Is Antarctica's Climate Change Natural or CO2 Driven? There Is Absolutely No Consensus

Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University

The record growth of Antarctic sea ice has long been a troubling contradiction for global warming theory. But those who embrace CO2 as the driver of climate change typically countered that global warming was still melting the continental glaciers and raising sea levels. However on October 29, 2015 a team of NASA researchers led by Jay Zwally published the paper “Mass gains of the Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses”. If the new NASA research proves correct – and there is good evidence to suggest it is – continental ice is increasing and lowering sea level. That would highlight another major failure for both CO2 driven models and models of sea level change. The reaction of Dr. Theodore Scambos, senior research scientist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center, was all too reminiscent of the “hide the decline” mentality evidenced by advocacy scientists in the climategate scandal. In an Al Jazeera interview Scambos asked, “Please don’t publicize this study.” Others pushed back by simply listing any research that disagreed with Zwally, but rarely did they list the research supporting Zwally’s results. Nor did they delve into why there is no Antarctica consensus, as I will do here.

Some researchers did acknowledge the great climate uncertainties. Robin Bell, a research professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory admitted, “To me this points out that we still don’t understand everything about how snow turns into ice and how the ice sheets are changing.” Even more revealing were comments posted by Dr. Eric Steig at Michael Mann’s RealClimate website, comments that reveal a total lack of consensus and suggest greater support for natural climate change. Dr Steig has published extensively on Antarctica and has been a regular contributor to the RealClimate website. So he is not someone who can be dismissed as a “denier”. Steig wrote,

I think the evidence that the current retreat of Antarctic glaciers is owing to anthropogenic global warming is weak. The literature is mixed on this, about 50% of experts agree with me on this.”

On the other side of the issue RealClimate’s Gavin Schmidt downplayed Zwally’s results as we would expect telling interviewers, “I would pin more weight to the GRACE data than to this latest paper.” But it is not a matter of putting more weight on satellite data that measures gravity change (GRACE) or satellite data that measures changes in elevation (Zwally et al). Both methods are victimized by faulty Glacial Isostatic Adjustment models (GIA). All measurements of increased ice elevation or gravity changes are adjusted according to the assumptions of their GIA model of choice. Most GIA models assume Antarctica has been rebounding upwards since deglaciation removed the weight of glacial ice. The degree of estimated rebound depends on the region and more importantly 1) uncertain estimates of the mantle’s viscosity below the bedrock and 2) assumptions about the glacial history of Antarctica.

It is not clear if Schmidt’s advocacy for the GRACE estimates was guided by his persistent protection of the global warming meme, or if his interviewers omitted any honest discussion of papers demonstrating the upward bias in most GIA estimates. Similarly other Zwally detractors pointed to papers such as Harig 2015 that claimed Antarctica was losing ice, but Harig 2015 used GIA models that were well known to over‑estimate glacial rebound.

To remove bias in GIA models, our best method requires comparing Global Positioning System data (GPS) that measures the current bedrock uplift with GIA modeled predictions. This requires placing GPS instruments on solid bedrock, which is relatively rare throughout most of ice covered Antarctica. However along the coast wherever GPS measurements have been possible, research revealed GIA models had biased the uplift upwards by 4.9 to 5.0 mm/years relative to GPS observations. Zwally argues that current GIA models should be lowered by just 1.6 mm/ year and that small adjustment would bring the estimates based on GRACE data into agreement with Zwally’s elevation data.

There is more evidence to support Zwallys critique of GIA models. In recent years researchers have been lowering their estimates of mass gained during the last Ice Age and lost ice mass during the recent deglaciation. Previous models estimated Antarctica deglaciation contributed 24-37 meters of sea level rise, but that contribution has now been reduced to just 6-14 meters. This meant early GIA models had grossly overestimated the weight of past glaciers and the subsequent rebound. By adjusting the de‑glaciation history, Whitehouse 2012 revised their GIA model so that the upward bias was reduced to 1.2 mm/year with error estimates of 2.3 mm/year. Less ice also meant previous models that budgeted sources of sea level rise were wrong. Zwally’s estimate that Antarctica has been gaining ice and thus reducing sea level has created more angst that current models of sea level rise are still in need of further adjustments.

Furthermore, Zwally referenced evidence from Siegert 2003 showing parts of east Antarctica had been gaining mass for the past 10,000 years (Figure 2 below). Counter‑intuitively during the last Glacial Maximum ice accumulation dropped to a minimum. In contrast during warmer interglacials greater incursions of moisture entered the interior of Antarctica and ice accumulation peaked. Because east Antarctic is so cold (South Pole’s average summer temperature is -28C), ice ablation is minimal, so it is more likely east Antarctica is still subsiding under that weight, not uplifting. Zwally’s inference that GIA models should decrease their estimates of bedrock uplift by just 1.6 mm/year again is well supported.

Zwally questioned if snow accumulation could continue to offset the ice lost from glacier thinning elsewhere. But recent evidence suggests it will. Zwally’s study did not extended past 2008 but he estimated that during the period studied, net accumulation had reduced sea level rise 0.23 mm/year ( a 6 to 10% reduction). More recent GRACE evidence has suggested even larger accumulation events since then. A 2012 study determined east Antarctica gained 350 Gigatons of snow between 2009 and 2011, enough to decrease sea level rise by 0.32 mm/year. A 2015 study using regional ice core data reveals no unusual temperature changes but an exceptional 30% increase in snow accumulation during the twentieth century, supporting Zwally’s analysis of mass gain in interior west Antarctica.

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Similarly Greenland’s snowfall accumulation is at all time highs and recent GRACE results show that after several years of accelerated ice loss due to glacier thinning, the net loss from Greenland in 2013-2014 was insignificant. As discussed here, relative to the years of greater ice loss in Greenland, the rate of sea level rise should have dropped by an additional 1.3 mm/year in 2014. Combining Zwally’s calculations with recent evidence from Greenland, sea level models driven by global warming should reveal a decreasing rate of sea level rise. It appears that global warming fears have been misdirecting research concerned with coastal flooding. Research shows groundwater extraction is not only contributing significantly to recent sea level rise, but land is sinking at a faster rate due to that extraction. Regretfully President Obama has highlighted coastal flooding to further politicize climate change, but never mentions the more critical issue of ground water extraction that desperately needs attention.

Zwally’s analysis also noted that previous estimates of Antarctica’s ice mass assumed that increases in elevation were due to snowfall. But when ice accumulation is greater than ice discharge, drainage basins undergo dynamic thickening, and dynamic thickening can occur in response to accumulation events that happened thousands of years ago. Because the density of ice is about 3 times the density of snow, if researchers incorrectly assume increased elevations are only due to snowfall and not dynamic thickening, estimates of ice mass will be greatly underestimated. This points out the need to see climate change within a framework of thousands of years, not just the past few decades, and Zwally’s interpretation of dynamic thickening can be readily tested by additional ice cores.

In the face of Zwally’s analysis, defenders of the CO2 warming meme retreated to stressing uncontested observations of lost ice due to dynamic glacier thinning or uncritically accepting speculative models catastrophic deglaciation. Although Zwally calculated the net “mass gains from snow accumulation exceeded losses from ice discharge by about 112 and 82 Gt/year respectively during the 1992-2001 and 2003-08 measurement periods”, he also reported that the rate of ice loss along the west Antarctic coast and the peninsula had increased from 64 GT/year to 135 GT/year during those same periods. Alarmists seize upon this short‑term acceleration to suggest rising CO2 will cause the rate of dynamic thinning to increase. But research shows dynamic thinning has been more cyclical, intermittent and episodic with no correlation with CO2 concentrations. For example a large 1987 calving event removed 100 years of ice accumulation from the Ross Ice Shelf in just one day, an amount second only to the loss of the Larsen Ice Shelf. Such episodic events can easily be misinterpreted as an “acceleration” of ice loss. However due to the heavier snow accumulation since that time, the ice shelf has expanded further northward exceeding it previous extent in just over a decade (Keys 1998). Antarctica undergoes rapid ice loss followed by periods of slower recuperation depending on regional rates of snow accumulation. So a much broader timescale of climate change must be embraced.

Research has determined these episodic calving events are most often driven by periodic upwelling of warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) that melts glaciers from below (basal melting). The extremely cold Antarctic climate maintains a 200 to 300 meter surface layer of near freezing Winter Water that insulates warmer CDW below. All grounding points below 300 meters have been susceptible to basal melting from upwelled CDW for millennia, and a pattern has emerged that glaciers with deeper grounding points incur greater basal melting. Thus the topography of the coastal shelves and depth of submerged glacier grounding points determines the impact of upwelled CDW and limits extreme basal melting to a relatively few locations as illustrated by the red and orange areas in the figure below (from Depoorter 2013)..

Reports of increased basal melting due to “warmer” water is often misinterpreted to mean CDW water had been warmed by rising CO2. But CDW is a tremendous reservoir of heat that only experiences temperature changes on long‑term scales of centuries and millennia. Upwelled CDW water can be cooled when modified by winter water, or remain warm when it directly accesses a glacier grounding point. Reading recent research carefully reveals no change in the temperature CDW source waters. It is periodic increases in the volume and velocity of intruding CDW that accelerates basal melt. Coastal shelves that allow the greatest intrusions of relatively warm CDW experience that greatest basal melt such as Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, which account for the overwhelming majority of Antarctica’s dynamic thinning. Antarctica’s glacial thinning is a very localized phenomenon, and not evidence of global warming.

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In addition to conducive topography, intrusions of warm CDW are driven by periodic changes in the winds which in turn are controlled primarily by the Amundsen Sea Low (ASL), a quasi-permanent low pressure system. The ASL shifts poleward and equatorward, as well as eastward and westward with the seasons. It also shifts in response to inter‑annual and decadal changes in sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific. The shifting center of the ASL causes varying wind intensities that also alternate direction between easterlies and westerlies. As illustrated below the direction of the wind over the shelf break determines the amount of CDW that reaches the glaciers grounding points along the peninsula and Amundsen Sea. Paleo‑climate research suggests the position of the ASL also shifts between glacials and interglacials, and drove warm CDW shoreward during interglacials and accelerated glacier retreat.

Modern cycles of CDW‑driven basal melting are likewise correlated with the position of the ASL and changes in the central Pacific temperatures.. Warming of the central Pacific is associated with an El Nino variation called Modoki EL Niño (see Tisdale for further discussion). And here again there is absolutely no consensus regards the effects of CO2 on the frequency or types of El Niño, but most researchers believe El Niño is an expression of the natural climate variability. Steig 2012 points out that a cycle warming in the central Pacific, similar to recent years, had last occurred during the 1940s. That earlier warming was associated with a large calving event of the Pine Island Glacier that likely occurred in association with an EL Nino event. Accordingly a 2013 paper reports the “climate in West Antarctica cannot be distinguished from decadal variability that originates in the tropics.”

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Zwally deemed it necessary to acknowledge climate change fears and suggested that if the rate of dynamic thinning continues, Antarctica could begin exhibiting a net loss of ice within the next 20 years, but only if there was no compensating snowfall. Yet curiouser and curiouser neither Zwally or the researchers highlighting accelerated thinning of Amundsen Sea glaciers ever mention recent research that measured a 53% decrease in basal melting and up to a 1C drop in melt water temperatures between 2010 and 2012. Melt water temperatures that were lower under the Pine Island Glacier than 1992 temperatures. The decrease in basal melt was attributed to stronger easterly winds that encouraged downwelling along the Amundsen shelf break, which lowered the top of the thermocline (where cold winter waters meets warm CDW) and reduced the volume of upwelled warm CDW intruding onto the shelf. Researchers concluded that “Continuation of a deep thermocline would reverse the current ice-shelf thinning.”

Other researchers have demonstrated warming in Antarctica that followed the last glacial maximum preceded any increase in atmospheric CO2. Both warming and CO2 appear to be driven by changes in the position and strength of the westerly winds and the upwelling of warm CDW. During the past 10,000 years research at Marguerite Bay on the peninsula reveals extensive glacial melt, limited sea ice which enhanced primary productivity that lasted for over 2000 years and was consistent with evidence of increased upwelling of warm CDW. The George VI Ice Shelf collapsed about 9000 years ago but reformed 7000 years ago and that shelf still persists today. Over the last 5000 years intermittent melting and reforming of sea ice in the Marguerite Bay is consistent with enhanced sensitivity to ENSO forcing and increased upwelling of CDW; a similar sensitivity to ENSO events has been documented over the most recent decades. History strongly suggests periods of accelerated glacial thinning are natural and quite common.

A more thorough and objective review of the peer-reviewed literature reveals an abundance of evidence supporting claims of natural climate variability that easily matches, if not outweighs, the trumpeted papers asserting CO2 driven change. It is no wonder Dr. Steig admitted ““I think the evidence that the current retreat of Antarctic glaciers is owing to anthropogenic global warming is weak. The literature is mixed on this, about 50% of experts agree with me on this.”

It will be of great interest to see how the IPCC spins this state of affairs.

An off topic addendum: For those who missed the WUWT post over the holidays to petition Congress to investigate USGS polar bear research please read the rationale here please sign petition here.. Thanks to advice from one commenter I will be submitting a “Request for Correction” (or RfC) to the USGS under the Information Quality Act (IQA, also called the Data Quality Act (DQA)) to ensure this complaint gets documented and posted to the USG website. Such complaints along with a petition attract congressional attention.

Jim Steele is author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

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125 thoughts on “Is Antarctica's Climate Change Natural or CO2 Driven? There Is Absolutely No Consensus

  1. Question,since CO2 freezes at -68.08 deg F and the mean annual temperature of the interior of antarctica is -70.6 deg F, how much CO2 is falling as snow athe souther pole?

  2. “That would highlight another major failure for both CO2 driven models and models of sea level change.”
    Why? Accumulation of land ice does not imply cooling. In many parts of the world, if rain turns to snow, it’s getting colder. But in Antarctica, effectively all precipitation is frozen. And precipitation is small, because the cold air holds little moisture. Warmer air can hold more. As Zwally et al say in their summation:
    “However, compensating increases in snowfall with climate warming may also be expected (Gregory and Huybrechts, 2006; Winkelmann and others, 2012).”

    • Nick St0kes:
      You quoted Mr. Steele out of context. His assertion of model failure was solely with regard to ice accumulation NOT snowfall. Your attempt to create a snow-strawman fails.
      Quote from Steele article above:

      If the new NASA research proves correct – and there is good evidence to suggest it is – ,continental ice is increasing and lowering sea level. That would highlight another major failure for both CO2 driven models both and models of sea level change.

      (emphasis mine)
      Re: Failure of IPCC’s Models v. a v. Antarctic

      … an even greater model failure at the other end of the globe, the sea ice surrounding Antarctica. *** The multi-model ensemble mean shows that the models estimated that the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica should have lost sea ice from November, 1978 to May, 2013. (See Figure 3-2.) But, the data (Figure 3-1) show Antarctic sea ice area is increasing. ***
      Compounding the models’ problems is their complete failure at modeling Southern
      Hemisphere sea ice. There, climate models, laboring under the assumption that
      anthropogenic greenhouse gases cause reductions in sea ice area, also guessed
      incorrectly that the Southern Hemisphere would lose sea ice faster than the Arctic.

      Climate Models Fail, Bob Tisdale (2013) at 112, 113.
      Mr. Steel is correct.
      Janice

      • Mr. Darby:
        I will reword my point, for you obviously missed it. I take back the “quote out of context” part of my comment, but, my POINT still stands: Nick St0kes mischaracterized Jim Steele’s point, i.e., that the models FAILED to project ice accumulation in the Antarctic. Warmer air affecting the Antarctic –> causing snow –> causing ice accumulation in the Antarctic was not projected by the IPCC models. That was all that Jim Steele was asserting. And he was correct.
        Nick St0kes (I am amazed you could not discern this for yourself, Mr. Darby — why do you need this explained to you?) mischaracterized Mr. Steele as saying simply that warm air does not cause snow –> ice accumulation. That was not what Mr. Steele’s point was. It was about the lack of skill of the models. Period.
        Mr. Steele’s point was about what the models projected: less Antarctic ice.
        Nick St0kes twisted this into a snow-strawman about warm air causing snow, thus, ice.
        If you do not understand the essential point (sans the assertion of St0kes misquoting Steele) I was making after all this, you never will.
        Janice
        (Note: ‘Michael Darby’ is an impostor. A fake. An identity thief. -mod)

      • (Note: “Michael Darby” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Buster Brown’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. All the time and effort he spent on writing 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name, many of them quite long, are wasted because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • Well, Mr. Darby, you have just proven that you cannot read, making writing to you a waste of time OR that you are disingenuous, making writing to you a waste of time. I will repeat, however, what I WROTE so that others will not be misled by your mischaracterizing of me:

        I take back the “quote out of context” part of my comment, *** Mr. Steele’s point was about what the models projected: less Antarctic ice. Nick St0kes twisted this into a snow-strawman about warm air causing snow, thus, ice. ***
        If you do not understand the essential point (sans the assertion of St0kes misquoting Steele) I was making after all this, you never will.

        What you have to say no longer interests me, Mr. Darby.
        And I have full confidence that the high reading comprehension of the other readers of this thread makes explaining myself further unnecessary.

      • When discussing Climate, it is important to bear in mind that climate is REGIONAL, not GLOBAL.
        So the issue is not whether there is GLOBAL cooling or not, but rather whether there is REGIONAL cooling or not.
        In addition, irrespective of REGIONAL cooling, there could be small variations in the direction/nature of jet streams etc, in another area which could cause Climate change in the REGION under review, given that temperature is only one of many variable parameters which go to make up the Climate of any given REGION on planet Earth..
        My understanding is that, away from the coast, where the ice appears to be growing, there has been no measurable change in temperature since records began being taken.

      • “Yes. But we don’t have global cooling.”
        But we have had in the past, and how long does it takes for snow at the top of a glacier to work it’s way down to the terminus?

    • Please Nick,
      Budget analyses to explain rising sea level models as a function of rising CO2 all assume the Antarctica is losing ice faster than it is gaining, thus contributing to sea level rise. And indeed as seen in the graph above from Siegert east Antarctica accumulates more ice during the warmer periods of the Holocence, despite low CO2 levels. If Antarctica is gaining mass then models suggesting CO2 warming is causing net ice loss are simply wrong.

      • Jim,
        “Budget analyses to explain rising sea level models as a function of rising CO2”
        Could you please be specific? What models are you talking about?
        People do make budgets to account for sea level rise. It’s not fancy modelling – usually just adding sources, thermal, GIA etc. It’s just water accounting – not “CO2-driven”. And yes, if Antarctica currently turns out to be a sink, some budgets will have to be modified. They are based on observation.
        GCM’s account for the effect of CO2 on global temperatures. But I’m not aware of any that try to model ice sheets in a way that would conflict with Zwally’s result.

      • Nick, The IPCC states “There is high confidence that the Antarctic Ice Sheet is in a state of net mass loss and its contribution to sea level is also likely to have increased in the last two decades. Acceleration in ice outflow has been observed since the 1990s, especially in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica.”
        CO2 driven models do not attribute ice sheet losses to radiative forcing at lest for another 2 centuries. The alarmist focus has implied that short term observations of accelerated basal melting and dynamic thinning around the peninsula and Amundsen will continue into the future on the assumption that Southern Oceans are warming due to rising CO2. Nearly all those models also predicted reduced sea ice (i.e. Landrum 2012). But sea ice has expanded and the Suuthern Oceans are not warming from above. The basal melt is from warmer waters from below. Fan (2014) report that “Apart fromthe Antarctic Peninsula and adjacent regions, sea surface temperatures and surface air temperatures decreased during 1979–2011, consistent with the expansion of Antarctic sea ice”
        There is no “global warming” of the southern seas, just localized “warming” due to the either stronger winds from the north or from the upwelling of warmer CDW or both. Better sad, there has been a redistribution of heat, not warming. In any case, If Zwally proves right there is “high confidence” that Antarctica is not losing mass nor causing sea level to rise and the IPCC got it wrong.

      • Jim,
        “The IPCC states…”
        I can’t find that exact quote. But the AR5 in 4.4.2.3 says, similarly:
        “Overall, there is high confidence that the Antarctic ice sheet is currently losing mass. The average ice mass change to Antarctica from the present assessment has been –97 [–135 to –58] Gt yr–1 (a sea level equivalent of 0.27 mm yr–1 [0.37 to 0.16] mm yr–1) over the period 1993–2010, and –147 [–221 to –74] Gt yr–1 (0.41 [0.61 to 0.20] mm yr–1) over the period 2005–2010. These assessments include the Antarctic peripheral glaciers.”
        But that is based on observations, not modelling. And Zwally seems to be at odds with other observations. You still haven’t told us which are these “CO2-driven models” which are shown to have suffered “major failure”? You have referred to sea ice issues, but that is not relevant to Zwally’s result.

      • Nick, I referenced Landrum and the CMIP modeling failures to predict increasing sea ice and the cooling southern oceans where that is happening (FAn 2014). Those models predicted warming and reduced ice and it follows that would extend to predictions about basal melting of glaciers. But off hand I can’t name a specific model directly connecting global warming with the Pine Island, Indirectly many models directly predict warming tropics and positive SAM that they link to ozone and CO2.
        But please answer these 3 questions:
        First when Steig comments “evidence that the current retreat of Antarctic glaciers is owing to anthropogenic global warming is weak. The literature is mixed on this, about 50% of experts agree with me on this” Doesn’t that imply the other 50% are analyzing/modleing glacier retreat as a function of anthropogenic global warming ?
        I never said increased accumulation implied global cooling. I only stated that the models may have failed to accurately analyze Antarctic melting.
        Second Do you believe or assert that basal melting is a function of rising CO2 or a process that has been going on for millennia?
        Third, When websites dedicated to skeptic bashing like SkepticalScience try to counter the contradictory evidence of growing sea ice and cooling southern oceans (Fan 2014), with claims that Antarctica is losing ice, do you log on and tell them no models predict that?

      • Here is one model attributing CO2 to Antarctic ice loss from Hansen, Schmidt et the gang 2007
        “Observed warming in recent decades (Fig. 9) and warming simulated by a large IPCC ensemble of many
        climate models in response to increasing GHGs (Carril et al. 2005) is concentrated in the Amundson Sea-Antarctic Peninsula-Western Weddell Sea region, where recent acceleration of outlet glaciers has been noted”

      • Jim,
        “Those models predicted warming and reduced ice and it follows that would extend to predictions about basal melting of glaciers”
        Zwally isn’t saying there isn’t more basal melting of glaciers. There is. Hansen is right there too. Zwally says in his abstract:
        “In WA1 and the AP, increased losses of 66 ±16 Gt a–1 from increasedd ynamic thinning from accelerating glaciers are 50% offset by greater WA snowfall.”
        What he is saying is that overall, Antarctica is gaining mass. Which means, you say,
        “That would highlight another major failure for both CO2 driven models and models of sea level change.”
        But you can’t say which models or how they have failed.
        On you other questions – there is no indication that Steig’s other 50% have model results saying that glaciers are retreating because of AGW. But again, if they did, there is no contradiction. As Zwally says, they are retreating.
        I’m sure there has been basal melting in the past. Glaciers flow, and the ice does end up in the sea. It just seems to be happening faster lately.
        When SkS say the Antarctic is gaining ice, they refer to observations, which may turn out to be wrong, if Zwally’s result prevails. There’s no point me saying models didn’t predict it; no-one there said they did.

      • Nick you are being disingenuous. I stated that Zwally reported increased basal melting in the Amundsen and agree with. The model failures are those that suggest Antarctica is losing ice and the media hype that catastrophic deglaciation is fast approaching do to CO2 climate change. I elaborated on why that basal melt is quite natural and related to ENSO sensitivity. In contrast Hansen’s model suggests basal melting is caused by rising GHG, and that suggests CO2 has been causing Antarctica to lose ice.

  3. I really do not understand why science can be so split on the issue. It is a matter of common sense, surely. It well known that Antarctica is the coldest area of the earth. It is also well known that the average annual temperature of Antarctica is -47 degrees C. How in the world can ice or snow melt with average temperatures like that? In my region of southern Canada, our coldest month is January with an average temperature of -3.6 degrees C. When snow falls in January, it stays and does not melt 99% of the time throughout the month. What if our average January temperature was -47 degrees C? What would be the probability of snow or ice falling in January ever melting in January? It would be ZERO %. Come on all you PhD.’s in climate science – have your degrees nullified your common sense?

    • (Note: “Michael Darby” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Buster Brown’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. All the time and effort he spent on writing 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name, many of them quite long, are wasted because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • The ocean water can only freeze if it loses heat, including circa 80 Cal per gm of ice formed.
        A little thinking will explain that this heat must go away from the earth, out into the atmosphere and eventually to radiate to space. That heat does not go INTO the sea water, which is much warmer than the air.
        So the upper ocean water has to be losing heat to the colder atmosphere for the sea ice to form.
        Ergo, the upper ocean waters must shrink, since salt water has no maximum density at some temperature above its freezing point like fresh water does.
        So the sea level absolutely has to go down, rather than stay at the archimedian presumed static level .
        Oddly enough, when the floating sea ice melts, the heat for that must also come from the surrounding sea water, since the vast majority of that ice is underwater, and not in contact with the atmosphere.
        In between those two events, the ocean Temperature must undergo some other temperature adjustments, so freezing and melting of sea ice is not some magic pump that ratchets the sea level down continuously, whether coming or going ice wise.

      • It is a fact that sea ice has been growing in extent overall, in the last 40 years. I was referring mainly to the growth of the ice sheets.

  4. Snow sublimates, i.e., it goes from the solid state directly to the gaseous state when the temperature is below o degrees C. It has a vapour pressure.

  5. It seems safe to predict that phenomena at this dynamic interface involving the cryosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere, replete with short- and long-term “lag” effects and teleconnections with other geographic regions, will provide plenty of fodder for future research.

    • Gil,
      Wash your mouth out!
      Immediately!!
      The science is settled!!!
      How could there be ‘future research’????
      All climate ‘scientists’ to retrain as ski-lodge baristas!!!!!
      Mods, for the avoidance of doubt, /SARC . . . Very /SARC
      Auto, appreciating Gil’s dark sense of humour.

  6. Here are some abstracts from 2012, 2013, 2014 showing evidence of extreme increased snowfalls on east Antarctica, caused by global warming.
    We have a consensus.

    Abstract – 14 June 2013
    B. W. J. Miles et al
    Rapid, climate-driven changes in outlet glaciers on the Pacific coast of East Antarctica
    …….Here we present multidecadal trends in the terminus position of 175 ocean-terminating outlet glaciers along 5,400 kilometres of the margin of the East Antarctic ice sheet, and reveal widespread and synchronous changes. Despite large fluctuations between glaciers—linked to their size—three epochal patterns emerged: 63 per cent of glaciers retreated from 1974 to 1990, 72 per cent advanced from 1990 to 2000, and 58 per cent advanced from 2000 to 2010. These trends were most pronounced along the warmer western South Pacific coast, whereas glaciers along the cooler Ross Sea coast experienced no significant changes. We find that glacier change along the Pacific coast is consistent with a rapid and coherent response to air temperature and sea-ice trends, linked through the dominant mode of atmospheric variability (the Southern Annular Mode)…..
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v500/n7464/abs/nature12382.html

    Fears of icebergs from the south, ‘unprecedented’ melting / calving and all that jazz. Let us stop screaming about ice-bergs from Antarctica.

    Antarctic icebergs near New Zealand
    …The icebergs reported by Russell (1895) from sightings between 1888 and 1895; from N.Z. Marine Department records 1922 to 1948* in the area from Australia to South America, and the records of bergs occurring between 1892 and 1899 (Meteorological Office, London, 1907) are plotted in Figs 1 and 2. The Hinemoa records (Fig. 3) are of a field of bergs seen around the Antipodes Islands in 1897…..
    In September and October 1892 large numbers of very big icebergs were reported from vessels at points between 200 n.m. (nautical miles) east of New Zealand and 300 n.m. east of the Chatham Islands, between latitudes 42° S and 50° S. S.S. Coptic (between 180° and 174° W in 46° S) “met some enormous icebergs two hundred and fifty feet high“; S.S. Star of England reported “The morning after leaving Lyttelton, New Zealand, saw huge iceberg, a little later engines had to be stopped; completely surrounded by icebergs. Nothing but ice three hundred feet high could be seen from aloft………
    Shand (1893) describes the bergs of this group as seen from the Chatham Islands on 28 and 29 October 1892 and for “a week or more” after. More than eight bergs were seen, the largest “not less than 500 ft in height”,…..
    (source – pdf)

    • When I was down in Christchurch circa New Years 2007, there were humungous ice bergs sitting out in the Pacific off the coast of New Zealand.
      I could have bought a ticket, as did many people to have a helicopter fly me out there and deposit me on to that ice berg for a short jaunt.
      I was too chicken for that, as I have seen video of misshapen icebergs suddenly rolling over.
      g

      • I was down in Papatawai on the south coast of New Zealand in 1970 where my late wife’s parents had a home overlooking Tahakopa River estuary where I used to spear flounders by lantern in the shallow water when they came in with the tide. In a cave around the corner on the sea coast I came across a penguin moulting. He looked like plucked chicken standing and shivering in the semi dark – probably penguins were rafted in by polar ice. If you zoom in on the satellite image, you will see the ‘village’ of Papatowai. It used to be just one home, my parents’-in-law abode. I see a Mirren Street which is the name of my sister-in-law. I didn’t know about this until I googled it just now.

      • “I was too chicken for that, as I have seen video of misshapen icebergs suddenly rolling over.”
        IIRC, it’s only, or almost only, Arctic icebergs that roll over, because they calve in shards; Antarctic icebergs calve in slabs.

      • Gary, you probably saw a little blue penguin which is a resident in New Zealand and Australian waters.
        But if you saw an Emperor penguin, then it is time for the head between the knees survival posture.
        G

  7. I am interested in the data that suggests that historically the greatest accumulation of ice occurred in the warmer inter-glacial period. Would that not support the the current ice gains in a warmer period?

    • Yes, Heather — good observation and to make it more complete I annotate your statement here:

      Would that not support that the current ice gains in a warmer period {are also due to natural drivers}?

    • Werner Brozek,
      That is one of your finest (and you have MANY of them!) articles. I hope it gets a wide reading, for it is FILLED with an impressive amount of carefully presented data and well-informed analysis such as this:

      Different regions of the Earth are either warming at different rates or even cooling. Then the various regions contradict each other as to what is really occurring. With so much uncertainty, perhaps we should wait to really see what is really occurring before spending trillions on a problem that may not even exist.

      ((Applause, applause!))
      Gratefully,
      Janice

  8. “Most GIA models assume Antarctica has been rebounding upwards since deglaciation removed the weight of glacial ice.”
    Am I understanding this right? Surely it is elementary that the temperatures even during the H. climate optimum (HCO) were well below freezing for most of the continent. Do the ice core records not show relatively continuous, although variable snow accumulation? The HCO was, after all only (what?) no more than a couple of degrees warmer than today, and as already stated, some warming brings more moisture laden air into the continent. Much of West Antarctica would have snow on it simply because it is comparatively high elevation as well as low sun angle. Geez, the freezing point of water hasn’t changed!

    • PS: on the GPS and measuring rebound, you don’t have to put it on the continent if that is a problem. Tierra del Fuego would also be rebounding and would serve as a measure, wouldn’t it?

      • Glacial Isostatic rebound varies with location. For example while parts of the Arctic are rising, the east coast of the USA is sinking. Tierra del Fuego only tells us how Tierra del Fuego is behaving.

    • Gary,
      Antarctica had even more ice on it during the Last Glacial Maximum. It is rebounding from shedding the weight of the ice lost since c. 20,000 years ago. The EAIS quit shrinking about 3000 years ago, but the tectonic plate is still rebounding.
      The eastern US seaboard is falling because the Canadian shield is rising, having lost the Laurentide and other ice sheets. Hudson Bay marks where the highest and heaviest part of the ice sheet was, thus depressing the craton the most. Similarly, southern Britain is sinking because northern Britain, freed of the burden of its ice, is rising.
      Tierra del Fuego is separated from Antarctica by a broad, deep oceanic channel, the formation of which some 34 million years ago led to ice sheet formation on Antarctica.

      • Could the east coast US be a candidate for Anthropogenic Continental Sinking (ACS)? Use Manhattan Is as an example – all that steel and concrete point-loading in a small area – I do recall reading somewhere that the seal level was rising there 3 times faster than the east coast average! /sarc

        • It’s called Isostatic Depression, and along with the weight of the structures on parts of the land like this, the extraction of ground water only adds to the problem. Nothing to sarc about.

      • “Use Manhattan Is as an example – all that steel and concrete point-loading in a small area ”
        About a year ago there was a flurry of comments on this, with the consensus IIRC that the weight of the bedrock excavated for the basement exceeded that of the mostly hollow structure erected above it.

      • Gloat, please tell us where this lost ice melted.
        http://nsidc.org/data/atlas/news/ice_core_additions.html has maps of the ice core drill locations for both Antarctica and Greenland. Please tell us which location has gaps in the accumulation sequence.
        Same for Greenland. please see ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/isotopes/gisp2_temp_accum_alley2000.txt
        About half way down the data is :
        2. Accumulation rate in central Greenland
        Column 1: Age (thousand years before present)
        Column 2: Accumulation rate (m. ice/year)

        Age Accumulation
        1st ………0.144043 0.244106
        last 2 …..48.9746 0.091739
        …………..49.0034 0.091599
        So 49,000 years and there are no negative numbers for Accumulation. Or every time period has increased volume. On the summit, Greenland over the last 49,000 years has only gained ice.

      • Re melting of ice from the glacial maximum. The largest part of the remelting was shrinking of the area of ice (there was over 50million km^3 that melted back) The ice caps on Antarctica and Greenland did not melt – they were still well below freezing and nearly all of at least Antarctica has remained well below freezing. Thinning of ice on Greenland and Antarctica occurs because of glacial flow outwards but the record is still largely intact.

    • Steve, there is a multitude of measurements from moorings, remotely operated vehicles and other measurements that indicate intrusions of warm Circumpolar Deep Water is a guaranteed reality. Your crude emotional reply suggest you are totally unaware of the scientific literature.

      • Jim, your forgetting, the salt water is colder then the freezing point of fresh water :
        Ocean water freezes just like freshwater, but at lower temperatures. Fresh water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit but seawater freezes at about 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit, because of the salt in it. When seawater freezes, however, the ice contains very little salt because only the water part freezes. It can be melted down to use as drinking water.
        At least 15 percent of the ocean is covered by sea ice some part of the year. On average, sea ice covers almost about 10 million square miles of the Earth.
        Sea water becomes more and more dense as it becomes colder, right down to its freezing point. Fresh water, on the other hand, is most dense while still at 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit, well above the freezing point. The average temperature of all ocean water is about 38.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
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      • “Warm” being a relative term.
        A fourth zone, the Continental Zone, and the westward flowing Antarctic Coastal (or Polar) Current are located even further poleward, between the Southern Front and the Antarctic continent. SST poleward of 65°S is about -1.0°C (Deacon, 1984).
        http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/southern/antarctic-cp.html
        Lower levels are protected from the NADW by the ongoing generation of Antarctic Bottom Water.
        Formation of Antarctic Shelf Water, its further downwelling along the Antarctic slope to the ocean abyssal, and formation of Antarctic Bottom Water occur only in the case of a combination of specific conditions: existence of permanent large polynya supported by strong offshore winds, leading to the withdrawal of heat to the atmosphere; sufficient width of the shelf that provides significant time for interaction with the atmosphere; and existence of crossing canyons that allow outflow of the heaviest forms of Antarctic Shelf Water from the shelf. Cooling and freshening at the bottom of shelf glaciers also takes place during the formation (cabbeling) of Antarctic Shelf Water. This is especially characteristic of the western part of the Ross Sea, where the temperature under the ice column can reach extremely low values θ < −2.0°C (Patterson and Whitworth 1990).
        http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9789048193578-c1.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-989777-p173999673

      • Jim, “WARM WATER” being a relative term.
        A fourth zone, the Continental Zone, and the westward flowing Antarctic Coastal (or Polar) Current are located even further poleward, between the Southern Front and the Antarctic continent. SST poleward of 65°S is about -1.0°C (Deacon, 1984).
        http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/southern/antarctic-cp.html
        And the CDW?
        Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) is formed at a limited number of locations along the coast where very dense, cold ( < 1.7�C) near-surface shelf waters with high CFC concentrations are created by ocean–atmosphere and ocean–ice interactions. The shelf waters then sink down the continental slope as narrow, thin bottom boundary currents (tens of kilometers wide and 100–200 m thick), the dynamics of which are controlled locally by the balance of bottom friction, geostrophy, and entrainment (Smith 1975 ; Price and Baringer 1994 ). The AABW overflows entrain on average about an equal amount of warmer ( > 0�C), low CFC Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) (Orsi et al. 1999).
        http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/oce/pubs/02pubs_files/doney&hecht.htm
        And CDW does not really get to close to the shore due to the formation of AABW (Fig 2.3 & Fig 2.9)
        Formation of Antarctic Shelf Water, its further downwelling along the Antarctic slope to the ocean abyssal, and formation of Antarctic Bottom Water occur only in the case of a combination of specific conditions: existence of permanent large polynya supported by strong offshore winds, leading to the withdrawal of heat to the atmosphere; sufficient width of the shelf that provides significant time for interaction with the atmosphere; and existence of crossing canyons that allow outflow of the heaviest forms of Antarctic Shelf Water from the
        shelf. Cooling and freshening at the bottom of shelf glaciers also takes place during the formation (cabbeling) of Antarctic Shelf Water. This is especially characteristic of the western part of the Ross Sea, where the temperature under the ice column can reach extremely low values θ < −2.0°C (Patterson and Whitworth 1990).

        http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9789048193578-c1.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-989777-p173999673

      • DD, thanks for elaborating on my assertion that “Coastal shelves that allow the greatest intrusions of relatively warm CDW experience that greatest basal melt such as Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, which account for the overwhelming majority of Antarctica’s dynamic thinning.”
        I would quibble with for statement that ” CDW does not really get to close to the shore due to the formation of AABW” There are several studies from mooring observing CDW inflow. ALthough CDW is not much warmer than the freezing point it carries enough heat to accelerate basal melting. Depending on the pathway, CDW can be highly modified by very cold shelf water formed during sea ice formation and cold dense brine. When discussing basal melt researchers often use the term modifiedCDW. The decrease in basal melting of the Pine Island Glacier from 2010 and 2012 that I mentioned in the essay was attributed to the cooling of intruding CDW by cold shelf water formed in a nearby polynya.

    • Jim Steele did not invent this melt mechanism, Mr. Case. Did you read the science sources he cites above in his article?
      1. What specifically to you object to;
      2. in which paper about the CDW asserting that it basally melts Antarctic ice; and
      3. for what reason(s) (please also cite your OWN sources).

  9. . . .Ah, sanity !
    Weatherbell.com Chief Meteorologist Joe Bastardi discusses climate change from a scientific perspective

  10. The science folks speak. The political folks listen, learn, and think.
    It would be nice if things worked this way in the larger world.

    • https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings?ID=CA2ABC55-B1E8-4B7A-AF38-34821F6468F7
      Senate hearings Dec 8
      Witnesses:
      Dr. John Christy
      Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville
      Dr. Judith Curry
      Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
      Dr. William Happer
      Cyrus Fogg Bracket Professor of Physics, Princeton University
      Mr. Mark Steyn
      International Bestselling Author
      Dr. David Titley (Rear Admiral, USN (ret.))
      Professor of Practice, Department of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University
      Director, Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk
      *Additional witnesses may be announced
      Hearing Details:
      Tuesday, December 8, 2015
      3:00 p.m. ET
      Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness hearing entitled “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate”
      This hearing will take place in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on http://www.commerce.senate.gov.

      • Thanks for posting that link, again, Marcus. I deliberately saved the 12/2 “Study…” thread in my InBox so I can use that link (which you posted down toward the bottom of that thread). THAT IS GREAT NEWS!

      • Hopefully, in due course, someone will post an update on the evidence presented. It would be interesting fpr those of us who are keeping an eye on these Senate enquiries from a distance.

  11. “However along the coast wherever GPS measurements have been possible, research revealed GIA models had biased the uplift upwards by 4.9 to 5.0 mm/years relative to GPS observations.”
    Surely no scientist is disputing the accuracy of GPS data recorded on bedrock on the Antarctic continent? All these models, GIA estimates, theories about what happened to the ice during the Ice Age maximum 20,000 years ago, viscosity of magma which we cannot measure, would drive an engineer such as myself to drink.
    How about some error bars and error analysis for all of this? Thanks for all your good work.

  12. Just curious—seem to remember that some of the west antarctic ice loss is due to some sub ice igneous activity—Or am I just imagining that???

      • According to Weerman (1966) the insulating effects of ice allow normal geothermal warming allows the base of ice sheets to warm and reaching the pressure melting point of water which then facilitites the movement of the ice sheet. There is no need for invoking volcanic activity.
        In addition the ice sheets of Antarctica have very low velocities. The Ross Ice Shelf ( inter alia) is indicative of reduced sea tempertature, not increased glacial flow from the land based ice caps.
        Source – Glacial and Periglacial Geomorhpohlogy, Embleton .c . King, C. Edward Armold 1968 1st Edition

    • There is data and evidence to support the CDW and other natural drivers of Antarctic ice melt mentioned above. There is NO data or evidence, so far, making CO2 (natural or human) a likely (or even plausible, imo) driver of the ice melt. Not — one — measurement. Just speculation.

      • by badly stated point was that there is (in most cases) no distinction between natural driven and co2 driven stuff as co2 is natural.

  13. There were papers in 2014 about discovery of strong geothermal activity associated with ice shelf melt, particularly Pine Island. Also about rather a lot of hot magma relatively near the surface in parts of West Antarctica , Has all that been discredited?

  14. I don’t recall which famous scientist uttered this, but I am reminded:
    “In science there is no consensus, there is only experiment”
    Even truer today than when it was uttered (if that is possible with truth)

  15. “A 2015 study using regional ice core data reveals no unusual temperature changes but an exceptional 30% increase in snow accumulation during the twentieth century, supporting Zwally’s analysis of mass gain in interior west Antarctica.”
    Shouldn’t that sentence (located just above Fig 2) say east Antarctica instead of west? The previous paragraph talked about the ice gains in east Antarctica, as in the following sentence:
    “Zwally referenced evidence from Siegert 2003 showing parts of east Antarctica had been gaining mass for the past 10,000 years…”

  16. I understand that CO2 has been increasing over Antarctica at about the same rate as globally. With the cold, water vapor over the continent should contribute less to the “greenhouse” effect than in temperate climes. while CO2 should contribute about the same. This seems to be a good experiment to test the CO2 theory. Is the surface temperature there increasing in proportion to the CO2 or not?

    • This is just some helpful (I hope) related information for you, DHR, until someone who can answer more completely comes along:
      1. Yes, indeed, CO2 is a well-mixed atmospheric trace gas:
      Carbon dioxide is well mixed in the atmosphere. CO2 can’t avoid the tropical Pacific and Extratropical North Pacific for multidecadal periods, and then provide short blasts of warming at separate times in different locations. If human CO2 has an influence on any part of the global oceans, it has to have an impact everywhere. Carbon dioxide cannot pick and choose where and when it impacts the global oceans.
      Climate Models Fail, Bob Tisdale (2013) at 334.
      ********************************************
      2. Not enough temperature data for what might be a good experiment:
      “Even today, there are few grids with land surface air temperature data in Africa, Antarctica, Greenland, and in the Amazon basin of South America. As for the oceans, there are few samples south of 45S latitude. And the farther you travel back in time, the fewer samples there are.
      ** … the sea surface temperature data in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica appears to be complete, yet the vast majority of it is infilled, i.e., pretend. Thus, any study of it would be, primarily, an analysis of the infilling methods and not of observations-based data. ***
      As you’ll note, I have not presented trends for Antarctica and for most of the Southern
      Ocean that surrounds it. Land surface temperature data for Antarctica does not begin
      until the 1950s, and there is too little sea surface temperature source data in the
      Southern Ocean before the satellite era to show the trends there.”

      Climate Models Fail, Bob Tisdale (2013) at 73, 75, 91.

    • @DHR From British Antarcitc Survey data there is no evidence of rising temperatures along most of the coast of east Antarctica. Here is a graph from Dumont Dumerville I posted when discussing Emperor Penguins. https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/clip_image004_thumb.png?w=491&h=672
      The analysis of CO2 contribution to any warming is confounded by a variety of wind effects. Along the west coast of the peninsula northerly winds compact sea ice against the coast causing more open water and greater ventilation of ocean heat. Stronger westerlies cause winds to rise up and over the peninsula instead of going around, creating more foehn storms and adiabatic heating in places like James Ross Island. There is virtually a constant temperature inversion (cold surface layer overlain by relatively warmer upper layer) over the continent, so that increases in winds can create turbulence that entrains warmer air from above. Thus colder temperatures in higher elevations can generate stronger katabatic winds that may raise temperatures at lower elevations due to the turbulence effect.
      The Southpole and its high elevation is the one place where most confounding factors are minimal and there winter temperatures show no warming and perhaps insignificant cooling.

  17. ” It appears that global warming fears have been misdirecting research concerned with coastal flooding. Research shows groundwater extraction is not only contributing significantly to recent sea level rise, but land is sinking at a faster rate due to that extraction. ”
    This is an important point. In the Houston-Galveston area, there is an area-wide, multi-county subsidence district that is requiring conversion from well water/groundwater to surface water. Huge expensive projects. The subsidence over the past 100 years from groundwater extraction is in excess of 10 feet, with the older areas e.g. near the Ship Channel having even greater subsidence.

    • Indeed, anthogogenic ground water extraction has effects that are undeniably bad and those effects are accelerating in many places.
      The problem is you can’t tax it (gw extraction), you can only slow it. People gotta drink water. So it does not garner the near-orgasmic excitement of a carbon tax for the Left.

  18. With the COP21 failure coming to completion the Alarmists will accuse all others of lying.
    Amongst their hyperbole will be that Antarctica has lost 80% of its glacier mass.
    Sea level is risen 10 meters.
    Their tirad will accuse Caucasian Scientists “Cracker Scientists” as betrayers and scoundrels who only deserve death from a rifle shot in the head or the back. Upon death, the Cracker’s money will be given to Beloved Bon Ki Moon.
    Ha ha noha

  19. Cold comes from space.
    The ice at the poles is driven by the cold air that come down the magnetospheric footprint. This comes down through the ozone hole to the surface to be expressed as the polar vortex.
    The ionospheric trough separates the polar conditions from the warmer conditions.
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f6/Ionosphere-Thermosphere_Processes.jpg/1011px-Ionosphere-Thermosphere_Processes.jpg
    The Polar Vortex is modulated by the solar winds and other factors. The asymmetry in the polar ice caps is due to the way the the earth moves through the galaxy. Notice the asymmetrical magnetic field vs the direction of travel, which modulates the solar wind which modulates the polar vortex(cold at the poles)..
    http://earthsky.org/space/interstellar-magnetic-fields-warp-as-our-sun-and-heliosphere-move-through-galaxy

    • Cold doesn’t come from anywhere it is merely the absence of heat…. If you wish to deliberately chill something you need to one, put in some energy to achieve this and two provide the heat with somewhere else to go.
      Need I also point out that, polar regions have higher albedo, thinner atmosphere and less solar input

      • Also, forgot to add that if you have a pre-existing thermal gradient that heat will attempt to redistribute itself, from the higher regime to the colder. Simply speaking this is what drives our weather and out climate. Heat/energy mostly arrive at the equator, then the wonderful heat engine that we happen to inhabit, tries to redistribute this pole wards. In our case the thermal gradient is caused by the factors mention in previous post.

      • At the poles, the sun angle is low in summer, and does not rise at all for long periods of time. Under these conditions, all the heat just radiates into space.
        That is why it is cold at the poles…lack of incoming solar radiation.

  20. Another terrific article Jim. Two points, neither of which is a criticism of the article.
    1. AFAICS, the concept of GIA is deeply rooted in the notion that the volume of the Earth is constant. Push in here, it bulges out there. Fine. Probably. But wouldn’t that imply that if GIAs in one place have been overestimated, they must have been underestimated elsewhere? Makes all non-GPS GIA estimates suspect, no?
    2. Having misspent too many evenings of my youth looking a satellite acquisition tables, I’m strongly aware that high elevation passes at any location are relatively rare (It’s a geometry thing). That suggests that elevation estimates from GPS are almost certainly substantially less accurate than lat lon estimates. I would hope that workers measuring GIA with GPS would be aware of that. And I’m sure many are. But I see so many pretty basic errors being made in everything related to climate “science” and energy economics, that I can’t help but be a bit concerned that GIA error estimates for GPS derived values may not always be as broad as they should be.

  21. Dr Theodore ‘Scam’bos? No…no…a climate scientist, a Warmist Climate scientists called ‘Scam” bos…you cannot be serious!

  22. This is a very interesting article but does anyone have references for relevant temperature data in the region under review? I am not interested in extrapolated or infilled ‘data’,, which, in my opinion, is not data
    What does sea buoy, ARGO tell us about local sea temperatures?
    What does balloon data tell us about local atmospheric temperature?
    Personally, I have little confidence in land based temperature measurements because of their noticeable UHI contamination. Antarctica should be pristine, and any settlement corrupts that.

    • @richard read Fan 2014 Recent Antarctic sea ice trends in the context of Southern Ocean surface climate
      variations since 1950 http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/staff/cdeser/docs/fan.antarctic_seaice_trends.grl14.pdf
      “Apart from the Antarctic Peninsula and adjacent regions, sea surface temperatures and surface air temperatures decreased during 1979–2011, consistent with the expansion of Antarctic sea ice. In contrast, the Southern Ocean and coastal Antarctica warmed during 1950–1978. Sea level pressure (SLP) and zonal wind trends provide additional evidence for a sign reversal between the two periods, with cooling (warming) accompanied by stronger (weaker) westerlies and lower (higher) SLP at polar latitudes in the early (late) period. Such physically consistent trends across a range of independently measured parameters provide robust evidence for multidecadal climate variability over the Southern Ocean and place the recent Antarctic sea ice trends into a broader context.”

  23. As far as I can see matters, the only downside to so called global warming is sea level rise. But this ought not to be a problem if man has copious amounts of cheap energy.
    Why not simply build all the (clean) coal fired power stations that the likes of Africa require, and build some desalination plants and extract sea water for drinking water and farming/industrial usage?
    Desalination is energy intensive, but with energy from cheap coal, these plants could be powered economically. Water extracted at the coast could then be pumped all over Africa just like the lengthy oil/gas pipelines that are continental in length. After all, it is far easier to pump water.
    Extracting water from the oceans will help reduce the impact of sea level rise. Africa will then have all the water it needs for agriculture and drinking/consumption needs, and that together with the electricity that the (clean) coal fired generators provide would allow the continent to develop and would very significantly improve the quality of life for all Africans.
    Given the amount of money that is being wasted on climate research and climate change mitigation, there is plenty of money that could be redirected towards better projects that would result in real and worthwhile improvements for all.

  24. Interesting statement earlier from one post “I am interested in the data that suggests that historically the greatest accumulation of ice occurred in the warmer inter-glacial period. Would that not support the current ice gains in a warmer period?”
    Comment: If as suggested the ice is gaining in Antarctica due to warming then at the other end of the planet….the Arctic it is obvious….the lack of ice is due to cooling.
    Somehow this does not quite fit me thinks.

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