Failed claim right out of the gate: Climate change altering Greenland ice sheet & accelerating sea level rise

From the “why worry, the 99.7% of the ice is still there” department and York University comes this climate claim that has to do with a natural event in 2012, and just doesn’t hold up as being driven by “climate change”. More details on that below.

greenland-melt-rivers

These are rivers of meltwater forming on the Greenland ice sheet and flowing toward the sea. CREDIT Dirk van As, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Copenhagen, Denmark.

From Eurekalert:

Climate change altering Greenland ice sheet & accelerating sea level rise, says York University prof

New research has found the Greenland ice sheet is rapidly losing the ability to buffer its contribution to rising sea levels

TORONTO, January 4, 2016 – The Greenland ice sheet has traditionally been pictured as a bit of a sponge for glacier meltwater, but new research has found it is rapidly losing the ability to buffer its contribution to rising sea levels, says a York University researcher.

York U Professor William Colgan, a co-author on the study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, helped analyse data from three expeditions to the Greenland ice sheet in 2012, 2013 and 2015. The research was done in conjunction with lead researcher Horst Machguth of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Mike MacFerrin of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Dirk van As of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Copenhagen, Denmark.

Colgan spent five weeks with the team in 2013 drilling firn cores in the interior of the Greenland ice sheet. Firn is multi-year compacted snow that is not as dense as glacier ice. Instead, it forms a porous near-surface layer over the ice sheet. Dropped off by a ski-equipped US Air National Guard C-130 Hercules in minus 40 degrees Celsius weather, with 6,000 kilos of supplies and equipment, the team set up several camps and drilled a series of shallow firn cores about 20 metres deep during their time on the ice sheet.

“We were interested in the thin porous near-surface firn layer, and how its physical structure is changing rapidly with climate change,” said Colgan of the Lassonde School of Engineering. “The study looked at very recent climate change on the ice sheet, how the last couple of years of melt have really altered the structure of the ice sheet firn and made it behave differently to future melt.”

The researchers also towed a radar unit behind their skidoos to gather profiles between core sites along a 100-kilometre path from the low elevation ice sheet margin into the high elevation ice sheet interior. They analysed the firn cores on the spot by cutting them into small sections to quantify their properties, such as their density, so they could compare them with samples collected the following year. “The year-on-year firn changes were quite dramatic,” said Colgan.

The team was surprised by what they found. An extreme melt that occurred in 2012 caused a layer of solid ice, several metres thick, to form on top of the porous firn in the low elevation areas of the ice sheet. “In subsequent years, meltwater couldn’t penetrate vertically through the solid ice layer, and instead drained along the ice sheet surface toward the ocean,” said Colgan. “It overturned the idea that firn can behave as a nearly bottomless sponge to absorb meltwater. Instead, we found that the meltwater storage capacity of the firn could be capped off relatively quickly.”

As Machguth said, “Basically our research shows that the firn reacts fast to a changing climate. Its ability to limit mass loss of the ice sheet by retaining meltwater could be smaller than previously assumed.”

Because the models scientists use to project Greenland’s sea level rise contribution do not presently take firn cap-off into consideration, it means that Greenland’s projected sea level rise due to meltwater runoff is likely higher than previously predicted. Getting this newly observed physical process into these models is an important next step for the team.

Using unmanned aerial vehicles, Colgan also plans to begin surveying the changes in ice sheet surface reflectance caused by the development of massive ice layers associated with firn cap-off. There are preliminary indications that firn cap-off is also occurring in the ice caps of the Canadian High Arctic.

###

It should be noted that in this WUWT story from 2012 about that “extreme melt that occurred in 2012 caused a layer of solid ice, several metres thick” shows that it is clearly a weather event, not a climate event:


 

Study: Greenland’s July 2012 ‘insta-melt’ was triggered by a combination of warm weather and carbon soot

…and one that happens about once every 150 years due to forest fires in Canada, according to another scientist who chooses to look beyond the climate narrative:

…widespread melt events only occurred in 1889 and 2012. In C and E, melt occurred because of the deposition of high concentrations of BC and ammonium, indicating an albedo reduction due to BC from summer forest fires.

Climate change and forest fires synergistically drive widespread melt events of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Significance:

Through an examination of shallow ice cores covering a wide area of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS), we show that the same mechanism drove two widespread melt events that occurred over 100 years apart, in 1889 and 2012. We found that black carbon from forest fires and rising temperatures combined to cause both of these events, and that continued climate change may result in nearly annual melting of the surface of the GIS by the year 2100. In addition, a positive feedback mechanism may be set in motion whereby melt water is retained as refrozen ice layers within the snow pack, causing lower albedo and leaving the ice sheet surface even more susceptible to future melting.

Abstract

In July 2012, over 97% of the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced surface melt, the first widespread melt during the era of satellite remote sensing. Analysis of six Greenland shallow firn cores from the dry snow region confirms that the most recent prior widespread melt occurred in 1889. A firn core from the center of the ice sheet demonstrated that exceptionally warm temperatures combined with black carbon sediments from Northern Hemisphere forest fires reduced albedo below a critical threshold in the dry snow region, and caused the melting events in both 1889 and 2012. We use these data to project the frequency of widespread melt into the year 2100. Since Arctic temperatures and the frequency of forest fires are both expected to rise with climate change, our results suggest that widespread melt events on the Greenland Ice Sheet may begin to occur almost annually by the end of century. These events are likely to alter the surface mass balance of the ice sheet, leaving the surface susceptible to further melting.

http://www.pnas.org/content/111/22/7964.abstract


And then there’s this study:

 

Research from the University of Sheffield has shown that unusual changes in atmospheric jet stream circulation caused the exceptional surface melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) in summer 2012.

The research, published today in the International Journal of Climatology, clearly demonstrates that the record surface melting of the GrIS was mainly caused by highly unusual atmospheric circulation and jet stream changes, which were also responsible for last summer’s unusually wet weather in England.

The analysis shows that ocean temperatures and Arctic sea-ice cover were relatively unimportant factors in causing the extra Greenland melt.

 

And this: A researcher said it was a recurring 150 year event that was ‘right on time‘:
“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.


So, while the University of York may be right about the firn/sponge issue not soaking up as much meltwater as before, climate change didn’t have one damn thing to do with the change in the firn. The same thing happened 150 years ago, in a few decades, the firn will be back to normal until the next 150 year melt event occurs.

130 thoughts on “Failed claim right out of the gate: Climate change altering Greenland ice sheet & accelerating sea level rise

  1. Sadly already falsified by the lack of delta v in sea level rise. Where’s the heat… where’s the water…. Plus give me back your PhD’s cause you’re a bunch of idiots should be the clarion cry…….

    • The world has gone mad, and Science, our most important tool for maintaining living conditions, has been turned over to a bunch of Lysenkoists.

      • I have to, sadly, agree. jorgekafkazar.
        The corruption of science is the worst attack on western civilization, just like Karl Sagan feared in his “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” (1995).

      • Andres Valencia,

        Here’s a link to a video of a 1990 “Interparlimentary Conference on the Global Envioronment”, (An Al Gore production), featuring Karl Sagan. He warns against “denial” of the scientific evidence that human generated greenhouse gases are a major threat.

      • The astronomical Dr. Sagan was one of the worst corrupters of science. His bogus “nuclear winter” scare was nothing but pro-Soviet propaganda.

      • Why should they be either or incompetent or lying? Since nobody had done this study before it is not too surprising that they got unexpected results. Why were they supposed to know that an impervious layer of ice several meters thick would form?

      • Why, seaice, was such a WELL WITHIN THE REALM OF EXPECTED POSSIBILITIES phenomenon “surprising?”

        Answer: it wasn’t.

        Given their educational attainments, to give them the possibility of being “incompetent” or “grievously mistaken” (as to such an effect being “surprising”) is far too generous.

        They are clearly lying.

      • “was such a WELL WITHIN THE REALM OF EXPECTED POSSIBILITIES phenomenon “surprising?” ”

        Why do you think the findings were “well within the realm of expected possibilities”? The article says “The team was surprised by what they found. An extreme melt that occurred in 2012 caused a layer of solid ice, several metres thick, to form on top of the porous firn in the low elevation areas of the ice sheet.”

        You must have psychic abilities to know that the team expected this result and not say, a layer 2-3m thinner than they found, or no layer at all, or at not quite such a low or high elevation, or some other difference from what they actually found.

        The article makes it clear that these events are rare. There has not been such an event for over 100 years. There has never been any study in conditions remotely similar to those undertaken. Yet you say that the outcomes were so predictable that anyone expressing surprise at what happened must be lying.

        It is quite shocking to me that you can have such certainty about other people’s motivations in what appears to be the total absence of any actual knowledge.

  2. I am not sure where all this alleged melting is taking place on the Greenland ice sheet. The annual average temperature of Greenland is -16.8 degrees C, and even in the warmest month of July, the average temperature for the month is still below 0 degrees C.

    • There are other ways to lose ice besides warm temperatures. Ice can sublime under low humidity, without forming a liquid phase. I lived in Denver and saw this often after snowstorms. Dry streets, but little or no snow left in the parking lots.

      • “Ice can sublime under low humidity, without forming a liquid phase.”

        Isn’t the liquid phase what the good Dr is saying can’t drain due to the ice layer caused by warming?

      • Yup, Paul. You are correct.

        Colgan is essentially claiming that the Greenland ice sheet is like when it rains after a big freeze and all the drains are plugged up, so you get 6 inches of water in the streets in your city. Because that is how it is in the entire planet: just like what you see out your front window. And the oven is really hot at 350 deg. F. when you bake cookies and… the planet is so crowded with people, people, people… .

    • now, now. Facts must not get in the way when we are trying to save the planet from nasty humans.

  3. It seems as though pre-conceived notions that must be “proven” regardless of the evidence are required in order to be a loyal climate scientist. Did these researchers ever learn the scientific method?

    • Heh. Oh, sure… a long time ago, in a classroom, far, far away… .

      THIS scientist-for-hire has learned since then how to talk like a lawyer:

      As Machguth said, “Basically our research shows that the firn reacts fast to a changing climate. Its ability to limit mass loss of the ice sheet by retaining meltwater

      could be

      smaller than previously assumed.”

      The YMMV* Snowman strikes again!
      (but, all you great commenters on this thread, just melted him, BWAH, HA, HA, HA, HA, HAAAAAAAA!)

      ********************
      *Your mileage may vary :)

      [Oh. The mods thought that stood for “Your Meltage May Vary; Tax, Tag, and Title extra. .mod]

  4. So did I miss the science part supporting their conclusion that the layer of ice created an impervious “cap” that forced some unidentified amount of melt water to be shed into the ocean? That theory seems to be completely unsupported by their work. Were there cracks in the “cap”? Was water transport through the glaciers actually different after the big melt? Did more melt water actually flow into the oceans in subsequent years? Etc.

      • Mark,
        A grand would barely get the ski-equipped Hercules to the re-fuelling point.

        Auto, appreciating how the oil price has fallen. But might Gulf War 3 – Iran against everyone except the giraffe ruining Syria, Bashar al-Assad – disturb the fall in WTI?.

      • Hmm.
        Freudian?
        ‘ . . . except the giraffe ruining Syria, Bashar al-Assad ‘
        I meant
        ‘ . . . except the giraffe running Syria, Bashar al-Assad’
        Although – probably.

        Auto, still struggling with the vagaries of English. And I’M A NATIVE . . . .
        HELP!

    • I would be very surprised if the 2012 melt left a continuous, uninterrupted, and unbroken impervious layer over the entire icecap! Besides, their study only has three years of data. Isn’t that just weather?

    • Those are some good questions. It would seem to me that the ‘cap’ is just a demonstration of how the firn is able to keep melt water from escaping to the ocean. This should be viewed as a confirmation of how the firn works, not how ‘CAGW’ is destroying EVERYTHING!!!

    • It’s interesting that in fig 2 of that paper the mass loss following the big 2012 melt is very much lower. Also, 2010 was not far behind 2012 according to the JPL analysis of GRACE data.

      There does seem to be controversy though? For instance the Danes at DMI seem to think that loss from all sources from satellite data over the last decade was 200 Gt/year: http://beta.dmi.dk/en/groenland/maalinger/greenland-ice-sheet-surface-mass-budget/

      And this study: ‘An improved mass budget for the Greenland ice sheet’ (Enderlin et al 2014 in GRL) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013GL059010/abstract suggests a very much lower loss since 2000 than does DMI.

    • Mr. Munshi, just an FYI: this reader was unconvinced by your paper.

      With ~±10% margins of error in modern satellite measurements of glacial mass balance and GIA accounting for up to 1/3 of the {GRACE} reported ice mass loss, it is truly amazing that a 0.3% reduction in the Greenland ice sheet during the 20th century can be identified with such robustness.

      (Source: Dave Middleton, https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/12/30/greenland-retained-99-7-of-its-ice-mass-in-20th-century/ )

      Comment: .75mm may be only “noise” — I saw no good evidence, Mr. Munshi, establishing that assertion in your above-linked paper (I read the whole thing).

      *******************************

      Changes in global sea-level are caused by … four main mechanisms:

      1. Changes in local and regional air pressure and wind, and tidal changes introduced by the Moon.

      2. Changes in ocean basin volume by tectonic (geological) forces.

      3. Changes in ocean water density caused by variations in currents, water temperature and salinity.

      4. Changes in the volume of water caused by changes in the mass balance of terrestrial glaciers.

      (Source: Dr. Ole Humlum, http://climate4you.com/ )

      Comment: Thus, you have asserted an assumption on top of an assumption. That is, you assume, based on blatantly human-CO2 emission-climate change biased research**, that surface temperature is driving mass balance loss in Greenland, and THEN, ADD the assumption that the supposed (just a guess) .75mm/year sea level rise is predominantly driven by mechanism 4 (glacial mass balance change).

      *************************

      For instance, this particular sea-level measurement flies in the face of your assertion (not, certainly, disproving it, for your .75mm rise assertion is not falsifiable, but, it tends to negate it and you need to explain away such data to convince a reader like me — if you know your subject well enough, you can do that, if you are, indeed, correct in your conclusions):

      Note to the Ny-Ålesund {Svalbard} sea-level record: At Ny-Ålesund the relative sea-level change since September 1976 is about -6.9 mm/yr, meaning that sea-level is falling almost 7 mm each year in relation to the land. At Ny-ålesund the real vertical land movement is recorded by the Geodetic Observatory since 1991. The present ground uplift rate is 5.6 ± 1.57 mm/yr (Mémin et al. 2011). Based on the sea-level observations since January 1992 (see diagram above) the present relative sea-level change is about -6.9 mm/yr. From this the real modern eustatic sea-level change at western Spitsbergen can be calculated to be 5.6 – 6.9 = -1.3 mm/yr ± 1.57 mm/yr (at least).

      (Source: Dr. Ole Humlum, Ibid.)

      ********************

      **In your paper (linked above) in the Introduction, in support of your assertion:

      It has long been held as axiomatic that surface temperature is related to mass depletion in the two great ice sheets of the planet located in Antarctica and Greenland … .

      (Source: (you) MASS LOSS IN THE GREENLAND AND ANTARCTICA ICE SHEETS: 2002-2014
      JAMAL MUNSHI, http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=369003066078010066102081080127077127055013014086045010029079087078090111029082123010106030013042057038011015118115064107071090105016075093037072124114103028031066111038006071094084070106101091100027098083024029095127108115113020105072030094119112124112&EXT=pdf )

      You cite favorably:

      1. Charbit, S. (2008). Amount of CO2 emissions irreversibly leading to the total melting of Greenland.
      Geophysical Research Letters , 35: L12503.

      2. Mercer, J. (1978). West Antarctic ice sheet and CO2 greenhouse effect: a threat of disaster. Nature , 271:321-325.

      3. Ridley, J. (2010). Thresholds for irreversible decline of the Greenland ice sheet. Climate Dynamics , 35:1049-1057.
      {emphases mine}

      All three are unconvincing and highly suspect, given their obvious bias.

      You then go on (still in the Introduction) to say, without qualifying this extreme statement in the least:

      The most cited impact of net losses in the mass of ice sheets is catastrophic sea level rise (Rignot, 2011) and the greater catastrophic effects on climate if the ice sheets are gone altogether with the additional concern that the complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet corresponds to a sea level rise of 7 meters and that of the Antarctica ice sheet, 58 meters (Winkelmann, 2015).

      (you in above-linked paper by you)

      Citing, again favorably, without qualification:

      4th biased cite: Winkelmann, R. (2015). Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic ice sheet. Science Advances , 1e1500589.

      {emphases mine}

      Conclusion: If you want to persuade anyone, me, at least (and, there are many “Janice’s” out there, educated, non-science majors, reading and trying to understand, here), that your asserted glacial mass balance-induced .75mm sea level rise is a likely effect at all and also is likely ultimately caused by surface temperature increase, you need to: 1) do a more thorough and careful job of explaining and supporting your assertions; and 2) and cite much more research by unbiased (or, at least, much less biased) expert testimony.

      Janice, a WUWT student sitting in the back row, but usually paying attention…

      • @ Janice,
        I didn’t notice that Mr Munshi was quoting his own study and beforehand thought it would be interesting to read. It was just that at a quick look, his figure 2 for Greenland caught my eye because it seems to suggest that for a couple of years after creation of the elsewhere hypothesised impermeable ice layer in the firn, although it is a small sample, it is coincidentally a significant contradictory reduction in ice mass loss when compared with the longer record.

        I also wonder if he will respond over the controversies over the validity of JPL’s analysis of GRACE data.

        Perhaps he also ignores the strong empirical and anecdotal evidence of warmer times in Greenland each side of the 1930’s on the basis that he is only considering the satellite era in his study?
        *****
        BTW, I think that Ole Humlum could add a fifth plausible modifier of “sea level rise” because of indeterminate changes in the global water cycle such as drought or cloud cover. DMI have modelled that snowfall has exceeded melting plus sublimation by some 280 Gt/Year average from 1990 to 2013: http://beta.dmi.dk/en/groenland/maalinger/greenland-ice-sheet-surface-mass-budget/. That removal of liquid water from the water cycle is only indicative of an intuitive drop in sea level.

      • Hi, Bobfj,

        How kind of you to reply to me. I think Dr. Humlum would agree with you and I want to add what I left out (for the sake of brevity) above. Where I had “…” it reads in climat4you.com, “– but not limited to — {four main mechanisms}”.

        And at the end of the summary list of the 4 main mechanisms he adds: “In addition to these there are other mechanisms influencing sea-level; such as storage of ground water, storage in lakes and rivers, evaporation, etc. ”

        I sure do appreciate the informed insights commenters like you and Robert B bring to WUWT.

        Gratefully,

        Janice

      • Janice:

        You provide an excellent rebuttal of the misrepresentation by Munshi. Thankyou.

        Richard

      • Richard Courtney!

        Glad you are well enough to post (Matt was a bit worried around Christmas…).

        And, thank you. You are very generous.

        May 2016 be one of your finest years,

        Janice

      • Janice,
        Thanks for your very informative comments. While reading, I kept thinking back to the very first quote that you included: “With +-10% margins of error in modern satelite measurements…”

        Why are we even accepting that there was a 0.3% reduction in ice mass. Wouldn’t it be more correct to report that the Greenland icecap mass is unchanged as far as can be determined with current technology?

      • Janice [quoting Dr H] – complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet corresponds to a sea level rise of 7 meters

        But using NASA’s calculations what would be the effect?
        “(4) Calculate the sea-level-rise answers by dividing the water volumes determined in #3 by the global surface-water area determined in #1, thereby spreading the effect of the ice sheet’s water throughout the expanse of the Earth’s surface-water area. The answers are:
        (a) (2,343,728 cubic kilometers)/(361,132,000 square kilometers) = 0.0065 kilometers = 6.5 meters for the Greenland ice sheet;
        (b) (26,384,368 cubic kilometers)/(361,132,000 square kilometers) = 0.0731 kilometers = 73.1 meters for the Antarctic ice sheet;
        (c) 6.5 meters + 73.1 meters = 79.6 meters for Greenland and Antarctica together.”

        http://pumas.jpl.nasa.gov/files/02_10_97_1.pdf

        So by NASA reasoning we will get meters of sea level rise, but still have the same sized ocean (361,132 Km^2). No place gets drowned by the new rise, so why worry.

      • Hi, Terry Gednalske — thank you! And, I agree.

        D D More — your FAR AND AWAY higher quality post (than mine) is a great point! Not worried, lol. I only write to refute what will be used to cause worry in those who will then vote for envirostalinism (thus, the enviroprofiteers’ schemes).

    • 3×10^15 kg over the 12 years.That’s about 2m of ice averaged over the surface area.

      But Earths mass is 6×10^24 kg which gives a reduction in measured g of about half a part per billion. That’s only a few mm of a change in height of the satellites.

      The error estimates are 1/5 of the ice loss which is very consistent (a very linear trend) with obvious seasonal variation.
      http://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=338006067086065014000001097075103010056016063065052016092088099076070017014024006097026052001024039049007019025114004068102004051040007073093007075020105012109098066046086071093108082002012105087089089026090091101114005110079071028070095079010091069071&EXT=pdf

      The surface mass balance shows 200Gt differences between years

      If you look at the Arctic sea-ice extent, there was a rapid drop from 2002 to 2007 but a linear trend with a lot of yearly variation since.

      Looks suspiciously like a systematic error.

      • ((applause)) for you, Robert B. — the professor from across the hall who walked into Munshi’s class to make sure us kids got the REAL science. Thanks! :)

      • Thanks Janice but its easy to be concise and to the point when you’re actually an outsider looking in, with a large chance of missing something important. Here, it would be a better estimate of what the the equivalent measure in change of the gravitational field would be in height of the satellites. Two millimetres is an overestimate because the mass doesn’t disappear, its just redistributed.

      • Robert B , looking at the 3rd of the sea ice anomaly charts above there seem to be interesting changes in the noise (inter and intra seasonal differences ) of the anomaly depending on whether the anomaly is static or only slowly changing , eg 1970 – 1997 and 2007 – 2013 , compared to the periods when the mean is obviously consistently dropping ,1197 – 2007 or appearing to increase again , 2013 – 2015.
        I could imagine that if the ice sheet is gradually losing mass the refreezing at the start of the polar winter would not be as complete as in the previous year , so reducing part of the variation , but the thawing also would also have to be not as great surely.
        I just wondered whether the variations in the record could be an indicator of stability of the ice sheet , greater variation of the ice sheet suggesting a stable ice sheet.
        Or is it just instrumental effect.

      • @mikewaite

        Firstly I’ll restate that I’m an outsider having a bit of fun. Secondly, the sea-ice extent in that graph is probably the areas that are at least 15% of the surface is covered in ice (spent a few minutes on the site looking for it but can’t find the details). There is a 30% one that differs quite a bit, old and new (read the bit at the bottom).
        http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/old_icecover.uk.php
        The extent is going to be more reliant on ocean and wind currents (plus a huge error in the calculations because of the coastlines) than air temperature or SST. Area of multi year ice is probably a better metric for global warming but that picked up recently and the estimate of volume change is dodgey (PIOMAS) so don’t try to read to much into it.

        I put it up because the change in ice mass on Greenland should be correlated with sea ice around Greenland in winter (glacier flow reduced, similar dependence on snow fall) but apart from the seasonal variation, its very constant whereas the other data shows polynomial trend would fit better than a linear one. I know its not conclusive but PIOMAS (far from reliable) shows Arctic ice volume to not have been a linear decrease between 2002-2014 as well as snow cover in the NH. So why Greenland?

  5. I dunno guys – you look at any map other than a Mercator projection, and it’s pretty obvious Greenland (not just its ice cap) is quickly shrinking. Somebody ought to look into this…

    /sarc

    • Bruce:

      I didn’t know the “It’s worse than we thought” phrase was trademarked. I’ll be darned.

    • Should we be providing Grant Anonymous meetings to offer them recovery? Oh, that’s right, once an addict, always an addict.

      • Noaaprogrammer, yes, that is a good idea, for while one is, indeed, always an “addict,” one can be “in recovery.” However… as you know…. one has to say: Hi! I’m Jane Scientist and I am a grantaholic.”

        Since enviroprofiteer money will be there whether or not they “hit bottom” (that would be losing their professional credentials (assuming we could get enough scientists of integrity on each one of their boards)) or seeing that their actions resulted in a loved one’s death (not enough that thousands of strangers die, for that kind of addict)), they will not care that they have “hit bottom.” They love money so much, nothing will phase them. It will take a literal miracle of God to change their hearts (for that is the key — their hearts (as in the ability to discern right from wrong) are black as soot).

      • Janice Moore
        January 4, 2016 at 9:45 pm
        ..they “hit bottom” (that would be losing their professional credentials…

        I wouldn’t hold my breath. Isn’t Peter Gleick still employed? Just how hard do you have to hit and how high do you need to bounce to meet that threshold?

      • Hi, TomB,

        Thanks for your concern for my well-being, heh. :)

        Not to worry: “… they will not care that they have “hit bottom.” They love money so much, nothing will phase them. It will take a literal miracle … .” (me, above)

        Not holding my breath — as if, how would I get all my valuable talking done?!!

        Janice
        #(:))

  6. Using data from increased “black carbon sediments from Northern Hemisphere forest fires” in 1889 and 2012 the authors are predicting events to 2100? This is insane. This is worthless tripe.

      • If you already know the outcome, what do you do with the other data point, Mark? All you need is one point to draw any line you like.
        .
        .
        Eh… trying to give the taxpayers their moneys worth, I suppose.

      • The old “one point defines a curve, two points defines a family of curves” approach to science!

  7. I note that the study is from the York University of Toronto, Canada, not the University of York in the UK. It doesn’t surprise me. A friend of mine said she dropped out of the environmental program at York because she felt like she was being inducted into a cult. Skeptic opinions are definitely not permitted. All study must reinforce the orthodoxy.

  8. Why would forest fires increase in intensity with higher temperatures? That creates a wetter climate. The only thing I can think of that would increase the number of fires would be the inevitable massive expansion of the northern forests as the permafrost melts. That could produce more surface melting events.

    I expect the Greenland ice sheet will melt entirely, eventually. It is not all that old so why should we expect otherwise?

    • … because glaciations have become longer and deeper over the last million years? There is no trend reversal evident in the Antarctica ice core or deep see foram records.

    • Crispin – on fires

      If soot levels are causing the ice loss, why wasn’t it there from the higher levels in the 1860’s.

      “C”ing Arctic Climate with Black Ice Richard B. Alley

      They obtained highly accurate, well-dated chemical histories—including black carbon concentrations—from 1788 to 2002, with a time resolution of less than a year. For the first 60 years of the record, black carbon concentrations remained relatively stable, but the period from 1850 to 1951 showed highly elevated soot concentrations, especially during winter, when peak values were 10 times higher than the baseline. Lower values (although still higher than before 1850) mark the last 50 years of the record. Comparison to selected sections of a second core, collected 350 km to the south, shows close agreement, demonstrating the regional coherence of the signal.

      also – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6939633.stm
      By the way, soot levels in the ice cores are measured in pica grams per ml with values like 612 pgmL−1. Not a lot there.
      http://www.clim-past.net/10/1905/2014/cp-10-1905-2014.pdf

      – Not so old?
      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.

      Before it melts away, doesn’t it have to first stop getting bigger?

      [Added text formatting for table. What does the 0.144 and 0.244 refer to? .mod]

  9. What I get from this is a claim that man has caused nature to be unpredictable, as if it somehow was before.

    • Good point, Dawtgomis.

      When a gentle south wind began to blow,
      they thought they had obtained what they wanted;
      so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.
      Before very long, a wind of hurricane force,
      called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island.
      The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind;
      so we gave way to it and were driven along… .

      (Account of the storm that wrecked the Alexandrian ship with the twin gods Castor and Polux headed for Italy, c. 60 A.D., logged by eyewitness, medical doctor (Colossians 4:14) Luke. Acts 27:13-44)

      This was a ship bearing valuable cargo. Its captain, experienced in reading the winds, tides, and currents of every season, was no fool. It was after Yom Kippur, so it was risky sailing, but, they had been there before… . Weather is “chaotic” — sometimes, “predictable” in the very short-term, but, not beyond that and even then, usually with much less than 95% confidence.

      To imply otherwise, is to trivialize the deaths of many brave sailors and others who took a chance, based on a reasonable assessment of the conditions, and lost.

      Tribute to the Crew of the marine vessel Edmund Fitzgerald

      (youtube)

      As if we are now facing a whole new set of “catastrophic” circumstances.

      As if.

      The AGWers’ hubris REEKS to high heaven!

      • Dang, Janice that song always, after all these years brings tears to my eyes. I have to add the song for some reason seems to be a Canadian much loved folk song but I never realized that all the 29 were American sailors. All of them RIP, after all these years.

      • Yes, fossil sage, a fine ballad.

        Dear asybot … I was weeping as I typed…. . I don’t know why, well, maybe I do…. I have a tender spot in my heart for those who risk the high seas. Some are ignorant fools, but most know the danger yet choose to go out and meet it anyway. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh but that’s wonderful comedy! But Professor Colgan, surely your claim relating to “accelerating sea level rise” should contain at least as a basic fundamental tenet some form of rudimentary evidence that the sea level is in fact rising and indeed that the rise is furthermore accelerating? Well never mind. Doubtless if he thought it would keep his ethically unimpeachable snout in the grant trough he would claim that his grandmother turned tricks for sailors down at the docks.

  11. So do controlled burns increase glaciation by evening out the total soot spikes to below the threshold albedo?

  12. 99.7% of the ice is still there
    ===================
    This nonsense about Greenland melting is pure rubbish. most of Greenland is too high for the ice to melt. the lapse rate makes it impossible for a mountain of ice in the polar regions to melt. You will get some melting in the south and around the edges at low elevations, but the great plateau in the middle. no way.

    maybe if you moved Greenland to the tropics for 1000 years you could melt it. Maybe.

  13. Stalled on the starting line. Poor ol’ green. Pitiful. (actually, I was in agony for that poor bike racer…)


    (youtube)

    Meh. Not to worry, ol’ Colgan’ll push that baby all the way.

    • As a motorcycle roadracer, nothing – and I mean NOTHING – scares me more than stalling the bike on the grid. My former team mate is missing an arm because of exactly such an incident. At least in this race they were doing staggered starts, probably practice. Do that on a full grid of 30-40 bikes all launching at the green flag and….

      • I can imagine… (ugh) — and that is all I CAN do, for though I tried over and over to load WUWT just now (and have that video load, too) and it just won’t (for the past few months, I’ve had slower internet download, but, man — a — live… with the ads, WUWT takes forever to load, then, gets worse as the day goes on) …. so, I could not view your vid :( . Pretty neat hobby, you have there, TomB. Congratulations on being brave enough to pursue it!

        HAVE FUN! (and keep the rubber side down)

        Your comrade motorsports fan and ally for science truth,

        Janice

      • Ooooohhhh, TomB….. just got that video to load … . I almost can’t bear to watch that kind of footage. Makes me think of someone I care about very much who races…. and I worry sometimes….. AND I PRAY VERY HARD FOR HIM!!

        Take care of yourself!!!!

  14. Better Headline:

    Hubris Continues Even After Researchers Discover that Their Previous Assumptions Were Stupid and Wrong,

  15. “Climate change” too vague, too loose. What the hell do they really mean?
    Just like “terrorist” too vague to loose. These turds have redefined words in their world to mean something else.

    • Hadn’t you heard? The “new English” is that words mean whatever someone WANTS them to mean, and SAYS they mean! And BTW, all “ideas” are supposed to be given equal intellectual weight. Except ours, of course, which is deemed Not Quite Nice by all “right-thinking,” meaning “LEFT-thinking,” people.

  16. Surely the research emphasis should start with establishing accurate margins of error in relation to all measurements involving climate. Then ANY results should be accompanied with margins of error e.g. what are the margins of error relating to measurements of temperature or sea level prior to 1960? What are they since that date…… e.t.c. Once these were published along with results, the general public could see that most prediction based around recorded data is worthless.

    Any researcher forced to establish sound margins of error have to then study the many variables that are the driving force behind the huge uncertainty regarding climate. I am astounded that so many people trained in science completely miss the main point – that most of our records and interpretations as yet are too crude to accept any apparent trends as accurate.

    • Once these were published along with results, the general public could see that most prediction based around recorded data is worthless.

      Where are the error bars? That was my first question of the very first “climate” graph I ever saw. Ten years and I don’t ask anymore. It seems I’m not a climate scientist and don’t need to know.

      • David –
        I am not a statistician either, but, someone please tell me what the margin of error is when establishing mean annual global temperature and sea level using the modern technology we use today. Then tell me the same for data in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries without which any argument on global warming is null and void. I have real doubts about surface thermometer data accuracy. On the poker table I would bet big that margins of error when establishing global means are beyond +/- 1C. As for prior mid twentieth century we are talking fairy tales. Global mean sea-level? – what a joke – +/- 0.25 m today?

        This is where any discussion on climate should start. “Shit in, shit out”. Remember that from grad classes?

    • @Michael C,
      Firstly as an analogy, I don’t know if you’ve been to Rome, but in my opinion some parts of that city have become very untidy after the passage of a former great age and should now be rebuilt or replaced. I’ve severally suggested that a team of Oz (Australian) bricklayers could be sent over to tidy the place up but it has had no rapport.

      What is needed to salvage inadequate older climate records is for a team of Oz scientists say from our BoM (Bureau of Meteorology) to assist the US and UK centres of knowledge. Our guys have been brilliantly able to correct temperature data for instruments that have long ago undergone diverse happenings such as to move a small distance in an unknown direction but salvaged with significant step-changes in the data. They are highly skilled in the art of what is known as ‘homogenisation’ and can even do stuff like sharp step-changes for progressive events such as tree growth.

      In a time of budgetary restraints I would think that our authorities would appreciate overseas funding to assist in the global cause.

  17. “analyse data from three expeditions to the Greenland ice sheet in 2012, 2013 and 2015.”

    I just don’t know how those 4 years (2012-2015, but 3 years of data 2012, 13, 15) worth of data determines anything but just more uncertainty about the long-term behavior of the Greenland ice sheet.

  18. I’ve got into the habit (more of an addiction actually) of checking Null School Earth on a daily basis.
    I do ‘local’, then more remote locations where my various family are…and then I always check the Poles.
    If I ever meet anyone who is worried about global warming, I recommend they do likewise!

      • @ david , I use it to compare it to my daily basic observations I take. To me it seems accurate for wind, jet stream, High/Low center areas and temperature measurements ( although it only updates every 3 -4 hrs) there is a menu you can click on to change the various inputs. I just think of the programming that went into it . Bloody amazing!

        And remember Anthony used its wind direction predictions during the ” tourist” trip the boat to nowhere a few years ago to actually help the people that where stranded at the Antarctic.

  19. Anth’ny W’tts:

    Thankyou for your above article that draws attention to three papers. It reports

    The team was surprised by what they found. An extreme melt that occurred in 2012 caused a layer of solid ice, several metres thick, to form on top of the porous firn in the low elevation areas of the ice sheet. “In subsequent years, meltwater couldn’t penetrate vertically through the solid ice layer, and instead drained along the ice sheet surface toward the ocean,” said Colgan. “It overturned the idea that firn can behave as a nearly bottomless sponge to absorb meltwater. Instead, we found that the meltwater storage capacity of the firn could be capped off relatively quickly.”

    and

    And this: A researcher said it was a recurring 150 year event that was ‘right on time‘:
    “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

    So,
    alterations to the firn (i.e. solidifying ice) occur at about ~150 year intervals
    and
    the alterations reduce the ability of meltwater to flow through the firn by sealing the top of the firn layer.

    But AGW advocates claim the solidified ice traps air that is representative of the atmosphere when the ice solidified and, therefore, they claim that cores of the ice provide accurate indications of ancient atmosphere(s).

    Richard

    • bobfj;
      Regarding the green arrows, at first I thought that they were indicating the direction and strength of the ocean surface drift currents; but then I noticed little ones on the land as well.

      But maybe the ones on the land are settlements of green researchers.

      Or even colonies of Treens from Venus. (I suppose that dates me a little.)

      • @ oldseadog ? are you talking about “nullschool” ? I am just wondering if you have the right one. it is a wind map ( or was originally) of the planet but now it has evolved into much more than that. If you bring it up it shows the planet and you can click on your location using Long and latitudes for your town scroll to get closer ( like using Google), If you click on “earth” in the left bottom corner it will give you a menu and you can change settings for wind speeds, temperatures, low and high pressure zones etc it is a neat tool.

    • Richard pre-empted me. The alarmist interpretation is laughable, but the observations reported in the paper are certainly relevant to the interpretation of ice core records. If I understand the standard methodology correctly, the difference in age between a layer of ice and the gas bubbles entrapped within it is estimated based on the assumption that the conversion of snow to firn and then to ice proceeds smoothly and continuously. This paper suggests that gas might be sealed off from the atmosphere a lot sooner than assumed.

      Ironically, that would provide ammunition to the alarmists – changes in CO2 might precede or occur concomitantly with temperature changes, after all, elevating that poisonous (/sarc) gas another few notches on the villainy scale.

      • Michael Palmer:

        You say

        This paper suggests that gas might be sealed off from the atmosphere a lot sooner than assumed.

        Ironically, that would provide ammunition to the alarmists – changes in CO2 might precede or occur concomitantly with temperature changes, after all, elevating that poisonous (/sarc) gas another few notches on the villainy scale.

        Sorry, but , no.
        The paper suggests the gas is flushed from firn by flowing water which contacts solidified ice.

        Water dissolves gases preferentially, and e.g. CO2 is measured at concentrations of parts per million. The paper says ice core indications are wrong, are probably very wrong, and there is no way to determine how wrong.

        Richard

      • Richard

        thanks for your reply. I didn’t read the paper, so maybe I got it wrong. I was going by this quote:

        The team was surprised by what they found. An extreme melt that occurred in 2012 caused a layer of solid ice, several metres thick, to form on top of the porous firn in the low elevation areas of the ice sheet.

        That suggests to me that the porous firn, on top of which the ice forms, but which itself is not converted to ice, is more rapidly sealed off from the atmosphere by that superficial ice sheet faster than conventionally assumed. The flushing effect that you mention would only affect the topmost layer of firn that in the process is converted to the ice sheet.

        Am I wrong?

      • Michael
        Almost agree, but it is more complicated.
        There are calibration events in drill holes like ash and its geochemical changes. One might imagine that some events of interest like isotopic changes used as crude temperature estimators, might be affected equally as ash layers are, by firn disruptions and survive well enough to be useful.
        OTOH, some observations of interest might be unhooked from calibration markers by firn disruption.
        There is scope for several grants to make excuses for the obvious uncertainty that firn disruptions produce.

      • Geoff Sherrington:

        Thankyou for your comment that answers the point put to me by Michael Palmer.

        As you say

        There is scope for several grants to make excuses for the obvious uncertainty that firn disruptions produce.

        and in the interim, as I said,

        The paper says ice core indications are wrong, are probably very wrong, and there is no way to determine how wrong.

        Richard

      • The two effects are not mutually exclusive. The superficial melt and freeze distorts the ice chronology, but it also alters the relationship of ice age and gas age.

      • Michael Palmer:

        Thankyou for your continued input that emphasises the great importance of this issue.

        You say

        The two effects are not mutually exclusive. The superficial melt and freeze distorts the ice chronology, but it also alters the relationship of ice age and gas age.

        OK. My attempt to be succinct has misled. Sorry.
        As you say, “The two effects are not mutually exclusive”. My saying “Sorry, but, no” did indicate that I was rejecting your suggestion and that indication was not my intention; again, sorry.

        My point was – and is – that nobody can know the realities and magnitudes of any of the possible effects stated by you, Geoff Sherrington and me.
        You suggested different ice age to gas age relationship distorting temporal indications.
        Geoff Sherrington suggested distorted paleo-temperature indications.
        I suggested all ice core indications are distorted especially indications of paleo atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
        The only knowledge is that these suggestions are all obvious possibilities.

        The ‘bottom line’ is, as I said to you,

        The paper says ice core indications are wrong, are probably very wrong, and there is no way to determine how wrong.

        Richard

      • Thanks Richard.

        It would be interesting to know whether this effect is also significant in Antarctica. Maybe some of the discrepancies between northern and southern ice core records are really caused by differences in surface melt.

  20. asybot;
    Thanks for that. At first I just clicked on bobfj’s link, and looked at what appeared. I’ve looked at it again now that you have shown me how – that’ll maybe teach me to look further when I do things like that.

  21. So, the “runoff” of surface melt water increases because the surface melt water freezes? (Because the water can’t be soaked up in the underlaying sponge snow/ice).

    What do these people think that happens with melt water on the surface when the temperature drops below freezing? Where do they think that frozen layer of solid ice came from?

  22. “www.williamcolgan.net is powered by 100% renewable energy by HostPapa”

    Need anyone say more?

    • Interestingly, nowhere on its own website does HostPapa make any mention of of the use of renewable energy but does stress it has back-up diesel generators! So ASSISTANT Professor Colgan appears to adjust the truth even in small matters.

  23. “…The team was surprised by what they found…”

    Well, so much for conducting science with an open mind.

    “…Dropped off by a ski-equipped US Air National Guard C-130 Hercules in minus 40 degrees Celsius weather…”

    -40°C = -40°F,
    “Mean Elevation: 1,500 m (4,921 ft)”

    Not much chance for melting ice here!

    “…“We were interested in the thin porous near-surface firn layer, and how its physical structure is changing rapidly with climate change,” said Colgan of the Lassonde School of Engineering. “The study looked at very recent climate change on the ice sheet, how the last couple of years of melt have really altered the structure of the ice sheet firn and made it behave differently to future melt.”

    Oh!? “recent climate change”? Is that another description for ‘weather’?

    One does wonder when ‘climate change’ means weather events?

    One also notices that there is not any intention to study multiple occurrences of firn changes to establish frequency…

    In other words, their wasting grant monies is advocacy and ‘so not science’.

  24. Basically they have discovered that when exposed to several years of freeze-thaw cycles firn is converted into much denser glacial ice.
    Unfortunately if they want to get another research grant in the future they have to advance the warmist agenda.

  25. Drawing conclusions based on changes over a single season.

    These guys have even stopped pretending that they are doing actual science.

  26. Any glaciologists here?

    One thing I don’t see mentioned – glacial moraine. On average what is the ratio in volume of, ice:moraine?

    What is the annual contribution to sea level rise due to displacement by sediments and moraine?

  27. This layer of ice can only prevent a few seasons meltwater. If it was not there the snow would soak up the water and when full, it could not soak up anymore, lid or not.

  28. “The same thing happened 150 years ago, in a few decades, the firn will be back to normal until the next 150 year melt event occurs.”

    150 years? From your post:

    “Since Arctic temperatures and the frequency of forest fires are both expected to rise with climate change, our results suggest that widespread melt events on the Greenland Ice Sheet may begin to occur almost annually by the end of century. These events are likely to alter the surface mass balance of the ice sheet, leaving the surface susceptible to further melting.”

    • trafamadore January 5, 2016 at 11:40 am

      ““Since Arctic temperatures and the frequency of forest fires are both expected to rise with climate change, our results suggest that widespread melt events on the Greenland Ice Sheet may begin to occur almost annually by the end of century. These events are likely to alter the surface mass balance of the ice sheet, leaving the surface susceptible to further melting.”

      So much pseudo-science with so many weasel words. These folks don’t ‘expect’ any such thing or they would’ve used direct action words to describe it.
      Collectively, their weasel words mean that this is an imaginary beer soaked dream scenario that they hope will lead towards more funding.

      Anybody spot one of them forest fires on top of Greenland? Another fantasy.

  29. During the MWP Greenland was covered in grass…hence the name. Every melting season we lose around 80% of the sea ice in the northern and southern hemisphere’s but do not even notice it….yet we are informed that if the remaining 20% goes we will be under 30ft of water.
    Historical records of CO2 show levels of between 4,000-5,000ppm and yet the planet survived. Compared to this the current 400ppm suggests Carbon Dioxide “starvation”.
    The whole nonsense is an epic logic fail…

    [Well, parts of coastal Greenland were covered with grass … .mod]

  30. Sorry. I didn’t read all the post or the comments.
    Is the message that “The Missing Heat” is now hiding in the ice?

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