There 'could' be more Antarctic melt worries

While the Antarctic is making new records for more ice this week, we have another press release with “could” science in it.

Image: National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC)

Timing is everything I guess, but I really have to wonder how “…warming waters in the Southern Ocean are connected intimately with the movement of massive ice-sheets deep in the Antarctic interior.” Oh wait, it’s modeling, never mind.

From the University of New South Wales:

Warming ocean could start big shift of Antarctic ice

Wednesday, 19 September, 2012

Alvin Stone

Fast-flowing and narrow glaciers have the potential to trigger massive changes in the Antarctic ice sheet and contribute to rapid ice-sheet decay and sea-level rise, a new study has found.

Research results published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveal in more detail than ever before how warming waters in the Southern Ocean are connected intimately with the movement of massive ice-sheets deep in the Antarctic interior.

“It has long been known that narrow glaciers on the edge of the Antarctica act as discrete arteries termed ice streams, draining the interior of the ice sheet,” says Dr Chris Fogwill, an author of the study and an ARC Future Fellow with the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre.

“However, our results have confirmed recent observations suggesting that ocean warming can trigger increased flow of ice through these narrow corridors. This can cause inland sectors of the ice-sheet – some larger than the state of Victoria – to become thinner and flow faster.”

The researchers, led by Dr Nicholas Golledge from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, tested high-resolution model simulations against reconstructions of the Antarctic ice sheet from 20,000 years ago, during the last glacial maximum.

They used a new model, capable of resolving responses to ice-streams and other fine- scale dynamic features that interact over the entire ice sheet. This had not previously been possible with existing models. They then used this data to analyse the effects of a warming ocean over time.

The results showed that while glacier acceleration triggered by ocean warming is relatively localized, the extent of the resultant ice-sheet thinning is far more widespread. This observation is particularly important in light of recently observed dynamic changes at the margins of Antarctica. It also highlighted areas that are more susceptible than others to changes in ocean temperatures.

The glaciers that responded most rapidly to warming oceans were found in the Weddell Sea, the Admundsen Sea, the central Ross Sea and in the Amery Trough.

The finding is important because of the enormous scale and potential impact the Antarctic ice sheets could have on sea-level rise if they shift rapidly, says Fogwill. “To get a sense of the scale, the Antarctic ice sheet is 3km deep – three times the height of the Blue Mountains in many areas – and it extends across an area that is equivalent to the distance between Perth and Sydney.

“Despite its potential impact, Antarctica’s effect on future sea level was not fully included in the last IPCC report because there was insufficient information about the behaviour of the ice sheet. This research changes that. This new, high-resolution modelling approach will be critical to improving future predictions of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level over the coming century and beyond.”

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

Related – over at Bishop Hill he explains how the pooh-poohing of the current Antarctic ice surplus really doesn’t hold up when you look at past IPCC predecitions.

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Yancey Ward

Question for the crowd:
What is the total volume of landed ice on the planet?

Stephen Wilde

“This new, high-resolution modelling approach will be critical to improving future predictions of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level over the coming century and beyond.”
More likely it will make the predictions worse due to lack of knowledge sufficient to enable them to place these speculations into a realistic context.

Tom in Indy

Do you suppose if the Arctic starts to ice up and the Anarctic starts to melt that CO2 will be blamed?
Arctic = Open sea = heat escaping. Anarctic = Ice covered = heat trapped. At some point heat loss in the Arctic leads to a new cycle of ice build, while an increase in insulating ice in the Antarctic leads to a new cycle of ice loss. No?

Otter

“However, our results have confirmed recent observations suggesting that ocean warming can trigger increased flow of ice through these narrow corridors. This can cause inland sectors of the ice-sheet – some larger than the state of Victoria – to become thinner and flow faster.”
Then how do they explain that the Antarctic is gaining faster than it is losing, and that it has gained 45 meters in depth in the past few decades?

grumpyoldmanuk

“.. and it extends across an area that is equivalent to the distance between Perth and Sydney”
Is explaining the size of a two-dimensional object in terms of a single dimension part of this new-fangled post-normal science?

Manfred

Groan….Another warmist model resplendent in confirmation bias, and of course celebrated by the low intellectual wattage media. Some comment on the prodigious growth of Antarctic ice and maybe a model that convincingly demonstrates this empirical observation might be of more use to humanity. But this has little to do with humanity. It’s about the funding stream for the research, spun to ensure the spigot stays on!

morbidangel

Anthony, I hope you do know that the article is NOT concerning sea-ice?
/sarc

donald penman

http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/wksst/5.gif
The ocean around the Antarctic might not be warming.

Kasuha

It’s kinda hard to tell if their findings are ruled by their wishes or not. But I can still remember the battle here on WUWT about whether the Arctic ice extent line does or does not touch the historic average line, and while I believe nobody at that time expected it will take the plunge it took, a lot of people clearly believed it will stay over that average.
We’ll see in half a year if they’re right or wrong. There’s a (weak) El Nino after two consecutive La Ninas going on right now, more surprises might be right around the corner. Let’s wait.

milodonharlani

Yancey:
Naturally, estimates vary widely, but for the Greenland & Antarctic ice sheets:
http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2000/HannaBerenblit.shtml
Let’s say over six to eight million cubic miles, more than 90% of it on Antarctica.
Contribution of mountain glaciers probably negligible.

What real evidence do they have that the ice sheet has been thinning? I think the warming oceans should produce more snow that increases the ice thickness. This is a classic input/output dynamic mass balance where they seem to be limiting their study to the output.

AllanJ

20 to 30 years ago I led a group creating computer simulations. Sometimes those who contracted for our service would demand five decimal precision on some aspects of models whose primary input was a wild guess. I argued, usually unsuccessfully. Every time I read about a “high resolution model” I have a nagging suspicion that such a model has far more precision than accuracy.

Disko Troop

Can’t they explain the extent of their worries in Manhattans. I thought that was the new measurement of ice loss.
Ivor Ward

Uhm, what warming of the ocean? It appears to me that the Southern Ocean underwent a change of temperature regime during 2006 from which it has not recovered. Looks like a step down in ocean temperatures around the Antarctic. The article seems to imply an assumption that oceans are warming. There is no data supporting that globally and in the case of the Antarctic region, the opposite is true.
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/13-southern.png

The AGW alarmists will invent or endorse any scare story, no matter how laughable, that promises to keep their research funds flowing. And they will attack anyone who threatens to kill the golden goose. There is big money at stake.
Somewhere along the line the defenders of the AGW faith started to confuse modeling with science. They are not one in the same. In fact, the super-fast next-generation models they keep touting will merely help them arrive at the wrong answer faster.

AndyPandy

I cant find the image of Antarctic sea ice extent at http://nsidc.org Am I stupid or what? Everything about the Arctic is easily accessible.

Jimbo

Yawwwwwn.

They used a new model, capable of resolving responses to ice-streams and other fine- scale dynamic features that interact over the entire ice sheet. This had not previously been possible with existing models. They then used this data to analyse the effects of a warming ocean over time.

Antarctica does not matter unless we can find slight warming in the Peninsula to which we smooth it across half the continent and scream it out loud at the press in order to generate more funding in order to better understand out scam temperature.
This is really getting silly. It’s like a cat and mouse game with these fraudsters.
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/9/20/antarctic-ice.html

noaaprogrammer

“This new, high-resolution modelling [sic modeling] approach will be critical to improving future predictions of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level over the coming century and beyond.”
I shake my head as I often do when I grade a math student’s ‘solution’ to a problem where they boldly circle their incorrectly derived answer, accurate to 10 decimal places!

Paaaleeeeze: The sea surface temperarture anomalies of the Southern Ocean have been cooling for at least 30 years:
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/13-southern.png
I don’t need to have EXCEL throw a linear trend on there, do I?
The graph is from my August sea surface temperature update:
http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/august-2012-sea-surface-temperature-sst-anomaly-update/

Antarctic follows solar cycles
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/TMCa.htm

u.k.(us)

Quite the breathless explaination of a model run.
———
Take a breath.

RHS

It depends on the source of your information. Jeff Masters at Wunderground found some great (and short sighted) information which slams the idea that long term (more than a year) growth of the Antarctic can be supported by current warming trends:
http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2237
I really respect his views on cyclones, which seems to be his specialty, but can’t read too many views he has on Al Gores Warming…

NeilT

“What is the total volume of landed ice on the planet?”
Less than 20 years ago which is such an inconvenient bit of data for WUWT isn’t it…. G.R.A.C.E is SUCH a pain in the proverbial for that.
Instead of asking why the SIE and SIA in the Antarctic is varying (you didn’t mention when it was at a record low did you………), you should be asking why the sea which is covered in so much ice is increasing in temperature, year on year. You should be asking why the Wilkins ice shelf is rapidly disintegrating after the breakdown of the ice bridge or why the pine island ice shelf is thinning so rapidly and the discharge has accelerated so much.
You should be asking yourself many things. But what you are asking is
“Where can I get a figure or a chart or anything really, anything at all that will prove that things are going in the opposite direction to logic and observation”.
Good luck with that. They are getting fewer and fewer by the year. Not because of some conspiracy of scientists to hide data but because these data simply no longer exist, or are reducing so rapidly that a 0 sum is certainly not far away.
Dream on, be my guest. It will change nothing. Just remember this. The public are fickle and they WILL want to know who to blame when their life goes in the dumpster. They won’t be polite about it either.

KnR

All this speculation ‘could’ be a waste of time time , given that a meteor ‘could’ strike the area sometime in the future which ‘could’ result in all the ice being installant vaporised. Given the earth has been a hit my many meteors in the past and that the ‘models ‘ of result of the impact will be , I reckon claims are ever bit has good as theirs . Now where I pick my grant cheque from ?
Sorry one last bit ‘ clearly it was not for AGW the effects of such impacts would reduced if not there possibility , the models suggest , it even in this case it man’s fault .

Timing is everything I guess, but I really have to wonder how “…warming waters in the Southern Ocean are connected intimately with the movement of massive ice-sheets deep in the Antarctic interior.” Oh wait, it’s modeling, never mind.
Maybe they are using a hex grid mapping system and failed to scale it down……sarcish, sort of.

Louis Hooffstetter

What’s not to like? This article has everything!
It has wild claims and dire warnings:
“Ocean warming can trigger massive changes in the Antarctic ice sheet and contribute to rapid ice-sheet decay and sea-level rise.”
“The finding is important because of the enormous scale and potential impact the Antarctic ice sheets could have on sea-level rise…”
It’s supported by irreproducible data:
“…researchers tested high-resolution model simulations against reconstructions of the Antarctic ice sheet from 20,000 years ago,..”
It’s IPCC quality material:
“Antarctica’s effect on future sea level was not fully included in the last IPCC report because there was insufficient information about the behaviour of the ice sheet. This research changes that.”
And it’s published in a ‘Prestigious’ peer reviewed climate science journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
It’s perfect! (It’s a perfect example of why people are increasingly skeptical of global warming!)
Thank God the PNAS didn’t let us down by publishing junk science! Keep up the good work PNAS!

Do we have a formal name for “Could Science”?

D Böehm

Is this really what passes for science? How embarrassing for Science, or at least those pseudo-scientists who passed it.

Steve C

Nice of the Bish to mention the title at the “Live Science” site – “Record-High Antarctic Sea Ice Levels Don’t Disprove Global Warming”. Has anyone yet discovered one thing which the alarmists would accept did disprove global warming?
Meanwhile, you have to love Jo’s suggested headlines for those famously unbiased folk of the press – “Shock Antarctic sea ice growth shrinks Southern Ocean by 1 m Sq kilometers”, “Antarctic current survives 25m years of climate change. Wiped out by man in 20 years”, etc.
Although when Bob Tisdale points out above that the Southern Ocean is cooling … and has been for years … (shiver) … I’m going to put another jumper on.

pat

while u discuss the “science”, note:
the press release was put out by Alvin Stone:
linkedin: Alvin Stone
2011-present Media and Communications at UNSW ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science
008-2010 Media and Communications WWF-Australia
2001-2008 Editor, Assistant Editor, Features Editor, Sub Editor Fairfax Community Newspapers
http://au.linkedin.com/pub/alvin-stone/41/146/625
Welcome to the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science
The Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science is a major initiative funded by the Australian Research Council. The Centre is an international research consortium of five Australian universities and a suite of outstanding national and international Partner Organizations…
The Centre was established in 2011 with extensive investment from the Australian Research Council, the University of New South Wales, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, New South Wales Government, Monash University, the Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, and the University of Tasmania. It has strong links with the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) initiative and works in partnership with the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) Facility…
http://www.climatescience.org.au/

davidmhoffer

NeilT;
Instead of asking why the SIE and SIA in the Antarctic is varying (you didn’t mention when it was at a record low did you………), you should be asking why the sea which is covered in so much ice is increasing in temperature, year on year. You should be asking why the Wilkins ice shelf is rapidly disintegrating after the breakdown of the ice bridge or why the pine island ice shelf is thinning so rapidly and the discharge has accelerated so much.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
….and you should read Bob Tisdale’s last two posts, after which you may ask yourself why it is that you were previously so ill informed.

David L

They tested the HIGH RESOLUTION models!!! That’s gooder than good, ain’t it?

David L

Centers for Disease Control on September 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm
Do we have a formal name for “Could Science”?
“The Little Science that Could”?

Richdo

“Research results published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveal in more detail than ever before …”
Let me guess; they used two different colored crayons this time??

liontooth

–>> NeilT says:
September 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm
“What is the total volume of landed ice on the planet?”.
..these data simply no longer exist, or are reducing so rapidly that a 0 sum is certainly not far away. <<–
http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/quickfacts/icesheets.html
Together, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets contain more than 99 percent of the freshwater ice on Earth
Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet). If the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, sea level would rise by about 60 meters (200 feet).

Justthinkin

“Otter says:
September 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm
“However, our results have confirmed recent observations suggesting that ocean warming can trigger increased flow of ice through these narrow corridors. This can cause inland sectors of the ice-sheet – some larger than the state of Victoria – to become thinner and flow faster.”
Then how do they explain that the Antarctic is gaining faster than it is losing, and that it has gained 45 meters in depth in the past few decades?”
Sigh. C’mon otter. Get with the pogram….er…program. The rising sea level caused by cAGW,has been eroding,and thinning the OZ state of Victoria ever since the pengies started migrating to the Arctic to party with the poly bears (according to Coke[TM]).Hence.the Antarctica ice must be melting,as all of the sea level around OZ is governed by the Antarctica. Plus all that warm Arctic water has found its way,via Trenbreth’s missing heat route,to the Antarctica,thus increasing even more its melting.Now add in the new wunderbar carbon tax of Messiah Jilliard,by this time next year it will have reversed,except the new evil government in OZ will have scrapped it,thus it will keep on a melting,every time around about,oh,say,December to July.
Now I only count 11 errors in the above.Where’s my grant???

David Larsen

CBS world news just had someone on saying all of the northern glaciers are about to melt.

Truthseeker

Centers for Disease Control says:
September 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm
Do we have a formal name for “Could Science”?
———————————————————————-
Speculation.

kwinterkorn

A model can “confirm” nothing, only data from the real world can confirm or deny a fact or prediction.
Models can make calculated predictions. When the real world facts contradict a models predictions the model is broken, disproved and the modeller has to start over. Kinda of like all of the models that have been predicting catastrophic global warming.

beesaman

Simulated Science, not as go0d as the real thing…

A giant meteor could enter Earth’s atmosphere at tens of thousands of miles per hour, barrel completely through the atmosphere and land on Alvin Stone’s lap!

StuartMcL

> Models can make calculated predictions.
But…but…. they told me they weren’t making predictions, they were “just projections”.

phlogiston

For politicised climate science, wishful thinking is a valid source of data.
Antarctic ice is increasing and near a record high over the instrumental record? No matter.
Southern oceans are cooling, not warming? No matter.
They can still dance around the “may” pole, indulge in hypothetical hysteria, and tell us with a straight face that the Antarctic “could” be doing the opposite of what it is actually doing, and start warming and melting.

Bruce C

NeilT says:
September 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm
“G.R.A.C.E is SUCH a pain in the proverbial for that – which is such an inconvenient bit of data.”
Sure is:
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/grace-satellite-data-shows-antarctica.html
“Antarctica is home to 90% of the world’s ice mass. Although Antarctic sea ice is currently at a record high and recent research predicts Antarctic land ice will continue to grow during this century, some warmists continue to believe that Antarctica is melting down. Additional evidence shows that the “most vulnerable” portion of Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, has gained up to 45 meters of ice over the past 155 years. Gravitational data from the GRACE satellites also show that the vast majority of Antarctica is gaining, not losing, mass. Trend plots from the GRACE data browser, using all available online data, show that Antarctica has continued to gain mass since the beginning of the mission in 2001″

“However, our results have confirmed recent observations suggesting that ocean warming can trigger increased flow of ice through these narrow corridors. This can cause inland sectors of the ice-sheet – some larger than the state of Victoria – to become thinner and flow faster.”
Why don’t they ever blame gravity? Don’t their “Results” confirm any observations of gravity, that other invisible source of planetary destruction? For God’s sake, gravity is giving birth to black holes, any one of which could swallow Antarctica, the seven seas, and our beautiful planet whole in one bite. That is far more serious than a little rise or fall in sea level rise rates.
Is their any way to blame mankind for the effects of gravity, and is planetary gravity increasing or decreasing these days? With all the BS coming out of Government Scientists, it could be increasing exponentially. We must take action now to limit the possible consequences of their continued funding.

Here’s an image that might provide some needed perspective for thinking about this
http://ima.nasa.gov/img/us_vs_antarctica.tif

“However, our results have confirmed recent observations suggesting that ocean warming can trigger increased flow of ice through these narrow corridors. This can cause inland sectors of the ice-sheet – some larger than the state of Victoria – to become thinner and flow faster.”
When a glacier is on land, the ice toward the front requires very large force from the ice behind to move forward. Melt some of that ice toward the front and less force is required to move it, and the whole glacier moves faster and ‘thins’.
When a glacier reaches the ocean and floats on the water, minimal force is required to move the ice forward, and melting that floating ice has minimal effect on the land portion of the glacier. It doesn’t move faster and thin.
I am surprised that someone publishing papers on glacier dynamics doesn’t know this.
But I think I have found the reason. The good Dr is using a model originally developed for mountain glaciers in Alaska.
There really should be a blanket ban on publishing papers using other peoples models. The person who inherits the model has no idea what undocumented assumptions and biases are built in.
“The numerical code we were using, originally developed at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, has been specifically written for massively parallel architectures, and scaled well to the 4096 cores on BlueFern.”
http://www.nesi.org.nz/case-studies/modelling-glaciers-southern-alps

Whoops! Missed an L in that link
http://lima.nasa.gov/img/us_vs_antarctica.tif

markx

@ NeilT September 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm said: “The public are fickle and they WILL want to know who to blame when their life goes in the dumpster. They won’t be polite about it either.”
Neil, don’t panic.
The Antarctic is gaining ice, and Greenland, should it continue to lose ice at the current rate will take 1000 years to lose 5% of its volume.
I think it is a long time before the public ‘fickles’ us. I have the feeling they are going to fickle a few alarmists before then.