are losing mass at an increasing rate, but other parts of West Antarctica and the East Antarctic ice sheet are gaining mass at an increasing rate.”

    You realize that the East Antarctic ice sheet is where most of the ice is.

  89. klem says:
    July 26, 2011 at 10:03 am
    Antarctica is covered by 30 million cubic kms of ice, sorry about that. The 11 cubic kms of melted ice is ever more insignificant than I had realized.

    In addition the ice shelf is floating and floating ice does not raise sea levels when it melts.

    Evidently the ‘scientists” involved in the study were not familiar with the “Archimedes’ principle”, discovered some 2500 years ago. Since the weight of the object (ice) remains the same regardless of whether it is ice or water, as shown by Archimedes the amount of water displaced remains unchanged.

    Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.
    — Archimedes of Syracuse

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedes%27_principle

  90. savethesharks says:
    July 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm
    With ideologues like Hansen at the helm…aggressively diverting tax-robbed dollars toward their interests…it is no wonder the space shuttle program has been shelved.
    Where is the NASA of our youth?

    NASA has been corrupted and the money diverted to other projects that have nothing to do with space exploration. NASA has a 100 billion dollar space station in orbit and has just cancelled their only manned delivery system without having any replacement.

    Oh, but wait it gets even better. NASA now plans to de-orbit the station and have it burn up. Sort of like what the investment bankers and politicians have done with America’s wealth. No to worry, the Chinese have a replacement on the way.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42977450/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/chinas-first-space-station-new-foothold-earth-orbit/

  91. Dave Wendt says:
    July 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm
    However the real telling comparison is to the volume of the world’s oceans which is generally given as approx. 1.5 BiILLION km3. Given the 3800m avg depth of the the oceans, the extra vol. generated by the claimed losses would amount to a couple of tenths of a millimeter of GMSL.

    Even then we have no idea of how much water lies below the oceans within the earth itself. No one knows how far water extends into the earths crust and mantle. It could well be that the oceans are simply the tip of iceberg, the spots where the global water table rises above the level of the land.

    “Scientists scanning the deep interior of Earth have found evidence of a vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.”

    “Although they appear solid, the composition of some ocean floor rocks is up to 15 percent water.”

    http://www.livescience.com/1312-huge-ocean-discovered-earth.html

  92. @- Gareth Phillips says:
    July 27, 2011 at 4:31 am
    “…why is the loss of ice not following a smooth curve and reflecting the increase in Co2? Currently ice loss has to an extent flattened off, though not recovered. It strikes me that basic concepts of cause and effect must indicate that other factors are at play.”

    There are always MANY factors at play in climate cause and effect.
    This is why the warming from winter to summer is not a smooth increase in temperature despite the increase in extra energy from the longer day length being a smooth even curve.

    The most important factor that modulates HOW the smooth curve of extra energy received at the surface is expressed in temperature change or ice melt is the role of the oceans in storing, moving and releasing thermal energy. Along with the atmosphere there is a continual redistribution of energy from the equator to the poles. However this is not a smooth process it is chaotic and quasi-periodic with varying timescales of storage and release of energy.

    The extra energy retained by CO2 at the surface is measurable. It is a fraction of the extra energy gained in mid latitudes as they tilt towards summer. That smooth addition of energy results in episodic and intermittent pattern of seasonal warming. It is inevitable that any warming (or ice melting) from the smaller, but global smooth addition of energy will also emerge as a noisy signal.

  93. Accelerating Ice mass loss in both Antarctica and Greenland is undeniable. The only question is as to cause:

    1) Penguins
    2) Polar Bears
    3) A combination of 1 & 2

    (with apologies to R Gates)

  94. Ralph writes,
    “That is probably the worst cherry-pick ever. We are looking at climate issues, not weather.
    Yes, over the last TWO years antarctic sea ice has reduced, but since 1979 it has put on 0.5 million sq km.”

    What numbers are you comparing, to get that 500,000 increase?

    Arctic sea ice has unmistakeably declined. The summer minimum area went down by almost 70,000 square km per year 1979-2010, and faster than that recently. Even the WUWT poll just posted to SEARCH expects a faster than linear decline for 2011.

    Antarctic summer mimimum shows no clear trend. The linear trend for 1979-2011 drifts upward just 5,000 square kilometers per year, which is not statistically significant and amounts to less than 1/13th of the arctic trend.

    If you smooth the antarctic minimum instead of assuming a straight line, you see an uneven early increase, then decline since 2003. Whether the decline in recent years means anything, it’s too early to tell, but it emphasizes the problem with declaring an antarctic trend.

  95. renewable guy says:
    July 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm
    Adding more co2 to atmosphere is ignoring what you don’t want to look at. A warmer world.

    Why are places like Mexico, Hawaii and the Med favorite vacation spots? Why are places like Greenland or Iceland not so popular?

    If people really don’t want to look at a warmer world, why do they insist on spending so much of their hard earned money to travel to these warmer places?

    If warming is really such a bad thing, why do we dream of tropical vacations? Would it not make more sense and save a lot of money if everywhere was tropical? Look at all the CO2 that would be saved in reduced air travel if we could all take a tropical vacation by staying at home.

  96. Surfer says:
    July 27, 2011 at 6:44 am
    “Melting Ice Sheets” Is Sheer Nonsense, says Prof. Cliff Ollier of the University of
    Western Australia. His article Is worth to read, see http://ff.org/images/stories/sciencecenter/greenland_and_antarctic_in_danger_of_collapse.pdf , or http://icecap.us/images/uploads/PAPERIAGIce2.pdf

    Great paper. Here is an excerpt.

    Hansen’s Glacier Model is Wrong!

    Hansen is a modeler, and his scenario for the collapse of the ice sheets is based on a false model.
    His model has the ice sheet sliding along an inclined plane, lubricated by meltwater, which is
    increasing because of global warming. The same model is adopted in many copycat papers.
    Christoffersen and Hambrey (2006) and Bamber et al. (2007) are typical. A popular article
    based on the same flawed model appeared in the June 2007 issue of National Geographic and the
    idea is present in textbooks such as The Great Ice Age (2000) by R.C.L. Wilson et al.

    Unfortunately, Hansen’s model includes neither the main form of the Greenland and Antarctic
    Ice Sheets, nor an understanding of how glaciers flow. The predicted behavior of the ice sheets
    is based on melting and accumulation rates at the present day, and 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. 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.

    It is not enough to think that present climate over a few decades can affect the flow of ice sheets.
    Ice sheets do not simply grow and melt in response to average global temperature. Anyone with
    this naive 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 three
    million years.

    The balance between movement and melting therefore does not relate simply to today’s
    climate, but to the climate thousands of years ago.

  97. @- Surfer says:
    July 27, 2011 at 6:44 am
    “Melting Ice Sheets” Is Sheer Nonsense, says Prof. Cliff Ollier of the University of
    Western Australia. His article Is worth to read,-link-”

    It is, he argues that as ice can only move by creep and Antarctic and Greenland ice-cores show ice has been there for several ice-age cycles, it hasn’t in the past, and wont in the future ‘collapse’ and raise sea levels by several feet.

    Which makes the Eemian a bit of a problem. ~130,000 years ago the last time it warmed rapidly from a glacial period into a warm period it got a degree or two warmer than the present for a few thousand years.
    And there is abundant evidence that sea levels were at least 10 feet higher.

    Both then and in the last warming event ~10,000 years ago the rise in sea level was not slow, the limits Prof Cliff Ollier considers absolute on the speed at which glaciers and ice-caps can release water to the oceans seem to be exceeded by Nature on these occasions.

  98. berple writes,
    “Great paper.”

    Cliff Ollier’s confident declaration,
    “Indeed ‘collapse’ is impossible”
    contrasts with much research over the past 15 years by scientists who, unlike Ollier, are experts on ice sheet dynamics. And their work is buttressed by evidence from coral reefs to caves showing that rapid sea level rises have indeed occurred, coincident with those “impossible” collapses.

  99. Here’s a question I truly would like answered; The Greenland ice sheet is melting and the Antarcic ice sheet is melting. The amount of melting that is quoted in peer reviewed papers, are the amounts average, high or low?

    It’s great to know that 10 cubic km of ice is melting every year but is that high, average or low?

    It might seem high over the last 20 years, but over the last 5000 years is it within normal variation?

    The alarmists scream that any melting is bad, but what is the normal amount of melting?

  100. Are ice shelves supposed to be static? Are not they the result of ice mass increasing at the interior? What the hell can or should we do about it, increase our tire pressure?. Arrrggghh!

  101. @- klem says:
    July 27, 2011 at 8:39 am
    “Here’s a question I truly would like answered; The Greenland ice sheet is melting and the Antarcic ice sheet is melting. The amount of melting that is quoted in peer reviewed papers, are the amounts average, high or low?
    It’s great to know that 10 cubic km of ice is melting every year but is that high, average or low?
    It might seem high over the last 20 years, but over the last 5000 years is it within normal variation?”

    For most of the last 10,000 years the Greenland and Antarctic ice-caps have been in relative mass balance. The amount melting every year was just about matched by the snowfall adding to the ice-cap.
    The present best estimate for the loss of ice from Antarctica is more than 100Gt or cubic km of ice melting a year. This would cause around a metre of sea level rise over the last 2000 years, much more over 6000 if a similar rate of loss was happening in Greenland as it has recently.
    Archaeological and eclipse records show there has NOT been a past rise in ocean levels that such a rate of ice melt would cause.

    The present rate of mass loss from melting ice from Greenland would have reduced the Greenland ice cap to a fraction of its present size if it had been going on since the end of the last ice-age. If the present rate of melting had been happening since the Viking colony… then the Vikings would have had 10% more ice to deal with.
    Geology of newly exposed regions around the ice-caps indicates that the ice now melting has been present for at least 8000 years, and probably in some cases since the Eemian.

    The last time anything exceeding this scale and rate of ice-melt happened was probably the 1A pulse around 13000 years ago.
    So despite Prof Ollier’s claims things could go faster yet….

  102. The Arctic is going through one of its natural cycles, as it has repeatedly in the past. There is zero evidence that human emissions, or human anything else, is the cause. Regional climate variability is normal and natural, despite the lunatic fringe’s arm-waving about ‘newly exposed regions around the ice-caps indicates that the ice now melting has been present for at least 8000 years’, etc. This puts the current pseudo-science alarmism in perspective.

  103. @- Smokey says:
    July 27, 2011 at 10:22 am
    “The Arctic is going through one of its natural cycles, as it has repeatedly in the past…. This puts the current pseudo-science alarmism in perspective. -(link to animation of last 500,000 years of climate derived from a Greenland ice core)

    You are quite right that much bigger warmings and melts have happened in the past. The end of the last ice age was a faster, bigger warming with more ice melting. (despite Prof Ollier!)
    Past glacial cycles may have been even more extreme.

    But then as roaming tribes of hunter-gatherers humans managed under these conditions to walk to every continent and establish populations.
    Its only since all these big climate events, and during the very stable climate of the last 8000 years that humans started using agriculture to support vast populations living in urban societies.
    Not many of those early civilizations have coped well with small climate change in the past, whatever the cause and whichever the direction. Making our present society sufficiently adaptable requires some knowledge of what is possible in climate change.
    I am not convinced that the last 500,000 years of big changes,melts and sea level rise is particularly reassuring.

  104. SteveSadlov says:
    July 27, 2011 at 9:47 am
    RGates = troll.

    Don’t feed the trolls!
    ____
    Quite incorrect, sir. But, I understand it is a convenient label to give to someone who knows the science and disagrees with many skeptical arguments.

  105. Adriana Ortiz says:
    July 27, 2011 at 5:13 am
    “…thank god for r gates…”

    _____________
    We can leave it at that.

  106. Ralph says:
    July 27, 2011 at 12:17 am
    >>Mike Jowsey says: July 26, 2011 at 10:37 am
    >>By the way, R Gates – Accelerating Ice mass loss in both Antarctica
    >>and Greenland is undeniable.
    >>Check the stats before hyperventilating too much:
    >> http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png

    That is probably the worst cherry-pick ever. We are looking at climate issues, not weather.

    Yes, over the last TWO years antarctic sea ice has reduced, but since 1979 it has put on 0.5 million sq km.

    _____
    What really bad is Mike Jowsey and apparently you don’t seem to know the difference between measurement of sea ice and the continental glacial ice of which we are talking about.

  107. Gates, how much tax would stop this, um melting? I suppose the goal is to get the glaciers to build? What sort of tax increase would accomplish this?

  108. tom says:
    July 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm
    Gates, how much tax would stop this, um melting? I suppose the goal is to get the glaciers to build? What sort of tax increase would accomplish this?
    ———
    I doubt there is anything humans can do to stop the melting…much better to simply prepare for whatever consequences come from it. Beachfront property probably not a good investment in certain parts of the world.

  109. ferd berple says:
    July 27, 2011 at 6:58 am
    Dave Wendt says:
    July 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm
    However the real telling comparison is to the volume of the world’s oceans which is generally given as approx. 1.5 BiILLION km3. Given the 3800m avg depth of the the oceans, the extra vol. generated by the claimed losses would amount to a couple of tenths of a millimeter of GMSL.

    Even then we have no idea of how much water lies below the oceans within the earth itself. No one knows how far water extends into the earths crust and mantle. It could well be that the oceans are simply the tip of iceberg, the spots where the global water table rises above the level of the land.

    “Scientists scanning the deep interior of Earth have found evidence of a vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.”

    “Although they appear solid, the composition of some ocean floor rocks is up to 15 percent water.”

    There are so many elements in the attempted calculation of GMSL which are either unknown, inadequately modeled or neglected that the whole project is an exercise in statistical folly. Even if we could magically determine an accurate number for GMSL, it would still be entirely meaningless information because the underlying and mostly unacknowledged fact is that the seas are never “level” and any change in GMSL will not necessarily be reflected directly at any particular local piece of coastline.
    The geoid, which along with the reference ellipsoid, are abstract and artificial constructs which purport to show the ocean surface as it would be if every variable except variations in the planet’s gravitational strength were removed and land masses were 100% permeable to the oceans, and a mathematically smoothed and perfect approximation of the shape of the Earth, respectively. Neither is more than loosely connected to the underlying physical reality of the planet, yet they provide the basis for all the satellite derived sea level data, which are actually anomalies from the undulations of the geoid, which is the calculated difference between the geoid and the reference ellipsoid. BTW, if you look at a map of the undulations of the geoid, you will find an equipotential surface for the world’s oceans that varies by 200 meters, which provides some indication of just how far from “level” the seas really are, bearing in mind that there are a multitudes of other variabilities that are removed from that projection.
    The deployment of the GRACE and GOCE satellites has allowed the geoid to be much more accurately plotted, but has also demonstrated that is not that stable over even a relatively short term. That suggests that trying to combine the records from earlier generation satellites, which used a geoid model which was significantly erroneous to figure its anomalies, with the present improved model will be very difficult to impossible because we have no means of deriving what a similar geoid model of the past would look like.
    Personally I feel that all these endless arguments about whose millimeter level SWAG about the rate of rise in GMSL is correct are entirely analogous to those legendary arguments from the Middle Ages about how many angels would fit on the head of a pin.

  110. izen says:
    July 27, 2011 at 10:03 am
    So despite Prof Ollier’s claims things could go faster yet….

    There is a big difference between things going faster and the Hansen predictions of catastrophic collapse. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets both lie in depressions. They cannot “slide” like a glacier running downhill from a mountain peak into a valley.

    The paleo records show that even with significant warming, we are looking at ten thousand years to melt these ice sheets, not the 100 year fiction that alarmists like Gore envision. Virtually none of the catastrophic sea level rise that Hansen predicted decades ago has come to pass. Instead we have sea level rise that is barely noticeable in a human lifetime.

    All the while these alarmists are using fear to drain money from worthwhile projects that really could make a difference and poor it down the drain. Poverty, disease, and ignorance kill a whole lot more people every year than climate and sea level changes. As China, India and the rest of the industrialized world have shown, these problems are largely solved as CO2 emissions increase. There is a much netter correlation between CO2 production and standard of living than there is between CO2 and temperature.

    Doesn’t it seem a little strange that NASS/GISS ignores the satellite records when computing global temperatures? Instead they rely on ground based records. Having spend tons of taxpayer $$ to put satellites into orbit to measure temperature, they then ignore this data and spends tons of taxpayer $$ more to build a third copy of the ground based records. Could it be they didn’t like what the satellites were saying?

    Now NASA is broke and having at one time sent men to the moon, cannot even launch human beings into space anymore. Go figure.

  111. Dave Wendt says:
    July 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm
    There are so many elements in the attempted calculation of GMSL which are either unknown, inadequately modeled or neglected that the whole project is an exercise in statistical folly.

    The British Admiralty charts are the best record of sea levels over the past 250 years. We sailed Tonga and Fiji with charts drawn by William (mutiny) Bligh in the 1700′s. The charts were accurate to within a foot of depth, in an area with very small tides (that might cause observational errors).

    Most of the BA charts were drawn 2 centuries ago and have not been resurveyed. They show the location of drying and awash rocks all over the globe. Everywhere I’ve sailed in the Pacific and Indian oceans, when the old charts show a rock too shallow to sail over, it is still too shallow to sail over.

    If sea level rise was happening anything like the hype, these charts would all show datum corrections for water depth. They show the lat/long corrections made possible/necessary by satellites and GPS. But no depth correction. This tells me that sea levels have not risen enough in 200 years to be of interest to mariners, who every day rely on the depth of water for their safety.

  112. So, you are worried about beach front property for an event (water rise of 1.5 meters, maybe) that “might” happen – if nothing changes between now and the future – in a future that is more than 450 year away?

    And for this you want to destroy the world’s economy and kill millions, and cause an early death from poverty, starvation, disease, malnutrition, and bad water for tens of billions other innocents?

    Just so you can “feel good” about CO2 levels now?

  113. @- ferd berple says:
    July 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm
    “The paleo records show that even with significant warming, we are looking at ten thousand years to melt these ice sheets, not the 100 year fiction that alarmists like Gore envision. ”

    Gore is not a climate scientists and hasn’t made any predictions of sea level in 100 years.
    The paleo records show that during the A1 melt pulse ~13,000BPE melting resulted in sea level rise of around a foot per year, 100 times the rise rate seen at present. During the Eemian interstadial when temperatures were very slightly higher, sea levels had also risen above present levels by at least 10 feet within a thousand years.

    It is because the paleo record shows the much faster melting and sea level rise in the past it is difficult to refute the possibility that present rates of sea level rise might increase ten-fold.

  114. izen says:
    July 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    “It is because the paleo record shows the much faster melting and sea level rise in the past it is difficult to refute the possibility that present rates of sea level rise might increase ten-fold.”

    I could have won the Powerball jackpot tonight. I even had a ticket. But guess what, it didn’t happen. You can’t refute the fact that it sure was possible though.

  115. izen says:
    July 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    It is because the paleo record shows the much faster melting and sea level rise in the past it is difficult to refute the possibility that present rates of sea level rise might increase ten-fold.
    That level of melting can only occur after an ice age, such as the beginning of our current interglacial, the Holocene.
    Interestingly, toward the end of the last ice age, there was a 1,500 warm period, followed by a sharp drop called the Younger Dryas, during which the earth was plunged back into ice age conditions, which occurred in the space of about 100 years. If you need something to worry about, worry about the possibility of that happening again.
    You people need to get it into your thick skulls that it is in fact cooling, not warming, which is dangerous to man, and indeed to all life.

  116. izen says:
    July 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm
    “It is because the paleo record shows the much faster melting and sea level rise in the past it is difficult to refute the possibility that present rates of sea level rise might increase ten-fold.”

    Can refute the possibility on present observed temperatures during the current interglacial, when most of the ice has already melted from the major ice age. The logic of these temperatures in Antarctic over the next century, when these are far too cold to melt ice on the continent during summer. (Even a 5c average increase there wouldn’t be enough) Only the ice in contact with relatively much warmer sea is melting in Western Antarctica, move to the coast and just inland a little and it stays well below zero in mid-summer.

    How can sea level rise ten-fold when the ice melting is already on shelves lower than the sea level and part of the sea? Even areas with glaciers where temperatures reach above zero for example in Greenland, still can gain mass when the winter precipitation exceeds the melt during summer. In relation to a continent that is well below zero during summer, there is no chance of this happening and is just alarmist thinking. Therefore just relying on Greenland to cause this ten-fold increase with any glaciers actually melting on land (unlike Antarctic, exception parts of the Peninsula) closer to the coasts during summer. The problem being the volume of water from these is not big enough, unless the melting suddenly increases ten-fold. How is this even remotely possible with most of central Greenland remaining below zero during summer?

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