Earth’s ‘Paunch’ Helps Sharpen Ice-Loss Estimates

From NASA Global Climate Change

Feature | November 12, 2019

Image of Earth from the GOES-14 satellite. Credit: NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, data from NOAA GOES

By Pat Brennan,
NASA’s Sea Level Change Portal

Planet Earth is losing the battle of the bulge. Rotation makes it slightly fatter in the middle and flatter at the poles; though still quite round, it is not a perfect sphere.

This flattening is called “oblateness,” and measuring its changes is a key part of tracking ice loss from polar regions. A recent paper combines measurements of gravity by different methods to more accurately capture how this oblateness changes with time, and improve calculations of ice loss.

This new method reveals more ice loss and larger increases in ocean water than previously estimated: an increase of 0.08 millimeters per year for sea level rise, along with an additional 15.4 gigatons of ice loss each year for the Antarctic Ice Sheet and 3.5 for the Greenland Ice Sheet.

“The ice sheets are losing more mass, and the ocean is gaining more, than we previously thought,” said Bryant D. Loomis of Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the paper’s lead author.

One way scientists measure the loss of melting ice and the resulting shifting of mass, from ice sheets to the ocean, is by NASA’s GRACE satellites (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) — both the now-ended original mission and its sequel, GRACE-FO (Follow-On).

For both missions, a pair of satellites was designed to keep sharp track of each other’s movements as they pass over Earth’s surface. Large masses on or near the surface below — mountains, glaciers or hidden expanses of subsurface groundwater — give a gravitational tug on the first of the passing spacecraft. That causes a slight increase in speed; the microwave link with the second satellite is stretched a bit, changing again as the second satellite passes over. The size of these changes in distance between the satellites reveals the mass of the objects below.

When it comes to measuring changes in the oblateness, however, GRACE and GRACE-FO are not as accurate as another method.

“That’s the only part of the gravity field GRACE doesn’t observe well,” Loomis said.

Fortunately, changes in the oblateness are well-observed by the other method, called satellite laser ranging or SLR. This technology, which dates back to the 1960s, involves shooting a laser beam at a satellite from a ground station and measuring how quickly it bounces back from a specially designed mirror on the satellite.

Combined Measurements Improve Accuracy

Measurements of the effect of surface gravity on satellites in orbit can be used to calculate the mass of objects on Earth. While not as accurate as GRACE at smaller spatial scales, it does an excellent job of measuring oblateness.

“Since early in the GRACE mission, scientists have been replacing the GRACE values of oblateness (called ‘J2’) with the more accurate SLR solution,” Loomis said.

Correctly accounting for this slight polar flattening can make a big difference in estimating the loss of ice mass in polar regions as planet Earth warms.

But Loomis and his team discovered important differences between previous estimates of oblateness and their own values. He and his co-authors decided to include the valuable GRACE gravity information at the smaller spatial scales when processing the SLR measurements and found that it improved the results.

They showed that the new approach led to more accurate estimation of ice loss that was in better agreement with other types of measurements. One of these is known as the “sea level budget,” or the sum of all known contributions to changes in sea level. These are the thermal expansion of the ocean (measured by drifting floats called Argo), plus the change in ocean mass, measured by GRACE and GRACE-FO with a little help from SLR. The two measurements must add up to the total sea level change measured by satellite radar altimeters, like the one aboard the current Jason-3 satellite.

The improvement in measurements of loss of ice mass brought the sea level budget closer to being “closed” — that is, accounting for all contributions in a way that matches up with known rates of sea level rise.

Their new solution is now becoming more widely adopted in the scientific community, Loomis said — and all because of more precise “weighing” of a slightly rotund planet Earth.

“Even though it’s a relatively small change, it nudges it in the right direction to improve the sea level budget closure,” Loomis said.

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64 thoughts on “Earth’s ‘Paunch’ Helps Sharpen Ice-Loss Estimates

      • Define better. Look at what they do here.

        They compare to “other measurements” of which only satellite altimetry is cited. That process is full of fudge factors and then we get the totally speculative, non measured, non validated “GAIA” adjustement which adds 10% increase in volume just for good measure.

        They now find their new method give a result they like a bit more because comes closer to other speculative , frigged, alarmist datasets.

        The improvement in measurements of loss of ice mass brought the sea level budget closer to being “closed” — that is, accounting for all contributions in a way that matches up with known rates of sea level rise.

        Their new solution is now becoming more widely adopted in the scientific community, Loomis said — and all because of more precise “weighing” of a slightly rotund planet Earth.

        This apparently is the justification for claims of better “precision”. It gives the answer that we want so it must be more precise.

        So , yes as a skeptic, better measurement are always welcome. Faked claims of improved precision based on nothing but agreement with expectation and the inevitable “it’s worse than we thought” narrative, not so much.

        You should try being skeptical some times. It helps see through the BS.

        • Bingo, Greg!

          Everything, they are applying their calculations to are:
          1) A list of assumptions regarding sea level causes; none known, verified or 100 percent measured. Every one of the assumed sources is 100% estimated, most without direct measurement.

          2) Sea level telemetry which has it’s own problems significant error bounds. When they’re making claims about 0.08 mm annually, they’ve been playing with their personal unicorns again.
          One is inclined to think they have similar issues with their estimates of meltwater sources.

          3) A kludge of gravity metrics and laser measurements that are force fitted together without verification,certification and proven replication.

          4) That their results “better fit” their beliefs is a warning sign, not a verification.

          5) Given that areas of the Polar regions they claim are losing water are co-located with volcanic activity and rifts, one gets curious how they separate ice gravimetric results from magma gravimetric results?

          Making this research another bodge by researchers trying to climb onto the climate gravy train.
          Only delusional or desperate alarmists will believe this kludge of assumptions and complex algorithms provides new or “better” information.

        • Additionally they assume a that all subterranean masses are ground water. Igneous rocks are fare denser than water. The Himalayan Plateau is big mass.
          BTW as a satellite passes closer to a denser section of Earth is gets tugged “downward” and dips its orbit ever so slightly and actually slows in orbital speed. The tandem satellite system is good at detecting this, but not altitude so well.
          Ground station laser measurements are very accurate at determining the distance between you and the satellite, but only at that location. But, whether you are sinking or rising is dependent on two things. If subsidence is the issue then according to the authors the satellite should be speeding up as it passes overhead (due to loss of land/water mass), thereby actually climbing in altitude and giving a measure of greater distance both due to the actual subsidence and the greater satellite altitude. Vice versa for rising land masses.
          Absent greater dispersion of actual land measurement sites, much is still speculative.

    • I see no error bars on their numbers. .08 mm +- what?

      Do people of real science actually believe they can get this accurate? 8 mm a century? Are the authors that desperate to publish this garbage?

    • Loydo has given up trying to make sense. (Not that she ever did)

      Anyone who disagrees with your religion is a flat earther. That’s really how you are paid to talk?

    • The .08mm differential isn’t an increase in ice loss or sea level rise, it is simply a correction to the GRACE measurement which would have been just as inaccurate when initialized. Historic measurements have simply been incorrect back to the start of the GRACE record.

    • Considering the actual value they should have written 80 microns, yes they claim to improve variation in global sea level measurements by 80 microns / yr.

      80 microns, global average. I really hope there was some snickering when they wrote this. That’s less than a sheet of most legal paper.

      Otherwise it is just another example of how AGW is permanently damaging our ability to do real science since they clearly have no understanding of error propagation.

      BTW, satellite position was known, at best, to ~ 1cm and that was already pushing it. Error in position was random in nature and difficult to estimate.

      • “That’s less than a sheet of most legal paper. ”

        I rushed down the beach with the breaking news to check it out against the peaks and troughs of the waves but I decided to wait for a calmer day plus Loydo for peer review of the results. Should have taken the surfboard instead as the legal paper didn’t cut it for some reason. The tree rings were all washed out. (made notes for Loydo to bring lined paper)

      • I believe that pure science research is dead, there is no culture for it to be able to choose what is of value or not. We will get application science but that is it.

    • Oh my God. 0.08 mm/year, that’s 8 mm per century, about 1 inch every 300 years. We are doomed, the end is nigh!

  1. ”This new method reveals more ice loss and larger increases in ocean water than previously estimated: an increase of 0.08 millimeters per year for sea level rise, along with an additional 15.4 gigatons of ice loss each year for the Antarctic Ice Sheet and 3.5 for the Greenland Ice Sheet.”

    8 mm/century is certainly within the error bars of any previous SLR rate.
    And 15.4 Gt and 3.5 Gt ice loos/year is certainly inside the 1-sigma error for annual ice loss respectively for each.

    What is so sad about climate science today is the ignoring of measurement uncertainty estimates of previous estimates. I suppose that’s what happens when it always has to be settled science and only one direction … towards more alarmism is allowed.

    • “What is so sad about climate science today is the ignoring of measurement uncertainty estimates of previous estimates.”
      They aren’t claiming to measure SLR to 0.08mm. They are saying that they can more accurately measure ice loss by gravity change. The mass change difference is equivalent to 0.08 mm/century.

      • Well it certainly would be easy to improve on the miserable GRACE data they have been trying to use to quantify the ice.

      • Nick, is that a meaningful number? it seems so vanishingly small that it is inconsequential. I realize it’s not your number, just wondering if you see a significance in it. It seems to be one of those situations where greater precision is claimed than is realistically possible.

        • “Nick, is that a meaningful number? “
          Well, the first question there is, what is it supposed to mean? It is the differential in SLR due to the new oblateness correction for ice melt. It is a small, but well-characterised correction. It is just a way of quantifying a difference in the state of ice. Small amounts can be significant if you are trying to work out if ice melt is accelerating.

      • Please tell the group what the uncertainty in this number actually is. I suspect it is like +/- 2 cm per year which should tell you that the estimate isn’t worth the paper (0.1mm) it is written on.

      • Nick Stokes – November 17, 2019 at 11:08 pm

        They aren’t claiming to measure SLR to 0.08mm. They are saying that they can more accurately measure ice loss by gravity change. The mass change difference is equivalent to 0.08 mm/century.

        But they are not measuring “gravity change”, they are estimating “ice loss”, to wit:

        They showed that the new approach led to more accurate estimation of ice loss that was in better agreement with other types of measurements. One of these is known as the “sea level budget,” or the sum of all known contributions to changes in sea level.

        And given the fact they admit to estimating “ice loss”, …. why are they claiming “improvement in measurements”, to wit:

        The improvement in measurements of loss of ice mass brought the sea level budget closer to being “closed” — that is, accounting for all contributions in a way that matches up with known rates of sea level rise.

      • So basically the measurements have been improper for 40 years.
        Instead of averaging 2.31mm per year (2.31cm per decade or 23.1cm per century) SLR is actually averaging 2.39mm per year (2.39cm per decade or 23.9cm per century).
        Or a more exacting measurement of +8mm per century.
        And I thought it was going to be apocalyptic…

      • “They aren’t claiming to measure SLR to 0.08mm. They are saying that they can more accurately measure ice loss by gravity change. The mass change difference is equivalent to 0.08 mm/century.”

        Actually wrong. They clearly say both ice loss AND sea levels.

        “This new method reveals more ice loss and larger increases in ocean water than previously estimated: an increase of 0.08 millimeters per year for sea level rise, along with an additional 15.4 gigatons of ice loss each year for the Antarctic Ice Sheet and 3.5 for the Greenland Ice Sheet.”

        Or maybe their paper is just so poorly written (and your knowledge of their incompetence so high 😀 ) That we just take what they say and decide what it means for ourselves.

        Which they have clearly done with the data.

    • Don’t bother Joel, these people don’t even seem to understand the difference between precision and accuracy.

  2. “The two measurements must add up to the total sea level change measured by satellite radar altimeters, like the one aboard the current Jason-3 satellite.”

    Oh you mean the one that has an accuracy of 33mm?

    • “sea level at Sydney Harbour has fallen further to what is now 149mm LOWER than it was at the first recording 105 years ago?”

      Could it be that Fort Denison is rising?

      Remind me that Denmark has a slowly tilting island called Bornholm. The south end goes down and the north end is rising.

      • According to Sonel data, Sydney Harbour is actually sinking very slightly but there is no GPS chip on the actual tide gauge.

        But it is not rising.

      • Along with prevailing winds, the moon, Earth’s orbit position around the sun, even where Jupiter is in relation to Earth’s orbit.

  3. “The ice sheets are losing more mass, and the ocean is gaining more, than we previously thought,”
    —————————————————————————————————–

    Geography of Kiribati:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d9/Kiribati_on_the_globe_%28Polynesia_centered%29.svg

    Despite the dire ‘threat’ voiced by the UN IPCC in 1992, the tide is still slowly going out for Kiribati. The country deemed most vulnerable to global warming sea level rise, has no general problem with the sea level rising.

    it’s quite the climate-crisis.

    “The numbers don’t lie!” – Greta

  4. 10 cm of snow on Greenland will add 20 Gt
    10 cm of snow in Antarctica will add 140 Gt
    (rule of thumb for Canadian meteorologists is 10 cm of snow = 1 cm of water)

    “Even though it’s a relatively small change, it nudges it in the right direction to improve the sea level budget closure,” Loomis said.

    The right direction. Yeah.

  5. I will add this to my list.
    31. Oblateness gives rise to excessive belief in climate marker precision. all 0.0032″ of it.

  6. The sealevel rise in the North Sea is 1.9 mm/yr. The sea is in open contact with the Atlantic, which is in open contact with the Indian Ocean, which is in open contact with the Pacific. Two millenia hence a guy in Syracuse, Archimedes, figured out how such liquid containers interact and that therefore the sealevel rise gobally is also 1.9 mm/yr give or take some small correction because the geodetic surface is not an exact sphere. Satellite measures of about 3mm/yr are therefore wrong, through whatever as yet undiscovered cause.

    The last but two paragraph about the budget being closed should therefore worry the authors, because it is the wrong budget.

  7. So these experts have not yet figured out that it might be more important to measure rainfall volume and runoff volume, since that goes into lakes and rivers and ends up in major waterways like Ole Man River? And they fail to recognize that the water volume from major waterways overall runs into the oceans?

    Then the real-world stuff is much less important than the junk science they engage in and these guys are just another bunch of chair warmers and grants grabbers. 8 millimeters is the size of an 8 millimeter image on a piece of photo film, and I”m supposed to be scared silly of something like that?

    Give me a break, willya? And don’t give me that nonsense about “overall” this and that. It is hogwash to justify their employment. Without grants, they’ll have to get real jobs…. and the world would be better off for it, too.

    • Sara – November 18, 2019 at 3:16 am

      So these experts have not yet figured out that it might be more important to measure rainfall volume and runoff volume, ……

      It would be just as silly and imbecilic of said “experts” to attempt measurements of “precipitation volume and runoff volume” as it is for them to attempt measurement of “ice volume” for determining increases/decreases in/of Sea Level.

      “DUH”, one should not forget that the “source” of all Sea Level surface water increases is the “precipitation volume”, …… and the “source” of all Sea Level surface water decreases is the “evaporation volume”, …… except for the regional Sea Level surface water increases/decreases that are caused by gravitational forces exerted by the Sun, the moon and other planets.

      So, with precipitation, evaporation and gravitation all causing noninfrequent random changes in sea level height, …… how is it possible for anyone to calculate a “yearly average” sea level rise or fall, …… especially when they know for a fact that “next week’s”, …. or “next month’s” and/or “next year’s” average is going to be different?

      I guess that “if it pays the same”, ……… it doesn’t matter to the “experts”.

  8. Perhaps they missed a bit?

    The Earth’s surface bounces up and down a bit less than 1 metre or so a day at the equator under the various pulls of its own, solar and Lunar gravity, in solid tides that also vary in intensity with the longer term gravitational effects of the three main Milankovitch cycles.

    Also, no one seems to consider the amount of magma entering the ocean floors, which is roughly the unit average output of 28×10^6m^3 pa per large volcano times the 100,000 or so large volcanoes on the ocean floor = 2.8×10^12m^3.

    A good example is the recent 5Km^3 800 Metre Mayotte volcano that appeared on the ocean floor in 6 months off Madagascar, delivering 20 ExaJoules to the ocean (5,000 megatonnes or the US annual electricity supply) which likely caused the cyclones and flooding there in early 2019 (I calculate that as roughly enough heat to warm 100Km x 100Km of ocean by 4 degrees to a depth of 100metres.

    nb: assuming heat rises as in classical physics, and does not descend into the colder ocean under the inverse convection of consensual climate science.

    This is a tad more magma infusion than the now clearly wrong geological consensus of 3 or 4 Km^3, and is also significant in the overall ocean volume of 1.4×10^18m^3.

    That much rock would in fact raise oceans more than we observe. However if it comes from within, its likely the thin flexible crust and its volcanoes are going back into the mantle circulation by subsumed plates, overtly it must all recirculate every 200million years or so if it is tectonic ocean floor….

    The one thing we can be sure of is that, with the ocean floor 1,000 the thickness of the radius of the visco-elastic interior, the wafer thin oceanic crust stuck to the mantle’s surface under variable gravity, as are the oceans and atmosphere, will be twerking around under the multiple gravitational cyclic variations that move the mantle below for a while yet. During my research I read “The Earth can be treated as a liquid for the purposes of collision modelling”. This somewhat changed my approach.

    In haste, E&OE. Comments based in data and physics welcome.

    PS More here in pre print if you like numbers.

    http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3259379

    It’s not been popular with the editorial gatekeepers of consensual science journals so far, they think it somehow wrong to mix clim . geology and the lithosphere with climate. So I am writing a stub version to establish the geological facts.

    • Thanks for the post. I hadn’t a clue volcanic activity is that intense under the sea. You read about individual areas but one generally doesn’t put it all together. A quick search on “volcanic activity under the sea” turned up a myriad of articles.

      • Look up the Juan de Fuca plate info. There is an active vent at the edges of that, which was unknown until a few years ago. Now it’s active and being watched.

        Lots of things are right under our feet, and we don’t know about them until something goes ‘BOOM!’

      • rb: check out volcanic activity under the ice and all around the East Antarctica ice sheet on the sea floor. Ya know its this ice-melt at most risk for increasing sea level catastophically because of SUVs. A sub-ice eruption in progress was measured by US researchers about 5 years ago and since, 91 sub-ice volcanoes have been discovered (Univ of Edinburgh). Can’t copy the links for some reason.

        • Thanks for the suggestion. It’s nice someone is interested, given most seem obsessed with arguing the now disproven on the observed data nonsense that the atmosphere/AGW causes climate change, when in fact it maintains a strong and variable equilibrium climate whose set point is driven by known solar cycle variations and longer term, i suggest, volcanic activity under Milankovitch gravitational cycles. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3259379

          The atmospheric control is ocean SST and consequent water vapour emissions, and hence cloud albedo, a very strong negative feedback control of warming, 150W/m^2 currently, so runaway is simply a nonsense, particularly when you add in Stefan Bolztman T^4 effect. But less so for cooing, a bit more fragile at the cold end because evaporative response to SST is lower per degree and eventually runs out of clouds to “reduce” as the glacial era skies clear.

          In such times of low volcanicity and low solar activity combined only the volcanoes warming the ocean then keep us from entering a permanent glacial state in the glacial phase of the ice age cycle , when the ocean surface could otherwise start to freeze and the albedo of ice does the rest to lock in an ice world. That is actually the existential crisis for some thousands of years hence when we are again in the low volcanicity glacial phase of an ice age. But with less submarine volcanoes active. Or maybe the one after that…. OK for now. All discussed in my paper. NOTE that if volcanoes are active in general, the submarine warming is far greater than any atmospheric effect on the surface, because most of the volcanoes are submarine and have ten times the output, being on a 7Km plate, not 70km..And that volcanoes are not caused by interglacials as PC geologists suggest without any idea of a physical cause, the inconvenient truth is obviously the other way around. but the submarine volcanoes heating is the dominant effect, the surface ones a side show, even the possibly volcanically caused Younger Dryas levels of SST did not stop the relentless warming of the oceans from below as temperatures went back to glacial, not one slip back.

          My paper includes the volcanic activity in Antarctica, greater than the Rift Valley, from 100 or so newly discovered volcanoes under the ice, following satellite study by the UoE in Scotland as you say. Is it my reference that doesn’t work? I checked and something is broken, so I suggest you simply use the tile and authors names that will get it for you:

          De Vries, M et al (2009), A new volcanic province: an inventory of subglacial volcanoes in West Antarctica

          I also studied the seismic links with El Nono. It is easy on the basic heat physics and volcano data to propose cyclic maximums around the Western ring of fire that can easilly deliver the ocean heating required to create El Nono conditions, based on the heat from a few Mayotte’s, but what causes the cyclic behaviour?

          The next update will include Mayotte. This is already a 3 year project of research and ongoing. Nobody has yet to challenge the very basic facts and physics, which were well established before I started, but nobody was h jining the dots. So I did. Even sceptics don’t like the conclusions on the demonstrable heat and entering the oceans and its variability with time. Inconvenient truth that directly account for the observed effects that other theories don’t. To paraphrase the Heininiken ad, “Submarine volcanoes reach the parts that other heat cannot.”

          Actuality for the tiny changes in short human time scales ? My calculations are average output. On geological time scales for volcanoes with Million year active lives that’s OK, and also works for a 7Ka warming event. BUT volcanoes are a bit binary in shorter time scales. How many to keep the temperature stablish? To reach the current global total annual level I calculate from the total population and average output of all the large submarine volcanoes would require roughly 500 Mayotte’s pa to form.

          500x(20×10^18 Joules) = 1×10^22 Joules. See Table 3 in paper. Hope that helps. I suggest this is close to a real figure, but will vary year to year.

          PS You can validate all the calculations and source data yourself directly from my paper. I am no Piltdown Mann, I’m a real theory proven by observation by other real scientists Feynman style physicist, who believes hot air rises – upwards – on Earth, not part of the new science by a consensus of climate experts, for whom proof means agreeing with each other that the observations are wrong, and heat energy in the upper atmosphere goes downwards..

    • The Thermal Effects of Magma On Ocean Heating Through Ice Ages Cycles, With Particular Reference to Interglacial Events
      Abstract “The direct heating of oceans by volcanism is estimated using current knowledge, and extended to consider its variation through ice age cycles. The crude estimate of the current effect is c.0.7W/m2, from c.100,000 volcanoes releasing magma volumes whose intrusion would raise sea levels c. 8mm pa, without compensating effects. A doubling of this level can deliver the minimum incremental heat required to produce an interglacial event over 7Ka, assuming no losses. Such an effect is strongly supported by the available emissions evidence. “

  9. Earth’s bulge also affects how and where sea levels change. Hydologist Aftab Alam Khan published in Geoscience Frontiers a study called Why would sea-level rise for global warming and polar ice-melt?
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674987118300446

    “This study is based on the geophysical aspects of the earth wherein shape of the earth is the fundamental component of global sea level distribution. The physical surface of the earth adjusted to the mathematical surface of the earth is spheroidal. This spheroidal surface always coincides with the global mean sea level (Fig. 3). Having relationship between the shape of the earth and the global sea level, gravitational attraction of the earth plays a dominant role against sea level rise. Gravity is a force that causes earth to form the shape of a sphere by pulling the mass of the earth close to the center of gravity i.e., each mass-particle is attracted perpendicular towards the center of gravity of the earth (Fig. 4A).”

    “A geoid surface thus prepared exhibits bulges and hollows of the order of hundreds of kilometers in diameter and up to hundred meter in elevation occurring in the zone mostly between 60°N and 60°S latitudes. Marked changes in the contour pattern of the geoid height in the zone between 60°N and 60°S suggests maximum curvature along 60°N and 60°S. Hence any change of the global sea level due to the predicted ice melt would not extend beyond 60°N and 60°S. However the reality is that no sea-level rise actually would occur due to ice melt as a result of same volumetric replacement between melt-water and floating ice.”

    My synopsis of the paper is https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/co2-rise-≠-sea-level-rise/

  10. They should have gone for impact. that number is 800,000 angstroms per year. A massive number to be sure. A hundred times the wavelength of infrared light that is somehow caused by CO2 I am told.

  11. This new method reveals more ice loss and larger increases in ocean water than previously estimated:

    Well, naturally, it wouldn’t have gotten published w/any other conclusion. Another yawn………

  12. This seems to describe the kind of breakthrough that could add two more decimal places to my car’s trip odometer.

    So I would be able to nail down the driving distance from Vancouver to Calgary to within one meter. Give or take the 2% (~20,000 meters) that depends on tire wear.

    • But, but, but, Nick W, …. iffen it is a 2-lane road from Vancouver to Calgary, ….. and it is not a perfectly straight road, ………. then the distance East to West, …… verses the distance West to East could vary as much as 20 to 100 meters, depending on the “curves” and the distance traveled.

      The driving lane with the most “inside curves” is the shortest.. 😊

  13. The really weird thing is that we already have an extremely accurate method to measure the transfer of mass from the poles towards the Equator. This is by measuring how much the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. This is done continuously by astronomers who have to know exactly how fast it rotates in order to aim their telescopes. Unfortunately the Earth isn’t slowing down nearly enough to fit the supposed melt. This is known as “Munk’s enigma”.

    • REQUEST: I have another idea entirely that requires evidence people on this thread may be able to help point me to.

      I need precise records of the global positions of known reference points, on or geologically close to the Rockies and Sierras, observatories or military bases perhaps, over as long as possible. Accurate to one metre over a century would be good, as a starter proof of concept. Denver is probably good for this, but obs Snowshoe Thompson had no GPS or observatory back then.

      Was their some sort of observatory on Monitor pass area or around Tahoe? Did the railroad have precise positioning or did they just build it with Slim Pickens driving the teams through Rock Ridge, etc. on a day to day theodelite extension?

      I suppose San Francisco would be a less precise surrogate for Sierra crest/Tahoe, but that’s on the costal range of Mountains, wrong side of the Bay. Oakland Naval Base – the Russians and even KIm Il Yung will have that precisely targeted, but what about late 1800s?? Berkeley UNI? Griffith Observatory? BTW, I am in UK, not the land of the fee, former home of the brave.

      Can anyone help please? Skype catthouse, brian.catt@physics.org

  14. The equatorial radius of the earth is about 30 km (about 0.47%) larger than the polar radius, so there is lots of room for an error of 0.08 mm in the “bulge” of the earth.

    However, trying to estimate sea level changes by measuring minute changes in gravity is fraught with possibility of errors. Nobody really knows the movements of lava near the center of the earth, or even within the earth’s mantle, and since lava is more dense than water, changes in gravity due to movement of lava are likely to be much greater than those caused by movement of water, or accumulation of water in the oceans at the expense of ice caps.

    Hypothetically, if there was a large transfer of ice/water from the major ice caps (Antarctica and/or Greenland) to the oceans, isostatic forces would tend to cause rising of the land under the ice cap, and sinking of the ocean floor, relative to the center of the earth, which would tend to reduce any apparent “sea level rise” as seen from a tidal gauge along the coast.

    Also, due to the much larger land area in the Northern Hemisphere, and larger ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, most of the melted water would collect in the Southern Hemisphere. Have the researchers noted any gravitational shift toward the Southern Hemisphere away from Greenland, or away from Antarctica to the tropical or temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere, where they would experience a greater centrifugal force due to the earth’s rotation?

    • Your radius guess is out by a factor of 5 or so. Check Wikipedia?

      Also, how is it not possible, over a reasonable time, for Southern oceans to be higher than Northern because that’s where the ice melts? Obs water will flow to achieve a common level, albeit varied by gravitational variation.

      Earth’s equatorial radius is 6,378 km, but its polar radius is 6,357 km – in other words, the Earth is slightly flattened. It also goes up and down 1 metre per day due to solid tides in the thin crust, 1% (70km) of which is solid across the continents and and 0.1% (7km) is solid across the ocean floors. Just a load of thin rock tectonic scabs held floating on the visco elastic mantle under gravity, hence why the Earth is so VERY smooth and also bulges, the centrifugal force at the Equator opposing gravity is at maximum there and hence the visco elastic body moves further out.

      Round numbers ;-).

      BTW if you enjoy a good read of when science was done by requiring proof by observations that required serious adventures to make, rather than preferring a consensus of experts sitting at desks with computers, the story of the “Measure of the Earth” is up there with Indiana Jones “A terrific read from cover to cover”, Me.

      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9070415-measure-of-the-earth

  15. If ice [mass] is melting and leaving the Arctic and is moving to the “bulge” at the equator, why isn’t the earth’s rotation rate slowing?

  16. In case anyone is interested in the supporting papers and data sources for the volcanic warming actually happening under the oceans, as I have quantified in absolute amount and variability, there are two key references in the quantification arising from researching my theory. Scott White et al and Steffen Kutterolf et al. My approach was to attempt to quantify the effect in absolute heat delivery terms and check if it varied for any reason, with no preconceptions about anything.

    One major insight towards the end was realising that not only is the eccentricity effect a powerful and varying control of daily solid earth tides over a year, but that planetary obliquity and precession are the direct consequences of planetary gravitational forces, effects not causes. And the primary point that Milankovitch cycles have a powerful control on Earth’s crustal motion, that is gravitational. The concept of planetary twerking was also born.

    Crucially, as I had no personal resources, the research and constant testing and rejection of various approaches, revealed the research that obtained the necessary observations had already been published. All I then had to do, given the insights I had already gained, was join it up, and identify the gravitational effects of Milankovitch cycles. Also, late on, that gravitational forces are the actual cause of obliquity, precession and eccentricity, and thus the cause of other variable solid tides in the crust, as well as the changing solar insolation effect which has no net contribution to the 100Ka ice age effect, but which effect remains the current obsession of blinkered atmosphericists, References are in my paper, but to raise their profile and importance in better understanding the climate effects of the Lithosphere on short term regional climate “blobs” and long term ice age cycles:

    1. HOW MUCH?: The sizing and ageing of surface and submarine volcanoes by White et all, over 170 volcanoes, which I found after starting my own crude estimation, including the huge x10 difference between submarine and surface volcanoes, probably due to the 1/10 thickness of ocean crust vs continental and Bernouill effect.

    [20]White, S. Crisp, J. Spera, F. (2006), Long-Term Volumetric Eruption Rates and Magma Budgets, 28 March 2006, Q03010,
    doi:10.1029/2005GC001002

    Key abstract summary: “All of the volcanoes occurring in oceanic settings fail to have statistically different mean Qe and have an overall average of 2.8 ± 0.4 x 10^-2 km3/yr, excluding flood basalts. Likewise, all of the volcanoes on continental crust also fail to have statistically different mean Qe and have an overall average of 4.4 ± 0.8 x 10^-3 km3/yr.”

    2. WHEN?: The paper by Kutterolf et al determines the three clear Milankovitch peaks in volcanic activity using Fourier analysis of the actual record. Key graph of Fourier spectrum deetrmination is here:

    [21]Kutterolf, S. Jegen, M. Mitrovica, J. Kwasnitschka, J. Freundt, A and Huybers, P (2012), A detection of Milankovitch frequencies in global volcanic activity
    doi:10.1130/g33419.1

    Key graph of Fourier spectrum determination of emissions is here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0d9gof6wgaj8xqq/Kutterolf%20Magma%20Deposition%20Fourier.jpg?dl=0

    All empirical and applied physical laws.

    – 100% deterministic proven physics.
    – Evidence based.
    – Contains no models.

    NOTE: this magma flooding process effect is reasonably constant in very short civilised human time scales of thousands of years, the 2.8×10^12 m^3 pa/2,800 km^3 pa that I calculate. Reducing imperceptibly as volcanic activity decreases under reducing gravitational stress on the crust, and capable of causing all the steady observed rise in sea levels, but not the prophesies of metres of rise that ain’t happening in fact.

    I think I cracked it, thanks to careful research and applying physics 101 to join other’s carefully measured and analysed dots. The pedestrian nature of my application of proven deterministic physics to actual observations is not great science, but it does provide a clear and independently verifiable explanation of a substantive cause of long term climate cycles and short term regional climate events, both cyclic and random. No one else has s done this with numbers. Or challenged the erstwhile nonsnense that atmospheric effects at interglacials cause the increased volcanic activity that is know to occur at these times.

    I suggest the atmosphere is innocent and the cause is beneath you, the smoking guns are under the oceans, waiting to be properly discovered.

    As a much greater physicist, Eugene Parker, said, when people denied his estimates of the solar wind and its causes, “What’s wrong with my numbers?”

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