Claim: Evidence of Antarctic glacier’s tipping point confirmed for first time

Researchers have confirmed for the first time that Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica could cross tipping points, leading to a rapid and irreversible retreat which would have significant consequences for global sea level

NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY

Research News

IMAGE
IMAGE: DR SEBASTIAN ROSIER AT PINE ISLAND GLACIER IN 2015 view more CREDIT: DR SEBASTIAN ROSIER

Researchers have confirmed for the first time that Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica could cross tipping points, leading to a rapid and irreversible retreat which would have significant consequences for global sea level.

Pine Island Glacier is a region of fast-flowing ice draining an area of West Antarctica approximately two thirds the size of the UK. The glacier is a particular cause for concern as it is losing more ice than any other glacier in Antarctica.

Currently, Pine Island Glacier together with its neighbouring Thwaites glacier are responsible for about 10% of the ongoing increase in global sea level.

Scientists have argued for some time that this region of Antarctica could reach a tipping point and undergo an irreversible retreat from which it could not recover. Such a retreat, once started, could lead to the collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains enough ice to raise global sea level by over three metres.

While the general possibility of such a tipping point within ice sheets has been raised before, showing that Pine Island Glacier has the potential to enter unstable retreat is a very different question.

Now, researchers from Northumbria University have shown, for the first time, that this is indeed the case.

Their findings are published in leading journal, The Cryosphere.

Using a state-of-the-art ice flow model developed by Northumbria’s glaciology research group, the team have developed methods that allow tipping points within ice sheets to be identified.

For Pine Island Glacier, their study shows that the glacier has at least three distinct tipping points. The third and final event, triggered by ocean temperatures increasing by 1.2C, leads to an irreversible retreat of the entire glacier.

The researchers say that long-term warming and shoaling trends in Circumpolar Deep Water, in combination with changing wind patterns in the Amundsen Sea, could expose Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf to warmer waters for longer periods of time, making temperature changes of this magnitude increasingly likely.

The lead author of the study, Dr Sebastian Rosier, is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Northumbria’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences. He specialises in the modelling processes controlling ice flow in Antarctica with the goal of understanding how the continent will contribute to future sea level rise.

Dr Rosier is a member of the University’s glaciology research group, led by Professor Hilmar Gudmundsson, which is currently working on a major £4million study to investigate if climate change will drive the Antarctic Ice Sheet towards a tipping point.

Dr Rosier explained: “The potential for this region to cross a tipping point has been raised in the past, but our study is the first to confirm that Pine Island Glacier does indeed cross these critical thresholds.

“Many different computer simulations around the world are attempting to quantify how a changing climate could affect the West Antarctic Ice Sheet but identifying whether a period of retreat in these models is a tipping point is challenging.

“However, it is a crucial question and the methodology we use in this new study makes it much easier to identify potential future tipping points.”

Hilmar Gudmundsson, Professor of Glaciology and Extreme Environments worked with Dr Rosier on the study. He added: “The possibility of Pine Island Glacier entering an unstable retreat has been raised before but this is the first time that this possibility is rigorously established and quantified.

“This is a major forward step in our understanding of the dynamics of this area and I’m thrilled that we have now been able to finally provide firm answers to this important question.

“But the findings of this study also concern me. Should the glacier enter unstable irreversible retreat, the impact on sea level could be measured in metres, and as this study shows, once the retreat starts it might be impossible to halt it.”

###

The paper, The tipping points and early warning indicators for Pine island Glacier, West Antarctica, is now available to view in The Cryosphere.

Northumbria is fast becoming the UK’s leading university for research into Antarctic and extreme environments.

As well as the £4m tipping points study, known as TiPPACCs, Northumbria is also the only UK university to play a part in two projects in the £20m International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration – the largest joint project undertaken by the UK and USA in Antarctica for more than 70 years – where Northumbria is leading the PROPHET and GHC projects. This particular study was funded through both TiPPACCs and PROPHET.

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Robert of Texas
April 3, 2021 10:22 pm

Yep, they have confirmed that the program they wrote will demonstrate a tipping point exactly as it is programmed to do. Whether this actually matches reality or not has not been tested against anything real.

How the H*LL can it be irreversible since conditions HAD to exist for the ice to pile up in the first place? Obviously if the ice piled up once, it can happen again, therefore it cannot be called irreversible.

Climate Scare Tactics 101 at work here.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 3, 2021 10:40 pm

As in, “Send more money. We need to study it more.”

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 4, 2021 12:10 am

Claim: Evidence of Antarctic glacier’s tipping point confirmed for first time

And of course where is their evidence???

The lead author of the study, Dr Sebastian Rosier, is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Northumbria’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences. He specialises in the modelling processes controlling ice flow in Antarctica with the goal of understanding how the continent will contribute to future sea level rise.

I am sure glad that I don’t live in their Modeled Virtual World it’s all tragic in them models

Robertvd
Reply to  Bryan A
April 4, 2021 5:15 am

The question is why a warmer world would be a tragic world. In other words , most of the last 200 Ma must have been tragic because they were (much)warmer. Only the last 3 Ma cold period has been Utopia.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 4, 2021 2:38 pm

Well, I’d be extremely surprised if a group paid £4 million to investigate if a tipping point would be reached did not conclude that a tipping point would be reached. Grants would dry up if they didn’t.

the University’s glaciology research group, led by Professor Hilmar Gudmundsson, which is currently working on a major £4million study to investigate if climate change will drive the Antarctic Ice Sheet towards a tipping point.

Last edited 9 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Jit
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 4, 2021 4:28 am

“Dr Rosier is a member of the University’s glaciology research group, led by Professor Hilmar Gudmundsson, which is currently working on a major £4million study to investigate if climate change will drive the Antarctic Ice Sheet towards a tipping point.”

Here’s my question. Has anyone, ever, been given 4 mill to look for a problem, and *not* found one?

Has there ever been a scientific report that concluded with, “There’s no threat here and nothing new to be discovered, so don’t send us any more dosh.” ?

Jerry Mead
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 4, 2021 5:01 am

Nail on head:

We conduct a quasi-steady modelling experiment whereby we subject PIG to slowly increasing rates of basal melt beneath its adjacent ice shelf (Fig. 3). Conducting a transient simulation with an evolving basal melt that exactly tracks the equilibrium curve (Fig. 1c) is not computationally feasible or necessary for our purposes. Thus, we adopt this quasi-steady modelling approach in which the forcing increases slowly enough that it approximates the steady-state behaviour but faster than the long response timescales the glacier would require to be truly in equilibrium.”

Gums
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 4, 2021 7:54 am

Salute!

outstanding point, Robert

How many other glaciers has the new, great model accurately hindcast?

And what if some weather phenomena occurs that is not programmed or weighed in the model? So is the process truly irreversible? This is not like that guy dropping a ball from the Tower of Pisa. THAT was irreversible.

Gums sends…

Joe - non climate scientist
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 4, 2021 9:28 am

its well known that west antarctica sits on top of a lot of geothermal activity – So yes, the pine and twaits glacier are going to melt.

Sunsettommy
Editor
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 4, 2021 11:20 am

The ignored the active VOLCANOES in the area completely!

Paper is a pile of garbage…..

Neo
Reply to  Sunsettommy
April 6, 2021 10:34 am

Those volcanoes will just have to stop their activity immediately, by order of AOC

Kpar
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 6, 2021 3:10 pm

It has been confirmed that they have a theory.

Andrew
April 3, 2021 10:22 pm

I guess they had to come up with something dramatic for all that money

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Andrew
April 3, 2021 10:39 pm

3 months of SH summer field work to Antarctica while the NH (Northumbria U) is in winter. Cool stuff. What’s not to love when you’re spending OPM.

Kpar
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 6, 2021 3:11 pm

They are mainlining the OPM.

Phillip Bratby
April 3, 2021 10:23 pm

I note the word “could” and the word “model”. I therefore discount the use of the word “evidence” and put the paper in the round green filing cabinet.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 3, 2021 10:36 pm

That “could” weasel wording jumped out at me too. As in, they “confirm” it “could.”
Note: not “would.”

“Researchers have confirmed for the first time that Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica could cross tipping points, leading to a rapid and irreversible retreat which would have significant consequences for global sea level.”

And I, using the best models available, have “confirmed” that no less than 2,000 angels “could” sit on the head of a pin.

It’s all pseudoscience masquerading as science is all this is. And those “researchers” probably don’t even realize it is the sad part.

To bed B
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 4, 2021 1:50 am

Pretty sure that I could come up with a model that confirms that it could grow rabbit ears. Proof that I don’t deserve a grant.

Kpar
Reply to  To bed B
April 6, 2021 3:12 pm

…and on Easter. I see what you did there!

Robert Austin
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 4, 2021 4:25 pm

Not just one tipping point but a plurality of tipping points! How many tipping points can dance on the head of a pin? Ocean temperatures increasing by 1.2 C! I weep for the course and credibility of modern “science”.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 4, 2021 4:30 am

I wonder how many times Einstein used the word “could” in his relativity theories.

Scissor
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 4, 2021 6:08 am

That’s an interesting comment. Einstein likely used it less than most.

The so called modal verbs, like “could,” are used to denote a degree certainty and strength of opinion. This is appropriate in most cases in science, especially in observational studies of long-term processes, because one cannot completely know the whole truth and science is never absolutely “settled.”

As many have noted above, there are a whole lot of rent seekers working in the field of climate science. Any Einsteins? Probably not, but could be.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
April 4, 2021 9:05 am

In any case, rather than using the ambiguous word “could,” they should assign a numeric probability to their estimate, along with an uncertainty. “Could” is a classic weasel word that only denotes a possibility. It is like saying “I could win the Publishers Clearing House lottery. I wouldn’t advise giving up your day job based on the claim “could win.”

Curious George
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 4, 2021 10:23 am

The frequency of the word “could” in your opus is a good measure of a distance between you and Einstein.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 4, 2021 5:36 am

The easiest tell is the “From EurekAlert!” tagline.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 4, 2021 7:06 am

Yes.

“Tipping point”, as “forcing” and some other words or expressions with NO formal scientific definition or formulation are signals for me to STOP reading and abandon that text and mark it as BS.

Nylo
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 6, 2021 2:37 am

Early last year I remember reading about models that predicted 3 million deaths by COVID in only a few months and only in Europe. Current count a full year later is not yet that ammount in the entire World. Yeah, sure, let’s trust models.

Neil Jordan
April 3, 2021 10:32 pm

The headline states “evidence”. Down in the article, we read:
“Using a state-of-the-art ice flow model developed by Northumbria’s glaciology research group, the team have developed methods that allow tipping points within ice sheets to be identified.”
Models aren’t evidence.

Lrp
Reply to  Neil Jordan
April 4, 2021 3:21 am

The state of the art strikes again

Notanacademic
Reply to  Lrp
April 4, 2021 7:07 am

It seems the art is in a terrible state because the State is too involved

Last edited 10 days ago by Notanacademic
DMacKenzie
Reply to  Neil Jordan
April 4, 2021 7:34 am

Interestingly, Clisci’s refer to their computer runs as “experiments”. And an experiment implies that you physically tested a hypothesis. The delusion is inherent to their belief that they are “scientists” instead of in the same league as “astrologers using state of the art telescopes”.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Neil Jordan
April 4, 2021 9:06 am

Their model could be right — if they are lucky.

Prjindigo
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 4, 2021 7:31 pm

Computers are always precisely wrong. It is literally impossible.

Prjindigo
Reply to  Neil Jordan
April 4, 2021 7:30 pm

…art isn’t real.

Nigel in California
Reply to  Neil Jordan
April 4, 2021 11:23 pm

Exactly.

Unless verified, models are neither evidence, nor proof, of anything. I REALLY doubt their models have been verified.

Dennis G Sandberg
April 3, 2021 10:41 pm

and the only way to prevent “the tipping” is to create a gigantic “carbon” tax on “fossil fuels”(retroactively).

Scissor
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
April 4, 2021 6:09 am

Funny how that works.

TonyG
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
April 5, 2021 7:20 am

I’m sure there’s a model somewhere proving that.

Teddy lee
April 3, 2021 10:52 pm

“State of the art flow model”. Need you say more!

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Teddy lee
April 3, 2021 10:57 pm

a Bovine Excrement flow model.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 4, 2021 9:08 am

I think that the model was a flop.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 4, 2021 12:30 pm

To bad can only vote that up once.

Once the model is confirmed it becomes a tera-flop?

Nylo
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 6, 2021 2:44 am

Yeah but a state-of-the-art bovine excrement. Which is the one with the most flies around it.

Alan Robertson
April 3, 2021 11:07 pm

“Researchers have confirmed for the first time…”
“Using a state-of-the-art ice flow model…”

JaJaJa

DHR
April 3, 2021 11:08 pm

Meanwhile, sea level slowly increases as it has for the past 6,000 years.

PCman999
Reply to  DHR
April 4, 2021 1:25 am

That’s the biggest elephant in the climate emergency room : why are levels of CO2 and the sea rising at such steady rates, regardless of the huge increases in Chinese fuel use since about 2005ish, and the lack of temperature growth since 1998 (see uah’s latest graph).

Prjindigo
Reply to  PCman999
April 4, 2021 7:34 pm

Lack of temp growth technically ever. As the temperature in ground/sea level air increases the amount of energy stays the same because gravity doesn’t believe in global warming and pressure will stay the same while density drops off. Specific heat is used in science for a very very valid reason – its why we put thermometers at airports so that planes don’t simply drop from lack of lift.

Robertvd
Reply to  DHR
April 4, 2021 5:23 am

And we know this interglacial period and the one before have had much warmer episodes than we have today.

John Karajas
April 3, 2021 11:18 pm

West Antarctica sits on part of the Pacific Rim of Fire and is characterised by volcanic activity and high heat flow. Nothing to do with melting of glacial ice, of course! Do I need to add the sarc tag?

icisil
Reply to  John Karajas
April 4, 2021 5:33 am

This is one of the heat flux maps of Antarctica. I think this one was compiled from the average of several other heat flux maps. Notice the highest heat flux is directly beneath Pine Island Glacier.
comment image

JCalvertN(UK)
Reply to  John Karajas
April 4, 2021 9:26 pm

West Antarctica sits on part of the Pacific Rim of Fire” a fact that is conveniently (or deliberately?) overlooked or just not mentioned. (See wiki Ring of Fire – Wikipedia )

Chris Hanley
April 3, 2021 11:22 pm

“It is widely recognized that heat flux from the Earth’s interior is a significant source of thermal energy in Polar Regions”.
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/New-heat-flow-map-of-Antarctica-based-on-revised-data-sets-For-details-see-the-text_fig2_340086938
file:///Users/christopherhanley/Downloads/51-ArticleText-341-6-10-20200328.pdf
The Pine Island Glacier sits in an area of very high geothermal heat flow.

icisil
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 4, 2021 5:41 am

Wow haven’t seen that one. Largest red blob is Thwaites and Pine Island..
comment image

April 3, 2021 11:23 pm

You can almost see the ‘scientists’ from Northumbria University Slavering with delight as they pen the words ‘tipping points, leading to a rapid and irreversible retreat which would have significant consequences for global sea level.‘ and ‘could lead to the collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains enough ice to raise global sea level by over three metres.‘ They are clearly revelling in delight at the prospect of millions of Bangladeshis being swept away in a gigantic tsunami of Antarctic collapse. They know this prediction is justified as those Bangladeshis and all the rest of us have brought it on ourselves by driving our SUVs, heating our houses, flying hither and thither, and generally ignoring all their previous cataclysmic warnings.

PCman999
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 4, 2021 1:35 am

They must be clearly relishing the thought of impoverishing the world especially people in Bangladesh, who need cheap, reliable and safe sources of energy to develop their countries, but instead the tries to force them to buy into the Rube Goldberg scheme of wind-solar-batteries-crossed-fingers. They’ll go to China instead, who will have the last laugh, when they have most of the world making monthly payments to them.

Roger Knights
April 3, 2021 11:47 pm

Even if true, there is no reason for us Westerners to reduce our CO2 emissions, since the Easterners’ increasing emissions will swamp whatever we do.

TonyG
Reply to  Roger Knights
April 5, 2021 7:28 am

I’m guessing that we have to reduce our emissions SO MUCH that they become negative (would that be remissions? 🙂 ) in order to make up for China’s increases.

Rory Forbes
April 3, 2021 11:51 pm

Hmmm … must be grant renewal season. Can you imagine the state the university admins would be in if these weren’t the findings of that team of prognosticators and modelers? What they don’t mention is that this process, if true and from whatever cause, is likely to take several millennia and even more likely to be halted by the end of this interglacial.

This note was conceived of using “state-of-the-art” brain cells, not chicken entrails models.

Robertvd
Reply to  Rory Forbes
April 4, 2021 5:30 am

Invest a few millions to give you a reason to have even more power over the population is not a bad deal.

John V. Wright
April 3, 2021 11:54 pm

“Currently, Pine Island Glacier together with its neighbouring Thwaites glacier are responsible for about 10% of the ongoing increase in global sea level.”
That’s 10% of SFA. By the way, there is an error in the title of the source publication. I think you’ll find it’s called The Crywolfosphere

Mike
April 4, 2021 12:06 am

”Researchers have confirmed for the first time that Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica could cross tipping points”, 

confirm….

to establish the truth, accuracy, validity, or genuineness of; corroborate; verify:

to acknowledge with definite assurance:

”CONFIRM” something ”COULD” do something?
Sorry dudes, It doesn’t work that way!

Last edited 10 days ago by Mike
Redge
April 4, 2021 12:16 am

Link to paper

Simulations all the way down and not a single mention of the volcanoes

Figure 2 from the above paper here.

Matthew Sykes
Reply to  Redge
April 4, 2021 2:59 am

“Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier” Nature.com
Yep, Pacific Ring of Fire, goes all the way down the coast there.

Vincent Causey
April 4, 2021 12:20 am

Everywhere there seems to be tipping points, “just about to happen.” You have to wonder how life on earth made it this far.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Vincent Causey
April 4, 2021 4:37 am

I’m expecting the planet to flip over any minute now.

Scissor
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 4, 2021 6:17 am

Marijuana.

Flash Chemtrail
Reply to  Scissor
April 4, 2021 7:49 am

Guam tipping over never gets old. Not only is this simple dope still a member of congress, he is on the Judiciary Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Yet another fine example of our sober, judicious, sophisticated and rational “law makers”.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Flash Chemtrail
April 4, 2021 10:03 am

Can’t you see that’s “raciss”. According to the most recent assessment of ‘white privilege’, the expectation of empirical fact is “raciss”. People are entitled to “their own truth”, according to Oprah.

tygrus
April 4, 2021 12:21 am

Much of the detail is unclear as to what the facts are & what the “model” has manufactured but I’m no climate expert.
How fast is it changing? How fast will it change in the future? What is the earliest to latest prediction of when this will occur? How can this be tested in the future to verify the model with observations? How much recovery can occur due to natural variation in any number of years along the timeline? If we see large recoveries can we invalidate the model? If they can’t understand what instigates natural variation then how do they expect to understand long-term variations. Averaging & smoothing long term climate records hides the natural negative feedbacks & short-term recovery ability. Yes, it’s looked much worse in the past but yet here we are with an imagined optimum that had improved over many years & seems to have various cycles.

tygrus
Reply to  tygrus
April 4, 2021 12:38 am

Yes, they have the ENSO, IOM, and a lot of other indexes but these have unclear inputs & unknown triggers that make them cycle up & down. It’s like understanding steps F to J but not knowing the steps A to E. There’s a difference between short-term predictions of these indicators with some accuracy vs long term multi-cycle predictions which have no timing/strength accuracy. If they can average the predicted signal over enough years then the effect size is said to be accurate without having any real accuracy.
It’s like saying I can guess the phone numbers of 100 people BUT all I do is predict the range & mean of the sum of the digits. A set of statistics which can be applied to all 100 phone numbers without actually guessing any phone number accurately. I might get a few digits right in a sequence but no better than chance. Those statistics could be accurate but totally pointless to make predictions specific to a year.

Coeur de Lion
April 4, 2021 12:23 am

I’m just a silly uneducated fellow, but whenever I dot my cursor all round the Antarctica coastline on the earth.nullschool.net website, it’s always desperately cold.

lee
April 4, 2021 12:27 am

“The third and final event, triggered by ocean temperatures increasing by 1.2C”

Is that all. Time to panic. NOT.

Reply to  lee
April 4, 2021 1:26 am

I think they are still using RCP 8.5 as business as usual input.

Editor
April 4, 2021 1:19 am

They didn’t find just one tipping point, they found three. The study cost £4m. Could they have found six tipping points if they had been paid £8m, or is the relationship between grant money and tipping-points non-linear?

And how can there be three tipping-points? Tipping-point is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as:
“the time at which a change or an effect cannot be stopped”
with example:
“The earth has already passed the tipping point in terms of global warming”.

Once you pass a tipping-point, it’s all over red rover. You can’t have a tipping-point still in front of you because you have already tipped. If it isn’t all over then you can’t have passed a tipping-point.

I reckon the Northumbria University team cheated the grant-giving government (presumably) out of £2.6m, ie. the cost of two redundant tipping-points.

Actually, I think they cheated them out of £4m. The really sad thing is how easy they are to be cheated- but of course it is only OPM.

Mike
Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 4, 2021 1:34 am

The study cost £4m. Could they have found six tipping points if they had been paid £8m,”

Ha ha ha

Robertvd
Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 4, 2021 7:06 am

Invest a few millions to give those in power a reason to have even more power over the population is not a bad deal.
The real tipping-point is the amount of funding needed to go or not go to Antarctica. The to be or not to be question.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 4, 2021 8:20 am

The tipping point occurred 25000 years ago.

PCman999
April 4, 2021 1:40 am

Their noses were so glued to their monitors checking their code that they forgot to do some real research and look under the glaciers at all that volcanic activity.

Climate believer
April 4, 2021 1:46 am

I see those “end times scientists” Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are also involved. Not a good sign.

Anyone remember this…

A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.
The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.
According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed  to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

… just listen to the scientists they say, who are all in agreement.

sailor76
Reply to  Climate believer
April 4, 2021 5:09 am

I could make the argument that the additional weight of the 82 B toms of ice would cause the glaciers to speed up and flow even faster into the see and melt causing even more CAGW and meters of SL increase. Can I get another 4M to study this disastrous development?

AndyHce
April 4, 2021 2:06 am

If you amputate a dog’s right side front leg and then amputate his left side rear leg, he could be unable to run anymore.

mspsgt
Reply to  AndyHce
April 4, 2021 7:30 am

And, if the dog hadn’t have stopped to sh*t, he COULD have caught the rabbit.

Rod Evans
April 4, 2021 2:16 am

Where would we be without computer simulations?
Yes that’s right, out in the field looking for actual information, around which we could form an opinion.
One more mystery regarding computer advance and the evolution of AI. Why do we have grants paid to Uni’s these days when as we are often told AI can do things so much more accurately and so much cheaper than mere humans?
You would be amazed how cheap, computer research can be….. 🙂

migueldelrio
April 4, 2021 2:42 am

<blockquote>IMAGE: DR SEBASTIAN ROSIER AT PINE ISLAND GLACIER IN 2015 view more CREDIT: DR SEBASTIAN ROSIER</blockquote>

He seems quite pleased with himself.

Graemethecat
Reply to  migueldelrio
April 4, 2021 6:04 am

You would too if you had just blagged £4m for an all-expenses-paid holiday to Antarctica.

rah
April 4, 2021 2:42 am

They do love their “tipping points” don’t they?
Always fabricating a mythical point of “irreversible” doom! And nature always reveals them to be the unethical arrogant fools they are.

Matthew Sykes
April 4, 2021 2:56 am

Many different computer simulations around the world ” wow, group think at work!

Matthew Sykes
April 4, 2021 2:58 am

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04421-3Evidence of an active volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island Glacier

You going to stop a volcano? Good luck with that!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
April 4, 2021 9:18 am

Now a volcano is like someone suddenly and effusively regurgitating their dinner. No way to stop it or put it back where it came from!

Newminstet
April 4, 2021 3:12 am

Forgive me but I would like something a little more “upmarket” than a computer model from Newcastle Polytechnic before I started to panic!

Graemethecat
Reply to  Newminstet
April 4, 2021 6:06 am

“University of Northumbria” sounds so much more classy than Newcastle Poly.

2hotel9
April 4, 2021 3:53 am

So, the glacier is doing exactly what it has been doing for thousands upon thousands of years and this is some sort of problem for some pointy headed idiot who can’t hold a real job? Got it.

Gerry, England
April 4, 2021 4:01 am

I suppose the good news is that the £4m wasted on this crap was not from just British taxpayers but came from EU funding so was shared with others. Small wonder that our universities were Remainer strongholds, notwithstanding that they are also bastions of lefty wokism.

rah
Reply to  Gerry, England
April 4, 2021 4:22 am

They are the very foundation of leftist bull crap there and here in the US. And they are self perpetuating by heavily seeding the lower level institutions of “learning” with their ground troops which indoctrinate our youth.

Sam
April 4, 2021 4:28 am

I’ve lived on the ocean for over 30 years. It’s not rising.

2hotel9
Reply to  Sam
April 5, 2021 3:50 am

To be clear, it is rising and falling and going side to side. Ahhh, I’m feeling queasy just thinking about it.

Tom in Florida
April 4, 2021 5:38 am

Yup, it’s models all the way down.

Nick Schroeder
April 4, 2021 6:27 am

“..which contains enough ice to raise global sea level by over three metres.”
Please show your work.

Antarctica covers 14.2 E6 km^2 (NBS equivalents: 20 * Texas, 2,768 * Delaware or 163,218 * Manhattan) with an average ice cap thickness of 1.9 km for a volume of 2.698 E7 km^3. (L*W*H math)
Ice has a density of 9.2 E11 kg/km^3. (engineering)
The Antarctic ice cap (NOT sea ice!) contains 2.482 E19 kg of ice, 2.482 E16 tonne, 24.82 E6 Gt. (science)
Between 2002 and 2012 the Antarctic ice cap “lost” about 1,200 Gt or a decrease of 0.0048%, 48 ppm, per decade. (technology)
At that rate the ice cap will be all gone in 206,850 years. (more math)
I don’t plan on waiting around.
You?
Every year the SEA ICE swings from around 3E6 km^2 during summer to 14E6 km^2 (doubling in size) during winter. (technology)
Thwaites glacier is 192,000 km^2 or about 1.3% of the ice cap.
Yawn!!!!!

Tom in Florida
April 4, 2021 6:35 am

“which contains enough ice to raise global sea level by over three metres.”

Since my house is 4.5 meters above sea level I really don’t care. It will make a walk to the beach that much shorter.

Nick Schroeder
April 4, 2021 6:37 am

“One area of particular concern is the Amundsen Sea region. Pine Island (PIG) and Thwaites glaciers, the two largest glaciers in the area,

are believed to be

particularly vulnerable to MISI…”

i.e. voices in someone’s head.

garboard
April 4, 2021 7:14 am

‘ should the glacier enter unstable irreversible retreat “… its nice knowing that apparently this is not happening .

Nick Schroeder
April 4, 2021 7:29 am

Appendix A of their paper shows the x-axis timeline of their “simulation” having units of kyr.

Is that THOUSANDS of English years or metric years?

Gordon A. Dressler
April 4, 2021 7:40 am

From the above article:
“Using a state-of-the-art ice flow model developed by Northumbria’s glaciology research group . . . The potential for this region to cross a tipping point has been raised in the past, but our study is the first to confirm that Pine Island Glacier does indeed cross these critical thresholds . . . The possibility of Pine Island Glacier entering an unstable retreat has been raised before but this is the first time that this possibility is rigorously established and quantified.” (my bold emphasis added)

So, what is now being claimed is that “state-of-the-art” computer models can now provide “rigorous” proof of scientific possibilities. Who knew?

The stupidity of such . . . it burns.

John Bell
April 4, 2021 7:50 am

When they use LOTS of fossil fuels to go there….that is a tipping point, that they are virtue signalling, no matter the fossil fuels used.

Stephen Skinner
April 4, 2021 8:04 am

So all glaciers are a non-renewable?

Dave
April 4, 2021 8:08 am

While the general possibility of such a tipping point within ice sheets has been raised before, showing that Pine Island Glacier has the potential to enter unstable retreat is a very different question.

In other words, they’re speculating.

Pflashgordon
April 4, 2021 8:10 am

“for the first time” – A favorite prideful, wearisome phrase of university communications offices, who write these “science” blurbs. Let’s keep a count of how many times this phrase is used in such publications. I tried searching the WUWT archives and got thousands of hits. One question that comes to mind is, “WAS this REALLY the first time, based on an exhaustive search of all human knowledge?” Doubtful. It brings to mind the words commonly attributed to King Solomon (we don’t know for certain if he was really the author),
9 What has been, it is what will be,
And what has been done, it is what will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one might say,
“See this, it is new”?
It has already existed for ages
Which were before us.
11 There is no remembrance of the earlier things,
And of the later things as well, which will occur,
There will be no remembrance of them
Among those who will come later still.”
(Ecclesiastes 1:9-11)

Many of the comments here regarding this article reflect the critics’ observations that the authors exhibited a serious lack of remembrance and of perspective.

Pride and bloviating sell grants, and that is the business model of 21st century universities. Each is in the business of gaining market share of OPM. Within that framework, each principal investigator is an independent entrepreneur, where the most successful snake-oil salesmen (not necessarily the best scientists) get the most grants and notoriety (e.g., Mann, Dessler, Hayhoe). Many brilliant scientists pursuing the academic research track quickly learn that it is not about the science, so they abandon higher education for more meaningful, rewarding and honest pursuits. Through my brief years on this earth, I have known several world-class scientists who either beat the system or found much more meaningful work outside of academic research.

April 4, 2021 8:15 am

Why don’t these press releases and announcements like to the actual journal article?

https://tc.copernicus.org/articles/15/1501/2021/

per the question above, it does not use climate scenarios – such as RCP8.5.

April 4, 2021 8:24 am

“could”

Clyde Spencer
April 4, 2021 8:57 am

The whole concept of a “Tipping Point,” with irreversible consequences, is a misnomer. If it were possible for any environmental process to transition rapidly to a stable state from which it could not recover, it would already have happened after 4.5 billion years, and we would be stuck in that state today.

It is possible to have extreme transient states, such as an “Ice House,” or a “Hot House.” However, even an area as vast as the Sahara Desert was verdant not all that long ago, and is showing signs of retreat at its margins, thanks to increasing CO2.

“Tipping Point” is just another of the phrases promoted by alarmists, such as “ocean acidification,” and “Sixth Mass Extinction,” intended to scare people and have them react emotionally, rather than objectively consider the evidence.

I personally take offense at other people trying to manipulate me!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 4, 2021 10:16 am

I personally take offense at other people trying to manipulate me!

We see this same thing happening with increased frequency today. It’s the standard fair of The Left. Manipulating people with language is possibly the most emphatic warning from reading Orwell and the basis of Marxist indoctrination.

Last edited 9 days ago by Rory Forbes
Bill
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 4, 2021 3:41 pm

“I personally take offense at other people trying to manipulate me!”

What about those “obedience collars” we’re forced to wear, called masks? So many of the illiterate are wearing them in cars, while alone outside and they are the real problem!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Bill
April 4, 2021 5:32 pm

There are many people — some of whom one might even call bright — that don’t bother to think about what they do. Then, there are others that don’t understand the problem and just go along with the program. I give them credit for at least trying to help, even if the effort is wasted.

David Middleton
April 4, 2021 8:58 am

Get used to it. Daily scare tactics prior to this year’s IPCC conference. Every day something new and scarier.

stewartpid
Reply to  David Middleton
April 4, 2021 10:23 am

I like the “Another scary story, scarier than the last scary story” line that I saw here years ago.

John Robertson
April 4, 2021 9:02 am

Great Doom Sayers,best they have is coulda woulda ,models are evidence..
As a thought experiment..Imagine what the equivalent of these doomsters woulda said 10 to 20 thousand years ago as the Laurentide Ice Sheet began its retreat..
Must a been Wooly Rhino Flatulence what done .
In such times of massive sea level raises,flooding of low lying lands and forced retreat from the tides,legends are born.
A back of napkin calculation gave me an “Ice retreat” of 9 inches/year from 2/3 of the North American continent…”Unprecedented Warming”
Doom Doom Doom.

Scott snell
April 4, 2021 9:13 am

Irreversible, just like the dozens of previous glacial retreats since Pleistocene glaciation began.

Yet another edition of “Worse than We thought!” Brought to you by vested interests with grants to justify.

Even if true, and glacial collapse proceeds, we are talking thousands of years for the scenario to play out. Big system = slow process.

But long before that can happen the Holocene Interglacial will have come to an end, and an other 100,000-year plus glacial cycle begun. That die is already cast.

Bruce Cobb
April 4, 2021 9:15 am

Wait – they used a “state-of-the-art ice flow model”?
Be still my beating heart!

goldminor
April 4, 2021 9:18 am

In the meantime Antarctic sea ice is well above average currently. … http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  goldminor
April 4, 2021 11:33 am

Only 7th lowest in the satellite era?
Where is griff, this cannot be right

High Treason
April 4, 2021 9:21 am

He who pays the Piper calls the tune. If you don’t come to the conclusion those that funded the study want, you don’t get any more funding.
This is, alas, how science funding operates. This comes from a certain close relative with a distinguished academic career. I had asked this certain close relative about 14 years ago -catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, sounds like a load of leftie BS , real science can’t be settled-that’s BS, debate is over-I don’t remember any b…. debate, but why does all the science seem to support it? The answer-if you don’t come to the conclusion those that funded the study want, you don’t get any more funding.
I knew from my own profession that there are conflicts of interest in materials studies-I buy what comes second in all the studies. The penny dropped immediately. As I investigated things deeper, the web of deception grew ever wider.
Unfortunately, humans are as scientifically illiterate and superstitious as in the past. We like to think we have outgrown fear and superstition, but we have not. Humans are as gullible as they have been for millennia. It is only a matter of time before we see public executions of deniers. Think I am joking? Just look at how everyone refuses to call out cancel culture and its persecution of anyone that does not tow the insane anti white, anti everything about OUR culture rubbish.
The most absurd pieces of PC rubbish from a couple of years ago is now enforceable LAW. What do you think would happen to you if you were to say publicly what you thought to yourself when you first heard there were 70 new genders?
We all have to hope those sheep that buy in to PC madness take their COVID vaccines and suffer the later consequences of their folly. Who in their right mind would submit to an untested, experimental vaccine for which the manufacturers are absolved from liability? Who would willingly take such a risk when there are therapeutics that are cheaper, safe and more effective? Who would buy in to becoming a lab rat based on a hyped-up scamdemic?
Look at the modus operandi of cAGW and COVID. They are the same- science for hire “studies”, media hype, “the science is settled”, the debate is over, persecution for going against the narrative…….The similarities are disturbing.

DMA
April 4, 2021 9:23 am

“The third and final event, triggered by ocean temperatures increasing by 1.2C, leads to an irreversible retreat of the entire glacier.”
That is almost as much temperature change as is predicted in the atmosphere. Observed ocean temperature changes are in the .01 range.

Richard M
Reply to  DMA
April 4, 2021 9:57 am

They are likely referring to SSTs since the mixed layer is usually what abuts coastal glaciers. The bad news for these alarmist clowns is the SSTs have dropped by .3 C in the last few months. Going the wrong way now to reach their tipping point.

ResourceGuy
April 4, 2021 9:42 am

….and I needed a paper published with a catchy title. I also predict volcanic eruptions.

Walter Sobchak
April 4, 2021 9:57 am

“Using a state-of-the-art ice flow model”

Stop right there. The study proved nothing. It was just computer assisted mathematical onanism. If the authors do not quit, they will go blind.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 4, 2021 1:06 pm

I think that they are already blind.

Sally
April 4, 2021 9:58 am

The disgraceful thing here is these people claim to be geographers and I don’t see the word ‘volcano’ taken into account in their models anywhere. There are known volcanos under those glaciers, erupting unpredictably. How can you possibly claim to be able to model these glaciers when a volcanic eruption can completely destroy the model due to the utter inability we have to monitor and predict when a volcano will erupt under the Antarctic ice??

Richard M
April 4, 2021 10:01 am

Good thing money grows on trees and trees are expanding due to increased CO2.

The sad thing is that their model COULD be very accurate. The problem is it is based on phony projections of temperature increases. Their butts are covered because they simply used the input from Mr. Consensus. He’s the one that should be prosecuted for fraud.

April 4, 2021 10:17 am

The authors ignore the geological rising of the region. Models are useless if they omit key features.

“Based on our estimates, it {accelerating rising} might produce a deformation large enough and early enough in the deglaciation phase to prevent the complete collapse of the WAIS even under strong climate forcing.”

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6395/1335

There are also volcanic vents emitting heat under the Pine Island glacier, but (based on the little evidence available), they’re not a big influence.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04421-3

April 4, 2021 10:21 am

Guess who came to dinner? 91 or more volcanoes. Try and put that into your silly models.

Doonman
April 4, 2021 11:45 am

Not only are scientists concerned about tipping points in air temperatures, but they are now concerned about tipping points in ocean temperatures.

They should stop whining about their concerns and do something about it. I recommend injecting huge quantities of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to reduce incoming solar energy by increasing the albedo of the earth. This is a known effect of sulfur dioxide as observed when volcanoes erupt.

If someone can come up with a better plan, then lets hear it. But the constant whining like little children is getting old.

Loren C. Wilson
April 4, 2021 11:53 am

Since the last interglacial was warmer than this one (at least so far, based on sea level), their tipping point is not very tippy.

John Harrison
April 4, 2021 12:18 pm

As soon as I read the words “computer model” I completely lost interest.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Harrison
April 4, 2021 1:08 pm

It is unfortunate the climastrologists are giving computer models such a bad name. They have their place in science and sometimes are even useful.

April 4, 2021 1:15 pm

1.     The West Antarctic ice sheet is not now collapsing.
2.     Recent acceleration and retreat of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers has occurred because warm ocean water has caused melting of ice on the underside of the glaciers, causing them to thin and calve more rapidly.
3.     The basin of the West Antarctic ice sheet is mostly below sea level, but the thickness of almost the entire ice sheet is greater than the depth below sea level so the glacier is everywhere grounded and will remain so.
4.     The largest and thickest part of the ice sheet flows away from the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers into the Ross Sea about 1,000 miles to the southeast.
5.      The Pine Island and Thwaites outlet glaciers drain less than half of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the greater portion flows in the opposite direction.
6.     Melting of the entire West Antarctic ice sheet would take several thousand years and it is doubtful if that is even possible under present conditions.
7.     The Pine Island and Thwaites outlet glaciers are only about 30 miles across so draining more than two million km3 of ice through their narrow channels or sending sea water 1,000 miles to the east and 1000 miles to the south under the ice sheet isn’t plausible.
8.     The present retreat of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers is being caused by warm ocean water from underneath, not by surface melting.
9.     Retreat of the ice sheet is not ‘unstoppable.’ The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers have experienced more pronounced retreat in the past but were able to reverse melting naturally.
10. More dramatic warming (and cooling) occurred in the mid-nineteenth and eighteenth centuries, suggesting that recent outlet glacier retreat has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability of the past 300 years.
11. The slow retreat of the West Antarctica ice sheet is nothing new. Warming and cooling is well within historical limits dating back thousands of years. 8,000 years ago, the Pine Island outlet glacier thinned just as fast as it has in recent decades and later recovered.
12. The West Antarctic ice sheet is NOT collapsing, nor is it likely to in the next several hundred years
13. Sea level is NOT going to rise 10 feet in the next few hundred years because the West Antarctic ice sheet is not collapsing.

Keith Peregrine
April 4, 2021 2:21 pm

It seems to me the old adage “garbage-in, garbage-out” applies here.

gmak
April 4, 2021 3:26 pm

You mean that for the entire history of this planet, there has been ice in the form of the Pine Island Glacier? Isn’t that what irreversible implies?

Gary Pearse
April 4, 2021 3:44 pm

“Researchers have confirmed for the first time that Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica could cross tipping points…”

Тhe same old. You do Not confirm anything with ‘models’ and people that do this kind of stuff are not researchers, especially, innumerate asterisked PhDs in geography. You cannot say “…finally able to provide firm answers…” this is a lie! You even say ‘could’ cause tipping points.

Moreover, it is scientific fr@ud to write stuff designed to scare people like “…draining an area of West Antarctica approximately two thirds the size of the UK.” The area of Antarctica is 58 times that of the UK and 87 times that of 2/3 of the UK!

You compound fr@ud by adding Pine Island to Thwaites saying together they account for 10% of sealevel rise! Thwaites is the largest glacier in Antarctica, so it probably accounts for 3/4 of the 10% rise in SL. You just didn’t want to say that Pine Island contributes a mm/decade of sealevel rise. Shame on you.

Jon R
April 4, 2021 5:27 pm

The word scientists has come a long way in the long way in the last 30 years. Is there a bottom and if so what does it look like?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jon R
April 7, 2021 1:27 pm

The bottom will come when the ‘woke intelligentsia‘ forbid any scientist from responding in any way, to a research article in a peer-reviewed journal, unless it is in support of the politically approved dogma. That is, actual peer review will cease to be a part of the Scientific Method, and one will have to accept that anything that makes it through ‘pal review’ is gospel.

Ciphertext
April 4, 2021 8:09 pm

These passages are the relevant “nuggets”.

Using a state-of-the-art ice flow model developed by Northumbria’s glaciology research group, the team have developed methods that allow tipping points within ice sheets to be identified.

He specialises in the modelling processes controlling ice flow in Antarctica with the goal of understanding how the continent will contribute to future sea level rise.

“Many different computer simulations around the world are attempting to quantify how a changing climate could affect the West Antarctic Ice Sheet but identifying whether a period of retreat in these models is a tipping point is challenging.

[ emphasis mine ]

So, we are dealing primarily and most heavily on opinion. We are dealing primarily with an opinion of how to describe a system. Then, we layer upon that, an opinion on what that system will do. That is an awful lot of opinion. Models are really just fancy opinions, aren’t they? They can prognosticate with their opinions (a.k.a. models), but not replicate the past performance of the system that they are purporting to describe. Seems like your opinion would matter more if you had good ability to account for what happened in the past.

Chris*
April 4, 2021 10:04 pm

What happened to the Helium isotopes which showed geothermal activity below the Pine Island glacier?

Joe Ebeni
April 5, 2021 3:29 am

“Could” the scientists “modelers” have more weasel words? “Could” they actually use empirical evidence and observation of the glacier’s input/output budget to “confirm” facts which would support a conclusion?
And they used a model of a glacier to somehow ferret out the possibility of a tipping point within a continental ice sheet?

StevePcola
April 5, 2021 10:17 am

Until these “experts” are correct about /anything/, I’ll continue to ignore their hysteria. They have never successfully predicted anything with their alarmist modeling and never will. That they continue to find venues in/on which to publish their graft says more about the climate change fraud than anything else.

Jackie Pratt
April 6, 2021 5:49 am

So the glaciers of concern have a total volume of 300,000 cubic MILES? A hummer of a glacier 550 miles long by 550 miles wide by 1 mile deep? That is what is needed to get 3 meters of ocean rise. But check my math.

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