Researcher ‘has a problem’ with attributing West Antarctic Ice Sheet ‘collapse’ to human activity

Antarctic_collapseFrom NASA JPL and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, something that maybe journo-hacktivist Susanne Goldenberg should pay attention to before she writes another screed.

Reports that a portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun to irretrievably collapse, threatening a 4-foot rise in sea levels over the next couple of centuries, surged through the news media last week. But many are asking if even this dramatic news will alter the policy conversation over what to do about climate change.

Glaciers like the ones that were the focus of two new studies move at, well, a glacial pace. Researchers are used to contemplating changes that happen over many thousands of years.

This time, however, we’re talking hundreds of years, perhaps — something that can be understood in comparison to recent history, a timescale of several human generations. In that time, the papers’ authors suggest, melting ice could raise sea levels enough to inundate or at least threaten the shorelines where tens of millions of people live.

“The high-resolution records that we’re getting and the high-resolution models we’re able to make now are sort of moving the questions a little bit closer into human, understandable time frames,” said Kirsty Tinto, a researcher from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who has spent a decade studying the Antarctic.

“We’re still not saying things are going to happen this year or next year. But it’s easier to grasp [a couple of hundred years] than the time scales we’re used to looking at.”

The authors of two papers published last week looked at a set of glaciers that slide down into the Amundsen Sea from a huge ice sheet in West Antarctica, which researchers for years have suspected may be nearing an “unstable” state that would lead to its collapse. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is mostly grounded on land that is below sea level (the much larger ice sheet covering East Antarctica sits mostly on land above sea level).

Advances in radar and other scanning technologies have allowed researchers to build a detailed picture of the topography underlying these glaciers, and to better understand the dynamics of how the ice behaves. Where the forward, bottom edge of the ice meets the land is called the grounding line. Friction between the ice and the land holds back the glacier, slowing its progress to the ocean. Beyond that line, however, the ice floats on the sea surface, where it is exposed to warmer ocean water that melts and thins these shelves of ice. As the ice shelves thin and lose mass, they have less ability to hold back the glacier.

What researchers are finding now is that some of these enormous glaciers have become unhinged from the land – ice has melted back from earlier grounding lines and into deeper basins, losing its anchor on the bottom, exposing more ice to the warmer ocean water and accelerating the melting.

In their paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, Eric Rignot and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., described the “rapid retreat” of several major glaciers over the past two decades, including the Pine Island, Thwaites, Haynes, Smith and Kohler glaciers.

“We find no major bed obstacle upstream of the 2011 grounding lines that would prevent further retreat of the grounding lines farther south,” they write. “We conclude that this sector of West Antarctica is undergoing a marine ice sheet instability that will significantly contribute to sea level rise in decades to come.”

The region studied holds enough ice to raise sea levels by about 4 feet (Pine Island Glacier alone covers about 62,000 square miles, larger than Florida). If the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, it could raise the oceans about 16 feet.

glaciers studied by Rignot's research team. Image credit: Eric Rignot

The glaciers studied by Rignot’s research team. Red indicates areas where flow speeds have increased over the past 40 years. The darker the color, the greater the increase. The increases in flow speeds extend hundreds of miles inland. Image: Eric Rignot

In the second paper, Ian Joughlin and colleagues from the University of Washington used models to investigate whether the Thwaites and Haynes glaciers, which together are a major contributor to sea level change, were indeed on their way to collapsing. “The simulations indicate that early-stage collapse has begun,” they said. How long that would take varies with different simulations – from 200 to 900 years.

“All of our simulations show it will retreat at less than a millimeter of sea level rise per year for a couple of hundred years, and then, boom, it just starts to really go,” Joughin said in a news release from the University of Washington.

Many scientists who’ve been studying the region were already braced for the storm.

“It’s gone over the tipping point, and there’s no coming back,” said Jim Cochran, another Lamont researcher with experience in the Antarctic. “This … confirms what we’ve been thinking for quite a while.”

Cochran is principal lead investigator for Columbia University in Ice Bridge, the NASA-directed program that sends scientists to Antarctica and Greenland to study ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice using airborne surveys. Much of the data used in the new papers came from the Ice Bridge project.

Tinto, also an Ice Bridge veteran, agreed. “I thought it was pretty exciting, because we’ve all been working on this area for a long time, and that potential for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to behave in this way, we’ve been aware of it for a long time,” she said. “[It] made me want to get in there and look at the rest of the area, what else is going on.”

And there are still many questions about what’s going on: How fast the ocean that swirls around Antarctica is warming, how those ocean currents shift, and to what extent that is influenced by global warming.

“I have a problem with the widespread implication (in the popular press) that the West Antarctic collapse can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change,” said Mike Wolovik, a graduate researcher at Lamont-Doherty who studies ice sheet dynamics. “The marine ice sheet instability is an inherent part of ice sheet dynamics that doesn’t require any human forcing to operate. When the papers say that collapse is underway, and likely to last for several hundred years, that’s a reasonable and plausible conclusion.”

But, he said, the link between CO2 levels and the loss of ice in West Antarctica “is pretty tenuous.”

The upwelling of warmer waters that melt the ice has been tied to stronger westerly winds around Antarctica, which have been linked to a stronger air pressure difference between the polar latitudes and the mid-latitudes, which have in turn been linked to global warming.

“I’m not an atmospheric scientist, so I can’t evaluate the strength of all of those linkages,” Wolovik said. “However, it’s a lot of linkages.” And that leaves a lot of room for uncertainty about what’s actually causing the collapse of the glaciers, he said.

Researchers have been discussing the theory of how marine ice sheets become unstable for many years, said Stan Jacobs, an oceanographer at Lamont-Doherty who has studied ocean currents and their impact on ice shelves for several decades.

“Some of us are a bit wary of indications that substantial new ground has been broken” by the two new papers, Jacobs said. While ocean temperatures seem to be the main cause of the West Antarctic ice retreat, there’s a lot of variability in how heat is transported around the ocean in the region, and it’s unclear what’s driving that, he said. And, he’s skeptical that modeling the system at this point can accurately predict the timing of the ice’s retreat.

But, he added, “this is one more message indicating that a substantial sea level rise from continued melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could occur in the foreseeable future. In the absence of serious near-term greenhouse gas mitigation efforts, such as an escalating tax on carbon, they may well be right.”

“It starts bringing it a little closer to home,” said Tinto. “It’s a significant amount of change, but something we can start planning for. Hopefully [this will] make people stop procrastinating and start planning for it.”

Cochran agreed: The papers’ message is “that … over the next couple hundred years, there’s going to be a significant rise in sea level, and at this point we can’t stop it.” But, he added, “it doesn’t say give up on trying to cut emissions. … [Just] don’t buy land in Florida.”

###

Source: http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2014/05/23/clock-is-ticking-in-west-antarctic/

h/t to Marc Morano of Climate Depot


 

The two papers in question:

Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica from 1992 to 2011, E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, B. Scheuchl, Geophysical Research Letters (2014)

Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica, Ian Joughin, Benjamin E. Smith, Brooke Medley, Science (2014)

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99 thoughts on “Researcher ‘has a problem’ with attributing West Antarctic Ice Sheet ‘collapse’ to human activity

  1. Why are the glaciers speeding up?
    The only reason I can think of is, that the height is increasing.
    So the snow pile is growing in Antartica.

  2. @Juergen Michele

    Why are the glaciers speeding up?
    The only reason I can think of is, that the height is increasing.
    So the snow pile is growing in Antarctica…

    ..And if you state that you can’t think of any other reason, you have shown that it’s scientifically proven beyond reasonable doubt according to Climate Science standards….

  3. Never any mention of precipitation patterns at the head end of the glaciers. What is the net ~ between precipitation accumulation and melt. Why is that never in the discussion when it needs to be? It is a fundamental part of any glaciers existence.

  4. I’m confused….how would the oceans and sea ice know to respond to temperature adjustments?

  5. Latitude says:
    May 26, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I’m confused….how would the oceans and sea ice know to respond to temperature adjustments?

    *

    LOL. Exactly. :)

  6. “over the next couple hundred years, there’s going to be a significant rise in sea level, and at this point we can’t stop it.” But, he added, “it doesn’t say give up on trying to cut emissions. … [Just] don’t buy land in Florida.”
    Yeah, right, I aways worry about what the land under my house will look like in 200 to 1000 years from now. Very important.
    Seems to me,as always, that these predictions assume everything goes on the same for the
    next, oh, say 200 to 1000 years. That’s where true stupidity makes it first appearance. And all this even in the face of admitted ignorance about the process. which doesn’t seem to faze those who create the models and then claim with authority what’s gonna happen. Note the pointed reference that “all the models” agree. Oh, well, that clinches it.

  7. Mean sea level has been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid-19th century. Between 1870 and 2004, global average sea levels rose a total of 195 mm (7.7 in), or an average of 1.46 mm per year. Satellites & tide gauges disagree, but the rate for recent decades is around 2 mm/yr. A four-foot rise in mean sea level over the next, say, 480 years would add one tenth of an inch (2.54 mm) to this rate. But the ongoing melting of the glaciers in question is already baked into current sea level rise, so an acceleration of this Antarctic contribution wouldn’t significantly affect global levels.

    In any case within 480 years the climate is likely to cool again, slowing, stopping or reversing this process, as happened during the LIA & prior cold spells of the Holocene.

  8. Col Mosby says:
    May 26, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Seems to me,as always, that these predictions assume everything goes on the same for the
    next, oh, say 200 to 1000 years.

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

    Given that they have no clue what,or even if, changes will occur in the next 200 to 1000 years, they can’t really assume anything else.

    Which is what makes climate models completely useless as a predictive tool.

    ….

  9. The link between CO₂ and all climate phenomena are ‘pretty tenuous’ but it’s never stopped them in the past.

  10. The temperature of the water under the Ross Ice shelf and under the sea ice is -1.96°C – the freezing point of sea water. The glacial ice coming off the land into the sea is pure water with a melting point of 0°C. Therefore unless the water temperature rises above 0°C then there will be no melting.
    While the ice shelves float on the sea they generally do not melt until they have calved and floated further north. The Ross Ice Shelf is about the size of France and it has not melted since the last interglacial.
    Does anyone have any actual temperature profiles of sea water under the ice shelves? If the water under these shelves is below the freezing point of the land ice then the issue will not be melting but simply the mechanics of the glacier tail being broken up due to the constant movement of the tides under the ice (like all Antarctic glaciers that move into the sea). In addition sea ice has a significant effect in holding back these glaciers, and that is increasing.

  11. THIS IS NUTS!!!!!!. We are being asked to believe that glacier collapse is being cause by a man-made global warming that only began 50 years ago??? (if man-made global warming is even actually occurring now.) The glaciers were not collapsing before that???? Then all of a sudden they start to collapse because of mankind? THAT IS NUTS!!!!!

    Shouldn’t the glaciers have collapsed during the Medieval Warm Period or the Roman Warm Period? i mean they were around for more than a few centuries and global temperatures were even higher than they are today. Should not Florida have been under water both times????? REALITY CHECK, YOU MORONS!!! Please explain to us why there was no collapse during those centuries of high temperature! Quick, hurry, make something up!

    Where is the common sense? Utterly lacking.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  12. See my comment above at 11:14

    Oh, wait a second, their answer will be that because the glaciers did not collapse during those times that proves that the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman Warm Period were not global phenomenon. How stupid of me.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  13. Sherlock turned to Dr, Watson and said: I think were are faced with “The Case of the Galloping Glaciers.” I say, Is this a case where the cause been put behind the horse. That is an unanswered question. Is the current melting some worry about going to continue apace for hundreds of years, and if so, what is causing the current and past sea rise. If it’s not the same source, where is all that damn water coming from now? That is the essential issue. Why worry about tomorrow if you can’t adequately explain today? I am concerned that those who are focused on looking solely at the Antarctic Ice are missing a bigger picture. They worry about localized melting, but have no way to connect it to CO2 or any human related agency.

  14. “We’re still not saying things are going to happen this year or next year. But it’s easier to grasp [a couple of hundred years] than the time scales we’re used to looking at.”

    Sooooooooo…..just move the time scale to make it look “catastrophic” to the LIP’s( low info pipples) and everything is fine? I really have got to figure out how to get rid of all my morals/ethics and get in on this scam before the revolt.

  15. I object to the naming of oversized blocks of ice after the people who found them. That’s half the problem. Scientists take it personally when said blocks of ice start melting and naturally want to blame someone because they have effectively humanized the ice. So the ice is not just melting, it’s dying in their eyes — and Thwaites, Haynes, et al, along with it. It’s the equivalent of naming the ice cubes in your freezer if you ask me, but obviously they are highly offended.

    Seems to me if we agreed to give them the naming rights to whatever is left (e.g., Thwaites Puddle, Haynes Pond, etc), they might not take it so personally.

  16. Peter Foster, you put better than I the first question I had while reading this article. The sea ice that provided support for the glacier is melting to a point where it can no longer hold back the ice flow, releasing a vast glacier into the sea. But why wouldn’t the lead ice flow itself become sea ice, renewing that support system?

    Isn’t this normal glacier behavior–the sea ice slowly melts, only to be replaced by ice pushing down from the glacier? While ice from the glacier is slowly replaced by new snowfall.

  17. I feel sorry for Mike W. The grad researcher, he is mooked as far as getting a tenure track, the hounds will be loosed.

  18. Col Mosby says:
    May 26, 2014 at 10:54 am

    In light of what Col Mosby wrote, I think that we can safely say that 200 years is the dividing line between adaptation and mitigation. If 200 years will pass before the collapse begins then we should be thinking adaptation not mitigation. How much has changed in the last 200 years? In 1814, the industrial revolution had not begun. In 2214, we should be well-prepared for the rise in sea level that might not occur for another 700 years.

    The Alarmists are becoming more expert at collectively shooting themselves in the feet.

    Also, it is funny as the dickens. Even with computer models, the best they could do is claim that a moderate problem will arise in 200 years. They are running on empty.

  19. Eugene, you beat me to it. Did you use your IPCC Random Excuse Generator™ App for Iphone or Android? If so be sure to spend the extra .99 for the Gore/Jones/Mann excuse paks. My kid loves the thing. He used a Gore zinger when his teacher asked for homework, “My grade is settled, I get an A. We have a concensus. Besides, the oceans ate my homework.”
    The stunned teacher fell right into his trap when she told him, “i believe you owe me one homework assignment”
    My son learned well from the master, using this aliGoreical Goreism to save the day. Even the hanging chads themselves would be powerless against such a persuasive onslaught. He pulled out a chart with arrows pointing in several directions, no scales or labels on either axis, showed it to the teacher and said, “you believe? Well, some people believe the earth is flat and that the moon landings were faked. 97% of scientists agree that my paper earned an A. See this chart? It proves I’m right. Or are you one of those paper deniers? People who support my grade point average are a lot like the people who marched for civil rights. So If I don’t get an A it means you’re a racist.”

    He got his A!

    He lied, cheated, fabricated evidence and refused to acknowledge the presentation of facts to confuse the teacher and advance his fraudulent agenda. I see a chairmanship with the IPCC in his future. Mere words can not describe the pride I feel.

  20. I don’t see any consideration given here to the recent lowering of temperatures on both East and West Antarctic ice sheets (you recall the folks at Byrd Station were quick to point out the falsity of reported higher temps in Marie Byrd Land, and that it was getting colder there, not warmer). Might they not be expected to slow or stop the motion of the glaciers, as they must have done after the end of prior warm periods? As Eugene WR Gallum points out, the West Antarctic ice sheet most certainly did NOT collapse during those earlier warm periods – and as happened after those periods, we may well be entering into another cold period such as followed those periods. For me at least, this all makes the whole alarmist meme about a collapsing West Antarctic ice sheet look very bogus.

  21. OK.. One simple question? With the mean temperature now falling again and Ice buildup returning to the tops of these glaciers how will the freezing of the water at the grounding level affect glacial movement? Melting is not constant.

  22. I just returned from an inside passage/Alaskan cruise aboard the Coral Princess. The view of Glaciers in Glacier Bay and the College Fjord were breathtaking but, the continual recitation of the government view that Glaciers were melting because of human activity resulting from climate change, warming of the air and sea, was enough to nauseate anyone with the ability to both read and think. Our society is being brainwashed to believe, as science, an assumption that is designed to gain our acceptance of more and more government control.

  23. “Seems to me if we agreed to give them the naming rights to whatever is left (e.g., Thwaites Puddle, Haynes Pond, etc), they might not take it so personally.”

    Instead of a carbon tax why not sell naming rights? The Staples Glacier; CitiGlacier; Gates Glacier?

  24. So now someone has to subtract the additional snow that seems to be fall in East Antarctica.

    http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/10.1063/PT.4.0470

    ” Carmen Boening of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and her colleagues have just finished a study of ice accumulation over the entire Antarctic continent. Their study makes use of data gathered by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment spacecraft between 2003 and 2011.Stark regional differences emerged. Whereas West Antarctica lost ice mass throughout that period, East Antarctica was stable until 2008, after which it gained 350 gigatons. That accumulation is equivalent to a decrease in global sea level rise of 0.32 mm/y, or 10% of the current total rate.”

    Similarly, we’ve stopped hearing about mountain glaciers because they are apparently in the process of reversal – the Alps, Alaska, Scandinavia, CONUS, NZ….. One might ask how the West Ant glaciers got there in the first place. Are they forecasting no snowfall there for 200-900yrs? This ‘ceteris paribus’ thinking has spread from the social sciences to the hard sciences. If these people are such experts, why wouldn’t they at least mention that its ceteris paribus forecasting. I would bet that heavy snows will return to WAIS before the 200-900yrs is up if there was a way to collect on the bet.

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

  25. The transition from ‘the grounding line for a glacier is retreating’ to ‘the ice field is melting away’ is a HUGE leap unsupported by logic, observations, or even plausible speculation. It is as heinous an extrapolation as the ones made using “doubling rates” of populations.

  26. “Hopefully [this will] make people stop procrastinating and start planning for it.”

    Hey, I’m planning to be dead. The people who are alive will hardly notice it happening during their lifetimes either. And that is IF it happens.

    I also think that all the carbophobes will have gone extinct by then because they ran out of disaster scenarios.

    In the internet age it just doesn’t seem, well, sustainable to make all the disaster predictions at once when the ice is moving at such a glacial pace. The predictors will have been recorded, widely read, already ridiculed, and de-funded.

  27. ‘“I’m not an atmospheric scientist, so I can’t evaluate the strength of all of those linkages,” Wolovik said. “However, it’s a lot of linkages.” And that leaves a lot of room for uncertainty about what’s actually causing the collapse of the glaciers, he said.’

    Aha, a wolf among sheep. A skeptic among believers. How long before Wolovik is shunned?

  28. I see that Noerdlinger and Brower, “The Melting of Floating Ice Raises the Ocean Level”, on the website of the former author, seem to still leave the erroneous alarming add on to an otherwise interesting paper, even though the error was pointed out to him long ago.

    “The West Antarctic Ice Sheet has volume 26,000,000 km3. Suppose a 5% chunk slid into the sea in a short time period (say a few years). The sea level rise would be about 4 m”,

    where the volume of ice used is over 10 times too large for “The West Antarctic Ice Sheet”. Four meters is more alarming than 0.4 meters so let’s go with that.

  29. Here is PIK showing how more snow on Antarctica leads to ice loss. They go onto claim that it’s worse than we thought for sea level rise.

    PIK
    “Snow piling up exerts pressure on the ice, thus it flows faster to the coast”

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/archive/2012/more-ice-loss-through-snowfall-on-antarctica

    The following papers say no it’s not.

    Extreme snowfalls

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50559/abstract

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL053316/abstract

    [Note: PIK = Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
    Pine Island Glacier is usually abbreviated PIG in these type reports. .mod]

  30. “Researcher ‘has a problem’ with attributing West Antarctic Ice Sheet ‘collapse’ to human activity”? You don’t say. Maybe, just maybe that could be because the researcher knows it’s cr#p?

  31. ” ice has melted back from earlier grounding lines and into deeper basins, losing its anchor on the bottom, exposing more ice to the warmer ocean water and accelerating the melting.”

    If that is right, then the glacier is in reality a floating iceberg, and can then not change the sealevel no matter if the floating part melts completely.

  32. ehtyler says:
    May 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm
    “the continual recitation of the government view that Glaciers were melting because of human activity resulting from climate change, warming of the air and sea, was enough to nauseate anyone with the ability to both read and think. Our society is being brainwashed to believe, as science, an assumption that is designed to gain our acceptance of more and more government control.”

    Yes, all the National Park websites have this propaganda…
    What can be done about it? – have to vote in the politicians that don’t go along with this – good luck with that…

  33. Caught something this morning on NPR about the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mandating carbon emission reduction standards for commercial aircraft. This looks to be another IPCC, only with the real power to destroy the business of any aerospace company that does not play along. You can bet Chinese manufacturers will be exempt..

  34. Ice shelf melting is just a special case of coastal erosion. Water erodes the base of cliffs, and then chunks break off from time to time. A purely natural process, someone should sue NASA for misrepresentation of science.

    The problem is the people that write the press releases, no doubt making exaggerated claims to maximise impact and interest, you see it everywhere in climate science.

  35. Along with the recently announced record cold temp recorded on Earth we have these two papers from this month. Is it worse than we thought?

    May 13, 2014
    New paper finds most of Antarctica cooled over the past 1,000 years

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/05/new-paper-finds-most-of-antarctica.html

    =====================================
    May 8, 2014
    New paper finds E. Antarctic snow accumulation is at highest levels of past 900 years

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/05/new-paper-finds-e-antarctic-snow.html

    I suspect Antarctic researchers spend so much time there on taxpayer dime looking and listening for every creek, snap, crackle and pop. It’s enough to send them insane poor chaps. They should cool down, just like Antarctica.

  36. Not just Antarctica but the whole planet has been in a long-term cooling trend for at least 3000 years, with some ups like the Roman, Medieval & Modern Warm Periods & downs like the Dark Ages & Little Ice Age Cold Periods.

  37. My prediction is that in a couple of hundred years there will be a huge concern about the drop in sea-level from dramatically increased desalination activities as China, India, Australia, the USA and other countries with sizable desert areas continue their efforts to reclaim that land and grow trees and crops. The impact on our climate will be huge, unprecedented and likely catastrophic. Al Gore, JnrJneJnr is fighting these desalination projects for mankind and the further loss of value of his previously waterfront estates. /s

  38. That poor grad student is in deep poop for bucking the climate alarmists.
    Here is a question that has probably been answered, but I have not seen the answer:
    IF the ice mostly already floating, which is what seems to have been described, what will the impact on sea levels be?
    Another question:
    If Antarctica on balance is gaining ice (not sea pack, but continental ice), how much offset is this to any Antarctic reduction from the W. Antarctic glacier complex that is possibly sliding off in the next several hundred years?

  39. After reading the above article I fell asleep at my computer and had this dream about glaciers crashing down into the antarctic waters causing giant freezing tidal waves to sweep the planet wiping out all life. What worries me is that such a catastrophe will undoubtedly be predicted in a peer reviewed paper released next week.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  40. If I read correctly, I note that there is a comment that a portion of Antarctica is below sea level where the accumulated ice/snow lays. One question, if that is so, is any of the weight of the ice being carried from the sea as opposed to from the land below sea level?
    If so wouldn’t melting have negligible impact on sea level rise?

  41. Catcracking says:
    =====
    “The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is mostly grounded on land that is below sea level”

    pretty much…so when it does collapse it’s also going to defy the laws of gravity

  42. J. Philip Peterson says:
    May 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm
    ehtyler says:
    May 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm
    “the continual recitation of the government view that Glaciers were melting because of human activity resulting from climate change, warming of the air and sea, was enough to nauseate anyone with the ability to both read and think. Our society is being brainwashed to believe, as science, an assumption that is designed to gain our acceptance of more and more government control.”

    Yes, all the National Park websites have this propaganda…
    What can be done about it? – have to vote in the politicians that don’t go along with this – good luck with that…
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I was in Glacier Bay a few years ago and picked up a National Parks Services brochure. It actually noted that “glaciers advance and glaciers retreat”. They show NO Glacier Bay in 1680, then a rapid advance of the glaciers in the Little Ice Age around 1750 that scoured out and created Glacier Bay; then the subsequent retreat. I was surprised to see ‘real’ information based on geology and verbal history in the brochure. The pertinent information from the Brochure is here:

    http://tinypic.com/r/2me7e5j/8

    I don’t know it NPS has changed their brochure but it was there in 2011. However, the verbal diarrhoea is probably mandated. :-)

  43. Glaciers have been slipping into the sea for a long time. It’s sorta what they do, gravity and sliding downhill and so on. It would be unusual if a glacier STOPPED sliding into the sea. The only real question is the rate at which they’re sliding.
    So– are these Antarctic glaciers sliding markedly faster than they used to, or not? If they are, what, exactly did we do to start it (no, I don’t accept the idea that my rusty Chevy did it) and what– if anything– could be done to slow it? I have an idea that standing in front of the glacier holding a “Stop” sign and shouting “Whoa!!!” might not work very well.

    This could be a gold-mine for an enterprising tug-boat captain. Hook up some tow lines to that ice and haul it to the Middle East, the Sahara, Southern California– all the places where ice and water might be welcomed. Hey, it’s a thought anyway, and if I had a large sea-going tug I just might consider it.

  44. If faster winds are stirring up warmer waters from the deep to melt the ice, won’t that have the effect, in a century or two, of cooling the oceans and slowing or reversing thermal expansion?

  45. Juergen Michele says:
    May 26, 2014 at 10:37 am
    —————————————-
    I had a similar thought lately, due to these recent articles. Watching their video raised that thought again. Early in the video when he focuses on the rate of the glaciers movement, it can be seen that the surrounding higher ground and ridges are also showing movement in the colorized display. Many sections of the higher background are showing reddish color to denote a higher velocity. These higher velocities sections are feeding into slower blue rated sections. Why is the higher land based ice sheet moving faster than the back section {blue rated} of the grounded glacier? That seems to denote what you are asserting that this form of movement is being driven by accumulation increasing the weight load on the higher background.

    • Why are the glaciers speeding up?
      The only reason I can think of is, that the height is increasing.
      So the snow pile is growing in Antarctica.
      This is not discussed!
      Greetings from Bernoulli:
      Velocity equals square root 2 times gravitational constant times height.

  46. Of course the melting glaciers result in isosatic rebound of the land in exactly the proportion to the ice loss – like in Norway and the sea basin deepens. They make this correction for sea level so why not do that when it is happening in the WAIS.

  47. The papers’ message is “that … over the next couple hundred years, there’s going to be a significant rise in sea level, and at this point we can’t stop it.” But, he added, “it doesn’t say give up on trying to cut emissions. … [Just] don’t buy land in Florida.”

    I know of no coastal infrastructure that was not rebuilt several times since the Napoleonic Wars.

    Also, that last remark about Florida deserves attention. Is a there a large scale real estate scam in the works? Who’s going to buy there at those splendid depressed prices?

    see: Miami Herald / Rising sea levels, falling real estate values

  48. The definition Guy 12:14 pm

    I think your son should shoot higher. He has all the qualifications needed to be a Democratic presidential nominee.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  49. Yes, this researcher has a problems convincing people that the sea is rising especially since satellites say there is no problem. This person can’t or doesn’t want to believe that that the coast can sink therefore making it appear that the sea level is rising!

  50. Logic problem
    The authors are quoted “We find no major bed obstacle upstream of the 2011 grounding lines that would prevent further retreat of the grounding lines farther south,”
    ……….
    This can mean that the ice in question has changed, or is changing, from resting on bedrock to resting on water. As often stated, ice melting from floating on water hardly changes sea levels (Archimedes) whereas ice melting from above bedrock does change sea levels.
    Has anyone modelled to transition from grounded to floating and any changes in sea level produced?

  51. There is a confirmation bias going on in each of these “research scientists” who have been loking for this evidence since 2001-2002 timeframe. Who is their check and balance? What is their quality assurance? They have been sitting around tables and classrooms and labs looking for this very paper 9writing this paper and its antecedents since 2002-2005. Of course they will say nothing to contradict their peer group!

    Apparently their logic is as follows: Leading edge of glacier is underwater, stuck on a rising underwater ridge. This blocks ice movement “upstream”, so upstream ice piles up and blocks the sea between the underwater ridge and the continental shelf. This blocks ice uphill on the continental mountains, which then backs up further uphill. Thus, in their minds, if you remove the single blockage at the underwater ridge, then EVERYTHING begins sliding downhill and melts and the sea level rises and we have to sell property in Florida.

    As evidence, we have all of their carefully timed press releases with the national administrations’ National Climate Ass., the EPA’s July 2 new restrictions on coal and a tripling of electricty prices, new EPA requirements on gasoline that increase gas and food prices, new drought regulations coming from California, etc. And all timed before the 2014 November elections and the 2015 Paris energy agreements.

    SO, how much area does the WAIS actually represent?
    How much of the three glacier is over the water, and how much is on land?
    What are the thickness of the three WAIS glaciers over water, and what is the percent thickness over that part is on land? What is the top of ice altitude of the three glaciers?
    How fast are the three glaciers actually moving? How fast are they moving BEFORE the past 20 years of movement?
    How much area of each of the three glaciers is actually moving at what speed now, and how much is … well, not moving at all? How much ice is actually blocked by this very small! little area of deep water under the glacier? (Yes, there is deep water between the underwater ridge and the grounding line, but the deep areas are only a few hundred square km^2.)
    Where does the “warm water” come from that is supposedly melting the toe of the three glaciers deep underwater, if the edge of the Antarctic Sea Ice for the past three years been consistently hundreds of kilometers further out to sea from the edge of the three glaciers?
    It takes time – 50 to 100 years! – for a single piece of ie falling as ice at the top of the Pine Island glacier to move downhill and over the sea and then to the toe of the glacier at the grounding line? If the grounding line is moved by 10 kilometers, what is their justification in stating melt rates that require that the travel time will suddenly become 10 or 20 years?
    If the toe of the glacier melts out, why do they assume that the glacier ice immediately behind the tiny melted region will not just spread out and immediately replace the melted toe of ice ?

  52. ehtyler says:
    May 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm
    I just returned from an inside passage/Alaskan cruise aboard the Coral Princess. The view of Glaciers in Glacier Bay and the College Fjord were breathtaking but, the continual recitation of the government view that Glaciers were melting because of human activity resulting from climate change, warming of the air and sea, was enough to nauseate anyone with the ability to both read and think.

    Took that itinerary a couple years back on another line and the day cruising in glacier bay was awesome! The biggest surprise to me was the sound of the glaciers at their face – up close it sounded exactly like a thunderstorm with the “cracking” of close lightning followed by the booming thunder. I had never heard of that before concerning glaciers and it was a surprise. The unpleasant surprise was the same as yours… supposedly well educated park rangers spewing pure unadulterated nonsense to everyone about how man is destroying these beautiful glaciers by using fossil fuels. Amazingly the talk at the dinner table that night seemed to indicate that everyone pretty much thought they were full of it.

  53. This time, however, we’re talking hundreds of years, perhaps — something that can be understood in comparison to recent history, a timescale of several human generations. In that time, the papers’ authors suggest, melting ice could raise sea levels enough to inundate or at least threaten the shorelines where tens of millions of people live.

    The “fear” here is simply a failure to pay attention to history. Ocean levels have been overall much higher than now, and much lower than now, in the relatively recent (10k years) past. The lure of building on the coastlines is just too great to worry about such things. There’s no reason to worry about it now. It’s going to happen (or not) eventually. And if ocean levels drop, people will continue to build closer to the receding water. Live and learn (or not).

  54. “It’s gone over the tipping point, and there’s no coming back,” 
    Whew! For a while there I thought we would have to keep funding them.
    Now that we know what’s happening and whats going to happen.
    Future funding is unnecessary.
    Right?

  55. the grounding line over at the Ross Ice Shelf has been retreating at an average rate of 120 ft/year for the last 7600 years…no different from the modern rate. I’d wager that these West Antarctic ice shelves are doing something similar

  56. The Sea Ice Index page shows that the sea ice on the west side of Antarctica has been in a decline, but you can see that the rest of the coastline, almost 80% of total, has been increasing. Isn’t that mainly due to Drakes Passage constricting the westerly flow? Last years sst anoms for the region were well above average. Looking back to Jan 2013, there was a large region of surface flow that was +2 to +3 above normal. This large area was tucked in fairly close to the continent, with the main body just to the west of Drakes Passage. It stayed like that till the end of June 2013, which is when the rate of growth of the ice shield took a big jump and was off to the races and a new record high. Ever since then, Antarctica has remained surrounded by – sst anomalies. When the next large warm sst area formed again it ended up residing and still resides about a 1/4 of the way up the west South American coast, well north of its earlier position. Will this lead to a change in the melt rate on the WAIS and points west? How current is the data in these projections which form the basis for their claim?

  57. I have some questions about the net effect of all this on sea level rise, i.e., the mass balance.

    Glaciers move usually because more weight, i.e., snow, is piled onto the upper parts of the glacier and gravity causes it to flow. Were does the snow come from? Evaporation from the ocean which reduces sea level.

    In West Antarctica, the glaciers are “grounded” below sea level and are therefore displacing ocean water. Since water as ice has more volume per weight than liquid water, melting of “grounded” ice should also decrease sea level.

    Floating ice already displaces its weight with an equal weight of water so the net effective on sea level of melting floating ice is near zero.

    Only ice/snow that was always above sea level could raise sea level once it melted into the sea. How much is that compared to the evaporated water which produced the ice/snow on the upper parts of the glacier in the first place? What is the mass balance?

  58. The definition Guy says:
    May 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm
    ————————————————————–
    Absolutely brilliant!!!!!
    Brought a smile and a chuckle.
    nice work.
    cn

  59. Marcos says:
    May 26, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    the grounding line over at the Ross Ice Shelf has been retreating at an average rate of 120 ft/year for the last 7600 years…no different from the modern rate. I’d wager that these West Antarctic ice shelves are doing something similar

    OK,let us assume your comment is right – we have, after all, no reason to doubt it.
    120 feet/year = 36.5 meters/year.

    What if the current grounding line – that “depth of water” where the glacier ice (assumed equally deep all the way across a 30 kilometer wide moving stream of ice!) hits the bedrock and “stalls out” thereby blocking the ice upstream from moving further. What if the grounding line is “retreating upstream” into deeper water because the glacier ice coming “downstream” is just a little bit deeper now?

    Assume for example, that the undersea bedrock has a 1:20 slope at today’s grounding line.

    Thus, if the edge of the flowing glacier ice is not melting underwater, but is now 2 meters deeper than it was last year, then the glacier ice would “stop” 40 meters further away from the reference point. 40 meters closer to the continental land mass. Remember, in these three glaciers, the sea gets deeper little ways away from the original shoreline, then gets shallower again as you get further out. it is this “shallow area” where the WAIS is claimed to be grounding out. The glacier would appear to be “retreating” when it fact it actually is deeper and heavier and has more ice than it is “supposed to have” .. but would be 40 meters further “retreated” ….

  60. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm
    ‘“I’m not an atmospheric scientist, so I can’t evaluate the strength of all of those linkages,” Wolovik said. “However, it’s a lot of linkages.” And that leaves a lot of room for uncertainty about what’s actually causing the collapse of the glaciers, he said.’

    Aha, a wolf among sheep. A skeptic among believers. How long before Wolovik is shunned?
    ———————————————————–
    I wonder what his twitter page looks like.
    They don’t pull punches these tolerant folks.
    My guess is he may not last the week before his co-authors pull their names.

    At least Jacobs was smart enough to cover his backside:
    “But, he added, “this is one more message indicating that a substantial sea level rise from continued melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could occur in the foreseeable future. In the absence of serious near-term greenhouse gas mitigation efforts, such as an escalating tax on carbon, they may well be right.”
    And they may well be looking to further their own causes.
    cn

  61. Latitude says:
    May 26, 2014 at 2:45 pm
    Catcracking says:
    =====
    “The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is mostly grounded on land that is below sea level”

    pretty much…so when it does collapse it’s also going to defy the laws of gravity
    ——————————
    Oh noes! It’s worse than we thought.
    cn

  62. Nice balance in the projected collapse of the ice sheets there.
    Just short enough that the public can still feel uncomfortable with the idea of the collapse of what seemed fixed in perpetuity ice sheets.
    Just long enough to comfortably see out the researchers working lives and collect their munificent funding until the end of their working lives plus collect their generous retirement benefits.
    And just far enough into the future for them to be good and dead so as not have to explain to the public who paid them for this crap, why the ice sheets didn’t catastrophically collapse as they so blatantly predicted.

    Climate science is no longer science of any description.
    It has degenerated into a non stop chicken entrails based model prediction and divination process of trying to foretell the future.
    This from a formerly respected branch of a modern civilisation, that of science, that has in the past gone to great lengths to denigrate and disparage the predictions and divinations of the ancient’s Oracles as based on nothing more than complete ignorance and a deliberate and sophisticated obfuscation so as to hide the lack of ability to foretell the future but still collect the lucrative payments for the Oracle’s divinations..

    Climate alarmist science of which the “predictions” for a catastrophic collapse of the Antarctic ice sheets are just another example, is nothing more than the equivalent of the ignorance based predictions for future events that emanated from the oracles and shamans of the ancients.

    And maybe those ancient Oracles were a good deal more accurate in their predictions than today’s climate science as those predictions and divinations were made after considerable care was taken to surreptitiously try and exam any factors that might underlay an Oracle’s predictions so the priests could translate the Oracles stutterings to be in line with the expectations of the funders of the Oracle’s divinations.
    It al sounds horribly familiar doesn’t it?.

    The predictions, pronouncements and quite deliberate obfuscation’s of Climate Science today all sound awfully familiar to anybody who knows a little of the history of those ancient Oracle’s divinations and predictions.
    And 2500 years later climate science’s predictions carry about as much or maybe even less credibility than those old Oracle’s predictions and divinations.

  63. All long range predictions should come with a disclaimer that explains the law of accelerating returns as it applies to technology.

  64. A further thought. Please check my logic and geometry here, surely these “scientists” would not have missed this.

    They claim the WAIS (actually, three glaciers feeding from the WAIS, or 5% of the WAIS ice itself) are retreating catastrophically.
    Fine.
    They claim the “retreating” is due to, or a symptom of, or is occurring simultaneously with, or is measured by a “retreat of the grounding line” towards deeper water. This deeper water is between the original grounding line, and the original continental bedrock at the original shoreline way back upstream of the glacier.
    OK, fine.
    So … If the moving glacier were melting on the bottom (due to an assumed “warmer water” current getting blown in somehow underneath 450 – 550 kilometers of packed antarctic sea cie!) then the glacier ice would be shallower at least near the tip, right? If not shallower completely across the toa of the glacier, it would be weaker or less consistent and less able to resist the relentless pressure
    pushing down from the billions of tons of glacier ice higher up (further away from the grounding line), right?
    So, if the bottom “toe” of the glacier were melting and were weakening or were disappearing completely, would not that relentless force of the upstream glacier ice FORCE the tip of the glacier to move DOWNSTREAM and further away from the continental sea coast? If it were melting underneath, then it would be shallower, and the glacier would move further UP the shallow slope of the grounding line bedrock?

    So, the shallower the glacier ice -> the less ice there is underwater -> for the same force pushing the glacier “downstream” the tip of the glacier must be expanding (getting longer!) or getting pushed further “up” the sloping bedrock underwater -> the further forward the top of the glacier must be observed!

    The deeper the glacier ice, the quicker it hits the sloped grounding line underwater, the further BACK the glacier is touching the grounding line bedrock, and the further back the “top” of the glacier appears to be moving.

  65. The definition Guy says:
    May 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Your son is indeed well equipped for success in the 21st century.

    Unfortunately.

  66. God only knows
    God makes his plan
    The information’s unavailable
    To the mortal man

    We work in our jobs
    Collect our pay
    Believe we’re gliding down the highway
    When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away

  67. The inevitability of the WAIS collapse came with the rise of the 120 m ocean rise 8000 yrs bp.

    But what really scares the Liberals is the inevitability of the collapse of the US discretionary budget due to the Great Society healthcare and welfare programs unleashed in 1965. As those gorillas grow, their appeptite for tax revenues are set wipe out US government discretionary spending, which includes grant funding for science research within 2 decades.

    Rather than dismantle those Great Society programs, climate change alarmism is needed to gain support for new taxes. Liberals are unable to prioritize cuts. thus a way must be found to keep paying for everything. Carbon tax anyone?

  68. I had always heard that a glacier that is advancing is advancing because it’s growing and a glacier that’s retreating is one that’s basically melting. What is it with these guys? And a glacier grounded on land (does it really make any difference if it’s below sea level?) is held back from a further advance (which would somehow be considered a collapse?), not by the land, no, by ice floating on the sea? And a 0.8 degree Centigrade increase in air temperature magically found its way through the surface and into the Southern Ocean (at a 1,000 to 1 density ratio) so as to melt that floating (stable, huh?) sea ice barrier.

    Ok, I just got home from watching Godzilla. And it taught me that if you see a movie go to a movie made by people who know how to make movies. You’ll get your money’s worth and I think I got my money’s worth. Not with the above science fiction however. Why is NASA investigating glaciers anyway? I think the problem is that NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration but, since they’ve now got to hitch rides from the Russians, they’ve branched out into the inner space between the gullible public’s ears.

  69. And I’m 6′ 4″ and in my sixties and I’m taller on average this last 5 years than all the preceding 5 year averages put together so I’m gunna be a giant among men. Either that or a Big Climate guru.

  70. Wayne Delbeke says:
    May 26, 2014 at 2:49 pm
    “I was in Glacier Bay a few years ago and picked up a National Parks Services brochure. It actually noted that “glaciers advance and glaciers retreat”. They show NO Glacier Bay in 1680, then a rapid advance of the glaciers in the Little Ice Age around 1750 that scoured out and created Glacier Bay; then the subsequent retreat. I was surprised to see ‘real’ information based on geology and verbal history in the brochure. The pertinent information from the Brochure is here:
    http://tinypic.com/r/2me7e5j/8

    It’s great to see that in their brochure, that’s nice, but here is what is on their website:

    http://www.nps.gov/glba/naturescience/climate-change.htm

    It’s on every National Park website and just about every Government website, in the schools and universities, k-12, the Main Stream Media, the US administration – it’s settled, we have lost the battle of truth in climate – get over it – lets go on to other issues.

  71. During the last interglacial (Eemian) about 100,000 years ago, sea level was at least 3 meters (10 feet) higher than now. Sea level was about 20 meters (65 feet) higher during MIS11 a particularly long interglacial (50,000 years) about 400,000 years ago.

    What this suggests is that the amount of glacier melting depends on the length of the time as well as the temperature.

    Something everyone knows who has ever put ice cubes in drinks.

  72. They are fairly loose with their use of English, using terms like “slow” and “fast” without giving any numbers. However my favorite usage is, “Runaway Glaciers.”

    Next time my wife asks me to do something, I’ll tell her I’ll be onto the task “with the speed of a runaway glacier.” That will reassure her, for that is a lot faster than my usual glacial pace.

    Surely these guys flunked English classes. Not only do they use a word usually used to denote slowness to alarm us with speed, but they misuse the word “runaway.” The word implies uncertainty, but they suggest they are certain. The word implies lack of control, but who controls a glacier? The word suggests someone fleeing rules, responsibilities, and consequences, which are things inanimate objects like glaciers don’t care a hoot about.

    “Hey you! Mr. Glacier! Get back here!”
    “No! I’m running away!”

    Mr. Glacier is a lot faster than you would think a glacier could be. He is so fast he is retreating from the grounding line….ummm…err…how fast is that?

    It is so fast Mr. Glacier is losing weight, and is a “thinning” glacier. Nothing worse than a fat glacier, you know. And obesity is a real problem, these days. Mr. Glacier is setting a good example, for, by moving more mass more quickly he winds up with less…umm…errr…

    Either that, or maybe Mr. Glacier moves with glacial speed, and is so slow to respond that what we are seeing is a response to warming that ended twenty years ago.

  73. Quote:
    The level shore platform has been eroded by wave
    action across the rocky coastline during the past
    7000 years. The big fold was formed during the
    mountain building about 500 million years ago.
    During the Recent ice age about 20 000 years ago,
    sea level was about 130 metres lower than today
    and South Australia’s coastline was about 150
    kilometres south of where Victor Harbor now is.
    The ice cap started to melt about 15 000 years ago.
    Sea level began to rise and reached its present level
    about 6000–7000 years ago.

    Yes folks before that 130M sea level rise, the aboriginal folk could walk on land from Adelaide to Edithburgh across what is now Gulf St Vincent and south of Kangaroo Island but their descendants today will need to catch the diesel ferry there. Damned inconsiderate of those past aboriginal folk with their cooking fires and bush burnoffs to flush out game, although much of Australia’s flora needs bushfire to regenerate today as a result.

    http://www.sa.gsa.org.au/Brochures/HallettCoveBrochure.pdf

    Not hard to see why geology buffs like Ian Plimer think we should be concentrating on the rocks in the ground instead of the rocks in Big Climate heads.

  74. And since Big Climate do like their averages and decimal points, 130,000 mm divided by 7000 years equals 18.571428mm per year give or take a decimal point or two so relax guys. OTOH we’ve got a wee bit of catching up to do if sea levels can rise 130 metres in a 1000 years wouldn’t you say chaps?

  75. But the best bit for Big Climate idiots is the light bulb moment in 1875 less than 40 years after whitefellas like Edward Gibbon Wakefield rolled up from merry old England to set up a model free Utopia is this-

    Hallett Cove is one of the best known geological sites
    in Australia, because of the evidence of an ancient
    glaciation discovered in 1875 by Professor Ralph Tate
    from the University of Adelaide. The polished and
    striated glacial pavements, and sediments associated
    with the glaciation, are now known throughout the
    world.
    The area has been declared a Geological Monument
    by the Geological Society of Australia and placed on
    both the South Australian Heritage Register and the
    former Register of the National Estate because of its
    significance for educational and scientific purposes.

    Don’t forget to look it up if yer down our way anytime, treemometer and coremometer people.

  76. It’s quite amazing to witness how these people (are they actually ‘glaciologists’ one wonders, do they actually know how glaciers work?) continue to spew their nonsense. Ground stations in the West Antarctic and especially in the Peninsula do not show warming over the last three decades. The satellites don’t either. The sea surface temperatures in the regions haven’t warmed over that same period. Any warming stopped 30-40 years ago. And OHC, well who’s to know? We basically haven’t got any measurements at all prior to the ARGO era, that’s the last ten years …!

    This is all about glacier dynamics. Cycles in a glacier’s life. Don’t these people know about glaciers’ RESPONSE TIME to a change in local climate? Don’t these people know how gigantic the glaciers in question are? Like another commenter on this thread pointed out, do people seriously think that after 50 years (or rather 25-30, from 1976 to 2001) of alleged ‘anthropogenic global warming’, warming that hasn’t even been observed in the Antarctic region, in the western part only up until the earliest part of the 80s, that the huge glaciers down there now all of a sudden starts collapsing as a result of ‘this’? How ridiculously unscientific can you get?

    Don’t these people know about the TIDEWATER GLACIER CYCLE?

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

    “The size of tidewater glaciers is such that the tidewater glacier cycle is several hundred years in length. A tidewater glacier is not sensitive to climate during the advancing and drastically retreating phases of its cycle.”

  77. “What researchers are finding now is that some of these enormous glaciers have become unhinged from the land – ice has melted back from earlier grounding lines and into deeper basins, losing its anchor on the bottom, exposing more ice to the warmer ocean water and accelerating the melting.” – If the ice is floating surely any impact it has on sea levels has already happened?

  78. 1. Make model
    2. Input data
    3. Run hundreds of years into the future
    4. BOOM[Joughin said], it explodes.
    As Gomer Pyle would say: ‘Surprise Surprise Surprise!” Not.
    Probably a consequence of their assumptions. I think they need to watch “Boom goes the dynamite.”

  79. As my economics professor used to say, “Constants seldom are, and variables always do.”…

    The 0.75C of global warming experienced since the Little Ice Age ended in 1850, has obviously contributed to global glacier loss, but who cares?

    During the Little Ice Age (1280~1850), global glacial ice increased rapidly, and many villages in glacier valleys were destroyed by advancing ice; scary stuff, but you can’t fight Mother Nature.

    For example, during the end of the Wolf Grand Solar Minimum (1280-1350), European winters were so severe, that roughly 25% the European population froze to death or died of famines caused by a string of awful crop seasons, brought about by very late springs, very early autumn frosts and insufficient sunlight and rainfall; it was a dark and dreary time..

    This was followed by the Black Death coupe de grace (1346~1352), which managed to wipeout 50% of the remaining European population that had not died of exposure or famine over the previous few decades….

    Just as now, the ruling elites of the time exploited these natural tragedies to persuade their citizens to change their evil ways (and pay the piper) or suffer the dire consequences of their lifestyles; a kind of fire (and brimstone) insurance policy, if you will.

    “Never let a crisis go to waste”~ Rohm Emmanuel, Chief of Staff (the Obama Administration)

    Isn’t funny how history repeats itself?

    The Little Ice Age continued on for another 500 years, but when man started harnessing the power of fossil fuels and building machines to replace animal and human power, the human condition and living standards rose exponentially.

    I guess the fire (and brimstone) insurance policies finally paid off…just 400 years too late…. Oh, wait a minute.. that’s post hoc, ergo proctor hoc.

    But wait, the Industrial Revolution started at about the same time as the Little Ice Age ended, so it must have been the Industrial Revolution that caused the Little Ice Age to end… Oh, wait, that’s post hoc, ergo proctor hoc, too… Darn.

    Never mind.

  80. ‘Advances in radar and other scanning technologies have allowed researchers to build a detailed picture of the topography underlying these glaciers, and to better understand the dynamics of how the ice behaves.’
    So in reality they do not have historic data from which they can ‘know’ that in the past the situation was very different , they can speculate it was and from there guess what the future will hold .
    In reality the Antarctic’s failure to melt , even worse its getting bigger , has been a real head ache for those pushing ‘the cause’ and this speculation give them a ‘solution’ by which even has it grows they can claim where doomed anyway unless we take action now . Tails you lose , heads I win , PP science but normal for climate ‘science’.

  81. Can someone explain how climate responds to carbon taxes? How does the transferring of funds from.one group of people to another lower temperature or stabilize ice sheets?

  82. Well, if the sea water is warm enough to melt ice and the wind blows inland then we should get more snow – meaning the snow/ice pack in central Antarctica is getting bigger!
    That should offset the sea water rise by the melting doesn’t it?
    Why are the glaciers melting inland? Maybe vulcanic activity? This is detected on the West-peninsular!
    Are there any seismic activities? The reason I ask is that all other land masses move North, only Antarctica is stagnant at the moment…

  83. I am so tired of the “tipping point” BS! Prove one tipping point in historical climate data and I will give the term some respect. The scare tactic of the alarmists implying that ” now nothing can be done”. I assume they are including natural processes and variations, known and unknown, and wonder how this can be considered fact with out testing using some kind of control.
    It is a meaningless term when used in a chaotic system such as climate. Another political term being forced into science by those who prostitute their names and positions to politics for money. I doubt I can use the W**** word, but I am sure you get my meaning

  84. During at least the last four interglacial periods sea level has been several meters higher and temperatures several degrees warmer (at their climate optimums), so everything they’ve concluded MIGHT happen is well within the natural variability of global conditions during this interglacial.

  85. Peter Foster says:
    May 26, 2014 at 11:14 am

    The temperature of the water under the Ross Ice shelf and under the sea ice is -1.96°C – the freezing point of sea water. The glacial ice coming off the land into the sea is pure water with a melting point of 0°C. Therefore unless the water temperature rises above 0°C then there will be no melting.

    Seconded by:
    tim maguire says:
    May 26, 2014 at 11:57 am
    ========================================================================
    Sorry, ice melts and freezes at the same temperature, given seawater of the same composition. In fact melting ice reduces the local salinity while freezing increases it, so it does have to be a little cooler to freeze than to melt.

    As for this grounded ice behaving like floating ice, that’s pretty silly, but as someone noted, reducing perimeter ice should cause the perimeter to rise, reducing the slope. The models probably take this into account. Or do they?

    More pertinent questions are, to what extent is glacial behavior a response to the end of the LIA, and to what extent is it a response to the end of the last big ice age. Ice is a good insulator, flow rates are temperature dependent, and it takes a real long time for ice to warm up or cool down. Ultimately any news of warming is good news–the longer we have to wait for the next LIA or BIA, the better. –AGF

  86. agfosterjr says;
    “Sorry, ice melts and freezes at the same temperature, given seawater of the same composition” and
    “As for this grounded ice behaving like floating ice, that’s pretty silly”
    Perhaps I misunderstood you.. The point is that the melting point of ice is 0°C but the water under the ice is -1.96°C – therefore no melting. Glacial ice is formed on the land from accretion of water vapour in the air plus the rare snow fall. (The annual precipitation at the head of the Wright Valley in 1985 for example was 5mm but there is also the possibility that some of that was simply blown snow from the Polar Plateau)
    Sea Ice on the other hand is formed from sea water and your comment re salinity is correct but sea ice still contains a lot of salt – try melting it for drinking water – well you will only try once.
    Re sea ice holding back the flow of glacial ice – this is quite obvious. Many smaller glaciers have a fluted appearance due to winter sea ice slowing the glacier and causing the snout to broaden and thicken during the winter and then flow more quickly in the summer when the sea ice has melted. The Ice shelves are glacial ice and in bays their snouts float and accumulate to form the shelves. The Ross Ice Shelf is about 350 m thick at the front and definitely holds back its contributing glaciers. It has also totally broken out during every past interglacial with the exception of this one and since we are headed back into the ice age (look at the declining temps of Minoan, Roman, Medieval and Modern warm periods in the GISPII ice cores) it probably wont break out.

  87. These papers were submitted in Nov. and Dec. of 2013. A new volcano was discovered under the ice in the same general area in Nov. 2013. The outflow of melt water from that volcano would be upstream of this area.

    It is likely these papers had been completely written before the volcano was known to exist. Would that change the papers? Since the warm water upwelling is a computer modeled claim I think the chances that is really true is questionable. Now, if you were a betting man what would you think is the most likely cause of the melting?

  88. Peter Foster says:
    May 27, 2014 at 9:50 am
    “The point is that the melting point of ice is 0°C but the water under the ice is -1.96°C – therefore no melting.”
    ======================================================================
    I repeat, melting point=freezing point. Period. Your statement is utter nonsense. At -2°C (depending on salinity) ice and water are at equilibrium. Add energy, ice melts. Remove energy, ice freezes. This is done through the slightest T changes, like the ice cubes in the pan experiment.

    “Sea Ice on the other hand is formed from sea water and your comment re salinity is correct but sea ice still contains a lot of salt – try melting it for drinking water – well you will only try once.”
    =======================================================================
    Sea ice has little to do with the immediate problem. When glaciers hit sea water they don’t freeze–they melt. The water temperature is governed by glacier melt. The melting lowers near surface T till it reaches equilibrium. Warmer water must be brought in to continue the melting. Polar water has a negative thermocline near the surface. Warmer saltier water lies under the cold fresh water. Because of melting. –AGF

  89. Dr. Det Riedel says:
    May 27, 2014 at 7:02 am
    Are there any seismic activities? The reason I ask is that all other land masses move North, only Antarctica is stagnant at the moment…
    ——————————————————————————————————
    There were three 5+ quakes to the east of the peninsula around 9 days ago. They hit at a triple junction where a west to east connector between the main north/south fractures of East Pac/Mid Atlantic are joined to the only fault that leads into Antarctica. That fault line leads directly to the tip of the peninsula. My impression of it is that the movement shows Antarctica shifting to the west vs the upper plates. This has led to the easterly drift of the fracture line coming off of the tip of the peninsula. The triple junction sits closer to the Mid Atlantic fault line, and to the east of the peninsula.

  90. If you live on the Florida coast, panic. If you live on the California coast next to Al Gore, no worries.

  91. How’s this for a new theory: Glaciers are the earth’s automatic balancing mechanism. They advance and retreat as necessary to hold down the “wobble” in our spin. Right now, there are just too many people in China and it threw us “out of balance”. So some of the glaciers had to retreat while others had to advance. I calculate that if we move just a couple million, tightly packed Chinese into Al Gore’s neighborhood, all the glaciers will stop in their tracks, the sun will shine, birds will sing and Democrats will lie down with Republicans. Al will just have to suck it up.

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