Dueling science: One study says melting Antarctic ice sheet will flood US east coast, others say ‘uncertain’

From the “you really should get your stories straight” department.

OK, here is press release #1 from the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA (USF HEALTH)

Melting of east Antarctic ice sheet could cripple major US cities

TAMPA, Fla (December 13, 2017)- The world’s largest ice sheet may be less stable than previously thought, posing an even greater threat to Florida’s coastline.

The first ever marine geologic survey of East Antarctica’s Sabrina Coast, published this week in Nature, concludes that some regions of the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet have been sensitive to climate change for millions of years. Much like the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, this region of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is grounded below sea level and local glaciers are experiencing ice mass loss due to ocean warming.

“Antarctica may seem far away from Florida, but all Floridians should care about what is happening in Antarctica,” said co-lead author Dr. Amelia Shevenell, Associate Professor, University of South Florida, Tampa. “As ice melts, global sea levels rise. Most of Florida is at or several feet above sea level. We are already seeing the effects of rising seas caused by melting ice sheets and ocean warming. There is enough ice in our study region alone to raise global sea level by as much as 15 feet. This, in isolation, would be catastrophic to Florida.”

Dr. Shevenell, co-author Sean Gulick, PhD, Research Professor, University of Texas at Austin, and their collaborators used marine seismic technology and ocean sediments to reconstruct the evolution of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Sabrina Coast region over the past 50 million years. Their research found that during past warm climates, when atmospheric temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations were similar to or slightly higher than today, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet was much wetter and more unstable than it has been in the more recent past, when global climates were generally cooler.

“Today, a majority of Antarctica’s ice mass loss occurs when warm ocean waters melt ice shelves and glaciers from below. Our records of surface-meltwater production during past warm climates indicate that in the future, Antarctica will also experience ice melt from above, as air temperatures warm and carbon dioxide increases,” said Dr. Shevenell. “Thus, we might expect regional glaciers to become more unstable as atmosphere and ocean temperatures warm. This observation suggests that existing climate and ice sheet models likely underestimate East Antarctica’s contribution to global sea level rise.”

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And, here is press release #2 from the UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AT AMHERST

Instability of antarctic ice makes projecting future sea-level rise difficult

UMass Amherst, Rutgers climate scientists say it will take time for events to unfold

AMHERST, Mass. – Authors of a new study that combine a well-established sea-level rise projection framework plus a model of Antarctic ice-sheet instability suggest in a paper released today that scientists won’t be able to determine until the 2060s which of two different sea-level rise scenarios is most likely to occur.

Coastal communities should therefore have flexible contingency plans for a range of outcomes by the year 2100, say lead author Robert Kopp at Rutgers University and co-author Robert DeConto at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The authors say that one of the mechanisms they modeled, marine ice sheet instability, has been studied for decades, but another, marine ice cliff instability, has only recently been considered as an important contributor to future sea level change.

They point out that based on measuring large-scale phenomena like global sea level and Antarctic mass changes, it is not yet clear which of two scenarios will eventually unfold. The authors believe their study, which appears today in the journal Earth’s Future, is the first to link global and local sea-level rise projections with simulations of two major mechanisms by which climate change can affect the vast Antarctic ice sheet.

DeConto, who with David Pollard at Penn State developed the ice sheet computer model used in the study, says, “The widespread loss of Antarctic ice shelves, driven by a warming ocean or warming atmosphere, could spell disaster for our coastlines, and there is sound geological evidence that supports what the models are telling us.”

It’s possible, they add, that a process called hydrofracturing, which may have helped to break up the Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula in 2002, could leave much of the Antarctic coast with 300-foot cliffs of ice exposed to the open ocean and subject to collapse. The interaction between hydrofracturing and ice-cliff collapse could drive global sea level much higher than projected in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 2013 assessment report and in a 2014 study led by Kopp.

DeConto says, “We’re making progress, but we still don’t know exactly when these processes might kick in, and how fast sea level might rise if they do. The ice shelves are the key. They hold back the flow of Antarctic ice toward the ocean, so we don’t want to lose them. The problem is, they don’t last very long when they are sitting in warm water or if they are covered with summer meltwater, so keeping global temperatures in check is critical.”

The Earth faces a range of possible outcomes with climate change. At the less severe end, 2 feet of global-average sea-level rise by 2100 would submerge land that’s currently home to about 100 million people. Toward the high end, 6 feet of rise would swamp the current homes of more than 150 million. Either scenario would have drastic effects in New England and on other coastal states.

Kopp says, “There’s a lot of ambiguity in post-2050 projections of sea-level rise and we may have to live with that for a while. We could end up with 8 feet of sea level-rise in 2100, but we’re not likely to have clear evidence for that by 2050.”

He and DeConto say that lower sea-level rise would be much more likely if the world meets the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions in the next 50 years, the study shows. They also say cientists may also become able to distinguish between different scenarios sooner by studying the physics of local ice-sheet changes and refining reconstructions of changes during warm periods in geological history.

Kopp notes, “You should plan for 2050, while also considering what options to follow under more extreme scenarios after 2050. If we end up in a world with 2 or 2.5 meters (6.6 to 8 feet) of global sea level rise in 2100, that’s a lot to adapt to. That necessitates taking a flexible approach, where possible: building for the half foot to 1.3 feet of sea-level rise that are likely by 2050, while plotting out options that will depend on what we learn in the next few decades and how sea level rises beyond that.”

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Gosh, who to believe?

Oh, wait, here’s another one out today, from RUTGERS UNIVERSITY

Sea-level rise projections made hazy by Antarctic instability

Scientists should have a much better understanding in a few decades how high the sea level could rise, Rutgers-led study says

It may take until the 2060s to know how much the sea level will rise by the end of this century, according to a new Rutgers University-New Brunswick-led analysis. The study is the first to link global and local sea-level rise projections with simulations of two major mechanisms by which climate change can affect the vast Antarctic ice sheet.

The Earth faces a broad range of possible outcomes with climate change. At the less severe end, 2 feet of global-average sea-level rise by 2100 would submerge land that’s currently home to about 100 million people. Toward the high end, 6 feet of rise would swamp the current homes of more than 150 million. Either scenario would have drastic impacts in New Jersey and other coastal states.

But the study, published today in Earth’s Future, finds that scientists won’t be able to determine, based on measurements of large-scale phenomena like global sea level and Antarctic mass changes, which scenario the planet faces until the 2060s. So coastal communities should have flexible contingency plans for a broad range of outcomes by 2100 and beyond, the study concludes.

“There’s a lot of ambiguity in post-2050 projections of sea-level rise and we may have to live with that for a while,” said Robert E. Kopp, the study’s lead author and a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers. “We could end up with 8 feet of sea level-rise in 2100, but we’re not likely to have clear evidence for that by 2050.”

The world can make lower sea-level rise outcomes much more likely by meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of bringing net greenhouse gas emissions to zero in the second half of this century, the study shows. Scientists may also become able to distinguish between different scenarios sooner by studying the physics of local ice-sheet changes and refining reconstructions of changes during warm periods in geological history.

Sea-level rise poses a potentially existential risk to Earth’s low-lying cities and coastal areas, so any projected increase needs to be taken seriously by planners, environmental officials, property owners and others, said Kopp, director of Rutgers’ Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. In addition to permanently submerging coastal land, sea-level rise will make the flood damage from hurricanes and nor’easters worse in the future, he said.

“You should plan for 2050, while also considering what options to follow under more extreme scenarios after 2050,” said Kopp, who also co-directs Rutgers’ Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience (C2R2) initiative.

This study combines a well-established sea-level rise projection framework with an Antarctic ice sheet model that simulates two pathways that can lead to ice-sheet instability. The first of these pathways, marine ice sheet instability, has been studied for decades, but the second, marine ice cliff instability, has only recently been considered as an important contributor to future sea level change.

Might a process called “hydrofracturing,” implicated in the 2002 breakup of the Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, leave broad swaths of the Antarctic coast with 300-foot tall cliffs of ice exposed to the open ocean and subject to collapse under their own weight? If so, the interaction between hydrofracturing and ice-cliff collapse could drive global sea level much higher than projected in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 2013 assessment report and in a 2014 study led by Kopp.

“The widespread loss of Antarctic ice shelves, driven by a warming ocean or warming atmosphere, could spell disaster for our coastlines – and there is sound geological evidence that supports what the models are telling us,” said Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a co-author of the study and one of the developers of the ice-sheet model used.

“We’re making progress, but we still don’t know exactly when these processes might kick in, and how fast sea level might rise if they do. The ice shelves are the key. They hold back the flow of Antarctic ice toward the ocean, so we don’t want to lose them. The problem is, they don’t last very long when they are sitting in warm water or if they are covered with summer meltwater, so keeping global temperatures in check is critical,” DeConto added.

“Our previous study, like the IPCC, found that global sea-level rise in a high-emissions future would likely be between 2 and 3.5 feet by 2100. Linking in the physical model with marine ice-cliff instability raises that range to 4 to 7 feet,” Kopp said. “By contrast, marine ice-cliff instability doesn’t have much effect if we meet the Paris Agreement emissions goal. That keeps the likely global rise to about 1 to 3 feet.”

“If we end up in a world with 2 or 2.5 meters (6.6 to 8 feet) of global sea level rise in 2100, that’s a lot to adapt to,” Kopp added. “That necessitates taking a flexible approach, where possible: building for the half foot to 1.3 feet of sea-level rise that are likely by 2050, while plotting out options that will depend on what we learn in the next few decades and how sea level rises beyond that.”

Kopp is also a co-author of another study, led by Tufts University researcher Klaus Bittermann and published today in Environmental Research Letters, assessing the sea-level rise benefits of achieving the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature target rather than its headline 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) target. That study found that a 1.5 degrees Celsius world would reach a peak rate of sea-level rise about 0.7 inches per decade less than in a 2 degrees Celsius world – a potentially life-saving reduction for some vulnerable coastal ecosystems.

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But wait, there’s MORE!

From the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

East Antarctic Ice Sheet has history of instability

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet locks away enough water to raise sea level an estimated 53 meters (174 feet), more than any other ice sheet on the planet. It’s also thought to be among the most stable, not gaining or losing mass even as ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland shrink.

The researchers conducted the first-ever oceanographic survey of East Antarctica’s Sabrina Coast. The glaciers in this region may be particularly susceptible to climate change because they flow from the Aurora Basin, a region of East Antarctica that mostly lies below sea level.CREDIT The Jackson School of Geosciences/The University of Texas at Austin

New research published on Dec. 14 in Nature and led by The University of Texas at Austin and the University of South Florida found that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet may not be as stable as it seems. In fact, the ice sheet has a long history of expanding and shrinking — a finding that indicates the ice sheet may contribute substantially to global sea level rise as Earth’s climate warms. The new results came from geophysical and geological data collected during the first-ever oceanographic survey of East Antarctica’s Sabrina Coast. The glaciers in this region may be particularly susceptible to climate change because they flow from the Aurora Basin, a region of East Antarctica that mostly lies below sea level.

Co-lead author Sean Gulick, a research professor at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) and the UT Department of Geological Sciences (DGS), said the study found that glaciers from the Aurora Basin have been stable only for the past few million years.

“It turns out that for much of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet’s history, it was not the commonly perceived large stable ice sheet with only minor changes in size over millions of years,” he said. “Rather, we have evidence for a very dynamic ice sheet that grew and shrank significantly between glacial and interglacial periods. There were also often long intervals of open water along the Sabrina Coast, with limited glacial influence.”

UTIG and DGS are units of the UT Jackson School of Geosciences.

Collaborators include researchers at Louisiana State University, the University of Southampton, Florida State University and Colgate University.

Using marine seismic technology deployed from an icebreaker, researchers were able to reconstruct how glaciers on the Sabrina Coast have advanced and retreated during the past 50 million years. The team also took core samples of mud from 1 to 2 meters below the seafloor and analyzed ancient pollen to determine the age of the samples. The analysis was conducted at Louisiana State University’s Center for Excellence in Palynology.

The Sabrina Coast, and nearby Aurora Basin, are particularly important because regional glaciers are presently thinning and retreating as nearby ocean waters warm. If the ice sheet in the Aurora Basin melted, global sea levels would rise more than 3-5 meters (10-15 feet).

According to the team’s data, ice advanced from the Aurora Basin and retreated back again at least 11 times during the first 20 million years of the ice sheet’s history. Researchers also found that the young ice sheet was much wetter than it is today, with meltwater from the surface flowing into a network of channels beneath the ice. These channels were eroded into the rock below the ice, leaving distinctive formations known as “tunnel valleys.” This dynamic time for East Antarctic glaciers occurred when atmospheric temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels were similar to or higher than present day.

“We shouldn’t view this as one ice sheet that suddenly grew to its present size, but rather one that was a transient ice sheet that expanded every couple million years or so,” Gulick said.

Around 6 million years ago, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet expanded, stabilized and ceased producing large volumes of meltwater. However, as climate change raises global air temperatures, it is possible that East Antarctic glaciers could start melting, a change that could make the ice sheet shift back into unstable territory.

The warm ocean water presently melting Totten Glacier — East Antarctica’s largest glacier, which flows from the Aurora Basin — could be an early warning sign, said co-lead author Amelia Shevenell, an associate professor in the University of South Florida College of Marine Science.

“A lot of what we are seeing right now in the coastal regions is that warming ocean waters are melting Antarctica’s glaciers and ice shelves, but this process may just be the beginning,” Shevenell said. “Once you have that combination of ocean heat and atmospheric heat — which are related — that’s when the ice sheet could really experience dramatic ice mass loss.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) manages the United States Antarctic Program and provided the funding and logistical support that made field research to the Sabrina Coast possible.

“The past behavior and dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheets are among the most important open questions in the scientific understanding of how the polar regions help to regulate global climate,” said Jennifer Burns, director of the NSF Antarctic Integrated Science System Program. “This research provides an important piece to help solve that massive puzzle.”

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All of these press releases appeared within a couple of hours of each other on EurekAlert, which is a Science PR clearing house. They will all inevitably get turned into stories by the media. Who could blame the public for being confused when we have such certainty/uncertainty battles like this going on in climate science?

It seems Yogi Berra was right.

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

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Steve Case

Melting of east Antarctic ice sheet blah… blah… blah… blah…

Isn’t Antarctica below freezing nearly everywhere nearly all the time?

george e. smith

Actually when floating sea ice melts, it melts from below (9/10 or 10/11 is underwater) so the latent heat (80 cal/gm) required comes from the surrounding ocean, which cools an astronomical amount of sea water, so the sea level goes down; NOT up ! And don’t give me that 4 deg. C maximum density thing; I said sea ice, as in salt water oceans.

I have an interesting experiment for anybody who believes that it is air temperatures that melts floating ice rather than sea Temperatures. It’s called “The go and jump in the lake !” experiment.

G

Bryan A

Oh, wait, here’s another one out today, from RUTGERS UNIVERSITY

Sea-level rise projections made hazy by Antarctic instability
Scientists should have a much better understanding in a few decades how high the sea level could rise, Rutgers-led study says

It may take until the 2060s to know how much the sea level will rise by the end of this century, according to a new Rutgers University-New Brunswick-led analysis.

By 2060 they can prove that there has been an increase of 5″ of sea level rise and predictione might stiill be dire. But they will only truly know how much the sea level will rise by 2100 in the year 2100

Steve Case

That’s right once the ice slides or calves into the sea it finally melts. The quote I used implied that the East Antarctic ice sheet is melting. It’s not. When it finally becomes an ice berg then it melts. News stories lead people to believe that CO2 has warmed up Antarctica to the point that its ice cap is melting, and that’s B.S.

Some reports say Antarctica is losing ice some say the ice is gaining. I really have no way of knowing which reports are true or whether it varies from decade to decade. But I do know that when we are told that Antarctica is melting that I’m being fed good old fashioned garden variety 100% gold plated B.S.

george e. smith

Actually when floating sea ice melts, it melts from below (9/10 or 10/11 is underwater) so the latent heat (80 cal/gm) required comes from the surrounding ocean, which cools an astronomical amount of sea water, so the sea level goes down; NOT up !

This will be one of the few times I disagree with you. Antarctic sea ice melts from the “bottom up” as you phrase it. There is little melt water on top of the 1.5 to 2 meters of sea ice over the large 16-18 Mkm^2 sea ice. And, almost all of that sea ice around the 14 Mkm^2 Antarctic land mass is first year sea ice – very flat, very smooth (compared to the Arctic sea ice ridges) and usually covered with new snow. As a result the Antarctic sea ice has a very high albedo all year round: 0.83 to 0.85 in the fall, winter, and spring, and dropping only down to 0.75 in the short melting season of O-N-D-J-F.

HOWEVER, Arctic sea ice DOES melt from the “top down” though, and DOES have wide areas of trapped fresh water on top of the sea ice (and thus no or little fresh snow on the top of the sea ice.) Arctic sea ice is generally rougher with many thousand more leads and more frequent breakup and shifting of the sea ice. Over the small area around her ice breaker, J CUrry reported that 19 out of 20 science experiment tents and instrument packages had to be moved over a period of just 13 months during the 1997-1998 SHEBA ice research do to ice breakup underneath the packages! Arctic sea ice albedo is also covered by seasonal dust (Siberia and Manchuria and China and Kamchatka Peninsula, less from Alaska due to wind prevailing directions) and by dirt and pollution from China. So, area-wide Arctic sea ice albedos ARE LOWER in the Arctic: dropping from 0.83 in April to 0.42 inJuly, then going back up towards 0.83 in Sept-Oct.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

I tried your experiment once when I accidentally fell through the ice surface of a pond, fortunately only up to my waist because the ice held where my arms stretched out. It was really unpleasant and I can personally vouch that it was a lot colder under water than in the air. In fact I literally couldn’t grab a breath for some moments because of the cold shock. Not recommended.

george e. smith

I usually never read past the point where somebody mentions the “albedo” of ice (any ice).

Albedo is a single number for the fraction of incident radiant energy that is reflected by any planet. For the earth it is pretty much 0.35 all year round.

Sea ice doesn’t have an albedo; it does have a reflection coefficient, which is a function of wavelength. Fresh snow has a diffuse reflectance of about 80-85% for solar spectrum radiation. Outside of the polar regions, new snow only keeps that reflectance for about 72hours, during which time the surface melts and refreezes, forming a transparent optical surface that transmits incident radiation inside the snow where it is trapped by TIR. After that the snow doesn’t have much more diffuse reflectance than green grass. (you can find all the numbers on this in “The Infra-Red Handbook.” published by ERIM.

And frozen sea ice, whether Arctic or Antarctic is rather fresh water ice, but it will contain pockets of brine. The mineral salts and the dissolved gases (CO2 etc) are (almost) all excluded from the solid phase by the segregation coefficient for each species.
So all floating ice is much less dense than the surrounding sea water, so there is far more surface area under the water than there is above and water conducts heat very much faster than does air.

So perhaps you are a candidate for seeing which freezes you faster: standing naked at zero deg. C air temperature alongside a lake with floating chunks of ice in it (no wind); versus jumping in the lake.

Other than that, there is a fundamental reason why there is all of that ice there at both ends of the earth despite the fact that Terra-joules of heat energy is pumped pole-wards, by both ocean currents and winds.

Not much solar radiation reaches those polar surfaces, to even be reflected from ice, so the contribution to the earth’s 0.35 albedo is negligible compared to that contributed by the cloudy tropics.

G

It may take until the 2060s to know how much the sea level will rise by the end of this century,

42 yrs !! so another generation of grant fueled careers followed by a good pension…nice one; where do we sign up

Earthling2

You would think these ‘experts’ would mention that so far, SLR is not accelerating, and it is already 2018. 6 more feet of rising oceans by 2100? These are certainly not experts in anything. Just a bunch of weasel words, like “might”, “may”, or “could”. To think they got a grant to write this drivel.

Marv

“To think they got a grant to write this drivel.”

Writing drivel is how you get the grant.

Lee L

Once I worked for a PhD physicist who, when still in grad school, was advised by his supervisor that his thesis paper contained far too much good material and could easily be broken up into 2 publishable papers at least and with judicious editing, maybe 3. Publish or perish.

John

Someone should remind them that ice sheets are ALREADY in the water and displace MORE space than the water they are made of…thus floating. When they melt, the sea level should actually drop. Maybe a little experiment for them – fill a glass with ice. Top it off right to the brim with water. Watch it melt. See the water level drop.

george e. smith

Doesn’t work John, unless you use SALT water.

G

AleaJactaEst

and don’t forget the isostatic rebound…. effectively the glass gets taller as the ice melts.

Earthling2

That would be true for much of the floating ice in the Arctic John. Maybe not for all of Antarctica, of course. And I believe you are correct in that if satellite laser altimetry were precise enough, and depending on the thickness of the sea ice, the height of the floating ice is going to be up to several Cm higher than similar open ocean water. It would be interesting to hear from an expert on this if it is relevant enough to make any statistical difference in a measurement, in the scheme of things?

kaliforniakook

I think the rationale is that ice supported by land (Antarctica, Greenland) will melt or slide down into the ocean – without the glacier regaining mass from seasonal snowfall. That is the only way it could raise sea levels.

michael hart

But “grounded” ice below sea level is not floating. It will lower sea level when it melts.

The Earth faces a broad range of possible outcomes with climate change. At the less severe end, 2 feet of global-average sea-level rise by 2100 would . . .

“At the less severe end, 2 feet . .?

How about, at the less severe end, another 7 inches – or, just about the same as the previous 100 years, and civilization will deal with it just as they did over the past 100 years.

george e. smith

Sea level may change by more than two feet twice a day in most places. Doesn’t seem to cause much problem unless you put something on the land that is exposed when it goes down twice a day.
If you build a city underwater like the French did, it is going to get wet.

G

Tom Halla

6.5 inches,166 mm at 2 mm rise per year. If the rate is really rising, and not just a satellite instrument problem, it hasn’t shown up yet.

“…stable only for the past few million years.” Works for me. For a minute, I was worried. See similar BS about East Antarctic’s Totten glacier in my guest post at Climate Etc.

TonyL

I bothered to check. Very often, a graph of SLR from the end of the last ice age to the present is shown here at WUWT. The steepest part of the graph is labeled Meltwater Pulse 1A. This corresponds to the time when the huge ice sheets all over North America, Scandinavia, Europe were melting and collapsing. In addition, Lake Agassiz was pouring into the Atlantic in a huge cataclysmic event.
Throughout it all, SLR was 8.5 feet per century.

All these papers are claiming a possible SLR of 10, 15, or 20 ft. of rise by 2100.
Simply Not Possible!
The Antarctic ice sheets are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Doug

Anybody who owns ocean front property?

I am interested in buying your soon to be underwater property for a $1 a foot.

Mohatdebos

I was going to post something similar. Is anyone aware of ocean front property that is declining in value because of concerns associated with rising sea levels. I am looking for such property, especially if it is in a warm weather location. I wonder if Al Gore would sell me his ocean front property.

AndyG55

“Anybody who owns ocean front property?”

Di Crapio, Big Al.G. The flim-flam man etc etc.

Bruce Cobb

“Antarctica may seem far away from Florida, but all Floridians should care about what is happening in Antarctica,” said co-lead author Dr. Amelia Shevenell, Associate Professor, University of South Florida, Tampa. “As ice melts, global sea levels rise.”

No duh. This sounds like the type of “science” one might find in grade school. When snow melts, streams and rivers rise. And now let’s talk about Wally the Beaver.
The usual drivel, ginned up to make it look like there is a planetary emergency, caused by our evil CO2.
What has happened to science?

Gabro

Science is being held hostage by trough-feeding bureaucrats and rent-seeking academic drones, parasitic vermin upon toiling humanity.

Look for your answers, but do not trust to science. It has forsaken these lands.

scraft1

The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission took an approach in 2012 similar to these papers when asked to estimate sea level rise by 2100. There initial view was to bake in the one meter rise projected by the IPCC. But business and real estate interests complained, and the CRC then agreed to the regime of projecting to 2050 an extension of existing slr, and revisiting the issue then to see if any acceleration had occurred by then.

This seemed like a reasonable position, though it angered denialists who wanted to plan for zero acceleration and alarmists who argued for baking in the 3 feet. But at least planners now don’t have to assume the worst when adjusting things like ocean setback rules. The press, of course, mangled the reporting of the CRC finding, calling NC “the state that rejected climate change science”.

It’s encouraging to me that science papers have embraced this approach, thus recognizing the inherent uncertainty in projecting slr even when accepting the IPCC’s temperature projections for 2100. Science is showing some unexpected humility in backing off the armageddon scenario that’s been so popular.

joelobryan

The researchers who write this “accelerated rising seas potential” pulp fiction have to fill their manuscript discussions and conclusions with lots of “may’s”, “could’s”, and even more conditionals “if’s” to get past any level of critical review.

So much of pop science climate change theory about focuses on melting ice, that the climateers ignore ice creation by heat moving through the climate system, doing work along the way. That “work” is the delivery of precipitation to the polar regions. East Antarctica is a 1-3 mile high sheet of fresh water, a surface that is constantly ablated away by sublimation. That kinetic loss by sublimation means it is precipitation rates delivery that govern Antarctic ice sheet steady state thickness over the millions of years of the Antarctic’s ice sheet stability

And if you want to believe the climate change story, then with its marginally less cold waters around the Southern Ocean, the sea surface evaporation rates must increase (of note: the GCMs have to parameterize these convection and precip processes, so anything they might “find” for Antarctica is nothing but subjective bias.).
And where will this additional water vapor precipitate-out in the most quantity?
The answer of course is that as this marine air hits the extremely cold air mass over the continent, it will add to the glaciers and interior.
And if the tropics and mid-latitudes warm under a GHE, then the additional heat flux through the climate system means more work can be done at the Earths radiators, that is enhanced precipitation at the poles. At the North Pole, this just falls on sea ice, that in the summer much will return back to the oceans. But in Anarctica, the situation is completely the opposite. Water is sequestered from the oceans. And most of Antartica’s ice loss is through sublimation, not glacier calving to the oceans. Sublimation is always happening even at -60 C. Antartica’s ice mass balance is very likely more governed by ice additions (via precipitation) than the steady losses due to sublimation.

The extremely cold catabatic winds at the surface means the over-riding, replacing air is marine air laden with moisture. So their beloved climate change boogeyman will push the moisture content up in that air and higher precipitation over the Antarctic interior must occur. This will inevitably produce more, not less ice accumulation into the always freezing East Antarctic surfaces. In other words, in a warmer world, Antarctica’s surface mass balance will increase. The high stability of the deeply cold East Antarctic glaciers and interior means this water is sequestered from the oceans for a long, long time.

Streetcred

We should have a “Believability Check” based upon the number of times “if”, “could”, “may”, and like word appear in a manuscript.

It’s like reading dueling screenplays for the next mega- disaster film. Now, the challenge is to decide on the cast.

Robber

All Floridians who believe in this doom and gloom scenario should be asked to contribute to the building of a wall to keep the sea out.

george e. smith

High sea walls become deep swimming pools. Hurricanes might go up to 45,000 feet.

Forget sea walls.

G

joelobryan

(hate it when I make a long, detailed post and the SPAM filter apparently stops it.)

[Recovered, .mod]

george e. smith

IZZISS the “sorry your comment could not be posted.” filter ??

G

Richard Ilfeld

I live in Florida. Tampa. On the water. Main floor is 13.4 ft above MSL. Per code — which seems to have already adapted. USF in Tampa…. studying Antarctica. Who Knew? Who Paid? Why? Bizarre!

Once again, those looking into the futrue are assuming zero changes in energy technology , both in its generation and its consumption. That is their greatest blunder. According to that kind of logic, we should all still be travelling in horsedrawn carriages.

Rhoda R

They are also assuming that the only change in climate will be warming.

tty

The weird thing is that the supposedly more “alarmist” paper in Nature is actually nothing of the kind.

To sum up:

There were already major tidewater glaciers in the Aurora Basin even during the extreme warmth of early-middle Eocene. This is new information, and somewhat surprising. This is the first certain indication of major glaciation in East Antarctica at this time.

The ice expanded and reached the shelf-edge for the first time during the Oi-1 glaciation in the Early Oligocene. Nothing new there.

The ice oscillated during the Oligocene-Miocene. There was at least 11 such oscillations when the ice retreated from the shelf area. The ice was warm-based and dynamic during some, but apparently not all, of these oscillation. This has been known qualitatively, but the number of oscillations is new information.

The ice became stable and permanent at the coast-line in the Late Miocene. This is new information. Studies in the Dry Valleys of Victoria Land show that stable extreme arctic conditions has prevailed there since the Middle Miocene. Apparently this occurred rather later in the Aurora Basin. This is rather surprising since d18O does not indicate any increase in ice volume at this time.

The ice in the Aurora Basin did not react strongly to the “Pliocene Warm Period”. This is new data and important, since there has been a lot of wild speculation that the entire Aurora Basin deglaciated at this time.

So, in short, the ice in the Aurora basin, the only conceivably unstable part of the EAIS is older, and has on the whole been more stable than has been claimed up to now.

Of course there is the usual mumbo-jumbo about future sea-level rise, but this is of course compulsory for being published in Nature, and is not supported by the actual data in the paper.

Gabro

Excellent summary of the salient findings re this relatively unstudied stretch of EAIS coast.

tty

A slight correction. I didn’t read carefully enough. The Late Miocene is the minimum age for icecap stabilization. They did not recover any core from the underlying layers, so the actual age is uncertain, it might be Middle Miocene like in the Transantarctic Mountains..

Duane

So the east Antarctic ice sheet has been stable for about 6 million years .. which happens to be more than twice the duration of the Pleistocene during which a couple dozen planetary glaciations and interglacial periods have occurred, all while that ice sheet has been “stable”.

So what is going on now that is supposedly far more radical a climate change than 2.5 million years of repeated glacial cycles, and that consequently will somehow “destabilize” the east Antarctic ice sheet?

Their logic is non-existent. If these were freshmen geoscience students I’d fail them all for stupidity.

Gabro

And 6 Ma was a lot warmer than now.

gunsmithkat

I simply disregard any prediction these days that includes the words “may be”.

You all wait a few decades and then see what happens. I’ll be gone. Cheers.

Gary Pearse.

Look, just so you know, a little proxy study that looks into what happened 50 million years ago on a little bay in Antarctica showing the East Antarctica ice sheet is more vulnerable than we thought and therefore we could have 8 feet of SLR by 2100 is what’s wrong when we stop teaching logic and how to think in our schools.

First, your finding that it was unstable 50mybp should have caused all our panic to be brought to bear over 49milliin years ago rather than waiting 50my+83yrs. Do you follow my thinking on this?

Second, ice shelves are a wafer of the big glacier your talking about and while glaciers are moving outwards,.more snow (hint this is water from the ocean) is falling in the interior, fattening the source ice. This is the most important driver of glacier movement (the second might even be marine seismic shots). Also the topo high in antarc is 4000meters! This is higher than Mount Robson in the southern Canadian Rockies, and guess what? No no, take your time!… M Rob has perennial snow and even glaciers. See where I’m going with this? I leave the rest for your homework.

James the Elder

“According to the team’s data, ice advanced from the Aurora Basin and retreated back again at least 11 times during the first 20 million years of the ice sheet’s history. Researchers also found that the young ice sheet was much wetter than it is today, with meltwater from the surface flowing into a network of channels beneath the ice. These channels were eroded into the rock below the ice, leaving distinctive formations known as “tunnel valleys.” This dynamic time for East Antarctic glaciers occurred when atmospheric temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels were similar to or higher than present day.”

Sooooooooooooooo I am to logically assume it’s been much warmer and more CO2 laden at least 11 times before present??

tty

Yes, it was a lot warmer and more CO2 then, but the ice still extended to the shelf-break (i. e. larger than now) on 11 occasions.

tty

Also the tunnel valleys were in soft sediments, not rocks. By the way the Finger Lakes in NY State are tunnel valleys, carved out under the Laurentide Ice, so they’re not exactly a sign of tropical climates, only warm-based glaciers.

About “Evolving understanding of Antarctic ice-sheet physics and ambiguity in probabilistic sea-level projections” by Robert E. Kopp et al. in Earth’s Future, in press.

Kopp’s paper does not describe the scenarios, which is good. But it runs the projections out to 2300, which is imo absurd. History shows that we cannot reliably estimate available tech in 2100, let alone 2300. Just because they models can be run out for centuries, does not mean that the result is meaningful.

Kopp’s paper is science. It’s boring, discusses uncertainty, and doesn’t well support the narrative. But in skilled hands it becomes fodder for this: “Antarctic Modeling Pushes Up Sea-Level Rise Projections” — a “research report” at Climate Central.  RCP8.5 becomes the “high pollution” scenario, without mentioning that it assumes changes in long-standing trends of population growth (fast!) and technology (stagnation). It assumes bad news, like a worst-case scenario should.

Scary, scary, scary!

tony mcleod

“you really should get your stories straight”

In the opening sentence you insinuate they’re all devious. Is this really whats really up?

It “might be”, “could be” and even is “possible” that they all are devious.

D B H

Hmmm, let me break out my fingers and toes and do some figuring…..

Current sea level rise (in Lyttelton Harbour near me) is 1.7mm per year and has been around that for some 140 years or so.
IF 2100 saw a 2.5m rise as is states is one possibility, then at is…um…all my fingers and half my toes ….or
a whopping 30mm per year.

Let me see, which is possibly going to be closer to reality?
As MOST of any warming that has occurred since the Little Ice Age, has already done so, then 82 years of more warming(to 2100), IF that does occur, kind of makes me a touch skeptical.

Steve Zell

[QUOTE]”It’s possible, they add, that a process called hydrofracturing, which may have helped to break up the Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula in 2002, could leave much of the Antarctic coast with 300-foot cliffs of ice exposed to the open ocean and subject to collapse.”

This should be classified as an apples-to-kumquats comparison. The Antarctic Peninsula is relatively narrow, and projects northward toward the southern tip of South America, where it is buffeted by waves driven by westerly winds circling the pole over mostly open water. These waves crashing into the ice broadside during spring and summer could cause some of the ice to fracture and fall into the sea.

But the coastline of East Antarctica runs nearly due east and west along the Antarctic circle. Westerly winds would be nearly parallel to the coast, and not bring waves into the ice. Moreover, there would not be a “sea breeze” effect that occurs during daylight hours in temperate and tropical climates, because the air over the ice is colder than that over the ocean, so that warmer air rising over the ocean would be replaced by cold air blowing off the ice, which would tend to push waves away from the coast.

Any “hydrofracturing” effect from waves would be much weaker along the East Antarctica coast than along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, which is exposed to strong waves hitting the ice broadside.

george e. smith

Well Steve you forgot that earth rotates on its axis once in 24hours during which time, the south Atlantic ocean and the South Pacific Oceans swap places twice a day through that narrow gap of the Horn.

All of that tidal bulge flows UNDER those ice shelves, and Ice has about the same tensile strength as concrete, so it breaks when you bend it upwards twice a day.

G

tty

This “hydrofracturing” they describe happens to be physically impossible. “Hydrofracturing” is something that only happens for shelf-ice which is floating (otherwise there is no “hydro” to do the fracturing). Shelf-ice is typically about 200 meters thick, which means that the “ice-cliff” is about 20 meters high. A “300 feet high ice cliff” means that the ice must be about 900 meters thick, and the sea at least 800 meters deep at the ice-front. Otherwise it won’t float. This simply does not happen in the real world.

This is because ice-cliffs higher than about 50 meters are mechanically unstable and calve, and this means that a grounded glacier cannot be stable at depths greater than about 500 meters. It will either collapse or float off as (thinned-out) shelf-ice. This is a well-documented fact, supported by geological studies in both the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. Grounded ice never expands any further than the upper continental slope.

SAMURAI

Hmmm… Too bad NASA announced on October 30, 2015 that Antarctic Land Ice Mass has been INCREASING by around 100 BILLION tons/yr since 1992, despite saying for decades it was DECREASING by over 120 Billion tons/yr based on faulty GRACE data:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

This year, Greenland’s land mass will also INCREASE by 44 billion tons:

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/greenland-ice-sheets-2017-weigh-suggests-small-increase-ice-mass

With both the AMO and PDO being in the their respective 30-year cool cycles from early 2020’s, both poles will soon consistently show land ice mass increase…

Moreover, the early stages of 50~70 year Grand Solar Minimum starts from 2021, which will likely add to polar ice mass increases..

CAGW is so screwed…

Matt G

“Melting of east Antarctic ice sheet could cripple major US cities”

I bet all your funding this never happens during your working life time and I would bet the same if we could live for 1000 years.

“However, as climate change raises global air temperatures, it is possible that East Antarctic glaciers could start melting, a change that could make the ice sheet shift back into unstable territory.”

There is no chance because climate change/global warming has not warmed here at all at least during the satellite era and requires such a huge rise in temperature it not possible in any scenario.

Over millions of years continental drift was in action and the position of the them are different and change the climate depending where they are. In the current continental positions there is no chance of it melting ever, unless something extremely unlikely occurs like natural disasters.

More chance of Death valley recording snow in summer. The East Antarctic ice sheet is the coldest and driest place on Earth, where summer temperatures rarely get above -25 c away from coasts. Unless a comet/asteroid or volcanic activity melts it temporary, how on earth is it going to melt at all any time over the next two hundreds years?

Think of this scenario.

If the temperature were to rise to 1 c above the freezing point for one day in a year, how many days would it take to melt even 1% of it?

These type of articles on Antarctica are cringworthy how ridiculous they always are with current climate change agenda.

The Original Mike M

https://www.the-cryosphere.net/7/303/2013/tc-7-303-2013.pdf

A total of 67 SMB records from the AIS over the last 800 yr were analysed to assess the temporal variability of accumulation rates. The temporal and spatial variability of the SMB over the previous 800 yr indicates that SMB changes over most of Antarctica are statistically negligible and do not exhibit an overall clear trend.

It’s yet another example of “settled science”.

Lee

It would not take much work to see where the ‘new’ and very valuable beachfront will be in Florida should sea level rise 10 ft. This currently inland property is relatively cheap compared to current beachfront – very cheap in fact. When I see these ‘scientists’ start to buy a lot of properties inland, then I will know they are serious. Right now the are just collecting and spending my tax dollars.

Admad

Don’t forget, “the science is settled” (TM)

Peta of Newark

Entirely devoid of self-awareness – do they not realise that hardly anyone is listening?
Obviously not even their own peers inside Climate Science
Otherwise they’d realise they have a theory that explains everything and hence, explains precisely nothing

Good job we’re rich enough to afford this nonsense…………

Gabro

If alleged global warming were to raise the average summer (D\J) temperature at McMurdo Sound one degree C, then it would just reach freezing from its present -1 degree C.

Matt G

It is summer there now of course taking the warmest months into account, yet over the last few days it has only reached briefly -1.4 c. The majority of the time it has been below -3 c. No higher than -4.3 c on the 14th December, so with those very low dew points an increase of 2 c would make very little difference to any thaw at all right on the coast.

http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDT60803/IDT60803.89664.shtml

Emily Daniels

I apologize if someone else already noted this, but the four press releases are for only two papers. If you read the author names, universities involved, and methods used, that becomes clear. I just wanted to point that out.

Yirgach

As always, the obligatory plea for control of the planetary environment. What hubris!

The ice shelves are the key. They hold back the flow of Antarctic ice toward the ocean, so we don’t want to lose them. The problem is, they don’t last very long when they are sitting in warm water or if they are covered with summer meltwater, so keeping global temperatures in check is critical,” DeConto added.

Alan tomalty

““Antarctica may seem far away from Florida, but all Floridians should care about what is happening in Antarctica,” said co-lead author Dr. Amelia Shevenell, Associate Professor, University of South Florida, Tampa. “As ice melts, global sea levels rise.”

No duh. This sounds like the type of “science” one might find in grade school. When snow melts, streams and rivers rise. And now let’s talk about Wally the Beaver.
The usual drivel, ginned up to make it look like there is a planetary emergency, caused by our evil CO2.
What has happened to science? Bruce Cobb”

Mr. Cobb I am also a non believer in AGM but you are wrong on this point
Look at the link

http://smithplanet.com/stuff/iceandwater.htm