How to Scare and Deceive without Lying: JPL Cries Wolf about Polar Glacial Melt

by E. Calvin Beisner

Yesterday NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory published “The Anatomy of Glacial Ice Loss.” For the most part it’s an interesting, though not particularly revolutionary, discussion of the various forces that add to and subtract from glacial ice. Nothing wrong with that.

But its authors took the opportunity to insert a poison pill, a little bit of fearmongering, in a video caption:

Did you catch that little trick? “Combined, the two regions also contain enough ice, that if it were to melt all at once, would raise sea levels by nearly 215 feet ….”

Well, yes, but at what rate is the ice from the two regions melting, and at what rate can we, with any confidence, predict they’ll continue to melt, and over what period of time?

There is absolutely no chance of their melting “all at once”—barring, I suppose, Earth’s collision with some enormous asteroid that sends Earth careening into the Sun!

So, how fast is the ice melting?

For Greenland, about 0.1% of its ice mass per decade—1 percent per century.

For Antarctica, about 0.0045% per decade—1% in 2,200 years.

Combined, those contribute to sea-level rise of about 1 mm per year, i.e., 3.94 inches per century.

(See “Lying with Statistics: The National Climate Assessment Falsely Hypes Ice Loss in Greenland and Antarctica.”)

So, if the actual rate is about 3.94 inches (0.3283 foot) per century, how long would it take to raise sea level by 215 feet? The answer: 215 ft. / 0.3283 ft. per century = 654.889 centuries, or 65,488.9 years.

To be fair, glacial melt from Greenland and Antarctica isn’t the only contributor to sea-level rise. Thermal expansion and other factors also contribute, and some estimates put annual sea-level rise at around 11.81 inches per century, or about 3 times the rate I posited above.

So, let’s redo the calculations. How long, at that rate, would it take to raise sea level by 215 feet? A mere 21,829 years.

Now tell me, if JPL had made that clear, would anyone have taken seriously its saying that this makes “the study and understanding of [the melt in the two glacial regions] … crucial to our near-term adaptability,” or even to “our long term survival”?

No doubt the study is interesting. But it’s certainly not “crucial to our near-term adaptability” or “our long-term survival.”

Is there any reason to think humanity couldn’t survive a 215-foot rise in sea level spread over 21,,829 years, let alone 65,000? And if we define “near-term” as, say, 100 years, or 500, is there any reason to think our “adaptability” would be seriously threatened by 11.81 inches of sea-level rise in a century, let alone 3.94 inches? Or by 4.92 feet in five centuries, let alone 1.64 feet?

And for that matter, what reason have we to think this rate of glacial melt will continue that long into the future? We’re in the midst of a pleasant interglacial period now, but in terms of ice-age cycles, we’re due for the onset of another before long (perhaps in the next few centuries to a millennium?).

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder, President, and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

39 thoughts on “How to Scare and Deceive without Lying: JPL Cries Wolf about Polar Glacial Melt

    • How does this differ from the Salem witch trials?

      It’s unfortunate that hate seems to have won and the biggest causality will be the truth. The last 4 years has shown that even obviously self serving hate, when reinforced often enough, is a very effective weapon against the truth. Their relentless campaign of hate will continue, only the targets will change. Hate works much too well to stop using it as a tactic.

      • They didn’t have the resources the progressive fascists do back in the days of the Salem witch trials. Same type of people though.
        I seem to remember one of the reasons for burning ‘witches’ was blaming them for bad weather.
        Go figure.

      • They were off their nuts. Accusers and judges as well as the accused. Many signed a letter of apology once common sense returned.

        Bugger all chance anyone will apologise for the garbage.

    • What complicity is she referring to?

      I admit being complicit with group that is trying its best to help retain my freedom & keep others from taking my stuff. No need to archive. I admit it now and I will admit it in the future.

      (It only took two years for her to turn from stupid selfish newbie to vengeful arrogant ….)

    • How does this behavior (of making lists of all those who oppose or disagree with your narrative with a view to punishing opposition) differ from the STASI, the KGB, or in fact the GESTAPO?

      Are we going to be sheep led to slaughter, or is the Woke Left making the same mistake the Japanese made in attacking Pearl Harbor? (I fear all we did is awaken a sleeping giant said Yamamoto)

  1. Well, yes, but at what rate is the ice from the two regions melting, and at what rate can we, with any confidence, predict they’ll continue to melt, and over what period of time?

    There is absolutely no chance of their melting “all at once”—barring, I suppose, Earth’s collision with some enormous asteroid that sends Earth careening into the Sun!

    So, how fast is the ice melting?

    Well NO! the ice isn’t melting. The average temperature of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is well below freezing nearly everywhere nearly all of the time, that’s why they are ice sheets – Duh! They may be losing ice, after all, the water for sea level rise has to be coming from somewhere, but it’s a matter of how much snow falls, and how much ice calves into the sea as icebergs, it has NOTHING to do with temperature.

    • “the ice isn’t melting”

      The last week or so has had the fastest re-freeze since at least 1988. !

  2. Now that it appears that Ferdinand Biden and Imelda Harris may be running the show starting January 20th, you can expect to see blatant and down right bad science by government agencies for the next four years.

      • There is no reason currently to think that we will have a Harris/Biden administration.
        Actually the election results released so far indicate that this will be the case. Good to see that Alito is backing up the State Secretary of State who had already made that order.

          • I’m taking solace in a Republican senate and a reduced dem majority congress

            If these results stand it’s a personal repudiation of Trump the person but also of Democratic policy, with all the crazed revolutionaries behind Biden like AOC
            Americans do not support the democratic agenda

          • Calls by the media mean nothing. They unfortunately *do* influence people who are ignorant of the real process.

        • STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP

          “We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor. In Pennsylvania, for example, our legal observers were not permitted meaningful access to watch the counting process. Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media.

          “Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated. The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters. Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access.

          “So what is Biden hiding? I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”

          – President Donald J. Trump

  3. JPL….what on Earth makes them think that spending taxpayer dollars on climate reports has anything to do with their appointed Jet Propulsion research specialty ?….NASA too, other than weather reports for space launches. Obviously having too many experts with time on their hands results in a climatological study. We await the climate reports from IRA, ICE, ATF…..

    • I expect it comes under the Congressionally-mandated “Mission to Planet Earth” program at NASA.

      However, JPL handles the planetary probes, while Goddard handles the Earth-orbiting spacecraft.

      • If there is a pot of money labeled “climate change”, then you can bet the folks at JPL will tap it. I remember that JPL, when asked how they could “support the project to put a man on the moon”, cobbled together a proposal for a series of completely unmanned flights that carried a man, chimp-style, there and back, with them in charge, of course. NASA laughed.

  4. Why is there no calculation of sea level fall should the ice increase?

    For ice sheets to get smaller and raise sea levels, they must have started out larger with sea levels lower.

    They should explain how the ice sheets were larger in the past and how, over millennia rather than just the last 100 years or so, they reduced in size, sans SUVs.

    • They don’t care that ancient ice sheets varied widely with no possibility of being driven by CO2 emissions any more than they care that at the current rate of melt, we will be deep in the next ice age before the existing ice has had enough time to melt. These truths are among those they must cancel, so they ignore them along with the many other truths they must ignore in order to justify their position to themselves.

      History is full of other instances where truths were ignored to justify atrocities, often using hate as the means.

  5. Interesting comments about sea level and physical state of H2O, ie, ice accumulated on a continental mass melts and sea level rises. The missing part of sea level is what is happening to the ocean basins? Rivers transport silt into the oceans and intend to fill them up. Plate margin processes, either subduction or obduction, modify the basin shape/capacity. Then the continental plates start running around and sometimes separate and sometimes stack up, again changing the basin shape/capacity. And whales? Don’t get me started on whales. It’s a wonder sea level behaves in any way resembling normal.

  6. Speaking of predictions – it’s absolutely predictable that the more “environmental studies” graduates the universities turn out, the more ooga booga papers are going to be published in the academic journals (and of course the media, who the researchers are really relying on to present their “findings”).

    It’s the same with law graduates – the more of them the universities turn out, the more grievance cases are logged with the courts.

    Both of these scenarios are indisputably directly correlated.
    (Unlike the manmade CO2 = global warming correlation construct)

  7. For JPL,
    Glacier ice (the part that can melt) is about 10% air, and ice is 9% greater in volume than liquid water. A volume of glacier is about .82 of that same volume of fresh water. For a 215 ft cube of fresh water, you need to melt near 11.5 million cubic feet of glacier, or 324,000 cubic meters.
    What is the average mid summer air temperature at 50, 100, and 500m altitude at >67 degrees North and South? What is the albedo reflection factor for glacial ice? What is the mean surface angle-to-vertical of Antarctic and Greenland glacier? What is the mean proportion of ice that faces the equator in each polar region?
    How much energy must be delivered to polar zone glacier to raise world-wide mean sea level by 1mm?
    Subtract the amount of energy required from the mean insolation factor at >67 degrees.
    Assuming earth average temperature rise of 4 degrees C (double the least likely “disaster rate”) how much sea level rise will occur from melting polar zone glaciers by 2120?
    Contrariwise,
    How much water is produced from the oxidation of hydrocarbons, of ammonia, and of other hydrogen gas and compounds worldwide, over the course of 1 year?
    Where does industrial waste heat go?
    How does atmospheric convection affect thermal transfer from the surface?
    Show your work.

  8. My geological knowledge tells me that for some 90% of the last 550M years the climate has been 10C warmer than present with NO polar ice caps, and no detrimental effect to life in any way.
    I do so wish our (political) leaders would learn that one simple fact!

  9. Why is NASA doing climate research, again?

    I get that they put stuff in orbit, incl. data gathering devices used for climate research. Arianespace put com sats in orbit, doesn’t mean they are in the telecom business!

  10. Even JPL has been infiltrated by the cultural marxists.

    “You will be assimilated to service us.”
    ht/The Borg

  11. People who deceive are your enemy. Think of two generals facing each other. Each one tries to make it look like he has more troops than he actually has or has more in some places and less in others. They don’t lie. They just hide what they don’t want the enemy general to see while making prominent the things they do want the enemy to see. Then the enemy general makes his own decision. People who deceive are not your friend. They are trying to get you to make a bad decision.

  12. It,s ocean currents not atmospheric processes that make ice caps grow or shrink. Down in Antarctica warm currents have been recently flowing toward the ice cap leading researchers to believe that this was both a sign and a mechanism of ice sheet warming and melt. But now it turns out its the opposite. Abtarctica is cooling, and the endless freezing catabatic winds are cooling the surrounding ocean and causing downwelling of cold dense water. The inflowing warm water is only doing so in reaction to the cold downwelling via undersea canyons around Antarctica.

    Thus the increased warmer surface water flow toward Antarctica in recent years 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.

  13. Fear and trepidation is stock-in-trade to wrestle power for the Statist Command & Control Freaks that live to run everyone’s life as they see fit.

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