Volcanic heat source discovered under Pine Island Glacier, the poster child for Antarctic melting

[heat source] Plays critical role in movement, melting

Via Eurekalert KINGSTON, R.I. — June 22, 2018 — A researcher from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography and five other scientists have discovered an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica.

The discovery and other findings, which are critical to understanding the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, of which the Pine Island Glacier is a part, are published in the paper, “Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier,” in the latest edition of Nature Communications.

Assistant Professor Brice Loose of Newport, a chemical oceanographer at GSO and the lead author, said the paper is based on research conducted during a major expedition in 2014 to Antarctica led by scientists from the United Kingdom. They worked aboard an icebreaker, the RRS James Clark Ross, from January to March, Antarctica’s summer.

“We were looking to better understand the role of the ocean in melting the ice shelf,” Loose said. “I was sampling the water for five different noble gases, including helium and xenon. I use these noble gases to trace ice melt as well as heat transport. Helium-3, the gas that indicates volcanism, is one of the suite of gases that we obtain from this tracing method.

“We weren’t looking for volcanism, we were using these gases to trace other actions,” he said. “When we first started seeing high concentrations of helium-3, we thought we had a cluster of bad or suspicious data.”

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet lies atop a major volcanic rift system, but there had been no evidence of current magmatic activity, the URI scientist said. The last such activity was 2,200 years ago, Loose said. And while volcanic heat can be traced to dormant volcanoes, what the scientists found at Pine Island was new.

In the paper, Loose said that the volcanic rift system makes it difficult to measure heat flow to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. “You can’t directly measure normal indicators of volcanism — heat and smoke — because the volcanic rift is below many kilometers of ice,” Loose said

But as the team conducted its research, it found high quantities of an isotope of helium, which comes almost exclusively from mantle, Loose said.

“When you find helium-3, it’s like a fingerprint for volcanism. We found that it is relatively abundant in the seawater at the Pine Island shelf.

“The volcanic heat sources were found beneath the fastest moving and the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica, the Pine Island Glacier,” Loose said. “It is losing mass the fastest.”

He said the amount of ice sliding into the ocean is measured in gigatons. A gigaton equals 1 billion metric tons.

However, Loose cautions, this does not imply that volcanism is the major source of mass loss from Pine Island. On the contrary, “there are several decades of research documenting the heat from ocean currents is destabilizing Pine Island Glacier, which in turn appears to be related to a change in the climatological winds around Antarctica,” Loose said. Instead, this evidence of volcanism is a new factor to consider when monitoring the stability of the ice sheet.

The scientists report in the paper that “helium isotope and noble gas measurements provide geochemical evidence of sub-glacial meltwater production that is subsequently transported to the cavity of the Pine Island Ice Shelf.” They say that heat energy released by the volcanoes and hydrothermal vents suggests that the heat source beneath Pine Island is about 25 times greater than the bulk of heat flux from an individual dormant volcano.

Professor Karen Heywood, from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, the United Kingdom, and chief scientist for the expedition, said: “The discovery of volcanoes beneath the Antarctic ice sheet means that there is an additional source of heat to melt the ice, lubricate its passage toward the sea, and add to the melting from warm ocean waters. It will be important to include this in our efforts to estimate whether the Antarctic ice sheet might become unstable and further increase sea level rise.”

Does that mean that global climate change is not a factor in the stability of the Pine Island Glacier?

No, said Loose. “Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe, and this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet.”

He said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change is reducing the size and weight of the glacier, which reduces the pressure on the mantle, allowing greater heat from the volcanic source to escape and then warm the ocean water.

“Predicting the rate of sea level rise is going to be a key role for science over the next 100 years, and we are doing that. We are monitoring and modeling these glaciers,” Loose said.

The scientists conclude by writing: “The magnitude and the variations in the rate of the volcanic heat supplied to the Pine Island Glacier, either by internal magma migration, or by an increase in volcanism as a consequence of ice sheet thinning, may impact the future dynamics of the Pine Island Glacier, during the contemporary period of climate-driven glacial retreat.”

In addition to Heywood, Loose worked with Alberto C. Naveira Garabato, of the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Peter Schlosser of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University; William Jenkins of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts; and David Vaughn of the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

###

The paper (open access): https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04421-3 

Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier

Abstract

Tectonic landforms reveal that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) lies atop a major volcanic rift system. However, identifying subglacial volcanism is challenging. Here we show geochemical evidence of a volcanic heat source upstream of the fast-melting Pine Island Ice Shelf, documented by seawater helium isotope ratios at the front of the Ice Shelf cavity. The localization of mantle helium to glacial meltwater reveals that volcanic heat induces melt beneath the grounded glacier and feeds the subglacial hydrological network crossing the grounding line. The observed transport of mantle helium out of the Ice Shelf cavity indicates that volcanic heat is supplied to the grounded glacier at a rate of ~ 2500 ± 1700 MW, which is ca. half as large as the active Grimsvötn volcano on Iceland. Our finding of a substantial volcanic heat source beneath a major WAIS glacier highlights the need to understand subglacial volcanism, its hydrologic interaction with the marine margins, and its potential role in the future stability of the WAIS.

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Tom Halla

Of course! A minor little volcanic rift system cannot get in the way of the narrative on climate change! It gotta be SUVs! /sarc

HotScot

Tom Halla

I finally have you Mr. Halla!

You thought ve vere merely talking about ze SUV’s on ze surface of ze planet?

You underestimate ze cunning plan ve alarmists have concocted. Ze undervater SUVee iz zee final solution!

Mwahahahahahaha.

Trevor

HotScot :
Obviously………..yudging by ze ak-sent ..
…..it vos a VW mit ze ursatz exhaust ! Ja ?

HotScot

Trevor

Ja Vole!

Zis is not to imply you are a Vole though.

(I know, it’s Ja Wohl, but it’s no fun that way)

🙂

rapscallion

Well German humour is no laughing matter!

MarkW

comment image

HotScot
Hot under the collar

“He said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change is reducing the size and weight of the glacier, which reduces the pressure on the mantle, allowing greater heat from the volcanic source to escape and then warm the ocean water”.

Yes, otherwise the heat from the volcano couldn’t possibly have escaped, warmed and melted the ice around it at all, could it?

All the additional CO2 produced by humans must obviously be melting the ice, reducing the weight on the Antarctic Tectonic Plate. Please send lots more taxpayer money now for further bullshit research to justify our jobs, alarm and scare the bejesus out of gullible people and attract further money to waste. (Do I really need the sarc?)

Hivemind

“Do I really need the sarc?”

It doesn’t hurt. After all, there are a bunch of warmists that are so incredibly stupid, they might think you were serious.

Sharpshooter

WE don’t take the alarmists seriously!

MarkW

Heck, we don’t take anything seriously.

Matthew Thompson

I always suspected there was a ‘link’ between CAGW and volcanoes. Does NOAA have a thirty-year chart of global annual volcano strength? This could be a grant opportunity!

Alley

Quote:
“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe, and this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet.”

He said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change is reducing the size and weight of the glacier, which reduces the pressure on the mantle, allowing greater heat from the volcanic source to escape and then warm the ocean water.
End quote.

And there you have it.

[no, only for the simple-minded do you “have it” -mod]

HotScot

Alley

FFS mate. I’m not a scientist and even I find that argument ridiculous.

The centre of the earth Vs a cork made of ice.

“More steam, we need more steam!”

Alley

So you disagree with the scientists who study this.

FFS get a clue.

J Mac

Alley,
Here’s a clue: A dormant volcano becoming active under a glacier is certainly a ‘climate change’ for the glacier and adjacent land and water.

Here’s another clue: An active volcano under a glacier melts ice and may warm the waters around the volcano and glacier.

Here’s a third clue: Rising magma often causes bulging/rising of the land associated with the volcano, such as the one under the Pine Island glacier.

Take your time now…. and see if you can draw a logical conclusion about glacier melting and glacier flow instability.

Alley

“Here’s a clue: A dormant volcano becoming active under a glacier is certainly a ‘climate change’ for the glacier and adjacent land and water.”

Nice clue. The fact that it’s a forcing is not the issue.

“Here’s another clue: An active volcano under a glacier melts ice and may warm the waters around the volcano and glacier.”

I see you read the article. Now discuss the relative forcing of wind, air temps, water temps, etc. with the volcano. You are repeating the obvious science and ignoring your denial.

Take your time. Maybe you can tell us why you rank the forcing in a different order than the scientists who study this.

MarkW

The scientist that you are worshiping didn’t study this. He just proclaimed it.

Clyde Spencer

Alley,
You have to understand that before the discovery of chemical evidence of volcanic activity, it was speculation and the more reasonable explanation was warming water. While warming water is probably still a major factor, any reasonable person would now look to try to understand the relative roles of the two.

Alley

Exactly! Why these people are jumping to their own gut conclusions is amazing. The article clearly states that volcanoes are a forcing, but that they are not the primary forcing. Seems people here want to believe that the earth is not warming and are looking for other ways to explain why global ice is melting.

Trevor

Yes, the article “states” that. But it also states that they really don’t have a clue how much of the melting is due to the volcano. If you don’t know how much melting the volcano is causing, how can you possibly know if it’s more or less than the what climate change is causing? This “statement” that volcanoes are not the primary forcing was put in to keep the authors from being blackballed by the Hockey Team. I’m seeing more and more of this lately. More and more papers are (perhaps accidentally) challenging one or more of the key pillars of the “consensus”, while their authors (wisely) stop short of directly challenging the consensus, and usually re-affirm the consensus, despite their own research.

You see, I think there is a small (but growing) group of closet AGW skeptics in the scientific community, who are actively and intentionally conducting research to discredit the consensus, but who, at the same time, like having a job, and really like having multi-million-dollar grants. Having seen, both in the ClimateGate emails and in the news, the lengths to which the Hockey Team will go to suppress AGW skepticism, they dare not directly challenge the consensus. Not only to protect their income, but to keep the tap open for skeptic research, even if it’s just a trickle now. Because, at some point, the weight of the skepticism-supporting results will be enough that the closet skeptics can go public without fear of reprisal, and that’s when the feces will hit the proverbial fan.

Of course, I’m pretty sure the Hockey Team has figured this out too; if not, I wouldn’t be talking about it. But they can’t just smack down a scientist who, at least nominally, supports the consensus. That would be viewed as “eating their own”, and would likely cause some defection from the ranks. It’s all well and good to attack Watts, Ball, Christy, the Pielkes, etc., all known “deniers” who openly challenge the “consensus”. But go after some poor grad student, in another field, who EXPLICITLY (even if duplicitously) echoed the consensus and belittled his own findings, and other grad students who are TRULY on-board with the consensus will take notice, and you might have a problem recruiting next year’s starting line-up for the Hockey Team.

Gary Pearse

Alley: The pressure on the mantle IS a factor driving the volcanism. They also found volcanism just offshore eastern Greenland related to ocean floor spreading but exacerbated by the local compression of the ice sheet on the mantle. Reducing the pressure would tend to reduce the volcanism. I am a geologist and an engineer so am qualified to criticize the author’shandwaving statements clearly there to apologize for taking something away from the climate change catechism.

Gary Pearse

Mods please read my comment. Its certainly milder than the surrounding comments and has good scientific content, no ad homs.

HotScot

Alley

The clue is in the question FFS.

“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe”

“this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect”

Even to me these are contradictory statements. Whilst the east side of the Antarctic without volcano’s is gaining ice, the west side with volcano’s is losing ice. or is climate change a selective phenomenon?

If climate change is causing other glaciers they observe to lose ice, it must therefore be true that climate change is also causing east Antarctic to gain ice.

Therefore, either climate change is different between east and west Antarctica, in which case, it isn’t climate change, it’s weather, or volcano’s are contributing significantly to melting ice.

And I’m happy to concede oceanic currents have an influence, but with “an as-yet undetermined effect” of volcanic activity, even that ‘measured’ effect bears questioning.

MarkW

This scientist did not study this. He just proclaimed it to be true.

BigBill

Yes I do. How can hey make such a claim as the below? They do not know how much the volcano is contributing but yet they know Climate Change is causing most of the melting. It could be very well be the complete opposite of what they proclaim.

“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe, and this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet”

Don132

Let me point out, Alley, that what you say is speculation, if you aren’t being sarcastic. Do we actually know that the melting is indeed caused by climate change, and not undersea volcanoes? Will we discover more volcanoes that are causing even more warming than we now know? Have we actually measured pressure on the mantle that is released? Will the reduced pressure on the mantle (if it is real) allow greater heat from volcanoes to escape, or will the lessened pressure allow less heat to escape? Or does it depend?

My big objection to climate science is that it moves glibly from speculation to fact. It’s a monster paradigm that eats everything in its path and spits everything out as irrefutable “science.”

Alley

Let me pout out that that was a quote from the scientists who study this.

kcrucible

This quote?

“this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet.””

As yet undetermined effect, but we KNOW that it’s not significant even though it’s not determined yet. Keep sending money.

MRM

Exactly. A logical error. You can’t say it’s not the volcanic heat that’s a major source of melting if you don’t know how much it’s contributing. Good grief!

Alley,
Just because you’re taken to task for saying something daft, there’s no need to pout

J Mac

“pout out…” Text book example of a Freudian slip there!

Sharpshooter

Now he’ll go off and sulk!

MarkW

The statement by the scientist is completely unsupported by anything in the study. It’s just a naked assertion.

Kristi Silber

All Alley was doing was quoting the article. How can that be his own speculation?

Don132, have you read the literature upon which they base their statements? Is it full of, “What if this happened, and that caused another thing? Gee, lets write a paper and maybe someone will research it!”

Maybe you don’t know the evidence, and that’s why you think it’s speculation.

There is no irrefutable science. There is no proof in science. It is always open to exploration of hypotheses that better account for the data. It is not open to assertions like, it’s wrong just because it seems like it should be wrong, so let’s find something to ridicule or “prove” wrong with a few graphs. This is such a knee-jerk response that it’s impossible to assess the evidence without bias. Skeptics of this type are deniers. This is why it’s so frustrating when I see science judged according to a press release when they sometimes have little to do with the science.

Science is not given a chance. That’s what’s wrong with skeptic sites like this. They nurture distrust in science based on the assumption it’s wrong, and contributors look for ways it could be wrong without knowing the background research well enough to assess it. It’s not a rational way to assess climate change science. If you think it’s all corrupt to begin with, who care what the science says, and what’s the point of the site but political?

I take exception to your last paragraph. We skeptics do give science a chance. We acknowledge that the earth has undergone warming since the termination of the LIA; however, we have not seen any evidence that CAGW can be caused by one extra molecule of CO2 per 10K air molecules. We have not seen any evidence that the extra CO2 molecule will warm the oceans to initiate CAGW, etc., etc.

The article points to solid science that can definitely explain a good reason for melting of the west antarctic ice sheet, but simultaneously it cites a nebulous CAGW connection of warming circumpolar currents generating ice loss. We can accept the warmer current hypothesis in conjunction with underground thermal venting but not coupled with the unproven CAGW speculation.

Jtom

Science is always given a chance on this site; scientists who knee-jerkedly blame man-made climate change for every phenomena, not so much. Did you not notice that they accepted the speculation that climate change has caused warmer currents to flow in the study area, and dismissed any other possibility – like a cluster of once-dormant, undersea volcanoes starting to produce heat? Did you notice that they are ASSUMING that the apparent source of this heat is new, when there are no past studies of helium 3? This area may have been heating up for a long time, but they don’t even consider it because ‘the science is settled.’ No, it isn’t, and it never will be.

There is no conflict with looking at the science, assessing that the evidence does not convict man of cc, and finding fraud to be rampant among those who do. We are fighting for uncorrupted science, not any political viewpoint.

Richard M

Good grief, the quote is obvious nonsense and was clearly added to lessen this blow to the alarmist narrative. Trying to defend such BS only shows your views are nothing but disguised religion.

Clive 08

The air over the Antarctic never gets warm enough to melt ice. The water in warm currents is warmed by direct sunlight, short wave radiation. Global warming, the air in contact with the ocean, long wave radiation does not penetrate water. So climate change has nothing to do with it.

Paul Sarmiento

“Science is not given a chance. That’s what’s wrong with skeptic sites like this. They nurture distrust in science based on the assumption it’s wrong, and contributors look for ways it could be wrong without knowing the background research well enough to assess it. ”

This site is exactly pointing out what’s wrong with the conclusion and/or assumptions because the researchers themselves says that its effects is undetermined yet concludes that climate change is the main cause of the melting.

We are skeptical because of the illogical conclusions from climate scientists.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing

Silber don’t be silly.

Just because something is claimed dose not make it so, and just because some climate scientists are corrupt doesn’t mean all f them are, or that every statement is suspect or to be rejected. The problem as I see it is the ‘faithful’ cling to every alarming prognostication as if it is Revealed Truth not matter how ridiculous it premises.

Tell me, how ridiculous must a global warming alarm story be before you would tend to disbelieve it? Is there any limit? I suspect there is, but I haven’t noted you noting it yet.

As for “this site” I think it is great. It offers all a chance to put forth a proposal explaining any aspect of science, and to have that proposal discussed by a rather erudite and knowledgeable group of visitors – true peer review. Several interesting an reasonable hypotheses have been originated here, and several others picked over to show they are probably false or poorly framed.

Believability is in the mind of the beholder. There is no need to “nurture a trust of science”. Science is not a person who is to be trusted or distrusted. Science is a set of tools – nothing more. Some are not very sharp. Others will split a whisker. Climate alarm proponents, on balance, can be particularly untrustworthy when it comes to certain topics. Each proposal must stand on its merits, for or against human-induced catastrophes large and small, or not at all.

Alley wrote, “He said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change …” and cited no evidence for it, correct? How on earth could someone prove the proposition on a continent that has been cooling for centuries? The chance that any Antarctic glacier is melting in a climate that is well below zero because of human-induced global warming is exceedingly low.

ripshin

Crispin –

Excellent rejoinder, as usual.

Thanks.

rip

MarkW

Because the quote in question was nothing more than speculation.
If you had actually read the article you would have been able to realize this on your own.

WXcycles

“Will the reduced pressure on the mantle (if it is real) allow greater heat from volcanoes to escape, or will the lessened pressure allow less heat to escape? Or does it depend?”
—-

Frankly the ‘ice-as-cork’ ruse is largely rubbish, there are multiple locations on earth where magma erupts from continental crust that is 25 km to 45 km thick.

Now, I dare say that overburden rock, which is 3.5 to 5.5 times denser, and heavier and mechanically more resistent to pressure, than ice is, plus imparts far more weight to the asthenospheric partial-melting zone, and adds more static confining pressure to the magma rise conduits. And yet the magma still defeats all that mechanical resistance and static confining pressure, and extrudes anyway.

But somehow mere ice is being FALSELY elevated, by greenie loonies, and other climate ‘experts’, to volcanic-cork status? Really?

Steaming-wet horse nuggets!

40 km of rock can’t stop magma intrusion, its flow, volcanic eruptions, or massive extrusion, so how the hell could a mere 3 to 4 km of icesheet cork it up?!

Rediculous! It’s just nonsense.

What really determins volcanic extrusion propensity is tectonic settings, not icesheet presence (andnot to be confused with decompression exolving of gasses in a melt, via confining-pressure removal plus crustal plate unloading).

Ice is a mere suppressor, a MODIFIER of the style of eruptive extrusions, it is not a preventer of extrusion. Ice does not prevent eruptions, at all, it just alters the means and paths by which the eruption products get released, to surface, or to waters.

And nor can a mere icesheet’s overburden, in any way quench an elevated geotherm’s crustal heating, and the heat radiated per square meter. That occurs regardless of ice being present or not.

People claiming otherwise, that ice is something of a volcanic “cork”, simply have no grasp of the scale and energy of igneous process. Ice can’t stop volcanic activity, in any way, it can only ALTER the eruptive symptoms and character of it.

Alley

I see that Watts can’t shake the insults. He insults me AND he insults the people who write the articles he posts.

I guess he posts science articles from scientists he considers “simple minded.” Oy.

Kaiser Derden

they are hardly insults when you and the scientists earn the right to be called those names … be proud of the labels … you’ve earned them 🙂

paul courtney

I see Alley is looking for space below the bottom shelf. Does Soros give a $1 bonus when you attack the host?

MarkW

Taking a naked assertion as proof of anything is STUPID. It’s also something you do on a regular basis.

Tom Abbott

“He said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change is reducing the size and weight of the glacierHe said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change is reducing the size and weight of the glacier”

Alley, neither you nor the scientists who wrote this study can prove that CAGW (yes, that’s what we are really talking about) is reducing the size and weight of glaciers.

You could prove me wrong, but not by just making assertions, which is what these scientists are doing with that statement. We need facts, not assertions. Only the facts please.

Richard M

As far as I know there hasn’t been a single study which has detected any “melting caused by climate change”. It has always been *assumed* probably using the same logic often used in climate pseudo-science …. “we couldn’t think of anything else ….”.

Ellen

“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe …”

That’s undoubtedly true. Observing what’s happening beneath a large glacier is difficult.

Alan Tomalty

Melting caused by climate change? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Do you mean the 0.7C in the last 68 years. You are trying to say that causes the West Antarctic to melt when the East Antarctic is gaining ice? Get serious. No wonder every site that allows both points of view has the skeptics ridiculing everything that the alarmists are saying. I am sure glad I can think for myself rather than believe Gavin Schmist or Michael Mann.

Alley

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Do you mean the made-up number you posted for the last 68 years?

MarkW

Please reset your brain. You have stopped making sense again.

Don Jindra

What is the scientific precision of “undetermined ?”

Chris Wright

In that one sentence Loose contradicts himself. He says it’s mostly caused by climate change. He also says the effect of the heat is undetermined. If it’s undetermined, how can he possibly know it’s mostly caused by climate change? A perfect example of how much of climate science is more religion than science based on evidence and proof. And no doubt he felt he had to reaffirm his belief in the religion despite his findings. Pretty sad.
Chris

Alley

Why do you stick to your “I know more than the scientists who study this” religion? It’s obvious you guys applaud the deniers and turn to word-parsing when it comes to the scientists.

Some things are undetermined precisely but their magnitudes are known. Maybe read the entire article or ask the author about magnitudes.

Greytide

How can something be “undetermined precisely”?
Def:- precisely; in exact terms; without vagueness.
If it is undetermined, it cannot have any “Precision”. That would make it almost unique!

Honest liberty

Because…uhhh…. Feelings!!!!
I want to believe so 2+2=5!
Don’t forget, with common core, using stacking is forbidden in arithmetic and if the majority of a group come to the wrong answer, but the minority use math to prove the right answer, the majority gets there credit for being in agreement.
How else could you explain the lack of logic by zazove, alley, Kristi, etc (Nick sometimes has logical points so I’ll spare him).
And hey alley, just because you can’t accept this is religion to you doesn’t make your claim that pointing that out about your side is religious in nature as well. Grasping at those straws harder only makes it more difficult to drink from them. You are doing your mind a great disservice

MarkW

Fancy that, Chris uses the scientists own words to prove that he has contradicted himself.
The trolls only response is of the form: How dare you disagree with someone I agree with.

MarkW

Like the rest of the trolls, Alley can’t tell the difference between an assertion and a fact.

MarkW

The Argo probes have provided “evidence” that the world’s oceans have warmed up by about 0.01C. Just how much faster will ice melt because of a 1 hundredth of a degree rise?

PS: The notion that you can find a temperature change less than 1/10 than the accuracy limits of the probes being used is utter nonsense, but the kind of things “scientists” on a mission do.

HotScot

“No, said Loose. “Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe, and this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet.””

“No, said Loose.” and then;

“Climate change is causing………”

then;

“……….an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know……….”

Gosh! I wish I knew everything like this guy Loose.

The world would be a simpler place, just cos’ Loose says so.

How many more ways can he say “I haven’t an effing clue what’s going on”.

Nit Wit!

rocketscientist

A brilliant demonstration of “Loose logic”.

HotScot

rocketscientist

Loose marbles spring to mind, no idea why.

Gary Meyers

More like “Loose Stool!”

HotScot

Gary Meyers

Wkd…… 🙂

Sharpshooter

Or Pontius Pilate’s friends wife, “Incontinetia Buttocks”.

Bryan A

Loose with his words too

shrnfr

Loose canon actually.

Gunga Din

Alarmist reaction:
“Damn! It’s not Mann!”

knr

Of course if they want to get further funding they need to make sure that others know their ‘faith ‘ remains as strong and unquestioning as ever.
i wonder what ‘new ‘means is this case , new as its already being going but we did not known before , or new as it just started , for their a lot in the answer to that question.

Richard M

We should be very suspicious that an expedition that took place in 2014 is just now coming clean with the results. I think it is pretty obvious the silly claims about climate change were inserted precisely to get this published.

Susan

This is the UEA we’re talking about: the author should be given due credit for getting it published at all!

ResourceGuy

Oh, that explains the “accidental” discovery here.

markl

How does your conjecture (at most) explain the East ice sheet growing Loose?

HotScot

markl

It sucks the heat from the East and injects it into the West of course.

Silly Billy.

dmacleo

it puts the ice upon its skin…..

sycomputing

I actually got that reference…

Jon Joslin

“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe, and this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet.”

Honest question. How do you determine that climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt when you’re unable to measure and determine the effect of volcanic processes beneath the ice sheet?

HotScot

Jon Joslin

Using the noble alarmist, scientific method called guessing.

No matter how far out your guesswork is relative to conventional science, in the weird and wonderful world of climate alarmism, it’s bound to be right.

Don132

That’s easy! You go on assumptions and suppositions and present those as irrefutable fact! That’s climate “science”!

Latitude

“He said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change is reducing the size and weight of the glacier, which reduces the pressure on the mantle, allowing greater heat from the volcanic source to escape and then warm the ocean water.”

He knows this because it’s never been measured……….

HotScot

Latitude

Loose Logic mate.

Gotta respect the guys endeavour.

On the other hand……perhaps not.

Latitude

It’s always somewhere that no one can get to or measure…..
…and always somewhere that’s never been measured before

Greg Cavanagh

There is none so blind as those who refuse to see.
This guy is well named for sure. He’d make his great great grand daddy proud.
And he has the gall to call himself a scientist, thereby giving himself such authority.

HotScot

Greg Cavanagh

He’s a climate alarmist (although perhaps not intentionally) so 97% of the world believes he’s right.

Damn, I’m happy to be wrong, I just hate anyone calling me a sheep.

Nick Stokes

“And he has the gall to call himself a scientist”
It’s always strange on these posts where some paper is found that supposedly undermines a poster child or something, and then folks get stuck into the guy who is supposed to be the hero witness for being, well, a scientist.

Richard M

I suspect this Loose guy is probably just doing what is needed to get published. It is people like you, Nick, who are the problem.

To anyone with half a brain this paper completely destroys the myth of climate change affecting West Antarctica. With Greenland gaining in SMB the past two years it’s not looking very good for you climate cultists.

Nick Stokes

“this paper completely destroys the myth of climate change affecting West Antarctica”
But how can something from someone who “has the gall to call himself a scientist” do that?

In fact of course, it doesn’t. He says “Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe”. So is Loose an idiot or isn’t he? If he is, how can you declare the myth destroyed on his authority/

WXcycles

Oh Nick … desperate much?

Anthony Banton

No just presenting basic logic … which as ever is absent here.

zazove

Sigh. Always an ulterior motive. Here it is from the: cast doubt, any doubt, the commenters will throw the mud, never mind the logic department.

Transparent politicization. Shame.

MarkW

Pointing out the problems with the so called study is now “transparent politicization”.

Really a shame how these trolls have to torture both logic and science in support of their favorite religion.

Alan Tomalty

What an inquisition the world is under when a scientist cannot even tell the truth. He [snip] bloody well knows that the heat from the volcanic ridge is melting the ice but he is not allowed to say it.

HotScot

Alan Tomalty

Language Timothy.

Maybe it’s a tiny volcano, a pimplvo.

Bryan A

They did manage to tie in Global Warming causing Ice Mass Reduction thereby reducing overhead mantle pressure allowing the mantle heat to rise and melt the ice from beneath. I just want to know how they separated their cause and effect.

Volcanic Heat melts Ice reducing Ice mass and pressure on the Mantle.
Reduced Ice Mass decreases pressure on the Mantle allowing heat to rise and melt the ice.

I would like to know how they determined it was the Latter instead of the Former.
Just how long has that Volcano been warming the Ice from below?
I guar-on-tee it has been far longer than they have known about it’s existence.

HotScot

Bryan A

Judging by recent land based volcanic eruptions, there’s one hell of a kettle under that ice sheet.

Rich Davis

Bryan,
You’ve got it all wrong. The volcanoes are just making the disaster slightly, imperceptibly worse. Pay no attention to the fire under the ice. They KNOW that 99.99997% of the melting is caused by CO2 warming the ocean. This new information just confirms that things are even worse than anyone ever imagined, and we are doomed, DOOMED!

Now, who are you gonna trust with the straight poop on Climate Change (TM), if not the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia?

Kaiser Derden

Bingo … pretty damn sure that VOLCANO didn’t form in the last 40 years …

Don132

I’m with you, Alan. In this case the language is entirely appropriate.

michael hart

I’m glad he saved me the trouble, as with other people quoting the same paragraph of nonsense.

HotScot

Can some of our informed commentators do the calculation please?

What size of volcano, would melt what amount of ice, at what speed, under these conditions.

Layman’s terms would help me immensely.

Latitude

Nick did that on another thread….I don’t remember which one now

michael hart

Going on their own imprecise figures, the heat supplied at ~2.5GW will be sufficient to melt about 700 cubic metres of ice per second, i.e. about a house-full of ice per second. Is that unusual for volcanoes? I don’t know. But it doesn’t strike me as a lot, in the grand scheme of things, and a very big continent covered with vast amounts of ice.

The point of interest is that it is local heat supplied at the bottom of the glacier where it might help lubricate general ice flow. Some of the many things they don’t know is how long it has been doing this, whether it is significant, and has it changed much recently. All the extra speculative twaddle about it somehow letting in more global warming to do its evil is just that: speculative twaddle to make sure they don’t upset the people who like to get upset and who might try to get their funding removed if they don’t toe the line. They are scientists living in professional fear of other “scientists”, a sad state of affairs. They may claim to be afraid of Donald Trump, but if they are true scientists they know who their real enemies are.

Latitude

about a house-full of ice per second…60 houses per minute….3.600 houses per hour….86.400 per day…604.800 per week…2.419.200 per month
29,030,400 houses a year x 700

20,321,280,000 cubic metres of ice per year

sheesh…that sounds like a lot, someone check the math on that

Nick Stokes

Heat H=2.5e+9 J/sec; LH ice 3.34e+5 J/kg
H/LH = 2500/0.33 = 7500 kg/s = 7.5 tons/s. Not 700 tons/s.

Takes about 2 min to thaw the house.

michael hart

1 Watt equals 1 Joule per second
1 gram of ice takes 4.2 joules
2.5 GW equals 2.5 x10E9 joules per second
1 cubic meter of water equals 10E6 grams (ice density is only about 0.9, so adjust by that amount)
So 2.5GW divided by 10E6 equals 2.5x10E3 and adjusted for ice density gives us 2800 cubic metres per second

Is a 3 storey house roughly equal to, say, 10 meters wide by 10 meters deep by 10meters high? Seems reasonable. So that would be 1000 cubic meters per house, so actually nearly 3 houses of ice per second.

If you are Al Gore then your house is bigger.

I stand by my original estimation.

If you think that is a lot, then that is up to you and your opinion.

Nick Stokes

“1 gram of ice takes 4.2 joules”
Actually, 1 gm water takes 4.2 Joules to raise it 1°C. It takes 334 Joules to melt a gram of ice (LH).
“So 2.5GW divided by 10E6 equals 2.5x10E3 and adjusted for ice density gives us 2800 cubic metres per second”
It helps if you quote units:
“So 2.5GW divided by 10E6 gm equals 2.5x10E3 GW/gm and adjusted for ice density gives us 2800 cubic metres per second”
but that doesn’t make any sense at all. You need to divide by the latent heat, which you haven’t used at all. I stand by my estimation.

“I stand by my original estimation.”
Which was 700 cu m/sec, not 2800 as now.

michael hart

Yes, my mistake.

HotScot

Nick

I understand there are some 90 volcano’s recently confirmed under the Antarctic ice.

No one seems to know if they are active, how long they might have been active, or what size they are. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that 10% are alive and contributing to massive ice melt on the continent.

Even this one is scientifically indeterminate, in other words, they guessed the size and output. It might be another Krakatoa for all we know.

michael hart

Returning to your original question, for a sense of scale it might be helpful to compare the melting rate to the flow of a river.
Again, what you consider a lot or little will depend on you and your river.
In 2014 the BBC reported the River Thames, (London’s river for those not familiar) as breaking some records for flowing at 275 cubic meters per second for a period of 50 days. (Presumably measured as an average in London itself).

So an ice melt rate 10 times that of the Thames might seem a lot. But the Thames is a pretty wimpy river even by Western European standards, and probably a nameless dribble by Antarctic comparisons. I’m feeling lazy so perhaps someone else can find other comparisons. As I said before, the important thing is probably that it may be a lot locally, and is produced at the base of the glacier concerned (which is, again, fairly pathetic on the scale of Antarctica).

Paul Hildebrandt

Speaking of rivers of lava…and the sound it makes
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=659452831061746&id=266996406974059

WXcycles

No need to over-think it, they are dishonest sychophants, nothing more.

Rich Davis

You’d prefer an informed commentator I know, but let’s give it a go.

The heat capacity of a typical basaltic magma is estimated at 1450 Joules/kilogram-degree Kelvin according to this source: http://magma.geol.ucsb.edu/papers/EoV%20chapter%205%20Lesher&Spera.pdf

The same source says that typical eruptions are at 1000-1300 degrees C and density is 2600 kilograms per cubic meter.

The heat capacity of ice is 2.108 kJ/kgK, which we need to figure out how much heat it takes to warm up the Antarctic ice to the melting point.
From this source: https://socratic.org/questions/what-is-the-specific-heat-capacity-of-ice-water-and-steam

The latent heat of fusion for water, or the amount of heat it takes to change ice into liquid water at the melting point, is 334 J/g. From this source: https://www.britannica.com/science/latent-heat

We can estimate the temperature of the glacier ice in West Antarctica at -15C
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Antarctica

So first, how much heat is needed to warm a kg of glacier ice up to 0C?
(2,108 J/kg K)(1kg)(0 – (-15)K) = 31,620 J

Next how much heat is needed to melt a kg of glacier ice at 0C?
(334,000 J/kg)(1kg) = 334,000 J

Let’s assume that although the ice at the magma interface will actually become superheated steam, it will eventually condense and flow to the ocean at about 0C, so we can ignore the complexity of vaporizing and condensing and cooling back to the freezing point. If this is valid, then each kg of glacier ice needs 365,620 joules of heat to melt.

Now let’s see how much heat is available in each kg of magma at 1200 degrees C.
(1450 J/kg K)(1200 – 0) = 1,740,000 joules

Here we assume that the lava will cool from 1200 degrees C to the melting point of ice (0C).

For every kg of lava erupted, we should melt how many kg of glacier ice?
(1,740,000 J/kg lava)/(365,620 J/kg ice) = 4.76 kg ice/kg lava (or if you prefer, 4.76 pounds of ice per pound of lava)

In terms of volumes, it would be about 13.5 cubic meters of ice melted per cubic meter of lava erupted. (or if you prefer, 13.5 cubic feet of ice melted per cubic foot of lava).

The first source says that 25 cubic kilometers of lava erupts each year on earth, which is to say 25 billion cubic meters per year. So all of the lava on earth would melt about 338 billion cubic meters of ice.

The article does not make a claim about how much ice is being melted each year, it just says that it is measured in gigatons (over what area? Just the local area of this one volcano or the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet?). Given the ratio of 4.76 kg ice/kg lava, you would need 0.21 gigatons of lava to melt 1Gt of ice. At 2600 kg/m3 density, that works out to 81 million cubic meters or a cube of lava about 432 meters on a side, about 4.5 football fields wide x deep x tall.

That would be needed for each gigaton of ice melted, so it seems like lava flow from one volcano isn’t the main cause of melting if it’s accurate to talk about gigatons of ice melt. But maybe it’s Gt of ice in the entire WAIS and then all the volcanoes under the WAIS are contributing. There is not enough information provided to definitively answer the question of whether lava flow could be causing all of the reported ice melt, but it seems reasonable that it could be a major factor. Let’s also not lose sight of the question of whether they can accurately measure the amount of ice melt in the first place.

Nick Stokes

“So all of the lava on earth would melt about 338 billion cubic meters of ice”
And so if all the lava on earth as dedicated to melting ice in the most efficient way possible – ie turning ice at 0°C into water at 0°C, it would raise sea level by about 1mm/year. But of course only a small fraction of the world’s lava is in contact with ice. And any melting process will be far from maximally efficient. Much heat will go in heating ice to 0°C, heating water and even making steam.

Rich Davis

Nick
I did not mean to imply that any lava is actually in contact with glacial ice and certainly not all of the earth’s annual flow. My purpose was to put the heat needed to melt a Gt of ice into perspective with the total heat content of annual lava flow. I agree that the data argues against geothermal heat being the primary source of glacier melting. Bear in mind though that the same heat transfer could be occurring by geyser activity without any lava flow at all.

I addressed the steam question in my post. The melting under a km of ice is going to be essentially an adiabatic situation. The steam and its heat can’t exit to the atmosphere, it’s contained. The steam will condense in contact with ice and give back the latent heat. Eventually the meltwater is going to reach the ocean at about 0C.

It’s claimed that the average geothermal flux is inadequate to explain significant melting. I believe you’ve made that point? But it’s the local heat flux that matters here, not a global average. Not sure how they accurately measure heat flux under 100s of meters of ice. Is the heat flux accurate? Geothermal heat flux is extremely variable within even small distances around a volcano or geyser.

Also how do they arrive at the amount of ice loss in the glacier? Just how accurate is that figure?

Sea levels have been steadily rising for all of recorded history. It’s a natural phenomenon.

HotScot

Rich Davis

Amazing amount of work.

Thank you.

Rich Davis

Glad to help

ThinkingScientist

And now do the calculation for the additional amount of heat stored in 1 m^3 of air when its temperature is raised 1.7 degC from -27.7 to -26.0 degC in 56 years and see how much ice that would melt……

Possible Hypotheses:

1. Volcanos = heat = melting. Easy to understand and believe. Lots of heat.
2. Tiny change to air temperature at Byrd Station from -27.7 degC (1960) to -26.0 degC (2016) (based on OLS of Byrd Station data) results in unprecedented melting, lowering of base pressure etc etc…really?

CAGW is clearly melting the glaciers and we are all doomed! (/sarc)

Richard M

The volcanic heat doesn’t even need to melt all the ice. All it has to do is melt enough ice to reduce the friction and speed up the glacier’s flow.

Even more important, you might have a large area of warm ground where the bottom of the glacier melts. The water would then flow into the ocean where the combined warmth could work on the grounding toe of the glacier. At that point you can get ocean water involved as well.

WXcycles

Richard,

Volcanic hydrothermal systems commonly generate clay plate minerals that are natural lubricants. A clay silicate plate slides along van-der-waals bonds between plates, and have the same xtal structure as shower talc or graphite, excellent natural lubricants. And much more slippery than water alone. In fact fault surfaces are usually full of hydrated clays and graphite, called ‘slickensides’.

HotScot

WXcycles

Forgive me if this is a really stupid question. But if there were unusual volcanic activity under Antarctic ice, resulting in the phenomenon you describe, would there be evidence of that by more frequent calving of the glaciers?

WXcycles

@HotScot

It would not be “unusual” activity, it depends on the geological setting, which defines the style of volcanism, as to if this is likely present.

Thus the potential mechanisms available are not merely that of melted ice water. Only a drill core survey (into the rock below, not so much the ice) will reveal what’s occurring over the ‘recent’ geological time-scale, i.e. not merely a “climate change” time-scale. That’s a big part of what’s missing.

And it’s kinda tough getting rock coring data through a moving glacier, not to mention being a very different mechanical prospect to simply coring the ice, i.e. the data needed to properly characterise (and also map, through time) what’s occurring isn’t going to appear any time soon.

So these dippy speculations of pending global doom remains popular for opportunistic alarmists, looking to scare up a payday, and some media-exposure and cheap egomania thrills.

HotScot

WXcycles

Thank you. Very informative, and presented in a manner that even a layman like me can understand.

J Mac

Hmmmm….. We have a geologically recent claim of ice loss from the Pine Island glacier and a similarly recent discovery of increased volcanism under the area of the Pine Island glacier. Yet Assistant Professor Loose’s conclusion is “Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe…”

‘That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Send money’

Mike Bryant

“He said other studies have shown that melting caused by climate change is reducing the size and weight of the glacier, which reduces the pressure on the mantle, allowing greater heat from the volcanic source to escape and then warm the ocean water.”
The gymnastics that “scientists” must practice in this post modern insane asylum…

Steve S

I suggest he review Iceland’s glaciers and tell me how that weight- iceplug thing is working out.

Kaiser Derden

the American judge (M. Mann) scores that move as a 9 but the Russian judge gives it a 3 …

Cephus0

The level of cognitive dissonance involved in this is quite mind-boggling. So we have an entire Continent almost completely covered with multi-km thick ice. The major ice sheet in the East is growing and there is little to no volcanism there. Meanwhile in the West the minor ice sheet there is losing mass and it is found that the Antarctic peninsular is a volcanically active region which is rifting away from the East. New evidence indicates a volcanic source of heat directly under the melting Pine Island glacier and the discoverer still goes with carbon dioxide – just the human emitted bit of course – as the driving force behind the melt, even though that is completely at odds with observations in the East. It simply cannot be even considered that just perhaps volcanic heat is responsible for ALL of the melting on the peninsular. And these ‘scientists’ wonder why they are ridiculed.

Nick Stokes

“. It simply cannot be even considered that just perhaps volcanic heat is responsible for ALL of the melting on the peninsular. And these ‘scientists’ wonder why they are ridiculed.”
Of course it can be considered. The difference is that scientists actually do the calculations. But there is the other basic is this. If geothermal heat is responsible for the melting of the WAIS, why only now? Geothermal heat has always been around. Why wasn’t it melted ages ago?

Felix

Nick,

Seriously?

You are aware are you not that volcanoes don’t erupt continuously for millions of years?

The last eruption of the volcano under the Pine Island Glacier was 2200 years ago.

Geothermal heat is more constant, but not at enough intensity to affect the glacier to the same extent as an active eruption. Normal geothermal heat just helps grease the glacier along at a consistent pace between eruptions.

Why is this hard for you to grasp?

Nick Stokes

Here is a picture of Mt Erebus. It is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has been erupting since 1972. It sits on a volcanic island in the Ross Ice shelf. It has not melted the shelf. In fact, the mountain is heavily covered with ice as you can see. There are no rivers running down the slopes.

comment image

Felix

Nick,

Its last major eruption, an explosive VEI 6, which created its summit caldera, occurred 18,000 ± 7,000 years ago.

Nor is it a subglacial volcano. It has snow on its sides and arises from an ice shelf because it is a tall mountain at high latitude.

Nick Stokes

But it is the hottest of hot spots (in eruption) and covered with ice with no visible melting. How can that be if volcanoes are possibly melting the whole ice shelf?

Felix

It’s not covered with ice. It’s blanketed with snow, just like most stratovolcanoes in the world, including those in the tropics.

Nick Stokes

“It’s not covered with ice. “

Erebus is famous for its ice caves, hollowed out by fumaroles. From here:

comment image

Felix

I’m not saying it doesn’t have glaciers or ice fields. Just that it’s not covered by ice.

That would mean that it had a glacier or ice sheet on top of it.

Rich Davis

The “whole ice shelf” is NOT melting.

And the sky is not falling either.

DaveS

I’m assuming this is tongue-in-cheek

Richard M

Nick, you don’t have to melt all the ice with volcanic heat. Simply start eating away at the grounding toe and speed up the glacial flow. Ocean heat will take care of the rest. And, in fact, this is what appears to be happening. Your usual deflection is null and void.

Nick Stokes

“Simply start eating away at the grounding toe and speed up the glacial flow.”
Lubrication is what the article is actually talking about. And that could destabilize the ice. The heat to melt it has to come from somewhere else. But umpteen people here are saying that the geothermal heat itself is responsible for the melting. And there just isn’t enough.

ThinkingScientist

But there is enough heat in the air when its average temperature is raised from -27.7 to -26.0 degC over 56 years (1960 – 2016) is there? (See comment up post for details).

Bill Murphy

RE: “Why wasn’t it melted ages ago?”
Here’s a clue. One sunny day in May 1980 I flew past a pretty mountain in Washington with lots of glaciers and snow pack. A few hours later the glaciers, snow and a big chunk of the mountain were all gone. The glaciers and snow pack caused a devastating flood downstream when they were melted all in a few minutes and part of the mountain was quite visible several hundred miles to the East drifting with the wind a week later. Today, almost 40 years later there are again glaciers and snow pack on what is left of that mountain. Another clue. In Southern Idaho there is a place called Craters of the Moon National Monument which is a huge area of recent lava flows (2000 to 15000 years old.) The park extent is 1,878.97 km sq but the lava flows extend well outside the park boundaries. These days that entire area is typically covered with a substantial snow blanket every winter but I suspect if there had been any permanent ice there 2000 years ago when the lava was flowing, it might not have faired too well. These days tourists in sneakers walk around on the lava quite comfortably. The point being that volcanic heat is not constant, like turning on a stove. It bubbles up in large quantities then lays dormant and cold for years, centuries or even millenia.

A few facts stand out: The EAIS is gaining ice. The WAIS is losing ice but sits on a newly discovered volcanic area that now appears to be active and may or may not have been in recent historic times. Antarctic sea ice set back to back record highs prior to the recent El Nino and appears likely to be heading back to above average extents this year after a few years of neutral to La Nina conditions, so the Southern ocean can not be all THAT warm to cause all the observed melting, and if it is, why is it sparing the EAIS from the same fate, given that the currents there basically circle the continent? So the continent is cold, the ocean is cold and often frozen, the bulk of the continent is gaining ice and a smaller part that just happens to sit on top of an active volcanic area of unknown extent and unknown total heat flow is — definitely — melting due to AGW. I suspect the calculations Nick mentioned have more to due with next years funding requests than the WAIS.

Chris

So prove where Nick’s calculations are incorrect, instead of criticizing him.

sophocles

A researcher from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography and five other scientists have discovered an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica.

Yawn.
Not discovered: Rediscovered.
It’s been known for a couple of years. In another couple of years, these researchers might catch up …

WXcycles

The rift volcanism has been known about since at least the early 1990s. ~25 years.

harry

I can see the headline now! “Loose with the truth!” -works for both sides of the debate!

Nick Stokes

The story of a recently discovered volcano under Pine Island has been a recurring furphy of the last decade or so. The first thing is that it is recently discovered, not recently happened. Whatever effect it has on the glacier, it has been having for a very long time. And it has not melted the glacier in the past.

“However, Loose cautions, this does not imply that volcanism is the major source of mass loss from Pine Island

Instead, this evidence of volcanism is a new factor to consider when monitoring the stability of the ice sheet.”

That is the key. Geothermal heat is nothing when it comes to mass of ice melted. The flux is in milliwatts per sq m, enough to melt at most a few cm of ice per year. That isn’t significant in terms of turning glaciers into water, but because the heat is flowing into a well insulated region (under ice) it can cumulatively melt enough to have a significant mechanical effect. The ice can slide more easily. And if its structure is undermined by actually melting from a real substantial heat source, that may be important.

Nick Stokes

Here is a pretty similar WUWT article on Pine Island Glacier volcanoes from eight years ago.

JimG1

“That is the key. Geothermal heat is nothing when it comes to mass of ice melted. The flux is in milliwatts per sq m, enough to melt at most a few cm of ice per year. That isn’t significant in terms of turning glaciers into water, ”

All of your “climate scientists” indicate that they don’t know how much heat these 91 volcanoes are putting out, but you do?

Nick Stokes

“All of your “climate scientists” indicate that they don’t know how much heat these 91 volcanoes are putting out, but you do?”
The abstract speaks of 2500 MW. That melts about 7.5 tons/sec, or about 0.2 Gtons/year. That would raise sea level about 1 micron/year.

Richard M

As I mentioned up thread, the geothermal heat doesn’t need to melt the glacier’s entire mass. All it needs to do is melt the toe and the glacial flow will increase. Your calculations are a worthless deflection.

gnomish

but it only takes one molecule out of 2500 to boil the seas! hansen said.

Latitude

Nick, bear with me on this….cause I really don’t get it
Air temps in East Antarctica have not changed that much….neither have southern ocean temps..
But let’s say they changed 1 degree and imagine that….

If volcanoes under the ice changed the water temp under the ice just one degree…that’s all of the water under the ice…and about the same surface area of what’s on top.

How can air temps have a greater effect?…air conducts a lot less than water
Seems to me a higher water temp on the bottom would melt more ice faster.

What am I missing here?

Nick Stokes

“What am I missing here?”
A lot of arithmetic. What are the heat fluxes involved? Because it takes heat flux to produce a mass flow of melted ice. A small flux can warm a big insulated mass of ice over a long time. But if the ice melts and escapes, taking heat with it, then the flux of water can’t be maintained.

Latitude

If it’s a constant volcano/heat source….why wouldn’t the heat be constantly replaced? I was assuming it raised temps 1 degree permanently

Nick Stokes

“If it’s a constant volcano/heat source….why wouldn’t the heat be constantly replaced?”
Well, it isn’t, as people who have tried to develop geothermal heat sources have discovered. Heat is always diffusing from the hot interior of the Earth to the surface. Sometimes that is helped by a bit of convection in moving magma. But it is a flux through a lot of resistance. It’s what electrical folk would call a high impedance source. If you tap what seems to be a high temperature accumulation, it fades.

An analogy is static electricity. If you comb your hair, electrical current flows to the comb. It reaches a high voltage, which can be sustained because the comb is an insulator. But if you connect that to an electric motor, it’s gone. High voltage, but no current can be drawn.

Latitude

Now I’m really lost…..hot springs have a surprisingly constant temperature
They are geothermal….why does it work differently on the bottom of the ocean?
Seafloor vents are also fairly constant, within a few degrees consistently. These are basically vents they are talking about….why would these flux…when the rest that have been monitored are consistent

Nick Stokes

“hot springs have a surprisingly constant temperature”
Yes, but how much heat flux? Actually, it changes when you draw on them. Rotorua, in NZ, has many hot springs, and they were a big tourist attraction. The Maori used to cook on them. But then people started to draw on the heat for all sorts of purposes. They didn’t stay constant then. You only get so much heat flux, and by ice-melting standards, it isn’t much.

Alan Tomalty

Nick How can you know so much and possibly believe in the global warming scam?

Philip Schaeffer

Meh, everyone has their pet theory, and when Nick says something that dosesn’t line up with what they believe, he is now suddenly part of the alarmist scam. Rinse and repeat, in spite of Nick never being alarmist.

Simon

Alan T
“Nick How can you know so much and possibly believe in the global warming scam?”
Maybe just maybe it’s because you don’t want to understand it that he hasn’t made an impact on you. Re his point above about geothermal, he is bang on. As a kiwi I can vouch for the fact that geothermal is not unlimited and Rotorua and Taupo have both seen a reduction in flow as the locals tapped into the sources.

Anthony Banton

Because unless motivated by politics”people who know stuff” know it’s not a scam.

Dave Miller

No offense, but that is “not even wrong”.

peyelut

you aren’t missing a thing. Stand by to be baffled by B.S.

tty

“Geothermal heat is nothing when it comes to mass of ice melted”

Ever heard of a Jökulhlaup?

Nick Stokes

What mass of ice melted is there in a Jökulhlaup? Does it raise sea level?

Felix

When the subglacial volcano, discovered in 2008, last erupted some 2200 years ago, it must have melted much of the then Pine Island Glacier, since it spread ash over the ice sheet:

https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/grimsvoetn.html

Nick Stokes

” it must have melted much of the then Pine Island Glacier, since it spread ash over the ice sheet”
No, it only needs to make a volcano-sized hole, as Mt Erebus once did. Your link is about a volcano in Iceland.

Felix

It’s a subglacial volcano which melts the ice around it, releasing a subglacial lake, such as must underlie Pine Island.

The size of the crater will partly determine how much of the glacier melts.

CO2 has nothing to do with the WAIS.

tty

Actually yes. Studies of the subglacial flow pattern under the Eurasian icecap at the LGM indicates about 12 mm/year basal melting, about half from geothermal heat and half from frictional heat (Piotrowski 1997). For the EAIS+WAIS this would translate to about 0.45 mm/year sea-level.
Admittedly this would not apply to cold-based parts of the ice-sheet, but on the other hand the geothermal heat flow under the WAIS is much higher than anywhere under the Eurasian ice.

Piotrowski, Jan A. 1997. Subglacial Hydrology in North-Western Germany During the Last Glaciation: Groundwater Flow, Tunnel Valleys, and Hydrological Cycles. Quaternary Science Reviews. 16 (2): 169–185.

Glenn

“Whatever effect it has on the glacier, it has been having for a very long time”

How long is “very long”, Nick? More than a skoshy but less than a bunch?

tty

And how long has the Pine Island glacier been studied? The area was only mapped in 1946, and the glacier was named for one of the expedition ships USS Pine Island (AV-12)

Nick Stokes

The point is that the amount of geothermal heating that has been measured is very small, in terms of ice that it could melt. And there is no evidence at all that it has increased recently.

Richard M

There is also no evidence it hasn’t increased lately. As I mentioned up thread, it doesn’t need to melt the entire glacier. All it needs to do is reduce the grounding toe and the glacier flow will speed up. And, in fact, this is exactly what has been seen.

And what’s more, no one has detected any other source of heat that could account for the melting. All we’ve heard is conjecture about some magical upwelling warm water due to AGW.

Sorry, Nick, but your attempt to deflect is a total failure.

Ed Zuiderwijk

The ocean waters under the ice shelves have a temperature of about -1 C. It’s salty as well, therefore still fluid at that temperature. How that ‘warm ocean water heat’ then gets to melt the shelf from below is a bit of a mystery to me. Methinks the professor has his own pet hypothesis and not much from the realm of actual data can change his mind.

Despite the discovery of a volcano right under the Pine Island Glacier, Climate Change must remain as the main disturbing factor, otherwise, there could be severe loss of Funding and Grants which would be truly devastating.

AndyHce

Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers

Perhaps three years ago there was an article on WUWT about two papers just published by the research teams on the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers. What was behind these new papers was information gathered by new underwater drones that could go down deep enough to get under the floating part of the two glaciers, something like one to two kilometers if I remember properly.

The gist of the reports was that this new source of data revealed that the glaciers were melting from underneath due to rising warm water. The drone’s video and other instruments revealed that the melting had been going on for 300 to 1000 years. The reason there might be more rapid present melting was that the glaciers were breaking free of the underwater ridges upon which they had long been grounded.

The authors of one paper, on Thwaites I believe, discussed ideas about what was going on. They ended the paper with a brief discussion of where the melting heat could be coming from. They stated, quite clearly, that while the favorite hypothesis was that warmer water from outside the Antarctic Circumpolar Current was somehow going deep under the current (since it was hard to figure how it could get through the current), then rising under the ice further south. However, no one had yet found any actual evidence of such a flow. The paper ended with the usual observance that while the melting was not due to a global warming, as there was no warming above the glaciers, their studies could still shed valuable light on possible future response to Climate Change.

Question: I have since seen many references to warm water invading the colder Antarctic waters and causing ice melt but I have never seen any statements saying that such intrusions have actually been observed rather than just hypothesized. Does anyone know of anything positive about sources?

Not too long after these two papers there was another paper from one of the teams, also reported at WUWT, that improvements in the drones now allows them to go all the way to the ocean bottom under the ice. They found many geothermal outlets releasing considerable hot water. They said that the preliminary data could not determine the amount well enough to make any definite statements about how much of the glacier melting was from this source but there was a “surprising” amount of unexpectedly warm water coming from the vents.

As with many of my other searches using the ‘Search WUWT:’ facility, I have found no reference to these articles so cannot provide links but I am quite certain I have not imagined reading them. A internet wide search might provide them if one, unlike myself, did not run out of time and energy before scanning through enough hundreds of pages of search results.

I did find this WUWT article from 2014 about a different discovery of geothermal heat under the Thwaites Glacier by radar but my impression is that this is about the land based part of the glacier, not the underwater melting of the ice shelf.
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/09/uh-oh-study-says-collapsing-thwaites-glacier-in-antarctica-melting-from-geothermal-heat-not-co2-heat-effects/

Another question similar to the one above about separating “climate change” effects and the volcanic heat effects:
Anther recent WUWT article reported about the new finding on rapid uplift of Antarctica. It attributed this uplift to isostatic rebound from the melting Antarctic ice but did not mention what seems more probable to me: tectonic uplift. Of course that would not support the story. Does anyone know if it is possible to somehow differentiate these sources of land rising?
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/06/22/study-provides-less-gloom-and-doom-about-antarctica/

Kaiser Derden

“there are several decades of research documenting the heat from ocean currents is destabilizing Pine Island Glacier” and for several decades the research ignored the VOLCANO underneath the glacier … I think they may need to “adjust” their model … again …

Jeff Alberts

““Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe,”

That’s like saying breathing is the leading cause of death.

Ray Boorman

Love the way these rent-seekers just wave away any natural source of heat they find that could be the primary cause of the assumed melting of Antarctic ice. They put folks like David Copperfield to shame with their diversionary tactics.

Chris

Then prove them wrong. Carry out the math to show that the Pine volcano is the primary cause of warming in Antarctica and post it.

tty

There isn’t any warming in Antarctica. That is why invisible ocean water at depth has to be the culprit.

Chris

Invisible ocean water? Gee, that’s a new one. Why don’t you write a paper explaining that?

tty

Chris:
Do you know the meaning of “at depth” or should I explain?

Chris

It’s not invisible ocean water, it’s ocean water. Whether or not temperature data exists for a particular depth does not make it invisible.

MarkW

So you want us to do work that the author of the study couldn’t be bothered to do?

Chris

You don’t do any work, so making that request to you would be rather pointless.

Richard M

You should listen to Sherlock: “How often have I said that when you have excluded the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

No evidence exists for ocean currents melting the ice. That only leaves the volcanic heat. Sorry you are living in a world of reality denial.

JCalvertN(UK)

Give them time.

They’ll gradually move across to the idea that volcanism is the primary cause of the problems at Pine Island Glacier. But they need to overcome their dearly beloved preconceptions and biases. Unfortunately science tends to work this way. The following is from Feynman’s “Cargo Cult Science” talk.

“Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It’s a little bit off, because he had the incorrect value for the viscosity of air. It’s interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of the electron, after Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.”
“Why didn’t they discover that the new number was higher right away? It’s a thing that scientists are ashamed of—this history—because it’s apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan’s, they thought something must be wrong—and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number closer to Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that. We’ve learned those tricks nowadays, and now we don’t have that kind of a disease.”

joel

Well, he’ll keep his job, anyway.

WXcycles

OK, but if we we spend a stack of national debt growth on useless wind farms, these volcano things will just go away, right?

AndyE

“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe …………” states Brice Loose, with an expert’s certainty.
Why can’t today’s scientists come out honestly and say, “Oops – these new findings certainly do change our confidence in the correctness of the theories which we have had until now”. ??? They would actually sound more convincing as scientists by saying that.

Alan Tomalty

They would kiss their funding and career good bye. This global warming hoax is affecting all science.

Chris

Because that wouldn’t be honest. The impact of this volcano on Antarctica melt rates is tiny.

MarkW

Prove it. The author of the study didn’t even try to.

Chris

Calculations provided below 2 days ago.

Richard M

No Chris, Nick’s calculations are a deflection and don’t address the actual mechanism for the glacier flow speeding up. I do love how climate alarmists will jump on anything, even pure nonsense, to maintain their “beliefs”. It is obvious your entire viewpoint is “faith” based.

Shanghai Dan

“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe, and this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet.”

Really? You don’t know what effect the volcano under the ice sheet is, but you’re 100% certain that it’s coming from climate change. Seems you first need to quantify the melt from that under-ice source before you can make any proclamation about the source of the bulk of melt…

“However, Loose cautions, this does not imply that volcanism is the major source of mass loss from Pine Island. On the contrary, “there are several decades of research documenting the heat from ocean currents is destabilizing Pine Island Glacier, which in turn appears to be related to a change in the climatological winds around Antarctica,” Loose said”

Re, Ocean temps : ARGO data of circum-Antarctic waters shows no trend since 2004 and the 30 year T trend of the Southern Ocean is negative.

As for air temps, they speak for themselves … -60C etc with no trend over the entire record.

Source: https://climatism.blog/2018/05/10/bias-by-omission-no-mention-of-mother-natures-undersea-volcanoes-in-the-latest-antarctic-global-warming-scare-story/

Gary Pearse

“… this doesn’t imply that volcanism is the major source of ice loss… climate change blah blah.” The article repeats this three times in the classic nursery rhyme style. How about this bit of logic:

“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe, and this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet undetermined effect, because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet.”

But they know how clinate change is distributed beneath the ice sheet!

JBom
DJ Meredith

I am puzzled by this “discovery”, I’ve known about the Pine Island volcano for years, and I’m not even a volcanologist or glaciologist… It’s news again because someone managed to get a grant

Chris

Nick Stokes provided a calculation of how many tons of ice/sec 2500 MW would melt:

Heat H=2.5e+9 J/sec; LH ice 3.34e+5 J/kg
H/LH = 2500/0.33 = 7500 kg/s = 7.5 tons/s.

Even if we take the high end of the estimate, which is 2500+1700 = 4200, that would give a melt rate of 12.6 tons/sec. Converting to annual ice melt gives a rate of 400M tons/yr.

Last year the WAIS lost 159B tons. So the Pine Island volcano was responsible for 400M/159B = .25% of WAIS ice loss last year. Not exactly a prime suspect in the tripling of WAIS ice melt rates over the last 6 years.

tty

Heat flow is high to very high almost everywhere under the WAIS:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4078843/

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/6/e1500093.full

and references therein.

Putting the average heat flow very conservatively at 100 mW per square meter this means that the total amount of melting under the WAIS would be about 2×10^13 kg/year or about 20B tons. Of course less than calving but far from negligible and definitely very important for ice flow and glacier dynamics. And then there is frictional heating too.

Chris

Can you show your calculations?

tty

Area of WAIS: 2,2×10^6 km^2 = 2.2×10^12 m^2

Heat flow: 100 mWm^-2 = 0.1 J

Heat of fusion for water at 273 K = 334 Jg^-1

One billion tons = 10^15 g = 10^12 kg

Length of year 365.25×86,400 = 31,557,600 s

3.16×10^7 x 0.1 x 2.2×10^12/334 x 10^15 = 0.7×10^19/0.3×10^18 = c. 20

Or a bit more quickly as I actually did it: 100 mW is enought to melt a little bit more than one gram of water per hour, which makes a water layer about 9 mm thick after a year (a little less than 9000 hours in a year, 1 mm water weighs one kilogram per square meter)

Chris

I read the first paper, it’s about the Thwaites Glacier. That glacier has an area of 1.7×10^5. It seems you applied the measurements for Thwaites to the entire WAIS. The actual figure should be 1.7/22 x 20 = 1.55 Gtons/year, or 1% of what WAIS is losing each year. Correct?

tty

Incorrect. The 100 mWm-^2 average value for West Antarctica was taken from:

J. H. Davies, D. R. Davies 2010, Earth’s surface heat flux. Solid Earth 1, 5–24 (https://www.solid-earth.net/1/5/2010/se-1-5-2010.pdf)

Since that paper was written a large number of further subglacial volcanic centers have been discovered, which is why I said it is a very conservative figure.

By the way read the second paper I linked earlier as well and the paper above. You will learn a bit more about antarctic volcanoes and geology, which you need. Badly.

Chris

No, it’s actually you that badly needs to learn more. The vast majority of ice in Antarctica is land based. So land temperatures are what matters, not ocean water temperatures. The mean land temperature on Antarctica is -25C. Far, far below freezing. So it is not valid to take the 100mW/m2, convert it to total heat across all of Antarctica, and then calculate melt rates assuming all the heat is concentrated into a small area. An analogy would be walking into a deep freezer which is at -25, and turning on a hair dryer. You might drop the temperature to -24, or -23, but it is certainly NOT going to thaw the items stored there. Not even a little bit.
http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap03/antarctica.html

Also, unless you can show that the earth’s heat flux near Antarctica has gone up dramatically since 2012, it would not explain the tripling in Antarctica ice loss since then.

tty

The heat flow was an average for West Antarctica and the calculation was for West Antarctica, nothing else. Heat flow in East Antarctica is almost unknown, but likely to be much lower given the geology.
Surface melting is slight in Antarctica as you say, though not zero since sublimation can be significant as shown by the presence of blueice areas.
So, the mass balance is dominated by calving, which is strongly affected by bed conditions, e. g. the amount of bottom melting.

Whether the local heat flow in the Amundsen Bay area has increased recently is unknown. Heat flow can fluctuate locally, even on short timescales. For example you may have noticed an increase on Hawai’i recently that has attracted a certain amount of publicity.

Chris

Sure, but the heat flow in Hawaii is not affecting an area of 2.2×10^6. Let’s say it’s affecting an area 20 km long and 10km out to sea. That’s 200km2, or 1/10,000 of the area of WAIS. For the heat to have increased enough to triple the ice melt rate in WAIS seems highly, highly unlikely to me.

Chris

The overall point I am making is that anytime another contributor to warming is pointed out, the reaction here on WUWT is “see, this proves the CAGW is rubbish, the temperature/melting is caused by xx!” Even when, such as in this case, the melting caused by the volcanic heat flow is tiny compared to the total melt rate (.25%, to be exact).

tty

Can you show your calculations?

Chris

They are at the top of this indented subthread.

Richard M

Chris, as has already been pointed out above, your logic is completely flawed. All of the energy to melt the ice does not need to come from the geothermal source. All it has to do is reduce the grounding toe and allow the glacier to speed up.

As the glacier speeds up then it is ocean water (and heat energy) that leads to the melting. This energy is continually replenished by the normal currents.

It is this increased flow that has been observed.

tty

So your argument is that there is no heat-flow except for this one volcano? Seems a bit unlikely.

MattS

“heat from ocean currents is destabilizing Pine Island Glacier” Yeah, heat from other volcanoes drifts down in ocean currents. The entire west coast of antarctica sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire. There are volcanoes all along it, from deception island in the north, where it is so warm the sea is 30`C right to the south.

tty

It is interesting to read the paper (in Nature) that reported the first discovery of a active volcano under the WAIS (Mount Casertz) back in 1993. At that time CAGW orthodoxy was not yet fully established, and consequently it says in the final paragraph:

“Therefore the character of the lithosphere within the central West Antarctic rift system and, specifically, the distribution of elevated heat flow and sedimentary basins, represents a fixed boundary condition for the WAIS that is independent of global climate yet could be responsible for triggering the collapse of the ice sheet”

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232773729_Active_volcanism_beneath_the_West_Antarctic_ice_sheet_and_implications_for_ice-sheet_stability

But now, when the number of known subglacial volcanoes have grown to more than a hundred, this is no longer so.

Nick Stokes

“this is no longer so”
Really? How is it sifferent from
“The discovery of volcanoes beneath the Antarctic ice sheet means that there is an additional source of heat to melt the ice, lubricate its passage toward the sea, and add to the melting from warm ocean waters. It will be important to include this in our efforts to estimate whether the Antarctic ice sheet might become unstable and further increase sea level rise.”

tty

Where is the “independent of global climate” part in your quotation?

Nick Stokes

“additional source of heat”. There is no indication that source depends on global climate. That is why they say it is additional.

ozspeaksup

well thats scientific
find a volcanic source and still deny any melting is from it
has to be the hot oceans n co2
facepalm

Chris

That’s not what they said. Did you read the paper? “The localization of mantle helium to glacial meltwater reveals that volcanic heat induces melt beneath the grounded glacier and feeds the subglacial hydrological network crossing the grounding line. “

Alley

First, nobody is denying that the volcano would cause some warming. Some comments suggest (and others outright state) that the warming is denied, but obviously that is not true.

Second, when a scientist explains that the volcano is a factor, why jump to your own gut conclusion that it is the primary source of melt? Just because they cannot measure it precisely does not mean that the magnitudes are unknown.

This would be like someone pointing out that a long jump was aided by wind, and having people pile-on and describe how the wind was the reason for most of the distance. Just because you don’t know the exact forcing does not mean the magnitudes are unknown.

tty

“The” Volcano? There is at least a dozen known volcanoes within the Pine Island Glacier drainage basin:

http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/specpubgsl/early/2017/05/26/SP461.7.full.pdf

HFB

Wouldn’t this be more like saying that the long jump was aided by wind (volcanism) and we found the earth was spinning in his favor (climate) ??? I know-not a perfect analogy, but whatever.

Seems a pretty easy computation to show precisely, and to the limits of our ability to measure, what “assistance” the wind would give and any impact from spin to determine the actual jump.

Or, we could use what we think we know of the spinning earth and completely ignore the wind since, to reiterate ad nauseum, “this newly discovered source of heat (wind) is having an as-yet undetermined effect”…..

I believe that you chose a long jump analogy as some sort of subconscious slip, no?

Leap of logic indeed.

Richard M

Alley, I have to say it is hilarious watching the climate cult try and defend the silly claim that it is “climate change” having the biggest effect on glacial melting even though there is not one iota of evidence there are any warm currents in this area produced by “climate change”. Do you also believe in fairies?

John Schwartz

“However, Loose cautions, this does not imply that volcanism is the major source of mass loss from Pine Island.”

And let me caution you to just stick to finding data and following the truth where it leads.

ResourceGuy

“We weren’t looking for volcanism” is classic. Better turn off the helium-3 sampler next time lest you make more inconvenient, unapproved discoveries in the most volcanically active part of that ice continent.

Mr Bliss

When you feel heat in the Antarctic – Think volcanoes – Not CO2

Anthony Banton

As has been the case for millenia?
Much more likely than not.
Also check out photos of snow-laden volcanoes … they sure do melt it (sarc)

comment image

tty

Indeed they do….

comment image

JCalvertN(UK)

That looks like a picture from Iceland of the 1995 ‘Jökulhlaup’ that resulted from a well-publicised subglacial eruption which saw the Grímsvötn volcano rapidly melt a large portion of the Vatnajökull glacier. Peak flow rate was estimated at 50,000 cubic metres per second.