Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet

From The Guardian

This is in addition to 47 already known about and eruption would melt more ice in region affected by climate change

Unnamed peaks on the west coast of the Antarctic peninsula tower over the harsh Antarctic coast. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

This is in addition to 47 already known about and eruption would melt more ice in region affected by climate change

Robin McKie

Saturday 12 August 2017 18.11 EDT Last modified on Saturday 12 August 2017 20.08 EDT

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica.

The project, by Edinburgh University researchers, has revealed almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest as tall as the Eiger, which stands at almost 4,000 metres in Switzerland.

Geologists say this huge region is likely to dwarf that of east Africa’s volcanic ridge, currently rated the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

And the activity of this range could have worrying consequences, they have warned. “If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets,” said glacier expert Robert Bingham, one of the paper’s authors. “Anything that causes the melting of ice – which an eruption certainly would – is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea.

“The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.”

The Edinburgh volcano survey, reported in the Geological Society’s special publications series, involved studying the underside of the west Antarctica ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt rock similar to those produced by the region’s other volcanoes. Their tips actually lie above the ice and have been spotted by polar explorers over the past century.

But how many lie below the ice? This question was originally asked by the team’s youngest member, Max Van Wyk de Vries, an undergraduate at the university’s school of geosciences and a self-confessed volcano fanatic. He set up the project with the help of Bingham. Their study involved analysing measurements made by previous surveys, which involved the use of ice-penetrating radar, carried either by planes or land vehicles, to survey strips of the west Antarctic ice.

The results were then compared with satellite and database records and geological information from other aerial surveys. “Essentially, we were looking for evidence of volcanic cones sticking up into the ice,” Bingham said.

After the team had collated the results, it reported a staggering 91 previously unknown volcanoes, adding to the 47 others that had been discovered over the previous century of exploring the region.

These newly discovered volcanoes range in height from 100 to 3,850 metres. All are covered in ice, which sometimes lies in layers that are more than 4km thick in the region. These active peaks are concentrated in a region known as the west Antarctic rift system, which stretches 3,500km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula.

See the full story here.

HT/Gary Meyers

UPDATE 8/14/17 8:39 Pacific time.

The Mail has gotten into the story and of course these volcanoes may actually be being exacerbated by the dreaded Climate Change thingy.

Dr Bingham’s fear is that the Antarctic ocean’s meltwater outflows will cause sea levels to rise.

‘We just don’t know about how active these volcanoes have been in the past.

‘The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska.

‘Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active.’

Significant warming caused by climate change in west Antarctica has already affected its ice sheets.

If they reduce significantly, this could release pressure on volcanoes lying below.

This would lead to eruptions that could further destabilise ice sheets and enhance sea level rises, something Dr Bingham is keen to monitor.

‘It is something we will have to watch closely.

Read the full Daily Mail story here.


168 thoughts on “Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet

  1. They’d have found them sooner had they read all the comments on this blog about West Antarctic volcanoes over the years.

    • One of the discoverers is an undergrad. No audience for funding at that level 🙂 Wait until he gets his PhD.

      • Patrick, I wish you were right, the discovery of new volcanoes could not go untouched without this…….

        The discovery is particularly important because the activity of these volcanoes could have crucial implications for the rest of the planet. If one erupts, it could further destabilize some of the region’s ice sheets, which have already been affected by global warming. Meltwater outflows into the Antarctic ocean could trigger sea level rises.

        Yet they don’t know anything yet to make such a bold statement…..

        “We just don’t know about how active these volcanoes have been in the past,”

        ……….what if they were more active in the past? They never thought of that did they? Ooops.

      • ……….what if they were more active in the past? They never thought of that did they? Ooops.

        Skeletor, a much underestimated philosopher, could have writtten a book about what they don’t know. Here he gets straight to the point with insult #1 in the first few seconds.

      • The Democrats were able to find enough missing votes in car trunks to get Franken in. Finding enough to get Skeletor in would be a snap.

  2. Wouldn’t the cooling effect of aerosols and ash clouds create a counter effect to the heat of the magma? The heat would be more centralized to the eruption area and the cooling effect uopn the surrounding area creating more ice.

    • Exactly! Volcanoes have a well known cooling effect on a global scale, if they are big enough. There are a lot of kilometers of very thick ice between these volcanoes and the sea. Water can get only so hot, and it would likely refreeze within a fraction of the distance to the ocean. If the eruption was big enough to get melt water to the sea, we would have much more to worry about than a tiny rise in sea level. In fact sea level would begin dropping as we were plunged into a new glaciation period.

      • The effect of high latitude volcanic eruptions is different from those of the tropics. And size matters. A lot.

      • and the effect of underwater eruptions has no visible local atmospheric effects anyway
        how active are they NOW? and if they are melting the ice, it destroys 2 narratives at once, not least of which is the ‘science is settled’- not when they miss a hundred volcanoes it ain’t.
        (i said 100 to invite some lamer to quibble over 91 cuz that forces the lamer to acknowledge the 91 out loud, eh.)

      • And what of that biggest meteor crater in the Antarctic that most likely created this giant volcanic aeea. I would guess most of these are dormant and have been dormant since those millennia ago. Other’s brought it up in the article about the Wilkes Creator and the timeline of the Siberian Traps possibly being related. The active volcanoes are mostly off the Antarctic Continent in the ocean heating the water that is causing melting. But the effect is creating more ice inland. This paper is just another Alarmist Theory to use scare tactics to push the agenda that we have to do something or else massive flooding will occur.

      • That’s true, Gloateus. I may haveoverspoke the global implications. Still, it would take a truly massive one to get melt water to the sea or destabalize an ice sheet, if that is even possible. One that big would block out a whole lot of sunshine down there for many years to come. The startospheric cloud may not have much of an impact in the lower latitudes or the Northern Hemisphere, but it would make the coldest continent on Earth a whole lot colder and likely ice positive in the long run.

      • The Yellowstone caldera heats the ground above it quite noticeably, and the amount of heat flow is not constant.
        Is there any mechanism by which the heat flow from this field could be measured and monitored?

    • There is the geothermal effect, similar to the warm blob which moved around the north Pacific a few years ago.
      I’ll hazard a guess, these volcanoes had something to do with deglaciation at the LGM.

  3. “The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.”
    Gadzooks! I thought that was funny!
    The main reason we want to know when volcanoes are going to erupt is so we can evacuate the area. In this case…MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
    Weather these volcanoes are active or not, there isn’t a darn thing we can or would do about it. Of course, if he can convince the money people that this really is important, then I guess Mr. Bingham and his friends will stay well employed for the foreseeable future.

    • Now that you mention it, Forrest, there is something we can do. It turns out that Gaia likes cash, and she has appointed me to collect it for her (who’d a thunk it?) She assures me if the world sends her enough cash (through me), she will go easy on humans for a little while longer.
      …except the sinners, of course!

      • Hold on a damn minute! I am pretty sure Mother Gaia designated ME as the collector of cash in Her name. I might see my way to cutting you in for a percentage if you show you can pull your weight, just don’t be trying to muscle in on my grift, thank you very much.

    • Society has marched on from the days of sacrificing virgins to appease the angry gods.
      Now we sacrifice Third World children on the altar of the Great God Gaia, who is angry because of our scratching her surface to obtain hydrocarbons to burn and turn into wonderfully useful things.

    • Sacrificing virgins maybe out of the question, but environmentalists love to kill babies, particularly brown ones.

    • I propose Lava Credits which will be purchased by those who contribute to the demand for igneous rocks. These “Lava Offsets” will be printed and sold by our superiors with proceeds distributed among themselves as happened with the previous “Carbon Credits”.
      Will ” Lava Credits” have the desired effect? Of course they will: a few insiders and corporations will retain healthy profits.

    • No such thing as an effing alarmist virgin.
      There’s a factory somewhere that stamps out prefabricated, pre programmed alarmists. Blame the Chinese!

    • Yeah, maybe…..But one problem is that this may be in Pachamama’s territory. She may have a hissy fit and blow off a lot of steam if she decides that Gaia might intrude.
      Did anyone see any indication of how many of these ‘new’ volcanoes are actually old and dead volcanos that may have been inactive for more than, say, 25 million years or so? The peaks of the volcanoes have been preserved in ice, I reckon.

    • For the amount of cash demanded by the Green Climate Fund, I’m starting to think it would be much simpler/easier/cheaper to just sacrifice a few virgins. Provided we can find one, of course.

    • ““The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.”
      Gadzooks! I thought that was funny!”
      I thought that was pretty funny myself.

  4. BRAVO! I am just awaiting the left-wing spin on that. Maybe it would be that volcanoes are the result of global warming. Does anyone have any idea of just how much money, worldwide, has been wasted on this fraudulent idiocy of anthropogenic induced global warming?

    • Yeah, but don’t forget that even though it may be absolute waste, because of the way GDP is measured, compiled, calculated and reported by governments, the absolute waste shows up in the economic data as GDP growth for whichever nations are the most prolific wastrels.
      The world’s politicians can pat themselves and each other on the back and congratulate their enlightened economic policies.
      Is the absolute waste maybe actually funding another step in this (globalist) direction:
      The End of the Nation-State | Mises Wire
      You should celebrate The United Nations, by golly.

  5. I am in absolute shock the gaurdian would actually report this! Bet by tomorrow, 03:00 EST, they will disavow the article and fire who ever was dumb enough to attach their name to it.

  6. The paper is here. They have no idea whether these “edifices” are active or not. They are just shapes that look like they might have been volcanoes. We have several of those in Victoria.
    The thing with the talk of volcanoes or geothermal heat under the Antarctic ice sheet is that, even if it has an effect, there is no reason to believe that it has changed in any way in recent decades, or is likely to.

    • Exactly what I was thinking Nick. They haven’t even any magnetic data to suggest composition. And even if they are volcanic cones it may simply be a field such as in Auckland NZ which has 50+ basaltic volcanic centers, almost all of which were active for only a short period.

    • there is no reason to believe that it has changed in any way in recent decades, or is likely to.
      Given that plates constantly move, I believe there is no reason to assume that this area has remained in exactly the same state over the past few decades.

    • Every other active volcano is changing all the time. Some on the order of centuries, some on the order of years.

    • Volcanoes take the path of least resistance. Volcanoes that have been dormant for thousands of year’s without any activities of out-gassing or heat are dead. If there is magma close to the surface it’s unlikely to push through all that rock and find a new path of least resistance. I forget the site that is for volcano watchers that list something like 500 active volcanoes ranging from ones that vent gasses to full eruptions. These act as vents for the pressure in the magma and reduce the chamces for stronger volcanoes erupting. It takes a tectonic plate shift to cause new volcanoes and older currently active volcanoes to erupt with any power. A grapth online shows that since 1815 to 2015 volcanoes have multiplied in the last century to where in 2000’s there are more active volcanoes tham in all of the 1900’s combined.

    • Kinda have to side with Nick on this one. Sounds like it’s a topographical analysis. So – an inference on top of an inference buried under up to 4km of ice. The probability that there were, are, or will be volcanoes in those areas is fairly high. But I’m not sure it rises to the level of “irrefutable evidence”. Nick’s also right that, based on this paper, there’s no reason to think things have, are, or will change significantly.

    • …and know way to know it has not changed. Although their exists reports studies showing increased sea water warmth from volcanism in the area.

    • ‘….there is no reason to believe that it has changed in any way in recent decades, or is likely to.’
      Agreed, but surely geothermal heat flux is a hugely underrated climate change mechanism?

      • We will never know because you just declare it ain’t so in climate science and you have no data to conclude if anything has or hasn’t changed. These people are supposed to be scientists not clairvoyants.
        In God we Trust, all others bring data .. W. Edwards Deming

  7. Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
    Edinburgh University researchers have announced that there is a future for doom prognosticators and predictions!
    Just hitch your doom laden future to the latest catastrophic volcanic system under Antarctic ice! There is enough potential disasters for all.

  8. It would be kind of fun to “watch” one of those smaller volcanoes blow a hole through several kilometers of ice, and then see how long it takes for that hole to smooth over after it goes dormant.

  9. It might be difficult to distinguish volcanos from peaky hills and mountains in this Antarctic setting. Read the count of nearly a hundred with care. Geoff

    • Ironic that we now find a fruit cake possibly left behind by Scott, who died of starvation on the trip home from Antarctica. From the looks of it, that fruit cake might have given him a few more weeks!

    • Unfortunately, it was left behind. Maybe they planned to consume it in celebration of their return from the Pole.
      If only they had eaten their ponies on the way back, as Amundsen did his dogs.

  10. The causation chain is laughable. Discover volcanoes and then claim they might -add- to man made CO2 warming. Any honest researcher would have said the volcanoes might be the cause of warming -instead- of CO2.

    • Indeed, particularly when considering the pattern:
      This map of Antarctica shows the approximate boundaries of areas that have warmed or cooled over the past 35 years. The map is based on temperatures in a recently-constructed data set by NCAR scientist Andrew Monaghan and colleagues. The data combines observations from ground-based weather stations, which are few and far between, with analysis of ice cores used to reveal past temperatures. (2008 Illustration by Steve Deyo, UCAR.)

      • first thought that came into my mind is if we accept these temperature change patterns how can the ones shown in ref be caused by GLOBAL warming
        If the latter was so would it not be reflected in the whole of Antarctica showing warming not just the peninsula ?

  11. “The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.”
    Humm: Let me take a crack at it. These volcanoes are under 2 KM of ice. That’s what – a 150,000 years of accumulation? I suspect that the ice wouldn’t be there if there had been active eruptions during this time. So I’m going to go out on limb and conclude the volcanoes are probably dormant.

    • It is perfectly possible for volcanoes to erupt subglacially without ever breaking through the ice. Gaussberg in East Antarctica is an example. It is rather common in Iceland, especially during glaciations. Google “móberg” and “Jökulhlaup”

  12. Never ask a Geographer, What is the Theory of Geography?
    Astronomy has a theory!
    Biology has a theory!
    Chemistry has a theory!
    Geology has a lot of Theories!
    Geophysics has the correct theory, of the earth.
    Physics has a Theory, The Standard Model, it covers just about everything … a few pesky items yet to be tamed.
    Yet, … Geography.
    I almost ended a Graduate student career TWICE by using that question.
    I now have both M.S. and Ph.D. in Geophysics.

    • Planet Earth is thin at one end, much, muck thicker in the middle, and thin at the other end. Or am I getting mixed up with dinosaurs?

  13. 138 volcanoes is no small matter. That is a lot for any place on the planet. Any time anything unusual happens in Antarctica, we are obligated to ask the question of whether an eruption caused the event.
    Now one needs to have evidence and not just speculate but that is still a lot of volcanoes.

    • Hasn’t it been understood for some time that West Antarctic is a volcanic island arc, comparable to Japan?

    • The Transantarctic Rift is a big place. It has lots of ice (surprised?). It would take a lot of melting. Even in active volcanic fields not all the mountains and hills are actually volcanoes. So the news seems to be somewhat overhyped to me (a rather cynical geologist).
      The North Island of NZ has more volcanoes than is suggested in the article for Antarctica. The North Island is tiny by comarison. Even in the North Island the volcanoes are concentrated in fairly confined areas. Don’t let the hype get to you. It is not as bad as it seems.

    • Bill Illis – August 14, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      138 volcanoes is no small matter. That is a lot for any place on the planet.

      I guess it’s OK to say ……… “That’s a lot of volcanoes” …… if one is referring to a specifically named “geographically bounded” area, locale or location on the earth’s surface, such as Antarctica, Japan, Puerto Rico, France, etc., ……. without denoting the geographic size in miles or kilometers.
      Thus said, when one looks at this graphic of the Antarctica continent, to wit:
      It would be a normal response to say …… “That’s a lot of volcanoes” ….. because it looks like those volcanoes are stacked and/or packed pretty close to one another.
      But when one looks at this 2nd graphic of the Antarctica continent, to wit:
      It becomes obvious that those volcanoes are spread out over a 6,000 kilometer “Ridge of Fire”.
      6,000/138 = 43.4 kilometers (26.9 miles) per volcano

  14. Oh my god, we’re all gonna die. Maybe if we let Algore run the world there won’t be any volcanoes. Oh my god!

  15. Seriously, I hope these guys get to continue studying their ice covered volcanoes for as long as they want. It is interesting stuff. It’s just sad that every Earth scientists is now compelled to find some connection between their research and man-made climate change, no matter how silly that connection may be. They are also compelled to find some equally ridiculous reason why their research is incredably urgent. I can think of few things less urgent or less conected to man-made climate change than ice-covered, extinct volcanoes in Antarctica, but that is no reason for them to be left unstudied. Why do good scientists need to turn into con artists and creative writers just to keep doing science?

    • I think it is long past time to add qualifiers to thevrerm “climate change”, for instance,
      “So called climate change”
      “alleged manmade climate change”
      or simply
      “climate change” in scare quotes.
      Same with “global warming”.
      The climatocracy was allowed to hijack the issue with nearly 0 challenge.
      If it wasn’t for the preposterous nature and vast lack of evidence the consensus is pushing, they would have won the issue completely.
      As the multiple independent lines of evidence converge to show that the climate catastrophe the consensus is pushing is bogus, let’s at last stop granting them credibility they do not deserve.

  16. There are lots of other areas in the world with a high density of volcanoes. It would be great for them to provide a map of their region so we can compare it to the Pacific Northwest, or Sunset Craters or your favorite area.

  17. “The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.”
    Others have noted the self-serving attitude that prompted this statement. But this is worse than self-serving. It is ridiculous.

  18. From the full article:
    However, he pointed to one alarming trend: “The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska.
    “Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active. And this could happen in west Antarctica, where significant warming in the region caused by climate change has begun to affect its ice sheets. If they are reduced significantly, this could release pressure on the volcanoes that lie below and lead to eruptions that could further destabilise the ice sheets and enhance sea level rises that are already affecting our oceans.
    “It is something we will have to watch closely,” Bingham said.

    There’s the ‘money’ line, Folks. Iceland and Alaska glacial melting may have been natural but Antarctica glacial melting will be due to Climate Change, releasing the 91 headed volcanic hydra lurking below! Ohhh Noooes!!!

    • But wait. How “recently” is recently? The end of the last ice age? Isn’t that like 10,000 years ago? They call that recently? We are stressing over temperatures during the last 40-50 years and now we are calling the end of the last ice age a recent event that could somehow impact something in our generation? That is preposterous!

  19. Mr Watts and readers,
    In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.
    Live Science. Robin Wylie, University College London | October 15, 2013.
    …Sager said other, bigger volcanoes could be awaiting discovery at other oceanic plateaus, such as Ontong Java Plateau, located north of the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean. “Structures that are under the ocean are really hard to study,” he said.
    Live Science Sept.5 2013. William Sager. Geologist. University of Houston.
    Note that a 2017 study by alarmist Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel approximates a figure of .649 billion tons…adding that… although the total number of emitting, tectonic areas are unknown.
    Live Science JUN 6, 2017.

    • Somewhere in the early IPCC reports I saw a graph that essentially told me that the uncertainty on the natural sources and sinks of CO2 were substantially larger than the total estimated human production. These new volcanic estimates tell me that those uncertainty numbers were understated, and causes me to think that the human contribution is even more trivial. I can hear the warmest response already saying that sinks and production were in balance till we humans perturbed that balance. Is that an assumption or a fact? How do you know that if you have only been measuring for about 50 years? I am not willing to go with best guesses.

      • Lol. I would say climate science is like the legal field” There is no such thing as a clear law”

  20. “Significant warming caused by climate change in west Antarctica has already affected its ice sheets.”
    Documentation please.

    • The Ross ice shelf was surveyed by Scott in the 1901 expedition and is now 14 km shorter. Please see the recent most southernly sailing record by the MV The World

      • @ Dave
        August 15, 2017 at 8:08 am:
        1901 last decade of a cool oceanic cycle (c.64yrs).
        2017 1st decade after peak of a warm cycle (half of the above 64yrs).
        Oceanic lag, but it is cooling, and was covered in 60miles extra sea ice to north this summer from those ‘Quiet sun’ meridional gales.
        We resupply the Ross area bases, and had to wait for the biggest US icebreaker to do so. But we were there in 1901, too.

  21. CAGW Causes Melting Ice Sheets Which Causes Increased Volcanism Which Causes More CAGW. How Convienient and Predictable. Hopefully D. Rump Will Stop Paying Fools Like This to Fabricate such Nonsense.

  22. “Significant warming caused by climate change in west Antarctica has already affected its ice sheets.”
    And the source data for this claim is?…… I understood that the Antarctic had cooled significantly. I also understood that ice doesn’t melt at temperatures below 273K. Perhaps I’m deluded.

  23. Honest CAGW is real and we will all drown when the ice caps melt. Given me a few million and I will tell you which year (+/- 100) that will be in.
    Ooops sorry about the nose

  24. This one is just hilarious. The clear and desperate almost pleading implication in some articles is that – oh yes, all West Antarctic melting to date has been caused by anthropogenic global warming but these naughty volcanoes may contribute to the ice loss with inevitable calamitous sea level rise in the future. It must be cruel to be a pseudoscience alarmist at this time in history as each and every ‘reliable’ buttress of warmism crumbles before their horrified eyes.
    The West Antarctic glacier melt used to be a handy reach in the ever-shrinking grab-bag of sure-fire global warming smoking guns and now even the village idiot knows it’s really a smoking volcano. How they could have been so stupid is beyond me as its been known for decades that there lies a massive rift system with associated volcanoes running along the West Antarctic Peninsular and along the edge of the Ross Sea. Did they honestly think that people would believe while East Antarctica cooled and gained ice mass that cunning old human emitted carbon dioxide could selectively heat the peninsular in the West?
    I guess it’s back to jumping up and down, gibbering, shrieking and faeces flinging while pointing wild-eyed at storms (aka climate disruption) and coastal erosion (aka accelerating sea level rise). Or just possibly a tactical retreat to the old ‘evil twin’ standby of ocean acidification until the dust settles.

    • “It must be cruel to be a pseudoscience alarmist at this time in history as each and every ‘reliable’ buttress of warmism crumbles before their horrified eyes.”
      Well summated.
      One alarmist icon down.
      pseudoscience alarmist is a lovely term in this case.

    • ” Did they honestly think that people would believe while East Antarctica cooled and gained ice mass that cunning old human emitted carbon dioxide could selectively heat the peninsular in the West?”

  25. Vulcanos more active because of climate change induced melting ice. I always thought the vulcanos were melting the ice in the first place. Sounds to me like putting the horse behind the cart .

    • Yes, volcanos do melt ice (google “jökulhlaup”), but it is well established particularly on Iceland that volcanic activity increases significantly during and immediately after an ice-cap melts. It would be very odd otherwise, since there is a great pressure release as the ice melts.

  26. “Significant warming caused by climate change in west Antarctica has already affected its ice sheets.”
    is patently false. I’ve spoken with members of the British Antarctic Survey and none of them said this was in fact what they thought, they said they “don’t know at present”

    • In fact I can directly quote that from Tamsin Edwards from BAS. She stated that very thing. No absolute claims about human causes whatsoever from Tamsin.

      • The well known scientist Wikipedia.
        “The West Antarctic ice sheet has warmed by more than 0.1 °C/decade in the last 50 years, with most of the warming occurring in winter and spring. Research published in 2009 found that overall the continent had become warmer since the 1950s, a finding consistent with the influence of man-made climate change:
        “We can’t pin it down, but it certainly is consistent with the influence of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels”, said NASA scientist Drew Shindell, another study co-author. “

  27. How will the ‘drowners’ (who are screaming that the sea level rising will drown us all) decide what proportion of rising sea level is due to volcanic ice melt compared with CO2 induced ice melt? They may be able to build yet another new model!
    I’m also wondering if the volcanic activity has any relationship to the recent cracking and breakup of the ice sheet which has been slated as ‘evidence’ for CO2 induced warming.

    • “I’m also wondering if the volcanic activity has any relationship to the recent cracking and breakup of the ice sheet which has been slated as ‘evidence’ for CO2 induced warming.”
      Not the (quite normal) breakup of shelf-ice edges. It might well have some influence on the fast motion of glaciers in the Amundsen Sea area. Bottom melting must be fairly extensive under the WAIS.

  28. This isn’t exactly world-shaking news.The West Antarctic Rift is one of only two major avtive Rift valleys on Earth today. Rift valleys are always linked to vulcanism and have lots of active volcanos.
    By the way here is a paragraph from the paper that you can be absolutely sure will never be mentioned by the MSM:
    “ice retreat will continue unabated as long as the ice bed is smooth and downslopes inland, but that any increase in roughness or obstacle in the bed can act to delay or stem retreat (Ritz et al. 2015; Nias
    et al.2016). We have identified here a number of volcanic edifices sitting within the WAIS’ deep basins; these edifices, which are likely to owe their existence to volcanism, could represent some of the most in
    fluential pinning points for past and future ice retreat”

  29. 1998 japanese anime evangilean was right. first impact ( arctic explosion ) will exterminate 1/3 humanity with floods….then comes the…mass starvation….

    • But will it raise the Yamato and Musashi from the ocean floor so they can be turned into Space Battleships?

  30. One thing about geology, when you mix it with politics it’s even more likely to be off the mark. Geo is detective work. A giant field of volcanoes, if active, is, all by itself, capable of melting a lot of ice and IS the the danger, 1000C direct.
    A couple of degrees warming, still leaves the region 20-40″C below zero and 4km of ice ain’t going anywhere with paltry global warming even if it was going to happen. This is bad forensics! I hope the once stalwart, intrepid explorers that geologists used to be haven’t been softened in body and mind by playdough!

  31. You need to consider the British tabloids’ volcano reporting for West Antarctica and their perennial terrorist news injections on Yellowstone as compared to, say, coverage in American newspapers in Bozeman Montana on Yellowstone’s doorstep. In an apparent violation of the inverse-square law the Brits are far more keenly aware of impending doom despite the 4,000mi distance. There are several theories about this. Psychologists had posed a back-formation of empathy and warning towards the Yanks as unrequited thanks for the US’s assistance during WWII, now mostly discredited as the tabloids take up the attack on the United States’ democratically elected leader. The prevailing theory with more scientific basis is that Yellowstone emits waves of peril and doom in all directions, by the same mechanism causing the Norris Plateau (and perhaps the West Antarctica sheet) to rise and fall. In nearby Bozeman the waves of peril arrive in phase, and they do not sense it because they are merely riding upon it as does a ship atop massive ocean swell. But in faraway Britain, owing in part to the focusing effect of its celebrated iron ore deposits, waves of doom and peril arrive from several directions out of phase and Britons are tossed into keen awareness, and feel the dire necessity to warn us.
    It is hoped that with the discovery of Antarctica peril the nexus of doom might globally shift to give Britons a respite from trying to warn us about Yellowstone. It is common knowledge that waves of peril and doom from volcanoes can affect the launch systems of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

    • I like your out-of-phase wave theory of peril propagation. Perhaps you should write up a grant proposal. I’m sure much less worthy fields of inquiry have been funded.

  32. Hang on a cotton-picking minute. I’ve had all these “scientists” tell me the “science is settled” and then they go and discover another 91 volcanoes!

  33. They are dormant volcanoes. Dormant means no eruption in past 10,000 years. The ice on top of the volcanoes is at least 20,000 years old. So no eruption in past 20,000 years. I bet 2 km thick of ice will not melt in 1,000 years. They won’t erupt anytime soon. The alarm is just to get more funds

  34. I should not do this but…
    “Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica.”
    “Steven Mosher August 14, 2017 at 8:30 am
    They keep adjusting the number up. I don’t believe it. Show me the pictures of these so called volcano.”
    They are under 2 km of snow, Steven, which sort of prevents taking pictures….

      • Of course we have pictures, via the radar which found them. Just like Magellan over Venus (superb work) but far later – are we not cart before the horse creatures through and through, y’gotta laugh.
        Also good to see BAS denying warmism – about flamin’ time.

  35. I’m sure we can build some drills powerful enough to get down to the volcanoes so we can throw some virgins in to prevent eruptions.
    Of the volcanoes, I mean.

    • In fact we have known for years, just maybe not how many. also that West Ant. has been cooling for c.10yrs, as recently blogged.

  36. During the glacial periods, Iceland was under 2km or more of ice. The idea that volcanos will just push through and erupt like the pic at the top is flat wrong. All of the volcanos in Iceland that formed under the ice are flat topped like loaves. The magma melted ice horizontally less than vertically. Probably very little gas escaped into the atmosphere.
    But then again, the article came from the Guardian, that well known cesspool of tabloid clickbait whores.

    • Very nice pic of one. They’re called tuyas. See Wikipedia reference here:
      As it states, it’s not unusual for them to never break through the ice. The rapid cooling and abundant water can result in deposits that mimic sediments.
      On another topic mentioned above: I’m not an expert on the effect on ice unloading, I’m sure it could have some effect, but I’m also sure the main cause of volcanism in Alaska is the subduction of the Pacific plate, and in Iceland the conjunction of the Atlantic spreading ridge and a mantle plume, and that volcanism would be happening regularly in those places with or without ice.

  37. If anything the presence of so many volcanos under such a vast and ancient ice cap speaks to ling term safety and stability.

  38. There are several interesting geologic aspects of this discovery:
    1. The evidence of volcanic activity is almost entirely under the West Antarctic ice sheet, which includes only about 5% of Antarctic ice.
    2. A couple of years ago, virtually every news media in the world carried big headlines about the ‘unstoppable collapse of the entire W. Antarctic ice sheet’ and catastrophic sea level rise based on retreat of two small outlet glaciers of the ice sheet. I pointed out at the time that these two small outlet glacier were over an area of increased geothermal heat flow and not related to Antarctic warming. The new volcanic findings lend further support to this.
    3. Note that the East Antarctic ice sheet (which is cooling and contains about 95% of Antarctic ice) doesn’t show the same level of volcanic activity.
    4. The effect of a few subglacial eruptions in West Antarctica would melt some ice, but probably not enough to seriously affect sea level.

    • Which is why Iwas trying point out earlier that if they erupted that the steam created would freeze in the environment there and add to the ice surrounding the area. The aerosols and ash clouds would cause localized cooling because the jet streams tend to keep the cold localized more than travelling northward.

  39. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I recall (from about 20-25 years ago) that Science News Magazine had an article about the discovery of a large number of active volcanoes beneath the Antarctic “Ice Stream” of rapidly moving glaciers- the center of which was moving at about one meter per day. The discovery was supposedly made by a deep radar device installed on a space shuttle that was able to peer beneath the ice sheets.
    Speculation in the article was that if a large number of volcanoes erupted at the same time, the entire ice stream would empty into the oceans, causing a rise in the sea level of about 1-2 meters worldwide.
    No CAGW required, thank you…

  40. “would melt more ice in region affected by climate change” would imply that volcanoes melt more ice after discovery than before they are discovered. Research has long indicated that geothermal heat was a primary cause of loss of ice in west Antarctica.

  41. Two new studies have found the fastest ongoing rates of glacier retreat ever observed in West Antarctica and offer an unprecedented look at ice melting on the floating undersides of glaciers.
    Hmmm, same area and possibly where the tops of the volcanos could be making contact with the bottom of the glaciers… Sure it’s caused by deadly plant and tree food and that the location and contact areas are just a coincidence… 😉

    • Look for news reports to report this as “previously thought” instead of writing that peer reviewed science studies were wrong…
      Climate communications 101…

  42. I went to that Daily Mail story but still havn’t read it as I was distracted by the cornucopia of half naked females adorning all of their pages (seemingly one body for each of the newly discovered volcanoes).

  43. Okay so if they do blow up real good then lots of ice will become water vapor and go into the atmosphere. Now would you get short term cooling followed by long term warming? Does water vapor reside in the atmosphere longer than other volcanic aerosols?
    I need a grant. A nice big juicy grant to look into this!

  44. “Staggering” – 91 Volcanoes. Common belief is that there could be up to one million submarine Volcanoes. Now if 91 concern these guys then imagine??????

  45. Concider it as a barrier for the collapsing ice. It is hard to flow over or between mountains.

  46. “The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.”
    So we can do what?

  47. These new volcanoes provide additional anchoring points for the ice atop them, reducing the chances of it all swiftly flowing away.

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