Studies do not address sea level rise projections alleged by misleading media headlines
Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
As seems to always be the case the climate fear propaganda news media have completely mislead the public once again regarding climate related issues this time by alleging claims of 4 meter high future sea level rise increases supposedly addressed in two recent studies which performed analysis of glacier melt behavior of six large glaciers in West Antarctica.
One study was published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) and titled “Sustained increase in ice discharge from the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica, from 1973 to 2013“. This study is available here:
The second study was published in Science and titled “Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica“. This study is available here:
Both studies evaluate the relatively recent melt rate history of these glaciers with one focusing on the use observed satellite data to estimate melt rate behavior while the other uses computer models to estimate melt rate behavior.
Amazingly enough and considering how the press manufactured headlines about sea level rise increases being determined from these studies neither of the studies addresses or make any claims about the impact of their research results on specific future sea level rise projections.
In fact GLC study mentions nothing specific about future sea level rise projections while the Science study clearly notes that their research models “are not coupled to a global climate model to provide forcing nor do they include an ice-shelf cavity-circulation model to derive melt rates. Few if any such fully coupled models presently exist (13). As such, our simulations do not constitute a projection of future sea level in response to projected climate forcing.”
Also unreported by the same climate alarmist propaganda focused media were the significant qualifications, limitations and cautions noted in these studies concerning their glacier melt research findings.
The GRL published study noted for example the following qualifiers regarding its analysis:
“These observations are a possible sign of the progressive collapse of this sector in response to the high melting of its buttressing ice shelves by the ocean.”
“Until numerical ice sheet models coupled with realistic oceanic forcing are able to replicate these observations, projections of the evolution of this sector of West Antarctica should be interpreted with caution.”
The Science published study contained the following similarly related qualifiers regarding its analysis:
“Although our simple melt parameterization suggests that a full-scale collapse of this sector may be inevitable, it leaves large uncertainty in the timing. Thus, ice-sheet models fully coupled to ocean/climate models are required to reduce the uncertainty in the chronology of a collapse.”
Why aren’t these significant research finding qualifiers regarding the preliminary nature of these studies results addressed by the main stream media?
The main stream media manufactured numbers alleging sea level rise projections not addressed at all in either of these studies and then compounded that alarmist portrayal by concealing very significant scientific qualifiers noted in both studies regarding their glacier melt rate research findings.
Even some of the climate media have problems with how this entire climate alarmist episode has been handled. New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin wrote an article in that paper in 2009 addressing the glacier study work underway in West Antarctica titled “Study: West Antarctic Melt a Slow Affair” where he challenged the use of the word “collapse” in describing the melt behavior of that region. This article included the following observation:
“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,”
With latest round of speculative media climate alarmism regarding the West Antarctica region glacier research Revkin has written yet another article titled “Consider Clashing Scientific and Societal Meanings of ‘collapse’ When Reading Antarctic Ice News” again challenging the use of the word “collapse”. He offers the following observations in this article about the recent alarmist news reporting:
News articles by The Times, Time, the Associated Press and others capture the basics in two new papers, one on six West Antarctic glaciers that appear to have nothing holding back eventual disappearance, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, and the other taking a closer look at one of those ice masses, the Thwaites Glacier, posted online today by the journal Science.
Some headlines are completely overwrought — as with this NBC offering: “West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s Collapse Triggers Sea Level Warning.” This kind of coverage could be interpreted to mean there’s an imminent crisis. It’s hard to justify that conclusion given the core findings in the studies. (Am I trying to maintain a hold on reality or am I a “scold”?)
Take the Science paper: Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica. Using ice-flow models and observations, the researchers, led by Ian Joughin of the University of Washington, concluded:
“Except possibly for the lowest-melt scenario, the simulations indicate that early-stage collapse has begun. Less certain is the time scale, with the onset of rapid (>1 mm per year of sea-level rise) collapse in the different simulations within the range of 200 to 900 years.
To translate a bit, that means sometime between 200 and 900 years from now the rate of ice loss from this glacier could reach a volume sufficient to raise sea levels about 4 inches (100 millimeters) a century. At that point, according to the paper, ice loss could pick up steam, with big losses over a period of decades.* But in a phone conversation, Joughin said the modeling was not reliable enough to say how much, how soon.”
This on going West Antarctica reporting frenzy clearly establishes that the climate alarmist news media have abandoned any pretense of objectivity regarding climate reporting and become soldiers dedicated to conducting an alarmist propaganda campaign that is built on manufacturing misleading, inaccurate and erroneous headline grabbing articles unsupported by published science to support their flawed cause.