Claim: atmosphere heats the oceans, melts Antarctic ice shelf

From Penn State

Underlying ocean melts ice shelf, speeds up glacier movement

Warm ocean water, not warm air, is melting the Pine Island Glacier’s floating ice shelf in Antarctica and may be the culprit for increased melting of other ice shelves, according to an international team of researchers.

“We’ve been dumping heat into the atmosphere for years and the oceans have been doing their job, taking it out of the air and into the ocean,” said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences, Penn State. “Eventually, with all that atmospheric heat, the oceans will heat up.”

The researchers looked at the remote Pine Island Glacier, a major outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet because it has rapidly thinned and accelerated in the recent past.

“It has taken years and years to do the logistics because it is so remote from established permanent bases,” said Anandakrishnan.

Pine Island Glacier or PIG lies far from McMurdo base, the usual location of American research in Antarctica. Work done in the southern hemisphere’s summer, December through January 2012-13, included drilling holes in the ice to place a variety of instruments and using radar to map the underside of the ice shelf and the bottom of the ocean. Penn State researchers did the geophysics for the project and the research team’s results are reported today (Sept. 13) in Science.

The ice shelf is melting more rapidly from below for a number of reasons. The oceans are warmer than they have been in the past and water can transfer more heat than air. More importantly, the terrain beneath the ice shelf is a series of channels. The floating ice in the channel has ample room beneath it for ocean water to flow in. The water melts some of the ice beneath and cools. If the water remained in the channel, the water would eventually cool to a point where it was not melting much ice, but the channels allow the water to flow out to the open ocean and warmer water to flow in, again melting the ice shelf from beneath.

“The way the ocean water is melting the ice shelf is a deeply non-uniform way,” said Anandakrishnan. “That’s going to be more effective in breaking these ice shelves apart.”

The breaking apart of the ice shelf in the channels is similar to removing an ice jam from a river. The shelf was plugging the channel, but once it is gone, the glacier moves more rapidly toward the sea, forming more ice shelf, but removing large amounts of ice from the glacier.

The melting of floating ice shelves does not contribute to sea level rise because once they are in the water, the ice shelves have already contributed to sea level rise. However, most of the Antarctic glaciers are on land, and rapidly adding new ice shelf material to the floating mass will increase sea level rise.

“Antarctica is relatively stable, but that won’t last forever, said Anandakrishnan. “This is a harbinger of what will happen.”

The researchers believe that the interaction of the ocean beneath the ice shelf and melting of the ice shelf is an important variable that should be incorporated into the sea level rise models of global warming. Other recent research shows that without the channelized underbelly of the ice shelf and glacier, melting would be even more rapid.

“The Antarctic has been relatively quiet as a contributor to sea rise,” said Anandakrishnan. “What this work shows is that we have been blind to a huge phenomenon, something that will be as big a player in sea level rise in the next century as any other contributor.”

###

Also working on this project were Tim Stanton, research professor, and William J. Shaw, research assistant professor, Department of Oceanography, Naval Postgraduate School; Martin Truffer, professor of physics, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Hugh Corr, British Antarctic Survey; Leo E. Peters, research associate, Kiya L. Riverman, graduate student, both of Penn State; Robert Bindschadler, emeritus scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; and David M. Holland, professor of mathematics, New York University.

The National Science Foundation, NASA and the Natural Environment Research Council, UK, supported this work.

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101 Responses to Claim: atmosphere heats the oceans, melts Antarctic ice shelf

  1. gerrydorrian66 says:

    At least when scientists said the Arctic would be free of ice by this September it was actually a scientific statement, ie it was testable and falsifiable. This just sounds like more waffle.

  2. csanborn says:

    Who pays the salaries of these people, and why?

  3. dp says:

    Magic air – it can heat water but not melt ice. But it can heat water enough to melt ice. Maybe if we had more of that free heat we could do without coal.

    Oh wait – Penn State, the silly school. Never mind.

  4. Joe Chang says:

    Well at least they are not saying warm water from the “missing heat” sinks into the deep ocean beneath the less warm (colder) water. The would almost be as hilarious as the first GI Joe movies, with the ice mountains sinking into the deep at the end.

  5. Dr. Bob says:

    I would think that this research group would try to discuss what the situation at the PIG glacier was like 20 years or more ago before the ocean supposedly cause unnatural melting, compare that situation to today’s situation, plot ocean temperature trends, and at least have data showing some cause to the “observed” effect. Without prior data of this site, there is no reason to suspect that this is not a natural situation or cycle. This reports only value so far is documentation of a situation and conditions in present time that can be used for comparison to future conditions. Anything else is idle speculation, not science.

  6. Cargosquid says:

    I am not a scientist. I lurk here quite often.

    The atmosphere is warming the water enough to melt the ice….but the air temp is still not high enough to melt the ice? Isn’t the air temp lower than the water temp at that latitude? And higher water temps? I thought that there was missing heat. When did the ocean temps rise like that?

    Did they forget this: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/22/surprise-theres-an-active-volcano-under-antarctic-ice/

    It seems to be in the same area.
    Volcano
    https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=-74.6+-97&ie=UTF8&ll=-74.590108,-97.03125&spn=19.291276,82.353516&t=h&z=4&om=0

    Glacier
    https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&q=pine+island+glacier&ie=UTF-8&ei=ouMzUryLONTC4APp4oH4BA&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg

    Am I missing something?

  7. nc says:

    So Pine Glacier is how big compared to total ice volume and I understand total ice volume is increasing not decreasing. Penn State glad you folks are on top of it.

  8. george e. smith says:

    So Penn State is not bound by the second aw of thermodynamics.

    I once worked for a company that said they weren’t either.

    And “heat” energy is transported from the atmosphere to the ocean by; what mechanism was that now ?? Oh; convection. Hot air rises, and cool air from altitude, that has sucked out the latent heat of evaporation of moisture, and that floats down into the ocean ! Eureka !

  9. The ice shelf is melting more rapidly from below for a number of reasons.

    They don’t have any evidence this is the case.

    The logic is that the air almost never gets above 0C, so the primary cause must be warmer water melting the undersides of the ice. However, this ignores sublimation which varies with solar insolation and albedo but can occur well below zero.

    In this picture you clearly see large dark areas on the surface of the Pine Island Glacier, which would facilitate surface melt/sublimation.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e/Pigshelf.jpg

  10. Geoff Sherrington says:

    “The oceans are warmer than they have been in the past and water can transfer more heat than air.” I’m confused. Is not the measured evidence that the North Atlantic has some warming, while the Pacific and Indian and Southern have about none? I refer to Bob Tisdale’s graphs from his new book, or the video at

  11. Truthseeker says:

    Isn’t Antarctic ice extent increasing? Doesn’t this simple fact make all of their waffling theory look really stupid?

  12. Joe Bastardi says:

    Meanwhile, the total picture at the antarctic was one of record high ice

  13. The atmosphere cannot significantly heat the oceans

    RealClimate admits doubling CO2 could only heat the oceans 0.002ºC at most

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2012/09/realclimate-admits-doubling-co2-could.html

  14. Carlyle says:

    What proportion of Antarctica does this affect? A tiny percentage as I understand it. What about the huge growth in Antarctic sea ice? How is it that this expanding ice sheet is forming over a thousand kilometres out from the continent if the ocean water is warmer than previously?

  15. Mark says:

    Does anybody we know of who might have a vested interest – i.e. making a bu**load of money off government grants – in the global warming charade work at Penn State?

  16. Luther Wu says:

    State pen, not Penn…

  17. CRS, DrPH says:

    Folks, the CAGW argument is evaporating faster than water on a sidewalk in Arizona in July! However, these folks are tenacious. Be sure to watch for a proliferation of stories, articles and new claims about the “evil twin” of global warming, i.e. Ocean Acidification. This will be all they have left very soon. The melting of Arctic ice makes it worse, you know…

    http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/9460/20130913/arctic-ocean-acidifying-far-faster-projected-ice-melts.htm

  18. If you zoom up the picture linked above you can see the cracks in the glacier start at lateral moraines. A lateral moraine is where material eroded from the valley walls is deposited on the surface of the glacier, decreasing its albedo.

    Strong evidence IMO that surface melt is causing iceberg calving from this icesheet.

  19. Mark says:

    It’s all about the money. The politicians want a crisis to capitalizes on, and they pay government money to obtain studies claiming crisis. The pseudo-scientists who want the money produce studies that claim crisis. It’s that simple.

  20. Rockyspoon says:

    That silly ice must have an extremely low melting sensitivity–no statistically-significant change in global temperatures for 202 months yet manifests itself as less ice in the Antartic (and apparently creating more ice in the Arctic).

    I wish all that heat hadn’t migrated south–my tomatoes never did get ripe this summer.

    Now, how to correct this polar imbalance?

  21. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Moderators/Anthony,

    Here is the proper link for the piece, not the “news feed” that was used:

    http://news.psu.edu/story/287448/2013/09/12/research/underlying-ocean-melts-ice-shelf-speeds-glacier-movement

  22. Eric Simpson says:

    “We’ve been dumping heat into the atmosphere for years” said Sridhar Anandakrishnan
    We haven’t been dumping heat; the actual heat imparted directly from human activity is, in a relative sense, completely trivial. We’ll assume he meant we’ve been “dumping” CO2. The problem for Anandarishnan was summarized by The Economist: “The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures [15 year temperature stall] is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now.” Warmists claim without evidence that it’s the ocean that’s absorbing the missing heat, but at the same time they are contending that a cold ocean is responsible for the temperature stall: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/sciencefair/2013/08/28/global-warming-hiatus/2718147/
    So, which is it, the missing heat has heated the ocean, or a cold ocean has cooled the air??

  23. a jones says:

    Some years ago when there was last excitement about the Pine Island glacier I wrote to the Times of London, which for a wonder published my letter, pointing out that if you have a glacier above a volcanically active region, as in this case, the geothermal heat below tends to melt the ice above. As happens all along the Antarctic peninsula.

    Kindest Regards

  24. CodeTech says:

    Eric, that’s a great quote right there:

    The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures [15 year temperature stall] is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now.

    It’s not a big puzzle OUTSIDE of climate “science” right now. So why would a fairly good sized community of presumably intelligent people completely forget everything they were taught about thermodynamics in order to be puzzled by a simple, easy to comprehend fact?

    That fact is: CO2 does not drive climate. Never has, doesn’t now, never will.

    One would expect that by now the people who are getting PAID to figure this stuff out would figure out what my 8 year old already knows. Their hypothesis is wrong. Time to move on to some other line of work. I hear Wendy’s and McDonalds both accept former climate “scientists”, unfortunately they have to start at minimum wage and work their way up just like everyone else.

  25. Eyal Porat says:

    This is amazing:
    These people make assumptions about mechanisms they do not refer to or explain (i.e. the warming of the oceans by the atmosphere), then build their theory upon it. And voilla! we have a solution!
    The simplest first grade test will tell them this is wrong. You cannot heat the oceans from above.
    This is bad science and it really makes me saddened. And to see the degrees of these people… All professors… sigh.
    Eyal

  26. A.D. Everard says:

    They are going to keep making stuff up – anything, everything – until every last person on the planet stares at them blankly and there is not a drop of funding left. And then they’ll probably Just Keep On Making Stuff Up.

    I wish some of them would actually do some science.

  27. Eric Simpson says:

    Joe Bastardi says: at 9:38 pm Meanwhile, the total picture at the antarctic was one of record high ice.
    Huge point! And the Arctic has experienced record ice growth. This Daily Mail article has really great comparison pictures of the Arctic in Aug 2012 vs Aug 2013. It really makes the point strongly compared to some more abstact-ish representations of the Arctic ice. Also, just an excellent article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415191/Global-cooling-Arctic-ice-caps-grows-60-global-warming-predictions.html

  28. eco-geek says:

    I suppose of late we are winessing the birth of a new phenonemon. The hypothesis was that the burining of fossil fuels resulted in somethey they called Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). This is has become a no go area however as the planet has become globally cooler over the last decade or so as even as judged by warmist adjusted data.

    The solution is a new acronym. As far as I am aware not one of them has been courageous enough to come forward with it so I’ll name the new peril that is about to endanger mankind and keep the grant money rolling in:

    Anthropogenic Local Warming of ALW.

    It is all they have left.

    Entropy be damned!

    Expect a flood of ALW papers over the coming months.

  29. dp says:

    If you ask a Penn State alumni about natural geothermal warming and volcanic ridges below the ice on the peninsula they will ask if you want fries with that. Bless their hearts.

  30. johanna says:

    What rubbish! This paper highlights what is wrong with much of contemporary science.

    In observing and analysing the natural world, you need benchmarks, history, geography and a bunch of other things. This paper could have been a useful addition to the sum of knowledge if it had just stuck to the facts. There is a lot to learn about the Antarctic, glaciers and so on. Instead, it debased itself and destroyed its own credibility with outright partisanship.

  31. Eric Simpson says:

    CodeTech says at 10:13 pm
    That fact is: CO2 does not drive climate. Never has, doesn’t now, never will.
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = == = = == = = = = = =
    Well, that’s the major point we are trying to make. Historically, there’s no empirical evidence that CO2 does anything, and in this short but key 3 minute video on the CO2 lag see Al Gore’s and the ipcc’s faulty claim of evidence on CO2 shot down: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_WyvfcJyg&CO2Lag
    The above video shows that temperature is the cause of changes in CO2. No evidence exists that C02 is both a cause and an effect of temperature change, but that is exactly what the warmists maintain. They say there is “established century old physics” behind the notion that CO2 has any appreciable effect on climate temperature, but that’s all they have, is an old theoretical model (no evidence) to back everything that they propose they do to our economies, like taking us toward the stone age with the 83% CO2 cuts mandated in the cap & trade bill that passed the US House in 2009! Well, going against their theory on CO2 is, per The Economist: “The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures [15 years].” And even more important, as has been covered here at wuwt, is the effectively identical rate of temperature rise during the first (low CO2) and second (higher CO2) halves of the 20th century. During the more recent time with “dangerous high levels” of CO2, and at low CO2 levels, the climate is acting exactly the same. There is no other explanation but that CO2 is doing absolutely nothing. That is the actual evidence. The only thing the fear mongers have is a theoretical model, but a different theoretical model exists that suggests Co2 has ~ zero effect beyond 200ppm. So, discount the “established physics,” as something is terribly wrong with the GHE theory as propounded by the establishment warmists.

  32. Caleb says:

    Pine Island is the silver lining on the dark cloud Alarmists are increasingly facing. It is the microcosm that defies the macrocosm. It is the exception that proves the rule, the rule being: “Global Warming is not happening.”

  33. davidmhoffer says:

    “The way the ocean water is melting the ice shelf is a deeply non-uniform way,”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Wow. The heat which isn’t warming the atmosphere is going into the oceans where it isn’t warming the water and from there it is going into the ice where it is selectively melting some ice more than other ice.

    That’s some smart heat.

  34. davidmhoffer says:

    Eric Simpson says:
    September 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm
    “We’ve been dumping heat into the atmosphere for years” said Sridhar Anandakrishnan
    We haven’t been dumping heat; the actual heat imparted directly from human activity is, in a relative sense, completely trivial. We’ll assume he meant we’ve been “dumping” CO2.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I made the same assumption which makes the claim even more bizarre. Greenhouse gas theory does not, and never did, rest upon increases in CO2 accumulating heat. Not in the atmosphere or anywhere else. The theory always rested upon a change in the temperature profile between surface and TOA with upper atmosphere becoming cooler, and lower atmosphere becoming warmer, but the average from surface to TOA remaining exactly the same. Nowhere in the theory is there any significant increase in heat in the first place, the effective black body temperature at equilibrium remains EXACTLY the same after doubling of CO2 as before. They are effectively making claims that are the result of a theory which makes no such claim!

  35. DJ says:

    Uh… Did I miss the part about the volcanoes at Pine Island and all along the sea floor in that region that could, possibly, maybe, provide a small amount of heat???

  36. Mike McMillan says:

    “We’ve been dumping heat into the atmosphere for years and the oceans have been doing their job, taking it out of the air and into the ocean,” said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences, Penn State. “Eventually, with all that atmospheric heat, the oceans will heat up.”

    Since the oceans and land absorb incoming sunlight energy, and the atmosphere does not, it is the ocean and land that heat the air, not the other way around. A minor point. Hope they weren’t planning to publish a paper.

    We saw with the Wilkins ice shelf that the mechanical action of multi-week ocean swells was responsible for the breakup. The air temperature down there was so cold it was freezing the salt water in the open cracks.

  37. Two Labs says:

    This sounds sketchy. Water below the antarctic ice is below freezing and doesn’t solidify due to pressure. warm that water by a degree or two and it is still below freezing, and the heat alone shouldn’t melt the ice above any more than it would otherwise. However, if the water is moving or if you increase movement, would it then melt the ice regardless of temperature? We are told to thaw perishable food in cold running water instead of soaking in hot water, not because of bacteria, but because frozen things melt faster in cold running water than soaking in hit water because of the heat transfer. I’m not seeing this study addressing this.

  38. Richard111 says:

    Did Penn State award any PhD’s for this? No mention of glacial flow? Oh, well. No one seems to have any sympathy for the poor penguins who now have to walk over 200 kilometres of ice to bring food to their young. Lot of penguins die on that long march. Maybe a Russian nuclear icebreaker, currently escorting Chinese cargo ships through the Arctic, could be persuaded to pop down and cut a channel. Blast! Penguins can’t pay for the service. Ah, the charities of course. Yes.

  39. John Edmondson says:

    So the atmosphere is heating the Ocean?

    How does that work? The ocean has 4000 times more heat than the atmosphere.

    Or maybe the atmosphere is only heating the Southern Ocean?

    I think the BS meter has just bounced off the stop.

  40. jc says:

    We’re all doomed. Send more money to the brain washed eco whack scientists.

  41. lemiere jacques says:

    well there s something true, the omly way you can say that there is a global warming is either mesure total energy in cliamte system, including ocean of course, or to measure radiative budget of the planet. So do we ever lnow if there is actually global warming?

    I love what ipcc sayed…
    we know with 90% certainy that the more than half of warming that occured since the war was caused by human…

    first an hypothesis is falsified or not…90% is meanlingless …last not least ,where this 90% comes from ; nobody knows…
    second warming is not warming it is the variation of global temerature , ie not a temperature, ie not even able to say if a body is warmer or not, and certainly unable to measure it…wlast but not least there is not definition of globall temperature.

    third you have to admire what” since the war” means : it means they know that global temperature is meaningless , with el nino it can vary of 1 degree in a few months.
    so “serious climatologist “know they have to make some king of averaging to know what is the global temperature…..

  42. Steve Case says:

    Maybe some one should email Dr. Anandakrishnan to tell him that the heat flow through the climate system consists of the sun’s radiation warming the surface and the surface warming the atmosphere and the atmosphere finally radiating the heat back on out. In other words, the ocean does not take the heat out of the atmosphere.

    Here’s the link to his web page and email:
    http://www3.geosc.psu.edu/people/faculty/personalpages/sanan/index.html

  43. kilkeal says:

    “It has taken years and years to do the logistics because it is so remote from established permanent bases,” said Anandakrishnan.>>We’ve found somewhere at last to keep our flawed theories alive.

  44. lemiere jacques says:

    i don’t agree with you steve case, you have no evidence that the system is in balance and that s one of the reason why you can’t conlude anything about a “global warming” …of the laower atmosphere/ocean surface.

  45. CodeTech says:

    dp, I’m tempted to start using that every time I’m referring to a climate “scientist”…

    Like say, Michael Mann, bless his heart. Or James Hansen, bless his little heart :)

  46. Stephen Richards says:

    Did they explain the mechanism by which this heat is transfered or was it just Harry Potter magic.

  47. Richard111 says:

    Heat capacity of water is close to 4 kilojoules per degree per kilogram (litre). To convert ice from solid to liquid at 0.01C requires 334 kilojoules to produce 1 litre of (very cold) water. Assume we have an unlimited quantity of sea water at 4C (pick your own temperature). The energy in our seawater is 4 x 4 = 16 kilojoules per litre. Divide 334 by 16 tells us we will need 20.875 litres of sea water at 4C to provide sufficient energy to produce 1 litre of melted ice water. We now have 21.875 litres of water at 0.01C.

    So if 1 cubic kilometre of ice gets melted we will end up with 21.875 cubic kilometres of very cold, slightly less salty, water which will remain on the surface of the sea. That is enough cold water to cover the global sea area to a depth of 62 centimetres, over half a metre.

    And now we can expect the air, with a heat capacity of just 1 kilojoule per kilogram, to warm up that water so it can do it all again. Someone told me once that hot air rises, I believe it now.

  48. “The researchers looked at the remote Pine Island Glacier, a major outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet because it has rapidly thinned and accelerated in the recent past.”

    Maybe that should read the researchers cherry picked the remote Pine Island Glacier……..past………and then worked out how to link this to alarmist stories for warmist propaganda

  49. Stacey says:

    In life it is always best to give people the benefit of the doubt?
    I doubt if this paper has any merit whatsoever.
    When a scientists uses perjorative words such as dumping then they must be talking crap. (No pun intended)

  50. Stacey says:

    NSIDC site is down due to flooding and severe weather?
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  51. Ed Zuiderwijk says:

    “We’ve been dumping heat into the atmosphere for years and the oceans have been doing their job, taking it out of the air and into the ocean,”

    Pure Genius! It also solves the conundrum that has puzzled me for ages: why it takes such a long time to heat the water for the spaghetti on the hob. I should have the gas burning above the pan!
    Silly me.

  52. UAH show no atmospheric warming at 60S to 85S since 1978, so how can it have warmed the ocean?

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/satellites-confirm-antarctic-is-getting-colder/

  53. Diatom studies found abrupt warming on the Antarctic Peninsular between 1935 and 1950.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379113002862?np=y

    Current warming is clearly part of a much longer trend.

  54. DirkH says:

    lemiere jacques says:
    September 14, 2013 at 1:04 am
    “i don’t agree with you steve case, you have no evidence that the system is in balance and that s one of the reason why you can’t conlude anything about a “global warming” …of the laower atmosphere/ocean surface.”

    He doesn’t need evidence. The Null hypothesis is that the system is homeostatic; otherwise life would not exist. The people who claim an imbalance need to provide evidence for their case.
    And the only measurement of outgoing radiation, ERBE, doesn’t play along with the GCM’s; which is just too bad for the warmist prostitutes.
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/image_thumb25.png?w=624&h=488

  55. graphicconception says:

    At last some common sense and a convincing argument as to why it is not the sun …
    The atmosphere warms the oceans and the oceans warm the atmosphere.
    It is no wonder we are getting warmer!

  56. Jimbo says:

    Between 1980 and 2010 sea surface temperatures had been falling around Pine Island glacier.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/21/new-research-sheds-light-on-antarcticas-melting-pine-island-glacier/

  57. Jimbo says:

    In 2008 a buried volcano with molten rock churning below was discovered nearby.
    http://www.livescience.com/2242-buried-volcano-discovered-antarctica.html

  58. michaelozanne says:

    Specific heat of sea water 3.9 kJ/kg SHC of air 1.006 kJ/kg. Mass of oceans 1.4 x 10^21 kg Mass of Atmosphere 5.8 x 10^18 kg……. Is that a faint whiff of bullish!t coming from this claim?…..

  59. Steve Case says:

    graphicconception says: September 14, 2013 at 3:10 am

    B I N G O !

  60. Mickey Reno says:

    Here we see a large calving event in an area that has probably seem hundreds of similar events over the past couple of millenia. Most people would see this as an awesome display of nature’s power and grandeur. The alarmist sees an opportunity that must not be wasted.

  61. ATheoK says:

    Sounds to me like a classic longshot bet.

    When your bets on the supposed guaranteed warming fail, bet on the opposite; especially if it seems the ice increase can not advance any more. I the ice decreases, yippee! Fame and fortune for those who’ve lost their way in physics and science. Losers.

  62. Marc77 says:

    From the numbers I found, Antarctica loses 70 km³ every year on a total of 26.5 millions km³. This rate of melting is equivalent to about 3% of melting since the last ice age.

    Also, how can water be warm enough to melt land ice and cold enough to produce a record amount of ice on the salty oceans at a latitude farther away from the pole?

  63. Mike McMillan says:

    The Wilkins ice shelf is on the Antarctic peninsula, about 550 nm eastward around the coast from the Pine Island glacier. The breakup that began in 2008, and is continuing. Article and March 2013 photo:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=81174
    http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/81000/81174/wilkins_wv2_2013083_lrg.jpg

    The Desko mountains are the hills in the photo, north is to the left, and the area is about 60 nm ENE of Charcot Island.

    It is hard to see how warming is responsible for the Pine Island and Wilkins breakups. Both ice sheets are thick, several hundred meters, far too thick that temperatures that are barely above freezing to start with, could reach into the interior to weaken the shelves. The lifting and falling of the ocean would seem a far more likely candidate to be the cause.

  64. MattN says:

    On the sea ice page, the RSS temp plot of -60S to -70S is clearly a negative trend. The ocean immediately surrounding Antarctica is NOT warming.

  65. Steve Keohane says:

    I can’t bring new criticism to the table, though this crap certainly deserves it. Penn State pays Mikie’s salary too, so they must be getting the results they want.

  66. JPeden says:

    “If the water remained in the channel, the water would eventually cool to a point where it was not melting much ice, but the channels allow the water to flow out to the open ocean and warmer water to flow in, again melting the ice shelf from beneath….Other recent research shows that without the channelized underbelly of the ice shelf and glacier, melting would be even more rapid.”

    The science is settled, and not only is it worse than we thought, but it will necessarily get worser worser and worser with 100% likelihood, which means you must send me all of your money stat, before it’s too late!

  67. Gary Pearse says:

    “The breaking apart of the ice shelf in the channels is similar to removing an ice jam from a river. The shelf was plugging the channel, but once it is gone, the glacier moves more rapidly toward the sea,”

    No. No. Noooo. The floating ice does not retard the inexorable movement of the glacier behind it! These guys wouldn’t even make it as McIntyre’s “high school teachers” in an earlier generation.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/04/quote-of-the-week-high-school-climate-science/

    “In my opinion, most climate scientists on the Team would have been high school teachers in an earlier generation – if they were lucky. Many/most of them have degrees from minor universities. It’s much easier to picture people like Briffa or Jones as high school teachers than as Oxford dons of a generation ago. Or as minor officials in a municipal government.

    Allusions to famous past amateurs over-inflates the rather small accomplishments of present critics, including myself. A better perspective is the complete mediocrity of the Team makes their work vulnerable to examination by the merely competent.”

    The nice humility of the second paragraph is refreshing in a world of self-important quacks with asterisked PhDs and asterisked Nobel Prizes.

  68. Mycroft says:

    “Eric Simpson said
    So, which is it, the missing heat has heated the ocean, or a cold ocean has cooled the air??”

    Both, in pop climate science you can have both, if one theory is aired and shown to be false you must always have a back up theory/excuse to silence the deniers/skeptics/realists.
    Meanwhile you are always looking for more research/grant money to find even more ludicrous theories/excuse’s to fob of the above and fool the politicians, while all you spare time is taken up with travelling to far flung junkets/piss ups in exotic climes with like minded souls.

    Bucket load of Sarc / or not!!

  69. ferd berple says:

    Isn’t melting ice one reason the earth’s temperature is so stable?

    Put ice cubes in water. Within reason, the temperature of the water will sit at 32F/0C as long as there is ice in the water. Heating the water makes no difference to the temperature, it simply changes the rate at which the ice melts.

    As a result, if the earth’s surface was warming, we could expect to see increased COLD water in the deep oceans due to increased melting of the polar ice. The recent discovery that the deep oceans are WARMING is thus a signal that the surface is not NOT WARMING.

    Contrary to the claims of climate science, the pause in warming is not caused by increased warming of the deep oceans. Because the signature for this would be a cooling of the deep oceans due to increased cold meltwater from the poles.

    Rather, warming of the deep oceans is a sign that the surface is not warming, and thus the flow of cold meltwater from the poles to deep oceans has been reduced.

  70. G. Karst says:

    “Antarctica is relatively stable, but that won’t last forever”

    What does?!? Forever is a long time!

    The level of scientific skill exhibited is amazing. GK

  71. TomRude says:

    This guy never heard of atmospheric circulation…

  72. Pamela Gray says:

    Say What???? The authors remind that Ice shelf melting will not change sea level but the authors go on to say,

    “The Antarctic has been relatively quiet as a contributor to sea rise,” said Anandakrishnan. “What this work shows is that we have been blind to a huge phenomenon, something that will be as big a player in sea level rise in the next century as any other contributor.” is the most important component of sea level rise.”

    Really. Once again, we see an over-stretched climate science conclusion that rises to the level of The Inquirer reports on alien abduction. Such academic rigor!!!!!

  73. Pamela Gray says:

    Oops. That last sentence in the quotation is mine and was to be deleted before I hit send. My bad.

  74. Bill Taylor says:

    didnt read the thread before writing this, i am CERTAIN there is a volcano under that area and assume that would be the source of HEAT.

  75. Bruce Cobb says:

    “We’ve been dumping heat into the atmosphere for years and the oceans have been doing their job, taking it out of the air and into the ocean,” said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences, Penn State. “Eventually, with all that atmospheric heat, the oceans will heat up.”
    I see. So, it really isn’t CO2 that’s the problem, but all that waste heat we’re “dumping” into the atmosphere, which then heats the oceans. Interesting. But sometimes the heat is sneaky, and hides way down deep where we can’t find it, only magically appearing to melt sea ice, before disappearing again. Because that’s how man’s heat works. Fascinating.

  76. Taphonomic says:

    The article does quote Anandakrishnan as saying in part: “What this work shows is that we have been blind to a huge phenomenon…”

    If they are missing volcanic activity, then I agree with him.

  77. mbur says:

    “We’ve been dumping heat into the atmosphere for years” and when (IMHO) you do that then you create a thermal low and draw in cooler air and therefore it gets cooler.WUWT !? Might work for fluids too…maybe not (heat of pressure?).
    Thanks for the interesting articles and comments.

  78. Bart says:

    johanna says:
    September 13, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    “What rubbish! This paper highlights what is wrong with much of contemporary science… In observing and analysing the natural world, you need benchmarks, history, geography and a bunch of other things.”

    Indeed. In post-modern science, one basically gets together with a bunch of other “scientists” and hashes out a scenario which everyone agrees appears plausible. Data which support the notion are sought, and those which do not are downplayed. The narrative is then declared immutable fact, to which only Neanderthal knuckle-draggers would object.

    We have come full circle. In pre-modern science, the priests of the Church played out the same role. Today, the over-credentialed and under-educated priests of the soi disant scientific establishment have taken over the shop.

  79. Jaap de Vos says:

    Perhaps it is volcanic activity, but it is also possible that the big G-stream in that area has changed its direction a little bit since 2008.

  80. This is more ridiculousness. What a waste of everyone’s time.

  81. In the meantime Antarctic sea ice remains at or near all time record highs. Enough said.

  82. Peter Miller says:

    Volcanic and hydrothermal activity is the cause – end of story.

  83. Marc77 says:
    September 14, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Also, how can water be warm enough to melt land ice and cold enough to produce a record amount of ice on the salty oceans at a latitude farther away from the pole?

    There is a lot of upwelling of deep water around Antarctica driven by the katabatic winds that blow off the continent. This water is warm relative to surface water, and it cools as it flows outward from the continent, getting cold enough to form sea ice.

    There is no real issue that the upwelling water will cause icesheet melt. The issue is whether this water is getting warmer, and as I said above there is no evidence this is the case.

    The most likely explanation is that Antarctica is cooling, increasing the katabatic winds causing a greater volume of upwelling and increasing sea ice.

    This explanation isn’t AGW compliant and is therefore rejected out of hand.

  84. Aedh says:

    reading these responses to the findings of real scientists reminds me of how an 8th grade class reacted to scientific studies whose findings their parents disagreed with. People get frozen in
    old time beliefs.

  85. Latitude says:

    Weather science is a joke…..

    ” Work done in the southern hemisphere’s summer, December through January 2012-13,”

    by the time these bozos get home, write up their paper……the weather changes and makes a damn fool out of all of them

    ..but it does prove a point, all they can do is extend trend lines

  86. bushbunny says:

    They forget the affect sub sea volcanoes have on ice shelves, there a more under sea active volcanoes in the world than land volcanoes. I don’t have the figures but if you Google ‘undersea active volcanoes’ you will note in the region of Italy and the area around the Greek islands, Crete there are many and land has been sinking for centuries. No ice there?

  87. nevket240 says:

    So, dumping heat into the atmosphere over the US and Europe, is going to melt Antartic ice because the ocean uptake is so rapid.
    I’ll give this one ‘line ball’
    Line ball fraud or line ball fraud. Take your pick.
    regards

    ( I always believed heat rises into the atmosphere, some lost into space some used in cloud formation. The heat released in midland locales would never ‘smell’ the ocean.???)

  88. “””So if 1 cubic kilometre of ice gets melted we will end up with 21.875 cubic kilometres of very cold, slightly less salty, water which will remain on the surface of the sea. That is enough cold water to cover the global sea area to a depth of 62 centimetres, over half a metre. “””
    Really? So the total global sea surface are is about 33 600 km2.

  89. TimTheToolMan says:

    “We’ve been dumping heat into the atmosphere for years and the oceans have been doing their job, taking it out of the air and into the ocean,” said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences, Penn State. “Eventually, with all that atmospheric heat, the oceans will heat up.”

    Considering the atmosphere is on average cooler than the oceans, I’d love to hear him expand on his understanding of how AGW works..

  90. phlogiston says:

    One if the biggest scandals of AGW is the disconnect with oceanography. There is a well established science of how climatic variation arises from ocean circulation patterns, especially the dominant ENSO dynamics. This provides sound underpinning for the null hypothsesis that 20th century climate change is simply normal climate variation / oscillation.

    http://cpb.iphy.ac.cn/EN/article/downloadArticleFile.do?attachType=PDF&id=22907

    http://grims-model.org/front/bbs/paper/gcm-1/CLM-GCM_1997-4_Nartin_P._Hoerling_et_al.pdf

    http://web.yonsei.ac.kr/climate/board/4/20090612072138217_2009-2_TAC_An.pdf

    http://lumahai.soest.hawaii.edu/MET/Faculty/jff/2004_02%20Nonlinearity%20and%20Asymmetry%20of%20ENSO.pdf

    http://www.lasg.ac.cn/UpLoadFiles/File/papers/2006/2006-dws.pdf

    http://o3d.org/web_db_data/articles/1995/Penland-1995.pdf

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/pub/cane/MunnichEtAl1990.pdf

    However the AGW camp have simply decided to ignore this body of scientific research and regard the oceans as a passive puddle whose every change in temperature is directly dominated by atmospheric and solar input, practically in real time.

    No new science is needed to refute the AGW lie. Its all there already in the scietific literature, all that is needed is joined up thinking and honesty and real thorough integrated scholarship about the issue, not ignoring the ocean. A good test of this is that, if current MSM journalists can understand a scientific theory, its probably wrong.

  91. To my knowledge there’s no known physical mechanism how atmospheric heat could cause net warming of the ocean.
    One could only wonder how somebody can become a geosciences prof when blatantly not understanding basics physics.
    But considering the fact that even here we notoriously encounter fervent believers in a colder body warming a warmer one usually via the infamous atmospheric backradiation** I would rather think that for some becoming a prof of geosciences producing then ideas flagrantly violating basic laws of thermodynamics getting support for it from NSF, NASA etc. …and publicity from WUWT becomes sort of inevitable. We live in interesting times.

    ————-
    **purportedly causing the ocean to warm, while they don’t even try to understand that the atmosphere is unable of net heating of the ocean, because having lower average temperature, and that the ocean surface warms far beyond the effective temperature because it has considerably lower emissivity than a blackbody due to refractive properties of the water/air interface which while having extremely low reflectivity (albedo) from outside, it has exceptional reflectivity in the direction from inside, and that it is indeed chiefly the ocean, the chief storage and source of heat on Earth, warmed directly by solar shortwave radiation, but not able to emit same radiation fluxes at its mid-IR spectras, gaining so considerably higher average surface temperature than has the surface air, which is also what causes considerable net warming of the air (not vice versa) -by radiation, latent heat of vaporization ascending up until released, etc., changing considerably atmospheric temperature profile, but never affecting the overal average temperature of the atmosphere as whole, which is the -18C as the Stefan-Boltzman law predicts and which in fact is the very surface of the Earth, when considered from other than an earthbound perspective.
    ..and please, I don’t deny here nor confirm the existence of atmospheric mid-IR radiation, I just deny the possibility it significantly warms the ocean – the sea is so opaque to mid-IR that it cannot significantly penetrate it more than fraction of milimeter under its surface skin (for 10 micrometer 288K spectrum the 150 micrometer layer of pure water has transmittance 0.00007 and even worse is salt water) – so only what it could significantly contribute there to is the surface water evaporation – sort of very powerful heat pump, transporting from the sea and land surfaces way up more than 30% of all the energy they receive from the Sun in form of shortwave radiation, getting the surface rid of heat amounts many orders of magnitude higher than we are “dumping” into the atmosphere.

  92. Andrejs Vanags says:

    The statements in the OP don’t make any sense. The atmosphere is heated from the bottom, as it is nearly transparent to sunlight. The heat comes from the ocean and the ground in the form of sunlight reflected as IR. More than that, the temperature at the ground or sea surface should be a lot higher but its cooled (equalized to atmospheric temps) by evaporation or evapo-transpiration. That’s why cooling the earth leads to drought and warming the earth leads to more precipitation and lucious and bountiful vegetation (oh, the horror of it!). We (humanity) haven’t been ‘dumping heat into the atmosphere’ if anything we have very minimally increased its CO2 content. And the oceans have not been ‘taking it out of the atmosphere into the ocean’ Come on! the oceans have been reflecting heat back into the atmosphere, and also heating the atmosphere through vapor releasing heat as it condenses in the atmosphere in the form of rain. In other words the oceans cool by heating the atmosphere, not the other way around.

  93. nevket240 says:

    http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/scientists-find-potential-catalyst-for-earthquakes-on-u-s-east-coast/

    this is very interesting and very relevant.
    now we can assume all the heat we release is diving into the oceans, working its way into the sea floor and causing continental drift. Bloody humans.
    regards.a

  94. bushbunny says:

    Undersea vents from subterranean volcanic activity warm the water. I thought everyone knew this.
    There are more submarine active volcanoes than land volcanoes.

  95. george e. smith says:

    “””””……Gary Pearse says:

    September 14, 2013 at 7:53 am

    “The breaking apart of the ice shelf in the channels is similar to removing an ice jam from a river. The shelf was plugging the channel, but once it is gone, the glacier moves more rapidly toward the sea,”

    No. No. Noooo. The floating ice does not retard the inexorable movement of the glacier behind it! These guys wouldn’t even make it as McIntyre’s “high school teachers” in an earlier generation……”””””

    Don’t you know; it is those cruise ships tied up to the docks, in San Francisco, that is stopping all those buildings on Russian hill from sliding down into the Bay !!

  96. Power Grab says:

    What is it with CAGW alarmists? Are they simply staging a winner-take-all contest to see who can tell the biggest whopper? I keep wondering if the newbies are simply hanging their shingle out, in hopes someone with deep pockets will hire them to tell their lies for them?

    “All the world’s a stage…” – eh?

  97. phlogiston says:

    Philip Bradley

    Sept 14, 2013, 3:20 pm

    Your explanation about Antarctic cooling and katabatic winds could also explain the apparent increase in recent years of incursions of Antarctic cold air into South America, some of these reaching as far north as the equator.

  98. David Cage says:

    Can anyone explain to me how global warming can cause localised hot spots that disperse as shown by the NASA sea anomaly file AMSRE_SSTAn_M ?( thought this may have been superseded by now)
    If nature has found a way to produce this sort of heat pump that moves widespread low temperature differences to local high temperature ones surely this should be the topic of research not climate at all.

  99. Brian H says:

    More Trenberthian magic heat flow from cold to warm. With no detectable intermediate transport.

    It’s uncanny! (Literally; look it up)

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