New map of Antarctic geothermal heat suggests Steig & Mann 2009 weren’t measuring ‘global warming’

This is quite interesting. Remember the claim in on the front cover of Nature in 2009 by Steig and Mann that Antarctica was warming, thanks to that “special Mannian PCA math sauce” that was applied to air temperature data to smear surface temperature trends over the entire continent? It was dashed by climate skeptics who wrote a paper. It was accepted for publication and disproved (in my opinion) by a team of credible skeptics that wrote a counter-paper. But, there’s an interesting twist thanks to new and surprising data; Steig and Mann may have captured surface air temperature trends in the exact same areas that have been identified as geothermal hot spots.

First the press release, from the British Antarctic Survey on Nov 13th, 2017:


New Antarctic heat map reveals sub-ice hotspots

An international team of scientists, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), has produced a new map showing how much heat from the Earth’s interior is reaching the base of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The map is published this week (Monday 13 November) in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The team has produced the most up to date, accurate and high-resolution map of the so-called ‘geothermal heat flux’ at the base of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Of the basic information that shapes and controls ice flow, the most poorly known about is this heat.

The most high resolution map of the geothermal heat beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet Credit: BAS

The data used  come from magnetic measurements mainly collected by aircraft flying over the continent and the results reveal the ‘hot spots’ under West Antarctica, (West Antarctic Ice Sheet WAIS) and on the Antarctic Peninsula. These areas are the most rapidly changing areas of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Lead author, geophysicist Dr Yasmina Martos who completed the work at BAS says:

“This new map of heat escaping from inside the Earth will help advance our understanding of the conditions at the base of the ice sheet, improving our ability to understand the past and to project future changes of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and its impact on global sea level”.

Co-author BAS geophysicist Dr Tom Jordan says:

“It is incredibly difficult to take direct measurements of heat from the Earth’s interior beneath 3-4 km of ice in extremely cold and hostile conditions. That’s why we have used magnetic data to infer the heat and we’re pleased that what we have is 30-50% more accurate than previous studies.”

The Antarctic Ice Sheet contains the largest reservoirs of fresh water on our planet – around 70% of the world’s fresh water – and is currently losing ice, which contributes to rising sea levels.

The BAS twin otter aircraft features geophysical survey equipment which collected some of the magnetic observations in Antarctica

BAS Science Director and glaciologist Professor David Vaughan says:

“If we are to predict with any certainty the future response of Antarctica in a warming world, scientists need to understand the role that heat from the Earth plays. What we know is that over time, the heat flow into the ice is quite constant and so the ice sheet adjusts to it.  The ice loss we’ve seen in recent decades is actually the result of changes in air and ocean temperatures. How the ice sheet will respond to these recent changes is influenced by the pattern of geothermal heat, and that’s why this new map is so important”.

###

The paper:

Heat flux distribution of Antarctica unveiled by Yasmina M. Martos, Manuel Catalan, Tom A Jordan, Alexander Golynsky, Dmitry Golynsky, Graeme Eagles, David Vaughan is published in Geophysical Research Letters here:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL075609/abstract

Abstract

Antarctica is the largest reservoir of ice on Earth. Understanding its ice sheet dynamics is crucial to unraveling past global climate change and making robust climatic and sea level predictions. Of the basic parameters that shape and control ice flow, the most poorly known is geothermal heat flux. Direct observations of heat flux are difficult to obtain in Antarctica, and until now continent-wide heat flux maps have only been derived from low-resolution satellite magnetic and seismological data. We present a high resolution heat flux map and associated uncertainty derived from spectral analysis of the most advanced continental compilation of airborne magnetic data. Small-scale spatial variability and features consistent with known geology are better reproduced than in previous models, between 36% and 50%. Our high-resolution heat-flux map and its uncertainty distribution provide an important new boundary condition to be used in studies on future subglacial hydrology, ice-sheet dynamics and sea-level change.


Now some recap of what claims were made about Steig et al. in 2009:

Steig stated in the New York Times in December 2009:

“We now see warming is taking place on all seven of the earth’s continents in accord with what models predict as a response to greenhouse gases.” Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/science/earth/22climate.html?ref=science

Drew T. Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, co-author of the paper, said:

“It’s extremely difficult to think of any physical way that you could have increasing greenhouse gases not lead to warming at the Antarctic continent.”

Ummm, well it’s not all that hard to imagine if you think that the part of Antarctica with the most volcanic activity under the ice might also have the greatest amount of heat release. 91 such volcanoes have been discovered thus far:

91 under ice volcanoes – from Bingham et al.

Wikipedia has this to say about it follow on studies to Steig et al 2009:

In early 2013, David Bromwich, a professor of polar meteorology at Ohio State University, and a team including Antarctic weather station experts from the University of Wisconsin, published a paper in Nature Geoscience showing that the warming in central West Antarctica was unambiguous—and likely about twice the magnitude estimated by Steig et al. The key to Bromwich et al.’s work was the correction for errors in the temperature sensors used in various incarnations of the Byrd Station record (the only long record in this part of Antarctica); miscalibration had previously caused the magnitude of the 1990s warmth to be underestimated, and the magnitude of the 2000s to be overestimated. The revised Byrd Station record is in very good agreement with the borehole temperature data from nearby WAIS Divide.[24] A new statistical reconstruction[25] shows significant warming over all of West Antarctic in the annual mean, driven by significant warming over most of the region in winter and spring. Summer and fall trends, are insignificant except over the Antarctic Peninsula where they are widespread only in fall. These finding are in good agreement with the 2009 study in Nature, though in general the new results show greater warming in West Antarctica and less warming over East Antarctica as a whole.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctica_cooling_controversy

Yes there’s warming in West Antarctica and the Peninsula, but is CO2 the cause? This new geothermal heat flux data and study from BAS throws ice water on that idea.

The new study from BAS uses over 50 years of magnetic measurements that were collected from thousands of hours flying over the continent. Warmer rocks lose their magnetic properties, and so the team was able to use the loss of magnetism in certain areas to calculate an estimate of the geothermal heat flux.

And gosh, side by side, these two maps look strikingly similar in the “hot spot” areas on the Antarctic Peninsula, and West Antarctica:

Comparison – 2017 BAS geothermal flux (left) vs. Steig et al. 2009 air temperature anomaly trend in Antarctica in °C (right). Graphic comparison by A. Watts.

Steig and Mann, despite their failed attempt to use warming in one area of Antarctica to infer warming over the entire continent may have in fact captured an air temperature signature from that heat flux, which is completely unrelated to “climate change” or “global warming”.

I predict a new paper will correlate these two previously unconnected datasets, followed by much wailing and gnashing of teeth from climate scientists who will still insist the warming in Antarctica is a “robust” indicator of global warming.

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188 thoughts on “New map of Antarctic geothermal heat suggests Steig & Mann 2009 weren’t measuring ‘global warming’

  1. I am trying to imagine a weather pattern that would produce warming only in West Antarctica. The proposal it is due to volcanism seems plausible.

    • It could be the same weather pattern that creates record heat down the center of Africa where there are no climate stations.

    • Tom
      Atmosphere from the NH / equator moves southward both directly down the Pacific, and also from across Australia up and across New Zealand and down the Pacific to wards Antarctica. I believe atmosphere moves to the poles as a natural process.

      There is a particularly strong flow from August to November (seasonably variable). It is a pure coincidence I am sure that these winds occur at the same time as the Blozone hole over Antarctica. New Zealand experiences very strong westerly gale winds at this time of up to 160kph, with 120 not unusual. It is this phenomena that spiked my interest in atmospheric science. The Pacific atmospheric transport corridor is underestimated.
      Most of the warming in that region of Antarctica during the recent natural warming phase has been transported in. The temperature profile anomaly in the bottom right image is air temperature. The volcanoes are km below the ice.
      Regards

  2. Surely a geothermal heat flux would only be causing warming if the heat flux was increasing? And given
    that we are talking about milliWatts of heat per m^2 any heating effect is likely to be tiny and any change in the flux even smaller.

      • Michael,
        I am focussed on a change in flux because the claim in the blog post is that this geothermal process is responsible for warming, i.e. a change in the heat content in Antarctica so the only way the heat flux can cause warming is if the flux itself is increasing.

    • Germanium,

      If you want to boil a pan of water, you don’t have to keep turning the heat up. A constant (sufficient to be greater than heat loss) amount of heat is all that is necessary.

      If you have two areas in Antarctica, with all other things being equal, except one area has a small amount of additional heat at the bottom, one can expect the ‘heated’ lce to be at a higher temperature and to have less cooling impact on the atmosphere.

      What remains to be shown is if the quantities are sufficient to account for the differences.

      • “A constant (sufficient to be greater than heat loss) amount of heat is all that is necessary.”
        But what evidence is there that it is greater than heat loss? Geothermal doesn’t change rapidly; it has been there for millennia. W Antarctica hasn’t been warming for millennia, else it would be warm by now. There’s no reason to believe that this tiny amount of heat has caused the balance to be out for the long term.

      • Clyde,
        Again the blog post is claiming that this geothermal flux is responsible for the change in temperature of Antarctica not the temperature itself. For this to be the case the geothermal heat flux would have to be increasing and there would appear to be no evidence of this being the case.

      • Geranium,
        NO! I don’t know how much clearer I can make it. If there was an increase in the past, it will take sometime to have the effect. There doesn’t have to be a continuing increase.

      • NS,
        Yes, the usual geothermal gradient is constant for long periods of time. However, in hot spots, magma can move around, rapidly increasing the heat flow. As to eruptions, they can happen quite quickly. Do a search for Paricutin.

      • “However, in hot spots, magma can move around”
        You don’t get hotspots this size. But the reason geothermal is so slow is the very high diffusive time constants. Even if you had an eruption under 1 km of ice, the time constant for that heat to diffuse to the surface would be 30,000 years. No fast changes.

      • Nick Stokes,
        Agreed. There is some blog confusion between temperature level and temperature change. Geoff.

      • These recently discovered volcanoes are the southern most branch of the “ring of ifre” which until now has been a misnomer because it was a horse-shoe shape , not a ring.

      • WOW.. a few tall volcanoes, Nick.

        How many are known now?

        You really are a squirmy little worm, aren’t you.

      • Mods, can I please suggest that the nasty vendetta by AndyG55 against Nick Stokes be examined and appropriate action taken? It’s getting old.

      • “Geothermal doesn’t change rapidly”

        Really?

        …. not even near active volcanic regions?

        You know this … how ?

      • The trashing of Nick S is deserved after he bad mouthed Tony Heller here on WUWT. NS’s errors were the subject of 5 posts by Tony on his blog. Nick never showed up there and apologized. I would suggest that the moderator ban Nick Stokes until he apologizes.

      • “W Antarctica hasn’t been warming for millennia, else it would be warm by now. There’s no reason to believe that this tiny amount of heat has caused the balance to be out for the long term.”

        Well, that heat would be absorbed by the ice, which then melts and flows into the oceans. As for temperature change, which is what is calculated and compared in the global warming hypothesis, consider that ice is an insulator, shielding the air from the temperature underground. It seems to me that as the ice melts, this insulation layer decreases leading to a gradual increase in temperature over time that corresponds to thinner ice in that area.

      • Clyde,

        What remains to be shown is if the quantities are sufficient to account for the differences.

        The study indicates a geothermal flux of between 30-100 mW/m2 beneath the ice. For the sake of discussion, assume there is a unform 100 mW/m2 heating beneath a 1km thick sheet of ice. On a per unit basis, how much temperature rise could 100mW impart on a 1km3 column of ice? I am confident it is a vanishingly small number.

        How much warmer

      • NS,

        You said, “You don’t get hotspots this size.” Both of the classic hotspots — Hawaii and Yellowstone — represent the current locus of high heat flux of tracks that have been active for tens of millions of years. Locations like the East Rift Valley in Africa are volcanically active and elongate like in West Antarctica. As pointed out by Greg below, this ‘hot spot’ appears to be an extension of the Ring of Fire. The entire rift system isn’t active simultaneously; activity moves around. Even if your claim about size were an accurate description of the current situation (which I’m questioning), that doesn’t preclude the discovery of one that we didn’t previously know about.

        If the study is correct, and most of West Antarctica is unusually warm, and you don’t want to call it a “hot spot,” then what would you propose it be called?

        You also claimed, “Even if you had an eruption under 1 km of ice, the time constant for that heat to diffuse to the surface would be 30,000 years.” Alright, are you saying we might be seeing evidence of volcanic activity 30,000 years ago?

        You might find this link to be of interest:

        https://www.livescience.com/49545-east-antarctica-crater-new-explanation.html

        A truly inquisitive mind would wonder why ice dolines occur where they do. That is, what would cause a subsurface cavity to form in some places, but not all places? A localized heat source would seem to be a good first guess.

      • Nick Stokes November 15, 2017 at 9:25 pm

        Hotspots are different from rift valleys, which is IMO West Antarctic is.

        Hotspots are places on the earth in which, perhaps because an impacting space object has punched through it, the crust has a hole from which oozes the mantle. Classic cases are the oceanic hotspots of Hawaii and Reunion Island. Tectonic plates move over them. The Reunion Island hotspot caused the Deccan Trap eruptions as the Indian Plate crossed it.

        Rift valleys are also highly volcanic, but the mechanism is different. Crust attenuates as plates move apart. This is happening today in East Africa and the Red Sea. It happened before as Pangaea broke up, starting with the rift between NW Africa and NE North America at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. On this side of the now enlarged pond, we have the Newark Supergroup from this Central Atlantic Magmatic Province eruption series.

        All around the Pacific, plates are on the move. Hence, the Ring of Fire, showing both subduction and rifting.

      • Ray in SC,
        It looks to me that you are not paying close attention to your units, and yet still express an opinion. You suggested that a 1 cubic kilometer column would experience negligible heating from a source of 100 mW/m^2. That column would experience 1,000 W/Km^2 at its base. Because ice is a fairly good insulator, probably its first impact would be to melt the ice at the base of the column more rapidly than in locations where that level of heat flux was not present. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Stokes’ estimate of 30,000 years for the heat to reach the surface, it only puts a time limit on when increased heat would reach the surface, not prevent it from getting there.

      • “it only puts a time limit on when increased heat would reach the surface, not prevent it from getting there”
        It doesn’t prevent it getting there, but it smears it out over a comparable period. So there is no event, in terms of moving of hot spots or even eruptions, that can produce a sudden change at the surface 1 km above.

        That’s the thing about “unusually warm”. With that timescale, you can’t get century gradients in time. And the notion of massive distributed hotspots fails, because there just isn’t enough energy to sustain them. Even small hotspots can only sustain intermittent volcanic activity. They lose heat and have to go quiet for a while. Of course, there is a large heat reserve in magma, but not a large sustainable source, relative to surface fluxes.

      • In the past as of now also when the sun has a holiday with its spots, vulcanism and earthquakes increase.
        For some reason the Earth gets upset and throws a tantrum.

      • wayne commented – “In the past as of now also when the sun has a holiday with its spots, vulcanism and earthquakes increase.”

        supporting
        studies
        & data?

  3. Using magnetic data to estimate heat flux. Under thousands of metres of ice, no less Sounds like magic to me. But. Apparently it works, and I want to use it to pinpoint buried uranium deposits by their radiogenic heat. Wealth and fame await……….

    • The magnetic data shows heat flux in two possible ways. There is normally a lot of acidic alteration associated with heat flux and geothermal activity and the conversion of some iron species to iron sulfide species greatly reduces the magnetic susceptibility. And the second way is causing a shallow Curie Point, where rock materials no longer have any magnetic properties. I have personally seen both patterns produced in magnetic anomaly maps for Nevada, for instance, all geothermal energy production is in an area of shallow Curie Point.

      • For those wondering about Curie temperature (TC), or Curie point wikipedia has a reasonable write-up.

        In physics and materials science, the Curie temperature (TC), or Curie point, is the temperature at which certain materials lose their permanent magnetic properties, to be replaced by induced magnetism. The Curie temperature is named after Pierre Curie, who showed that magnetism was lost at a critical temperature.

  4. How could a blanket of 400ppm CO2 cause localized warming? It can’t. The warming wouldn’t be isolated to one half of the continent. By what mechanism could CO2 of 400ppm cause warming only over volcanos, and not in areas not above volcanos? Blaming CO2 is absurd.

  5. “It is incredibly difficult to take direct measurements of heat from the Earth’s interior beneath 3-4 km of ice in extremely cold and hostile conditions. That’s why we have used magnetic data to infer the heat and we’re pleased that what we have is 30-50% more accurate than previous studies.”

    What the hell does that even mean? I find it difficult to believe that there is any objective measure of how accurate their “inferred” temperatures are.

    • So this story goes back to 2012 from memory and diamond anvil studies that changed the melting point of iron at the pressure in the core upwards by 800 degrees or there abouts. That also happened to help close a gap with magnetic flux calculations on Earths magnetic field. So the result was accepted by most.

      So basically they have used the revised number and the revised magnetic flux calculations to infer and revise the heat under Antarctica. The core is hotter so no surprise everything else has to be revised upwards.

      At the end of the day it’s a proxy on a proxy and a model on a model and if you don’t have actual data can be sometimes useful.

      Recent Diamond Anvil studies in 2016 by another group have different results and the differences are being worked thru at the moment. So all this will have to probably be reworked again once the disagreement between the two Diamond Anvil studies can be resolved.

      • But what I’m questioning is the numerical statement that their new temperatures are 30-50% more accurate than previous estimates. If there is no empirical way of checking their inferred estimates against measured temperatures beneath the ice sheets, this quantitative statement has to be a load of BS, does it not?

      • Yes the statement is qualitative to agreement to models, it only takes one real world reading to disagree to throw it out. However that is also true of anything in science. For example we have several models of gravity and all of them say that there isn’t a single point on the planets surface that doesn’t have gravity. You would only require to find one point of the Earths surface that didn’t have gravity to overturn all the models of gravity. So the statement itself is consistent with science.

        The issue that is being thrown at science is how to rate models. Models like gravity are readily testable even by layman. Models like Earth Dynamics, Pharmacology, Climate Science, Sun Dynamics and even Cosmic models are only testable in very limited ways and only by select groups.

        Climate Science in particular has become problematic because it wants to create an outcome and to do that it requires either authority or consensus to establish a majority view. I have commented before the belief in QM and GR probably runs at less than 20% in population and probably not even 50% of scientists fully accept sections that are not even in dispute, yet the fields operate without real issue. I am sure they would all love higher belief rate but it isn’t that important. It’s the act of scientists becoming activists that really has created the problem with the field as people see an obvious bias.

        Your statement reflects the fact you trust the model of gravity you don’t trust the models of climate science, it is what it is.

      • I said “quantitative” – not “qualitative.” If some electronics company says that their new polygraph detects lies 40% more accurately than their old polygraph, I assume that they’ve done some testing where they know for certain whether someone is lying to the machine or not. Here, I can’t possibly imagine an objective standard to support the claim that their new measurements are “30-50% more accurate” than the old measurements. I don’t care about the details of any models. I care about the procedure by which they verify the accuracy of their indirect methods of measurement.

      • The model connects earth core temperature to magnetic field strength. You quantitatively measure the magnetic field and the predicted value from the model is 30-50% closer. Doesn’t that meet the exact situation you outline?

      • “You quantitatively measure the magnetic field and the predicted value from the model is 30-50% closer.”

        Closer to what, and compared with what?

      • The magnetic model makes a prediction of what magnetic value you see at the surface. You know you know how many tons of iron etc you have in the core you have the loop lengths thru space. The model predicted to much magnetic flux strength at the surface.

        Basic high school physics .. heat destroys magnetism
        http://www.x-magnet.net/faq.html

        So you add in the extra heat the magnetic model get closer to the value YOU ACTUALLY MEASURE.

        If you want to measure it yourself you can an app on your iphone along with a battery, a bit of wire and ammeter.
        https://www.wired.com/2014/01/measure-magnetic-field/

        It’s not rocket science and they are comparing the model to a measured magnetic flux value and you keep asking in compare to what … I am confused?

      • “For example we have several models of gravity and all of them say that there isn’t a single point on the planets surface that doesn’t have gravity. You would only require to find one point of the Earths surface that didn’t have gravity to overturn all the models of gravity.”

        Hey, I found one, I found one! Where do I pick up my Nobel?

      • Here’s the direct quote:

        “It is incredibly difficult to take direct measurements of heat from the Earth’s interior beneath 3-4 km of ice in extremely cold and hostile conditions. That’s why we have used magnetic data to infer the heat and we’re pleased that what we have is 30-50% more accurate than previous studies.”

        This guy is claiming 30-50% better “accuracy” in measurements of heat than in previous studies after admitting that they can’t really take direct measurements, after all. They don’t really know how accurate this technique is in regards to the true heat flux, or how accurate their previous studies were in estimating the true heat heat flux, so there is no objective baseline to allege a mythical 30-50% increase in accuracy.

        I don’t see anything in that article about comparing measurements to modeled predictions of heat flux, What I see is that they are using the same model (or presumed mathematical relationship between heat flux and magnetic strength) but using higher resolution aircraft data instead of low-resolution satellite data to plug into their equations. But that has nothing to do with accuracy, Being off by 20 +/- 1 is not 33% more accurate than being off by 20 +/- 1.5. And since they can’t actually measure what that base number is, any claim to accuracy is fictional.

      • “Kurt November 16, 2017 at 2:03 am

        I don’t see anything in that article about comparing measurements to modeled predictions of heat flux, What I see is that they are using the same model (or presumed mathematical relationship between heat flux and magnetic strength) but using higher resolution aircraft data instead of low-resolution satellite data to plug into their equations. But that has nothing to do with accuracy, Being off by 20 +/- 1 is not 33% more accurate than being off by 20 +/- 1.5. And since they can’t actually measure what that base number is, any claim to accuracy is fictional.”

        That “higher resolution aircraft data” was collected over fifty years.
        Most of it will not be “higher resolution”.
        Most of that data will be collected via different methods/sensors.

        Here is the “supplement 1, Heat flux distribution of Antarctica unveiled”.

        Describing where the researchers start with spectra,
        switch to magnetic surveys,
        select a particular method for estimating curie depth from many,
        etc. atc.

        No geological information needed or verified.
        No verification of their ‘calculations’ on existing magmatic bodies.

        It does appear to be one of those “You can’t get there from here” research knots.

      • More like billions of years Andy.

        But following the same tangent as Smart Rock’s amusing comment about 1850 (the blame game never ends), this could lead to a massive new UN project to start sealing these dangerous cracks. This could, after all, melt ice and drown Manhattan.

        And it may be worse than we thought. Maybe those evil ‘heat trapping gasses’ have already warmed the planet so deeply that there will be more of this.

        Maybe the ‘missing heat’ isn’t hiding at the bottom of the ocean but went all the way down there?

        Its all so scary!!!

      • Displaying your ignorance STILL, hey Nick

        I suppose you are so dumb that you think volcanoes are constant, or something. !!

      • Volcanoes don’t produce large amounts of distributed heat over such wide areas. They are looking at 3-4 km down. The time constants of diffusion of heat over these distances are enormous.

      • Time constants – the time constant for thermal diffusivity in a 1 km slab of ice is about 10E12 s ~ 30,000 years. So even if there are changes down there, they will be smeared over this order of time at the surface.

      • Read this,Crackers:

        “Activity Deep Down

        Even if most of the volcanoes no longer spew molten rock, it’s clear that volcanic activity is still occurring, according to a recent study that found a surprising amount of heat flow underneath the glacier. One of Antarctica’s most famous volcanoes, Mt. Erebus, is located in the region and has been active for some 1.3 million years, and Mt. Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica, is also nearby.

        The presence of glacial volcanoes may sound like cause for alarm in a time when worries of melting ice sheets abound, but the reality is more complex. While thermal activity underneath glaciers can cause them to move faster as the bottom layer melts, it’s never been seen as a major factor in the past. While the discovery of dozens of volcanoes under the ice certainly indicates that Antarctica is more geologically active previously believed, it’s still not known how many are actually likely to erupt soon and what the consequences will be. In fact, the volcanoes themselves could act as a kind of brake by making the terrain more uneven and inhibiting the flow of ice.”

        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/08/14/volcanoes-under-antarctica/#.Wg0lxnZrwfI

      • “A bit of lite reading for you Nick”
        You have linked a speculative blog page from a retired geologist. He thinks a hole in sea ice might be caused by volcanic activity, but has no evidence that there actually was such activity.

      • “(You don’t need to add the snotty comments about the person you answer to,it appears juvenile,especially when you do it so much) MOD”

        “appears”?
        It is.

        Well done mod – and at last …. he does it all the time – particularly if his name is Nick Stokes.
        It’s actually called trolling/flaming, as precious little evidence is produced to back his SHOUTED hand-waving.
        It’s good that Nick is prepared to put up with it (and Crackers and Griff) – else this place would be a pure echo-chamber.
        But if that’s what you want – then fine.
        Your Blog.

        Oh and Andy …. If you say so.

      • “Toneb… You have nothing worthwhile to say.. so why say it.”

        LOL
        You probably have no idea of the irony in that my friend.
        And again…. if you say so.

      • nick it’s quite often that volcanoes that seem to be extinct suddenly come back to life…

        World’s best known example of this was the Pinatubo volcano

        also hotspots have very known fluctuations in history. just not known how they fluctuate

      • This is getting nasty. Nick is making valid comments here. Some of you guys need one or all of courtesy, knowledge or deduction. Geoff

      • Yeah, come on. You don’t have to agree with Nick to acknowledge that an awful lot of climate activists, and more than a few skeptics, could learn from his example of civil discourse.

        I’m here for scientific discussions. If I wanted to read a lot of insults and name-calling I could visit Tamino or the like. WUWT tries to maintain higher standards.

      • “(You don’t need to add the snotty comments about the person you answer to,it appears juvenile,especially when you do it so much) MOD”

        Agreed. Crush him with facts, reason and logic, not verbal abuse.

      • Nick is not a rock(et) scientist, but he correctly points out heat from the deep does not get through the glacier. It might lubricate the glacier by melting it from below, but not raise surface temperatures unless the glacier collapses due to melt. I understand Antarctic ice is cold based so the heat has really no effect. Whatever, but co2 is not guilty.

        Why AndyG55 always takes the bait, is beyond me.

      • Nick
        I might be way off here, but it seems that your post assumes the heat is all trapped under the ice, and heats the underside evenly. I think the heat would concentrate in higher spots, working toward the surface in smaller areas, and any heat produced faster than the ice could absorb it would find its way to the surface water near the edge of the ice sheet.

      • Mark,
        The argument is basically about the consequences of diffusion. Heat flux crossing the bottom boundary will take of order 30,000 years to reach the top, but the time progress of the flux at the top will be spread over time of that order, and it will be smoothed. This is a kind of upside down version of borehole methods for trying to determine past tempeatures. A warm period heats the soil, and that propagates down. But it could takes decades to have a warming effect ten metres down, and meanwhile there may have been other weather adding in as well. The nett result is that you get a very weak signal; it has all evened out. And here we are talking about a kilometer or so.

        Spatial variation on the sub-kilometer scale will also be evened out by horizontal diffusion. Longer scale variation won’t be so much, but the key thing is that the time variation is all smoothed out, which means no gradients in time. Maybe a tinyt amount of warmth, but no warming.

      • Thanks, I have this simplistic model in my head where each vent carves out a dome under the ice that, over millennia, gets deeper and narrower, due to heat concentrating at the top and edges refreezing. Each one would reach equilibrium at a different point: some staying shallow and wide (no effect at the surface), some normally reaching the surface (warmth, but no warming – possibly helping form the ice boundary), and others reaching the surface occasionally, depending on variability in surface conditions, ocean currents, and heat output. The last group could be a driver, if the heat output changes, or a positive feedback, if surface or ocean temperature changes.

        Any of that possible?

    • Heat flux from a warm interior of the earth means it is global and the reason the bases of these ice sheets are wet. There is even a lake beneath the ice on Antarctica with microscopic life abounding!

      https://www.livescience.com/47461-lake-whillans-species-antarctica-life.html

      There are also more localized, “hot spots” in the mantle below the crust where volcanic activity develops. West Antarctica hosts 91 known volcanoes and other s on the sea floor have been identified. One erupted only a few years ago beneath the ice and was tracked in seismic measurements.

      • There are actually “hot pools” near the end of the peninsula that people bathe in. !

        Some years they are hot, some year not so hot.

        Anyone who thinks this region is stable and constant, needs to remove their blindfolds.

      • Andy g55.
        The question is not one of whether there is variability. It is one of the duration and magnitude of variability compared to other variables. Geoff

      • What other variable, Geoff?

        Sea temperature, tiny changes degree this or that way, cold at the moment.

        No atmospheric warming at all, according to satellites.

        Any changes down there are very small, and not at all well understood.

        Certainly, there are clear signs of variable volcanic activity.
        Melt holes over underwater volcanic ridges, fluctuating hot pools etc

        Certainly there is no signal of any sort related to CO2, wouldn’t you agree.?

    • Toneb

      Putting Griff in with Nick is just silly, Griff has time and again slander good scientists that disagree with his view. He is not virtuous in any sense and deserves no civility. Nick is a little disingenuous with his information at times but I don’t remember him ever being an attack dog or serial slanderer like Griff.

  6. The BBC reported on this too. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41972297 An excerpted memorable quote, even by BBC standards, is “What happens next is a smart calculation.” And that was after they “inferred” temperatures at the bedrock under the ice from magnetic measurements.

    They also neglected to mention any reports of significant gains in ices mass for much of Antarctica. Or the general theories that a warmer world with more water in the atmosphere would lead to greater snowfall in Antarctica.
    That’s the magic of global warming: Any and all facts are consistent with the alarmist scare stories, and there is no fear of being called out by other alarmists. Even if they have published their own version of imminent disaster which completely contradicts the version being peddled by their buddies, every day brings a new story with the same pathetic references to the terrible fate that surely awaits us, maybe.

    Like the SS Patna, the good ship Global Warming sailed on.

    • I think you are the first that actually got what they are doing, everyone above seems to be arguing weird things. Nicks claim “they are looking at 3-4 km down” was a real eye roller. The model goes from the surface of earth all the way to the centre of earths core you can even extend it up into space if you want.

  7. “disproved by a team of credible skeptics that wrote a counter-paper. ”

    Follow the link, and there is not “paper” but just a post(s) on several blogs.

    Someone needs to educate you on the difference between a published, peer reviewed “paper” and blog posts.

      • From the paper, O’Donnell et al:

        Rather than finding warming concentrated in West Antarctica, the authors find warming over the period of 1957–2006 to be concentrated in the peninsula (≈0.35°C decade−1). This study also shows average trends for the continent, East Antarctica, and West Antarctica that are half or less than that found using the unimproved method.

      • So the cause of my bad “etiquette” is your typo?

        Figures.

        (Anyone can make a mistake,but trying to be smarmy about it,will not help your cause. Now that the link is fixed to an actual paper,even posted an excerpt of it,you still complain anyway,bad form) MOD

      • Ah Anthony,

        We, Down-under, long ago learnt that anybody who uses a moniker like C . Paul Pierett is nothing but a pretentious prat.

        Why would anybody expect such a self-important prat to even understand what etiquette means, let alone be open to a lesson on it?

      • C.Paul said:

        “Someone needs to educate you on the difference between a published, peer reviewed “paper” and blog posts.”

        His rudeness is palpable. Yet he fails to see it or thinks he is somehow above speaking/writing is a civilized manner.

        In their usual hyper-sensitive way the snowflakes like C. Paul Pierett perform a little tantrum when they are subjected to some of the same.

        Mate, you’re [pruned]. Proven.

      • you’re a prat of the first order.”
        .
        Are you aware that calling people names is hilarious?
        .
        Have you noticed I haven’t engaged in that type of behavior?
        .
        (SNIPPED)

        (You are the one who started this problem with your insulting manners,then you go on and on about what others replied about it.you have posted about 6 times in this thread,ALL of them off topic. Get on the topic!) MOD

      • Sometimes we have no idea what’s going on with people. I once lambasted a judicial candidate in various online forums, for her very bad behavior. I though her behavior was utterly inexcusable, and disqualifying for the office she sought. It turned out she had a brain tumor. Boy oh boy did I feel like a jerk.

      • But, regardless of the tragic brain tumor, was she not incapable of performing as a rational, true-tempered and proper judge if she were traumatized by a brain tumor, a psychopathic personality disorder, a illness or even “no morals” where she was unable to function as a fair “ruler” over other people’s life, money, and freedom?

      • C. Paul Pierett,

        You said, “Someone needs to educate you..” That is equivalent to saying “You are uneducated.” In my book that is an insult that is the same as calling Anthony a “name,” contrary to your claim ” I haven’t engaged in that type of behavior?” You are out of touch with reality.

      • Clyde,

        Yep. You’ve got it. Thanks.

        All the prat C Paul had say was:

        “Anthony, you seem to have the wrong link. Would you mind having another look at it please”.

        Now how much more effective is that?

        Of course, the arrogance of people like C. Paul Pierett is such that they cannot bring themselves to ask. Why? Because they simply insist that they know it all. To ask is beneath them.

        That’s why he’s a prat.

        (Ok, now can everyone get back on topic?) MOD

      • Instead of elaborating on etiquette i would rather like o discuss which physical process might be able to bring air temperature up by releasing 0.1W under several 100 yards of ice?
        Was this a late Halloween prank?

    • Yep, Peer/Pal review appear behind paywalls, where only a couple of people will ever read them.

      Anyone can read and comment on blog posts. Even you could , if you were capable.

  8. How analogous are these two papers, though. If I understand the geothermal heat estimation, they are using a time series of magnetic measurements to spatially map a loss in magnetism over time, to infer a constant heat flux at the respective locations. The Mann paper measures change in temperature over time, so to get a comparison wouldn’t you need to take the acceleration in loss of magnetism and see how that spatially corresponds to Mann’s graph?

    • Actually it is worse than that. You also need to take into account the thermal conductivity of a couple of kilometers of ice. Once you solve the heat diffusion equation with a souce term of milliWatts of heating per square metre to find out how much of that will reach the surface then heat the atmosphere you could attempt to see how much a change in heating at the bottom (10’s of thousands of years ago) would change the temperature today. So any similarities between the two maps are likely to be due to a coincidence.

      • Geranium,
        It is a strong “coincidence,” that in my judgement deserves more than a quick dismissal with hand waving.

      • Good points… and it’s even worse than that, because the surface temps over the Antarctica ice sheets are actually dominated by their elevation, because (duh) it’s a giant miles-high plateau of ice.

  9. melting ice? maybe.
    Air temp changes?
    No.
    Lots of other reasons for air temp changes and dodgy extrapolation

  10. Steig and Mann may have captured surface air temperature trends in the exact same areas that have been identified as geothermal hot spots.

    If Steig and Mann’s PC crock-ola reconstruction didn’t capture any air temperature trends. If their slathered PCs coincided in any way with real hot-spot data outside of the Antarctic Peninsula, it would be purely by accident.

    There was no physics in what Steig and Mann did. Coincidence with a real physical result would be mere happenstance.

    I also remember how arrogant Steig was about his math skills.

  11. I’m wondering if Steig and Mann’s errors were intentional or due to incompetence. Did they choose those measurement sites knowing that there was geothermal activity in the area, or did they just get “lucky”? Seems like a strange coincidence. If it was intentional, seems like a clear case of fraud.

  12. Simple question … what are the world governments going to do about this ?
    A ‘volcano tax’ ?

    After all, coming on the heels of that big erosion in Arizona called the ‘Grand Canyon’ which the EPA let pass ?

    • From the article

      The new study from BAS uses over 50 years of magnetic measurements that were collected from thousands of hours flying over the continent. Warmer rocks lose their magnetic properties, and so the team was able to use the loss of magnetism in certain areas to calculate an estimate of the geothermal heat flux.

      Related to the Curie Point I assume, the Curie Point has been used as a temperature control mechanism in some applications I think.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curie_temperature

  13. As with the most interesting climate findings over the last two decades, sceptics invariably made the discoveries and pushed the data out against a vigorous rear guard action by the “Team”. Natural variability in the form of decadal and multidecadal ENSO, PDO, AMO, solar activity, etc. were pooh poohed as averaging out to zero, even when they appeared to support the lion’s share of the warming during the 20yrs of warming that had caused all the angst.

    The dreaded “Pause” was even predicted as the other half of the 60-70yr cycles of warming and cooling evident in the temperature record. The 1950-79 deep cooling period which preceded the late 20th century warming, had been the topic of scientific concern that a manmade ice age was in the making. This switched to the opposite warming concern from 1980s.

    So embarrassing was this history when CAGW was being touted, that proponents, emulating the Soviet history revision tactics, deliberately photoshopped a Time Mag cover with a phoney ice age cometh theme, and indeed they did trap some people with it, using it to put down the story. Time in fact did have such a report, but in an earlier issue, and Newsweek, too had a cover and major report on the new ice age. Numerous newspapers carried these icy stories throughout the period (It was also a period of expansion of Arctic ice extent and this peak ice was chosen as the datum for measuring the ‘worrisome’ decline in polar ice commensurate with the following period of warming.)

    The pause is now part of mainstream science and the Team has had to come to terms with a clearly more prominent role for natural variability in warming (and cooling). Most warm worriers are young enough to dispute these ‘scurrilous’ fossil fuel funded claims.

    Me, I lived the history and am well into my second big cycle, born in the late 1930s and hearing the tales of family and friends of the continental drought and heatwave still evident in unsurpassed state and province heat records across N America that still stand. Oh I have been expecting the Pause to resume and big cold winters ahead of us and cool summers.

    • I, too, lived through the 60-70 year cycle. I use the cycle and the accident of history
      which saw the weather satellite launched at the depth of the cooling phase to
      explain lying with statistics to my nieces and nephews and grandchildren.

      I explain the “Texas sharpshooter” method of lying with statistics.

  14. “Steig and Mann, despite their failed attempt to use warming in one area of Antarctica to infer warming over the entire continent may have in fact captured an air temperature signature from that heat flux”

    Well, first, none of this data refers to warming. It describes a heat source, but no evidenc e of change over time, and given the depth of the source, short term variation is unlikely. But secondly, the amounts of heat at the surface are minuscule. From the plot, warm spots have about 120 milliwatts/square meter. TSI is about 1364 W/sq m, four orders of magnitude higher. And even if Antarctic gets a tenth of that, that is still three orders of magnitude higher. It’s even tiny relative to GHG forcing at about 2 W/m2. And remember, 2W/m2 is the increase that is causing warming; 120 milliwatts/m2 is the total amount, with no indication of any increase.

    • Does the surface of ice reflect LW CO2 emissions? I don’t think that TSI is at all relevant to the issue since the question is whether the changes previously attributed to CO2 could be partially or completely explained by geothermal heat. So at best the only relevant comparison is the CO2 forcing of 2W/m2, minus whatever is reflected, against the estimated 0.1 W/m2 due to heat from below.

      And even if the 1364 W/m2 were relevant, it refers to the heat flux through a disc at the top of the atmosphere. You first have to cut that in half due to the night/day time average, and then multiply it by the cosine of the angle of incidence of the sun (which in Antarctica will cut it quite considerably), and then subtract out anything reflected. Do all that, and you get it to two or maybe even one order of magnitude.

      I don’t think that the correspondence between the two maps demonstrates per se that geothermal heat is contributing to any measured increase in surface temperatures, but it does certainly raise that possibility. Considering that we really have no idea how accurate the numerical estimates of escaping heat are, I think the map is useful mostly to show relative spatial changes in surface geothermal heat flux; the fact that this map looks a lot like Mann’s does raise some questions. It may well be coincidence, but perhaps not.

      • Kurt,
        “So at best the only relevant comparison is the CO2 forcing of 2W/m2, minus whatever is reflected, against the estimated 0.1 W/m2 due to heat from below.”
        No, because the 2 W/m2 is the increase in forcing due to increase in GHG. The 0.1 W/m2 is the total currently observed heat flux from below. There is no evidence that it has changed at all, but the increase certainly won’t be 0.1.

      • Yeah, I understand that, but I’m not buying the 2W/m2 global average value of CO2 forcing as being representative of absorbed IR radiation over an ice sheet in Antarctica, either. It has to be a lot less than that. And since heat in has to equal heat out for equilibrium, averaged over time, that 0.1 coming in at the bottom has to be what’s coming out at the surface. All I’m saying is that on these facts, you can’t just presume that changes around that 0.1 are “minuscule” in comparison to CO2 forcing, and that the fact that the geothermal hot spots are in the same regions as observed should not just be dismissed as coincidence. .

      • Nick…

        The 2 W/m2 increase is only valid if downwelling longwave radiation (DLR) is also increasing. It is the increased DLR from the CO2 in the atmosphere, that causes the surface warming. And yet no increase in DLR has been detected.

        If there is no increase in DLR, there is no increase in greenhouse warming – pure and simple. So bandying ‘x’ W/m2 figures around is meaningless. Quote the increase in DLR, if you can find any.

        Ralph

    • Nick i think you just forget the very basic physics of water: both as a solid and a liquid.

      Ice just behaves like rocks do so heat that heats up the ice is like heating up a stone. Like this thermal hotspots can heat up the ice in just a few years (i say heat up, not melt).

      what you are bringing up is the time to melt that ice if non was added, that would take thousands of years (putting the antarctic ice mass at the equator would still need 20.000 years time to melt it completely, an estimated 7000 years for the mass of Greenland).

      however to heat up ice from – 30 to – 29 requires WAAAAYYYYYYSSSS less energy then to heat the ice from -0.5 degrees to +0.5 degrees (water)

      Furthermore water is one of the most strange physics exception there is: the colder the ice the more it’s thermal conductivity increases at – 30degrees C it has a conductivity of 2.5, which is a quarter less conductive then stainless steel is (10) that’s still pretty conductive for a rock. What you are saying is what would happen if the ice would be water with a conductivity of only 0.6, which makes it an insulator.

      so it means that any change in the hotspot heat output will make the surface temp of the ice respond ways faster then you think it does just because the ice does conduct that heat pretty well it’s even able to store that heat just like rocks can.

      • You are talking of solid ice: to get to solid ice you have to dig deep in antarctica. The sone and firn you have to dig thur are good insulators. Thus: 01W/m² will not change the temperature of the snow at the suface. to a measurable degree.

  15. “…what we have is 30-50% more accurate than previous studies…”

    If this is true… why not just go to the people who calculate these accuracy percentages and force them to hand over 100% of the accurate data? Torture them if necessary. For science.

  16. “The Antarctic Ice Sheet contains the largest reservoirs of fresh water on our planet – around 70% of the world’s fresh water – and is currently losing ice, which contributes to rising sea levels.”

    Last time I checked, NASA was reporting a net icemass gain for Antarctica, with the central and eastern parts gaining more than the west is losing.

      • What he is saying is you can’t see the change, I think the agreed change estimate from climate scientists is -60Giga tons per year but that scale is in pentatons of total mass … 10E9 vs 10E15. The order of scale is 1 million. So drawn at that scale you get a flat line you need a screen with 1 million pixels vertically to move it one pixel. The only way you can draw that graph to show the change is as a difference at some scale like TeraTons (10E12).

      • Actually it would be 60 pixels at 1million, 6 pixels at 100,000 screen height …. anyhow that should give you scale.

      • Oh if you want the melt time in years it’s 27Pentatons losing 60Gigatons year
        27,000,000 Gigatons / 60 Gigatons = 450,000 years to lose all the ice at that rate.

      • You didn’t answer gymnosperm’s question about who (or how) Antarctic ice mass was measured in the early 1900s before the satellite era? Where did the data for the first half of your graph come from?

      • Who cares it will be the same … hint look at the time scale. 60Gigatons * 100years = 6 Teraton.
        There is 5000 teratons in every one of those grid areas so its about 1/100th of a grid unit.

        You would need to argue the rate has changed by about 1000-10000 fold to make any impact to
        even see it on 100 year time scale.

        If you understood the scale you wouldn’t even ask the question it’s stupid.

      • Oh and I thinbk 60Gigatons is a sea level rise of about 1.6mm from top of my head. So 1000 times that rate would have been a sea level change of 1.6m per year … I think we might have spotted that. You probably wouldn’t given your ability with scales but I definitely would.

      • “I think the agreed change estimate from climate scientists is -60Giga tons per year”

        That figure is pure guesswork. The actual GRACE measurements for Antarctica are not significantly different from zero, so the change is in practice equal to the selected GIA model adjustment. And all GIA models are well known to deviate violently from real measurements in Antarctica, though the models with the least change are also least wrong:

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL049277/full

        The only measurement less affected by GIA problems (Icesat) actually came up with an increase in glacial mass, though that one is affected by other uncertainties, like geographical variations in snow and firn density.

      • I don’t care one way or another it can be zero for all I care. I agree with I assume Andy was showing the number is so massive unless you work in timescales of 500 or 1000 years it isn’t going to move. If you want it to move in shorter timescales you have to talk about sea level rises up or down of around 1-2m a year.

        [“per year” ???? .mod]

      • It’s kind of the same problem as “average total ocean temperature” — to the extent anyone can even claim to know what it actually is, the changes since measurement began are probably on the same order as the measurement error, if not smaller. That’s why some studies say Antarctica is losing mass and others say gaining.

  17. Even without any geothermal signature in the warming data, I was suspicious years ago that using a lot of the actual temperature records for the accessible Antarctic Peninsula and extrapolating that temperature and warming to much of the entire Antartica continent, was folly, or worse. The Antarctic Peninsula, which is at around 65 degrees South and surrounded by open ocean on both sides for much of the year is obviously going to be somewhat warmer than the interior at the South Pole and at a very high elevation. The fact that there is a significant geothermal heat source and numerous volcanoes in the immediate area only adds to the equation, and will defiantly not make things colder.

    This is just the final nail in the coffin for the idea that somehow Antartica is warming as much as they say it has along with the rest of the world. And on top of fudging the ice volume data the last 20+ years for all of Antartica. The wheels are starting to come off the ‘climate gravy train’, one ‘nut’ at a time. Let’s make sure they don’t hijack the cooling trend that is building as some further evidence of success with CO2 mitigation, or that somehow the CO2 is causing the cooling magically all on its own.

  18. From Abstract:

    “Understanding its ice sheet dynamics is crucial to unraveling past global climate change and making robust climatic and sea level predictions.”

    The hideous symantic joke that the two words “Climate Change” are laid bare when like in this paper they use the words “past climate change”.
    Everyone who wants to trough feed on the climate gravy uses their own, self-serving definition of climate change.

    • The point is “past CC” apparently only happened when pCO2 was at some magical cinstant (barely life sustaining) level. But now CC only occurs because that trace gas has risen from 3 parts per 10,000 to 4 parts per 10,000.

  19. A volcano eruption below a glacier might melt (part of) the glacier quite quickly from below. As is shown in the Andes, Ecuador, by the Cotopaxi volcano.

    Wikipedia:
    “Cotopaxi’s most violent eruptions in historical times occurred in the years 1742, 1744, 1768, and 1877. The 1744 and 1768 events destroyed the colonial town of Latacunga. In the 26 June 1877 eruption, pyroclastic flows descended all sides of the mountain melting the entire ice cap, with lahars traveling more than 100 km into the Pacific Ocean and western Amazon basin draining the valley.[2] The city of Latacunga was again leveled completely due to the mudslide deposits. “
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotopaxi

    WR: A sub-glacier eruption will melt huge quantities of ice, possibly over a longer period. The volcano might be a non-explosive one like on Hawaii. The fresh and relatively warm water will find its way to the sea where it – because of its freshness and temperature – will float on saltier and colder water. It will melt floating ice from below.

  20. Reading this article prompted a few questions I don’t know enough to answer:

    The red dots on the second map of Antarctica show the volcanoes are all pretty much near the coast of West Antarctica. Are all the volcanoes really near the coast, or does their method have difficulties detecting inland volcanoes where the ice is thicker? It just seems odd that they cover such a wide area but only near coastal regions.

    “What we know is that over time, the heat flow into the ice is quite constant and so the ice sheet adjusts to it.”
    — Professor David Vaughan

    How do they know the heat flow is constant? Have they been measuring the heat flow long enough to determine that? And how does an ice sheet “adjust” to the heat flow? Can an inanimate object like ice change its melting point or adapt to its environment?

    Past articles on West Antarctica expressed concerns that global warming would cause melt water to flow underneath the ice sheets, lubricate the bottom of the ice, and cause them to slide out to sea at an alarming rate. (Everything happens at an “alarming” rate when it comes to climate change.) But wouldn’t volcanic activity be more likely to create this problem by causing melt water to puddle underneath the ice sheets where they contact the heated ground?

    • “It just seems odd that they cover such a wide area but only near coastal regions. ”

      It’s the southern rim of the Ring of Fire, so it makes sense that they occur in a coastal band like virtually everywhere else in the Pacific.

  21. better reproduced than in PREVIOUS models, between 36% and 50%.

    Capitols add be me.
    Why are we using always “relative” instead of “absolute” numbers?
    The Ice melt at 0°C or at variations of, says, -2°C?
    36 to 50% of PREVIOUS has same significance than say: “I don’t see you from the last time we met!”
    If the previous model was 1% accurate, the new one is 1,36 to 1,50% accurate.
    And if the previous model was 90% accurate, the new one is 122,4 to 135,0% accurate. More accurate then the reality!
    I beg your pardon for my bad English.

  22. Basically geothermal heat flux can, and probably does, affect glacier dynamics since warm-based glaciers move much faster and have shallower profiles than cold-based. However it is much too small (<<1 Wm^-2) to affect air temperatures above the ice (well, possibly just a little bit in deep winter and with no wind).
    However the West Antarctic “warming” is probably mythical in any case. The Wikipedia quote is significant in this regard:

    “In early 2013, David Bromwich, a professor of polar meteorology at Ohio State University, and a team including Antarctic weather station experts from the University of Wisconsin, published a paper in Nature Geoscience showing that the warming in central West Antarctica was unambiguous—and likely about twice the magnitude estimated by Steig et al. The key to Bromwich et al.’s work was the correction for errors in the temperature sensors used in various incarnations of the Byrd Station record (the only long record in this part of Antarctica); miscalibration had previously caused the magnitude of the 1990s warmth to be underestimated, and the magnitude of the 2000s to be overestimated.”

    The Bromwich paper is a classic case of one-sided “adjustment” to get the result you want. They found a temperature sensor error that caused a cold bias, though mostly in summer. However they did not correct for another well-known (and much larger, up to >10 degrees C) warm summer bias for this kind of unventilated sensor due to solar heating:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00095.1#

    Bromwich et al argued that this was unnecessary because West Antarctica is windier and cloudier than East Antarctica. However one wonders in this case why they didn’t adopt the simple remedy recommended in the paper above and discard summer data where the wind was less than 6 ms^-1. The answer is that Byrd station isn’t that windy in summer. The average wind is actually about 6 ms^-1, suggesting that something like half the summer measurements are warm-biased. The argument about cloudiness is also weak since the effect is significant down to a solar irradiation of about 200 Wm^-2, i. e. less than 25% of full summer irradiation in Antarctica.

    • Solar heating doesn’t cause a warming bias (as opposed to warm bias), unless the temperature sensors and shields are replaced with new equipment that is more sensitive to solar heating.
      However, the technical development usually leads to instruments that are less sensitive to spurious solar heating, which uncorrected would result in a cooling bias when instruments are updated.
      This applies to both temperature sensors on the ground and radiosondes carried aloft by weather balloons, and is the simple explanation why homogenization of temperature data commonly leads to increased temperature trends

      • And by the way your touching faith that new sensors are always better than older ones is not supported by experience, e. g. the ASOS debacle.

    • It does in this case. Byrd was previously a manned station, that was abandoned and replaced by an automatic (biased) station.

  23. Anyone with a lick of sense would know that when you have a massive heat source lying beneath part of a massive ice sheet, that part is going to be warmer. Once these facts became known, this was obvious to anyone who has a basic grasp of reality. That might be proven to be false by scientific testing at some point, but IMO it’s the ultimate in stupidity to not begin from what we know (make an assumption), and then try to disprove it, rather than assuming we can’t know anything until we do a study.

  24. Has anyone bothered to make a comprehensive survey of offshore water temps surrounding Antarctica?

  25. In the figure from Bingham et al.; is New Zealand being used as a scale or is has it slide further south in the last year or so? Perhaps a map projection issue? Looks wrong

  26. The bottom line is this raises more questions about what is claimed to be “settled” science, as the above debate simply confirms. Combine the facts that much of the world is covered in water and that we understand more about the moon than the oceans and I can’t see how any scientist can claim things are “settled” at all. We’re now in a ridiculous situation where any new data, such as this, is being forced to fit with what climate ‘scientists’ want people to believe.

    Any claim to proper scientific method went out of the window a long time ago where climate science is concerned. Stuff such as this just confirms it.

  27. Interesting, but these geothermal hot spots have nothing to do with Antarctic air temps 3-4km of ice above them. Steig was just wrong, it’s entirely coincidental.

    • Maybe not. The net heat-flow is nearly always upwards through an icecap so a slightly warmer bottom will possibly result in a very slightly warmer surface as well, though the effect will certainly be very small. Though more likely the additional heat will go into melting ice and a larger subglacial water flow.

      • My thoughts also.
        Melting ice should warm the sea leading to volcanic heat rising to the surface warming the atmosphere.
        The mechanism would be convective, not conductive through the insulator, ice.

    • “but these geothermal hot spots have nothing to do with Antarctic air temps 3-4km of ice above them. ”

      Don’t let the red crayon fool you…..it’s still freezing

    • There isn’t 3-4 km of ice over those hotspots. Avg ice depth in western Antarctica is only about 1 km. 3-4 km ice depth is in the eastern part. The hottest of those hot spots is where the glaciers are melting.

  28. ” … and is currently losing ice, which contributes to rising sea levels.”

    Seems like the requisite homage to CAGW so they could get funding.

    But like so much of the BS, it’s completely wrong. The only ice that Antarctica is loosing is calving glaciers which are already floating on the oceans and will not change sea levels. Anyone who thinks that an ice sheet cantilevered miles and miles from the edge of the continent is not floating isn’t really thinking.

    • ” The only ice that Antarctica is loosing is calving glaciers”

      And what was formerly floating in the Weddell polyna, but has now melted to liquid.

  29. It looks like a red state – blue state map issue by dolt journalists. Or maybe all the Antarctic coal plants are on one side of the continent.

    • No, but East Antarctica and West Antarctica are very different geologically. East Antarctica is an old Precambrian shield with minimal volcanic activity, very similar to Australia (which was originally part of East Antarctica).

      West Antarctica is much younger, and is tectonically quite active with a very large rift valley and lots of flanking volcanos. The Red Sea area and the East African rift is probably the best analog.

  30. What sort of positional control was used for the older aeromag data? And overall what do the areomag flight tracks look like? Maybe a little positional slop built into the rest of this ‘paper’?

    To quote Click and Clack “Doesn’t anyone ever screen these calls?”

  31. “currently losing ice, which contributes to rising sea levels.”
    Latest NASA study says Antarctica has been gaining ice for years.

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