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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

###

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

h/t to Marc Morano of Climate Depot


 

The two papers in question:

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

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

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Juergen Michele

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

Dodgy Geezer

@Juergen Michele

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

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

This is not discussed!
Greetings from Bernoulli:
Velocity equals square root 2 times gravitational constant times height.

ossqss

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

Latitude

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

Latitude says:
May 26, 2014 at 10:47 am
I’m confused….how would the oceans and sea ice know to respond to temperature adjustments?
*
LOL. Exactly. 🙂

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

milodonharlani

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

Anything is possible

Col Mosby says:
May 26, 2014 at 10:54 am
Seems to me,as always, that these predictions assume everything goes on the same for the
next, oh, say 200 to 1000 years.
===================================
Given that they have no clue what,or even if, changes will occur in the next 200 to 1000 years, they can’t really assume anything else.
Which is what makes climate models completely useless as a predictive tool.
….

Bloke down the pub

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

Peter Foster

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

Eugene WR Gallun

THIS IS NUTS!!!!!!. We are being asked to believe that glacier collapse is being cause by a man-made global warming that only began 50 years ago??? (if man-made global warming is even actually occurring now.) The glaciers were not collapsing before that???? Then all of a sudden they start to collapse because of mankind? THAT IS NUTS!!!!!
Shouldn’t the glaciers have collapsed during the Medieval Warm Period or the Roman Warm Period? i mean they were around for more than a few centuries and global temperatures were even higher than they are today. Should not Florida have been under water both times????? REALITY CHECK, YOU MORONS!!! Please explain to us why there was no collapse during those centuries of high temperature! Quick, hurry, make something up!
Where is the common sense? Utterly lacking.
Eugene WR Gallun

Eugene WR Gallun

See my comment above at 11:14
Oh, wait a second, their answer will be that because the glaciers did not collapse during those times that proves that the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman Warm Period were not global phenomenon. How stupid of me.
Eugene WR Gallun

Tom Asiseeitnow

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

Justthinkin

“We’re still not saying things are going to happen this year or next year. But it’s easier to grasp [a couple of hundred years] than the time scales we’re used to looking at.”
Sooooooooo…..just move the time scale to make it look “catastrophic” to the LIP’s( low info pipples) and everything is fine? I really have got to figure out how to get rid of all my morals/ethics and get in on this scam before the revolt.

AEGeneral

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

Peter Foster, you put better than I the first question I had while reading this article. The sea ice that provided support for the glacier is melting to a point where it can no longer hold back the ice flow, releasing a vast glacier into the sea. But why wouldn’t the lead ice flow itself become sea ice, renewing that support system?
Isn’t this normal glacier behavior–the sea ice slowly melts, only to be replaced by ice pushing down from the glacier? While ice from the glacier is slowly replaced by new snowfall.

Josephus

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

Thanks, Anthony. A very good post.
So it seems, I will have to move in the next couple of hundred years. ;-(

Theo Goodwin

Col Mosby says:
May 26, 2014 at 10:54 am
In light of what Col Mosby wrote, I think that we can safely say that 200 years is the dividing line between adaptation and mitigation. If 200 years will pass before the collapse begins then we should be thinking adaptation not mitigation. How much has changed in the last 200 years? In 1814, the industrial revolution had not begun. In 2214, we should be well-prepared for the rise in sea level that might not occur for another 700 years.
The Alarmists are becoming more expert at collectively shooting themselves in the feet.
Also, it is funny as the dickens. Even with computer models, the best they could do is claim that a moderate problem will arise in 200 years. They are running on empty.

The definition Guy

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

Chad Wozniak

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

Bill H

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

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

Wally

“Seems to me if we agreed to give them the naming rights to whatever is left (e.g., Thwaites Puddle, Haynes Pond, etc), they might not take it so personally.”
Instead of a carbon tax why not sell naming rights? The Staples Glacier; CitiGlacier; Gates Glacier?

Gary Pearse

So now someone has to subtract the additional snow that seems to be fall in East Antarctica.
http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/10.1063/PT.4.0470
” Carmen Boening of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and her colleagues have just finished a study of ice accumulation over the entire Antarctic continent. Their study makes use of data gathered by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment spacecraft between 2003 and 2011.Stark regional differences emerged. Whereas West Antarctica lost ice mass throughout that period, East Antarctica was stable until 2008, after which it gained 350 gigatons. That accumulation is equivalent to a decrease in global sea level rise of 0.32 mm/y, or 10% of the current total rate.”
Similarly, we’ve stopped hearing about mountain glaciers because they are apparently in the process of reversal – the Alps, Alaska, Scandinavia, CONUS, NZ….. One might ask how the West Ant glaciers got there in the first place. Are they forecasting no snowfall there for 200-900yrs? This ‘ceteris paribus’ thinking has spread from the social sciences to the hard sciences. If these people are such experts, why wouldn’t they at least mention that its ceteris paribus forecasting. I would bet that heavy snows will return to WAIS before the 200-900yrs is up if there was a way to collect on the bet.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceteris_paribus

tadchem

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

michael hart

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

Hey, I’m planning to be dead. The people who are alive will hardly notice it happening during their lifetimes either. And that is IF it happens.
I also think that all the carbophobes will have gone extinct by then because they ran out of disaster scenarios.
In the internet age it just doesn’t seem, well, sustainable to make all the disaster predictions at once when the ice is moving at such a glacial pace. The predictors will have been recorded, widely read, already ridiculed, and de-funded.

Theo Goodwin

‘“I’m not an atmospheric scientist, so I can’t evaluate the strength of all of those linkages,” Wolovik said. “However, it’s a lot of linkages.” And that leaves a lot of room for uncertainty about what’s actually causing the collapse of the glaciers, he said.’
Aha, a wolf among sheep. A skeptic among believers. How long before Wolovik is shunned?

Jimbo

It’s slipping outa control and into the sea! Melt, slip, slide and grow?

Steven Goddard – May 25, 2014
“Antarctic Sea Ice Area Above Normal Every Day For The Past 30 Months”
http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/antarctic-sea-ice-area-above-normal-every-day-for-the-past-30-months/

I see that Noerdlinger and Brower, “The Melting of Floating Ice Raises the Ocean Level”, on the website of the former author, seem to still leave the erroneous alarming add on to an otherwise interesting paper, even though the error was pointed out to him long ago.
“The West Antarctic Ice Sheet has volume 26,000,000 km3. Suppose a 5% chunk slid into the sea in a short time period (say a few years). The sea level rise would be about 4 m”,
where the volume of ice used is over 10 times too large for “The West Antarctic Ice Sheet”. Four meters is more alarming than 0.4 meters so let’s go with that.

Jimbo

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

PIK
“Snow piling up exerts pressure on the ice, thus it flows faster to the coast”
http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/archive/2012/more-ice-loss-through-snowfall-on-antarctica

The following papers say no it’s not.
Extreme snowfalls
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50559/abstract
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL053316/abstract
[Note: PIK = Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Pine Island Glacier is usually abbreviated PIG in these type reports. .mod]

Adam

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

Robertv

Isn’t it normal that the grounding line is carved away by the moving ice ?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fjord

Svend Ferdinandsen

” ice has melted back from earlier grounding lines and into deeper basins, losing its anchor on the bottom, exposing more ice to the warmer ocean water and accelerating the melting.”
If that is right, then the glacier is in reality a floating iceberg, and can then not change the sealevel no matter if the floating part melts completely.

If our ancestors 200 years ago had stopped the Industrial Revolution for fear of a couple of inches of sea level rise, would we be grateful?

ehtyler says:
May 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm
“the continual recitation of the government view that Glaciers were melting because of human activity resulting from climate change, warming of the air and sea, was enough to nauseate anyone with the ability to both read and think. Our society is being brainwashed to believe, as science, an assumption that is designed to gain our acceptance of more and more government control.”
Yes, all the National Park websites have this propaganda…
What can be done about it? – have to vote in the politicians that don’t go along with this – good luck with that…

Ray Van Dune

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

MikeUK

Ice shelf melting is just a special case of coastal erosion. Water erodes the base of cliffs, and then chunks break off from time to time. A purely natural process, someone should sue NASA for misrepresentation of science.
The problem is the people that write the press releases, no doubt making exaggerated claims to maximise impact and interest, you see it everywhere in climate science.

Jimbo

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

May 13, 2014
New paper finds most of Antarctica cooled over the past 1,000 years
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/05/new-paper-finds-most-of-antarctica.html
=====================================
May 8, 2014
New paper finds E. Antarctic snow accumulation is at highest levels of past 900 years
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/05/new-paper-finds-e-antarctic-snow.html

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

milodonharlani

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

bernie1815

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

hunter

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

Eugene WR Gallun

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

Catcracking

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

Latitude

Catcracking says:
=====
“The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is mostly grounded on land that is below sea level”
pretty much…so when it does collapse it’s also going to defy the laws of gravity

J. Philip Peterson says:
May 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm
ehtyler says:
May 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm
“the continual recitation of the government view that Glaciers were melting because of human activity resulting from climate change, warming of the air and sea, was enough to nauseate anyone with the ability to both read and think. Our society is being brainwashed to believe, as science, an assumption that is designed to gain our acceptance of more and more government control.”
Yes, all the National Park websites have this propaganda…
What can be done about it? – have to vote in the politicians that don’t go along with this – good luck with that…
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I was in Glacier Bay a few years ago and picked up a National Parks Services brochure. It actually noted that “glaciers advance and glaciers retreat”. They show NO Glacier Bay in 1680, then a rapid advance of the glaciers in the Little Ice Age around 1750 that scoured out and created Glacier Bay; then the subsequent retreat. I was surprised to see ‘real’ information based on geology and verbal history in the brochure. The pertinent information from the Brochure is here:
http://tinypic.com/r/2me7e5j/8
I don’t know it NPS has changed their brochure but it was there in 2011. However, the verbal diarrhoea is probably mandated. 🙂

Glaciers have been slipping into the sea for a long time. It’s sorta what they do, gravity and sliding downhill and so on. It would be unusual if a glacier STOPPED sliding into the sea. The only real question is the rate at which they’re sliding.
So– are these Antarctic glaciers sliding markedly faster than they used to, or not? If they are, what, exactly did we do to start it (no, I don’t accept the idea that my rusty Chevy did it) and what– if anything– could be done to slow it? I have an idea that standing in front of the glacier holding a “Stop” sign and shouting “Whoa!!!” might not work very well.
This could be a gold-mine for an enterprising tug-boat captain. Hook up some tow lines to that ice and haul it to the Middle East, the Sahara, Southern California– all the places where ice and water might be welcomed. Hey, it’s a thought anyway, and if I had a large sea-going tug I just might consider it.

rogerknights

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

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

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

DR

Same *hit different century.