Boreholed science: making giant leaps of logic in Antarctica

This press release is from the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – BERKELEY

During last warming period, Antarctica heated up 2 to 3 times more than planet average

Amplification of warming at poles consistent with today’s climate change models

Blustery conditions at the West Antarctica ice sheet divide, a ridge where a 3.4-kilometer borehole was drilled to acquire ice cores. The tent protected the equipment and scientists as they measured temperatures down the borehole in 2011 and 2014. CREDIT US Geological Survey

Blustery conditions at the West Antarctica ice sheet divide, a ridge where a 3.4-kilometer borehole was drilled to acquire ice cores. The tent protected the equipment and scientists as they measured temperatures down the borehole in 2011 and 2014. CREDIT US Geological Survey

Following Earth’s last ice age, which peaked 20,000 years ago, the Antarctic warmed between two and three times the average temperature increase worldwide, according to a new study by a team of American geophysicists.

The disparity – Antarctica warmed about 11 degrees Celsius, nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit, between about 20,000 and 10,000 years ago, while the average temperature worldwide rose only about 4 degrees Celsius, or 7 degrees Fahrenheit — highlights the fact that the poles, both the Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south, amplify the effects of a changing climate, whether it gets warmer or cooler.

The calculations are in line with estimates from most climate models, proving that these models do a good job of estimating past climatic conditions and, very likely, future conditions in an era of climate change and global warming.

“The result is not a surprise, but if you look at the global climate models that have been used to analyze what the planet looked like 20,000 years ago – the same models used to predict global warming in the future — they are doing, on average, a very good job reproducing how cold it was in Antarctica,” said first author Kurt Cuffey, a glaciologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and professor of geography and of earth and planetary sciences. “That is noteworthy and a confirmation that we know how the system works.”

These models currently predict that as a result of today’s global climate change, Antarctica will warm twice as much as the rest of the planet, though it won’t reach its peak for a couple of hundred years. While the most likely climate change scenario, given business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, is a global average increase of 3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, the Antarctic is predicted to warm eventually by around 6 degrees Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit).

The new results, which are the first good calculation of Antarctica’s ice age temperature and the amount of warming since, do rule out a couple of climate models that do not include enough feedback to accurately reproduce the amplified temperature in the polar regions, Cuffey said.

Cuffey and his colleagues, including Gary Clow of the U.S. Geological Survey in Lakewood, Colorado, published their results online last week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Deglaciation in Antarctica

The analysis is based on the fact that as the world warmed following the coldest part of the last ice age 20,000 years ago, the ice deep inside the Antarctic glaciers warmed more slowly than Earth’s surface, just as a frozen turkey put into a hot oven will still be cold inside even after the surface has reached oven temperature. By measuring the remaining difference – the 20,000-year old ice deep in the West Antarctic ice sheet is about 1 degree Celsius cooler than the surface — the scientists were able to estimate the original temperature based on how fast pure ice warms up.

Clow measured twice, once in 2011 and again in 2014, the temperature in a 3.4-kilometer-deep (2-mile-deep) borehole from which the West Antarctic Sheet Divide ice core had been drilled during an eight-year project that ended in 2011. Ice at the bottom of the borehole was deposited about 70,000 years ago; ice about one-sixth of the way up about 50,000 years ago; and ice about one-third of the way to the surface 20,000 years ago.

Cuffey developed a technique to combine these temperature measurements, which are smoothed as a result of heat diffusion in the ice, with isotopic measurements of old ice to come up with an estimated temperature of 11.3 degrees, plus or minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, warming since the depths of the ice age.

Interestingly, the Antarctic temperature increased much more rapidly than did Arctic temperatures after the glacial maximum. By 15,000 years ago, Antarctica had warmed to about 75 percent of its temperature today. The Arctic took another 3,000-4,000 years to warm this much, primarily because of the fact that the Northern Hemisphere had huge ice sheets to buffer warming, and the fact that changes in ocean currents and Earth’s orbital configuration accelerated warming in the south.

Antarctica was also more sensitive to global carbon dioxide levels, Cuffey said, which increased as the global temperature increased because of changing ocean currents that caused upwelling of carbon-dioxide-rich waters from the depths of the ocean.

The situation today, with global warming driven primarily by human emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, is different from natural cycles, he said. The ability of the oceans to take up carbon dioxide cannot keep up with the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which means carbon dioxide and global temperatures will continue to increase unless humans cut their carbon dioxide emissions.

###

Co-authors with Cuffey and Clow are Eric Steig, T.J. Fudge, Michelle Koutnik and Edwin Waddington of the University of Washington in Seattle, Christo Buizert of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University in University Park and Jeffrey P. Severinghaus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.


Anthony Watts commentary:

They didn’t include a link to the paper in the press release, so I fished it out:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/11/22/1609132113.full.pdf

I don’t believe much of the claims made in this paper, for several reasons.

1. Look at the co-authors, they have a history of bias towards climate alarm.

Steig tried to prove warming in Antarctica a few years ago by applying Mann’s flawed PCA techniques, and was firmly rebuked with a skeptic written paper that showed their entire technique was a train wreck. Alley is all over the map, and has trouble connecting cause and effect, like the time he compared Antarctica, Penguins, and drunk drivers. I don’t trust ether of these two, because they are blinded by ideology.

2. The leaps of logic in the press release are stunning.

For example:

The calculations are in line with estimates from most climate models, proving that these models do a good job of estimating past climatic conditions and, very likely, future conditions in an era of climate change and global warming.

That’s not proof, it’s a correlation. And as we know, correlation is not causation. 

3. I don’t believe boreholes have any significant resolution at the scale of time they are talking about, and that’s not just my opinion.

The definitive book on the subject, Borehole Climatology: a new method how to reconstruct climate By Louise Bodri, Vladimir Cermak says so:

borehole-resolution

The book says 1-2 kilometers, yet the authors of this paper say:

We measured temperatures in the 3.4-km-deep WDC borehole (Materials and Methods). The temperature profile reveals a direct thermal remnant of the deglacial transition and subsequent Holocene temperature changes (Fig. 1).

So, they are in uncharted territory. Is the 3.4km borehole used in this paper able to resolve the temperature back that far? Is it in the sweet spot of “favorable conditions” alluded to in the book? Do “favorable conditions” allow for the resolution claimed in the paper past 2 km? Can they really determine the temperature accurate from 20,000 years ago with this technique? I have my doubts. It looks like the flimsiest of science to me because there is really [no] way to check for certain, they try to using an isotopic record to calibrate it, but it too is a proxy.

Cuffey developed a technique to combine these temperature measurements, which are smoothed as a result of heat diffusion in the ice, with isotopic measurements of old ice to come up with an estimated temperature of 11.3 degrees, plus or minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, warming since the depths of the ice age.

Using one proxy to calibrate another is like having one two estimated auto repair bills checking each other for accuracy, but you still don’t know what the final bill is until the car is actually worked on, a diagnosis made, and repairs completed. Hands-on trumps estimates every time, and in this case, all we have are two  proxy estimates of temperature with uncertainty, but no actual temperature record.

antarctic-borehole-fig1

Look at the blue line in the left panel (which they don’t clearly define in the caption). The temperature at 3400m (or 100m above the bed of the hole) shoots up. They claim this is a climate signal. But, what if they are simply getting closer to a geothermal heat source? They have no way of knowing. From LiveScience in 2014:

Antarctic heat

Researchers have long known that volcanoes lurk under the ice of West Antarctica. This is a seismically active region, where East and West Antarctica are rifting apart. In 2013, a team of scientists even found a new volcano beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

We covered it at WUWT:  New paper finds West Antarctic glacier likely melting from geothermal heat below

A paper published today in Earth and Planetary Science Letters finds evidence that one of the largest glaciers in West Antarctica, the Thwaites Glacier, is primarily melting from below due to geothermal heat flux from volcanoes located along the West Antarctic Volcanic Rift System, i.e. not due to man-made CO2.

antarctic-volcano[1]

The authors of this new West Antarctic Ice Sheet borehole paper don’t mention volcanoes or volcanic activity of the area at all in the paper as a possible bias, and they make no mention of geothermal heat in the same context. The only appearance of the word geothermal comes here:

Optimization. Singular value decomposition was used to find parameter values that minimized the squared mismatch of modeled and measured temperatures. Every such optimization involved free parameters related to surface temperature variations plus three additional free parameters: the modern mean surface temperature, the present ice thickness (known to be in the range 3,450–3,470 m), and the rate of basal melt. The latter accounts for the geothermal heat flux, which is not an independent parameter. The number of simultaneous free parameters in all optimizations (Eqs. 1 and 2) remains constant (six).

Six free parameters? No wonder their observed and modeled results fit so well! I’m reminded of this famous quote:

With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.

Attributed to von Neumann by Enrico Fermi, as quoted by Freeman Dyson in “A meeting with Enrico Fermi” in Nature 427 (22 January 2004) p. 297

4. The part of the paper is a cause for serious concern:

Those paleoclimate studies using Antarctic data have likely underestimated the temperature change in response to the well-constrained change in CO2 and thus underestimated climate sensitivity. In particular, the analysis producing the lowest estimated sensitivity in the compilation (36, 37) (a bit larger than 2.2 ◦C) predicted an Antarctic LGM cooling smaller than even estimates from the East Antarctic isotopic proxies. Our reconstruction affirms that this is an underprediction. Antarctica accounts for a small fraction of global area and hence does not contribute much directly to climate sensitivity estimates, but the discrepancy may indicate too-weak feedbacks in some of the models used to assimilate proxy data.

To me, that looks more like editorializing than science. They are trying to lecture others on CO2 sensitivity thousands of years ago without having any accurate record of CO2 changes in Antarctica…because, there simply isn’t any. In their figure 3b (below) they present GHG and albedo forcings, but these are model outputs, not measurements.

antarctic-forcings-fig3To me, this paper looks like just another attempt by Steig and peers to find that missing Antarctic warming they got burned on a few years ago. I don’t consider it particularly compelling nor useful.

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123 thoughts on “Boreholed science: making giant leaps of logic in Antarctica

  1. How to read an alarmist paper:

    1) start skimming when you get to models
    2) stop reading when you get to the part where the favourably compare proxy to proxy

    • The calculations are in line with estimates from most climate models, proving that these models do a good job of estimating past climatic conditions and, very likely, future conditions in an era of climate change and global warming.
      =====================
      Past Performance Is No Guarantee of Future Results

      • So does this 3 times warming rate equate to temperatures that are usually -60F heat up to -14F that is a 3 times warming rate for a world that warms 15F. So it goes from Mind numbing cold to being simply bone chilling cold, or from becoming hypothermic and freezing to death in 10 minutes to lasting 45 minutes. Sounds like a better chance of survival to me.
        Also, the increase in temperature will allow the relative humidity to increase and allow for relatively more snow fall during storms.

      • Bryan A

        “lasting 45 minutes.”
        Best case scenario.

        Cold kills

        Really; Cold KILLS quickly!

        Let us pray for warmth

        Auto

      • these models do a good job of estimating past climatic conditions….

        if you look at the global climate models that have been used to analyze what the planet looked like 20,000 years ago
        =========
        ….the past climate conditions were also the product of a model

        They are verifying a model with a model

      • “The result is not a surprise, but if you look at the global climate models that have been used to analyze what the planet looked like 20,000 years ago – the same models used to predict global warming in the future — they are doing, on average, a very good job reproducing how cold it was in Antarctica,” said first author Kurt Cuffey, a glaciologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and professor of geography and of earth and planetary sciences. “That is noteworthy and a confirmation that we know how the system works.”

        Borehole temp chronologies are based on models of how heat diffused in the ice and what the heatflow up from the earth below has been over the last 20,000 years. As you go deeper the true profile becomes more and more blurred by time and the assumptions and errors in the model basically determine the result. All we have here is one model tuned to agree with another one. That is NOT PROOF of anything except the biases of the authors.

        The fact that the climate models do NOT correctly produce the REAL actual measured temperature evolution in Antarctica however, is proof that the models are wrong and unreliable for past current and thus future projections.

        Even if we were able to conclude that the models do reproduce past changes in the Antarctic reasonably, this would mean they are right for the wrong reason since they do not get current changes even half right. Again proving that their models are unreliable and unsuitable for extrapolation to the future.

        If these “scientists” have such a poor grasp on logic and the scientific method they can safely be highlighted as one of the groups that should be defunded as soon as possible so that limited resources can be concentrated on those who do REAL climate monitoring not politics dressed as science.

      • The calculations are in line with estimates from most climate models, proving that these models do a good job of estimating past climatic conditions and

        NOOOOOOOOOOOO, ….. the only thing it proves is that the same exact “computer programming code” for calculating “estimations” is/was used in all of the different “climate modelling” runs.

    • When you take a turkey out of a freezer at -40C and place it in an oven at -30C, how long before that turkey is DONE?
      Stick a fork in it.

    • The poles do not warm faster than the rest of the globe.

      But they do cool slower than the rest of the globe.

      It’s that sigma x T^4 problem again.

      Super cold things don’t radiate fast enough to cool down much.

      Hint. Don’t put ice water in you car’s radiator with the idea that the engine will run cooler.

      Earth’s surface Temperature extremes run from around 179 K to about 333 K.

      That gives a 12:1 black body total radiant emittance range.

      Cold places have a hard time losing heat.

      Playing with six arbitrary tweak knobs, is called curve fitting.

      It isn’t ” modeling “.

      Modelling in the real world, is describing some observable phenomenon, in terms of already known physics or physical relationships.

      We already have a whole boat load of fundamental physical constants, ranging from the fine structure constant, to the electron charge, or the gravitational constant.

      We don’t need to add six more ” dream ” terms with arbitrary values to explain the Temperature of some ice a Km below the surface. That is NOT modeling. More like dart throwing.

      G

      • you could cool it more for a while longer with Dry Ice mounted over the engine in a hood compartment…Say 300 lbs or so

      • That will make the engine hotter. Dry ice is co2 after all. Especially in that heavy of a concentration. Here’s how it works, the engine is hot, the dry ice evaporates, the co2 gas holds on to the heat re radiating that heat into the engine, you can think of it as a blanket. Then the engine reaches a tipping point and melts. And it just gets hotter as the local environment is nearly 100% co2. ( I better add a sarc tag)

    • 20 kyr ago much of the northern hemisphere (NH) was strongly glaciated as a result of major change in NH TOA insolation produced by changes in Earth’s orbit. The NH greatly warmed between 20 kyr and 10 kyr because that insolation above ~60N latitude increased by ~50 watts/cm^2. Of course the NH warmed faster than the global Earth and it started from a much colder temperature. (Meanwhile insolation in the SH was increasing.)
      The relevant question is whether global temperature increases caused by CO2, which mostly emits in the warmer zones, would be accentuated in the polar regions when that CO2-induced warming is a totally different cause from orbital-induced insolation changes.

    • What about the friction caused by the drilling of the bore hole.

      Every time they drop a probe, they are inserting an instrument that is highly conductive to thermal energy. This couples every linear foot of the bore hole to every other linear foot of the bore hole, further smearing any temperature signature that may or may not exist in the ice itself.

      • They account for that in the book on boreholes I cite, and list settling times to equilibrium temperature for that issue.

        They did a second measurement in 2014 at WAIS, so they don’t have that problem in this paper, but there are many other bigger problems.

  2. …..and what was the cost of this non-compelling nor useful (except to them) of this “paper” and where did the money come from?

  3. Again they are trumpeting vacuous trivia. Use of the term “amplification” is inept and tortuous. It’s simply that in warmer climates heat is carried from the equator poleward more efficiently, and vice versa.

    • It’s even simpler than this making the use of ‘amplification’ ever more misleading.

      It takes fewer W/m^2 of input to sustain colder temperature and since forcing is linear to W/m^2, 1 W/m^2 of incremental forcing will have a larger effect where the temperature is cold than it will when the temperature is warm.

      Climate science has invented a vernacular that misuses words like amplification, feedback, forcing and sensitivity in ways that seem to be designed to preclude specifying the behavior in a manner where the large effects presumed to arise from CO2 are obviously incorrect. Controlling the language used to describe the climate contributes greatly to how broken climate science actually is.

  4. No evidence of past warming having any thing to do with CO2 and we have a pretty linear warming trend coming out of the LIA no evidence of CO2 being the issue, while this study is ridiculous on its face, if it is accurate it is just more evidence of natural cycles and not AGW being the cause for warming events.

  5. What paper do they cite for claiming that the “average” of the models used accurately depicts global climate over the past 20,000 years?

      • It’s strange, I’ve skimmed the paper and I don’t know what models they are referring to. They just keep claiming that the deglaciation models, on average, perform well. Let me just take their word on that, not.

        This paper does contain some gems:

        “It is
        possible that there exists a real regional difference from West
        Antarctica, where the climate is more strongly influenced by the
        proximal ocean (24, 27), but these values all derive from assumptions
        about the sensitivity of ice isotopes to climatic temperature,
        a method known to be inaccurate in Greenland (10, 28).”

        In other words, our entire paper is based on assumptions known to be inaccurate, but we won’t let that stand in our way.

        But my favorite may be: “The early warming
        of the Southern Hemisphere…,
        arose from combined effects of reduced northward oceanic
        heat transport, increased insolation, and increasing atmospheric
        CO2”

        Warming at the poles is caused by LESS heat transport AWAY, not more heat transport in, who would have thought that!

    • Well, their figure A green line shows global temperatures falling for the last 8,000 years so maybe they got something right. Otherwise it’s not too late to drop this garbage paper down the borehole and give some folks a laugh during the next interglacial.
      We actually need a catchy term for these idiot papers that originate in a political viewpoint and steer cherry picked data to a contrived outcome. Anyone?

  6. Another part of the Cargo Cult Climate Science they employ is where the press release says:

    “The situation today, with global warming driven primarily by human emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, is different from natural cycles, he said. The ability of the oceans to take up carbon dioxide cannot keep up with the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which means carbon dioxide and global temperatures will continue to increase unless humans cut their carbon dioxide emissions.”

    Nested unproven assumptions that one is.

    And the most laughable part is they seem to assert that today, in our post-science world, natural climate cycles ceased operating once man started burning fossil fuels.

    • ..Well, some “Greenies” believe that their power lines can tell the difference between “Evil Fossil Fuel Electrons” and “Green Happy Happy Electrons”, thus claiming to be using only 100% renewable, so it would just make sense to them that the ocean can distinguish between “Natural CO2” and “Evil Human CO2”, and of course the oceans reject only the nasty stuff….(do I need to put a /Sarc?)

  7. Re stopping at “model”, I braved the hurdles and skinned my shins further down:
    “Antarctica was also more sensitive to global carbon dioxide levels, Cuffey said, which increased as the global temperature increased because of changing ocean currents that caused upwelling of carbon-dioxide-rich waters from the depths of the ocean.”

    Deep ocean water is decades to centuries old. Some estimates for deepest abyssal water approach 1,000 years. Did they account for that in their chronology?

  8. Wait a minute! Temperature went from fifty below to thirty below and this means that the ice melted? That the land mass was denuded of ice and sea levels reached the sky? That a twenty degree increase, (below the bound of phase change) had serious consequences of any sort?

    Explain that a little more, please?

    • I think the skeptic side has know this for years: much of the “warming” is actually “less colding”. Thirty below is still cold, too cold to thaw ice.

      Funny that this even needs to be mentioned.

  9. “The result is not a surprise, but if you look at the global climate models that have been used to analyze what the planet looked like 20,000 years ago – the same models used to predict global warming in the future — they are doing, on average, a very good job reproducing how cold it was in Antarctica… That is noteworthy and a confirmation that we know how the system works.”

    No. It is a confirmation that they know how to make their models reproduce past climate. If they don’t, they don’t get to publish them. It is a pre-condition.

    I can make a model that reproduces what the stock market has done for the past 100 years, but I seriously doubt the program will make me rich if I run it towards the future.

    Faulty logic all along. A pity there are scientists like these.

    • My thoughts exactly when I read that self-serving piece, “..proving that these models do a good job of estimating past climatic conditions and, very likely, future conditions in an era of climate change and global warming.”

      When I see “very likely” when applied to forecasting the climate from hind casting, it makes me cringe.

  10. Putting a frozen turkey in a hot oven?
    Have any of these geniuses ever actually cooked a turkey?
    Or anything else?

      • Exactically; and that’s why I can’t order poached eggs or eggs benedict, because they drop the raw egg into a pot of boiling water and you get a white silicone outer shell with liquid egg yolk inside, along with salmonella, and e-coli and a host of other junk.

        But if you drop that same egg into cold water, and then bring that water to a boil on a gas jet, you get a perfectly gelled poached egg.

        McDonalds makes ten million perfectly poached eggs every single day of the year.

        NO other restaurant knows how to poach eggs.

        G

      • co2isnotevil

        December 6, 2016 at 10:12 am

        Unless you’re frying your frozen turkey where you get an explosion, although the proper analogy for climate science would be an implosion.

        That would be a Negative Imapct from a Positive Feedback

    • How about putting a frozen turkey in a slightly less cold freezer? I’m reminded of the lyrics to “Blue on Black”.

      Blue on black,
      Tears on a river,
      Push on a shove,
      It don’t mean much.
      Joker on jack,
      Match on a fire,
      Cold on ice,
      As a dead man’s touch.
      Whisper on a scream,
      Doesn’t change a thing,
      Don’t bring you back.
      Blue on black.
      – Kenny Wayne Shepherd

  11. The “models” predict polar amplification because their is less water vapor in the air which makes CO2 more effective.
    Since CO2 wasn’t changing 20kya, what supposedly was the cause of the polar amplification that they have allegedly found. And why does it validate models that assume CO2 will warm the poles?

    • See this is part of the “story telling” part of Climate Science™. They concoct a story that CO2 is the main control knob to temperature, then they see that the world went from glaciation to only polar and high altitude ice cover and using the story say that therefor for some as yet unexplained reason, CO2 must have increased 20000 years ago to warm the earth since the earth is shown to have warmed. They can’t imagine any other cause. (I wish that was sarcasm, but it seems like the way their “logic” works.)

      I do wonder how much geothermal heat plays a role in the blue temperature curve in figure 1, because to my eyeball that looks like the sort of decay one sees in a poor conductor when one end is attached to a heat source. I doubt that curve has anything to do with the temperatures extant at the time of deposition.

  12. The la, la, la, la, la always kicks in for me when I read: “the models agree, on average” something happens to my cognition when I see that phrase. Funny, that.

  13. Any heat near the bottom is geothermal. The normal gradient is about 1 C deg/100 ft. Yeah, mixed units, but it works.

    This can vary widely, but I have used this rule of thumb from the arctic (under the permafrost) to the equator.

    Its the heat from the core leaking through the overburden. Ice is a good insulator, so heat will tend to be around the foot of the ice. They have apparently modelled this.

    It also looks like the mismatches are in the section of borehole where the temps are monotonic, and have no gradient.

    I strongly suspect temperature contamination in the upper section of the hole.

    • I suspect it will be a little more complicated. Geothermal heats the lowest layers, but the lowest layers are also the layers that are being transported away via the glacier. To be replaced by layers from higher up.
      Trying to separate the impacts of heat being transported in, against ice being physically transported out.
      Not something I’d care to model. Especially with no way to validate any of your guesses.

      • Yes, I never thought about that. My temperature modeling was of static rock, not flowing ice (static on human scale, not geologic). That said, if the ice was moving, they would have lost the borehole. Like in plastic formations of salt. Sometimes you lose the hole.

        Its an exercise in modelling. As Anthony said, with 6 parameters, you can make it do anything you want.

  14. How do you keep all this stuff straight in your head? There is a kind of continuity in the roll-out of the reasoning here that gives the appearance that you have been writing this post for a couple of weeks. Just the connectivity and memory required assuages any suspicions of Alzheimers.

  15. I’m not even a scientist and this study is clearly fishy to me. mere conjecture with a result they are determined to achieve. and these scientists get paid for this work? the gravy train may be coming to an end.

  16. Glacial flow, or plastic deformation of ice, will generate heat where the deformation occurs.
    The temperature within the ice is therefore also a function of the plastic deformation of the glacier as it flows.
    Vertical temperature profiles of the glacier could also be used to determine movement.
    Areas of higher movement will be slightly warmer.

    Does this sound correct? And did the authors account for this?
    If not they could be measuring something entirely different.

      • You have to compress something in order for it to heat up. Ice, like water, is pretty close to compressible.

    • I think you’re right, Barry. The deformation of such huge quantities of ice represents an enormous amount of energy that has to show up thermally

  17. What is the NSF funding total for climate studies over the past 10 years? We could have solved a lot of real problems over that period or at least set the stage for final breakthroughs in the next 10 years from a better base.

  18. Nice deconstruction in the main post. Not much left to say. I was curious about how GCMs did in modeling the Holocene, because they do such a poor job of the 21st century even when tuned to the period 1975-2005. Found a fairly recent paper in Climate Dynamics Aug 2014, Harrison et.al. Took all of three minutes. The abstract makes it clear GCMs do a lousy job. Get all the major features wrong, by a lot. And the new CMIP5 versions discussed are no better than before despite higher resolution and better maths. So the ‘validate models’ claim is just bunkum.

    • When models have 6 “Control Knobs” that they can adjust as needed, that is not a model, it is a video game…(If I understand how they are doing it correctly)…

  19. Cuffey and Clow already screwed up Greenland’s temperature history through their borehole modelling and this has set-back Greenland ice core science for more than 25 years.

    Now they are trying to do the same in Antarctica.

    Their use of boreholes exaggerates the temperature change by about 3 to 4 times.

    They have Greenland warming by 25C from the last glacial maximum (while the proper formula using dO18 isotopes would only be about 9C).

    Now they are trying to say Antarctica warmed by (actually) more like 13C despite what the abstract says (while the proper formula using d018 isotopes is only about 8C

    Until now, all of the Antarctic ice core scientists have stayed away from the borehole temperature modelling because they know what happened in Greenland when the exaggerators got in there.

  20. “.. the fact that the poles, both the Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south, amplify the effects of a changing climate, whether it gets warmer OR COOLER”

    That’s interesting in that it seems cooling is also an issue. What has been the average temperature over the last million years and is that average good for us?

  21. ..Kind of Off Topic but seriously funny…Life in the Frozen North = Ice is not a friend of Humans, so I will never understand why anyone complains about more warmth…hope this works….

    [ https://www.facebook.com/willem.james/videos/10103478803097990/ ]

    [Once again, you aren’t learning from your past mistakes, you are posting unrelated junk (you even note the snow video is off-topic) on a technical thread. I’m done with your thread pollution, you’ve been warned time and time again, you’ve been put on a time-out for the last time you polluted a technical thread with junk off topic comments. People like Ric Werme have tried to help you by guidance comments, yet here you are, doing it again. Since you are the biggest moderation burden we have, and since you keep repeating the same behavior, regretfully I must consign you to the permanent bit-bucket. – Anthony Watts]

  22. Headline:
    The Economy’s Hidden Problem: We’re Out of Big Ideas

    Reason: The great diversion of funding went to climate change and away from good science. This amounts to another negative impact of Hansen.

    • The other pause:
      The innovation slump is a key reason the American standards of living have stagnated since 2000. Indeed, absent a turnaround, that stagnation is likely to continue, deepening the malaise that has left the middle class so dissatisfied.

  23. “Antarctica warmed about 11 degrees Celsius, nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit, between about 20,000 and 10,000 years ago”

    How did they do that without SUVs?

  24. I have to admit to being a little confused by this post .
    In the summary of the author’s presentation it is said that :

    -“These models currently predict that as a result of today’s global climate change, Antarctica will warm twice as much as the rest of the planet, though it won’t reach its peak for a couple of hundred years. While the most likely climate change scenario, given business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, is a global average increase of 3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, the Antarctic is predicted to warm eventually by around 6 degrees Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit).”-

    However it was just about a week ago that Toneb , in the course of a discussion about the postulated rapid drop in global temperature, demurred and provided as proof a link to TLT temperature time series from RSS from which excellent information one reads the following trend lines :
    TLT Trend : Global (-70, 82,5) : 0.135 K/ decade
    North hemisphere (0, 82.5): 0.18 K/decade
    South hemisphere( 0,70) : 0.088K/decade
    North polar (60 , 82): 0.346 K/decade
    South polar(-70,60): – 0.001 K/decade
    If we assume that the temperature changes of the last few decades are due to AGW I do not see how they can claim that the Antarctic regions are warming faster than the Arctic regions .
    Is the answer to the discrepancy that the RSS data is land + ocean and the authors of this paper are talking just about land temperatures ?
    I would also llke to point out that such animations that I have seen from OCO2 have shown consistently higher overall CO2 excess levels (averaged annually) in the northern hemisphere .

    • To be fair, this one is due to time scale. The resolution on their data is probably +/-500 years to +/-1500 years. RSS is only what, about 40 years old? That isn’t even in the wiggle room on the ice data.

    • You’re being very forgiving, Mike. The reason for the discrepancy is that WAGs don’t need to be mutually consistent so long as they support the political narrative. Try reading Animal Farm for a guiding reference.

  25. said first author Kurt Cuffey, a glaciologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and professor of geography and of earth and planetary sciences. “That is noteworthy and a confirmation that we know how the system works.”
    ==================
    oh? then explain the polar see-saw. why are the two poles out of phase?

  26. The last word on temperature as determined though drilling bore holes in ice in Antarctic [and Greenland] is covered on WUWT here. And trust me; the science behind determining the temperature of formation of ice through stable isotope analysis is not in dispute.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/09/hockey-stick-observed-in-noaa-ice-core-data/
    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/metadata/noaa-icecore-2475.html
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/isotopes/gisp2_temp_accum_alley2000.txt
    Unbelievably, this NCDC-NOAA research is not even referenced by Cuffey et. al.

  27. “the scientists were able to estimate the original temperature based on how fast pure ice warms up.”

    This is what really pi**es me off. I’m not a scientist, nor do I have much higher education, but throughout this entire GW debate, the association seems to be persistently made with laboratory ‘norms’. A guy produces a paper and measures precisely how long a lump of ice takes to melt, under what conditions. Variables are largely eliminated to define a single (as far as possible) phenomenon, then it’s applied in an environment which (currently, as I understand it from Patricks Moore’s presentations) has 5,000 to 6,000 variables. But worse than that, they drill down into ice, which probably records several thousand more variables over hundreds of thousands of years, and declare their results a success?

    Seriously, is it me that’s mad?

    I have now discovered that science is little more than an educated guess. Until the results of experimentation can actually produce definable results e.g. an internal combustion engine penicillin, vaccinations, going to the moon, making a radio, TV or telephone…..etc. the science is nothing more than fiction. Until it gets off the effing paper it’s written onto, into the hands of the consumer who damn well pays for it, it remains a fairy tail.

    Nor am I directing this self-indulgent rant solely at the alarmists. We sceptics are just as bad. Our futures have been determined by unproven theories, unfortunately, the insane alarmists have plundered the coffers of the world’s finances to take 40 years not to prove a theory; possibly less complicated than Einstein’s theory of relativity. It only took Einstien and (presumably a small team) to ‘prove’ his theory that has lasted for generations, whilst the climate alarmists have taken 40 years, tens of thousands of scientists, millions upon millions of man-hours and billions (Trillions) of £/$ of wasted effort that could have been directed to cleaning coal power station emissions, developing fusion power, curing cancer, curing dementia, rabies etc. etc……….Name your poison!

    Two entire generations of scientists have quite literally devoted valuable time and resources to naval gazing and demonstrably, blue sky thinking, with zero to show for it.

    From all this, and the reason I remain a sceptic (other than I don’t imagine for a moment that man has any influence on the climate whatsoever, other than positive, by releasing naturally, and accidentally sequestered CO2 back into the atmosphere) is that I now see nations spending billions of taxpayers money on idiotic, inefficient, ineffective, destructive ‘clean’ energy because minority groups now call the shots and the majority, democracy, has to cow tow to them.

    I need ice for my Whisky or G&T, it’s eff all use for anything else other than scientist’s drilling into it and dreaming up the next effing insane armageddon. The sooner the GD stuff melts the better as far as I’m concerned. And I truly hope vastly expensive coastal property (London, New Youk, Sydney, etc. etc.) end up under water, it might teach modern man there is a reason humans were nomadic.

    Sorry.

    Rant over.

  28. Is it telling that Griff and Nick Stokes make no appearance on this thread? Griff doesn’t matter but I’d be interested to hear what Nick has to say.

  29. look at figure 1. what the authors are showing is that the modern warming is not nearly as warm as the holocene optimum!

    What fig 1 shows is the modern warming starting around 3400 m on the left axis (elevation), and then cooling to the little ice age around 3300 m, and then warming to the holocene optimum around 2700 m, then cooling to about 1600 m. The warmest point is 2700 m – much warmer than at present..

  30. I saw all the snow piled up against the tent. Sure looks warmer to me. Oh.. oh.. that’s weather. And the models do such a great job, they only have to alter data.
    Without producing garbage like this, they don’t have an income. I think that’s easy to accept a distorted reality when the prospect of being unemployed is eminent. And those poor lawyers, how will they ever pay off those loans if they can’t sue the major oil companies. Oh ! Raise the alarm level !
    With every passing day, the shrieking gets louder. It’s the same screaming I heard in 2001. Does it ever end ? What are the new dates for catastrophic events ? 2015 came and went, we are all still here producing more co2 than ever.

  31. Working backwards from a conclusion, you will always get that conclusion.
    Honestly, there’s not much more to it than that.

  32. I was surprised to read in the press release that the *same models* used to predict the future are the ones being used to simulate the last glacial maximum. I was under the impression that the CMIP5 models were so computationally intensive that only a few runs (sometimes only one) could be submitted for projections in the next few hundred years — and yet they’ve run them backwards 21000 years?

    Searching for climate model in the paper itself was a bit more disappointing. The “climatic implications” merely states the unnamed climate simulations simulated a ~4.4C cooler global and an antarctic mean 11+/-4C. They congratulate the models on having this paper’s antarctic estimate be in the same range as theirs (while acknowledging that it is “rather broad”), but since both referenced values are simulated it only speaks to the scale of their amplification. Since this paper provides only antarctic temperature differential, not global differential, and certainly not climatic mechanisms, it can neither verify the global estimate nor the mechanisms used to produce it.

    Of course, if Cuffey really wanted to impress me with how well the models simulate Antarctica’s climate, I would think there’s a more obvious course than bragging about how an 8 degree spread in the models is close to center on his own estimate of 20k years ago (at least as a differential… actual temperatures might not be so close). He could just show me how well the backcasts and projections of modern GCMs simulate the actual antarctic temperatures and other climatic features during the instrumental era.

    • They can do that. They’ll just make it up. Basically ( actually) you just said that with the computer runs. They made it up. We haven’t gotten to quantum computing yet. It’s like trying to write the number out for Google plex.

  33. I don’t think this is much of a surprise: warmists will disappear volcanos as easily as they disappeared the sun. Like Michael Corleone and Fredo.

  34. Gee! The earth produces its own heat, which travels outward to the surface, warming the undersides of glaciers. Who could have suspected as much?

  35. Let me see. Ice at the bottom of the borehole was created thousands of years ago. Each layer of ice was formed on top of the earlier ice. That suggests it has been quite cold for quite a long period of time. Otherwise the layers upon layers would not have formed.

    And now it is a problem that some of the layers might melt away? How so?

    Somehow I don’t think the alarmists have thought this through.

    • Technically, these large glaciers actually melt from the bottom up. Heat from the Earth and the bedrock below actually melts the glaciers at the bottom when combined with the additional pressure there.

      The very highest points on Antarctica has ice which is up to around 900,000 years old at the very bottom. Yet these places have probably been glaciated for 38 million years.

      The very highest points on Greenland have ice which is 120,000 years old yet these areas have probably been glaciated for 3 million years.

      The glacial meltwater at the bottom eventually finds somewhere to get out and/or forms lakes until it overtops the bedrock somewhere.

      The ice temperature at the very bottom is usually -1C to -4C yet still melts at these temperatures due to the pressure. It just keeps building at the top due to annual snowfal at -25C or -49C and then gets pushed down until it melts at the bottom at -1C to -4C.

      • Bill,

        Excellent explication, as usual.

        Dunno how much credence you lend this Oregon State study, but IMO, the length of the interglacial 400 Ka makes it at least plausible that the Southern Dome of the GIS did indeed melt at that time, presumably from the top down as well as bottom up:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/25/study-the-greenland-ice-sheet-collapsed-400000-years-ago/

        Call it catastrophic natural global (or at least Greenland) warming. But the Holocene is only about 11,000 years old, not tens of thousands, and cooler than MIS 11. Correct me if wrong, but the previous interglacial to ours, the Eemian, which was warmer and lasted 16,000 years, did melt the SD some 25% more than it has so far in the Holocene.

  36. Climate sensitivity calculation:

    Cambrian Period CO2 concentration: 7000 ppm.

    Cambrian Period average global temperature: 21 °C v. 15 °C now.

    Delta CO2: ~four doublings of CO2.

    Delta GASTA: Six degrees.

    Derived ECS: 1.5 degrees per doubling.

    Solar adjustment: Irradiance strength 4.5% less than now.

    Adjusted ECS: 1.57 degree C per doubling.

    This comports well with the work of the esteemed Dr. Ristvan, et al., of 1.6 °C.

    But, as it’s based upon actual observations, this result won’t pass muster in “climate (anti-)science”.

  37. I did a quick search and couldn’t find how much the Antarctic has warmed in recent years. I could only find claims that the Antarctic Peninsula, which has a lot of geothermal activity, had warmed about 3 degrees. But there is no evidence that the Antarctic overall has warmed due to global warming. The increased ice extent is also an indicator of no warming. So, if Antarctica heats up “2 to 3 times more than planet average”, the planet average must be at or near zero.

  38. The article refers to the “coldest part of the last ice age”. In fact we are just in an interglacial period of that same ice age. The warmheads seem to have an amazing capacity to “deny” that the ice is coming back.

  39. Borehole analysis suggests

    Under favorable conditions…

    It was really cold at the bottom of a deep hole in Antarctica? Who’d a thunk it.

  40. From the article: The disparity – Antarctica warmed about 11 degrees Celsius, nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit, between about 20,000 and 10,000 years ago, while the average temperature worldwide rose only about 4 degrees Celsius, or 7 degrees Fahrenheit — highlights the fact that the poles, both the Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south, amplify the effects of a changing climate, whether it gets warmer or cooler.

    The calculations are in line with estimates from most climate models, proving that these models do a good job of estimating past climatic conditions and, very likely, future conditions in an era of climate change and global warming.

    That statement from this article is false. AGW theory based on model projections said the Arctic and Antarctic oscillations would evolve into a more positive mode which suggest the poles would in response to that, would show temperatures below normal. In addition Antarctica has shown NO warming for the last 50 years!!

    More falsehoods being propagated by the global warming enthusiast.

    I on the other hand have suggested in response to very low solar conditions the AO would evolve into a more negative mode suggesting Arctic warmth, which is what has been taking place overall going back several years.

    I will go further and suggest that Arctic warmth is what starts overall global cooling because when you have a set up like that the area of snow coverage and temperatures below freezing is very likely to be more extensive due to atmospheric circulation changes.

    It does not matter if the Arctic is warmer because that is relative , meaning the temperatures there are still way below the freezing mark.

    I also think a meridional atmospheric circulation as a result of a warm Arctic is more likely to result in greater global cloud coverage/precipitation which in my opinion would promote global cooling.

    I think the unset of global cooling always starts with a warm Arctic and a meridional atmospheric circulation pattern which when the cold becomes established (several years out) then evolves into a more zonal atmospheric type of circulation pattern.

  41. I know the term is used a lot, but has anybody actually explained the mechanics behind polar amplification?

  42. Anthony,
    I’d suggest that your criticisms of this paper based on the techniques discussed in the book “Borehole Climatology” may not be applicable. “Borehole Climatology” is discussing measurements of groundwater temperatures in bedrock boreholes. This paper is discussing boreholes in ice.

  43. Taphonomic writes

    “Borehole Climatology” is discussing measurements of groundwater temperatures in bedrock boreholes.

    It looks to me like their method is to drill a hole, fill it with fluid (so not measuring groundwater per se) wait until it comes to equilibrium with the surrounding rock and then measure the temperature at depths. Hence their requirement there is no fluid loss.

    So that wouldn’t work in ice obviously. I suspect they’re measuring air temperature although they may be attempting to measure the hole’s wall and personally I think the deeper in a polar hole you look, the colder its going to get with cold air sinking undisturbed by surface winds.

    Plus, are they going into relatively uncharted territory doing boreholes in ice?

    • Replying to myself here…perhaps they could use a fluid that didn’t freeze. But how much would you need in a 3.4km hole? Did they bring several tankers with them?

      I’m going to have to find out about their method I think.

    • So they did use fluid except they didn’t measure the last…wait for it 96 meters in the original hole. Instead they used an air measurement in a neighboring hole.

      I cant find any references to why they chose to do this. I would have thought it was a fairly important part of the measurement if they were going to suddenly switch horses like that. Something smells fishy… cherry pickin fishy…


  44. Interesting phony graphic. It might have at least been semi-plausible if they matched up. But tragically they don’t.
    Frankly to ascribe antarctic warming to volcanism at all is disingenuous.

  45. Bore holes do a couple things really well. They reveal strato-volcanic events. And when compared between the two poles, they reveal approximate location. Further, when debri within the ice core is analyzed, they sometimes can pinpoint the volcano that blew its top. The second thing they do really well, but only when evaluating the sweet mid-section, is reveal stadial and interstadial periods of our current glacial period.

    What they cannot do, is tell us what our current 100 year climate regime is or its cause. Why? Compaction that leads to stratification of the proxy signal has not been accomplished so you cannot compare the top layers with the middle layers as if both are oranges, just like you can’t compare the middle layers with the bottom layers.

    Only the sweet middle section tells us anything reliably. And it shows fairly regular periods of sharp rises to warm periods followed by jagged steps down to cold periods. We are at the top of a warm period. Because the fall back down is massive, its driver must be massive. Logic then tells me that a puny increase in CO2 will not be able to hold back whatever drove temperatures down before.

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