Claim: Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster – but never mind the active volcanic region under the ice

From Princeton University, where they may not have read this paper that just happens to talk about the same area: West Antarctica.

Numerous volcanoes exist in Marie Byrd Land, a highland region of West Antarctica. High heat flow through the crust in this region may influence the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

The map from that article- compare to the one below it, while not exactly the same location, perhaps there is another volcanic process nearby? MtSidleyThere is other support for that idea:

New paper finds West Antarctic glacier likely melting from geothermal heat below

One major contributor to fast glacial flow is the presence of subglacial water, the production of which is a result of both glaciological shear heating and geothermal heat flux.

Here is the PR from Princeton:


princeton-antarctica

Princeton University researchers “weighed” Antarctica’s ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and found that from 2003 to 2014, the ice sheet lost 92 billion tons of ice per year. Credit: Image by Christopher Harig, Department of Geosciences

During the past decade, Antarctica’s massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east, according to Princeton University researchers who came to one overall conclusion — the southern continent’s ice cap is melting ever faster.

The researchers “weighed” Antarctica’s ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and found that from 2003 to 2014, the ice sheet lost 92 billion tons of ice per year, the researchers report in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. If stacked on the island of Manhattan, that amount of ice would be more than a mile high — more than five times the height of the Empire State Building.

The vast majority of that loss was from West Antarctica, which is the smaller of the continent’s two main regions and abuts the Antarctic Peninsula that winds up toward South America. Since 2008, ice loss from West Antarctica’s unstable glaciers doubled from an average annual loss of 121 billion tons of ice to twice that by 2014, the researchers found. The ice sheet on East Antarctica, the continent’s much larger and overall more stable region, thickened during that same time, but only accumulated half the amount of ice lost from the west, the researchers reported.

“We have a solution that is very solid, very detailed and unambiguous,” said co-author Frederik Simons, a Princeton associate professor of geosciences. “A decade of gravity analysis alone cannot force you to take a position on this ice loss being due to anthropogenic global warming. All we have done is take the balance of the ice on Antarctica and found that it is melting — there is no doubt. But with the rapidly accelerating rates at which the ice is melting, and in the light of all the other, well-publicized lines of evidence, most scientists would be hard pressed to find mechanisms that do not include human-made climate change.”

Compared to other types of data, the Princeton study shows that ice is melting from West Antarctica at a far greater rate than was previously known and that the western ice sheet is much more unstable compared to other regions of the continent, said first author Christopher Harig, a Princeton postdoctoral research associate in geosciences. Overall, ice-loss rates from all of Antarctica increased by 6 billion tons per year each year during the 11-year period the researchers examined. The melting rate from West Antarctica, however, grew by 18 billion tons per year every year, Harig and Simons found. Accelerations in ice loss are measured in tons per year, per year, or tons per year squared.

Of most concern, Harig said, is that this massive and accelerating loss occurred along West Antarctica’s Amundsen Sea, particularly Pine Island and the Thwaites Glacier, where heavy losses had already been recorded. An iceberg more than 2,000 square miles in size broke off from the Thwaites Glacier in 2002.

In Antarctica, it’s the ocean currents rather than air temperatures that melt the ice, and melted land ice contributes to higher sea levels in a way that melting icebergs don’t, Harig said. As the ocean warms, floating ice shelves melt and can no longer hold back the land ice.

“The fact that West Antarctic ice-melt is still accelerating is a big deal because it’s increasing its contribution to sea-level rise,” Harig said. “It really has potential to be a runaway problem. It has come to the point that if we continue losing mass in those areas, the loss can generate a self-reinforcing feedback whereby we will be losing more and more ice, ultimately raising sea levels by tens of feet.”

The Princeton study differs from existing approaches to measuring Antarctic ice loss in that it derives from the only satellite data that measure the mass of ice rather than its volume, which is more typical, Simons explained. He and Harig included monthly data from GRACE, or the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, a dual-satellite joint mission between NASA and the German Aerospace Center. GRACE measures gravity changes to determine the time-variable behavior of various components in the Earth’s mass system such as ocean currents, earthquake-induced changes and melting ice. Launched in 2002, the GRACE satellites are expected to be retired by 2016 with the first of two anticipated replacement missions scheduled for 2017.

While the volume of an ice sheet — or how much space it takes up — is also crucial information, it can change without affecting the amount of ice that is present, Simons explained. Snow and ice, for instance, compact under their own weight so that to the lasers that are bounced off the ice’s surface to determine volume, there appears to be a reduction in the amount of ice, Simons said. Mass or weight, on the other hand, changes when ice is actually redistributed and lost.

Simons equated the difference between measuring ice volume and mass to a person weighing himself by only looking in the mirror instead of standing on a scale.

“You shouldn’t only look at the ice volume — you should also weigh it to find the mass changes,” Simons said. “But there isn’t going to be a whole lot of research of this type coming up because the GRACE satellites are on their last legs. This could be the last statement of this kind on these kinds of data for a long time. There may be a significant data gap during which the only monitoring available will not be by ‘weighing’ but by ‘looking’ via laser or radar altimetry, photogrammetry or field studies.”

Harig and Simons developed a unique data-analysis method that allowed them to separate GRACE data by specific Antarctic regions. Because the ice sheet behaves differently in different areas, a continent-wide view would provide a general sense of how all of the ice mass, taken together, has changed, but exclude finer-scale geographical detail and temporal fluctuations. They recently published a paper about their computational methods in the magazine EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, and used a similar method for a 2012 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that revealed sharper-than-ever details about Greenland’s accelerating loss of its massive ice sheet.

Robert Kopp, a Rutgers University associate professor of earth and planetary sciences and associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute, said the analysis method Harig and Simons developed allowed them to capture a view of regional Antarctic ice loss “more accurately than previous approaches.” Beyond the recent paper, Harig and Simons’ method could be important for testing models of Antarctic ice-sheet stability developed by other researchers, he said.

“The notable feature of this research is the power of their method to resolve regions geographically in gravity data,” Kopp said. “I expect that [their] technique will be an important part of monitoring future changes in the ice sheet and testing such models.”

###

The paper, “Accelerated West Antarctic ice mass loss continues to outpace East Antarctic gains,” was published in the April 1 edition of Earth and Planetary Science Letters. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant nos. PLR-1245788 and EAR-1014606).

Abstract

While multiple data sources have confirmed that Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate, different measurement techniques estimate the details of its geographically highly variable mass balance with different levels of accuracy, spatio-temporal resolution, and coverage. Some scope remains for methodological improvements using a single data type. In this study we report our progress in increasing the accuracy and spatial resolution of time-variable gravimetry from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). We determine the geographic pattern of ice mass change in Antarctica between January 2003 and June 2014, accounting for glacio-isostatic adjustment (GIA) using the IJ05_R2 model. Expressing the unknown signal in a sparse Slepian basis constructed by optimization to prevent leakage out of the regions of interest, we use robust signal processing and statistical estimation methods. Applying those to the latest time series of monthly GRACE solutions we map Antarctica’s mass loss in space and time as well as can be recovered from satellite gravity alone. Ignoring GIA model uncertainty, over the period 2003–2014, West Antarctica has been losing ice mass at a rate of −121±8 Gt/yr and has experienced large acceleration of ice mass losses along the Amundsen Sea coast of −18±5 Gt/yr2, doubling the mass loss rate in the past six years. The Antarctic Peninsula shows slightly accelerating ice mass loss, with larger accelerated losses in the southern half of the Peninsula. Ice mass gains due to snowfall in Dronning Maud Land have continued to add about half the amount of West Antarctica’s loss back onto the continent over the last decade. We estimate the overall mass losses from Antarctica since January 2003 at −92±10 Gt/yr.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X15000564

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166 thoughts on “Claim: Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster – but never mind the active volcanic region under the ice

      • Dear Ms. or Mr. Husky,

        Please help me, then. It seemed to me that if over 80% of Antarctic ice not only not melting, but increasing in mass, then it is wrong to say that “the balance of Antarctic ice” (given that in common English useage, “the balance of” usually means “the greater part of”) is melting.

        Thanks!

        Janice

      • Never mind, Husky. LOL, I just did a little research into your typical comment…. YOU ARE A TROLL! lololol Oh, brother. Well, welcome to WUWT. Have fun marking doing your “business” (well, that’s what my dogs call it!) all over the place…..

      • Husky can’t tell his west from his east…LOL

        IN the mean time…..we have another paper with a hysterical tipping point

      • Siberian Husky May 1, 2015 at 6:10 pm: “Read what you’ve written again, then slap yourself in the head.”

        A coyote in fact. Your stupidity annoys me.

    • So basically after a very strong hint has been given to you about the logical fallacy in your statement, you still can’t work out why what you’ve said is nonsense?

    • Interestingly enough, the area of greatest melt is also the area of greatest heat from the Mt. Takahi volcano in West Antarctica

      • And of course if and when the thing finally breaks through the ice, they will say it was the melting that caused the volcano to erupt. Nothing like putting carts before horses ;)

    • Janice Moore May 1, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      You are absolutely right, Janice. Problem with this paper and others I have looked at is that the authors just don’t do their homework. In this case, they attempt to use a short observation period (2003 to 2014) and fancy that they can explain the past and the future of a continent from that. Antarctic warming has had its ups and downs and a lot of it is recorded in scientific literature which they totally ignore. Fortunately I made a summary of it in my book [1]. First, Scherer et al. [2] noted already in 1998 that WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) had collapsed at least once in Pleistocene. Ohguchi et al. [3] took a more detailed view and determined that WAIS was subject to periodic collapses. They demonstrated that a large amount of melt water had cascaded into the Ross Sea 18,000 years ago, then again 10,500 years ago, again 5,500 tears ago, and finally 1,500 years ago. None of these melts were human-caused. But the authors still pretend to be on the fence about the anthropogenic component in the warming they detected, obviously for idealogical reasons, even though nothing points to human causation. With the history of past periodic collapses of WAIS it is highly likely that any warming that can be observed now is just a fringe part of this oscillatory behavior.

      [1] Arno Arrak, “What Warming? Satellite view of global temperature change (CreateSpace 2010)” page 38.

      [2] Scherer et al. Science (3 July 1998)

      [3] Ohguci et al. Geochimica et Cosmochemica Acta 70:453

  1. How does the ice melt an disappear?
    It is too cold on the land to melt at all.
    The argument re ” As the ocean warms, floating ice shelves melt and can no longer hold back the land ice.’
    is patently false as sea ice extent has been at record levels over the last decade.
    The answer is that the GRACE algorithms used which have a massive known error range have been interpreted by these “authors” to the utmost edge of the data which would support an “the Antarctic is melting theme”.
    Bad science and Horrible ethics at play.
    Why does one of their assistant programmers not dob them in?
    Why do not people use common sense?

    • Why do not people use common sense?

      because:
      1. common sense is an especially rare commodity in AGW
      2. it will endanger the likelihood of the next grant
      3. it would be too sensible.

      Choose any two.

  2. We have a solution that is very solid, very detailed and unambiguous,” said co-author Frederik Simons, a Princeton associate professor of geosciences. “A decade of gravity analysis alone cannot force you to take a position on this ice loss being due to anthropogenic global warming.

    OK, so actual data regarding the mass of ice lost does not point to an anthropogenic cause.

    But with the rapidly accelerating rates at which the ice is melting, and in the light of all the other, well-publicized lines of evidence, most scientists would be hard pressed to find mechanisms that do not include human-made climate change.

    Whoa, wave hands much? Presumably, the “decade of gravity analysis” showed “the rapidly accelerating rates [rates?] at which the ice is melting,” yet that wasn’t enough to point the finger at AGW. However “other, well-publicized lines of evidence” [being what, please?] make it hard for “most scientists” to find other mechanisms?

    So many weasel words in one statement. I expect better from geologists.

    • James Schrumpf
      I think, essentially it means they are willing to go along with the CAGW idea because someone else said it was true. Circular logic. A bit like a dog having a some fun with his tail.

      Eamon.

    • As I pointed out in my previous comment, the authors simply had no idea about what happened in the Antarctic before they started taking their data. This is specifically true of this one, Fred Simons of Princeton, who claims to have a “solution” that is ” …very solid, very detailed and unambiguous….” According to him, “…rapidly accelerating rates at which the ice is melting, and in the light of all the other, well-publicized lines of evidence, most scientists would be hard pressed to find mechanisms that do not include human-made climate change…” Note that he deludes here to be speaking for “most scientists.” He is dead wrong of course and his “well-publicized” lines of evidence are simply a lie. What the evidence in scientific literature does point to is that WAIS has been subject to periodic collapses which have been traced as far back as the Pleistocene. None of the five recorded collapses on record are human-caused but in his ignorance of this fact the true believer in him comes out. He just grabs this chance to invent a weasel-worded scenario that would put Antarctica into the realm of his imaginary climate change. In view of what we know about the past collapses of WAIS any warming that GRACE actually detected is very likely just a fringe expression of the broader instability WAIS has been subjected to over centuries.

  3. I think all Australians should grab this shonky release, hype it, and ask that the rest of the world who thinks they might be inundated by sea level rise, pay us to keep our massive white elephant desalination plants (presently all mothballed and still costing us heaps of taxpayer money, though idle) running day and night to lower these unseen but “real” sea level rises.

    Standing by for a flow of massive dollars to finance that UN proposal, note to Prime Minister Abbot – this could even fix budgetary problems caused by pesky greens and other lefties in the Senate as with any UN largesse there is always heaps of money that can be siphoned off as history shows.

    If you can’t beat the sods, join them with snouts in the trough.!

  4. “If stacked on the island of Manhattan, that amount of ice would be more than a mile high — more than five times the height of the Empire State Building.”

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

    If stacked on the continent of Antarctica, that amount of ice would be more than 0.5cm high — more than ten times the width of a human fingernail.

  5. If ice loss was uniform across the continent, THEN and only then, you might be able to correlate to rising CO2 and global warming. The fact that the larger part of the continent is increasing its ice and the part that is decreasing is in a volcanically active area screams the opposite. This is regardless of the net effect

  6. I see this research is a “claim”. The research about geothermal heating under West Antarctica generally isn’t tagged with “claim”, such as the research by UTIG about Thwaites glacier last year:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/09/uh-oh-study-says-collapsing-thwaites-glacier-in-antarctica-melting-from-geothermal-heat-not-co2-heat-effects/

    So when the lead author of that geothermal study, Dusty Schroeder, says:

    “The fastest glacial changes are happening where the ocean is warmer,” Schroeder said. “Geothermal heating is not enough by itself to have caused the observed changes.”

    is the ‘ocean warmer’ part a “claim” but the ‘geothermal’ part “research”?

    • The amount of heat from a volcanic mount will not be enough to provide the energy to melt that amount of ice that has disappeared. The ocean water, though, is above melting point and always was. Its greater circulation that cause the terminus of glaciers to melt and flow quicker. Only glacier basins are claimed to be melting. The rest of West Antarctica is neutral and East Antarctica is growing, as measured.

      So the areas that do not have ice flow into the sea are not affected. The areas that flow through to a terminus that is affected by volcanic activity is.

      • Schroeder’s statement pointed out that the changes in West Antarctica can’t be explained as entirely due to geothermal heating, even though it plays a role:

        In response to those who are using his study to deny climate change, Schroeder confirmed that volcanic activity is not the dominant force of ice loss and rising sea levels.

        Similarly:

        Rignot, also the lead author of a study out last month that documented widespread retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, said geothermal heating contributes to a few millimeters of melting annually, compared to rising sea temperatures which can trigger rates of up to 100 meters each year.

        The scientific community isn’t ignoring geothermal activity in the area. But unlike this blog they don’t treat research like an à la carte menu, picking a few things one likes and sending the rest back to the kitchen. As even this new paper says:

        Ultimately, the continental ice sheet response to global change is the sum of the behaviors within individual drainage basins, which are subject to the combined effects of surface mass balance, calving and basal melting, and influenced by their geographic location and topog-raphy.

        Highlighting a few bits of research when it aligns with one’s perceptions while dismissing the rest as mere “claims” is a poor way to do science. Seems to be a common way to run a blog, though.

      • Leo G

        I don’t think may people here or elsewhere blame ‘volcanoes’ for ice mass loss. What I do see at other sites are claims that ‘global warming’ causes a) the increase in precipitation in East Antarctica, b) ice shelf mass loss, c) ice extent retreating, d) acceleration of the movement of glaciers, and e) ice mass loss on the West Coast.

        I have seen all of these things attributed not only to ‘global warming’ but specifically to a man-caused increase in the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

        I have also noted from other sources that a) precipitation is not abnormal in East Antarctica, b) the ice shelf mass varies in long cycles and is basically unchanged around the continent, c) the sea ice is extending, not retreating, d) glaciers accelerate and slow for a variety of reasons so when they accelerate and extend further it is blamed on global warming and when they slow or retreat it too is blamed on global warming, e) the ice mass loss on the West Coast seems to have something to do with sea water temperature, nothing to do with the land warming enough to ‘melt’.

        The mainland is never really above the freezing point as inland it is always far below zero C. The idea that there is continental warming is dubious because it is not supported by measurements. Stieg’s infamous and hollow claim, printed on the front of Nature is a case in point. Measurements in the ‘warming area of ice loss’ and the East are all indicative of a slightly declining continental temperature. There are many charts showing this.

        Thus sneering at this blog for ‘picking’ data or papers is pointless. We look at everything here, not just confirmation bias supporting ‘global warming’.

  7. From my admittedly poor understanding of volcanoes and gravity, could the Grace satellite be picking up density changes under the ice because of land subsidence from a collapsing volcano? I guess what i am really wondering is what does the Yellowstone Caldera look like to Grace?

    • Sea floor volcanoes increase gravity over them….makes that big constant sea level anomaly in the Pacific
      …the one that shows sea levels constantly rising

      • Yes if they are constantly rising, but the Yellowstone Caldera rises and falls, and it is constantly monitored.

        Do the Grace satellite readings on the Yellowstone Caldera agree with the other measurements there?

      • Been a long time since my geology courses, but as I recall, plate tectonics theory back in the late ’70s was that since basaltic magmas were much heavier than granitic magmas, the seafloors tended to be basalt and continents tended to granite. Everything was floating on the outer mantle, and the heavy stuff (basalt) floated lower and made seafloors, while the relatively lighter granite floated higher and made continents.

        The type of magma intrusion might make all the difference in a mass-sensing satellite: if the magma were high-density basalt, it should register increasing mass; if it were relatively low-density granite, it should register the same or decreasing.

        Or I might be misremembering the whole thing, or the theory was all disproved 30 years ago. What says the current theory of plate tectonics?

      • jinghis
        May 1, 2015 at 6:53 pm
        Yes if they are constantly rising
        ===
        nope, it’s the mass that increases gravity…satellites just read it as an anomaly

    • “So the the new S.I. unit of ice is the Empire State-Manhattan.”

      Yep, it’s all about making scary headlines. People think a gigaton is always a big number and Manhattan is always a big place. Never mind that depending on context and scale, they could be tiny.

  8. I share angech’s puzzlement. Warm sea currents do not melt the ice on land. Balmy tropical breezes are not blowing across West Antarctica. It is still an area best avoided by brass monkeys who wish to retain their virility. The air temperatures are below freezing, are they not?

    So how is Global Warming melting the ice there? Has all the sea ice disappeared from the coast, so that the land ice is sliding into the sea rather than melting? If so, why do I see pictures of Antarctica surrounded by more ice than ever?

    • The Antarctic ice sheet is, for the most part, not “on land”. It is sitting on bedrock that is below sea level. Perhaps a picture will help:

      Sea ice and floating ice shelves are completely different things. Sea ice is the sea surface that has frozen into a relatively thin sheet due to cold air. Ice shelves are the floating portions of glaciers/ice sheets that have reached the ocean.

      • From the picture, it is clear that the ROV is mixing in warm water and melting the ice. So, it is caused
        by humans!! Now we just have to tell them to stop sending the ROVs that direction.

      • Thanks. That diagram helps. So what is allegedly melting faster is deep sea ice, not land ice. And I presume it is supposed to be melting faster because the circumpolar water has been warmed up by AGW. Is there any deep sea ice on the other side of Antarctica, and is it melting faster, too? If not, why is the circumpolar water only warm on one side?

      • It appears the greatest effect from the warmest currents, and thereby the greatest area of melt, lies in the region of greatest volcanic activity adjacent to Mt. Takahe where the ground is almost 4 times warmer than the continental average

      • Leo Geiger

        The Antarctic ice sheet is, for the most part, not “on land”. It is sitting on bedrock that is below sea level. Perhaps a picture will help …

        the Antarctic land ice is 14.0 Mkm^2.
        The total Antarctic shelf ice is 1.5 Mkm^2.

        Your simplified graphic is accurate for less than 10% of the total Antarctic “fixed ice”.

        Given that the surrounding ever-increasing Antarctic sea ice extent – now 25% to 35% greater than normal across all times of the year under all seasons for the last five years – is 3 Mkm^2 to 20 Mkm^2, even such a simplified graphic is accurate for only part of the 1.5 Mkm^2 of the total 35 Mkm^2 … Your graphic is overly simplified, and even for the PIG, makes gross assumptions for the underside of the glacier.

        For example, the retreat of the Thwaites and Pine Island glacier can also be explained by an increase in glacier thickness, thus grounding them in deeper water than before.

  9. The news today is also reporting on an extensive undersea eruption off the coast of Oregon and Washington. Seems like a pretty good source for warming of the gyre. It also seems that no one wants to account for any of the contribution of the deep sea vents to sea level rise; It moves continents nothing else. I mean it hasn’t been 20 years since we discovered an entire kingdom of life not dependent of photosynthesis that is reputed to outweigh all of the rest of the Kingdom of life as we new it. Go figure; the things we don’t know about will fill books someday!

    • lt sounds like that undersea eruption is right where “the blob” is, that been the case will it help to make The Blob stronger and longer lasting?.

      • I — I — I live in Portland, Oregon. Oh! God! I am doomed!!!!! — Eugene WR Gallun

      • The Blob is upper sea temps. So it is unlikely that this undersea activity would affect surface temps. Besides, it looks to me that the Blob has reached the end of it,s life. The cooler surface waters to the west are now encroaching into the center of the Blob. By the end of the summer conditions in that region will look entirely different. What is scary is that the Cascadia Fault is ripe for the next major quake. Could it be that this underwater volcanic activity is what leads to the triggering of the somewhat cyclical quakes on this fault? Perhaps it is further connected with changes in the Sun during it,s weak cycles.

      • “Waiter, I’ll have the Juan de Fuca Plate, with a side of Blanco Fracture Zone. Easy on the Gorda Ridge, please.”

        Those are some wicked right angles, though. Geology can be surprising sometimes.

      • Here’s a bit of a non sequitur, but look at the stunning absence of seismic activity along both the Juan de Fuca Ridge and the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

    • Don Rumsfeld was laughed at when he talked about “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns.” I guess since the libs/leftards/progressives know everything, the concept of “things unknown” is alien to them.

  10. Notice the Headlines always says “Antarctica” is losing ice, but (sometimes buried) in the article it will then say it’s only “Western Antarctica”

    That’s like having a headline saying “Extreme Drought grips North America” but when you read the article it says only Southern California

    Just another example of the lying press

  11. Here’s a Cliff Clavin little known fact: Most of the sub-glacial topography of West Antarctica is below sea level. Although the sub-glacial topography of the hot spot on the map above is above sea level.

  12. We have been here before. Here’s the bottom line: If the melting continues at this rate, the entire ice cap will be gone in 271,000 years, maybe three ice ages from now. Or not.

    Given that the continent is still (supposedly) emerging from the last ice age, is it a surprise that the ice mass is decreasing? I certainly hope it continues! If the ice were increasing in mass it would be a very bad sign indeed because that might presage the descent into the next civilisation-killing global climate cycle – one I hope to avoid witnessing.

    I liked the bit about stacking that ice on Manhattan Island and how it would be a mile high. How irrelevant! If they stacked all the ice on Antarctica on Manhattan it would reach 27,000 miles past the far side of the moon.

  13. A couple of years ago, I tried to post on one of those sites that delete postings that they don’t like. One of the regulars had written a piece in the NYTimes, I do believe. He wrote about the melting on the South Pole. I pointed out that the melting was due to a volcano, which elicited a reply that it was under 2 miles of ice. Oddly enough, their was a link to another story on the page at the NYT. The other story reported how for the first time on record, a volcano in Antarctica had melted through the ice.

    • This one?

      Scientists Find Active Volcano in Antarctica
      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/world/21volcano.html

      ” In an article published Sunday on the Web site of the journal Nature Geoscience, Hugh F. J. Corr and David G. Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey report the identification of a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards frozen within an ice sheet in western Antarctica.

      For Antarctica, “This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet,” Dr. Vaughan said.

      Heat from a volcano could still be melting ice and contributing to the thinning and speeding up of the Pine Island Glacier, which passes nearby, but Dr. Vaughan doubted that it could be affecting other glaciers in West Antarctica, which have also thinned in recent years. Most glaciologists, including Dr. Vaughan, say that warmer ocean water is the primary cause.”

      • The scary part of the radar scan is it proves there has been a lot of ice accumulation since 323 BC. That cannot be good for any reason. Has anyone calculated the drop in sea level involved in such an accumulation?

        Maybe northern ice melting is offsetting the growing pile of ice in Antarctica. If it gets heavy enough it will swing the Earth’s tilt to one side, suddenly. How can we melt more of the ice?

  14. Some obvious problems:
    1. Bouguer anomaly accounted for and removed? No.
    2. Terrain Effects (with wind fields as per changes of water equivalent mass in turbulent boundary layer) accounted for and removed? No.

    The cruel joke on the Authors (and Editor and Reviewers) is that … they will inherit the wind [as in Gone With The Wind]!

    Snicker snicker … Ha ha ha ha.

  15. This is the logic:

    The ice is melting fast, not say it’s man-made global warming….but well, what else could it possibly be?

  16. Covered this in essay Tipping Points. This new estimate is a third of what Rignot published last year for Pine Island and Thwaites, which got much more sensational, NASA supported headlines. Rignot’s estimate was an outlier to all others. This new one is back to previous estimates, and the ‘acceleration’ is within GRACE estimate error, especially given a decaying satellite system where lead and follow have had to be switched.

  17. Okay, a question for the experts. How does an instrument measuring gravity from space decide what part is the weight of ice sitting on land & what part is the weight of the land?

  18. I found the researcher’s Manhattan Island/Empire State Building ice-loss reference rather amusing:

    https://dn3pm25xmtlyu.cloudfront.net/photos/large/37285597.jpg?1256004203&Expires=1430618794&Signature=o58sYvPBMUtjv8F8xo9fI27fk2LLWX-a5vILRPDt7oDcXjd1xqW~xkjoXiSi87GxuQs2KQVSzElgxFrKSE6hGvh0ZsSzi6LHJXElm3mjC4xTTQfm0xShwOS43FtXJOJXF84z8qiUdSyc6Tq0SnaK4LGSiD5yGOO-tBrDW2t0tCY_&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIYVGSUJFNRFZBBTA

    Whenever “scientists” use such lame references, the paper isn’t about science, it’s pure propaganda…

    ICESAT satellite measurements show Antarctica is losing land Ice on the West Coast and gaining land ice on the East Coast for a net GAIN of around 40 GT/yr.

    GRACE data has relatively large error bars, so in light of the ICESAT data, it’s perhaps more scientific to say it’s inconclusive whether Antarctica is gaining or losing land ice.

    Regardless, both GRACE and ICESAT show land-ice increasing on the West Coast, so if CO2 is to blame, why is the loss centered on such a relatively small area of the Antarctic, that also just happens to correspond with a volcanic hot zone… Hmmmm.. Why indeed…

    Given the religious nature of CAGW zealots, I’m reminded of the Bible verse:

    “For it’s by GRACE ye are saved through faith, and not of works…lest any man should boast.”

    • “GRACE data has relatively large error bars, so in light of the ICESAT data, it’s perhaps more scientific to say it’s inconclusive whether Antarctica is gaining or losing land ice.”

      It would be more scientific to say that there is no detectable change in the ice mass on land in Antarctica. If there is a change that is lower that the Limit of Quantification of the measurement system then any change is literally undetectable.

      Getting ‘a different number’ because the reporting precision of the system reports it does not mean the difference is automatically larger than the inaccuracy of the system. If the system’s accuracy is plus-minus 250 gigatons, talk of +40 or -92 Gt is just that: talk.

      If the difference is greater that sigma 1 (one standard deviation) from the mean of the readings then one can report the difference ‘with 66% confidence’. If you need 95% confidence you have to get a difference that is outside the 2 sigma band (two standard deviations) distance from the mean. Measuring a large number of times increases the precision of the ‘real’ mean value but it has no effect on the accuracy of the measurement system which is inherent.

      That is what is so important about the failure of climate models. The actual temperatures are outside the 2 sigma range of most model’s predictions. We can therefore say with 95% confidence the models are unable to predict the impact of rising CO2 because they get it so wrong.

      What is the Limit of detection (LoD) and Limit of quantification (LoQ) of the Grace system? What is the precision? What is the accuracy? Know that, and you know how to consider the claims.

  19. None of which alters the ongoing meme of ice melting – I travelled on the antarctic flight last year only to be told by the “experts” they had on board that Antarctica was melting right across the continent.

  20. ‘the southern continent’s ice cap is melting ever faster …’.
    ====================================
    Goodness that is a poser because whatever is causing the melt, it cannot be the surface air temperature:

    • Yes, indeed…

      Current Weather Conditions:
      Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica

      (NZSP) 90-00S 00-00E 2835M

      Conditions at
      May 01, 2015 – 07:50 PM EDT May 01, 2015 – 06:50 PM CDT May 01, 2015 – 05:50 PM MDT May 01, 2015 – 04:50 PM PDT May 01, 2015 – 03:50 PM ADT May 01, 2015 – 01:50 PM HST
      2015.05.01 2350 UTC

      Wind from the N (010 degrees) at 17 MPH (15 KT)
      Visibility 3 mile(s)
      Sky conditions partly cloudy
      Weather Ice crystals Mist
      Temperature -67 F (-55 C)
      Windchill -106 F (-77 C)

      {Source: http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/NZSP.html }

  21. Isn’t it hilarious? Their own data clearly shows that the ice loss is regional. Then they ascribe to this regional effect a cause that is global.

      • LOLOLOL — And it’s not the FIRST miss that’s so funny….

        Give — it — up, Climate Clowns.

      • perfect analogy, a swing and a miss, but if you look carefully the guy is trying to complete this kick using his toe which, back in the day as they say, I was instructed would leave you with broken toes. Anyone who has had broken toes will assure you !: It is very hard to even walk and 2: when you try to walk it’s like coughing with broken ribs;3you will avoid the circumstances that brought that on for the rest of your life! We need the warmistas to connect with their toes often enough to make them more circumspect!

  22. Evidence for elevated and spatially variable geothermal flux beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    http://www.pnas.org/content/111/25/9070

    Edited by Mark H. Thiemens, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved May 8, 2014

    “Thwaites Glacier is one of the West Antarctica’s most prominent, rapidly evolving, and potentially unstable contributors to global sea level rise. Uncertainty in the amount and spatial pattern of geothermal flux and melting beneath this glacier is a major limitation in predicting its future behavior and sea level contribution. In this paper, a combination of radar sounding and subglacial water routing is used to show that large areas at the base of Thwaites Glacier are actively melting in response to geothermal flux consistent with rift-associated magma migration and volcanism. This supports the hypothesis that heterogeneous geothermal flux and local magmatic processes could be critical factors in determining the future behavior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. “

  23. After sending three e-mails to the University of Illinois Polar Research Group, I finally got a reply regarding the reason for the sudden cessation of Arctic, Antarctic and Global sea ice daily updates since April 11th:

    “From: Chapman, William L Today at 11:44 AM
    To: xxxxxx xxxxx

    Thanks for writing, Steve. We are having server problems right now. Hopefully back soon.

    – Bill”

    Hmmmmm…. A 3-week problem with….. their Internet server… Color me skeptical…

    BTW, Mr. Chapman’s e-mail address is: wlchapma@illinois.edu

    If others wish to keep pressure on them to get the daily sea ice updates restarted, please feel free to send Mr. Chapman an e-mail.

    • Do you think they could be adjusting data while using a downed server as a delaying tactic?

      • Patrick– I think that the UI’s cryosphere dept is “adjusting” their sea ice algorithms to show less sea ice, similar to what JAXA did a few years ago.

        I notice that JAXA’s daily sea ice updates also stopped last month at about the same time as UI’s…

        Coincidence?? I doubt it.

        Looking at what daily sea ice data is available, the global ice extent is roughly 1.25 million KM^2 above the 30-yr average, which the CAGW alarmists don’t like to see; especially with the November Paris Conclave coming.

        We’ll see,…

  24. Pic Research by the British Antarctic Survey has found that volcanos played a crucial role in preserving life when our world went through one of its periodic ice ages.

    From time to time in Earth’s history, the planet cools and an ice cover extends from the poles to cover large sections of the planet’s surface. It’s even hypothesized that about 650 million years ago the entire world was covered with an ice sheet – the Snowball Earth scenario.

    Current scientific thinking is that as ice extends from the poles, plant and animal life migrate towards the equator. The British Antarctic Survey team’s research, however, shows that – for Antarctica at least – volcanoes help keep life going while freezing conditions persist.

    “Nearly 60 per cent of Antarctic invertebrate species are found nowhere else in the world but Antarctica,” said Professor Peter Convey from the British Antarctic Survey.

    “They have clearly not arrived on the continent recently, but must have been there for millions of years. How they survived past ice ages – the most recent of which ended less than 20,000 years ago – has long puzzled scientists.”
    The team has compiled a survey of over 39,000 organisms on Antarctica, comprising 1,823 taxa, across the icy continent. They found that by far the most populated areas of the continent were around volcanoes that are either active today, or which have been active since the last glacial maximum 20,000 years ago.

    “Our spatial modeling of Antarctic biodiversity indicates that some terrestrial groups likely survived throughout intense glacial cycles on ice-free land or in sub-ice caves associated with areas of geothermal activity, from which recolonization of the rest of the continent took place,” the team said in a paper (PDF) published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    “These results,” the paper notes, “provide unexpected insights into the responses of various species to past climate change and the importance of geothermal regions in promoting biodiversity. Furthermore, they indicate the likely locations of biodiversity ‘hotspots’ in Antarctica, suggesting a critical focus for future conservation efforts.”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/12/survey_shows_volcanoes_help_nurture_life_during_global_cold_snaps/

  25. “Using radar data from satellites in orbit, the researchers were able to figure out where these subglacial streams were too full to be explained by flow from upstream. The swollen streams revealed spots of unusually high melt, Schroeder said. Next, the researchers checked out the subglacial geology in the region and found that fast-melting spots were disproportionately clustered near confirmed West Antarctic volcanoes, suspected volcanoes or other presumed hotspots.

    “There’s a pattern of hotspots,” Schroeder said. “One of them is next to Mount Takahe, which is a volcano that actually sticks out of the ice sheet.”… “It’s pretty hot by continental standards,” he said.”

    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/06/surprise-west-antarctic-volcano-melts-ice/

    • Since you are quoting Schroeder…

      According to Schroeder, Rignot’s paper, and another that came out in May, show that warm oceans are currently the main cause of glacier loss at the edge of the ice.

      “The fastest glacial changes are happening where the ocean is warmer,” Schroeder said. “Geothermal heating is not enough by itself to have caused the observed changes.”

      In response to those who are using his study to deny climate change, Schroeder confirmed that volcanic activity is not the dominant force of ice loss and rising sea levels.

      “If you want to understand how the glaciers are changing, you can’t just look at the ice, you can’t just look at the climate system, you can’t just look at the geology, you have to look at the whole picture,” he said.

      • Leo, what about this?

        Evidence for elevated and spatially variable geothermal flux beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

        “Edited by Mark H. Thiemens, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved May 8, 2014

        Abstract

        Heterogeneous hydrologic, lithologic, and geologic basal boundary conditions can exert strong control on the evolution, stability, and sea level contribution of marine ice sheets. Geothermal flux is one of the most dynamically critical ice sheet boundary conditions but is extremely difficult to constrain at the scale required to understand and predict the behavior of rapidly changing glaciers. This lack of observational constraint on geothermal flux is particularly problematic for the glacier catchments of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet within the low topography of the West Antarctic Rift System where geothermal fluxes are expected to be high, heterogeneous, and possibly transient. We use airborne radar sounding data with a subglacial water routing model to estimate the distribution of basal melting and geothermal flux beneath Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica. We show that the Thwaites Glacier catchment has a minimum average geothermal flux of ∼114 ± 10 mW/m2 with areas of high flux exceeding 200 mW/m2 consistent with hypothesized rift-associated magmatic migration and volcanism. These areas of highest geothermal flux include the westernmost tributary of Thwaites Glacier adjacent to the subaerial Mount Takahe volcano and the upper reaches of the central tributary near the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide ice core drilling site.”

        http://www.pnas.org/content/111/25/9070

  26. “The fact that West Antarctic ice-melt is still accelerating is a big deal because it’s increasing its contribution to sea-level rise,” Harig said. “It really has potential to be a runaway problem. It has come to the point that if we continue losing mass in those areas, the loss can generate a self-reinforcing feedback whereby we will be losing more and more ice, ultimately raising sea levels by tens of feet.”

    Interesting in light of the fact that the rate of sea level rising is slowing in recent years, not speeding up. So if antarctica lost more then other estimates then what lost less ice then we thought? or perhaps less ocean warming then thought? Has to be one or the other.

    • I looked on the WUWT reference pages for sea level info and came across this comment on Climate4You , supporting Randy’s comment above , and based on data from the University of Colorado:

      “The 12-month global sea level change display significant variations, apparently with an approximate 4 year period. These variations are seen to be superimposed on a general falling trend. Overall, since initiation of these satellite measurements, the 12-month sea level rise has decreased from about 4 mm/yr to about 2 mm/yr (using the 3 yr average).”

      Why the 4 year period?

  27. Janice (bless her heart!) got this thread off to an awful start. Siberian Huskie could have been a bit more civil in calling her our. Hiser comments do not a troll make.

    What the paper actually said is that the ice loss in West Antarctica has been larger than the gain in East Antarctica, a proposition with respect to which I have no informed opinion. Sounds at least possible, even reasonable.

    Leo Geiger’s cross section explains much. The current record Antarctic sea ice extent is, at least partially,
    a result of floating ice sheets breaking off. Presumably (think gravity) these lost shelves will be replaced by continental glaciers moving onto the sea and either floating or grounding, depending upon local geology.

    The shelves and bergs will unquestionably contribute to sea level rise, as the ice of which they consist fell originally as snow on the continent, not frozen from cold seawater. But no sane person would deny that sea level has been rising since the dawn of the Holocene. Where the hell else could SLR be coming from?

    And we should expect exactly that in a gradually warming world. The essential questions are 1), is any of this outside reasonable expectations, given what we “know”? And 2) Is it a problem? No to both.

    Spend your intellectual energy flogging the warmunists, not combating sensible observations. Look back up at the title of this article… L

    • Larry Wirth

      Leo Geiger’s cross section explains much. The current record Antarctic sea ice extent is, at least partially,
      a result of floating ice sheets breaking off. Presumably (think gravity) these lost shelves will be replaced by continental glaciers moving onto the sea and either floating or grounding, depending upon local geology.

      No, because just the “excess” Antarctic sea ice last June was equal to the entire area of Greenland. Compared to that, these three glaciers that are claimed melting so dramatically are in the wrong place to cause the expanded Antarctic sea ice (wrong side of the Antarctic Peninsula!); and the sea ice expansion is occurring all year for many years in a row now. Sea ice expansion down south is occurring at all ties of the year uniformly and evenly – during winter freeze up, durng spring land ice maximum, and duirng summer “melt”.

      Further, the overall air temperature over Antarctica is going down, not “up” – and certainly not “up” far enough to melt enough land ice to dilute 17 million sq kilometers of well-mixed ocean waters at the same rate it dilutes 2 million sq kilometers of ocean water.

      Their theory is wrong.

      • Dear R. A.,

        Thanks.

        #(:))

        Janice
        ******************************************

        Re: “… the ice loss in West Antarctica has been larger than the gain in East Antarctica, … Sounds … reasonable.” Mr. Larry Wirth

        Really? After reading the majority of the comments on this thread, you can still say that??

        Oh, Larry. Dear me. Well, bless your heart, you’re trying. ;)

      • Ice sheets / ice shelves do not turn into sea ice. They are different things. Sea ice is ocean that has been frozen into a (relatively) thin sheet of ice by cold air. Ice sheets / shelves break off to form icebergs.

        RACookPE1978

        Further, the overall air temperature over Antarctica is going down, not “up” – and certainly not “up” far enough to melt enough land ice…

        Which is why no one is saying local air temperatures are a driving force behind ice sheet melting (what you meant by “land ice” I presume) in West Antarctica, but instead it is the observed ocean currents at the submerged face of the terminating ice shelves.

      • Leo,you wrote:

        “Which is why no one is saying local air temperatures are a driving force behind ice sheet melting (what you meant by “land ice” I presume) in West Antarctica, but instead it is the observed ocean currents at the submerged face of the terminating ice shelves.”

        Thank you for making sure CO2 is NOT the cause of the melting, since the postulated warm forcing effect, is too small to warm up the Southern Ocean sufficiently.

    • as the ice of which they consist fell originally as snow on the continent..
      …and that water came from where?

      Where the hell else could SLR be coming from?….
      ..mostly erosion and sedimentation…..but that’s no fun

      • I must confess. On more than one occasion I have peed while swimming in the sea. I apologize to those who have purchased sea-front property.

  28. “We have a solution that is very solid, very detailed and unambiguous,”

    First question how many years of data do we actually have on the ice thickness of the Antarctic, and given this how do we know that current ice loss , if there is any , is in any way unusual in the history of the Antarctic ?

    If a tree falls in forest and no one is around does it make a sound , or if ice melts but no one measures it is there still less ice ?

  29. Close, but no cigar. I estimate the power requirement to do this at 1.2 watts per square meter if Agw melting occurred 24x7x365 and evenly over the entire 2 million square km of the Western shelf. But it doesn’t so a more realistic estimate of the power requirements allowing for reflective losses time when melting is possible and an affected area of 500 square km would be about 24 watts per square meter. Now since the imbalance energy is only 0.6 watts, I now declare that Princeton is making application to repeat the law of conservation of energy

    Why do these clowns never check causality!

  30. It is physically impossible for AGW to have made any measurable difference to ocean temps over such a short period of time.

    If the waters around West Antarctica really are getting warmer, some other factor must be involved.

    In reality, West Antarctica glaciers ahve been retreating since the Ice Age.

  31. If stacked on the island of Manhattan, that amount of ice would be more than a mile high — more than five times the height of the Empire State Building.

    Yes but these 6 glaciers are 2 km thick and each about the size of New York State. The height loss averages to be less than 1/5th of my height.

  32. haven’t seen one of these since well since 1893- Wonder what size it was when it started out.

    ” In 1893 (after arriving in Nelson in September 92), the iron sailing ship “Margaret Galbraith” was homeward bound around Cape Horn. Mr. N.H. Burgess the 2nd Officer reported that from three days north of the Falklands to about one weeks sailing north of the Falklands they were “among the ice,” which culminated with a days sailing past a single giant berg “40 to 50 miles long,” The account suggest the ship may have been only making 3 to 5 knots around this time, certainly at night one would expect them to throttle back. They had a close call on first encountering the ice north of the Falklands.
    It may be partly by chance that the length of this iceberg was reported because the sailing people seemed more impressed by the height of ice encountered than the extent of any particular piece. The 40 to 50 mile long berg mentioned above was reported as being 1000 ft asl at the NE end.”

    haven’t seen so many icebergs since 1894.

    “The 1000 ton plus iron sailing ship “Himalaya”, on a 109 day voyage from Liverpool to Wellington, departed 9, November 1894 and arrived 25, February, 1895. The captain reported seeing several icebergs off the Cape (of Good Hope) and then, “.. that from the Cape to the Crozets was a most trying time as icebergs were in sight for a distance of two thousand miles.”

  33. How about living rooms for a unit of measurement – say, 250 sq. feet. Then we get, if that amount of ice was stacked on top of my living room it would reach a height close to 16 times the distance of the moon!

    • If divided into 16 inch tiles that are 1/4 inch thick, this much ice could be used to build a bike path to Mars.

  34. Why do they always stack the ice on Manhattan? Why don’t they stack it on Hollywood…then leave it there?

  35. GRACE was launched in 2002. How can we know if this is unique or business as usual as ocean currents go through cycles of change ?

    • In 2009, they told us that Pine Island glacier would melt in 100 years.

      From 2009:

      Satellite measurements of the Pine Island glacier in West Antarctica have revealed that the surface of the ice is dropping at a rate of up to 16 metres a year and since 1994, has lowered by as much as 90 metres. Fifteen years ago, it was estimated that the rate of ice melt would see the glacier disappear within 600 years. Now, the data suggests it could be gone in little more than 100.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/antarctica/6026029/One-of-Antarcticas-largest-glaciers-thinning-four-times-faster-than-ten-years-ago.html

      But then in 2014, they noted the melting in 2012 was the lowest ever recorded due to La Nina.

      From 2014:

      Pine Island Glacier has thinned continuously during past decades driven by an acceleration in its flow. The acceleration is thought to be caused by thinning of the floating ice shelf created as the glacier slides into the sea. Understanding the processes driving ice shelf thinning and the glacier’s response is key to assessing how much it will contribute to rising sea levels. It’s now known that much of the thinning is due to a deep oceanic inflow of Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) on the continental shelf neighbouring the glacier. This warmer water then makes its way into a cavity beneath the ice shelf melting it from below.

      The passage of this warmer water was made easier by the unpinning of the ice shelf from an underwater ridge. The ridge had, in effect, acted as a wall preventing warmer water from getting to the thickest part of the shelf. This ungrounding event was one of the major driving forces behind the glacier’s rapid change.
      In 2009, a higher CDW volume and temperature in Pine Island Bay contributed to an increase in ice shelf melting compared to the last time measurements were taken in 1994. But observations made in January 2012, and reported now in Science, show that ocean melting of the glacier was the lowest ever recorded. The top of the thermocline (the layer separating cold surface water and warm deep waters) was found to be about 250 metres deeper compared with any other year for which measurements exist.

      The fluctuations in temperature recorded by the team may be explained by particular climatic conditions. In January 2012 the dramatic cooling of the ocean around the glacier is believed to be due to an increase in easterly winds caused by a strong La Ninã event in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Normally the winds flow from the west.

      http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/press_releases/press_release.php?id=2452

      It’s interesting that this new paper has an observation date starting at 2008, as it seems that 2009 had very rapid melting with a slowdown in 2012.

  36. Hmmmm. Where was the circumpolar wave during this melting event? What was the Antarctic Oscillation doing? Where is the section of the paper that rules out these sources of temperature variation to the extent that there MUST be another reason for mass loss?

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/aao/aao.shtml

    http://das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap11/ant_wave.html

    Nawww. Who needs to research no stinkin atmospheric/oceanic teleconnection oscillation 1000’s of kilometers wide and integral to the ice area under study. It is MUCH more likely that teeny tiny molecules of CO2 anthropogenically added to the atmosphere during the time being studied is MUCH more powerful than mother nature.

    Idiots.

  37. How about we take a look at a map of all the places that have changing gravity signals?
    That way we can all have a look at decide if melting ice is the only plausible explanation for the data they are getting for this particular location.

  38. The location of these volcanic tremors (not eruptions) is in a very different location than the areas that are losing mass. The meltwater flow that will occur due to an eventual eruption in this region will move into the Ross ice shelf, not west toward the Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers.

    see image location here:

  39. Glaciers grow at the top where the snow falls, and melt at the bottom where the heat rises.
    Whether a glacier or ice cap is growing or shrinking overall depends on which of those two processes is winning.

  40. Its sad that even Stanford scientists get sucked into this infantile nonsense about runaway climate change. How many times in the earth’s history has there been runaway climate change? Zero. There is just oscillation between maxima and minima over a fractal range of scales – the only behaviour you would expect in such a system.

  41. There was a collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Bolling Allerod at the start of the Holocene inception. Paradoxically the large freshwater pulse resulting from this collapse interfered with Atlantic circulation with the result that the gulf stream was switched off, climate warming was temporarily reversed and glacial conditions returned for a thousand years – the Younger Dryas.

      • Read the first one. it reported a rather convoluted method of dating Antarctic ice cores (not that it was bad, just convoluted). I still do not see support for your cause and effect contention.

      • Can’t read the other link. Paywalled. So I’ll not comment on it. You have not adequately supported your contention.

      • Pamela
        Here is a better (non-paywalled) link to the Weaver paper;
        http://rockbox.rutgers.edu/~jdwright/GlobalChange/Weaveretal_Science_2007.pdf

        The discussion especially of the Weaver paper combines ice core and other sediment data with computer modelling of oceanographic bipolar seesawing between the NH and SH. The overall picture obtained by Weaver et al 2007 is the same as Blunier et al 1997. That is, that warming leading to the Holocene started as early as ~20,000 years ago in the south around Antarctica. By contrast at this time the NH was cooling. The prolonged Antarctic ocean warming led by 14.5 kya to a partial collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet.

        I was mistaken in my first comment in saying that this Antarctic ice collapse led immediately to the YD and cooling. It did eventually cause this but only after a delay of 1800 years. The initial, proximal effect was the opposite – and was opposite in the two hemispheres. The pulse of fresh water from the Antarctic collapse – called the AAIW or Antarctic intermediate water, at first kick-started the meridional overturning circulation in the NH – the formation of NADW or north Atlantic deep water, which up to then was switched off. This caused very abrupt warming of the start of the Bolling-Allerod, in which sea level rose about 20 meters in a few centuries. As this happened however Antarctica itself changed from warming to cooling – the ACR or Antarctic cold reversal. (You will notice a pattern that the NH and SH nearly always move in opposite directions – this is the bipolar seesaw.)

        But after the sharp warming at the start of the Bolling Allerod there is immediately sustained cooling leading less than 2000 years later to the start of the Younger Dryas interval. This cooling is also caused by the same freshwater AAIC pulse that was released by the Antarctic ice collapse, continuing to circulate in the ocean system and cause ongoing downstream effects. This Antarctic melt pulse thus causes both the Bolling Allerod immediate warming and the subsequent cold Younger Dryas. As the NH cools in the YD, the SH and Antarctics, needless to say, warm.

        It is also notable that during the YD, global atmospheric CO2 slowly rises. The north Atlantic cooling of the YD is too small globally to counteract an ongoing Antarctica and southern ocean warming which accounts for a larger volume of water. This fact is exploited in a fraudulent way by Shakun et al of Oregon who merged many proxies and used the rise of CO2 during the YD (actually caused by the simultaneous warming in the southern ocean at the same time involving a larger water volume) to argue spuriously for this CO2 rise to cause the end of the YD. But it was oceanographic process driving this whole sequence, with meltwater from both Antarctic and Arctic playing the leading role and CO2 a totally passive bystander.

        Another paper on the subject:
        http://epic.awi.de/15280/1/Lam2004a.pdf

        Here Chilean and Patagonian sediments show that Antarctic warming began as early as 22 kya, however these data do not show the ACR so clearly as other ice core data.

  42. 1. I would be interested to see the authors explanation for why the most significant accumulation appears right adjacent to the most significant supposed ice loss.

    2. Since the supposed ice loss in the area in question is getting on for 5 meters, it would have been a trivial exercise to have confirmed this supposed loss with a few aircraft altimetry transects. Why has this not been done?

    3. Any abstract that starts with an unsupported assertion can only go downhill from there:

    While multiple data sources have confirmed that Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate, different measurement techniques estimate the details of its geographically highly variable mass balance with different levels of accuracy, spatio-temporal resolution, and coverage.

    4. Is the aim of the paper to ‘force us to take a position on AGW’ or to report science?

    Frederik Simons, a Princeton associate professor of geosciences. “A decade of gravity analysis alone cannot force you to take a position on this ice loss being due to anthropogenic global warming. All we have done is take the balance of the ice on Antarctica and found that it is melting — there is no doubt. But with the rapidly accelerating rates at which the ice is melting, and in the light of all the other, well-publicized lines of evidence, most scientists would be hard pressed to find mechanisms that do not include human-made climate change.”

  43. The other day, we were treated to an article on an ice core that had the benefit of continuing annual snowfall in East Antarctic for 68,000yrs and the altitude of much of East Antarctica is above the average of the Sierra Nevada which keeps it deep frozen. It hasn’t thawed there for more than 20million years. A year or two ago, temperatures of -93C, the coldest ever recorded were reported on.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/12/10/antarctica-cold-record/3950019/.

    And basically most of W. Antarctica is believed to be under a hot mantle plume which has generated chains of volcanoes under ice and on the sea floor..

    http://www.livescience.com/40720-marie-byrd-seamount-volcano-source.html

  44. I wonder. Could the reason for the change in mass, as calculated in the study, be off shore? That ice is likely moving. If it’s moving, it is grinding. If it’s grinding, there is likely a tremendous amount of Earth being ground up and moved elsewhere. If there are valleys, that ground up rock may be filling up that valley. Or it may be getting dumped off shore as the ice calves and dumps material into the ocean. In other words, it ain’t the ice that’s losing mass.

    http://www.livescience.com/27715-antarctica-before-ice.html

  45. Look, once someone figures out why sometimes my ice-cube trays stick and shatter the cubes, and at other times freely release them from the trays, it might shed some light on the glacier/ground interaction.
    Maybe I just need to pour stronger drinks :)

  46. #(;)), you are living proof that some people can’t take a gentle hint. Your lead-off remark on this thread contained a misinterpretation of what the subject article was saying. Siberian Huskie suggested you review your comment and reconsider.

    At 6:21, you come up with “(given that in common English usage, ‘the balance of’ usually means ‘the greater part of’)” In what universe? In this one, it means nothing of the sort.

    And at 6:40, you decide to bitch-slap SH in a rude, uncalled-for accusation of trolling. Maybe you did some research, maybe you didn’t, but SH’s comment in this case was in no way out of line.

    In your snide comment directed to me at 8:03 this morning we read: “After reading the majority of comments on this thread, you can still say that??” First, one question mark would have been sufficient, just as LOL doesn’t need to be rendered lololol, duh.

    Second, if there’s anything to be learned on this site (and there’s always a great deal on offer), it is that scientific facts are not established by majority opinion. In the instant article, I certainly do not agree with the conclusions and projections implicating so-called AGW in the matter, but absent contrary information, I’ve no reason to dispute the basic claim that the ice loss in West Antarctica (for whatever reason) is approximately twice the mass of ice gain in East Antarctica. And you know better, exactly how? (_._)

    • Not to come to her aid (she is brainy and can fend for herself), I prefer to debate this piece of research based on its merits. And I cannot ignore the lack of attention paid to whether or not the outcome cause and effect statement is robust (IE the authors appeared to have concluded that no other plausible or even possible cause has been or will be found). However, if indeed that was the assumption, the article is void of that introductory literature review.

      So I content that proper groundwork is absent in the article under consideration. An observation of an effect was made yes, but a proper review of all possible causes is glaringly absent. It appears that an a priori assumption was made and then efforts were made to point to that assumption. This is a common weakness in nearly all global warming research. One that irritates the hell out of me and ruffles my Irish-red feathers. And it takes a herculean effort to hold my tongue and not be all grapefruit and sour lemons. While her point was not on-point, her tongue I get.

  47. “… if we continue losing mass in those areas, the loss can generate a self-reinforcing feedback whereby we will be losing more and more ice, ultimately raising sea levels by tens of feet.”

    Let’s see… at Earths radius of 6.37×10^6 meters and ocean coverage at about 70%, to raise the oceans 3 meters, just shy or 10 feet would take an additional 1.0E+15 metric tons of added water over land it seems.

    Calcs:
    (6371000 m)² * 4*pi * 70% * 3 meters = 1.0E+15 m³ or equiv. metric tons of added water. So at 92 billion tons of melt per year it would take 1.0E+15 m³ / 92E+09 m³ or 11,600 years for this to occur, the ten feet of rise… or also the mean yearly rise would be 3000 mm/55,555 years or just 0.25 mm of additional yearly sea level rise. or another way to look at it that 0.25 mm/yr may just be part of the normal sea level rise and has been occuring over the last 1000 years.

    Is this calculated correct (roughly)? I did that fast. Or did I read that correct or miss something? It seems their “ultimately” is many millennia down the road.

  48. A lightbulb moment. There was something about this study that bothered me. Unfortunately the thread is almost over.

    GRACE measures gravity to minute proportions. The study purports to assign ice thickness changes to changes in gravity. Cannot be done. You also have to have equally precise seawater temperatures to account for the density changes from that. Then you need precise geo-mapping data for any pockets of low density magma in the area. See where this goes?

    • And you need to account for rock fall-out. All glaciers carry mass not related to water but to rock and debris. Does the method account for the natural uptake and fall-out of this material and the fact that it varies depending on what layer the glaciers have been grinding off?

  49. Heh. If this paper had a long enough time line to be accorded significance, it would be truly alarming.

    What would a long term increase in ice mass where there is no volcanic activity to melt it mean? Obvious conclusion (except to devotees of the Saints Mann and Gore).

  50. Wish I had more time to read stuff on this site. (Taking care of Mom with dementia, but even she is not as delusional as anthropogenic global warming devotees.) Is there an explanation by these clowns as to why a GLOBAL climate change is only affecting one side of Antarctica. Is there a magical CAGW-free zone on the other side? Will humanity be forced to relocate there and live on penguin meat some day?

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