New ice core record shows climate variability in West Antarctica

Similar warming and cooling trends occurred in the mid-nineteenth and eighteenth centuries

From AGU highlights:

A 308-year ice core record provides new data on climate variability in coastal West Antarctica and shows that a clear warming trend has occurred in recent decades. To study climate over the past 3 centuries, Thomas et al. analyzed stable isotopes in the ice core, which provide a record of past temperatures. They observe that climate variability in coastal West Antarctica is strongly driven by sea surface temperatures and atmospheric pressure in the tropical Pacific.

The authors report that their ice core record shows that the region warmed since the late 1950s at a rate similar to that observed in the Antarctic Peninsula and central West Antarctica.

However, the authors note that this recent warming trend is similar in magnitude to warming and cooling trends that occurred in the mid-nineteenth and eighteenth centuries in their record, indicating that in this coastal West Antarctic location the effects of human-induced climate change in recent years have not exceeded natural climate variability over the past 300 years.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2013GL057782, 2013 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013GL057782/abstract

Title: A 308 year record of climate variability in West Antarctica

Authors: Elizabeth R. Thomas, Thomas J. Bracegirdle and John Turner: British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK; Eric W. Wolff: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract:

We present a new stable isotope record from Ellsworth Land which provides a valuable 308 year record (1702–2009) of climate variability from coastal West Antarctica. Climate variability at this site is strongly forced by sea surface temperatures and atmospheric pressure in the tropical Pacific and related to local sea ice conditions. The record shows that this region has warmed since the late 1950s, at a similar magnitude to that observed in the Antarctic Peninsula and central West Antarctica; however, this warming trend is not unique. More dramatic isotopic warming (and cooling) trends occurred in the mid-nineteenth and eighteenth centuries, suggesting that at present, the effect of anthropogenic climate drivers at this location has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability in the context of the past ~300 years.

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31 Responses to New ice core record shows climate variability in West Antarctica

  1. gopal panicker says:

    good…an honest paper

  2. Steve (Paris) says:

    “, the effect of anthropogenic climate drivers at this location has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability in the context of the past ~300 years”

    Doesn’t ‘variability within the natural range’ nullify ‘anthropogenic climate drivers’ altogether?

  3. But STEVE, certainly (eye’s rolling) this is an anomalous area, and such conclusions cannot and should not be drawn across the globe! ;-)
    Wow, seriously? I love it when real science wins.

  4. Aussiebear says:

    An honest paper, yes. Even peer reviewed.

    Watch what happens when you point it out on a Warmist website. They will say, “Ah, but it is just one paper, it proves nothing”. Just don’t point out that the C&W paper showing that “The Pause” is “possibly” not real was also “just one paper” and they go bonkers.

    Seen it before.

  5. amhbds1979 says:

    The study says what most of the people on this website and common sense have been saying for years!
    Meanwhile the AGW propaganda machine (BBC) continues to roll, I listen to Radio 2 (which is a national radio station) during the day, it is on the background at work. When the newscasters present the weather forecast after on the hour news bulletin, they neglect to mention the temperatures in various cities unless they are average or above. Mild weather is always emphasised. Has anyone else noticed this?

  6. Oldseadog says:

    “human induced climate change ……….. not exceeded natural climate variability … “.
    How do they know which part, if any, of the current observed change is human induced?
    Still a reasonable paper, though. I suppose if they hadn’t mentioned AGW they might not have been given the funding.

    Cynic? ME?

  7. Jquip says:

    Steve: “Doesn’t ‘variability within the natural range’ nullify ‘anthropogenic climate drivers’ altogether?”

    There’s nothing to nullify; the claims were never established properly in the first place. But you’re welcome to play the fast goalpost game with true believers here. Assumptively, they’ll just hide the cold in the oceans alongside the heat they can’t find. The same as was done with the global locals of the medieval warm period and the unpausing pause of the line that goes up. The likely answer here, if not the same, is that it’s an unnatural natural, and so worse than we thought.

  8. Scott Woodland: “Wow, seriously? I love it when real science wins.

    Real science always wins … but not always before a few idiots has declared something else to be the winner.

  9. Bloke down the pub says:

    If the Antarctic sea ice extent goes up while temperatures are meant to be rising, what does that mean will happen when it starts to get cold?

  10. Oldseadog says:

    OT I know, but at present there is taking place a race to the S. Pole by 3 teams of disabled servicemen. Does anyone know how to arrange for them all to appear on the S. Pole web cam when they get there?

  11. however, this warming trend is not unique. More dramatic isotopic warming (and cooling) trends occurred in the mid-nineteenth and eighteenth centuries, suggesting that at present, the effect of anthropogenic climate drivers at this location has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability in the context of the past ~300 years.

    We told you, but would any of you clowns listen…nahhhh!! You always thought you knew better. What does it feel like to be shown up as a delusional nincompoop, a wayward child-minded amateurs, an individual incapable of conscious thought processing, a member of that controlled, manipulated group-think that is CAGW. That same group-think and action responsible for other massively ignorant and destructive actions in the past. Some people just never ever learn. Time to grow up I would imagine and smell reality.

  12. Bob Greene says:

    So this is unprecedented, not-unique global warming we are having?

  13. Leo Geiger says:

    The site of the ice core is warming at a similar rate to the larger region:

    The record shows that this region has warmed since the late 1950s, at a similar magnitude to that observed in the Antarctic Peninsula and central West Antarctica;

    but this particular site has a highly variable climate:

    this recent warming trend is similar in magnitude to warming and cooling trends that occurred in the mid-nineteenth and eighteenth centuries in their record, indicating that in this coastal West Antarctic location the effects of human-induced climate change in recent years have not exceeded natural climate variability over the past 300 years

    It is the observation of a warming trend that is common to sites in West Antarctica and the Peninsula. The abstract does not say the variability observed at this site is common to sites in West Antarctica. They even suggest why this might be

    Climate variability at this site is strongly forced by sea surface temperatures and atmospheric pressure in the tropical Pacific and related to local sea ice conditions

    This is a research paper, not an ‘a la carte’ menu that can be picked over for the parts one might happen to like while ignoring the rest.

  14. timetochooseagain says:

    Calibrated against Steig’s work no doubt.

  15. Jimbo says:

    During the late 1950s there were some reports of strange warming trend in Little Antarctica, West Antarctica.

    Weather
    Volume 14, Issue 6, pages 191–197, June 1959
    A Warming Trend At Little America, Antarctica
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.1477-8696.1959.tb00572.x/abstract
    ————————
    New York Times – May 31, 1958
    An analysis of weather records from Little America shows a steady warming of climate over the last half century. The rise in average temperature at the Antarctic outpost has been about five degrees Fahrenheit.
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F2091FFA3555127B93C3AA178ED85F4C8585F9
    ————————
    Newburgh-Beacon News – Dec 16, 1959
    Scientists Poking Around Antarctica Melt Mysteries
    http://tinyurl.com/obwsxe7

  16. Jimbo says:

    It must be warming in Antarctica faster than we previously thought.

    Study Finds Antarctic Sea Ice Increases When It Gets Colder
    August 17, 2013
    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/study-finds-antarctic-sea-ice-increases-when-it-gets-colder/

    Abstract – Qi Shu et. al. – July 2011
    Sea ice trends in the Antarctic and their relationship to surface air temperature during 1979–2009
    “Surface air temperature (SAT) from four reanalysis/analysis datasets are analyzed and compared with the observed SAT from 11 stations in the Antarctic……Antarctic SIC trends agree well with the local SAT trends in the most Antarctic regions. That is, Antarctic SIC and SAT show an inverse relationship: a cooling (warming) SAT trend is associated with an upward (downward) SIC trend.”
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/docs/Shu_etal_2012.pdf
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-011-1143-9

  17. phlogiston says:

    More dramatic isotopic warming (and cooling) trends occurred in the mid-nineteenth and eighteenth centuries, suggesting that at present, the effect of anthropogenic climate drivers at this location has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability in the context of the past ~300 years.

    What more can one say?
    Other data could be compiled to give the same message for all parts of the globe.

  18. Taphonomic says:

    Is it unprecedented that the abstract does not contain the word “unprecedented”?

  19. Jim Steele says:

    The infamous Eric Steig co-authored a paper with Schneider and similar results showing the peninsula was slightly warmer in the 40s.

  20. Manfred says:

    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”

    QED: “…the effects of human-induced climate change in recent years have not exceeded natural climate variability over the past 300 years.”

    Are Thomas, Bracegirdle and Turner mindlessly spouting the usual incantation or are they sending a message? I suggest the latter.

    Make no mistake. These are very bright folk from Cambridge University. They artfully use the meaningless term ‘climate change’ not only in the abstract but in the title of their article, when in fact they are concerned with detecting changes in temperature, which it turns out are nothing more than natural variation. As a reviewer I would have challenged them over this.

    I have little doubt that they realise the meaninglessness of using of the term ‘climate change’, loaded with implication, utterly inexplicit and not the term to use in this scientific publication. They know that the AGW they refer to as ‘climate change’ in their empirical study only lives in the models, which might presumably be one of their possible stated justifications for using the term.

    That they claim CC(AGW) as a prima facie belief and simultaneously admit it is undiscernible from natural variation sends an important message.

    Game over.

  21. kingdube says:

    These authors need to be stopped!!
    Here…I’ll start…I bet their mothers all wear army boots.

  22. John Whitman says:

    Refreshing paper.

    The Thomas et al 2013 paper (in GRL) adds another research project which supports a vibrantly growing theory that natural temperature variability is the only significant Global Warming (GW) of the recent industrial period (~1900 to present).

    It is that ‘GW’ which can be refered to when discussing the ‘not Global Warming’ in GASTA** or GALTTA**** for the last ~17 years.

    Where:

    **GASTA = Global Average Surface Temperature Anomaly

    ****GALTTA = Global Average Lower Tropospheric Temperature Anomaly

    John

  23. Pippen Kool says:

    Surprised no one has complained about their two final sentences: “The record reveals a reduction in multidecadal variability during the twentieth century and suggests that the warming since the late 1950s has not yet taken the system outside its natural range. This is not inconsistent with the exceptional recent global warming, during which approximately 20% of the observationally covered Earth’s surface still does not show 100 year trends that are significantly larger than internal variability [Karoly and Wu, 2005].”

    20%

  24. dbstealey says:

    Pippen Kool,

    This chart by über-warmist Phil Jones shows that previous natural warming episodes are exactly the same as the most recent global warming. Therefore, the rise in CO2 has no measurable effect on global temperature. It matters not whether CO2 was low or high, the planet naturally warms in steps, in its recovery from the LIA.

    Forget your model nonsense, that is nothing but speculation based on preconceived beliefs programmed into the models. When you look at the empirical evidence, the Scientific Method and the Null Hypothesis, you will find that the CO2=AGW conjecture is effectively deconstructed.

    It is a strange world when someone looks at real world evidence, and concludes exactly the opposite. That is how witch doctors got their money and status in the past, and how the IPCC and modelers get their money and status now. Folks like you make it easy for them.

  25. TomRude says:

    Of course since this is dynamical warming… see Leroux.

  26. Pippen Kool says:

    Manfred says: “They artfully use the meaningless term ‘climate change’ not only in the abstract but in the title of their article”

    Nope.

    “when in fact they are concerned with detecting changes in temperature”

    When did temperature averages become not part of climate? I must have missed this.

  27. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Sorry, but I do not buy it.
    Ice core isotope ratios might indicate some present correlation with weather such as surface sea temperatures and tropical barometric pressures, but these were absolutely not measured in the 1700s. Therefore, no causative claim can be made about the influence of SST and pressures in the 1700s.
    This paper simply demonstrates yet again, the wrong technique of jumping several degrees of separation between various causes and effects and hoping, in the absence of any available proof, that there is nothing lost in the jumps.
    In classical science, you establish cause and effect without guessing. You do not publish about a cause and effect that cannot be demonstrated as acting in the time period being studied.
    Further, the simple, lazy equations used to relate temperature to isotope ratios cannot be taken as a given here, because they belong in that part of the mechanism under study, not in the proven lookup file.
    This is bad science, unless you have joined the sloppy club of climate scientists who are seemingly capable of establishing effects when they are not present in the data and cannot be reconstructed.
    If you write a speculative paper, please be so kind as to label it as such in several prominent places including the Abstract. If authors do not do this, they run the risk of being labelled as fraudulent. There has been altogether too much of this sloppy type of climate ‘science’.

  28. Manfred says:

    Pippen Kool . ‘Variability’ = ‘change’. Having trouble are we?
    When did temperature averages become not part of climate?
    When ‘global warming’ became truely inconvenient by failing to agree with those pesky models, around the late ’90′s I understand.

  29. RoHa says:

    How do they decide that bit is “West” Antarctica? It’s clearly part of North Antarctica (as is the rest of the coast), but there is quite a lot of Antarctica West of Ellsworth Land. On the other hand, if you travel due East, you end up in Ellsworth land again. This proves that Ellsworth land is actually East Antarctica.

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