More Glacial Junk Science Journalism

[Note: this post (and a few others) was lost in WordPress, and I had no notification of its existence. While a bit dated, it is still valid – note to guest authors with WUWT WordPress privileges – when you submit something, be sure to notify me via email too – Anthony]

Guest post by David Middleton

From Live Science…

Records Melt Away on Greenland Ice Sheet

By Brett Israel, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer posted: 21 January 2011

The disappearing Greenland Ice Sheet set several records during an unusually long melt last year, according to a new study.

Running from April to mid-September, the melt season of 2010 was about a month longer than usual, said study team member Jason Box, a geographer and climatologist at Ohio State University.

[…]

Live Science

“The disappearing Greenland Ice Sheet”… Where in the heck did the author get the idea that the Greenland Ice Sheet was disappearing?

Greenland Ice Sheet Isopach Map (Wikipedia)

A recent publication by a team from TU Delft & JPL found that the Greenland ice sheet was melting at half the rate previously thought. They estimate that the Greenland ice sheet is losing ~230 gigatonnes (Gt) of ice per year. One Gt of water has a volume of 1 cubic km (km^3). 1 Gt of ice has a larger volume than 1 Gt of water… But, for the purpose of this exercise, we’ll assume 1 Gt of ice has a volume of 1 km^3.

If 1 Gt of ice has a volume of 1 km^3 and the current volume of the Greenland ice sheet is ~5 million km^3 and Greenland continues to melt at a rate of 230 km^3/yr over the next 90 years… The Greenland ice sheet will lose a bit more than 0.4% of its ice volume.~230 gigatonnes (Gt) of ice per year equates to about 0.005% of ice mass loss per year. At the current rate, it would take 1,000 years for the Greenland Ice Sheet to lose 5% of its volume.

The Earth’s climate was at least 2°C warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum and the Greenland Ice Sheet did not melt, disappear or destabilize…

Holocene Climate

The Earth’s climate was at least 2°C warmer and the Arctic was about 5°C warmer than it currently is during the Sangamonian (Eemian) interglacial. and the Greenland Ice Sheet did not melt, disappear or destabilize.

Greenland’s glaciation began during the Miocene, when the Earth’s climate was at least 5°C warmer than it currently is. It advanced rapidly after the Mid-Pliocene Warm Period.

Earth’s climate would have to warm back up to where it was in the mid-Miocene (~15 MYA) in order to destabilize the Greenland ice sheet…

Cenozoic Climate H/T Bill Illis

There is no scientific evidence to back up the assertion of a “disappearing Grrenland Ice Sheet. For a detailed explanation as to why the Greenland ice sheet cannot collapse under any AGW scenario, see Ollier & Pain, 2009.

About these ads

81 thoughts on “More Glacial Junk Science Journalism

  1. “There is no scientific evidence to back up the assertion of a “disappearing Grrenland Ice Sheet.”

    And the same goes for all the other scare based propaganda that we’re recycling at this blog.
    There is no scientific evidence, Period

  2. Please someone help me. Was the snow green during the medieval warming period when the Vikings named it gruenelande? Dumme verschlachtekopffe!

  3. “It is an edged cliché that the world is most pleasant in the years of a Waning Sun. It is true that the weather is not so driven, that everywhere there is a sense of slowing down, and most places experience a few years where the summers do not burn and the winters are not yet overly fierce. It is the classic time of romance. It’s a time that seductively beckons higher creatures to relax, postpone. It’s the last chance to prepare for the end of the world.”

    Vernor Vinge, _A Deepness in the Sky_ Ch. 4, 1999

  4. See http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20110308.html

    “…for each year over the 18-year study, the Greenland ice sheet lost mass faster than it did the year before, by an average of 21.9 gigatonnes a year. In Antarctica, the year-over-year speedup in ice mass lost averaged 14.5 gigatonnes.”

    230GT from Greenland – and accelerating at about 10%/year? You might want to run your numbers again; that adds up to ~2.1% of Greenland ice melting in the next 90 years, not 0.4%. Also keep in mind that Greenland doesn’t have to completely melt to cause trouble.

  5. Running some more numbers, 1.3mm/year sea level rise from the current 475GT melt (Greenland plus Antarctic ice loss), accelerating at 36.3GT/year:

    That adds up to 0.515 meters of sea level rise in the next 90 years, plus thermal expansion. One meter of sea level rise by 2100 is entirely possible…

  6. KR: “Accelerating” at 10% since maybe 1985 at best. Gaining ice before that. Not significant.

  7. IIRC, potholer had graced this issue with a video, saying that it isn’t so much the melt rate, but rather the lubricating effect of melt water underneath, which makes it basically slide a lot faster. I hope I am not mis-quoting him though; maybe someone has heard this before?

  8. KR

    Over the past 18 years, the Antarctic ice sheet has increased in volume, not decreased as postulated in this paper. Only the Western pennisula has lost ice during the past two decades. Perhaps their estimates for Greenland are also inaccurate!

    Bill

  9. KR: How does that compare to daily high tide/low tide differential? Or to a tsunami?

  10. KR says:
    April 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    “…keep in mind that Greenland doesn’t have to completely melt to cause trouble.”

    Okay, the suspense bothers me. I’ll bite. How much of Greenland (I assume you mean Greenland’s ice sheet) will have to melt before anyone will notice that trouble is being caused, how will anyone notice, and for how many million years will we have to wait before someone will notice?

  11. David Larsen says:
    April 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    Please someone help me. Was the snow green during the medieval warming period when the Vikings named it gruenelande? Dumme verschlachtekopffe!

    Or New England as Vinland (Vine Land due to all the grapes they found there)

  12. KR says:
    April 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Running some more numbers, 1.3mm/year sea level rise from the current 475GT melt (Greenland plus Antarctic ice loss), accelerating at 36.3GT/year:

    That adds up to 0.515 meters of sea level rise in the next 90 years, plus thermal expansion. One meter of sea level rise by 2100 is entirely possible…

    Sorry for being so hasty. I did not realize that you had posted your estimate. Let’s assume that your estimate of sea-level rise is more accurate than those by others. You could be right, and all of the others could be wrong. As you say, “One meter of sea level rise by 2100 is entirely possible…”, but then it is also entirely possible that if the warming is that pronounced that a lot of the extra melt water will evaporate, turn into clouds, increase the albedo and cause the start of the next ice age…

    I don’t see your estimate taking that into account, but there is no doubt in my mind that you must do so.

  13. eric1skeptic, Bill Yarber – references?

    jorgekafkazar – Varies with location. But keep in mind that any tide or tsunami differences will be differentials from the base sea level. So take any existing differential and add the sea level rise on top of it.

    Walter H. Schneider – Melt contribution of half a meter, plus thermal expansion (currently running about equal in scale), leading to perhaps ~1 meter of sea level rise by 2100. Looking at some maps (http://flood.firetree.net/), that means most of the islands in the Chesapeake Bay, goodly chunks of the Florida Keys and Cape Hatteras, say goodbye to New Orleans, certainly parts of Bangladesh and other low-lying countries… I would consider that noticeable. Wouldn’t you?

  14. @KR

    Welcome back. Always glad to see you are taking notice how the CAGW campaign crashes and burns faster than an Ontario barn on a Halloween night.

    Please let me explain something for you:

    There can be no doubt that the melt rate of the Greenland ice sheet is variable. I for one hope it disappears completely because that will mean the Arctic will be habitable again, the trade routes will open fully across the Arctic Ocean, the forests will be re-established at once again across the endless stretches of Northern Canada where they once stood before the big freeze came and killed them all. The trees are already there, stunted to a couple of feet by the ghastly freezing winds belting across the tundra. Farming will return to the fertile plains of Greenland. The vast Mackenzie Valley and well-watered Delta will turn into a breadbasket with day-long sunshine and a temperate climate. The absorption of CO2 will be massive, gigantic, similar to the creation of a second Amazon forest.

    Will this melting be brought about by human emissions of CO2? Not a chance! For two reasons: first, there is not enough accessible carbon on the planet to make such a significant difference, so weak is carbon dioxide’s effect as a GHG, as numerous peer reviewed scientific publications indicate, should you care to look.

    Second, and more relevant to today’s topic: because all that melting ice has nearly no CO2 in it. Sea water contains about 0.03% CO2. That means the melt water from Greenland alone – 5 million cubic kilometers will absorb 1.56 x 10^12 tons of CO2 just to bring it in balance with the present CO2 level in the ocean – not including any Antarctic melting, if the present ice mass growth reverses.

    It is simple facts like this which the public is not told about: 1,560,000,000,000 tons of CO2 would be absorbed by the water just from a melted Greenland ice sheet. That is equal to the total emissions from burning 410,000,000,000 tons of carbon or roughly 500 billion tons of good quality dry coal. Were that much coal to be found, and were it to be burned over a period any number of years, the CO2 level in the atmosphere would remain exactly where it is and the ocean pH would not budge at all, so great is the absorbing power of sea water. The faster it melts, the faster the CO2 would be extracted from the atmosphere. If an equal amount of melting took place from Antarctica, the absorption would be doubled to 3.12 trillion tons of CO2 with no change in atmospheric concentration.

    Consider that all the rest of the ocean might also absorb a little more as well. The ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2 is huge and the pH buffering capacity is massive almost beyond the counting of it. Thus the possibility of the humble human race doubling the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is approximately zero, even in a thousand or five thousand years.

    The fact that the melting rate does not match the present emission rate of the oceans and mankind is not very important because it will catch up. As there is no clear relationship between the CO2 level and the temperature (which is the Big Fear) one cannot say with any certainty the world will heat up at all, let alone ‘catastrophically’. All indications are we are now headed into a long period of cooling which is a threat to food and comfort that will peak just as the human population does in 2050. The future just ain’t what it used to be.

    You’re welcome.

  15. KR

    The is no validity in taking one or two years of data, then extrapolating a fabricated melt rate trend 90 years into the future. You have no reliable data that enables you to make a credible claim that a 1 m sea level rise is even possible in that time frame. Nor does anybody else.

  16. For those who want to know how the calculation above relates to the total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere, see http://micpohling.wordpress.com/2007/03/30/math-how-much-co2-by-weight-in-the-atmosphere/

    The answer is 3 x 10^12 tons. If the melt water from the whole of Greenland and a similar amount were to melt from Antarctica, it would mean we would have to emit the equivalent of 2 times the present CO2 load in the atmosphere to keep the current 392 ppm constant because the meltwater would start absorbing CO2 like mad.

  17. If the Greenland ice sheet were really melting, wouldn’t Greenland be as the weight of the glaciers decrease?

  18. “The Greenland ice sheet will lose a bit more than 0.4% of its ice volume.” That’s in total over the entire 90 years. The 0.005% is per year, right?

    And KR, your math is all wrong.

    If we add in 10% of the melt per year, then it’s just 10% more at 0.44% for the entire 90 years.

    Without the 10%, it’s 5.75 cm rise in oceans, not half a meter. That’s nothing. With 10%, its 6.3 cm. oh noes.

  19. Oops! It is late at night here in Gotham South.

    ” …it would mean we would have to emit the equivalent of 2 times the present CO2 load in the atmosphere… ”

    Correction: “…we would have to emit the equivalent of the present CO2 load in the atmosphere….”

    The study by the brilliant South African Willem Nel into how much we might be able to increase the CO2 concentration with known and estimated carbon-rich sources shows that we are unlikely to be able to drive up the atmospheric concentration an additional 150 ppm, and he did not consider the absorption of CO2 by new sea water.

  20. During Atlasgate http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/science/earth/25atlas.html?_r=1

    Dr Curry invited a Glaciologist to discuss with us some of the claims.

    I had the opportunity to ask about this.
    “WWII plane recovered in Greenland
    A World War II US fighter plane once entombed under 100 metres of snow and ice in Greenland is back in the skies to complete a mission it began nearly 65 years ago.

    Dubbed “Glacier Girl” after being recovered, the P-38 fighter left Teterboro Airport in the United States for another leg of a journey to Duxford, England, where it is scheduled to land on June 29.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/WWII-plane-recovered-in-Greenland/2007/06/23/1182019412243.html

    My question is / was doesn’t this mean during the 1940’s there was a lot less ice on Greenland?

    It [ my q ]still goes unanswered.

  21. C’mon guys, we should go easy on Mr. Israel . . . he’s a “journalist” so arithmetic is very, very difficult.

    The only thing disappearing in this instance is his credibility.

  22. Can someone answer this simple validation test (required for all models in science). If CO2 is increasing and atmospheric water is decreasing, isn’t the model in accurate and therefore CO2 is not driving increasing temps? My understanding is CO2 causes some warming, that causes more atmosphere H20 which forces the majority of warming.

  23. Cwoop, Sie habten lande gefunden; finde lande, found land, new found land. There were sites there excavated in the 1960’s that showed viking habitation in old National Geographics. Southern europe must think finde is vines for grapes but the vikings finded lande, found land.

  24. There’s some very interesting commentary here – it’s defo got me scratching my head!

    Also, it’s great to see KR being soundly PWNED with a solid argument.

    Nice work, Crispin In Jo’Burg – I reckon matey’s suckin his teeth and huggin his knees.

    As well he should.

    }:o(

  25. KR says…

    See http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20110308.html

    “…for each year over the 18-year study, the Greenland ice sheet lost mass faster than it did the year before, by an average of 21.9 gigatonnes a year. In Antarctica, the year-over-year speedup in ice mass lost averaged 14.5 gigatonnes.”

    230GT from Greenland – and accelerating at about 10%/year? You might want to run your numbers again; that adds up to ~2.1% of Greenland ice melting in the next 90 years, not 0.4%. Also keep in mind that Greenland doesn’t have to completely melt to cause trouble.

    and…

    Running some more numbers, 1.3mm/year sea level rise from the current 475GT melt (Greenland plus Antarctic ice loss), accelerating at 36.3GT/year:

    Lets consider at 36.3 GT/year/year acceleration. That means at the end of the 18 year period there were 653 GT/year more melting than at the beginning of the 18 year period. (18 years X 36.3 GT/year/year).

    So, the portion of the sea level rise rate due to addition water (as opposed to steric effects) at the end of that 18 year period should have been 1.8 mm/year greater than at the beginning of that period (653 GT/year X 2.78e-3 mm/GT).

    Can you see that 1.8 mm/year increase here…

    or in some other global mean sea level data? I can’t.

    Also, please consider viewing movie of PSMSL sea level data here…

    http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/

  26. KR;
    New Orleans: inland hole in the ground protected by dykes. Will flood again if they break.
    Bangladesh: river delta that grows and shrinks with silt deposit variations. Warming will increase them. Currently gaining area. In no danger of vanishing.

  27. Errata… The Holocene Climatic Optimum was ~2C warmer than the mid 1800’s.  When I originally wrote this, I forgot that Alley cut off before 1900.

    @KR,

    Neither SST nor MSL have been rising, much less accelerating in their rise, over the last few years.  Therefore, ice melt can’t be accelerating.

  28. Our “little” planet is huge !!!
    Numbers like this boggle my mind and should really but things into perspective for everyone:

    “If 1 Gt of ice has a volume of 1 km^3 and the current volume of the Greenland ice sheet is ~5 million km^3 and Greenland continues to melt at a rate of 230 km^3/yr over the next 90 years… The Greenland ice sheet will lose a bit more than 0.4% of its ice volume.~230 gigatonnes (Gt) of ice per year equates to about 0.005% of ice mass loss per year. At the current rate, it would take 1,000 years for the Greenland Ice Sheet to lose 5% of its volume.”

    Excellent post Mr. Middleton !!

  29. David Middleton“Neither SST nor MSL have been rising, much less accelerating in their rise, over the last few years. Therefore, ice melt can’t be accelerating.”

    Over the last few years? If you’re only looking at short term data, yes. But if you look at longer terms for sea level rise, long enough for statistically significant trends, as in Church 2006 (http://naturescapebroward.com/NaturalResources/ClimateChange/Documents/GRL_Church_White_2006_024826.pdf – Fig. 2, also shown at http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch5s5-5-2.html), there is a considerable acceleration in sea level rise – the best fit for the last 140 years is quadratic upwards. Looking at only “the last few years” for sea level rise rates is looking at only noise.

    As to ice melt rates, see http://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/Copenhagen/Copenhagen_Diagnosis_LOW.pdf – Figure 8 for Greenland, Figure 10 for Antarctica, showing multiple studies of mass balance, using different methods, and the accelerating trends seen.

    Quite frankly, the general approach of the comments here, arguing that melt isn’t going to be that bad, is in my opinion just wishful thinking.

  30. Eventually, as the Pleistocene Era ends some 12 – 14+ million years from now, Greenland will likely have segued southwest to more temperate zones. End of glaciers, not due to shifts in atmospheric or oceanic currents –most certainly not to any doofus CO2 effect– but solely to plate tectonics re-positioning landmasses over time.

    Not climatology but geophysics is the discipline applicable here. For all its seeming rigor, which in fact is no more “scientific” than Blondlot’s N-rays, CAGW is on par with Aristotle’s “impetus” and Ptolemaic epicycles. Faugh.

  31. Birdieshooter,

    Interesting paper, thanks for linking. From the Conclusions:

    CONCLUSIONS
    Our analyses do not indicate acceleration in sea level in U.S. tide gauge records during the 20th century. Instead, for each time period we consider, the records show small decelerations that are consistent with a number of earlier studies of worldwide-gauge records. The decelerations that we obtain are opposite in sign and one to two orders of magnitude less than the +0.07 to +0.28 mm/y2 accelerations that are required to reach sea levels predicted for 2100 by Vermeer and Rahmsdorf (2009), Jevrejeva, Moore, and Grinsted (2010), and Grinsted, Moore, and Jevrejeva (2010). Bindoff et al. (2007) note an increase in worldwide temperature from 1906 to 2005 of 0.74uC. It is essential that investigations continue to address why this worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years, and indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.

  32. R. de Haan says:
    April 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    “There is no scientific evidence to back up the assertion of a “disappearing Grrenland Ice Sheet.”

    And the same goes for all the other scare based propaganda that we’re recycling at this blog.
    There is no scientific evidence, Period

    ______________________________
    Pssst. keep that under your hat…
    the solvency of our “sacred” institutions of higher learning is at stake!

  33. Houston and Dean 2011 is a notable study – notable for the use of a subset of tide gauge data, a subset of the time span, and results that are not supported (http://tinyurl.com/5sxbskd) by the full data.

    Their claims of deceleration are inconsistent with the any review of the full set of data available – sea level rise rates have accelerated over the last 140 years. If you look at all the data, their paper is really an exercise in disinformation.

  34. @KR,

    The ice melt has supposedly accelerated since 2003 (Velicogna, 2009).  The rate of sea level rise decelerated since 2003.

    GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) consists of two satellites, launched in 2002, that measure subtle variations in Earth’s gravitational field.   GRACE is the ideal tool for measuring changes in Earth’s polar ice caps.

    One of the most prolific authors on GRACE has been Dr. Isabella Velicogna, UC Irvine.  Back in 2009 Dr. Velicogna published this paper in GRL:

    Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE

    Dr. Velicogna concluded that the ice mass-loss was “accelerating with time.”  She found that “in Antarctica the mass loss increased from 104 Gt/yr in 2002–2006 to 246 Gt/yr in 2006–2009.”

    Since the launch of GRACE, Dr. Velicogna has participated in several papers on GRACE and ice mass loss estimates for Antarctic and Greenland.  Each paper has presented a more dire situation than the previous one, yet GRACE has not actually measured a significant ice mass loss in Antarctica.  The actual GRACE measurements  indicate a net mass gain (44 ±20 Gt/yr) from October 2003 through February 2007.

    Riva2007.png

    Furthermore, the GIA-adjusted Total Mass Differences (TMD) from the TU Delft publication are significantly lower than those of Velicogna 2009.

    GIA is the abbreviation for “glacial isostatic adjustment,” sometimes referred to as post-glacial rebound (PGR).  The areas of the Earth’s crust that were covered by thick ice sheets during the last glacial maximum were depressed by the ice mass.  As the ice sheets have retreated over the last 15-20,000 years, the crust has rebounded (risen) in those areas.  So, the GRACE measurements have to be adjusted for GIA.   The problem is that no one really knows what the GIA rate actually is.  This is particularly true for Antarctica.

    Riva et al., 2007 concluded that the ice mass-loss rate in Antarctica from 2002-2007 could have been anywhere from zero-point-zero Gt/yr up to 120 Gt/yr.  Dr. Riva recently co-authored a paper in GRL (Thomas et al., 2011) which concluded that GPS observations suggest “that modeled or empirical GIA uplift signals are often over-estimated” and that “the spatial pattern of secular ice mass change derived from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data and GIA models may be unreliable, and that several recent secular Antarctic ice mass loss estimates are systematically biased, mainly too high.”  (I don’t have access to the full text of Thomas et al., 2011, just the abstract).

    So, there’s no evidence that the Antarctic ice sheets have experienced any significant ice mass-loss since GRACE has been flying.  The GIA has generally been as large or larger than the asserted ice mass-loss.

    Now, regarding a quadratic function for sea level rise, yes it did follow a quadratic function as it accelerated from the Little Ice Age hiatus to its modern rate.

    A projection of the measured sea level rise from 1700 to 2009 gives us about 300 mm of sea level rise from 2007-2100. That’s 11.8 inches. Less than 1 foot.

    See…

    “Recent global sea level acceleration started over 200 years ago”
    Jevrejeva, S., J. C. Moore, A. Grinsted, and P. L. Woodworth (2008),
    Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L08715, doi:10.1029/2008GL033611.  

    LINK  

  35. David Middleton – You are aware, I hope, of the fact that ENSO effects the rate of sea level rise? That La Nina events increase precipitation, resulting in movement of water from the oceans onto the land? These variations add noise to the sea level rise rates, making it very important to look at longer terms to extract trends. Short term trend estimates are not statistically significant, and are in fact cherry-picking – in the presence of noise I could take an insignificantly short period and extract almost any rate I liked; but that would be meaningless.

    See http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/nasa-satellites-detect-pothole-road-higher-seas and http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFM.G33B1247H for some details on ENSO effects.

    Regarding Antarctic ice mass, http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/mar/HQ_06085_arctic_ice.html has data through 2005, and your own Velicogna 2009 reference (http://ess.uci.edu/researchgrp/velicogna/files/increasing_rates_of_ice_mass_loss_from_the_greenland__and_antarctic_ice_sheets_revealed_by_grace.pdf) indicates increasing rates of Antarctic mass loss. As I pointed to in a previous post (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/05/more-glacial-junk-science-journalism/#comment-946634) multiple studies using different methods all agree on increasing Antarctic mass loss rates.

    You have not supported your points.

  36. KR says @April 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm [ … ].

    Linking to Tamina’s Closed Mind exposes your alarmist belief system. This unrefuted peer reviewed paper debunks the T-bagger.

    After this, please stick to credible sources. Thanx.

  37. >>>kim2ooo says:
    April 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm
    Dubbed “Glacier Girl” after being recovered
    My question is / was doesn’t this mean during the 1940′s there was a lot less ice on Greenland?
    ——————————
    Kim2ooo – in a book I read about the recovery of Glacier Girl. One of the pictures showed a tractor that was left on the ice in 1990. The picture was taken in 1992, and the tractor was in a 15-20 ft hole. About 15 ft of new glacier has formed over the tractor in two years. I guess it’s melting from the bottom. About 200 ft of ice had accumulated on Glacier Girl since it crashed in about 1944.

  38. “The Earth’s climate was at least 2°C warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum and the Greenland Ice Sheet did not melt, disappear or destabilize…”

    Yes, but the lies sound so much more dramatic when they say it will.

  39. regarding the recovery of “Glacier Girl” as proof that the ice is melting:

    the ice melted to get her out all right… they had to melt down through 268′ of ice to reach her, and first located the wreck with ground penetrating radar… all of which tends to disprove your claim that global warming had anything to do with getting the plane back.

    nice try though!

    details here: http://p38assn.org/glacier-girl-recovery.htm

  40. @KR,

    The hysterical predictions of >1 meter sea level rise by the end of this century are based on accelerating ice melt.  A realistic estimation of GIA does not support accelerating ice mass loss.  The sea level and SST data over the period of supposed accelerating ice melt also do not support accelerating ice mass loss.  The short term data (during the GRACE era of ice mass measurement) do not support accelerating sea level rise.

    The long term sea level trend (Jerejeva et al) smoothly ties into the recent satellite data and indicates insufficient acceleration to raise sea level by more than 1 foot by the end of this century.  The long term data do not support accelerating sea level rise.

    Neither the short term nor the long term data support accelerating sea level rise.  Is there some sort of Goldilocks term data set?

  41. Matt said: “… potholer had graced this issue with a video, saying that it isn’t so much the melt rate, but rather the lubricating effect of melt water underneath, which makes it basically slide a lot faster…”

    Slide up hill? I understood that the weight of Greenland’s ice sheet has depressed the center of that large Island in some places to below sea level. Which, if true, then the rise in the sea level due to the melting of all of its ice would be offset by the rebound of Greenland’s land mass.

  42. KR,

    Anyone who believes Rahmsdorf is anything but a grant-trolling climate alarmist is engaging in psychological projection when talking about confirmation bias. Rahmsdorf would be a certified nobody if it were not for his having both front feet in the taxpayer trough. Rahmsdorf is as incredible as Mann. Find someone credible, then I’ll listen.

  43. Crispin in Johannesburg, not Waterloo at the moment says:
    April 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    It is simple facts like this which the public is not told about: 1,560,000,000,000 tons of CO2 would be absorbed by the water just from a melted Greenland ice sheet. That is equal to the total emissions from burning 410,000,000,000 tons of carbon or roughly 500 billion tons of good quality dry coal.

    Impressive use of large numbers! Let me try.
    2010 global coal comsumption, 7.237 billion tons. (Hard and Brown coal)
    <a href=http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/frequently-asked-questions/<World Coal Association
    Without including the increase in coal use ( as we keep hearing china is putting online 1 coal plant per week) thats 723.7 billion tons in 100 years. According to your figures, thats almost 45% more than will be absorbed by the melt water or 702,000,000,000 tons of CO2 still going into the atmosphere. As brown coal produces more CO2, this figure would be higher.

    Have we got enough coal? You betcha!
    from the same link above
    The reserves to production (R/P) ratio provides an indicator of how long proved coal reserves will last at the current rate of extraction. BP calculated this to be 118 years for coal at the end of 2010.

    So to wrap up it IF the Greenland ice sheet melted (your thoughts not mine), it would only absorb 70 years of coal use at 2010 consumption rates.

    No, Crispin, Your Welcome!

  44. David says
    The Earth’s climate was at least 2°C warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
    ———-
    This claim seems to be based on reading the graph but the graph is missing the last 100 years . Adding in the extra 100 years would add another 1C making the difference just 1C.

    There also seems to be some semantic jiggers pokery around the “disappearing Greenland ice sheet”. There are measurements of the ice sheet which are satellite-based cross-checked with field measurements. So David tries to tell us there is “no evidence”. Sorry not buying it.

  45. why the Greenland ice sheet cannot collapse under any AGW scenario, see Ollier & Pain, 2009.
    ————
    I also had a read of this article. While generally informative , it agrees that glaciers are retreating but attempts to fuzz over the whys. It also fuzzes over the processes at glacial margins by emphasizing processes in the ice sheet interior. There is also the odd strawman argument being constructed here.

    Basically to much activism/spin and to little objective science.

  46. @KR

    “Quite frankly, the general approach of the comments here, arguing that melt isn’t going to be that bad, is in my opinion just wishful thinking.”

    ++++++++

    I presume that was a reply to my calculation that the new sea water accumulated from melting ice sheets will absorb very large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere – equal at least to the current 392 ppm.

    I must say I expected, given your command of quite a number of reference documents, that you would have replied with something more substantial than your opinion of my opinion about the positive effects on the Great White North of a substantial increase in temperature. Wishful thinking? Darn right! Stand outdoors in Yellowknife in winter for a few hours and the prospect of a cooling climate in the coming decades is terrifying. The Ice Road Truckers will be running almost all year.

    More to the point would have been some argument from you about the current CO2 content of the ice in Greenland and the offset that would be necessary in the calculation to look at the net uptake by the new seawater. I note in your sort-of-reply that you have tried to divert attention from the core of my argument that the CO2 absorption by new seawater will be massive, to the possible effects of melting. The question of how mankind would cope with a large rise in sea level is open to debate. It is worth remembering that for all the tiny islands lost, and new ones created in places like southern Georgia and Florida, there will be a lot of new farmland crated by the removal of the glaciation. Canada is huge (about 10m km^2) and very large portions of it are basically uninhabitable at present, the same as Greenland. The melting of the ice from Antarctica would uncover an entire continent.

    My point is that arguments about land loss only are partial, frequently alarmist, biased and therefore, unscientific. Rising global temperatures will liberate millions of sq km of farmland in Siberia, Greenland and Canada. Rising seas will maintain a CO2 level approximately where it is right now. Mankind will easily adapt to a warmer and less hostile world

    Taken in proper context, the natural fluctuations in climate are readily accommodated by both the natural world and the human world. There are two true threats to ‘life as we know it': catastrophic cooling on the one hand, and on the other, self-immolation through the application of literally insane policies to bankrupt the entire world economy, slaughtered on the altar of ‘Man has the Power to Control the Climate’.

    King Canute (990-1035) was not demonstrating his arrogance when in the 11th century, he set his throne on the sand and commanded the tide not to wet his feet and robes. He was making a public demonstration that even a powerful king is unable to control the forces of nature, no matter how praised and flattered, no matter how accepted he was as the ultimate commander of his accumulated, earthly realms. It is interesting that an ancient Viking had more comprehension of the nature of our relationship with the planet than many of the Lettered and Anointed in this day.

  47. @Daveo says:

    First, thanks for engaging in a real debate.

    I work some of the time in Mongolia which suspect has a trillion tons of coal (all taken out of the atmosphere by natural proceses when the world was much more comfortably warm). I think there is enough, but not all of it is recoverable. The coal reserves of many countries are highly manipulated so read the numbers with care.

    >Impressive use of large numbers! Let me try.

    I won’t repeat everything, readers can look upwards for the links.

    >2010 global coal comsumption, 7.237 billion tons. (Hard and Brown coal)

    Let’s factor that for 20% ash and agree on the carbon content of 85% of what is left. That gives about 5 bn tons of Carbon, agreed?

    >Without including the increase in coal use ( as we keep hearing china is putting online 1 coal plant per week) thats 723.7 billion tons in 100 years.

    Willem Nel tried to look at how much coal could be recovered and used. He says Peak Coal will be in about 2070, China included. By then China plans to be on Thorium-Fluoride. Peak Uranium is 2035, so little is there of it.

    >According to your figures, thats almost 45% more than will be absorbed by the melt water or 702,000,000,000 tons of CO2 still going into the atmosphere.

    If the coal can be recovered and burned, this is a real possibility.

    >As brown coal produces more CO2, this figure would be higher.

    Brown coal is definitely lower in CO2 emissions per MJ than hard coal. Please look at the MASHCON figures to see the C:H2 ratio for young and old coals. Moisture, Ash, Sulphur, Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Brown coals are much higher in H2 because they are less ‘processed’ (by age) biomass.

    >Have we got enough coal? You betcha!

    In theory we should have. As South Africa and China are proving, it is cheaper to turn it into liquid fuels and plastic than burn for electricity. There will be a lot of competition for it.

    >The reserves to production (R/P) ratio provides an indicator of how long proved coal reserves will last at the current rate of extraction. BP calculated this to be 118 years for coal at the end of 2010.

    That is wildly in error butI won’t go into that now.

    >So to wrap up it IF the Greenland ice sheet melted (your thoughts not mine), it would only absorb 70 years of coal use at 2010 consumption rates.

    Thanks for your version of the calculations. What this does is put more of the facts (or our opinion of them) on the table. You have probably never seen the new seawater-CO2 argument before. All this alarming talk about sea level rise from melting and nothing about the implications for the atmosphere.

    Taking your figures as accurate, factored for ash and carbon content (reduce by 30%) and adding at least as much melting from the the Arctic islands, Alaska, Antarctica and who knows, the Himalayas, the absorption of CO2 by the expanded ocean will be huge. I wonder if the topic would dare be broached at RC. Who’s a denier now, Gavin?

    If we managed to maintain the current coal combustion rate for another 2-300 years and melting accelerated to the fanciful rates imagined by KR, it still means no change in ocean pH and no change in the atmospheric ppm of CO2. This is a very different scenario from that presented by the main stream media and the sound-alikes of Hansen. How on earth they get funded is beyond me.

    All this is said without getting into any of the arguments in favour of a better, warmer world with higher CO2. If we managed to get the CO2 level up, it would warm at least a bit, but then there is all that winter cooling of the Arctic Ocean without an insulating cover of ice…

  48. It’s a calamity.

    So far the ice cores can only provide us a glimpse into the Eemian warm period. But we can already tell that Eemian climate was significantly warmer than the climate of the current Holocene interglacial – probably about 5°C warmer. As ice from the Eemian period (albeit disturbed) has been found at all drill sites, we also know that the Greenland ice sheet did not melt away entirely during the warmth of the Eemian. Close analysis of δ18O values in the Eemian ice does indeed suggest that the Eemian Greenland ice sheet was not dramatically smaller than today.

    http://www.iceandclimate.nbi.ku.dk/research/climatechange/glacial_interglacial/eemian/

    We are doomed I tells ya.

  49. What troubles me is how isostatic rebound is used to tweak numbers.

    For example, if you assume the land is rising an inch a year, then for the volume of the ice to remain the same the top surface of the ice must rise an inch a year. If the top surface does not rise an inch a year, you then assume an inch of ice has “melted.” In a darkened room, playing with numbers on a computer screen, an inch of ice adds up to a large amount of water, when it is calculated over hundreds of square miles. However you have to notice the entire excersize is built upon a premice: That the land is rising an inch a year. What if it isn’t?

    I can’t help but notice that the graph for sea levels contains “a “Correction” of 0.3 mm/year added May, 5th 2011, due to a “Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA)” – 1993 to Present.” I assume that is based upon the premice the sea’s floor is sinking??? What if it isn’t?

    Sometimes I think these fellows ought stop tweaking numbers on computer screens in darkened rooms, and instead spend some time on a beach. Talk to the old-timers who have lived there for their entire lives, and can recount what their grandfathers told them.

    One thing you learn is that entire neighborhoods have been built on spits of land that weren’t even there before the ’38 hurricane, or the huge Nor’easter of the early 1960’s. If you are determined to be an Alarmist, what you should worry about is what a single hurricane can do to the east coast of the USA, if it builds up a head of steam and charges up the coast with its core intact, (unlike the storm last summer, which dawdled slowly northward and lost its core.)

  50. LazyTeenager says:
    April 6, 2012 at 12:16 am
    I also had a read of this article. While generally informative , it agrees that glaciers are retreating but attempts to fuzz over the whys.

    Some glaciers are retreating and others are advancing — the “whys” for each of those states are pretty well established.

  51. Sea level has been up and down a few in the past 6K years or so , but the trend is down. Archeological digs 50 miles inland of the Gulf of Mexico, show where the shore was in the past 2-3K years when the MSL was 2 meters higher. Expecting a meter or two of rise is no big deal, except for those who chose the wrong place to live. Nothing unusual is happening.

  52. LazyTeenager on April 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm said:
    David says
    The Earth’s climate was at least 2°C warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
    ———-
    This claim seems to be based on reading the graph but the graph is missing the last 100 years . Adding in the extra 100 years would add another 1C making the difference just 1C.

    I wrote and submitted this post about a year ago.  I noticed that error shortly after submitting it.  I noted the errata in my first comment to this post.

    Kobashi’s GISP2 reconstruction cover 960-1950 AD.

    A combination of Kobashi’s GISP2 reconstruction and regional instrumental data shows the modern warming in Greenland to be nearly identical to the Medieval Warm Period.

    There also seems to be some semantic jiggers pokery around the “disappearing Greenland ice sheet”. There are measurements of the ice sheet which are satellite-based cross-checked with field measurements. So David tries to tell us there is “no evidence”. Sorry not buying it.

    The glacial junk science journalist referred to the “disappearing Greenland ice sheet.” There’s no evidence that the Greenland ice sheet is disappearing.  Had article referred to the dynamically variable Greenland ice sheet, I wouldn’t have taken much issue with it, apart from the relevancy of records set relative to record length.

  53. Even if the ice melts, should we assume that ocean levels will rise uniformly?
    Apparently not. It appears that a combination of wind and currents has created a higher sea level in some areas. For example, the Chesapeake bay http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=3680
    Now this would tempt me, if I were a warmer, to go make my sea level rise alarmists stories based on the indisputable fact that sea levels have risen.
    Of course, as an alarmist I would not think it necessary to announce that this is a purely local event nor what the causes are.

    I would just create some banner headlines, claim that millions will drown (because they can’t walk uphill or move inland), include a photo-shopped image of sky scrapers emerging from the sea, maybe a polar bear swimming and so on and let people think that (a) this is global and (b) it is AGW.

  54. Wait!!! If all of the ice melts, then the oceans will have more mass, more depth[sea level rise]. More depth more pressure. More pressure more land rise [kind of like squeezing a pimple]. I was going to say more mountain building, but the squeezing a pimple now has me worried….

    /sarc

  55. David Larsen says:
    April 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm
    Cwoop, Sie habten lande gefunden; finde lande, found land, new found land. There were sites there excavated in the 1960′s that showed viking habitation in old National Geographics. Southern europe must think finde is vines for grapes but the vikings finded lande, found land.

    My understanding was that the land was marked with grape vines on the map. Probably just my memory.

  56. KR said on April 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm
    David Middleton – …. Short term trend estimates are not statistically significant, and are in fact cherry-picking – in the presence of noise I could take an insignificantly short period and extract almost any rate I liked; but that would be meaningless.

    KR, You mean like in the report you pointed to @- KR says: April 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm As to ice melt rates, see http://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/Copenhagen/Copenhagen_Diagnosis_LOW.pdf that you use to justify your position and wherein the summary of that report it says:
    Surging greenhouse gas emissions:
    Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in 2008 were 40% higher than those in 1990.
    Recent global temperatures demonstrate human-induced warming:
    Over the past 25 years temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.19°C per decade, … Even over the past ten years, ….
    Acceleration of melting of ice-sheets, glaciers and ice-caps:
    … Melting of glaciers and ice-caps in other parts of the world has also accelerated since 1990.

    “than those in 1990”? “Over the past 25 years”? “the past 10 years”? “accelerated since 1990”?
    Dare I quote you from 7:55pm- Short term trend estimates are not statistically significant, and are in fact cherry-picking – in the presence of noise I could take an insignificantly short period and extract almost any rate I liked; but that would be meaningless.

    Question: So everything you’ve said is meaningless?

  57. glenncz says:
    April 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Kim2ooo – in a book I read about the recovery of Glacier Girl. One of the pictures showed a tractor that was left on the ice in 1990. The picture was taken in 1992, and the tractor was in a 15-20 ft hole. About 15 ft of new glacier has formed over the tractor in two years. I guess it’s melting from the bottom. About 200 ft of ice had accumulated on Glacier Girl since it crashed in about 1944.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Thanks! :)

    One Lady Glaciologist tried to explain, “It is wind drifts”.
    I said, ” It didn’t matter how it got there….it’s accumulated 200 plus feet of ice since 1942 and recovery of Glacier Girl in 1999 – How do you explain that…if ice is rapidly melting? Remember, this recovery was at the 1998 height of AGW heat index.

    No one answered!! :)

  58. redc1c4 says:
    April 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    regarding the recovery of “Glacier Girl” as proof that the ice is melting:

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Reread the posts :)

  59. Hey LazyTeenager, could you please mature a little and learn proper use of your to‘s and too‘s ?

    I find reading your comments a bit difficult. You seem to be too (notice the extra o) lazy and perhaps need to (notice the sans o) return to school too.

  60. Regarding “Glacier Girl” – the flight of B-17’s and P-38’s was buried ~260-270 feet under the snow and ice, and had moved ~three miles with the glaciers. They reached the planes by literally melting a hole down to the site with a 4-foot wide hot-tip and pumps, then excavated with hoses of hot water. It was quite a project.

    http://www.damninteresting.com/exhuming-the-glacier-girl/

    Greenland glaciers accumulate snow and ice as precipitation, move to the sea via plastic deformation of the ice, and melt off/calve, as a continuing process. Total mass balance is determined by the relative rates of accumulation and melt. Observed increased melt rates certainly don’t indicate that it’s stopped snowing on Greenland – just that there’s a difference between accumulation and loss.

  61. Speaking of sea level and accelerating rise… something is rotten in Denmark. I mean in the sea level graph.

    The years 2008-2011 look exactly on the 3.1 mm/years level increase, but if one take the last years one by one one and compares with the historical data one gets to a different picture.
    Well the last year is clear, it shows no increase at all to 2012.
    If I go and compute the increase registered 2011, it was 3.1 mm per year -0.3 isostacy = 2.8. I remove it for compatibility with previous measurements.
    The total increase for 18 years is 2.8×18=50.4 mm
    If I go back to the level from 2010 from their own data:

    http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2010/10/going-down.html

    It was 3.1 mm per year in 17 years – a total of 52.7 mm
    Going back another year we got in 2009:

    http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2009/04/subida-descer.html

    2009: trend 3.2 mm/year. see the very flat 2006-2009. total 16 years = 51.2 mm
    and back another year, in 2008 we had:

    http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2008/12/descida-dos-nveis-do-mar.html

    2008: trend 3.3 mm/year. total 1993-2008 15 years = 49.5 mm
    So now we have 1 mm more then measured in 2008. Why do I see on their chart an increase in this timeframe from 36 to 50 mm – as of 10-15 mm?
    Can somebody explain this?
    If I go year by year and count we had +1.7 in 2009 +1.2 in 2010 -1.7 in 2011 and 0 2012 to now wich is compatible with what envisat is showing.
    BTW does anybody have saved their values for 2007, 2006 or older? Would be nice to point those to me, would like to recalculate those values too.

  62. Hello there Lamb Chops;
    No one wishes your half wit dreck to be true more than I. Hell we all wish you were correct. Scientists gain nothing personally when they get their point across my friend. If someone is running a business and profiting nicely I say more power to you get it while you can. If however they are dumping their waste in your yard ( even a negligible diminutive amount) you would cry foul and you would want them to pay for what they are doing to your “property”. Everything has a price my friend. If we pay through the nose for cleanup costs for a mess that we arguably leave behind energy companies better do the same. Oh I forgot, the TELEVISION cable “news” programs are making all kinds of mad money at being the bad guy.

  63. @Crispin in Johannesburg.

    To be honest, no I hadn’t given it too much thought. Ice is melting; CO2 levels are continuing to rise. So it’s not having much of an impact on maintaining current levels, I can’t see how it would maintain/reduce levels in the future.
    Let’s factor that for 20% ash and agree on the carbon content of 85% of what is left. That gives about 5 bn tons of Carbon, agreed?
    Agree, but your original statement was
    That is equal to the total emissions from burning 410,000,000,000 tons of carbon or roughly 500 billion tons of good quality dry coal.
    I’m assumeing thats already calculated in?
    As I referenced, we are currently consuming 7.23 bn tons of coal per year (6.3 billion tons of “good quality dry coal”), 45% more than your calculation required to maintain current CO2 levels.
    If we managed to maintain the current coal combustion rate for another 2-300 years and melting accelerated to the fanciful rates imagined by KR, it still means no change in ocean pH and no change in the atmospheric ppm of CO2.
    Well, no. As described, the melt water from a complete melting of Greenland, and as you also said a similar amount of melt from other glaciers and ice sheets, would absorb 50-70% of the coal emissions over the time period you described. As coal use accounts for aprox 45% of the total of all emissions. That means it would only absorb 20-30% of the total CO2 emissions. Where are the other 70-80% going to go?
    Personally, I would be more concerned with the sea level rise from that much melt water (aprox 14m or 50ft), than the CO2 that it would absorb.

  64. @Daveo says:

    >To be honest, no I hadn’t given it too much thought. Ice is melting; CO2 levels are continuing to rise. So it’s not having much of an impact on maintaining current levels, I can’t see how it would maintain/reduce levels in the future.

    With these speculative matters like who’s wild and virtually groundless speculation about sea level rise is better than who else’s, realism is not a strong requirement. Let’s tighten this up a little:

    >>Let’s factor that for 20% ash and agree on the carbon content of 85% of what is left. That gives about 5 bn tons of Carbon, agreed?
    >Agree, but your original statement was
    >>That is equal to the total emissions from burning 410,000,000,000 tons of carbon or roughly 500 billion tons of good quality dry coal.

    Well, you said ‘coal’ and coal has a lot of water in it and a lot of ash, then quite a lot of carbon with residual H2, O2 and N depending on the age. The H2:C ratio drops with time and the moisture may drop equally, sometimes first. 500 GT of dry coal means about 600 GT of coal as mined, which means I am correcting the 7.23 figure for brown and high ash coal.

    >I’m assuming that’s already calculated in?

    It is now – just keep in mind the difference between coal and Carbon mass. For a lignite the carbon content of raw coal may be as low as 40% ‘as mined’.

    >As I referenced, we are currently consuming 7.23 bn tons [7.23 x 10^9] of coal per year (6.3 billion tons of “good quality dry coal”), 45% more than your calculation required to maintain current CO2 levels.

    I wanted to be sure that if we move from a demonstrative calculation to a forecast based on melting and coal burning (from the demonstration in principle to a calculated impact) that melting of other ice fields was considered. If you want to use ‘actual global use’ then we could also usefully apply ‘actual melt of ice’ as the absorber, not the demonstration unit of Greenland. It would never melt by itself. There is a lot of ice in the Arctic Archipelago and Antarctica would be simultaneously affected. So we could go for 5m km^3 of melt or a melted Greenland and the accompanying effects which would be much larger.

    Suppose Coal burned = 10 gigatons (1 x 10^10). Moisture = 15% average, Ash = 20% average. Actual ‘coal = 6.8 gT. Carbon content of that coal = 85%, yields 5.78 or roughly 60% of initial mass. This is 1.5 times the carbon content of lignite, for example. Back of the envelope says coal ‘as mined’ is 60% carbon, by this logic.

    As coal gets depleted (probably 2 or 3 centuries from now) the carbon content will be going down and the ash content up. South Africa is currently building a power station that burns coal with 40% ash. The reported mass mined is the total, not the Carbon, of course.

    So I get a figure of 7.23 x 0.6 = 4.33 GT of Carbon/yr. Reasonable? That is = to 15.9 GT of CO2 (4.33 x 44 / 12 = 15.9)

    If the ice mass, total melt, was 5m km^3 the absorption to bring it to present 0.03% CO2 is:

    5 x 10^15 tons of new seawater x 0.0003 = 1.5 x 10^12 tons of CO2
    Reasonable? Per 5 million cubic kilometres, that is. That is 1,500 GT of absorbing capacity.

    Being realistic, there is a bit of CO2 in the ice which needs to be calculated for. I hoped KR would pick up on that kinda obvious omission and start discussing the implications of new sea water. I suspect the implications scared him off.

    Remember as well that the CO2 level in the ocean is not similar to CO2 a bottle of soda, as is often used as an analogy. There are huge amounts of CO2 sequestered permanently in the ocean on a continuous basis. That is where cement comes from, ultimately.

    So if we talk real numbers, we have to know CO2 sequestration in the sea, roughly ½ of all new emissions as I recall. No matter, we are not getting paid for this….

    Take new seawater as virgin uptake. Take it as given that the level will rise temporarily to perhaps, maybe, double the present concentration in the atmosphere, max, unless oil and natural gas turn out to be abiotic. That will be factored by the overstated release of CO2 from warming oceans but corrected for real absorption. The oceans have an enormous buffering capacity including mechanisms that have not even started to kick in yet for an absolute lack of CO2 in the air.

    Global coal reserves are said to be about 900 GTons http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-08/global-energy-use-advances-at-fastest-pace-since-1973-on-coal-bp-says.html Note that the figure for Germany was upped from 6.7 to 40.7 GT in 2011. They had earlier ‘disappeared’ almost all of their coal!! What’s up with that? Lesson: Never trust reported coal reserve estimates, even from fastidious Germans.

    >>If we managed to maintain the current coal combustion rate for another 2-300 years and melting accelerated to the fanciful rates imagined by KR, it still means no change in ocean pH and no change in the atmospheric ppm of CO2.

    The whole point of my story was to engage KR who shows up here to piss on anything that is against catastrophic global warning, proclaim the sky to be falling and then run off, probably back to RC. He can do that cluck-and-run because there is open debate here whereas at the RC Church of AGW (CAGW) such heretical words would never be allowed. KR ran off with a throwaway-comment about my comment about the benefits of warming in the frozen North and stunningly uttered not a single cluck about new seawater and its implications for climate eschatology.

    >Well, no. As described, the melt water from a complete melting of Greenland, and as you also said a similar amount of melt from other glaciers and ice sheets, would absorb 50-70% of the coal emissions over the time period you described. As coal use accounts for aprox 45% of the total of all emissions. That means it would only absorb 20-30% of the total CO2 emissions. Where are the other 70-80% going to go?

    Sticking with my numbers above, 15.9 x 10^9 Tons of CO2 per year and 5m km^3 of new seawater (5 x 10^15 Tons), calculating about 1.5 x 10^12 Tons absorbing capacity just to bring it to the present sea level. That means the current rate of CO2 emissions emitted for 945 years (1500/15.9) would be absorbed by that 5m km^3 just to keep the ocean level and the pH where it is now. As presently understood, the coal reserves of the planet are nowhere near enough to reach this level (only 118 years as you said), or restated, to even maintain the current pH of the ocean or the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    >Personally, I would be more concerned with the sea level rise from that much melt water (aprox 14m or 50ft), than the CO2 that it would absorb.

    I can understand that view. Sea level rise is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. Rapid cooling is a serious threat. We can easily adapt to rising seas as can the whole of nature adapt, just like it did all the other times we and it adapted. Unfreezing 10m sq km of northern Canada, Greenland and Russia does not portend disaster. And I did not factor above the massive uptake of CO2 by tree cover expansion if it ever got warm enough to let them grow again where they used to. I have written on that previously.

    It would be nice to see a decent calculation of the CO2 absorption of the expanding oceans plotted against the melt rate.

    When the Earth cools and freezes, CO2 is released into the atmosphere by the creation of ice. Were this not so, people would use ice as a CO2 record. Instead they have to use little pockets of air trapped in it. If CO2 had a strong warming power, it would offset the freezing, but it doesn’t. Interesting, neh?

  65. Crispin – Sorry I have not been able to respond to you.

    A few things to note: First, the cryosphere itself contains some CO2 (as per the ice core records), so melting ice releases some CO2 just as it turns to freshwater, which you have been asserting will absorb it. Secondly, we are seeing ~2ppm/year increases in CO2 during current melting, which indicates that the current ice melt is not fully counteracting our emissions.

    While not my area of expertise, you might find this article informative:

    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/08/02/ice.free.ocean.may.not.absorb.co2.a.component.global.warming

    “But our research shows that as the ice melts, the carbon dioxide in the water very quickly reaches equilibrium with the atmosphere, so its use as a place to store CO2 declines dramatically and quickly. We never really understood how limited these waters would be in terms of their usefulness in soaking up carbon dioxide” – Dr. Wei-Jun Cai, Marine Biology UGA

    As to your earlier doubts about CO2 doubling, at the current rate of 2ppm (which was ~1ppm as recently as the 1960’s – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ – third figure) it will take only about 80-85 years to reach 560ppm, twice the pre-industrial CO2 levels.

  66. KR says:

    CO2 “…will take only about 80-85 years to reach 560ppm, twice the pre-industrial CO2 levels.”

    That is a good thing. The biosphere will benefit, and there is no credible downside.

  67. Scientifically described, statistically short, specifically useful, mathematically understandable, easy calculations, GOOD SHOT.
    The KM3 scale physically is quite touchable.

  68. @KR
    >Crispin – Sorry I have not been able to respond to you.

    It’s quite OK. It gave me time to discuss this issue with a couple of experts in chemistry and physics.

    >A few things to note: First, the cryosphere itself contains some CO2 (as per the ice core records), so melting ice releases some CO2 just as it turns to freshwater, …

    Granted.

    >…which you have been asserting will absorb it.

    Let us put numbers on this so small effects are not magnified in word but not in deed. The release of CO2 from melting is microscopic and I will accept expert advice on the typical quantities involved. I assert that as ice forms all CO2 is expelled and confirmed that today with an expert in such chemistry. I continue to assert that melting ice will absorb many, many times more CO2 than is released from air bubbles. It is a question of relative mass.

    Ice melting frees water that contains virtually no CO2 at all. I am sure you will agree with this fact. Each winter when the Arctic ocean freezes, it releases virtually all the CO2 contained in the seawater. In the spring when it melts, that water can again absorb CO2. Increasing the volume of the oceans with fresh water from ‘fossil ice’ create a new absorber of great capacity. Huge.

    >Secondly, we are seeing ~2ppm/year increases in CO2 during current melting, which indicates that the current ice melt is not fully counteracting our emissions.

    This is a clear indication that either the melt rate is not very large, or else the emission from all sources is larger than the new absorption capacity. Simple mathematics will quickly establish which, as the fresh water, as has often been noted, tends to remain in the upper ocean and is the most exposed to the atmosphere, guaranteeing that its uptake of CO2 is optimised. One of the indirect proofs of a low melting rate of all ice reservoirs would be a low uptake of CO2 into the new seawater. Agreed?

    This is a phenomenon of such a large scale that one can take the planet as a whole to conduct this exercise. CO2 enters and leaves the ocean quite rapidly with a change in sea temperature or air pressure. It is no coincidence that the sea water is about 300 ppm, similar to the atmosphere’s 392.

    As you no doubt will have gathered by now, my intent was to draw to your attention the fact that any large scale melting of ice will lead immediately to a large uptake (seawater-sequestration) of CO2. The amount it will absorb is known with accuracy and the uptake rate is rapid. This is basic water chemistry.

    >http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/08/02/ice.free.ocean.may.not.absorb.co2.a.component.global.warming
    >“But our research shows that as the ice melts, the carbon dioxide in the water very quickly reaches equilibrium with the atmosphere, so its use as a place to store CO2 declines dramatically and quickly. We never really understood how limited these waters would be in terms of their usefulness in soaking up carbon dioxide” – Dr. Wei-Jun Cai, Marine Biology UGA

    I am surprised that he seems not to understand that fresh water freed from its ice-bound state will absorb as much CO2 as other water. He seems to he saying it does absorb, therefore it is not a future store. Well, he supports my point that the uptake is immediate. Its ‘usefulness’ will relate to the quantity of new meltwater. “The water very quickly reaches equillibrium with the atmosphere” indeed! His final statement is silly to the point of embarrassment. Catastrophic ocean rise forecasting is based on the melting of vast portions of the large ice sheets. Each ton of ice melted will ‘very quickly’ absorb 300 g of CO2. If the CO2 is not going down, then logically the ice is not melting because CO2 absorption is ‘very quick’. I can’t see anyone asserting that water does not absorb CO2.

    >As to your earlier doubts about CO2 doubling, at the current rate of 2ppm (which was ~1ppm as recently as the 1960′s – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ – third figure) it will take only about 80-85 years to reach 560ppm, twice the pre-industrial CO2 levels.

    That figure is based on the current estimation of fuel use, correct? Without getting into how that particular projection was made, I can refer you to the Doctoral thesis of the aforementioned Dr Willem Nel (Univ of JHB) on peak energy from all sources. Peak oil, soon. Peak uranium, 2035. Peak energy, 2050. Peak coal 2070. After that we are in serious trouble if we don’t start building nukes based on something other than U23x. Africa is OK for new hydro but not the other continents.

    560 ppm CO2 is just above the upper limit Nel calculated as a possible CO2 maximum based on the available resouces, assuming a doubling of known reserves of all fossil fuels. His opinion is that we should not worry about CO2 – we will run out of anything to burn before long. And he did not consider putative ice melting absorbing on the scale I have calculated above.

    As far as I am concerned, this issue of new seawater will be ‘the elephant in the room’ during any future discussion of ice melt. The science is sound, the numbers are known, the effect is immediate, the impact is massive. For me, all talk about increasing CO2 causing catastrophic ice sheet melting without even a nominal calculation of the absorption of CO2 by that meltwater sitting on the surface of the ocean reduces such talk to ‘bunk’. We cannot deny that mankind produces a lot of CO2. We cannot deny that CO2 has an insulating effect in the atmosphere. We cannot deny that increasing temperatures, however caused, melts glaciers and ice sheets like that in Greenland. We similarly cannot deny that melted ice absorbs CO2 rapidly at known rates. The amount absorbed by a melted Greenland ice sheet will be 1500 gigatons, perhaps 500-1000 times our total annual emission rate, half of which already disappears.

    I am open to other calculations that factor in the CO2 contained in trapped air in the ice. There may be some mileage for alarmists in the fact that meltwater has a pH well below that of the ocean. The CO2 uptake of seawater for any given temperature, pH, air pressure and atmospheric concentration is known quite exactly, however.

    There is a well-known annual CO2 variation in concentration particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. This is likely due to the melting and refreezing of ice. Let’s say 15 x 10^12 tons of ocean ice melts and freezes each Arctic season. That will absorb then release 4.5 x 10^9 tons of CO2. Isn’t that approximately equal to all human emissions per year? Now apply that to all the snow and ice that forms in the NH each winter and melts each summer and you get an indication of the scale of the ‘breathing’ of CO2 in and out of the hydrosphere. It is a lot! It seems this factor has been overlooked in the rush to alarm.

  69. Although, in mitigation I am (by acencdit) half right! Since -40C = -40F, minus thirty-something means the same in both (although &c., &c., at least asymptotically at the -40 numeric). Your graph clearly shows warmer than -40C for at least some periods during the first two days: hence minus thirty-something (C or F) is correct. And you understate at the lower end. Not quite as potent a headline, tho’! BTW, much appreciate your posts the warmistas’ don’t like history much, unless they can bend it to their whim. How do you find the time?

Comments are closed.