# Chris Mooney's Chartsmanship in the Service of Alarmism

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I came across this beautiful example of chartsmanship today in a Chris Mooney post of raw, pure, visceral alarmism, it’s a gem. It’s from the Mother Jones website and comes with the lovely headline “Humans Have Already Set in Motion 69 Feet of Sea Level Rise”. I do love the claims that something is “set in motion”, it’s scientific cowardice to make that claim, it’s totally impossible to falsify. I could claim that Vladimir Putin has “already set in motion” the next financial meltdown … could you falsify my claim? In any case, Mooney’s post shows the terribly worrying loss of ice from Greenland, from a study by Jason Box

Figure 1. Cumulative loss of ice area in Greenland. As you can see, Greenland is toast … it’s losing well over a hundred square kilometres of ice per year, and the chart shows it heading to the cellar, looks like a total meltdown coming up.

So … what actually is happening with Greenland? To figure that out, we need another chart, the real chart—the chart of the post 2000 ice loss, and what might happen over say the next century if it continues losing over a hundred cubic kilometres of ice per year.

To do that, we have to start by finding out the area of the ice sheet that covers Greenland. As usual, there are various estimates. The Physics Hypertextbook is great for this kind of thing because it gives a variety of estimates from various authors. They range from a low end of 1.7 million square kilometres to a high of 2.2 million square km. I’ll take an average of 1.9 million square km.

So … here is the effect on the Greenland ice cap that a continued loss of -131.5 km2 per year every year until 2100 would have:

Figure 2. Effect of -131.5 km2/yr ice loss on the ≈ two million square kilometres of the Greenland ice cap.

Pretty scary, huh? By the year 2100, if it continues losing ice at the rate Jason Box claims above, -131.5 km2 per year, the total ice area of Greenland will have gone from 1.90 million square km all the way down to … well, to two decimals of accuracy, by the year 2100 the ice will be down to 1.90 million square kilometres …

Gotta love those charts … in any case, let us consider the headline, “Humans Have Already Set in Motion 69 Feet of Sea Level Rise”. I suppose it is true IF we are the cause and IF the decline continues, both of which seem doubtful. Assuming all that were true, at the current rate of -131.5 km2 of ice loss per year, Greenland will be ice-free fairly soon, in only … well … 1,900,000 km2 ice area / 131.5 km2 per year annual loss ≈ 14,500 years from now …

Rats … I guess it’s a bit early to be looking for a nice piece of land for my Greenland vineyard …

w.

[UPDATE] Well, it is inevitably true that what I think is clear actually isn’t … no surprise there. From the comments:

Kasuha says:

February 7, 2013 at 8:28 am

Um, you know… “Greenland marine-terminating glacier area changes” and “cumulative loss of ice area in Greenland” are two a bit different things. Or rather, very different things.

Maybe you should take one more look at what exactly are you doing here.

I completely agree with the conclusion that the alarmism is unsubstantiated in this case. But the way you used to get there is not valid.

I agree with you, Kasuha, that “Greenland marine-terminating glacier area changes” and “cumulative loss of ice area in Greenland” are two very different things. That’s the problem. Mooney is using a chart of the changes in the area of the discharge of the Greenland ice into the ocean as the screaming visual for a claim that we’ve set in motion a 69 foot sea level rise … and the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

I didn’t know how to best discuss that kind of lunacy, so I took the path of saying well, suppose Boxes’ results were correct and it actually made a difference regarding the ice area, what difference would it make? I was not attempting to model the entire ice loss of Greenland, as I’ve been through that question in some detail already …

Perhaps there are better ways to get the point across, as you point out … that’s the one I picked.

Thanks,

w.

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John W. Garrett
February 7, 2013 6:47 am

Thank you, w.
The great CAGW scare has made me a firm believer that the world can be divided into two types of individuals: the numerate and the innumerate.

February 7, 2013 6:53 am

Ah, you’re forgetting Hansen’s boiling oceans, which happens when his alarmist personality is in charge, as opposed to his conservative personality which estimates a climate sensitivity around 2.5.

Tom Stone
February 7, 2013 6:59 am

But, but, but, 131 sq km is 1.5 Manhattan islands! (Greenland is 24,898 Manhattan islands)

February 7, 2013 7:01 am

You’re accepting the premise of ice AREA as the relevant metric. The remaining ice area may well be getting thicker and/or denser, producing an INCREASE in ice MASS.

James Caffey
February 7, 2013 7:02 am

I see the Willis BS detector is on full power as usual. You always manage to distill alarmist crap into something we can all savour. Love your work.

Peter Laux
February 7, 2013 7:02 am

In 1942 a USAF P-38 crash landed on the Greeland Ice Sheet.
They dug her up 50 years later under 268 feet of ice.
So much for Greenlands ice melt.
To look it up, just type in “Glacier Girl” on your search engine.

Richard111
February 7, 2013 7:05 am

Rats squared. My home is 17 metres above sea level so will be some time before I can advertise the property as sea front location.

hans rast
February 7, 2013 7:06 am

Chart annotation “total ice AREA” but cubic km in the y axis. Must be a typo,should be km2.
[Thanks, fixed. -w.]

February 7, 2013 7:06 am

Pamela Gray
February 7, 2013 7:07 am

If sea level rises, we could very well see a rebound in abundant life return to estuaries. We could also see more precipitation, bringing rivers back to levels they once were. Notice the words “return” and “once were”.

February 7, 2013 7:07 am

I don’t understand the labeling on the y axis of figure 2. Isn’t km “3” a volume measurement rahter than a square? Should this really be a “2”?

February 7, 2013 7:09 am

There seems to be a mixture of squared – area, and cubed – volume, in your write up Willis ?

Marc
February 7, 2013 7:13 am

In the first video on the MJ article there is an extra caption on Box’s chart that it is the area loss of the 40 widest glaciers in Greenland, not the total area loss. But I don’t know how they came up with the 69 ft estimate or over just what time frame. I would rate the Mooney’s JM article as vague and unconvincing, but not self contradictory. The music is scary however.

wte9
February 7, 2013 7:17 am

Isn’t the real question how much ice loss will cause sixty-nine feet of sea level rise? The post illustrates the absurdity of this type of alarmism—especially the idea that Greenland’s ice is vanishing—but I don’t know if it’s entirely on point.

Edwin Crockford
February 7, 2013 7:18 am

Haven’t read many alarmist blogs before as the first few I looked at seemed light on detail and heavy on ranting, so no surprise there. Just by way of an experiment I went and and read this post. Just as expected little detail but a lot of alarm. However the comments posted were even more revealing of the alarmist mindset. Same old clinging to the much treasured idea that everything that has ever happened in the world is bad and the fault of mankind and certainly no attempt to actual look beneath the half truths and unbelieveable extrapolations peddled in the post. Anyone saying otherwise quite obviously in the pay of someone extremely rich (most of who I have little knowledge of). I even hear that the East Coast is about to be wiped off the face of the earth by a another super storm. (Didn’t believe that either.)
If this is the standard of knoweledge and debate on alarmist sites I can see why they are failing to make their case. Long may it last and we can get back to sanity and some questioning science.

Crispin in Waterloo
February 7, 2013 7:23 am

@John W. Garrett
>The great CAGW scare has made me a firm believer that the world can be divided into two types of individuals: the numerate and the innumerate.
I heard it differently from an inverate alarmist buddy of mine:
“When it comes to the impending doom caused by man’s foolish burning of fossil fuels, the world can be divided are three kinds of people: those who can calculate our impact from the real data and those who can’t even count.”
/sarc

jorgekafkazar
February 7, 2013 7:27 am

Looks like Moon-Man has been reading Huff’s “How to Lie with Statistics.” Classic.

February 7, 2013 7:32 am

I love that word, “chartmanship.” I’m totally stealing that.

Gary
February 7, 2013 7:35 am

Not Putin, but the Federal Reserve and the Executive/Legislative/Judicial branches that have set in motion the next financial meltdown … but that’s a rant for another blog.

Editor
February 7, 2013 7:41 am

Thanks, Willis. I enjoyed that.

February 7, 2013 7:42 am

Willis, great stuff. Thanks!

john robertson
February 7, 2013 7:54 am

Cue up Tiny Tim, somehow, that “performance art”, fits right in with the cause.
Mooney probably obsesses over the incoming tide, at this rate of rise, we will all be drown by Tuesday.
Whats a sane retort? Water wet?
Some times I think a sign with an arrow pointing down and a message of, This Way Up, sums up the virtual wisdom of the easily alarmed.

chris y
February 7, 2013 7:55 am

Willis, great post.
Several years ago I pointed out at Dot Earth that the mass ice loss in Greenland was a few parts per million per year. Revkin commented that this was an interesting way to look at the ice loss. Apparently even the best-of-the-best environmental reporters at the Newspaper-of-Record had not considered just how small the annual losses were, let alone the error bars associated with the reported losses.
Regarding the propagandists like Mooney, Romm, McKibben, algore, I think a line from the movie The President is apt-
“People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”
This is yet another reason why WUWT continues to be such a vital source of information for the general public, bobbing along in an ocean of internet noise.

Nerd
February 7, 2013 7:58 am

The comments on MJ are pretty silly…

February 7, 2013 8:00 am

Jason Box’s paper on the Greenland Ice Sheet is easy to find at http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/greenland_ice_sheet.html
The chart shown above is “Fig. 5.20. Cumulative net annual area change at the 40 widest marine-terminating glaciers of the Greenland”
More interesting is the previous graph “Fig. 5.19. Monthly smoothed (purple) and unsmoothed (blue) values of the total mass (in Gigatons, Gt), of the Greenland ice sheet from GRACE March 2002-September 2012.”
This chart shows an estimated annual ice loss of 367 Gigatons per year at present and a cumulative loss of over 2750 Gt since 2002, contributing an estimated 8.0 mm to globally-averaged sea level rise since 2002.

glenncz
February 7, 2013 8:08 am

>In 1942 a USAF P-38 crash landed on the Greeland Ice Sheet.
They dug her up 50 years later under 268 feet of ice.
So much for Greenlands ice melt.
To look it up, just type in “Glacier Girl” on your search engine.
————————-
Not only that. In the 1990’s they left some equipment on the ice and came back a few yrs later and had to dig down through 20 ft of new ice to retrieve it.

lurker, passing through laughing
February 7, 2013 8:11 am

Mooney, Lewandowsky, Gleick, and the other quakademics are best represented by this worthy AGW spokesman:

February 7, 2013 8:12 am

Mark H.

RHS
February 7, 2013 8:18 am

Am I mistaken or is he confusing surface area with volume?

Dan Evans
February 7, 2013 8:21 am

This reminded me of Mark Twain’s observations on the Mississippi delta:
In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
– Life on the Mississippi

February 7, 2013 8:23 am

Thanks for starting my day with a smile, Willis.

Editor
February 7, 2013 8:24 am

Willis posted:
> Rats … I guess it’s a bit early to be looking for a nice piece of land for my Greenland vineyard
Oh no, go right ahead. you ought to be able to get a a great deal on some newly exposed land today, and then you can add some 100km^2 each year for 14,000 years. Dare to be Great! And if it gets cold again, switch to Ice Wine. 🙂

MarkW
February 7, 2013 8:25 am

Peter Laux says:
February 7, 2013 at 7:02 am

If you believe that the fact that “Glacier Girl” was found under 268 feet of ice means that the glaciers are 268 feet higher than they were 50 years ago, then you need to study up on how glaciers work. To grossly simplify it, snow falls at the top of the glacier. As more snow falls, it the weight compresses it to ice. As more snow falls, the weight forces the ice to start flowing downhill. Every bit of ice at the bottom of the glacier was, at one point in time, higher up in the glacier, some of it at the top.

MarkW
February 7, 2013 8:26 am

Hasn’t the rise in sea levels been slowing recently?

Kasuha
February 7, 2013 8:28 am

Um, you know… “Greenland marine-terminating glacier area changes” and “cumulative loss of ice area in Greenland” are two a bit different things. Or rather, very different things.
Maybe you should take one more look at what exactly are you doing here.
I completely agree with the conclusion that the alarmism is unsubstantiated in this case. But the way you used to get there is not valid.

February 7, 2013 8:28 am

Thanks, Willis.
It seems like Greenland is not going green!

tommoriarty
February 7, 2013 8:33 am

Anytime you see “X cubic kilometers of ice melting” and allusions to sea level rise, please keep the following in mind…
Conversion factors for ice and water mass and volume:
http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/conversion-factors-for-ice-and-water-mass-and-volume/
For example: 1 cubic kilometer of water added to the oceans raises them by about 2.8 microns.

b. johnston
February 7, 2013 8:33 am

Good article. BTW, may I quote you on the “Putin has already set in motion the next financial meltdown”.
I think I see an opportunity here.

NoAstronomer
February 7, 2013 8:33 am

@wte9 “Isn’t the real question how much ice loss will cause sixty-nine feet of sea level rise?”
According to wikipedia if the *entire* Greenland ice sheet melted the rise would be ~24 feet. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet].
Mike.

Wanda Light
February 7, 2013 8:37 am

The idea that humans are cause of everything (especially perceived “bad things”) is so egotistical.

February 7, 2013 8:38 am

The chart from Box is actually marine terminating glacial area.
So, it looks as though Box is calculating the change in area of those glaciers that terminate in the water. You know, places where ice melts and adds to sea level.
Willis, is looking at the total area. So you have a classic apples and tire irons comparison.
So, one guy is looking at the periphery of the ice and noting the loss of ice area. That relates to rising sea levels. Smaller area than the whole of Greenland. And the other guy is looking at the total area of greenland. Apples and Tire irons.
I suppose one should go back to Box’s article and actually check his data and methods before saying much more. On the surface it looks like folks are talking about two different things

John
February 7, 2013 8:44 am

“Figure 1. Cumulative loss of ice area in Greenland.”
That figure says it’s the area change of the marine terminating glaciers. So for your chart to make any sense you’d either need to find a source of the actual cumulative loss of ice area in Greenland or only consider the area of the marine terminating glaciers.

February 7, 2013 8:49 am

(Source: IPCC 2001 WG1, via Wikipedia)
The total area of Greenland is 2,166,086 km2 (836,330 sq mi) (including other offshore minor islands), of which the Greenland ice sheet covers [in area] 1,755,637 km2 (677,855 sq mi) (81%) and has a volume of approximately 2,850,000 km3 (680,000 cu mi). [38 IPCC]

DrDag
February 7, 2013 8:52 am

2000km3 of melted ice (2000-2012) into 3,6*10e8km2 ocean gives 0,005mm(!) sealevel rise (0,0002inch) or 0,0004mm/year or 0,04mm/century.
Now, I’m worried (NOT 🙂

February 7, 2013 8:52 am

Evolving Mooney
2007 :The broad point Yoffe is trying to make is that we shouldn’t be “terrified” all the time about global warming — and that those who are trying to terrify us (Gore, allegedly) are probably shooting themselves in the foot.
As a general statement, there’s some truth to this. I myself have been making this argument, along with a colleague, in a public talk on science communication that (among other things) tries to dissuade environmentalists from framing global warming as a “Pandora’s box” all the time.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-mooney/if-attacking-al-gore-was-_b_53747.html

Jenn Oates
February 7, 2013 8:56 am

I guess the Vikings better cancel the caterer for their resettlement party, alas!

February 7, 2013 8:58 am

Just a chartmanship technicality .. in Figure 2, the vertical axis should be in units of km2, not km3.

John West
February 7, 2013 9:01 am

“Greenland will be ice-free fairly soon, in only … well … 1,900,000 km2 ice area / 131.5 km2 per year annual loss ≈14,500 years from now”
Assuming we’re not well into a Grim Global Glaciation (GGG) by then.

BillD
February 7, 2013 9:10 am

You’re right that the current rate ice melt is low, but Mooney’s graph certainly shows a strong trend. One would expect that the rate of melt will increase as the temperature increases. So, the idea that a linear rate of ice loss can be extrapolated ove many decades seems highly unlikely. What will happen if the warming continues?
Crispin and John above. The really surprising conclusion that we can draw from your comment is that scientists, especially those who publish their results in peer-reviewed journals, seem to be exceptionally innumerate.
For my part, I will expect that blog posts will often be misleading, whether for or against climate change, while journal articles will provide the best visual and verbal presentation of data.

February 7, 2013 9:12 am

Just for “fun”, what would the graph look like is one “assumed” a doubling of the ice loss every 10 years?

February 7, 2013 9:19 am

Keep in mind, Mooney only refers to the “terminating glacier” area. Of course, VOLUME is much more significant, and that data isn’t presented. Your figure 2 is a GEM!!!
Overall, the Greenland total surface has been accreting snow (and its subsequent firning into ice), experiencing loss at its (mostly western) edges, and the continent remains largely in balance.

Gail Combs
February 7, 2013 9:23 am

MarkW says:
February 7, 2013 at 8:25 am
Peter Laux says:
February 7, 2013 at 7:02 am

If you believe that the fact that “Glacier Girl” was found under 268 feet of ice means that the glaciers are 268 feet higher than they were 50 years ago, then you need to study up on how glaciers work…..
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
You missed the point. If the glaciers are melting then how come 268 feet of ice has accumulated on top of a WWII plane. That is an average of over 5 feet of ice per year accumulation.
Glacier ‘speed’ on the other hand is determined by the accumulation so calving increases as the accumulation increases.

lurker, passing through laughing
February 7, 2013 9:34 am

Mooney speaks for the American Geophysical Union, if I recall. He specializes in communicating science to the masses on their behalf.
They kept Mooney (and Gleick, apparently) in spite of the plain evidence of deception and prejudicial claims and much more.
So Mooney’s deceptive hype is an approved effort on the part of the American Geophysical Union.

Arkansas Gary
February 7, 2013 9:47 am

Uh, so, to the layman, even if we lose some coastal lands due to scary ice melt, we’ll gain new ground in places like Greenland? Over the course of thousands of years? Plus, places like Siberia, given the scary warming death cycle, will become warm and fertile, giving a whole new place to plant beaucoup crops and raise beaucoup brats. Awesome! Here’s to hoping the North warms up so all the Yankees will go back home to their formerly frigid Northern homes, leaving us Southerners to revive and preserve our old culture. (Just kidding, folks. I actually like a few Yankees. 🙂

markx
February 7, 2013 10:09 am

Greenland Ice. A loss rate of 230 km3 a year is about 0.0046% ice volume loss per year, assuming a total of 5 million Km3. (At a constant rate, that’s about 1000 years to lose 5% of volume).
(note some total Greenland ice volume estimates are as low as 2.6 million km3)
BUT…
…some recent publications indicate the loss rate may only be half that earlier estimate:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100906085152.htm

….One of the researchers, Dr Bert Vermeersen of TU Delft, explains: “The corrections for deformations of the Earth’s crust have a considerable effect on the amount of ice that is estimated to be melting each year. We have concluded that the Greenland and West Antarctica ice caps are melting at approximately half the speed originally predicted.” The average rise in sea levels as a result of the melting ice caps is also lower.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100906085152.htm

Editor
February 7, 2013 10:10 am

According to a study by Kelly & Long
it has been suggested that the Greenland Ice Sheet receded tens of kilometers within its present day margins during the early and mid Holocene, which is registered by Greenland ice cores as ~2.5°C warmer than at present
In many locations the ice sheet and mountain glaciers reached their maximum extents since the early Holocene during the Little Ice Age

http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/little-ice-age-was-the-coldest-period-for-10000-years/
In the historical context, the Greenland ice sheet is still unusually large.

Kev-in-Uk
February 7, 2013 10:16 am

Steven Mosher says:
February 7, 2013 at 8:38 am
I disagree. It doesn’t matter that the guy is measuring terminal glacial area loss – it is still valid to compare that figure to the total ice sheet area, especially if you consider that it is the total ice sheet area that actually ‘feeds’ the glacial terminations.
There are any number of reasons for terminal reduction, not least of which is a decreased rate of glacial influx or travel speed if you prefer (to replace the melting ice edge, for example) – it doesn’t have to be related to a simple temperature change cause at all!

markx
February 7, 2013 10:20 am

BillD says: February 7, 2013 at 9:10 am
“….. So, the idea that a linear rate of ice loss can be extrapolated over many decades seems highly unlikely. What will happen if the warming continues?….”
The sea level adjacent to Greenland will drop, reducing the ice loss rate …so relax, it is sort of self regulating, really.
“A Shifting of Paradigms in the Study of Ice-Sheet Grounding Lines” Gomez etal 2011 and 2012
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2011/mar/16mar2011a4.html

Chris R.
February 7, 2013 10:24 am

Years ago, Dr. Susan Solomon, then head of the U.S. delegation to the US IPCC,
was asked how long the Greenland ice sheet would take to melt. She made the
mistake of telling the truth: “About 1500 years.”
Where this chump Mooney gets “69 feet of sea level rise” when even Al Gore
the father of climate liars acknowledged that the full Greenland ice sheet melting would
only bring 7 meters (22 feet), is not at all clear to me.
One other thing: the Greenland ice sheet seems to be losing mass at lower altitudes but GAINING
mass at higher altitudes above ~1500 meters altitude. See Zwally et al., “Mass changes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and shelves and contributions to sea-level rise: 1992-2002.” <u.Journal of Glaciology 51: 509-527. Recent measurements by the GRACE and ICEsat
satellites seem to have very uncertain error bars.

Scott Scarborough
February 7, 2013 10:29 am

The 69 feet of sea level rise, refered to in the above blog, is suppose to represent a complete melting of the Greenland Ice cap. I don’t think that was made clear by the blog post. I did a quick calculation and came up with 60 feet for a complete melt.

richardscourtney
February 7, 2013 10:37 am

BillD:
At February 7, 2013 at 9:10 am you say to Willis

You’re right that the current rate ice melt is low, but Mooney’s graph certainly shows a strong trend. One would expect that the rate of melt will increase as the temperature increases.

Funny how the narrative changes from day-to-day.
The ice gain and loss from glaciers is mostly a function of snow fall and not temperature.
Only yesterday there was an article on WUWT about a claim that increased snow fall will result from higher temperatures.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/02/06/michael-tobis-has-bupkis/
That article reported that Michael Tobis (a strong warmunist) is claiming recent exceptional snow fall in Moscow is to be expected because warming causes more snow. But in 2010 Tobis said lack of snow at the winter Olympics is consistent with AGW because heavy snow fall is “not the sort of thing we particularly expect more of because of human interference”.
Everything fits AGW according to you guys because your narrative changes with the weather.
Richard

Don Easterbrook
February 7, 2013 10:43 am

Gotta love Willis’s grasp of numbers! Here is something else to consider. To get 69 feet of sea level rise you would have to melt most of the Greenland ice sheet and a considerable amount of the Antarctic ice sheet. How likely is that? We can answer that question by looking at what happened during past interglacials when temperatures were warmer than present (without the help of CO2!). We know this from oxygen isotope data from the Greenland and Antarctic ice cores–but wait a minute. If these ice sheets had melted significantly, why do we still have the ice from which we get the interglacial temperature data? In addition, we have definitive data showing that the Anarctic ice sheet has been stable (i.e., not significantly melted) since the Miocene (15 million years ago). How can the Antarctic ice sheet not melt during warm interglacials? Well, for openers, the average annual temperature there is -58 degrees F so you would have to raise the temperature 58 + 32 = 90 degrees just to get to the melting point of ice. Somehow people who are predicting catastrophic rise of sea level (e.g. 69 ft) seem to have overlooked these facts.

Hans H
February 7, 2013 10:44 am

At a rate of -131km2/ year 1.90 mill km2 actually goes down to 1.89mill km2 in 87 years with an accuracy of 2 decimals.
Now, that is scary.
/sarc off

James at 48
February 7, 2013 10:45 am

That ice mass is an ongoing nucleus (the largest one in the NH) for recurring glaciations and will be in place until / if the tectonics break the current Ice Age choke hold. At the end of the interglacial it will be fascinating for those alive then to witness the bridging of the Davis Strait. Once that happens, the rest will happen fast. Of course additional nuclii will form on the Canadian Shield, it’s not going to be like some sort of unitary dozer blade heading Southsouthwest.

Gary Pearse
February 7, 2013 10:51 am

Stack that up against the 50 million km^3 that disappeared after the last ice age. Greenland’s ice sheet contains 3 million km^3 and most of it survived the previous, much warmer interglacial:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eemian
“The Hippopotamus was distributed as far north as the rivers Rhine and Thames.[1] Trees grew as far north as southern Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago instead of only as far north as Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec…”
Although, with Stoat Connolley savaging climatology entries in Wiki, they say:
“global annual mean temperatures were probably similar to those of the Holocene”
I guess the hippos had fur coats on. Lord, what a mess that has to be cleaned up after the death of CAGW.

Doug Proctor
February 7, 2013 11:04 am

69′ of sealevel rise is 21.0m, which by 3.2 mm/yr (their numbers, not mine) 6572 years at this rate … or 1000 years if we are at 6.6X the current rate, 21.1 mm/yr ….
Do these guys actually think about what they are saying, are they capable of doing calculations, does math and time mean anything to them, or are they just ranting propagandists?
RP, I’d say. I’d never say they are stupid, because if they were that stupid they would be up for Darwin Awards by now.

February 7, 2013 11:16 am

NoAstronomer says:
February 7, 2013 at 8:33 am
@wte9 “Isn’t the real question how much ice loss will cause sixty-nine feet of sea level rise?”
According to wikipedia if the *entire* Greenland ice sheet melted the rise would be ~24 feet. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet].

But the Mooney post doesn’t say that it all comes from Greenland:
“Box also provided a large-scale perspective on how much sea level rise humanity has already probably set in motion from the burning of fossil fuels. The answer is staggering: 69 feet, including water from both Greenland and Antarctica, as well as other glaciers based on land from around the world.”

jorgekafkazar
February 7, 2013 11:21 am

MarkW says: “If you believe that the fact that “Glacier Girl” was found under 268 feet of ice means that the glaciers are 268 feet higher than they were 50 years ago, then you need to study up on how glaciers work. To grossly simplify it, snow falls at the top of the glacier…”
Smart snow–falls only at the top of the glacier. How does it know?

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland
February 7, 2013 11:24 am

Don Easterbrook says:
February 7, 2013 at 10:43 am
[i]Somehow people who are predicting catastrophic rise of sea level (e.g. 69 ft) seem to have overlooked these facts.[/i]
Just those facts? Wow….had me fooled!

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland
February 7, 2013 11:25 am

oops!

February 7, 2013 12:03 pm

Chris Mooney hosts a podcast called “Point of Inquiry” where he interviews scientists and other public figures, usually liberal progressives, on the edge of science. A few of his recent guests have been Bill McKibben. Joe Romm, Paul Krugman and Phil Plait. He often rails against “false balance” in the media, but I think his podcast could use a little more balance, “false” or otherwise. So I would like to suggest he do a series of “Counterpoint of Inquiry” episodes. Here’s my top ten list of guests and topics:
10.) Steven Mosher and Tom Fuller. The topic could be their book, “Climategate: The Crutape Letters”. I didn’t think they came off all that well on WUWT TV, so they’re at the bottom of the list. Maybe they could do better on a podcast.
9.) Steve Milloy. Junk science with the skeptic skeptics love to hate.
8.) Ronald Bailey. Reason magazine’s science correspondent could give a libertarian perspective on science.
7.) Steven McIntyre. A counterpoint to his episode with Michael Mann.
6.) Duane Gish. Gish galloping with the original “Gish Galloper”.
5.) Peter huber. Author of the book, “The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy”.
4.) Willis Eschenbach. The amateur scientist.
3.) Christopher Monckton. The man the warmist love to hate.
2.) Anthony Watts. Science communication in blogs.
1.) Matt Ridley. A non liberal progressive who liberal progressives concede is a great science writer.

MarkW
February 7, 2013 12:03 pm

Gail Combs says:
February 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

The glacier is not 268 feet higher, the plane is 268 feet lower. As the new snow falls, it pushes down the ice that is beneath it.

MarkW
February 7, 2013 12:09 pm

jorgekafkazar says:
February 7, 2013 at 11:21 am
—-
If you know of a method by which new snow can burrow through the glacier in order to deposit itself at the bottom, please be a chum and spill the beans.

Richards in Vancouver
February 7, 2013 12:15 pm

My God! It’s even worse than I thought!

Steve from Rockwood
February 7, 2013 12:58 pm

Figure 2. Classic. I read that 125,000 yrs ago the north pole warmed by as much as 8 degrees and 25% of the Greenland Ice sheet was lost over a period of 6,000 yrs (during the Eemian). That would make a nice chart too, when compared with current ice loss / time duration.

u.k.(us)
February 7, 2013 1:04 pm

Ah, it can be disconcerting to learn we might only be, that fly, which was so casually swatted away.
She holds no favorites, nuclear annililation would only rate a footnote in Her journal, which is only nearing the half-way point.
I’m hoping there is a heaven, I’ve so much to learn.

Louis Hooffstetter
February 7, 2013 2:39 pm

“MarkW says:
The glacier is not 268 feet higher, the plane is 268 feet lower. As the new snow falls, it pushes down the ice that is beneath it.”
Yes and No. Just to be clear, you are correct that accumulating snow gradually compresses into ice and eventually flows downhill; but the force that compresses the snow into ice is the weight of the snow accumulating on top of it.
Glacier Girl was in relatively pristine condition under 268′ of snow. This indicates relatively little compression of the snow surrounding her. If the snow around her had compressed into solid ice, she would have been destroyed. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that at least 268′ of snow (and probably a bit more) had fallen on top of the plane since she was abandoned.
You are also correct that the plane was pushed deeper into the glacier; however it’s unlikely that it was 268’. That could only happen if the rate of compressed glacial ice flowing from beneath the plane was exactly equal to the rate of accumulation of loose snow above it.

knr
February 7, 2013 2:53 pm

‘ it’s totally impossible to falsify.’ and that it idea .
When it comes to PR.spin and BS has opposed science the idea that something must be true becasue it can’t be proved wrong actual works . The trouble is people think their in a argument based on scientific approach when they are simply not .

MarkW
February 7, 2013 3:13 pm

Louis Hooffstetter says:
February 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Actually, ice doesn’t compress. At 268 feet, the snow around Glacier Girl had already turned to ice.
And I stated that it was the weight of new snow that compresses old snow.

SCheesman
February 7, 2013 4:24 pm

The actual stratigraphy was 24 m (79 feet) of snow above 61 m (200 feet) of ice. See the following link for details:
http://www.sensoft.ca/Resources/Case-Studies/Ice/Glacier-Girl.aspx

bw
February 7, 2013 4:36 pm

Anyone who saw the documentary of the 1992 recovery of the P-38 now called “Glacier Girl” knows that the plane was not at all in “pristine” condition. Photo shows the plane after the surrounding ice was melted and pumped away, leaving the plane in a “grotto” where it was dismantled and parts hoisted out the access shaft.
http://kstp.com/article/stories/s2706136.shtml
The plane landed in 1942, gear up on the surface. There are no 1942 photos of the plane but it’s in good shape, the pilot got out ok. By 1992, the plane was under 80 meters of ice. So were all the other planes. The larger B-17 was reported to be squashed beyond recovery. It seems the smaller P-38 fighter was designed to be relatively stronger compared to a bomber.
Snow would have completely engulfed the plane within months, partially supporting the structure during the accumulation. The snow piles on top and compresses over the years and the structure remains partially intact. The added weight does not push the plane into the surface, the snow accumulates on top of the plane. The amount of compression is known, glaciologists have plenty of data on how the glacial ice develops. The weight increases yearly on top of the plane. However, the stresses crushing the plane would have partially pushed around the structure, something like an arch structure.
Estimate ice at 0.9 tonnes per cubic meter, then by 1992 the weight on the plane would have been nearly 80 tonnes per square meter.
A quick description of glacial ice developement says about 40 to 50 years to reach final state.
http://www.geographypages.co.uk/glacier.htm
It seems there was little (if any) summer melting at the surface from 1942 to 1992, based on the weather shown in the documentary of the recovery. There is also clear video of people entering the access shaft. It looked to me that the “blue ice” was present within a few meters of the surface, then was uniform ice for most of the shaft down to the plane.
It takes a lot of snow to compress into 80 meters of ice within 50 years. Looking at charts, it seems the planes landed not many miles in from the SW coast. It’s not clear that the amount of precipitation at the crash site is anything unusual.
http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/10/16/greenland-climate-now-vs-then-part-i-temperatures/
If the depth of the southwest Greenland ice sheet increased by 1.6 meters per year from 1942 to 1992, then I’m not concerned about Greenland losing its ice sheet anytime soon. Plenty of source material for future icebergs.

k scott denison
February 7, 2013 4:38 pm

MarkW says:
February 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm
Louis Hooffstetter says:
February 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Actually, ice doesn’t compress. At 268 feet, the snow around Glacier Girl had already turned to ice.
And I stated that it was the weight of new snow that compresses old snow.
====
Mark, so how little snow did fall on top of Glacier Girl?

k scott denison
February 7, 2013 4:41 pm

SCheesman says:
February 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm
The actual stratigraphy was 24 m (79 feet) of snow above 61 m (200 feet) of ice. See the following link for details:
http://www.sensoft.ca/Resources/Case-Studies/Ice/Glacier-Girl.aspx
=====
Thanks SC, answered my question of Mark: at least 79 feet. Huh. And the concern is?

u.k.(us)
February 7, 2013 5:31 pm

Louis Hooffstetter says:
February 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm
“You are also correct that the plane was pushed deeper into the glacier; however it’s unlikely that it was 268’. That could only happen if the rate of compressed glacial ice flowing from beneath the plane was exactly equal to the rate of accumulation of loose snow above it.”
================
Wow, we’ve got a battle on our hands.

February 7, 2013 5:59 pm

My, what a collection of self-important, pompous asses there are here. I am a self-important, pompous ass and you guys make me look like an amateur.
REPLY: See the next comment, and your pomposity will have perspective – Anthony

February 7, 2013 6:18 pm

Barking at the Moon(ey). It took me a sum total of 3 minutes to scholar.google an unimpeachable source, the IPCC 2007 AR4 second order draft http://www.meteosat.com/ipcc4/Ch04_SOD_Text_TSU_FINAL.pdf
Fancy a warmist not knowing that between lines 35 and 35 in the Richard Alley, chair, draft of the warmista bible one can find a table showing the sea level equivalent of Greenland ice is 7.3 meters (24.95 feet).
Obviously they are going to need some Antarctica melt. Last time I checked it was edging colder, so no joy there.
Fail.

u.k.(us)
February 7, 2013 6:19 pm

Michael Buchanan Clark says:
February 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm
…..”I am a self-important, pompous ass and you guys make me look like an amateur.”
===================
Wait your turn, these things take time 🙂

markx
February 7, 2013 6:20 pm

Michael Buchanan Clark says: February 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm
“…. I am a self-important, pompous ass and you guys make me look like an amateur….”
Hello, Michael.
However, I am having doubt regarding your wits.

February 7, 2013 6:38 pm

Well, since I was there (at scholar.google.com) I thought I would look at a few of my last search results.
Here’s a gem:
http://www.geo.umass.edu/faculty/jbg/Pubs/Milleretal2010TempandPrecip.pdf
From the abstract:
“During the penultimate interglaciation, ~130 to ~120 ka ago, solar energy in summer in the Arctic was greater than at any time subsequently. As a consequence, Arctic summers were ~5 C warmer than at present, and almost all glaciers melted completely except for the Greenland Ice Sheet, and even it was reduced in size substantially from its present extent. With the loss of land ice, sea level was about 5 m higher than present, with the extra melt coming from both Greenland and Antarctica as well as small glaciers. The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) peaked ~21 ka ago, when mean annual temperatures over parts of the Arctic were as much as 20 C lower than at present. Ice recession was well underway 16 ka ago, and most of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets had melted by 6 ka ago. Solar energy reached a summer maximum (9% higher than at present) ~11 ka ago and has been decreasing since then, primarily in response to the precession of the equinoxes. The extra energy elevated early Holocene summer temperatures throughout the Arctic 1-3 C above 20th century averages, enough to completely melt many small glaciers throughout the Arctic, although the Greenland Ice Sheet was only slightly smaller than at present.”

MikeH
February 7, 2013 6:58 pm

From Mooney’s article
“The answer is staggering: 69 feet, including water from both Greenland and Antarctica”
Willis’s article and the comments have successfully knocked over some windmills – just not Mooney’s.
It appears the pomposity does not have perspective.

Paul Westhaver
February 7, 2013 7:28 pm

Lies by omission are lies nevertheless. Deliberately leaving out context is an omission. Therefore the ice loss graph is a lie.

markx
February 7, 2013 8:09 pm

During the Eemian, global sea level peaked at levels that were 4–7m above present. The contribution of the Greenland Ice Sheet to this peak in Eemian sea level is estimated to range between 2.2 and 4.5 m, representing a loss of 30–60% of its present-day volume.
Eemian near-surface summer temperatures were higher than today, by about 2 K in Europe and 2–4 K in the Arctic, comparable to the temperature rise in 2100 following Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections for a business-as-usual scenario.
According to researchers it took temperatures equivalent to future IPCC ‘no action’ projections PLUS a massive increase in isolation: 60 W/m2, compared to the total forcing over the industrial period of 1.6 W/m2 according to best estimate of the IPCC AR4.

……Eemian summertime top-of-atmosphere insolation in the Northern Hemisphere was up to 60Wm−2 higher than today Hence, we suggest that projections of future Greenland ice loss on the basis of Eemian temperature–melt relations may overestimate the future vulnerability of the ice sheet.

Significant contribution of insolation to Eemian melting of the Greenland ice sheet (2011) van de
Berg etal
http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~broek112/home_files/MB_pubs_pdf/2011_vdBerg_NatGeo.pdf

February 7, 2013 8:21 pm

markx says:
February 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm
Good catch! The link is broken, but placing the title in your post allowed me to find the paper with scholar.google. This is the link that worked for me:

bw
February 7, 2013 8:52 pm

More on the Glacier Girl story here, includes map of Greenland showing position of crash site, southeast coast of Greenland. http://p38assn.org/glacier-girl.htm
Without weather stations, it looks like precipitation has to be estimated from analysis of the ice thicknesses. Two papers with estimates of Greenland precipitation show the crash site is located in a high precipitation area.
http://www.igsoc.org/journal.old/37/125/igs_journal_vol37_issue125_pg140-148.pdf
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/2008JHM1014.1

February 7, 2013 9:18 pm

Ha ha. At least you guys have a sense of humor. However, you have absolutely no idea about my experience, if any. BTW, I have seen the Glacier Gal several times and have spoken with her crew. Beautiful story, however, it has been somewhat misrepresented here. I’ll continue to sit at your feet and learn.

markx
February 7, 2013 9:55 pm

William McClenney says: February 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm
” This is the link that worked for me:”
Thanks William.
Greenland and the ocean front homes sure seem to be looking pretty safe with a 2–4 K Arctic temperature rise PLUS an insolation increase of 60 W/m2, required to cause only 2.2 to 4,5 meters of SLR. (Eemian levels – modelled, of course)
(compared to the total forcing over the industrial period of 1.6 W/m2 ( IPCC AR4))

peter laux
February 8, 2013 3:29 am

MarkW says:
February 7, 2013 at 8:25 am
Peter Laux says:
February 7, 2013 at 7:02 am

If you believe that the fact that “Glacier Girl” was found under 268 feet of ice means that the glaciers are 268 feet higher than they were 50 years ago, then you need to study up on how glaciers work. To grossly simplify it, snow falls at the top of the glacier. As more snow falls, it the weight compresses it to ice. As more snow falls, the weight forces the ice to start flowing downhill. Every bit of ice at the bottom of the glacier was, at one point in time, higher up in the glacier, some of it at the top.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Mark , I think your statement stating your explanation ” To grossly simplify” should read ” Too simply gross”.
Your assertion that I need to study how glaciers work does little to show you do.
I read a piece by Sean Pitman – “In a telephone interview, Bob Cardin (who excavated her) was asked how many layers of ice were above the recovered airplane. He responded by saying, “Oh, there were many hundreds of layers of ice above the airplane.” When told that each layer was supposed to represent one year of time, Bob said, “That is impossible! Each of those layers is a different warm spell – warm, cold, warm, cold, warm, cold.” Also, the planes did not sink in the ice over time as some have suggested. Their density was less than the ice or snow since they were not filled with the snow, but remained hollow. They were in fact buried by the annual snowfall over the course of almost 50 years.”
Note, “layers” Mark.

markx
February 8, 2013 5:34 am

peter laux says:
February 8, 2013 at 3:29 am
“…..”many hundreds of layers of ice above the airplane.” …..[…..]….the planes did not sink in the ice over time as some have suggested. …… They were in fact buried by the annual snowfall over the course of almost 50 years……”
Are yo telling Greenland is getting taller? Ya might be onto something here Peter: So I went searching… it’s perhaps just a question of scale..

Surface elevation change has been investigated using merged radar altimeter measurements from the European Space Agency (ESA) satellites ERS-1, ERS-2 and Envisat for the period of 1992-2007. Surface elevation change is identified through analysis of data from satellite-borne rader altimeters, and it is found that during the 1992-2007 period, the elevation change rate ( dH dt ) is about 3.8±0.2 cm per year, which means the mass of GrIS is increasing.

Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Elevation Change and Influence of Atmospheric Teleconnections in the Northern Hemisphere Chen, L Thesis 2010 http://www.nersc.no/node/8033
Note the conclusion … I worry Mr Chen may not have received his doctorate having just come out and said such a thing!
But, by the way, this 3.8 cm/year, if constant over 60 years, only accounst for 228 cm of ice/snow…
But, Forsberg reckons its not changing, at least not recently…

Repeated GPS measurements have been performed at the centre of the Greenland Ice Sheet since 1992. Results have shown that the ice sheet is essentially stable at this location,

Elevation change measurements of the Greenland Ice Sheet
R. Forsberg etal 2000; http://www.terrapub.co.jp/journals/EPS/pdf/5211/52111049.pdf
This one is a PowerPoint, showing 5 cm/year increase since 1992 … getting closer, but still only 300 cm (3 metres) over 60 years.

Spatially averaged rate of Greenland Ice Sheet elevation changes over 1992-2003 is assessed at 5.4 ± 0.2 cm/year (ice thickness change ~5 cm/year if adjusted for isostatic uplift)
Elevation growth is indicated over most of interior regions, while over margin areas ice sheet thinning is revealed.

http://earth.esa.int/cryosat2005/participants/14/pres_khvorostovsky.pdf
Interesting to note these were the first few I pulled up – and all are showing neutral or elevation gains….

David
February 8, 2013 5:45 am

What about the Arctic sea ice..? Wasn’t that melting at ‘astonishing speed’ last September, according to the BBC’s Environment Correspondent, David Shukman…?
But wait – its re-frozen back right smack in the middle of the average for the last few years…
(Source: the same satellite-based graphs which identified the melting)…
Don’t you just hate it when someone switches the alarm off..??

markx
February 8, 2013 6:27 am

Pretty complete story here in AirSpacemag … http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/FEATURE-glaciergirl-backstory.html?c=y&story=fullstory
Coupla interesting points:

Within days, the radar teams had pinpointed the exact location of all eight airplanes. And it immediately became obvious why they hadn’t been located earlier. The shifting ice had carried the airplanes about two miles from their original location. And a high-pressure steam probe revealed that they lay beneath 264 feet of solid ice.

Very interesting comment on the page by one Forrest Shafer explaining the nature of the glacier at that point.:

Gentleman,
I was the original ground probing radar geologist from Xadar in July of 83. I’m really tired as a scientist of people that thinks global warming is a left wing political conspiracy.
First off, the Greenland glacier at the exploration site is a Temperate Glaciers:
In a temperate glacier the temperature is at the pressure melting point throughout the entire ice body except for the upper few meters of ice. This layer is subjected to annual temperature fluctuations. Which means there are layers of water throughout and was the main reason our higher frequency radar didn’t penetrate deep enough (the water layers are conductive and kills the signal)
Second,it’s a Warm-based Glaciers:
Warm based glaciers are at the pressure melting point at their bed. Heat from the Earth and from basal friction provides energy to melt ice at the bed, thus facilitating slip and erosion. That means the glacier flows to the ocean and takes everything with it…including airplanes.
So here’s the deal: from 1942 to around 1970 the amount of snow deposit and summer melt was relatively constant. That means the planes would have been buried under enough snow to facilitate movement downward due to the temporal nature of the glacier. In other words, the pressure from the snow overburden and the weight of the planes caused then to sink (like adding water to sand and shaking it…stuff sinks..even pennies) AND remember they were 2 miles from their perceived original location. That’s because the glacier flows, and it flows most rapidly the closer to the ocean you get. We were only 100 mile from water and we were have problems with crevasses open up on us. I think they lost a vehicle in one before I got there.
Posted by Forrest Shafer on November 19,2010 | 03:45 PM

MarkW
February 8, 2013 6:45 am

k scott denison says:
February 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Enough snow to create 268 feet of ice.
The weight of that snow pushed some of the ice in the basin out into the glacier, allowing the newer snow and ice to settle.

Gene Selkov
February 8, 2013 6:45 am

There is already a satirical response to chartmanship:
http://www.speld.nl/2013/01/31/februari-krimpt-significant-in-laatste-voorspelling/

MarkW
February 8, 2013 6:50 am

peter laux says:
February 8, 2013 at 3:29 am

Your reference to layers is not relevant. As everybody has conceeded that it has snowed in Greenland since the planes landed there.
Nobody claimed that the planes “sunk” into the ice. The ice accumulated around the planes, then was pushed down by the weight of the accumulating snow/ice. The plane and the ice immediately around it were pushed down as the ice lower in the pack was squeezed out to form the glacier.

markx
February 8, 2013 6:52 am

Pretty complete story here in AirSpacemag re Glacier Girl P38… http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/FEATURE-glaciergirl-backstory.html?c=y&story=fullstory
Coupla interesting points:

Within days, the radar teams had pinpointed the exact location of all eight airplanes. And it immediately became obvious why they hadn’t been located earlier. The shifting ice had carried the airplanes about two miles from their original location. And a high-pressure steam probe revealed that they lay beneath 264 feet of solid ice.

Very interesting comment on the page by one Forrest Shafer explaining the nature of the glacier at that point.:

Gentleman,
I was the original ground probing radar geologist from Xadar in July of 83. I’m really tired as a scientist of people that thinks global warming is a left wing political conspiracy.
First off, the Greenland glacier at the exploration site is a Temperate Glaciers:
In a temperate glacier the temperature is at the pressure melting point throughout the entire ice body except for the upper few meters of ice. This layer is subjected to annual temperature fluctuations. Which means there are layers of water throughout and was the main reason our higher frequency radar didn’t penetrate deep enough (the water layers are conductive and kills the signal)
Second,it’s a Warm-based Glaciers:
Warm based glaciers are at the pressure melting point at their bed. Heat from the Earth and from basal friction provides energy to melt ice at the bed, thus facilitating slip and erosion. That means the glacier flows to the ocean and takes everything with it…including airplanes.
So here’s the deal: from 1942 to around 1970 the amount of snow deposit and summer melt was relatively constant. That means the planes would have been buried under enough snow to facilitate movement downward due to the temporal nature of the glacier. In other words, the pressure from the snow overburden and the weight of the planes caused then to sink (like adding water to sand and shaking it…stuff sinks..even pennies) AND remember they were 2 miles from their perceived original location. That’s because the glacier flows, and it flows most rapidly the closer to the ocean you get. We were only 100 mile from water and we were have problems with crevasses open up on us. I think they lost a vehicle in one before I got there.
Posted by Forrest Shafer on November 19,2010 | 03:45 PM

markx
February 8, 2013 6:54 am

mods .. sorry pls check for multiple postings ..they are vanishing into the ether………

Chris R.
February 8, 2013 7:38 am

To David:
Others have pointed out up-thread that the Arctic sea ice could melt entirely
with not effect at all on sea level, since the Arctic ice pack is floating. Ice
weighs less than the water it displaces, so melting the entire Arctic sea
ice pack would actually cause the worldwide sea level to go down very
slightly.
A more important concern is that the vanished ice would cause the albedo
of the Arctic to change, thus allowing more energy to be absorbed. Since
the Sun angle is never huge in the Arctic, this may turn out to be not a big
deal.

February 8, 2013 10:24 am

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!|

February 8, 2013 12:08 pm

Hallelujah — Willis — Thank you for using the word chartmanship. Thanks also for posting the first order chart.
I worked for a newspaper awhile back. I could use a computer and make spreadsheets work. We charted the circulation. I plotted the raw circulation number. My boss didn’t like the look of the chart. Circulation was dropping. We had another metric we tracked. The difference between this weeks circulation and last weeks circulation. We yet another metric that compared this years week-to-week difference to last years week-to-week difference. That number was getting smaller. It was still negative.
I protested, but I was overruled. We plotted that number. I sat at the front of the company and put the slides up on the overhead. “Look,” said the president,” things are getting better.”
I tried to explain that this was a 3rd order chart, but it fell on deaf ears.
Things were still getting worse, they were just getting worse a little more slowly.
2nd and 3rd order analysis IS worth doing. Anyone doing it though needs to keep the first order chart pasted in front of them. Anyone not keeping that 1st order chart in front of them is a bloody fool. Sadly, we have lots of people committing chartmanship fouls. They exist on both sides of this debate.
As Dr. Brignell (who might have coined the term chartmanship) points out, the greatest danger of chartmanship is fooling yourself. We are all susceptible to missing the effect of chartmanship.
Willis — you are guilty of a minor sin of chartmanship yourself. You put images behind your charts. You do it for decorative purposes. I understand. It is just one of the things that makes me put on my BS Boots….

Louis Hooffstetter
February 8, 2013 8:26 pm

markx says:
Good posts! Thanks for the info.

peter laux
February 8, 2013 8:38 pm

MarkW, I find your explanation is still unsatisfactory. MarkX’s account by “Forrest Schafer” however makes better sense but is still totally unsatisfactory and to digress, with his opening mention of “global warming’ , makes me immediately askance.
In regard to his explanation , why would just the plane sink, with or without “overburden” ?
Why not the ice next to it, for after all the density of the plane, being hollow would have less density and be far lighter than the ice. (If it landed on water and was airtight it would happily float.)
Snow “overburden” would not discriminate between ice and plane, so why would it just “force” the plane down and not the ice?
In regard to this “temperate, watery glacier” that Forrest Schafer claims the P-38 sat on,this again makes little sense – if it were, the plane, if was singled out by “overburden snow” and forced downwards would have filled with this water and the excavators would have found the plane filled with ice – from the accounts i’ve read, they did not.
But my original point remains unchallenged and correct – “no need to worry about melting if Greenland keeps accumulating height in ice.”, as after inquiry you have found out. (It will also be depressing the land mass beneath.)
As has already been pointed out by MarkX, he area of Glacier Girl will also accumulate far more snow than Central Greenland because of its proximity to the coast.

markx
February 9, 2013 12:22 am

peter laux says: February 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm
“…. account by “Forrest Schafer”..”
I agree there are a couple of troubling things about Schafer’s account:
1. As you pointed out his initial mention of his global warming viewpoint.
2. He is/was a “ground probing radar geologist”… which does not mean he is necessarily a “glacier expert”.
3. This point 2. leads perhaps to an apparent contradiction: ….A. “…In a temperate glacier the temperature is at the pressure melting point throughout the entire ice body except for the upper few meters of ice…”. B. …”.it’s a Warm-based Glaciers: Warm based glaciers are at the pressure melting point at their bed…”
From …. bw: February 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm
“…….map of Greenland showing position of crash site, southeast coast of Greenland. http://p38assn.org/glacier-girl.htm…”
Looks like it might be the Kangerlussuaq Gletscher (Glacier) … seen here in lovely detail (satellite photos …zoom in) … It is quite a complicated glacier accumulating snow/ice from all directions. http://mapcarta.com/19190872
It is quite conceivable to me that as ice flows from wide to narrow areas, what was on top in one place may go under in another.
However, we can speculate forever not knowing the exact position the planes were in, or the flow characteristics in that position.
It seems to me (and to most, I guess) that there has been one helluva lot (well known empirical unit) of precipitation in that area, but the only important detail is whether more ice is accumulating than is being lost. There are plenty of publications telling us there is at this time a nett loss from many, but not all the Greenland glaciers. How true that is I do not know.
It seems GRACE satellite was going to differentiate between the uplift (current opinion seems to be that Greenland is rising) of the mantle and the accumulation of ice, but given the paucity of publication on the topic and the few publication discussing “problems with GRACE” the answers may not be as clear as some ‘pessimists’ had expected.

Phil.
February 10, 2013 8:44 am

Peter laux, as the account of Glacier Girl you refer to makes clear, the plane and its surrounding ice has slid 2 miles downslope since the landing.