Yet another study shows Antarctica gaining ice mass – snowfall accumulation ‘highest we have seen in the last 300 years’

While the wailers over at Media Matters bemoan claims of “distortion” over the recent NASA press release about Antarctica gaining ice mass due to increased snowfall over the last 10,000 years,…

A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

…this new study jointly announced by the AGU and the BAS says that the gains in the 20th century for the West Antarctic are the “highest we have seen in the last 300 years”.


From the AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION and the BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY

West Antarctic coastal snow accumulation rose 30 percent during 20th century, study finds

Joint Release

Liz Thomas measuring an ice core in the field. Credit: Liz Thomas

WASHINGTON, DC — Annual snow accumulation on West Antarctica’s coastal ice sheet increased dramatically during the 20th century, according to a new study published in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The research gives scientists new insight into Antarctica’s blanket of ice. Understanding how the ice sheet grows and shrinks over time enhances scientists’ understanding of the processes that impact global sea levels, according to the study’s authors.

The new study used ice cores to estimate annual snow accumulation from 1712 to 2010 along West Antarctica’s coast. Until 1899, annual snow accumulation remained steady, averaging 33 and 40 centimeters (13 and 16 inches) of water, or melted snow, each year at two locations.

Annual snow accumulation increased in the early 20th century, rising 30 percent between 1900 and 2010, according to the new study. The study’s authors found that in the last 30 years of the study, the ice sheet gained nearly 5 meters (16 feet) more water than it did during the first 30 years of the studied time period.

“Since the record is 300 years long, we can see that the amount of snow that has been accumulating in this region since the 1990s is the highest we have seen in the last 300 years.  The 20th century increases look unusual,” said Elizabeth Thomas, a paleoclimatologist with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and lead author of the new study.

Thomas attributes the higher annual snow accumulation over the last 30 years in part to an intensification of a regional low pressure system and more storms in the region. The study’s authors said these storms could increase with climate change, possibly leading to further increases in snow accumulation.

Antarctic-ice-sheets-map

Snow accumulation builds up the ice sheet, but the extra flakes have not acted as a life raft for West Antarctica’s ice sheet, which previous research has found is rapidly thinning as the climate warms, Thomas said.

The size of the ice sheet depends on how much new snow accumulates and how much of the existing ice melts, she said. Knowledge about how much new snow is laid down in West Antarctica each year could help scientists more accurately predict how the region’s coastal ice sheet could be affected by climate change and its contribution to sea level rise, Thomas said.

“In this region, the same [storms] that have driven increased snowfall inland have brought warmer ocean currents into contact with West Antarctic’s ice shelves, resulting in rapid thinning,” said Thomas. “Thus the increased snowfall we report here has not led to thickening of the ice sheet, but is in fact another symptom of the changes that are driving contemporary ice sheet loss.”

Ice on West Antarctica’s coast

Earth has two ice sheets – one in the Arctic, covering Greenland, and one sitting on Antarctica. Ice sheets start their lives as snowflakes. When snowfall builds up year after year, the weight of the snow compresses the bottom layers into ice, creating an ice sheet.

Scientists can calculate snow accumulation from satellite data, but satellite records have only existed since 1979. That’s too short a time period to determine whether any changes in snowfall are the result of natural variation or shifts in the climate, Thomas said.

“We need to understand whether we are losing ice, at what rate, and what is causing it,” she said.

For the new study, researchers collected two ice cores from Ellsworth Land, the strip of land that connects the Antarctic Peninsula to the rest of the continent. The ice cores contain layer upon layer of ice – the remnants of yearly snowfall. By measuring the thickness of the ice laid down each year, the researchers estimated annual snow accumulation for the past 300 years.

The recent heavy snow accrual appears to be part of a gradual, long-term rise in annual snow accumulation that started in the early 1900s and accelerated in the 1980s, the study found. The study’s authors found that starting in the early 20th century an additional 1.5 centimeters (0.6 inches) of water, or melted snow, was added to the ice sheet each decade. From 2001 to 2010, the amount of water added to the ice sheet each year was 15 centimeters (6 inches) greater than it was before 1900, according to the study’s authors.

Caption: Bryan coast (Ellsworth Land) ice core drilling site. Credit: Liz Thomas

A stormy sea

The study’s authors attribute the rise in snow accumulation in part to increased regional storm activity. The Amundsen Sea, which bounds Ellsworth Land to the west, is prone to storms and low pressure systems that often sit over the region, Thomas said.

Meteorological data, which only date back 35 years, show the low pressure system has strengthened during that time, leading to more storms swirling around the Amundsen Sea and potentially greater snow accumulation, according to the paper. The uptick in snow accumulation since the 1920s may suggest an even longer trend of increasing storms, Thomas said.

Scientists have not pinpointed the reason for the strengthening of the low pressure system in the Amundsen Sea, but the number and intensity of storms in the region could continue to increase throughout the 21st century as a consequence of greenhouse gas warming, Thomas said. In a warmer climate, air travelling south from the mid-latitudes and tropics can hold more water, leading to more snowfall, Thomas said.

The paper draws a convincing connection between the intensification of the Amundsen Sea low-pressure system and increasing snow accumulation, said David Bromwich, a polar weather and climate scientist with the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State University in Columbus, who was not an author on the new paper. The low-pressure system is likely one of several factors contributing to the increase in snowfall, he said.

Antarctic climate results from a complex mix of oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns, so there could also be other components affecting the amount of snow accumulation in the region, Bromwich said. As the paper suggests, one could be the evaporation of surface waters that have become exposed because of sea ice loss in the region, he added.

View the press release on the British Antarctic Survey website.

###

Source: http://news.agu.org/press-release/west-antarctic-coastal-snow-accumulation-rose-30-percent-during-20th-century-new-study-finds/

The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing more than 60,000 members in 139 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.

Title: “Twentieth century increase in snowfall in coastal West Antarctica”

Authors: E.R. Thomas, J.S. Hosking, R.R. Tuckwell, R.A. Warren, and E.C. Ludlow: British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UKE.

Link:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL065750/abstract?campaign=wlytk-41855.5282060185

Note: about 5 minutes after publication, this article was updated to remove an email address of one of the authors to prevent spam harvesting and a link to the AGU website added. The title was corrected to add the word “snowfall”,

89 thoughts on “Yet another study shows Antarctica gaining ice mass – snowfall accumulation ‘highest we have seen in the last 300 years’

  1. Svensmark appears to be saying that with less cloud cover, the earth warms, but the Antartic is cooler because of the reflection of the radiation by the snow.

    • study’s authors said these storms could increase with climate change, possibly leading to further increases in snow accumulation.
      ========================
      Scientific speculation about what might happen in the future is by definition called “Science Fiction”.

      What difference is between this speculation and the writings of Arthur C Clarke or H.G. Wells? The latter two authors have stood the test of time. Where is the track record for this author, showing that they are successful at predicting the future and better than a coin toss?

      • operative words being … “could” and “possibly”, which mean – “we have no idea what will happen, but this is what we want to happen, to confirm our beliefs. “

      • I’m rather partial to Clive Cussler – he had a character in one of his books that pretty well nailed it when he said the following: “…do you know how many crackpots have been saying the world is doomed over the past couple hundred years? We were supposed to run out of food in the 1980s. We were supposed to run out of oil in the 1990s. The population was supposed to hit ten billion by the year 2000. Every one of these predictions was wrong…I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can’t predict the future.” :)

    • Jokes aside the negative feedback might have kicked up a fuss.

      The recent heavy snow accrual appears to be part of a gradual, long-term rise in annual snow accumulation that started in the early 1900s and accelerated in the 1980s, the study found.

      Sea level rise be damned. Where are you albedo?

      • This quote is a key indication that the increase is tied nicely to the warm phase of the PDO. They completely ignored this connection as far as I can see. I suspect they don’t want to let out the fact that all of the recent warming could be perfectly natural.

    • Here is the IPCC in 2013. Below they are talking about the END of this century. The report so far says it started last early last century. First paragraph is the failure of extent. PS you do have to wonder WHY warmists keep telling us about IF all Antarctic ice melted blah, blah when observations and the IPCC say otherwise?

      Most models simulate a small downward trend in Antarctic sea ice extent, albeit with large
      inter-model spread, in contrast to the small upward trend in observations. {9.4} ………..

      By the end of the 21st century, the global glacier volume, excluding glaciers on the periphery of Antarctica, is projected to decrease by 15 to 55% for RCP2.6, and by 35 to 85% for RCP8.5 (medium confidence). {13.4, 13.5}

      While surface melting will remain small, an increase in snowfall on the Antarctic ice sheet is expected (medium confidence), resulting in a negative contribution to future sea level from changes in surface mass balance. Changes in outflow from both ice sheets combined will likely make a contribution in the range of 0.03 to 0.20 m by 2081-2100 (medium confidence). {13.3-13.5}
      http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf

      • is projected to decrease
        ====================
        the money quote. “is projected” not “is predicted”. “projected” means no demonstrated skill at predicting the future. nothing more than a curve fitting exercise. a coin toss will be as likely to be correct as a projection, and as the models have shown may be more accurate, because there is a better chance that the coin is not biased.

      • A “projection” by definition is extrapolation (as opposed to interpolation)–a procedure that has gotten more people in trouble than they care to admit.

    • “So more warming means more snow. I’m convinced already”
      I think they are prepping for a switch in water vapor feedback after a fail in Paris. They can easily use the divergence in models to switch to global cooling and a coming ice age with C02 as the primary blame and global cooling gets the public attention. They will switch without the slightest hesitation. Same models, different inputs

  2. The hat tip to greenhouse gasses is still there, but they seem to be toning it down a lot.
    A cynic might think they have an eye on public opinion and are leaving themselves a way out if the CoCC (Cult of Climate Change) collapses.

    • The hat-tip to green house gasses that is seen in so many papers has two purposes:

      1) A future 97% paper will be able to classify this report as supporting man-made global warming
      2) To qualify under UN IPCC grant criteria (also used by most govts) that direct that research be oriented to identifying the adverse impacts of man made CO2 and how to mitigate the same.

      Instead of joking about these hat-tips, we should call them out specifically as having fraudulent intent that is not supported by the actual research in the paper.

  3. From the report:

    ……
    …but satellite records have only existed since 1979. That’s too short a time period to determine whether any changes in snowfall are the result of natural variation or shifts in the climate, Thomas said.

    …The study’s authors said these storms could increase with climate change, possibly leading to further increases in snow accumulation.

    Er… some discrepancy here? The time period is either too short to make climate predictions, or it’s not. Make up your mind!

    P.S. Don’t let the fact that if climate change is not mentioned in your paper you won’t get next year’s grant influence you in any way…

    • Note how the short time period for the satellite records doesn’t stop them when it comes to the Arctic. Still, those on the left are always hypocrites.

  4. So more warming means more snow accumulation which means more ice buildup and less sea level rise.
    A classic negative feedback.
    Settled science?

    • No, no, no. Global warming only causes more snow and ice where it doesn’t make any difference to have more snow and ice. Otherwise global warming melts snow and ice (which is sort of what you’d normally expect it to do) where it will make a difference to have less snow and ice. Global Warming is a very selective and discriminatory phenomenon. :-)

      sarc

  5. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “300 years ago” would be around the time of ‘The Little Ice Age’…..hmmm.

    Modern Little Ice Age Antarctica doesn’t seem to be cooperating with NASA & NOAA’s “HOTTEST EVER DAY, MONTH, YEAR” propaganda.

  6. the abstract reads like they found a regional increase in snowfall and not that they did a total ice sheet mass balance. interesting to see that anthropogenic greenhouse-gas global warming can make new ice. we drove our SUVs, raised sub-tropical SST, intensified the Amundsen Sea low pressure zone, caused more snow to fall, and made extra ice that nature would not have made. that ice is man-made.

  7. Err, to sum up, um, basically, after years of hugely expensive research, these people really haven’t a clue about what is causing the overall ice increases in the Antarctic, or indeed much about glacial dynamics at all.
    However – money shot, money shot – it MUST be temporary due to the global warming (for which we have no substantive evidence). Please give us lots more cash so we can find this missing evidence.
    That’s all clear then….

  8. I don’t see adequate safety features around that ice saw in the first picture. And, that scientist worker’s face looks dangerously close to the blade. I’d say it’s time to call in OSHA on these research teams.

    A little encounter with bureaucracy may focus the mind.

    • Actually Tom Judd, I’m more concerned with the lack of safety glasses. Not just for the saw operator but anyone else near by. (I spent to many years being a safety committee member and chairperson where I worked)
      michael

  9. I was under the impression that 97 percent of climate ‘scientists’ were Positive that they knew what drives our climate to the certainty that we just have to dismantle the progessmof the ages. But now we see yet another post the says they just don’t know jack.

    CO2 don’t do what they think it does.

  10. Why should West Antarctica have all the fun? PS In December 2013 NASA said East recorded the coldest temperature evaaaaah recorded on Earth (August 2010)! Even the Guardian noted it [here].

    Abstract – 2 NOV 2012
    Snowfall-driven mass change on the East Antarctic ice sheet
    An improved understanding of processes dominating the sensitive balance between mass loss primarily due to glacial discharge and mass gain through precipitation is essential for determining the future behavior of the Antarctic ice sheet and its contribution to sea level rise. While satellite observations of Antarctica indicate that West Antarctica experiences dramatic mass loss along the Antarctic Peninsula and Pine Island Glacier, East Antarctica has remained comparably stable. In this study, we describe the causes and magnitude of recent extreme precipitation events along the East Antarctic coast that led to significant regional mass accumulations that partially compensate for some of the recent global ice mass losses that contribute to global sea level rise. The gain of almost 350 Gt from 2009 to 2011 is equivalent to a decrease in global mean sea level at a rate of 0.32 mm/yr over this three-year period.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL053316/abstract
    =================

    Abstract – 7 JUN 2013
    Recent snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, in a historical and future climate perspective
    Enhanced snowfall on the East Antarctic ice sheet is projected to significantly mitigate 21st century global sea level rise. In recent years (2009 and 2011), regionally extreme snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, in the Atlantic sector of East Antarctica, have been observed. It has been unclear, however, whether these anomalies can be ascribed to natural decadal variability, or whether they could signal the beginning of a long-term increase of snowfall. Here we use output of a regional atmospheric climate model, evaluated with available firn core records and gravimetry observations, and show that such episodes had not been seen previously in the satellite climate data era (1979). Comparisons with historical data that originate from firn cores, one with records extending back to the 18th century, confirm that accumulation anomalies of this scale have not occurred in the past ~60 years, although comparable anomalies are found further back in time. We examined several regional climate model projections, describing various warming scenarios into the 21st century. Anomalies with magnitudes similar to the recently observed ones were not present in the model output for the current climate, but were found increasingly probable toward the end of the 21st century.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50559/abstract
    =================

    Abstract2014
    High-resolution 900 year volcanic and climatic record from the Vostok area, East Antarctica
    …..The strongest volcanic signal (both in sulfate concentration and flux) was attributed to the AD 1452 Kuwae eruption, similar to the Plateau Remote and Talos Dome records. The average snow accumulation rate calculated between volcanic stratigraphic horizons for the period AD 1260–2010 is 20.9 mm H2O. Positive (+13%) anomalies of snow accumulation were found for AD 1661-1815 and AD 1992-2010, and negative (-12%) for AD 1260-1601. We hypothesized that the changes in snow accumulation are associated with regional peculiarities in atmospheric transport.
    http://www.the-cryosphere.net/8/843/2014/tc-8-843-2014.html

  11. The alarmists are already working to spin this.

    ” Thomas attributes the higher annual snow accumulation over the last 30 years in part to an intensification of a regional low pressure system and more storms in the region. The study’s authors said these storms could increase with climate change, possibly leading to further increases in snow accumulation. ”

    Stand by, the layman explanation will be:

    In a warming world, the rise in temperature increases evaporation. The increase in humidity in the cold polar areas result in more snowfall. The models have predicted this all along.

    .

    • The problem with this is the Frezzotti et al paper I mentioned above shows historic increases even during the LIA and back into the MWP. They are essentially ignoring these facts when making this kind of claim. We already know that nature can account for this change.

  12. Thomas attributes the higher annual snow accumulation over the last 30 years in part to an intensification of a regional low pressure system and more storms in the region.

    This finding is backed up by the snow accumulation.
    Which is actually very inconvenient for those who blame CFCs for the hole in the Ozone Layer.

  13. Chaam Jamal has it right. This is not a mass balance. The study only looks at accumulation, not loss. It is wrong to say it is a study showing Antarctica gaining ice mass. You do not have to read between the lines to see this; they actually say it:

    “Thus the increased snowfall we report here has not led to thickening of the ice sheet…”

    • seaice:

      Your post says in total

      Chaam Jamal has it right. This is not a mass balance. The study only looks at accumulation, not loss. It is wrong to say it is a study showing Antarctica gaining ice mass. You do not have to read between the lines to see this; they actually say it:

      “Thus the increased snowfall we report here has not led to thickening of the ice sheet…”

      Sorry, but that is not clear so please clarify.

      Are you claiming “This is not a mass balance. The study only looks at accumulation, not loss.”
      Or
      Are you claiming “they actually say it: “Thus the increased snowfall we report here has not led to thickening of the ice sheet…””
      Or
      Are you claiming you and they are conducting doublethink so they did not do a mass balance but they determined no thickening of the ice sheet.

      Thinking people want to know.

      Richard

      • Richard, good point. This study was not a mass balance. From this study alone one cannot conclude if the ice is growing or not. So my point is correct and the title is wrong.

        However, your point is that if they did not do a mass balance, how can they conclude the ice has been getting thinner?

        The answer is they must have used different data not from the study. I cannot say whether the data they used is sufficient for them to justify their conclusion. The justification should be in the introduction to their paper. And here it is, from the first line of the intro:
        “Extensive thinning of fast flowing glaciers [Pritchard et al., 2009].. . ”

        Nevertheless, they did say it, which puts the lie to the title.

        I am claiming that they did not do a mass balance, but they used a mass balance done by Pritchard et al to draw their conclusions.

      • The answer is they must have used different data not from the study.
        ===================
        it the conclusion does not follow from the data used within the study, they it is a form of the “hidden parameter” problem. you cannot say if their conclusions is correct or not, because of the facts not in evidence.

        in other words, their conclusions are not scientific, because they cannot be falsified based on the evidence presented. they may be true, or they may not be. there is no way to tell,. as such the study has no scientific value. its value is simply that of propaganda.

      • It would seem from the article above that the author is trying to find reasons to discount any increase in ice sheet thickness and therefore deliberately (or otherwise!) confuses the differences between the melting of the ice shelf at its edges by seawater and accumulations of snow on the static ice sheet. The accumulation of snow on the ice sheet is ongoing and continuous for at least a century whereas the melting of the ice shelf by seawater and the movement of glaciers is only the product of the satellite age where it can be properly studied, and as of yet no-one knows whether this is a cyclical or occasional set of events or one caused by a more permanent increase in temperature. It will take hundreds of years at this level of study to find out with reasonable certainty not a mere 36.

        Perhaps if a more marked El Nina marks a stabilising step in world temperatures and both CO2 and sea level rise show a decrease we can have a more reasoned and open scientific discussion – some hope!

      • seaice:

        Yes, I know my point was “good”: that is why I made it.

        Perhaps you would now clarify your post. I listed the three possible meanings of your post and you have not said which of them you intended.

        Personally, I think the assertion of “the increased snowfall we report here has not led to thickening of the ice sheet” is complete bunkum, but you raised the issue so what do you think.

        Richard

      • Richard et al. I am sorry you find it difficult to understand. You offered three alternatives – I will go through them one at a time.
        1) “Are you claiming “This is not a mass balance. The study only looks at accumulation, not loss.””
        Yes. You cannot study losses using this methodology (ice cores).
        2) “Are you claiming “they actually say it: “Thus the increased snowfall we report here has not led to thickening of the ice sheet…””
        I am claiming that they said that, yes. It is written there in the post, just below the map of Antarctica. You can verify this easily. They *report* the increased snowfall. They *refer* to thickness of the ice sheets. they do not report the thickness of the ice sheets.
        3) “Are you claiming you and they are conducting doublethink so they did not do a mass balance but they determined no thickening of the ice sheet.”

        No, this is where you have not understood. I am not claiming the study determined a thickening or thinning of the ice sheet. The study was never intended to determine this, so it could not conclude either way. This was my initial point after all, the study did not conclude an increase in ice mass. Nor did it conclude a reduction in ice mass.

        What I am claiming is the authors refer to published literature on the thickness of the ice. The authors understood that that (2009) study found a thinning, as they say their introduction. There is no doublethink, only a perfectly normal reference to published literature.

        Now you can argue about whether that published literature is any good or not, but that is beside the point. The point is that the authors of the paper said that they believed the ice was losing mass, which is a very good indication that the study did not conclude the ice was gaining mass.

        I have tried to be clear, but let me know if you still do not understand.

    • Perhaps they didn’t dare examine the ice mass balance for fear they would lose future funding if the results contradicted current CAGW doctrine.

    • seaice says: “This is not a mass balance. The study only looks at accumulation not loss”

      from the study:
      “By measuring the thickness of the ice laid down each year, the researchers estimated annual snow accumulation for the past 300 years.”

      The accumulation of past years by definition is exactly the mass balance since it Is the snow that fell minus the loss.

      • “The accumulation of past years by definition is exactly the mass balance since it Is the snow that fell minus the loss.”

        No. the mass can’t balance unless the change in storage is properly accounted.

  14. Research has found that the brains of climate scientists are rapidly thinning as the climate warms, Thomas said

    This drop in IQ points may be the result of brain atrophication caused by under use. The massive bandwagon of Climate Change and accompanying propaganda, means scientists don’t have to think anymore in order to advance their careers, Thomas said ;-)

  15. This was reported quite positively in The Times of London, but with a mildly ignorant coda about sea level rises. Is this a change of tack?

  16. Well this isn’t good news. Many of us prefer a warmer world and would hate to see any cooling at all.

  17. None of this matters one iota. Antarctica is around 40% bigger than all of western Europe (14 m sq km v 10 m sq km) and the USA (9.8 m sq km) Frankly, who cares if it’s snowing a bit more or a bit less than last month / year / decade / century? It’s irrelevant.

    ‘Irreversible’, ‘unstoppable’, ‘catastrophic’. All are bogus claims from environmental whack-jobs who are spouting unknown and unprovable projections to promote their daft ideology. It would be fun if Paris has some extra snow though.

    • “It would be fun if Paris has some extra snow though.” Yes, good point.

      I wonder if old Al Gore is jetting in, because a timely, foot-deep dose of The Gore Effect would be rather amusing!

      • I wonder how a positive ENSO phase will generally affect Europe’s weather this winter, especially as it isn’t dead clear what’s happening with the AMO.

  18. Out of curiosity does anyone know how Antarctica gaining mass will affect the wobble the earth has as it revolves.

    • Don’t know about wobbling, but moving mass to the poles will result in the speed of rotation increasing. I’d guess that the day has shortened by a few nano-seconds.

    • Not directly related to Antarctica, but more to the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets.

      Polar wandering and the forced responses of a rotating, multilayered, viscoelastic planet
      Roberto SabadiniDavid A. YuenEnzo Boschi
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/JB087iB04p02885/abstract

      Sabadini and Peltier [1981] have constructed a physical model in which they found that a net polar wander could occur as a result of the periodic forcing by active glaciation and deglaciation. This phenomenon is illustrated in Figure 1. Previous work by McElhinny [1973] and Jurdy and van der Voo [1974] have concluded that the amount of true polar wander (TPW) during the last 55 m.y. has been quite small, about 2ø. However, recent reanalysis of paleomagnetic data by Jurdy [1981] and Morgan [1981], using a reference frame based on hot spots, have revealed that TPW of between 10ø to 15ø had occurred since the Cretaceous. Furthermore, Morgan has proposed boldly that, in fact, 5ø-10ø of this polar wander must have taken place in the last 10 m.y.
      Copyright ¸ 1982 by the American Geophysical Union

      Makes you wonder if that this change in Axial tilt, is taken into account in the current Milankovitch Cycles vs time?

  19. “whether any changes in snowfall are the result of natural variation or shifts in the climate, Thomas said.”

    So they’re still pushing the misguided notion that shifts in the climate are somehow unnatural. The two aren’t mutually exclusive as the “or” likes to suggest.

  20. global warming causes more snow to fall but also causes the ice sheets to collapse. it also makes winters colder, except when global warming makes winters warmer. This is all the fault of George W. Bush!

  21. If the snow is accumulating on one side of Antarctica but not the other, can we expect the US House of Representatives to worry that Antarctica might capsize?

  22. I read that Media Matters piece yesterday.
    It can basically be summarized/satirized as follows:
    A scientific study has been released strongly suggesting that P = false.
    A hypothesis H predicts the outcome P = true.
    The author of this study has suggests that the result is likely to be embraced by the group of people who like to continue to examine whether the hypothesis H is validated by the available evidence – or at least that other hypotheses should be given some serious consideration.
    Or that some attempt should be made to disprove the alternative hypotheses.
    Or that some attempt should be made to critically assess the repeated failure of specific predictions generated by the hypothesis H.
    Media Matters and the Author simply dismiss such people by calling them d*n**rs.
    Media Matters and the Author don’t seem to understand how science really works.
    Media Matters would doubtlessly like to re-focus the attention of the global media audience on speculation, alarmism and popular voodoo science.

  23. Let me see if I have this right. In the last week we have been informed that both East and West Antarctica are gaining ice except near the one coast that sits on top of measured geothermal heat. We have found out that the Greenland ice sheet has not been losing as much ice as previously claimed. We’ve seen record sea ice levels around Antarctica for the past 3 years as well as increases in Arctic sea ice volume over the same period of time. All of this has happened when CO2 levels have been at all time high levels.

    This new data tells us that GRACE is likely not a very good source of information which also means some of the sea level data may be wrong. It also calls into question the GIA adjustment to sea level.

    I’m sure all of this will be presented at COP21. ;)

    • “I’m sure all of this will be presented at COP21.”

      Only if that unusual delegate from Burma pops up again!

    • I’m confused.

      On the one hand, it seems that Antarctica now has the greatest area of sea on record.

      On the other “In this region, the same [storms] that have driven increased snowfall inland have brought warmer ocean currents into contact with West Antarctic’s ice shelves, resulting in rapid thinning,”

      If warmer currents are in contact with the ice shelves, wouldn’t all that sea ice melt?

    • Richard M’s points:

      “… East and West … gaining ice except … geothermal …Greenland ice sheet has not been losing as much ice… record sea ice levels around Antarctica π increases in Arctic sea ice volume … happened when CO2 … high levels.”

      are further buttressed by the fact that RSS “South Polar” temperature has been in a slight and steady decline over the entire satellite record.

  24. We should enjoy Antarctic snow while we can. It will soon be rare, a thing of the past, the Antarctic reduced to a sloppy spring-thaw puddle.

  25. Given that temperatures in Antarctica are so far below freezing, it’s hard to see how increased storminess wouldn’t increase the ice sheet. It seems pretty certain that warming will increase precipitation. Do even the most ardent warmists believe that it’s going to start raining down there? Obviously it’s going to snow more and the only mechanism to melt this snow is by glacial calving. And given that sea temperature trends are flat I don’t see any increased calving.

  26. In general, this bolsters the basis of my disagreement with alarmists who caterwaul about glacial recession with the unfounded claim that there will be a lot less water flowing at the bottom of the hill when the glacier is gone. It does not seem be the case for non-glacially fed rivers –

    https://books.google.com/books?id=bx7uuYmAkaMC&pg=PA36&lpg=PA36&dq=higher+rivers+1000+years+ago&source=bl&ots=aN2Xt2U1Hg&sig=TCfzesm2jMOmVb7Add4O5QmziYs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDMQ6AEwA2oVChMIibbMhsj5yAIVRRo-Ch1xNwDr#v=onepage&q=higher%20rivers%201000%20years%20ago&f=false

    (White Nile) “… fluctuated at higher levels until 3100 years ago then remained fairly low until 1000 years ago.”

    So why suspect a different outcome for glacially fed ones? Gee I wonder what was going on ~1000 years ago? How alarming to know that there was more precipitation to feed Lake Victoria in warmer times; well, alarming to the alarmists that is.

  27. Well this appears to settle why the West ice flows calving is increasing. More volume of snow, leading to more ice, leading to more pressure, leading to increase of flow towards sea.

    Simple mechanics.

  28. I object to this kind of statement:

    “That’s too short a time period to determine whether any changes in snowfall are the result of natural variation or shifts in the climate, Thomas said.”

    It does not allow for an interpretation that shifts in climate may be natural. We know there have been significant naturally occurring changes in climate but this kind of statement warps the conversation.

  29. The true lesson of climate science is that it is astounding what we don’t know.

    I can imagine that some guy a few thousand years ago suddenly figured out that glaciers moved. I’m sure he freaked out, thinking that something that had been going on for millions of years had just recently started.

    Our records of direct measurements only go back a few decades. We get a rough idea of what things might have been like a million or a thousand years ago by interpreting evidence that was left behind. All this is great except for when someone tries to tell us that we can pinpoint the temperature of the Earth a thousand or even a hundred years ago to a tenth of a degree. At that point, the reasonable man should raise his eyebrows and wonder just exactly what these folks are selling.

    • The true lesson of climate science is that it is astounding what we don’t know.

      And what we had never been able to measure before now (the last few decades).

      • I am thinking that there is a truce to be negotiated with climate scientists. We can agree to go ahead and fund legitimate efforts to understand our climate and in return they can agree to act like scientists. Maybe if we remove the incentive to run around with their hair on fire in order to get funding this stuff will calm down some.

  30. “Scientists have not pinpointed the reason for the strengthening of the low pressure system in the Amundsen Sea, but the number and intensity of storms in the region could continue to increase throughout the 21st century as a consequence of greenhouse gas warming, Thomas said. In a warmer climate, air travelling south from the mid-latitudes and tropics can hold more water, leading to more snowfall, Thomas said”

    As a consequence of greenhouse warming? LOL poor Elizabeth Thomas. The increased frequency of deeper depressions is linked to the expulsion of stronger, higher pressure MPHs from Antarctica, reaching further towards the equator as pressure values – such as on Easter Island, or on Mauritius Island- show a significant rise since the 1970s. Thus it is not warming that creates these storms but a renewed dynamics, stronger catabatic winds, sign of a slight cooling. Humid air from tropical areas reached by these MPHs is advected and precipitated along the reliefs, hence increased snowfalls. (Leroux, dynamic analysis of weather and climate, Springer Praxis 2010)

  31. The carbon scolds don’t care about the data, they care about the narrative.

    It doesn’t matter that peat fires in Indonesia are producing more CO2 than the entire EU combined.

    It doesn’t matter that NOAA’s own data show that mean and median sea level is rising by only 1.1 to 1.2 mm / year worldwide.

    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/MSL_global_trendtable.html

    They have convinced the credulous media that your SUV is going to flood Miami, NYC, and DC any day now, and pushing that narrative is all that matters.

  32. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first one to think of this, but shouldn’t “we” as a general rule, assume that IF WAIS glaciers are moving faster, that the number one cause should be presumed to be a heavier push from above, i.e. more deposition? Call me crazy, but that’s what I do.

    • dbstealy asked me to use percentages instead of Gt a while ago, so I had a quick look. The Antarctic ice sheet weighs something like 34 million Gt. The order of gain or loss is around 100Gt annually, which is 0.0003% of the total weight of the icesheet. It does not seem likely that this level of change will greatly affect the speed of the glaciers in the short term.

  33. Surely such contradictions need to be sorted out by Professor Turney and his Ship of Fools in their next Antarctic Vacation.

  34. Now that NASA has finally admitted that Antarctic land ice has been growing at a weighted-average of 100 billion tons/yr instead of decreasing at 100 billion tons/yr, Sea Rise Level “adjustments” need to be lowered to account for net difference of 200 billion tons/yr of water that was assumed to have gone into the oceans….

    That’s a miscalculation of 200 billion/yr x 23 years= 4.6 TRILLION tons of water that’s NOT where it was assumed to be….

    The SLR modelers also assumed that steric rebound from lost Antarctic land ice would accelerate SLR…. They now have to recalibrate their steric rebound assumptions by 4.5 TRILLION tons…

    Obviously these adjustments should be made, however, how many people think NASA/NOAA will actually make these necessary SLR adjustments….

    What a joke.

    • technically spoken that’s not so hard: 4.6 trillion tons that cause pressure on antarctica and thus the seafloors around it get uplifted = sea level rise.

      same for the WAIS: more snow can simply also increase a glacier’s speed in a constant temperature regime. however also there the weight should increase. (note the recent found geothermal activity can cause a loss). combine both and that’s how antarctica can even add more to the sea level rise then previously thought. the addition of weight is at the right spot for it: the resulting uplift around antarctica’s “sinking” is in the less land covered area of the earth. so it is all seafloor that would then be uplifted.

      that’s just a “reverse logic” of the isostatic rebound from the ice age occuring in the northern hemisphere. it’s far from proven, but i would suspect the seabed is rising around antarctica if that continent is gaining mass and that this isostatic rise would perhaps even be the biggest contributor to the actual sea level rise we are observing.

      but as said this is just a logical “guess” based on the scientific explenations of isostatic fluxes of the earth crust, however i am tempted to believe this guess might be closer to the truth then all their models which prove to have failed

      • Frederik– Actually, the isosteric rebound effect hypothesizes that decreasing land-ice would decrease pressure on the earth’s crust and cause a rebound of the earth’s crust, thereby increasing sea-level rise…

        All the SLR computer models assumed Antarctic land ice was adding 100 billion tons of melt water to the oceans, AND that the subsequent isoteric rebound was further increasing SLR…

        Now that these assumptions have been proven wrong, I just wonder if NASA/NOAA will correct these errors in their SLR models.

        My guess is that they’ll just leave these errors in their SLR models and make a footnote stating,”(*based on GRACE satellite data)”…

        What a joke.

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