Sea level rise and Antarctica

What’s Natural

Guest post by Jim Steele

California’s and other American coastal towns are engaged in divisive arguments regards rising sea levels. Although observed sea levels rose less than 8 inches (0.08 inches per year) since 1900, some modelers forecast much bleaker futures. They predict a 2.4-foot rise for every 1°F rise above preindustrial temperatures, then accelerating to nearly 4.5 feet for every 1°F additional increase. Why a dramatic acceleration in sea level? It’s based primarily on dire models, typically presented to coastal planning commissions as ‘best science’, suggesting increasing ice instability and Antarctica ice sheet collapse. “Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than 3.3 feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 49 feet by 2500.”

Those models have prompted some citizens to argue we must abandon the coasts via managed retreat. Others argue we should build better sea walls. But how high? Others rightfully ask, “how trustworthy are those models?” Model predictions of a collapsing Antarctica ice sheet are not based on observations.  Models of Antarctica’s catastrophic ice collapse are attempts to explain ancient sea levels such as the 30-foot higher levels 120,000 years ago.

There are good reasons toquestion catastrophic models. For one, away from the coast Antarctica’s surface temperatures average −70 °F. Antarctica’s extremely cold surfaces require global warming to increase many, many times more before surface glaciers could ever melt. For another, although greenhouse theory predicts increasing CO2  concentrations will raise temperatures, greenhouse theory also predicts added CO2  has a cooling effect on Antarctica (Wijngaarden & Happer 2020, Schmithüsen 2015).

Up to a point, increasing greenhouse gases  act like a blanket that warms your body by slowing your loss of body heat. Although CO2  absorbs then rapidly releases heat in less than one-thousandth of a second, at colder altitudes it releases that heat more slowly. Because warmer bodies release more heat than colder ones, the higher and colder atmosphere absorbs the heat released from warmer surfaces faster than it can release heat to space generating the greenhouse effect. In contrast Antarctica’s surface is much colder and the air miles above is warmer.  Warmer greenhouse gases in the air above release heat back to space faster than can be absorbed from the colder surface. Thus, the atmosphere over Antarctica cools faster than if there were no greenhouse gases.

Still, researchers do observe regions of retreating ice. The Antarctic Peninsula was once designated one of the earth’s most rapidly warming regions in the 1980s and 90s, but researchers debated whether melting was caused by global warming or shifting winds. Indeed, warmer winds had been frequently blowing from the north. But the British Antarctic Survey now reports the peninsula has rapidly cooled since the 1990s due to frequent southerly winds from the mainland that can be 50°F to 70°F  colder.  Researchers attribute shifting winds to “extreme natural internal variability”.

Strong winds also cause turbulence that sporadically pulls warmer air from above down to the cold surface resulting in occasional “warming” spikes. Furthermore, strong winds moving over mountains can heat the air simply due to increasing pressure as the winds descend (known as foehn storms).  Without adding heat, the increasing air pressure alone can raise regional temperatures in excess of 72°F eventually causing dry, ice-free regions or causing melt ponds that promote ice shelf collapse.

Finally, because air temperatures rarely reach the melting point (other than during foehn storms), there is no significant melt of Antarctica’s surface ice. However, some glaciers that extend past the coast terminate below sea level and are indeed losing ice. Antarctic oceans consist of a relatively fresh cold layer of surface water that overlays a thick layer of relatively warm salty water known as the Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW).

Antarctic winds can push cold surface water towards the coast and then deeper.  That also pushes the warmer CDW downward and minimizes glacier melting. At other times the winds can  shift and cause surface water to move away from the coast and simultaneously draw up warmer CDW toward the surface. The warm CDW then accelerates the melting of submerged glaciers. Natural oscillations such as El Nino or the Antarctic Oscillation (aka SAM) can shift the winds and induce decades of rapidly retreating glaciers alternating with decades of stable or growing glaciers.

Antarctica’s research community is split 50-50 on whether observed changes are mostly natural or driven by human additions of CO2. But to date there’s no evidence of an ice sheet collapse that would accelerate sea level rise, and many researchers are walking back the extreme claims of Antarctica’s sea level contributions. Coastal planning commissions would be wise to plan on the same average sea level rise witnessed for the past 100 years but be mindful of Antarctica’s shifting winds and shifting scientific claims.

Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

74 thoughts on “Sea level rise and Antarctica

  1. I’ve got your Antarctic Peninsula warming right here:

    https://volcanohotspot.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/antarctica-5-volcanoes-of-the-antarctic-peninsula/

    Sea level was higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum than now, and during the Egyptian, Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, but since the Minoan, little to none of it came from Antarctica, if even any before then. The massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet, repository of most of the world’s freshwater, quit retreating about 3000 years ago, as shown by soil isotopes.

    • Thanks for that bit of context John.

      One thing that all those ancient civilisations have in common is that they fell apart. That is probably the most relevant aspect we need to be analysing in the current context.

      “Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than 3.3 feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 49 feet by 2500.”

      I would have thought we should be worrying more about how get out of 2020 before spending too much time thinking about sea levels half way through coming millenium !

      • Greg, you have issued an alarming comment. The Modern Warm Period produced a civilization advance, now it’s leveled off, and a person only needs to look at the ongoing Presidential election in USA to see a collapse of civilization. The candidate currently ahead is the star of the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s” and the Socialists/Marxists are propping him up. Jim Steele presents another good posting, just look at sea level signals from the past and forget about it.

  2. Well, I found that compact explanation of GHG action in a few sentences very interesting….”at colder altitudes it releases that heat more slowly”……..”the higher and colder atmosphere absorbs the heat released from warmer surfaces faster than it can release heat to space generating the greenhouse effect” Hmmmm….not specified if night or day or both…..so the heat flow is slowed…..how slow is that heat flowing?

      • NOPE!!

        You need to read up on atmospheric physics. It is a generally accepted fact that in inland Antarctica more GHG causes cooling. This is due to the negative lapse rate which means that as the altitude where the LWIR escapes into space increases the ambient temperature goes up so the OLR also increases. This is easily seen in satellite IR spectra where the intensity is greater within the absorption bands:

        https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Fred_Ortenberg2/publication/291164378/figure/fig2/AS:648594344390664@1531648350772/Spectrum-of-Earth-Thermal-IR-radiance-recorded-from-space-a-Desert-Sahara.png

        The bottom spectrum is from Antarctica.

        In the stratosphere things are very different from the normal troposphere, but to some extent similar to Antarctica. Radiation is dominant over convection and net heat flow is downward from the ozone layer where UV radiation is strongly absorbed. More GHG there also increases the radiation altitude, which means higher radiation temperature and stronger upward LWIR radiation and thus increases heat loss and causes net cooling. This is also visible in the IR spectra above. The small peak in the middle of the CO2 and O3 absorption bands is due to this inceased radiation from the stratosphere.

        In inland East Antarctica you could with some truth say that the stratosphere comes all the way down to the surface in winter.

        • tty says

          “You need to read up on atmospheric physics. It is a generally accepted fact that in inland Antarctica more GHG causes cooling. This is due to the negative lapse rate which means that as the altitude where the LWIR escapes into space increases the ambient temperature goes up so the OLR also increases. ”

          tty, I suggest that you need to read my article more carefully. You stated the exact same dynamic I did for cooling Antarctica. So what is your issue???

        • “More GHG there also increases the radiation altitude, which means higher radiation temperature and stronger upward LWIR radiation and thus increases heat loss and causes net cooling. ”

          That’s what I was implying.

    • Isn’t the photon release a quantum effect. Isn’t the time scale on the order of micro seconds? Does that actually depend on temperature in any way?

      I wish I could find it but searches have been futile: a few years ago, when the first deep water remote control drones were used to go under the Pine Island and Thwaites ice shelves (about 1.5 kilometers or so if I remember correctly, the first published report found evidence that the underside melting had been going on for 300 to 1000 years, caused by warmth from below. It briefly discussed the source of that warmth, saying that the most favored theory was warmer water from outside the circumpolar current entering at great depth and eventually making its way towards the surface near land. However, it said, no one had yet been able to find evidence of such a flow.

      Another paper, a couple of months later, reported that the investigative depth had been extended far downward and there found geothermal outlets. It was straightforward is saying that there was so far too little data to know if this was the source of the ice sheet melt but the water temperatures measured were “surprisingly warm”.

      • “the Stefan–Boltzmann LAW states

        the total energy radiated per unit surface area of a black body across all wavelengths per unit time {\displaystyle j^{\star }} j^{\star} (also known as the black-body radiant emittance) is directly proportional to the fourth power of the black body’s thermodynamic temperature T”

          • Higher temperature matter has more heat energy to radiate or, if it has more heat energy, it is at a higher temperature — for the local conditions. However, I’m not sure that in the many millions of words on greenhouse effect on-line I’ve ever seen a direct statement, yes or no: does the absorption of photons by a greenhouse gas directly, in itself, raise the gas’s temperature – or is it simply the temporary storage of the photon in a molecular bond? Isn’t temperature a measure of the speed at which molecules are moving around?

            Well, that can’t be quite true as there isn’t any reason to expect a gas’s molecules to move slower just because the gas has expanded into a larger volume, as when it convects upward, is there? The molecules are now further apart but each(?) contains the same amount of energy as before expansion. It is the transfer of energy between molecules that is at a reduced rate. That reduced flow of energy is the lower temperature? Can any aspect of that condition contribute to how long the CO2 molecule retains an IR photon caught in its molecular bonds (dwell time?)?

            Isn’t the fact that IR radiates more freely to space at higher altitudes mainly, or entirely, a result of the fact that the molecules are further apart and thus less likely to intercept, and absorb. an IR photon emitted by another molecule?

          • Yes temperature is a measure of kinetic energy (vibrational or lateral). As molecules rise in the atmosphere pressure falls as does temperature, that is a basic gas law. What is typically written is when CO2 absorbs infrared it increases it vibrational energy. Indeed it is temporarily stored and emits it or transfers that energy to another molecule via collisions.

            And yes as the atmosphere becomes less dense the “holes” between greenhouse molecules become larger allowing more infrared to escape. The physics that states CO2 emits IR at slower rates as temperatures fall still holds so the argument for increased an greenhouse effect is based on a bulk analysis claiming when energy is emitted more slowly than absorbed there must be a net warming. They also argue more CO2 at the top of the atmosphere reduce the holes.

            Personally I think there is very little added greenhouse effect as CO2 increases. The paper linked in the article Wijngaarden & Happer 2020 suggests that is the case

      • AndyHce November 4, 2020 at 10:53 pm
        Isn’t the photon release a quantum effect. Isn’t the time scale on the order of micro seconds? Does that actually depend on temperature in any way?

        The photon release from vibrationally excited CO2 is of the order of milliseconds and doesn’t depend on temperature. However, in the lower troposphere the main cause of deactivation is by collisions which is of the order of nanoseconds, that is dependent on temperature and pressure. (Depends on Pressure and square root of Temperature)

        • So really CO2 has absolutely ZERO effect on the cooling of the atmosphere.

          Its just a tiny part of the pressure/density controlled whole atmosphere.

          Explains why no-one has ever observed or measured warming by atmospheric CO2, doesn’t it.

          • Also, CO2 has absolutely ZERO effect on the warming of the atmosphere.

            Just a bit player, any hypothetical effect being totally swamped and over-ridden by natural energy movement driven by the pressure/density differences

    • The most misleading media regards CO2 and the greenhouse effect is that the public only thinks of CO2 as having a warming effect and it ignores its cooling effect.

      O2 and N2 can gain energy via collisions with the earth’s warm surface or with other atmospheric molecules. However those elements cannot radiate that heat back to space. Only by colliding with a greenhouse gas, primarily CO2 above the troposphere, can that energy be transferred and then radiated back to space.

      • Everything radiates at some frequency if it has any energy to radiate. Satellites measure various things based on that radiation. The satellite atmosphere temperature measurements are made by the microwave radiation of oxygen. I don’t know what that amounts to in terms of total energy but it is energy being radiated away from the planet (and towards it, and sideways, etc.) and thus must contribute to cooling.

  3. Trust me….the warmists are melting the arctic….they are heating the atmosphere and they will create models that melt the Antarctic….the Antarctic is doomed….we are all gonna drown. Fires to the left….storms to the right….and we will soon be knee deep in water…..and plodding through the water to reach drier ground and cooler latitudes…we will become climate nomads.

  4. Sea levels have risen 150 meters since the last glacial maxima. Most of that happened in the last 15,000 years. The average over that period is around 10 mm a year, only slightly below their pessimistic and likely overestimated “unprecedented”1 m rise in 80 years (12.5 mm).

    If only we had green energy when we emerged from our caves, we could now be sunbathing on the continental slope instead of basically Mt. Everest.

    • (Data from page 58, “climate Change in Prehistory” by Burroughs:)

      Some 20,000 years ago sea levels were 400 fee lower than today. After undergoing a 400 foot rise in sea levels we STILL haven’t learned not to build too close to the water?!?!? 8,000 years ago sea level were still so low you could have walked from France to England on dry land. Just think, if we hadn’t caused all that global warming, there would have been no need for the Chunnel!

      As pointed out by other posts, 6,000 years ago sea levels were higher than today. So the sea levels go down a bit, and what do we do? Start building too close to the water again! The ignorance and stupidity of the human race is just boundless!

      • It’s nice by the sea most of the time. Transportation is easy, and weather is moderated. Food is plentiful. Occasionally something bad happens. No matter where you are, something bad may happen. I’ll take my chances by the sea if I can afford it.

        If you want to rail against “stupidity”, then tell the Italians to move Naples. But they love it there. And while things are quiet, they are enjoying life by the sea and a volcano.

        Did you think you would live forever?

      • Obama recently purchased an almost oceanfront home on Martha’s Vineyard, Ma. for about $11 million.
        He is a big proponent of AGW / climate change , yet he has no problem buying a home a stone’s throw from the ocean.
        Just another demonstration of the lies, the deceit, the fraud that are the climate change fraudsters.

        Obama famously said “just how much money does someone need?” Well, apparently for him, it’s many millions of $$$$.
        But hey, don’t pay any attention to what they DO, just pay attention to what they say.

  5. Of course that portion of a glacier that is below sea level has already displaced the water. If it melts, no increase in sea water level.

  6. “Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than 3.3 feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 49 feet by 2500”

    3.3 feet of water in an acre of area, frozen, converted to metric works out to be a volume a little more than 4.700 cubic meters.

    Homework question: Assuming ice temperature of -1C, how much energy is required to melt a 4,700 cubic meters of ice?
    Assuming available constant, 24-hour energy at ideal (cloudless, noon) equator-equivalent solar insolation over 4,000 square meters (roughly 1 acre) exposure, how long will it take to melt 4700 cubic meters of ice?
    Trick question: How much sea ice melt must take place before sea level rises 1cm? Hint: sample area of ice or resulting water may be student’s choice.
    Research exercise: Volume and density of water in solid vs liquid forms at standard air pressure.
    Extra credit: Factoring calculated insolation annual average at 67 degrees South lattitude, show calculations for melt rate of 4700 cubic meters of ice with 4000 square meters of surface exposure. Compare sea level rise of melted sea ice vs land ice. Show your work.

  7. Loved the statement”…MODELS have prompted some citizens to argue we must abandon the coasts via managed retreat. …”.

    Actual, real hurricanes plow thru the coast, annually killing & inflicting massive damage. However, “some citizens” (our most delicate snowflakes) propose a “managed retreat” from a theoretical event occurring an unknown (but long) time in the future. All this is based on climate models, not a single one of which has ever accurately forecast the climate.

  8. We are in a long-term ice age that started 2.6 million years ago called the Quaternary Glaciation(fifth ice age) that nobody seems to mention.

    We are in a warm period called Holocene that is cooler than the last warm period 120,000 years ago called the Eemian.

    In the Eemian it was so warm that the tree line went up past the Arctic circle.

    By definition, the climate won’t change until there is no more natural ice on the earth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_glaciation
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eemian
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene

  9. “Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than 3.3 feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 49 feet by 2500”

    And the lottery has the potential to contribute more than $1,000,000 per month to my income.

  10. However, some glaciers that extend past the coast terminate below sea level and are indeed losing ice.

    The sun rises in the east, water is wet, and glaciers calve icebergs into the sea.

    …the winds can shift and cause surface water to move away from the coast and simultaneously draw up warmer CDW toward the surface. The warm CDW then accelerates the melting of submerged glaciers

    And just how warm is this water that does all this melting?

    “The deep Antarctic circumpolar water is only a handful of degrees warmer than the water above it – a degree or two above 0C –
    Source:
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51097309

    Silly charts like those in A & B above that show the warm water in red and “Gasp” it’s melting the submerged glaciers, are pretending:

    1. That water a degree or two above freezing is going to melt a lot of ice.

    2. That this phenomenon is new, and hasn’t been happening right along.

    Well sea level is rising and over the last 100 years there is some acceleration, about 0.01mm/year² but that’s good for about 8 inches not the more than 3.3 feet of sea-level rise by 2100 claimed by California’s coastal communities.

    The sea level data is on the net for anyone to download and examine. It’s not that difficult. Swallowing propaganda from California liberals or Climate “Science” isn’t particularly intelligent.

    • Steve Case,

      What are you talking about??

      You condescend, “Silly charts like those in A & B above that show the warm water in red and “Gasp” it’s melting the submerged glaciers, are pretending:
      1. That water a degree or two above freezing is going to melt a lot of ice.
      2. That this phenomenon is new, and hasn’t been happening right along.”

      Red is always used to indicate warmer vs blue cooler. There is plenty of evidence to show basal melting happens when warmer CDW reaches a submerged glacier. The point is to put that melting into perspective.

      The article states “Natural oscillations such as El Nino or the Antarctic Oscillation (aka SAM) can shift the winds and induce decades of rapidly retreating glaciers alternating with decades of stable or growing glacier”

      From where do pull your ‘pretending the phenomenon is new”

      Again, this article is for newspapers and the general public. It cant go deep in the weeds.

      • Jim, it’s the notion that water a degree or two above melting is going to run up sea level in coastal cities to the point that they will be inundated by sea level rise.

        From where do pull your ‘pretending the phenomenon is new”

        It would have been great if you pointed out that whatever it is that’s going on with the so called “warm salty water known as the Circumpolar Deep Water” has been going on all along, but you didn’t. Maybe I missed that part.

        Again, this article is for newspapers and the general public. It cant go deep in the weeds.
        You could point out that it’s bullshit.

  11. My God, what will Beachfront Barack Obama do with his two( that’s 2) recently acquired ocean front properties? Does anybody believe Beachfront Barack would do that if global warming was going to swamp his investments? Not a chance.

  12. Yesterday the BBC posted an article in which they claimed iceberg A68a was bearing down on South Georgia and posed a “grave threat” to local wildlife.

    OMG! The penguins!

    And then, the Beeb tell us:

    Time and time again, it happens. Huge ice sculptures slowly withering in sight of the land.

    If only the so-called reporters at the BBC were just idiots I could understand their ignorance

    • Redgec,
      I am puzzled. The only requirement to be a BBC reporter is to BE an idiot.
      Is that what you meant?
      If so you win a coconut.
      Here in the Scottish Marxist gulag, you cannot get a mortgage if you live in one of the Scottish EnvironMENTAL Protection Agency designated “danger areas threatened by imminent sea level rise”
      Meanwhile one of our golf courses gets flooded every winter after seasonal rain, because the same agency will not allow the Barry Burn to be dredged.
      The lunatics have been running our asylum for years now.

    • Unlike the beeb reporters I’ve actually been there. There are always a number of grounded icebergs around South Georgia but the local wildlife doesn’t seem to take much notice. Except using them as convenient places to rest between fishing forays.

      And yes, the bottom fauna will be crushed, as it has always been. Nearly all large antarctic icebergs trave along the coast with the coastal countercurrent until they reach the Weddell sea where they are stopped by the Antarctic peninsula and deflected northwards towards South Georgia. This is what the bottom of the Weddell Sea looks like, it has been plowed by icebergs over and over and over again for many million years:

      https://mem.lyellcollection.org/content/memoirs/46/1/289/F1.large.jpg

  13. “Coastal planning commissions would be wise to plan on the same average sea level rise witnessed for the past 100 years but be mindful of Antarctica’s shifting winds and shifting scientific claims.”

    Sure as long as we don’t subsidize those who choose to live there with reduced rates on property insurance
    and bail outs from FEMA.

    otherwise planners would be wise to prepare for the worst case.
    or we can figure out a way to make those who believe otherwise to pay when they are wrong

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1386978/The-Japanese-mayor-laughed-building-huge-sea-wall–village-left-untouched-tsunami.html

    See these bozos in Pacifica
    I used to live close buy

    walls didn’t work, so what do they do?

    demand a bail out

    https://www.ocregister.com/2016/01/23/pacifica-declares-local-emergency-after-damage-to-sea-wall/

    So I have no issue with

    A) a Japanese mayor who decides to build a huge wall, looks like a waste until the fateful day comes
    B) coastal dwellers who refuse to believe in models, PROVIDED they agree to never ask for a bailout
    if they turn out to be wrong.

    But if someone wants to reject the advice to retreat or reject the advice to build a bigger, then THEY ought to live with the consequences of being wrong. But they never will. Coastal liberals

    • Of course, those things had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with sea level rise, did they , moshpit.

      Strong waves… NATURAL.. like that never happened before

      El Nino storm… NATURAL.. like that never happened before

      WHY be so stupid as to bring storms and tsunamis into a thread about a tiny very slow sea level rise.

      Just dumb !

    • Steven Mosher

      Precautionary principle writ large!

      Lets all just switch off the worlds economy because sea level might rise; over thousands of years! – Worst case scenario of course.

      Why not then ban Tesla’s from the road as some of them have spontaneously combusted.

      Why not then just ban all cars from the road because people crash them.

      Then we can ban horses because they create mountains of dung that has to be disposed of and remains a health hazard until we do.

      What else can we ban because of ‘worst case scenario’ planning – Oh yea, hot coffee!

      And this bit’s a laugh – “B) coastal dwellers who refuse to believe in models, PROVIDED they agree to never ask for a bailout if they turn out to be wrong.”

      When was the last time coastal dwellers made a successful claim/received a bailout on the basis of climate change driven sea level rise?

      • Precautionary principle is used by those who KNOW that have no real argument left.

        People like mosh !

        His comments show that he has been taken over by far-left victimhood and self-hatred.

        He could once have been a useful human being.

    • Mosher, You are very unaware of all the dynamics regards sea walls.

      Currently it is rip rap (large rocks) that are placed along the coast of Pacifica to prevent erosion and it is paid for by the owners of the preotected property. Rip rap eventually gets washed away. I agree that someone who enjoys the coastal view should pay for the risks and should not be bailed out. But it is more complex, and government and private money are both needed. If one property owner can no longer maintain his coastal rip rap the gap in protection not only threatens his adjacent neighbors, but also the inland infrastructure that serves thousands. I have argued we need a sea wall that is paid for by a combination private and government money.

  14. I note, there is no mention of the 91(?) volcanoes discovered under the West Antarctic ice sheet around 2016.

    But they couldn’t possibly make a difference as I have been assured by one climate antagonist that they are all plugged with ice.

    As it has taken 2,016 years since the Christian world began counting the years off to discover the blooming volcanoes, how could they possibly establish they are all safely plugged up in a matter of 3 or 4 years?

    Effing alarmist climate scientists are about as valuable to humanity as political pollsters.

    • @HotScot
      “… no mention of the … volcanoes …”

      There is activism volcanism all over (and under) the Antarctic ice shelves, East and West.

      For example, Use Google Maps and search for ‘algae lake antarctic’. You will discover that there is a perennial lake, never frozen in the Bunger Hills in the East Antarctic near the Denman Glacier. How is that possible?
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/27/huge-east-antarctic-glacier-especially-susceptible-to-climate-impacts/#comment-2948745

      The Denman Glacier happens to be the location of a very deep canyon, under the ice. In fact, it is globally the lowest point on “land” not covered by liquid water, at 3,500 m (11,500 ft) below sea level. I believe it represents a location where glacier ice is closer to the mantle, which could cause melting of ice geothermally.
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/27/huge-east-antarctic-glacier-especially-susceptible-to-climate-impacts/#comment-2948457

      West Antartica? There is no doubt in my mind that the melting of the Thwaites Glacier around Pine Island is driven by volcanic heat, deep under the ice.
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/26/an0maly-on-twitter/#comment-2807840

      I used to track SO2 emissions with Windy and Null School, which used to show traces of SO2 around the East Antarctic coast, evidence of the proximity of volcanism from the mantle. These emission reports suddenly stopped in Jan 2019. Windy now reports more SO2 emissions around Hawaii than Norilsk Russia, which is kind of hard to believe.

      • @me
        “… There is activism active volcanism all over …”

        Hmm, my brain said ‘active’, my fingers voted ‘activism’. How could that happen? 😐

    • HotScot,

      This article is written for coastal California newspapers and limited to 800 words. Impossible to include everything in an encyclopedic accounting of everything. Also most of the readers do not understand the basics, so it would be a mistake to go too deep in the weeds and lose the audience. The purpose opf the article was to simply provide the basics as to why the worse case scenario of Antarctic collapse is not going to happen

  15. Up to a point, increasing greenhouse gases act like a blanket that warms your body by slowing your loss of body heat. Although CO2 absorbs then rapidly releases heat in less than one-thousandth of a second, at colder altitudes it releases that heat more slowly. Because warmer bodies release more heat than colder ones, the higher and colder atmosphere absorbs the heat released from warmer surfaces faster than it can release heat to space generating the greenhouse effect.

    There is a whole menagerie of different versions of the “greenhouse warming” hypothesis. About blankets, back-radiation, emission heights, Hungarians being bad people, etc… This is a new one I hadn’t heard before.

    • Phil, I am surprised you are unaware of that dynamic.

      It was front and center over 15 years ago as skeptics pointed out the CO2 was saturated near the surface and thus could not cause more warming.

      The climate scientist alarmists at Mann’s RealClimate argued it is the concentration of CO2 at the top of the atmosphere that was key, and CO2 was not saturated there. They argued that more CO2 at colder altitudes slow down the loss of heat causing warming.

      Here is the argument presented by SkepticalScience https://skepticalscience.com/saturated-co2-effect.htm

    • Yes, you would expect “scientists” to have one version of the “greenhouse warming” scenario to present but no clear presentation seems to be available. I was once told that it is “complicated”. Yes, the atmosphere and climate are very complicated.

    • ‘There is a whole menagerie of different versions of the “greenhouse warming” hypothesis.”

      Not really. There is only one, but it is a rather complex process, not easy to explain correctly to people without a good knowledge of physics, and furthermore it is almost impossible to find a comprehensive explantion anywhere, since it would inevitably show that there are no “tipping points”, no chance for a “runaway” effect and that an increase of GHG from the present levels will cause very little warming.

      The effort here is not bad.

    • Thanks Jim
      The warmest and Mike Mann defence of CO2 warming reminds me of the German defences in the WW1 battle of the Somme. An impressive system with multiple lines of planned fall-back.

      So Mann retreats to the upper atmosphere? Concedes saturation of IR absorption in the troposphere? That could be risky for them. They are forgetting that although sunlight is dominated by visible spectrum light, it still contains significant IR radiation as one would expect coming from a hot sun. There is no IR filter in front of the sun.

      In the upper atmosphere the CO2 back radiation is a reality and it works in reverse. Incoming IR from the sun is rejected back out to space. This effectively means cooling with a reduction of total solar irradiance (TSI). So upper atmosphere is not a safe retreat for Mann and the warmists.

      tty
      Clive Best shows better than I can that there are (at least) two CO2 warming arguments, a simplified one about blankets and back-radiation, which is easily shown to be false, and another one of Byzantine and tortuous complexity for an inner sanctum of atmospheric physicists and programmers, involving emission height, atomic vibrational modes and clambering out of spectral troughs by their spiky shoulders.

      https://ptolemy2.wordpress.com/2020/07/05/clive-best-its-a-circular-argument-if-we-assume-co2-warms-the-earth-we-find-that-co2-warms-the-earth/

  16. “Climate models predict”, actually climate models predict every possible outcome, so that whatever happens they can say “our models predicted this”. If you point out other predictions to the opposite effect, you get “we’ve refined the model since then”, regardless of which came first.

    The politics is settled, and it has nothing to do with science.

  17. The surface of Antarctica receives 76 or 78mm of precipitation every year. When you multiply that average by the surface area of Antarctica you get so many cubic kilometers of ice landing on it every year that it is enough to reduce sea level a couple of millimeters.
    Seeing that sea level is actually rising slightly, you expect hundreds and hundreds of cubic kilometers of ice to break off it every year, eventually get carried north and melt.

  18. CO2 cooling Antarctic…

    We have essentially the same thing in the Arctic, though to a lesser extent. Yet the Artic shows the strongest warming of all regions of Earth, while Antartica shows none. The argument is lacking, to say at best.

    The bigger picture is that CO2 does NOT cause substantial warming at all, but contrails do. And there simply are none over Antartic.

    • Leitwolf, Everywhere there is a temperature inversions (warm air over cold) there is a cooling effect to some degree.

      The Arctic has tropical heat that enters the Arctic ocean via the Gulf Stream. Warm winds from the south more readily enter the Arctic In combination with the oceans ventilating intruding heat the Arctic will be warmer.

      In contrast to the Arctic that is largely ocean, Antarctica is largely an elevated land mass and thus has the coldest temperatures.

      Your leap to implicating contrails is not supported

      • The gulf stream is nothing new and will not explain above average warming(!) of the Arctic. What does however is the reduction of ice, which serves as a feedback in two ways.
        a) snow reflects more sun light than water (not as much as usually thought, but still)
        b) more importantly surface temperatures drop massively once the water is frozen. So less ice, or shorter ice-seasons will have a huge effect on average surface temperatures.

        Both feedbacks do apply to Antarctica as well. And so we are still left to explain what makes all the difference between NP and SP. As I explained “CO2 cooling” won’t do the trick either.

        The contrail thing however is supported by ALL the evidence. You will see in my upcoming article.

  19. Not only is Antarctic sea ice extent currently above the 1981 to 2010 average, but it’s also above the two standard deviations mark.

  20. 49 feet by 2500! In order to fully appreciate how ridiculous this forecast is, just imagine policy makers in 1540 speculating about our energy sources in 2020.

    • If they speculated that coal would produce a large proportion of world energy in 202, They would have been correct, and it would not have been an unreasonable prediction

      “Large-scale coal mining started in the 1400s. … From the 1500s onwards, coal was used on an ever increasing scale in London, which was then one of the most populated cities in Europe. There, coal was used industrially, but more often in households for heating and cooking.”

      Chinese were using coal, possible 3000 years ago. And still are 😉

  21. This recent research into ocean circulation around Antarctica explains why increased warmer surface water has been flowing toward Antarctica in recent years. It seems that it is in reaction to cooled Antarctic shelf water downwelling via underwater canyons. This means that Antarctic supply of cold deep water is increasing, envigourating the deep ocean Thermohaline Circulation. Here’s the link and the abstract:

    https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/18/eaav2516.full

    Warm Circumpolar Deep Water transport toward Antarctica driven by local dense water export in canyons

    A. K. Morrison, McC. Hogg, M. H. England and P. Spence

    Science Advances 01 May 2020:
    Vol. 6, no. 18, eaav2516
    DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav2516

    Abstract
    Poleward transport of warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) has been linked to melting of Antarctic ice shelves. However, even the steady-state spatial distribution and mechanisms of CDW transport remain poorly understood. Using a global, eddying ocean model, we explore the relationship between the cross-slope transports of CDW and descending Dense Shelf Water (DSW). We find large spatial variability in CDW heat and volume transport around Antarctica, with substantially enhanced flow where DSW descends in canyons. The CDW and DSW transports are highly spatially correlated within ~20 km and temporally correlated on subdaily time scales. Focusing on the Ross Sea, we show that the relationship is driven by pulses of overflowing DSW lowering sea surface height, leading to net onshore CDW transport. The majority of simulated onshore CDW transport is concentrated in cold-water regions, rather than warm-water regions, with potential implications for ice-ocean interactions and global sea level rise.

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