The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg jumps the shark again – gets called out by NYT

The wailing today is that the collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet has already begun.


It’s pretty bad when other environmental reporters start calling you out on it, such as NYT’s Andrew Revkin did today. 

Yes, a slow affair indeed. Truly an abuse of the headline. Buried below the headline in the article, there is agreement with Revkin:

But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.

A lot can happen in several centuries, why even in the last couple of years Antarctic has seen  record levels on Antarctic sea ice.

And the temperature isn’t cooperating either:

RSS Southern Polar Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) – 1979 to Present for the area where sea ice forms (60 to 70S)

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

[previous graph removed – wrong latitude span and no replacement, my mistake -Anthony]


UPDATE: Revkin gives more reasoning on “collapse” here:

Consider Clashing Scientific and Societal Meanings of ‘Collapse’ When Reading Antarctic Ice News


Here is the paper the claim is based on:

Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica from 1992 to 2011.


We measure the grounding line retreat of glaciers draining the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica using Earth Remote Sensing (ERS-1/2) satellite radar interferometry from 1992 to 2011. Pine Island Glacier retreated 31 km at its center, with most retreat in 2005–2009 when the glacier un-grounded from its ice plain. Thwaites Glacier retreated 14 km along its fast-flow core and 1 to 9 km along the sides. Haynes Glacier retreated 10 km along its flanks. Smith/Kohler glaciers retreated the most, 35 km along its ice plain, and its ice shelf pinning points are vanishing. These rapid retreats proceed along regions of retrograde bed elevation mapped at a high spatial resolution using a mass conservation technique (MC) that removes residual ambiguities from prior mappings. Upstream of the 2011 grounding line positions, we find no major bed obstacle that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat and draw down the entire basin.

And here is the press release from AGU:

New study indicates loss of West Antarctic glaciers appears unstoppable

12 May 2014

Joint Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new study finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.

The study presents multiple lines of evidence, incorporating 40 years of observations that indicate the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot, of the University of California Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The new study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

These glaciers already contribute significantly to sea level rise, releasing almost as much ice into the ocean annually as the entire Greenland Ice Sheet. They contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) and are melting faster than most scientists had expected. Rignot said these findings will require an upward revision to current predictions of sea level rise.

“This sector will be a major contributor to sea level rise in the decades and centuries to come,” Rignot said. “A conservative estimate is it could take several centuries for all of the ice to flow into the sea.”

A photo of Thwaites glacier in West Antarctica taken by NASA Operation IceBridge. A new study finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea. Credit: NASA

Three major lines of evidence point to the glaciers’ eventual demise: the changes in their flow speeds, how much of each glacier floats on seawater, and the slope of the terrain they are flowing over and its depth below sea level. In a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters in April, Rignot’s research group discussed the steadily increasing flow speeds of these glaciers over the past 40 years. This new study examines the other two lines of evidence.

The glaciers flow out from land to the ocean, with their leading edges afloat on the seawater. The point on a glacier where it first loses contact with land is called the grounding line. Nearly all glacier melt occurs on the underside of the glacier beyond the grounding line, on the section floating on seawater.

Just as a grounded boat can float again on shallow water if it is made lighter, a glacier can float over an area where it used to be grounded if it becomes lighter, which it does by melting or by the thinning effects of the glacier stretching out. The Antarctic glaciers studied by Rignot’s group have thinned so much they are now floating above places where they used to sit solidly on land, which means their grounding lines are retreating inland.

“The grounding line is buried under a thousand or more meters of ice, so it is incredibly challenging for a human observer on the ice sheet surface to figure out exactly where the transition is,” Rignot said. “This analysis is best done using satellite techniques.”

The team used radar observations captured between 1992 and 2011 by the European Earth Remote Sensing (ERS-1 and -2) satellites to map the grounding lines’ retreat inland. The satellites use a technique called radar interferometry, which enables scientists to measure very precisely — within less than a quarter of an inch — how much Earth’s surface is moving. Glaciers move horizontally as they flow downstream, but their floating portions also rise and fall vertically with changes in the tides. Rignot and his team, which includes researchers from UC Irvine and JPL, mapped how far inland these vertical motions extend to locate the grounding lines.

The Amundsen Sea glacier beds are below sea level, so that as the grounding lines retreat, the water below the floating ice shelves gets deeper rather than shallower. This image shows the beds of Thwaites and Haynes glaciers, with colors indicating depth. The large blue area under Thwaites Glacier is almost three-quarters of a mile (1,200 meters) below sea level. The broken lines at the front of the glacier show how the grounding line has retreated over 19 years; red is the 1992 grounding line, and black is the line's position in 2011. Credit: NASA

The accelerating flow speeds and retreating grounding lines reinforce each other. As glaciers flow faster, they stretch out and thin, which reduces their weight and lifts them farther off the bedrock. As the grounding line retreats and more of the glacier becomes waterborne, there’s less resistance underneath, so the flow accelerates.

Slowing or stopping these changes requires pinning points — bumps or hills rising from the glacier bed that snag the ice from underneath. To locate these points, researchers produced a more accurate map of bed elevation that combines ice velocity data from ERS-1 and -2 and ice thickness data from NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission and other airborne campaigns. The results confirm no pinning points are present upstream of the present grounding lines in five of the six glaciers. Only Haynes Glacier has major bedrock obstructions upstream, but it drains a small sector and is retreating as rapidly as the other glaciers.

The bedrock topography is another key to the fate of the ice in this basin. All the glacier beds slope deeper below sea level as they extend farther inland. As the glaciers retreat, they cannot escape the reach of the ocean, and the warm water will keep melting them even more rapidly.

The accelerating flow rates, lack of pinning points and sloping bedrock all point to one conclusion, Rignot said.

“The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable,” he said. “The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating sections of the glaciers. At this point, the end of this sector appears to be inevitable.”

Because of the importance of this part of West Antarctica, NASA’s Operation IceBridge will continue to monitor its evolution closely during this year’s Antarctica deployment, which begins in October. IceBridge uses a specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of science instruments ever assembled to characterize changes in thickness of glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice.

For additional images and video related to this new finding, visit:

For additional information on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and its potential contribution to sea level rise, visit:

For more information on Operation IceBridge, visit:



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John Boles

It might be worse than we thought, well maybe in the distant future, our models suggest that it could happen perhaps in 1000 years.


So what’s the problem? She writes a piece full of BS,gets paid,and doesn’t give a hoot about what others say. Until you take away her paycheck,same old,same old. And scientific or un-scientific facts will not stop that. And just what the heck is “several centuries” or a thousand years? To me,several could be 20,000years from now.

Martin C

I think it’s great to see these extremely ‘alarmist’ headlines, followed by a bit less alarmist in the text. People will continue to see the ‘alarmism’ for what it is. And likely continued to get turned off by it. Especially when the same ‘journalists’ keep printing this crap.

Peter Miller

The Guardian is the ecoloons’ bible, so it can say old BS -and it does – and instantly it will become true. However, there are a few climate scientists who are genuinely embarrassed by its obsession with repeatedly trumpeting fantasy as fact.

pablo an ex pat

So in two alarmist stories reported during the space of on one day on WUWT the Antarctic is getting colder and warmer all at the same time. It’s both gaining ice and it’s losing ice. And both these occurrences are issues that needs us to do something right now. What exactly ?

Ed P

Yellowstone could explode or meteors might wipe out most of humanity before the sea rises that much. All that is certain is that governments will steal your savings long before you need a boat.


I say encourage them to do more……….
but of course, this is just the opinion of a racist, homophobe……………/SNARK!


You mean I just set my hair on fire for NOTHING!?!?!
Stupid alarmism.. gets me every time.

Well done Revkin. I wonder if any climate scientists will show the same integrity.

Paul Coppin

This story is right off the Associated Press feed apparently. CBC in Canader, eh, did a big online expose…


This is unbelievable there are three current ‘west Antarctic Ice sheet collapse ‘ stories running on yahoo . and on the day that the Antarctic sea ice reached record levels.
Conspiracy of the media ….nah just damn lies.
Funny if you ask me


Maybe she was talking about the collapse of CAGW credibility???

The great climate wolf is at the door.
It will huff and puff until you pay the tax.
Little boy Mann howls along with the wolf.
Into selected pockes will your lifes work flow.
The tax man comes, the tax man goes.
Into whose pockets we all need to know.

Mike H

But they used computer simulations!!! They’re always right!!!!


Curbing emissions from fossil fuels to slow climate change will probably not halt the melting but it – could – slow the speed of the problem, Rignot said.
…you would think that first they would have to make a connection that fossil fuels had anything to do with it at all

Dumb Observation

I wonder if someone will call out Alan Boyle of NBC News, his headline is twice as alarming, like an earthquake has happened and there is a tsunami warning in effect:


When the President of the U.S. can with impunity, stand in front of the American people and tell easily exposed lies. such as the earth has warmed faster in the last decade than even the most dire predictions…(or words to that effect)…something pretty terrible is going on. This A,P. reporter can jump sharks every day of the week and twice on sundays, and it won’t matter.
I don’t know what the cure is….hell, I don’t even know what the disease is exactly.


There was a “CLIMATE CHANGE” discussion on FOX News today where some Democrat woman rolled out the “97% Consensus” and labeled it GOSPEL…. I can’t afford to replace my TV so I didn’t throw anything at it.


She’s got her facts totally wrong anyway. This from my NASA news release on the paper:
“A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.”
This rapidly melting SECTION of the ice sheet is “in the Armundsen Sea Sector of West Antarctica”. It constitutes a tiny part of the WA ice sheet and concerns four glaciers in that small region. More detail on the relevant NASA page here (including maps and diagrams):
It is true that this small area is said to be set to disgorge a lot of ice by the time these glaciers have outflowed in the manner suggested by the paper and that belies the small area they cover. However the sea level increase they will give rise to is 1.2 metres, not “nearly 4 metres”. This is explained clearly in the news release:
“These glaciers already contribute significantly to sea level rise, releasing almost as much ice into the ocean annually as the entire Greenland Ice Sheet. They contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) and are melting faster than most scientists had expected. Rignot said these findings will require an upward revision to current predictions of sea level rise.”
Presumably it’s stated just as clearly in the paper itself. So it seems that not only is the Guardian signalling imminent collapse but collapse of the entire West Antarctic ice sheet when the paper says nothing of the sort. Does The Guardian have no shame at all?

Michael D

So the Pollard and Rignot quotes in the NYT article say: Over all, the loss of the West Antarctic ice from warming is appearing “more likely a definite thing to worry about on a thousand-year time scale but not a hundred years,” Dr. Pollard said…. [Rignot] said. “It happened many times before when the Earth was as warm as it is about to be.
Note the words “more likely a definite thing” and “as warm as it is about to be.” So this is all speculation.

Isn’t this about a floating ice sheet? How is a floating ice sheet melting going to raise sea levels? Am I missing something?

Steve from Rockwood

They should send a ship of climate scientists to the Antarctic to verify the story. What could go wrong?

Not a disease, it is a liars cult.
You must lie your way in.
Yet like the Hotel Califorina.
You can once in, only lie more,
and never leave the shelter of the cult.


Dueling propaganda machines from UW, NASA, UCI and JPL feeding MSM.
The biggest “impact” of the papers will be to get a Union Session at the next AGU Fall Meeting with more Press/Propaganda grinding out 1950s-stype movie sci fi headlines with a secondary impact on the FY15 funding cycle at NSF polar programs.

John V. Wright

As a former journalist, from an era when facts had to be checked and double-checked and news stories were presented in a sober and honest manner, Goldberg is a journalistic embarrassment . At some point, Alan Rusbridger, her editor, has to take action. The Guardian has been a laughing stock for too long – come on, Alan, you are an honest and Establishment-defying journalist…you need to sort out this fact-defying new ‘Establishment’ that has developed within your unsuspecting bosom.



sun Spot

Pokerguy. . . The name of the malady is”Mediacracy”, Google the suffix acracy then the whole word. This new word from the urban dictionary describes the NYT and much other media involved in the cAGW narrative.

Rud Istvan

The NASA Model of this particular WAIS glacier chose one of the smallest and least significant, underlaid by an unusual grounding bed that guarantees it has to melt rather than slide. The two biggest are the Ronne. Cannot use that, since all evidence says it is gaining ice. And the Ross, which might be slowly losing. But cannot use that, since the grounding line stopped receding 4000 years ago. We know not because of models, but because Ross collapse was the previous bugaboo. So the Andrill program cored into the seabed, and nope. So now pick a tiny outflow that might happen if the models are right, and extrapolate to WAIS. Beyond bad. Wrote an essay on Ronne/Ross for the next book. Unclear worth revising for this drivel.


Being shouted from the rooftops without criticism in the Australian leftist press, as well.


It’s not only the Guardianistas, there is also the expected hyperventilating hype from Justin Gillis of the NY Times:

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans as Antarctic Ice Melts
MAY 12, 2014
The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday.
The finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means that a rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that it will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis.


Nasa scientists: 1000 years of prediction based on 20 years of history! What was that? You need at least 30 years to define a trend? Well I suppose it depends whether its the ‘right’ trend or the ‘wrong’ trend. Oh dear.

The people who report this BS know that this story and other like it are lies, but when “the ends justify the means” then lies are perfectly acceptable.

Louis Hooffstetter

This is complete B.S. It’s late fall / early winter in Antarctica. The temperature is below freezing. Nothing can possibly melt there for at least six months.


Saw same story and picture on MSN home page leading to NBC News. Yeesch! Alarm sells!

It might be true that “such a rise could not be stopped” BY PEOPLE, but it can certainly be stopped by natural processes. Bizarre of these researchers to speak as if the only motive force in climate science is the one that can’t do anything.

If you make ill-informed predictions about 5-10 years from now, people can look it up & call you out for it. If you make stupid predictions about 1000 years from now, a fat astrologer will make a show called Cosmos & claim you were a persecuted scientist. I know which I would prefer.


I just saw the story on See-BS nightly news. They distorted….. I mean reported that there would be a 4 ft rise in sea level. But not before 2214. Wake me when its over!

Off the subject but it just may be an anwser to how this all happened.
News story of German science guys who wired up humans brains and up’d the voltage.
Real lucid dreams and when the subjects woke up they were sure the dream was real.
Must be they wired up Michael Mann first, he gets the hockystick graph dream, then the 97% who belive the same dream got the same voltage, thus Climate Disruption was born.
Real Research.

Curious George

Actually, the situation is much, much worse. The Universe, which originated from the Big Bang some 15 billion years ago, may collapse again – as some (not all) studies suggest. We should view Jerry Brown’s governorship of California in this light.


This showed up on Reuters too …
Not sure which article was first to publish but one of them looks to be a lazy copy of t’other.

Leo Geiger

Keep in mind that NYT’s Andrew Revkin is objecting to the word “collapse”, which is reasonable given people’s perceptions of time scales. He is not disputing what the research says about the retreat of these glaciers: observations show they are losing mass mostly due to ocean water melting them along their terminating ice shelves, and the bedrock which is below sea level only slopes deeper on the “inland” side leaving no high ground to stop the process.
The inevitable WUWT reference to Antarctic sea ice extent has little bearing on this.


We need a sarcasm department of skeptics whose purpose is to submit all kinds of climate whoppers to the press – without the sarc-on and sarc-off tags. For example: “New computer model shows Antarctic ice to completely melt in 5 years!” (I could write a program in 5 minutes that would do this.) Obviously the press seems to accept and transmit anything without critical inquiry – so if this were done, John Q. Public would more readily catch on to the folly of it all.

I guess Chris Turney just picked the wrong part of Antarctica… smh.


Here’s the article posted by the morons at Yahoo News.
Here’s the headline…..
“Rise of Oceans Due to Melting Antarctic Ice Sheet Is ‘Unstoppable'”
Journalism is often a profession without conscience or self respect.


The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg is full of sh!t, just like her idiotic colleague Nafeez Ahmed (9/11 truther).
Suzanne was the one who claimed the world’s FIRST, FIRST climate refugees in Alaska. I showed her she was wrong in comments at the Guardian for which I was banned.
See THIS from me. And that is not even what I showed her. I made it clear she did not know what she was talking about. I showed her Holocene climate extremes in N. America with decadal and centennial droughts etc. [I can’t be bothered to look so don’t ask, it’s buried in the Guardian comment somewhere.] I showed here relocated Alaskans before her claim due to climate changes decades ago.

James at 48

Sol will evolve. All life on Earth will vanish.


BBC repeating the full BSstory.


Suzanne was the one who claimed America’s FIRST, FIRST climate refugees.
I still showed her why she was wrong. However you spin the cat, she was wrong.


They are going to simply have to let go of Antarctica for a while.

National Geographic – 10 December 2013
New Record for Coldest Place on Earth, in Antarctica
Scientists measure lowest temperature on Earth via satellites.
Using new satellite data, scientists have measured the most frigid temperature ever recorded on the continent’s eastern highlands: about -136°F (-93°C)—colder than dry ice…..

Plus this

Abstract – 7 JUN 2013
Recent snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, in a historical and future climate perspective
Enhanced snowfall on the East Antarctic ice sheet is projected to significantly mitigate 21st century global sea level rise. In recent years (2009 and 2011), regionally extreme snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, in the Atlantic sector of East Antarctica, have been observed. It has been unclear, however, whether these anomalies can be ascribed to natural decadal variability, or whether they could signal the beginning of a long-term increase of snowfall. Here we use output of a regional atmospheric climate model, evaluated with available firn core records and gravimetry observations, and show that such episodes had not been seen previously in the satellite climate data era (1979). Comparisons with historical data that originate from firn cores, one with records extending back to the 18th century, confirm that accumulation anomalies of this scale have not occurred in the past ~60 years, although comparable anomalies are found further back in time. We examined several regional climate model projections, describing various warming scenarios into the 21st century. Anomalies with magnitudes similar to the recently observed ones were not present in the model output for the current climate, but were found increasingly probable toward the end of the 21st century.
Abstract – 2 NOV 2012
An improved understanding of processes dominating the sensitive balance between mass loss primarily due to glacial discharge and mass gain through precipitation is essential for determining the future behavior of the Antarctic ice sheet and its contribution to sea level rise. While satellite observations of Antarctica indicate that West Antarctica experiences dramatic mass loss along the Antarctic Peninsula and Pine Island Glacier, East Antarctica has remained comparably stable. In this study, we describe the causes and magnitude of recent extreme precipitation events along the East Antarctic coast that led to significant regional mass accumulations that partially compensate for some of the recent global ice mass losses that contribute to global sea level rise. The gain of almost 350 Gt from 2009 to 2011 is equivalent to a decrease in global mean sea level at a rate of 0.32 mm/yr over this three-year period.

Plus record April extent. Why can’t they let go of an expanding, freezing pole? We gave them the Arctic but that’s simply not enough. Suzanne has to find something to justify her propaganda.