antarctic

West Antarctica ice-sheet calving due mainly to geology

Sometime between Monday 10th July and Wednesday 12th July, a 2,239 square mile section of Larsen C ice sheet finally broke away. As the media put it, that’s about the size of the State of Delaware. The Larsen C ice sheet is located in the Weddell Sea near the tip of the West Antarctica peninsula. The resulting iceberg has been designated Larson A68. Some of the media claimed this calving was due to human-induced global warming and portends a scary future. (See LA TimesNew York Times , and CNN stories. CNN headline: “That huge iceberg should freak you out” )

The LA Times story does note that in the year 2000, a 4,200 square mile chuck of ice calved from the Ross Sea ice shelf.

A scientist from Project MIDAS, a UK-based Antarctic research project investigating the effects of a warming climate on the Larsen C ice shelf in West Antarctica, said that they were “not aware of any link to human-induced climate change…” (Source)

The geology of West Antarctica is discussed in a long post by geologist James Kamis (read full post).

As shown on Kamis’ figure 2 above, West Antarctica is within a major rift zone which is pulling the continent apart. There are also 61 recognized volcanos on the surface, on the sea bed, and under the ice, all of which provide heat and tectonic instability. Kamis contends that the geology is driving ice shelf calving.

Calving of giant ice bergs is not a new phenomenon. A 1956 newspaper story found by Tony Heller of RealScience.com documents two large icebergs. One, spotted by a Navy icebreaker was 208 miles long and 60 miles wide (12,480 square miles, about the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined). During the same year another iceberg measuring 200 miles long and 10 miles wide calved from the Ross Ice Shelf. The same story notes that the Navy Hydrographic Office reports a 100 mile by 100 mile iceberg (10,000 square miles) spotted by a whaling ship in 1927. (Source) Remember that good coverage of ice shelf calving is made possible by satellite observation which began in 1979. Before that, it was by chance observation from ships.

See also:

The “Unstoppable Collapse” of the West Antarctic ice sheet

Geology is responsible for some phenomena blamed on global warming

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

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Predictions of an ice-free Arctic Ocean

Global warming alarmists and climate scientists have predicted that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 1979, or 2000, or 2008, or 2012, or 2013, or 2015, or 2020, or 2030, or 2050 or…

There is some debate about whether an ice-free Arctic Ocean would be a good thing or a bad thing. On the good side is that an ice-free Arctic Ocean would allow faster shipping of goods between continents and open the area for mineral exploration. On the allegedly bad side is that the albedo of the Arctic Ocean would decrease and thereby absorb more sunlight that might cause warming. The sea level issue is moot because floating ice displaces it own weight of water and there is only a minor difference between the mass/volume of salt water versus fresh water, so sea level rise would be minimal.

Let’s look at some recent melting Arctic predictions in the press.

BBC December 12, 2007: “Arctic Summers Ice-Free by 2013”

The BBC’s 2007 report quoted scientist Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, who based his views on super-computer models and the fact that ‘we use a high-resolution regional model for the Arctic Ocean and sea ice’. This story was within a more rational story in the Daily Mail.

ABC News, April 7, 2008: “North Pole Could Be Ice Free in 2008” (source)

Because of the large ice melt in 2007, Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said “This raises the spectre – the possibility that you could become ice free at the North Pole this year.”

Sierra Club, March 23, 2013: “Why Arctic sea ice will vanish in 2013” (source)

“”For the record—I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer. An event unprecedented in human history is today, this very moment, transpiring in the Arctic Ocean.”

Tony Heller (aka Steve Goddard) has compiled scans of newspaper articles predicting an ice-free Arctic:

The Argus (Melbourne) July, 17, 1954: “Arctic Ice Thaws” (source)

“The ice-packed Arctic Ocean may become navigable in another 25 to 50 years if the present warming-up tendency of the polar region continued.”

New Scientist, December 1, 1960 : (source, see bottom of second column)

“The Arctic Ocean will be open year-round before the end of the twentieth Century.”

Tuscaloosa News, May 18, 1972: “Arctic Ocean to be ice free by 2000?” (source)

“Washington (AP) -Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.”

National Geographic News, December 12, 2007, “Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?” (source)

“This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

Huff Post October 16, 2009, “We Can’t Ignore the Security Threat from Climate Change “ (source)

Article by then Senator John Kerry in which he claims:

“The truth is that the threat we face is not an abstract concern for the future. It is already upon us and its effects are being felt worldwide, right now. Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now.”

The Guardian May 2, 2013: “White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral” (source)

“Senior US government officials are to be briefed at the White House this week on the danger of an ice-free Arctic in the summer within two years.” We will just have to see if the Arctic becomes ice-free this summer.

Now that previous predictions of an ice-free Arctic Ocean have failed to materialize, the alarmists are extending their wolf cry to predict it will happen in 2030 or 2050 etc.

Such are the predictions of “climate scientists” for whom, it seems, computer models are their reality.

Arctic sea ice melt is nothing new. To put things in perspective, consider these older reports:

“A considerable change of climate inexplicable at present to us must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been, during the last two years, greatly abated.”

“2000 square leagues [approximately 14,000 square miles or 36,000 square kilometers] of ice with which the Greenland Seas between the latitudes of 74 and 80 N have been hitherto covered, has in the last two years entirely disappeared.”

The paragraphs above come from a letter by the President of the Royal Society addressed to the British Admiralty, written in 1817 (Royal Society, London. Nov. 20, 1817. Minutes of Council, Vol. 8. pp.149-153). When this report was written, the planet was in the midst of the Little Ice Age. How could the ice disappear in a Little Ice Age if the melting was due to global warming?

Another story:

Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish And Icebergs Melt

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the waters too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen , Norway .

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are being found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

This is from an AP story which appeared in the Washington Post, November 2, 1922.

It seems that “predictions are hard, especially about the future.” – attributed to the great philosopher Yogi Berra.

As you can see from the graph below global sea ice extent is nearly on average since 1979 according to satellite measurement. Arctic sea ice is slightly below average and Antarctic sea ice is above average. The total sea ice extent shows no obvious influence from global warming.

To keep track of ice cover in both the Arctic and Antarctic, visit http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

Sea ice global

P.S. This one came in on April 11, 2015 after I wrote the article:

Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry Maurie Trewhella, of Victoria University (Australia), claims that both Arctic and Antarctic ice will melt away in the next decade or two.  See post at WUWT.

 

 

See also:

The Arctic-Antarctic seesaw

 

 

 

State of the climate – August 2013

Even thought atmospheric carbon dioxide reached almost 400 ppmin May of this year, we see little evidence that it has produced any warming.  Although the press has been claiming that global warming is spawning extreme, usual weather, we see little evidence of that also.  Anthony Watts of WUWT blog has a review of real data showing the state of the climate (see his post here).   Below, I provide some highlights from that post.

The Arctic warmed above freezing later in the year than usual and has dropped (at least temporarily) below freezing earlier.  Arctic sea ice extent is higher for August than it has been in the last five years, although it is still below the 1979-2000 mean.  See the black line in the graph below:

Arctic-sea-ice-August-2013

“Antarctic sea ice extent at the end of July was the highest on record for that day, growing to 18.077 million sq km. The previous record of 17.783 was set in 2010, whilst the 1981-2010 average was 16.869.”

Antarctic-sea-ice-July-2013

For the year to date (August 9), the number of tornados is the lowest in the last 8 years.  See black line at bottom of graph:

Tornado-trend-200502013

Satellite temperature measurements of the lower troposphere show a slightly declining trend since the super El Nino in 1998.

UAH_LT_1979_thru_January_2014_v5.61

Surface temperatures as recorded by the British HADCRUT database of land and sea surface temperatures show a nearly flat trend since 1998.

Temp-land

The Rutgers University Global Snow Lab shows winter extent of snow cover in the northern hemisphere among the four highest since 1967.

Northern hemisphere winter snow

Even though we have had some devastating forest fires this year, the National Interagency Fire Center statistics show that compared to other years, 2013 has had the smallest number of fires and the second smallest number of acres burned to date since 2004.

Fires-to-date

Even though carbon dioxide has been rising in the atmosphere, we are seeing none of the predicted effects of global warming that it is supposed to produce.

See also:

Mystery of the missing heat

Claim: global warming causes Arctic ice to melt and Antarctic ice to increase

Within just a few days in September, Arctic sea ice extent reached the lowest minimum ever recorded by satellites since 1979, while at the same time, Antarctic sea ice reached the greatest extent ever recorded.

In my post “The Arctic-Antarctic seesaw” I explained how natural forces work to produce these phenomena.  In my post “Challenge to the Arizona Daily Star – get the facts” I accused the Arizona Daily Star of content bias because they prominently reported the Arctic minimum, but until now, did not report the Antarctic maximum.

Now, 21 days after the Antarctic maximum, the Arizona Daily Star has reprinted an AP article which attempts to spin observations to fit AGW global warming theory: “Experts: Global warming means more Antarctic ice.”   The article author is Seth Borenstein, long known for bad reporting on climate change.     With global warming media bias, it’s “heads I win; tails you lose.”

The AP/Star story says, “It sounds counterintuitive, but the Antarctic is part of the warming as well.”  Really? Was this a surprise to some climate scientists and their models? Let’s see what the climate models said according to a study in the Journal of Climate:

“We examine the annual cycle and trends in Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) for 18 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 models that were run with historical forcing for the 1850s to 2005. Many of the models have an annual SIE cycle that differs markedly from that observed over the last 30 years. The majority of models have too small a SIE at the minimum in February, while several of the models have less than two thirds of the observed SIE at the September maximum.”

A study from Ohio State University titled “Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions” says “temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.”  Also, there has been “no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.”

In other words, the climate models predicted less sea ice in the Antarctic as well as in the Arctic.

The AP/Star story says: “Shifts in wind patterns and the giant ozone hole over the Antarctic this time of year – both related to human activity – are probably behind the increase in ice, experts say.”

The shifting winds affect mainly the West Antarctic peninsula and these winds have the effect of breaking up the ice, not increasing it.

From the Ohio State study:

“The westerlies have intensified over the last four decades or so, increasing in strength by as much as perhaps 10 to 20 percent.  There is a huge amount of ocean north of Antarctica and we’re only now understanding just how important the winds are for things like mixing in the Southern Ocean. The ocean mixing both dissipates heat and absorbs carbon dioxide….The peninsula is the most northern point of Antarctica and it sticks out into the westerlies. If there is an increase in the westerly winds, it will have a warming impact on that part of the continent, thus helping to break up the ice shelves…Farther south, the impact would be modest, or even non-existent.”

That Antarctic sea ice increase is due to global warming is without proof, only desperate speculation.

Even the Arctic sea ice minimum has little to do with global warming.  As I reported in Arctic sea ice reached record low extent in 2012 – or maybe not” the National Snow & Ice Data Center said Arctic sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8 during what they called “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012.”  That storm caused “mechanical break up of the ice and increased melting by strong winds and wave action during the storm.” So wind tends to melt and dissipate ice, not increase it.

In this era of alleged human-caused global warming, both continental and sea ice are increasing in Antarctica. “Satellite radar altimetry measurements indicate that the East Antarctic ice sheet interior north of 81.6-S increased in mass by 45±7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003.” (Source) And a new paper says in part: “Antarctic Peninsula ice core records indicate significant accumulation increase since 1855…” (Source). According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, total Antarctic sea ice has increased by about 1% per decade since the start of the satellite record..

It seems that the AP/Star story is mainly science fiction, agenda-driven spin,  and once again the Arizona Daily Star is doing disservice to its readers by not getting the facts.

And there is this other inconvenient fact: there has been no net global warming since 1997 in the lower atmosphere according to UAH satellite data nor any net warming of surface temperatures on land or sea according to the British Met Office.

The Arctic-Antarctic seesaw

Shouldn’t global warming be global? Much has been made in the media about the “record” sea ice melt in the Arctic this summer. Typical is the headline in the Arizona Daily Star: “Arctic ice shrinks to all-time low; global warming cited as the cause.” There are two problems with that headline, which I will get to below. Meanwhile, it is little mentioned in the press that Antarctic continental ice is growing and sea ice has reached record or near record maximums extent. If global warming is the cause of “record” Arctic sea ice melt, why is the Antarctic sea ice reaching record or near record maximums? Should not global warming temper Antarctic sea ice formation? The graphs below show the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent as of September, 2012.

Arctic-sea-ice-sep15

Antarctic-above-average

As for the headline “Arctic ice shrinks to all time low….”, it’s an all time low if you start counting in 1979, the modern satellite era. But, as I’ve shown in another post, Ice Follies and Hiding the Decline, a 1990 report from the IPCC records earlier  data which show that in 1974 Arctic sea ice melt was as great or greater than it is this year.

As for the headline “Global warming cited as cause” we see that when the Arctic reaches a minimum sea ice extent, the Antarctic reaches a maximum extent. There is a seesaw effect. That is shown most dramatically this year and in 2007 when the Arctic reached the previous “record” low, and the Antarctic sea ice reached a “record” maximum high extent.

Doug Hoffman discusses this seesaw effect at Resilient Earth. This oscillation seems to be related to natural, solar driven variations.

The basic difference between the Arctic and Antarctic is that the Arctic is mainly ocean surrounded by land, and the Antarctic is land surrounded by ocean. The Arctic is therefore more subject to solar-driven oscillations such as the Arctic Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation which are responsible for changes in ocean currents that can drive ice south toward warmer water or create warmer currents in the Arctic ocean. That, coupled with storms, have a significant effect on Arctic sea ice. As I reported in the post referenced below: the National Snow & Ice Data Center said of this year’s Arctic melt: “Sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8. While this drop coincided with an intense storm over the central Arctic Ocean, it is unclear if the storm prompted the rapid ice loss.” NSIDC called the storm “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012″ and noted the storm caused “mechanical break up of the ice and increased melting by strong winds and wave action during the storm.” Nothing to do with global warming.

Meanwhile, both continental and sea ice are increasing in Antarctica. “Satellite radar altimetry measurements indicate that the East Antarctic ice sheet interior north of 81.6-S increased in mass by 45±7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003.” (Source) And a new paper says in part: “Antarctic Peninsula ice core records indicate significant accumulation increase since 1855…” (Source). According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, total Antarctic sea ice has increased by about 1% per decade since the start of the satellite record..

It seems that Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent can be explained by natural cycles.  Those invoking “global warming” must explain why warming causes Antarctic ice to increase and Arctic ice to decrease.

As for the low sea ice in the Arctic this year, it has happened before:

Skate

And before:
Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, …, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. -Washington Post, November 2, 1922.

And before:
“A considerable change of climate inexplicable at present to us must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been, during the last two years, greatly abated.”

“2000 square leagues of ice with which the Greenland Seas between the latitudes of 74̊ and 80̊N have been hitherto covered, has in the last two years entirely disappeared.” -Royal Society, London. Nov. 20, 1817. Minutes of Council, Vol. 8. pp.149-153.

Perhaps Mark Twain was right when he said: “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.”

UPDATE: NASA now admits that the storm caused most of the melt: “This year, a powerful cyclone formed off the coast of Alaska and moved on Aug. 5 to the center of the Arctic Ocean, where it churned the weakened ice cover for several days. The storm cut off a large section of sea ice north of the Chukchi Sea and pushed it south to warmer waters that made it melt entirely. It also broke vast extensions of ice into smaller pieces more likely to melt.” See statement and video animation here.

See also:
Arctic ice reached record low extent in 2012 – or maybe not

Paul Homewood’s article on Arctic vs Antarctic temperatures

Rare mineral records Antarctica temperature history

Researchers have discovered the rare mineral Ikaite in sediment cores from Antarctica.  Ikaite is a hexahydrate of calcium carbonate, CaCO3·6H2O, that exists in nature only at temperatures cooler than about 44° F.  At warmer temperatures is decomposes or recrystallizes into a form of calcite called glendonite (see photo).

Glendonite

The significance of the discovery is that the water within the ikaite crystal lattice contains oxygen-18 (d18O) isotopes which are a proxy for temperature.  Therefore, analysis of the ikaite can give a record of the ambient temperature at the time the mineral formed.

According to a press release from Syracuse University:

Ikaite crystals incorporate ocean bottom water into their structure as they form. During cooling periods, when ice sheets are expanding, ocean bottom water accumulates heavy oxygen isotopes (oxygen 18). When glaciers melt, fresh water, enriched in light oxygen isotopes (oxygen 16), mixes with the bottom water. The scientists analyzed the ratio of the oxygen isotopes in the hydration water and in the calcium carbonate. They compared the results with climate conditions established in Northern Europe across a 2,000-year time frame. They found a direct correlation between the rise and fall of oxygen 18 in the crystals and the documented warming and cooling periods.

The abstract from the research paper reads:

Calcium carbonate can crystallize in a hydrated form as ikaite at low temperatures. The hydration water in ikaite grown in laboratory experiments records the d18O of ambient water, a feature potentially useful for reconstructing d18O of local seawater. We report the first downcore d18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), a region sensitive to climate fluctuations. We are able to establish the zone of ikaite formation within shallow sediments, based on porewater chemical and isotopic data. Having constrained the depth of ikaite formation and d18O of ikaite crystals and hydration waters, we are able to infer local changes in fjord d18O versus time during the late Holocene. This ikaite record qualitatively supports that both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Note that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age disappeared in Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick graph and from IPCC reports.  This discovery is another piece of physical evidence that the Medieval Warm Period, a time when global temperatures were as warm or warmer than today, was indeed a worldwide phenomena.  It is also another piece of evidence that recent warming is nothing unusual.

See also:

Norwegian research shows that current warming is not unusual

More evidence that current warming is not unusual

Pained Earth’s summer to forget: the rest of the story

On Friday the 13th, the Arizona Daily Star printed, on page one, an AP gloom and doom story about “floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat” that they claim “It’s not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already under way.” It was an editorial pretending to be news. The story is full of misleading information, omissions, and inaccuracies. Let’s take a closer look.

IPCC predictions

The story states: “The U.N.’s network of climate scientists – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – has long predicted that rising global temperatures would produce more frequent and intense heat waves, and more intense rainfalls.” But the U.N. IPCC has never made any predictions. They just propose scenarios or projections. The IPCC itself says “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” (If you check this reference see third bulleted point from the bottom.)

IPCC senior scientist Kevin Trenberth noted in Nature magazine: “In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been. The IPCC instead proffers ‘what if’ projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios. There are a number of assumptions that go into these emissions scenarios. They are intended to cover a range of possible self consistent ‘story lines’ that then provide decision makers with information about which paths might be more desirable. But they do not consider many things like the recovery of the ozone layer, for instance, or observed trends in forcing agents. There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess.”

Russian temperatures and Pakistani floods

The story states: “It’s been the hottest summer ever recorded in Russia…Russia’s drought has sparked hundreds of wildfires in forests and dried peat bogs, blanketing Moscow with a toxic smog…” There are two issues here: are the warm temperatures due to “predicted” global warming and has drought dried out the peat bogs.

The bogs: according to the New York times, “As early as 1918 Soviet engineers drained swamps to supply peat for electrical power stations. That approach was abandoned in the late 1950s, after natural gas was discovered in Siberia, but the bogs were never reflooded, though the authorities are currently weighing the idea.”

The temperature: Russian scientist, Michail Kabanov, member of the Academy of Sciences and advisor of the Institute For Climate And Environmental Monitoring says the regional heat wave taking place in Russia is not a sign of catastrophic climate change and that the permafrost has been thawing since the last glacial epoch 10,000 years ago, and its rate of thawing is also not catastrophic. “Deviations in one direction or the other, in this region or the other, are explained completely by the instability of the climate system. It meanders constantly and reaches various anomalies as a result, and does include extremes. The weather conditions of this year are precisely a result of this.”

The high temperatures in Russia and the heavy rain in Pakistan have a common cause unrelated to global warming according the an article in New Scientist. “According to meteorologists monitoring the atmosphere above the northern hemisphere, unusual holding patterns in the jet stream are to blame. As a result, weather systems sat still. Temperatures rocketed and rainfall reached extremes.” “Stationary patterns in the jet stream are called “blocking events”. They are the consequence of strong Rossby waves, which push westward against the flow of the jet stream. They are normally overpowered by the jet stream’s eastward flow, but they can match it if they get strong enough. When this happens, the jet stream’s meanders hold steady creating the perfect conditions for extreme weather.”

The Arctic

The story states: “Researchers last week spotted a 100-square-mile chunk of ice calved off from the great Petermann Glacier in Greenland’s far northwest. It was the most massive ice island to break away in the Arctic in a half-century of observation.” That statement is almost true, but it lies by omission. Such ice calving is not unusual. In 1962, a 230-square-mile chunk of ice broke off the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf. The Petermann glacier, itself, spawned smaller ice islands in 2001 (34 square miles) and 2008 (10 square miles). In 2005, the Ayles Ice Shelf disintegrated and became an ice island (34 square miles) about 60 miles to the west of Petermann Fjord.

The story states: “In the Arctic Ocean itself, the summer melt of the vast icecap has reached unprecedented proportions in recent years.” Technically true but misleading. Arctic summer sea ice melt has been relatively consistent and sea ice extent returns to normal in the winter. The article failed to mention that Antarctic sea ice reached the maximum extent ever recorded in 2007, and is currently more extensive than normal. For many graphics of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, see Anthony Watts’ Sea Ice Page, a compilation of data from several sources.

Sea level

The story states: “The melting of land ice into the oceans is causing about 60 percent of the accelerating rise in sea levels worldwide, with thermal expansion from warming waters causing the rest. The WMO’S World Climate Research Program says seas are rising by 1.34 inches per decade, about twice the 20th century’s average.” The pretended “acceleration” is the result of cherry-picking starting and ending points. The rate of sea level rise is cyclic, but the overall trend is downward. For a detailed analysis of sea level rise, and to see why the WMO statement is dissembling, see my article, Sea Level Rising? Also, a new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research, says “The global mean sea level for the period January 1900 to December 2006 is estimated to rise at a rate of 1.56 ± 0.25 mm/yr which is reasonably consistent with earlier estimates, but we do not find significant acceleration.”

Overall temperatures

The story states: “Worldwide temperature readings show that this January-June was the hottest first half of a year since record keeping began in the mid-19th century.” This implies that we are experiencing something unprecedented. Isn’t it strange that 60% of the U.S. had cooler than normal temperatures during this period. The article statement is untrue and due partially to NOAA computer programs actually manufacturing temperature readings where none exist.

It didn’t take me too long to do some fact checking of this AP story. I wonder why AP or the Arizona Daily Star didn’t bother checking the facts. Could there be some political agenda in running such stories?

P.S. For your amusement, see the Warm List, a compilation of everything the press claims is caused by global warming.

Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse Due to Waves

Research Review #1:

From time to time I will summarize new science research from recently published, or about-to-be published papers. Usually, notice of the research comes in the form of press releases from universities that are made available to the media. Here are some reports that the Arizona Daily Star apparently missed.

Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse Possibly Triggered by Ocean Waves

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Background: In the summer of 2007, Arctic sea ice melted more than it had previously. The media made much of that, but failed to mention that the same year, Antarctic sea ice reached the greatest extent ever recorded. You may also remember that in 2008, several large chunks of Antarctic sea ice broke off to become very large icebergs. The general media trumpeted this as evidence of global warming. Scripps has an alternative theory.

The research findings:

Storm-driven waves in the North Pacific break along the coastlines of North and South America where “they are transformed into very long-period ocean waves called ‘infragravity waves’ that travel vast distances to Antarctica.” The authors “propose that the southbound traveling infragravity waves may be a key mechanical agent that contributes to the production and/or expansion of the pre-existing crevasse fields on ice shelves, and that the infragravity waves also may provide the trigger necessary to initiate the collapse process.” “The study found that each of the Wilkins Ice Shelf breakup events in 2008 coincided with the estimated arrival of infragravity waves. The authors note that such waves could affect ice shelf stability by opening crevasses, reducing ice integrity through fracturing and initiating a collapse.”

Press release and photo:

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/2042

Does Global Warming Threaten Alpine Ecosystems?

Research shows that the combination of genetic diversity within and among alpine species and the high diversity of micro-habitats in alpine terrain precludes any profound effects of warming on alpine species survival. See analysis from CO2Science.org here:

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V13/N7/B3.php

The mammoths’ swan song revised

University of Copenhagen

The researchers claim that by using DNA in soil samples they found that mammoths existed back to between 10,500 and 7,500 years ago, and are therefore remained between 2,600 and 5,600 years after their supposed extinction from mainland Alaska. “Our findings show that the mammoth and the horse existed side by side with the first human immigrants in America for certainly 3,500 years and were therefore not wiped out by human beings or natural disasters within a few hundred years, as common theories otherwise argue.” The research does not address the ultimate cause of their disappearance.

Press release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/uoc-tms121409.php

Team finds subtropical waters flushing through Greenland fjord

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Waters from warmer latitudes — or subtropical waters — are reaching Greenland’s glaciers, driving melting and likely triggering an acceleration of ice loss…”

Press release: http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=3622&cid=69134

Arctic Temperatures: Not So Hot

A new study claims that Arctic temperatures have risen 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit over the last decade, bringing to an end a 2000-year cooling trend. The study authors claims thathuman CO2 emissionsare the cause.

corp1013

The authors claim: “Our reconstruction shows that the last half-century was the warmest of the last 2,000 years. Not only was it the warmest, but it reversed the long-term, millennial-scale trend toward cooler temperatures. The cooling coincided with the slow and well-known cycle in Earth’s orbit around the sun, and it should have continued through the 20th century.” “The evidence was found by generating a 2,000-year-long reconstruction of Arctic summer temperature using natural archives of climate change from tree rings, glacier ice and mostly from lake sediments from across the Arctic, a region that responds sensitively to global changes.”

Why did they use proxy data for the last 100 years when they could have just looked at thermometer records? Oh, but thermometry shows that is was warmer in the 1930s and 1940s.

The new study presents a curve which is reminiscent of the thoroughly debunked “Hockey Stick” of Michael Mann. The new proxy reconstruction fails to show the well-documented Medieval Warm period of 1,200 yeas ago when temperatures were higher than now. It appears that authors of the new study are using the same statistical malfeasance and cherry-picking of data that were used for the old hockey stick.

Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit discusses the new study. “The problem with these sorts of studies is that no class of proxy (tree ring, ice core isotopes) is unambiguously correlated to temperature and, over and over again, authors pick proxies that confirm their bias and discard proxies that do not.”

Records from the Danish Meteorological Institute show no warming since 1958 and that the 2009 temperature variation is almost identical to 1958. DMI says that the Arctic was warmer in the 1940s than now.

A Duke University-led analysis of available records shows that while the North Atlantic Ocean’s surface waters warmed in the 50 years between 1950 and 2000, the sub-polar regions cooled at the same time that subtropical and tropical waters warmed. This pattern can be explained largely by the influence of a natural and cyclical wind circulation pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)

A 2008 study by Håkan Grudd of Stockholm University’s Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, found that “The late-twentieth century is not exceptionally warm in the new Torneträsk record: On decadal-to-century timescales, periods around AD 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were all equally warm, or warmer. The warmest summers in this new reconstruction occur in a 200-year period centred on AD 1000. A ‘Medieval Warm Period’ is supported by other paleoclimate evidence from northern Fennoscandia.”

Besides the controversy over temperatures, there is also media attention given to Arctic sea ice extent. For instance, news media made much of the fact that during the summer of 2007, Northern Hemisphere sea ice area was at a historic minimum (2.92 million sq. km). What was little reported, however, was that in 2007, Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent broke the previous maximum record of 16.03 million sq. km and reached 16.26 million sq. km. (August, 2007). [Source: The Cryosphere Today, a publication of The Polar Research Group, University of Illinois]

To put things in further perspective, consider these reports:

“A considerable change of climate inexplicable at present to us must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been, during the last two years, greatly abated.”

“2000 square leagues [approximately 14,000 square miles] of ice with which the Greenland Seas between the latitudes of 74 and 80 N have been hitherto covered, has in the last two years entirely disappeared.”

These paragraphs, however, are not the latest scare story from the greenhouse industry, but extracts from a letter by the President of the Royal Society addressed to the British Admiralty, written in 1817 (Royal Society, London. Nov. 20, 1817. Minutes of Council, Vol. 8. pp.149-153).

 When this report was written, 192 years ago, the planet was in the midst of the Little Ice Age. How could the ice disappear in a Little Ice Age?

There is also the following story:

 

“The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the waters too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen , Norway .
Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.
Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are being found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.”
 This is from an AP story which appeared in the Washington Post, November 2, 1922.

Could it be that carbon dioxide and global warming have nothing to do with it? Well, yes.

A study conducted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says unusual winds caused the 2007 Arctic minimum. Their press release says:

“Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.”

“The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century.”

The fact that a 192-year-old report on Arctic ice is very similar to one today lends credence to the contention that changes in ice cover are natural cyclic phenomena and not due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.  AccuWeather says the changes in wind may be due to changes in the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) which are large atmospheric circulations that have major impacts on the weather in certain parts of the world.

Perhaps reporters should do some investigation so they can report all of the news and put things in perspective. Ah, but only sensational headlines sell papers.