CREDITS: THE LAST THREE IMAGES ABOVE PROVIDED BY THE VOLCANO HOTSPOT BLOG: LINK TO SOURCE: https://volcanohotspot.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/antarctica-3-the-volcanoes-of-marie-byrd-land/
THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A GUARDIAN ARTICLE ABOUT POLAR ICE MELT IN ANTARCTICA AND ITS FEARFUL SEA LEVEL RISE PROJECTIONS.
THE POLAR ICE MELT AND SEA LEVEL RISE OBSESSION OF CLIMATE SCIENCE: LINK TO RELATED POST: https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/07/16/antarctica-slr/
A HISTORY OF THESE DIRE FORECASTS ABOUT ANTARCTICA
- 1999: An article in the Journal Science says that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a natural event not related to global warming contrary to claims by climate scientists. The WAIS is indeed melting quite rapidly receding at the rate of 400 feet per year but it has been doing so for thousands of years long before human activity and greenhouse gas emissions, having receded 800 miles since the last ice age. If the process continues unchecked it will melt completely in another 7000 years. Therefore it seems unlikely that the event is linked to human activity or that the time frame of a collapse of the ice shelf could fall within 100 years.
- 2001 ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE: A report by the National Research Council (USA) says that global warming may trigger climate changes so abrupt that ecosystems will not be able to adapt. Look for local or short term cooling, floods, droughts, and other unexpected changes. A growing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere due to the use of fossil fuels is to blame. Some regional climates have changed by as much as 10C in 10 years. Antarctica’s largest glaciers are rapidly thinning, and in the last 10 years have lost up to 150 feet of thickness in some places, enough to raise global sea levels by 0.4 mm. Global warming is a real problem and it is getting worse.
- 2002, ICE SHELF COLLAPSE: A piece of ice the size of Rhode island broke off the Larsen ice shelf in Antarctica and within a month it dissipated sending a huge flotsam of ice into the sea. At about the same time an iceberg the size of Delaware broke off the Thwaites Glacier. A few months ago parts of the Ross ice shelf had broken off in a similar way. These events serve as a dramatic reminders that global warming is real and its effects are potentially catastrophic and underscores the urgent need for a binding international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- 2004: An unprecedented 4-year study of the Arctic shows that polar bears, walruses, and some seals are becoming extinct. Arctic summer sea ice may disappear entirely. Combined with a rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet, it will raise the sea level 3 feet by 2100 inundating lowlands from Florida to Bangladesh. Average winter temperatures in Alaska and the rest of the Arctic are projected to rise an additional 7 to 13 degrees over the next 100 years because of increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. The area is warming twice as fast as anywhere else because of global air circulation patterns and natural feedback loops, such as less ice reflecting sunlight, leading to increased warming at ground level and more ice melt. Native peoples’ ways of life are threatened. Animal migration patterns have changed, and the thin sea ice and thawing tundra make it too dangerous for humans to hunt and travel.
- 2004: A meltdown of the massive Greenland ice sheet, which is more than 3km-thick would raise sea levels by an average seven meters, threatening countries such as Bangladesh, certain islands in the Pacific and some parts of Florida. Greenland’s huge ice sheet could melt within the next thousand years if emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and global warming are not reduced.
- 2004: The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report says: increasing greenhouse gases from human activities is causing the Arctic to warm twice as fast as the rest of the planet; in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia winter temperatures have risen by 2C to 4C in the last 50 years; the Arctic will warm by 4C to 7C by 2100. A portion of Greenland’s ice sheet will melt; global sea levels will rise; global warming will intensify. Greenland contains enough melting ice to raise sea levels by 7 meters; Bangkok, Manila, Dhaka, Florida, Louisiana, and New Jersey are at risk of inundation; thawing permafrost and rising seas threaten Arctic coastal regions; climate change will accelerate and bring about profound ecological and social changes; the Arctic is experiencing the most rapid and severe climate change on earth and it’s going to get a lot worse; Arctic summer sea ice will decline by 50% to 100%; polar bears will be driven towards extinction; this report is an urgent SOS for the Arctic; forest fires and insect infestations will increase in frequency and intensity; changing vegetation and rising sea levels will shrink the tundra to its lowest level in 21000 years; vanishing breeding areas for birds and grazing areas for animals will cause extinctions of many species; “if we limit emission of heat trapping carbon dioxide we can still help protect the Arctic and slow global warming”.
- 2007: A comparison of Landsat photos taken on 8/11/1985 and 9/5/2002 shows that global warming caused by our use of fossil fuels is melting the massive Greenland ice sheet and exposing the rocky peninsula beneath the ice previously covered by ice.
- 2007: Climate scientists say that the current rate of increase in the use of fossil fuels will melt the Greenland ice sheet and cause sea levels to rise by 7 meters in 100 years and devastate low-lying countries like Bangladesh. When these estimates were challenged and their internal inconsistencies exposed, the forecast was quietly revised downward 100-fold from 7 meters to 7 centimeters on their website but the news media alarm about 7 meters continued unabated with “thousands of years” inserted in place of “100 years.
- 2008: IMMINENT COLLAPSE OF PETERMANN GLACIER IN GREENLAND
Climate scientists looking through satellite pictures found a crack in the Petermann glacier in Greenland and concluded that it could speed up sea level rise because huge chunks of ice the size of Manhattan were hemorrhaging off. Yet, scientists who has been travelling to Greenland for years to study glaciers say that the crack in the glacier is normal and not different from other cracks seen in the 1990s.
- 2008: When there was a greater focus on Antarctica climate scientists said that global warming was melting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet; but the melting was found to be localized and with an active volcano underneath the melting and the attention of “melt forecast” climate science shifted to Arctic sea ice after the an extensive summer melt was observed in September 2007.
- 2008: Climate scientists have determined that Adelie penguins in Antarctica are threatened because climate change is melting Antarctic glaciers although it is not clear whether the melting is caused greenhouse gas emissions or by volcanic activity underneath the ice.
- 2008: Mt. Erebus along with most of the mountains in Antarctica are volcanic mountains and it is now known with certainty that volcanic activity under the ice there is causing great amounts of ice to melt and to cause glaciers to flow faster. The attempt by climate scientists to represent these events as climate change phenomena is inconsistent with this reality.
- 2008: THE FIRE BELOW: A volcano under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, that last erupted 2000 years ago, is now active and responsible for melting ice and for retreating glaciers in that part of the continent (The fire below, Bangkok Post, April 28, 2008). Yet, climate scientists claim that these changes are man-made and that they are caused by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels as predicted by their computer model of the earth’s climate.
- 2008: In March 2008, the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula lost more than 400 square kilometers to a sudden collapse. Following that event, the it continued to break up even as the Southern winter brought frigid temperatures.
- 2009: Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have caused the Wilkins Ice Shelf to break up. If all of the land based ice in Antarctica melted it would raise the sea level by 80 meters.
- 2009: Human caused global warming is causing havoc in Antarctica with potentially incalculable results. Over one hundred icebergs broke off and a huge flotilla of them are floating up to New Zealand.
- 2009: Our carbon dioxide emissions are causing the East Antarctic ice shelf to lose 57 billion tonnes of ice per year and that if CO2 emissions are not reduced this process could raise sea levels by 5 meters.
- 2009: Temperature data 1957-2008 show that the whole of Antarctica including Western Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, and Eastern Antarctica, is warming due to CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
- 2009: Man-made global warming is causing Greenland’s glaciers to melt at an alarming rate. By the year 2100 all the ice there will have melted causing a calamitous rise in the sea level that will inundate Bangladesh, the Maldives, Bangkok, New Orleans, and atolls in the Pacific.
- 2009: Climate scientists say that the melting of Antarctica is more severe than “previously thought” because the melt is not limited to the Antarctic Peninsula but extends to West Antarctica as well. The melt could cause devastating sea level rise. (although new data show that the West Antarctic ice shelf collapses every 40,000 years or so and that this cyclical process has been regular feature of this ice shelf for millions of years (Antarctica ice collapses were regular, Bangkok Post, March 19, 2009). These melting episodes can raise the sea level by as much as 5 meters but the process takes a thousand years or more.
- 2009: Climate scientists say that the Wilkins Ice Shelf collapse is caused by warming of the Antarctic Peninsula due to man-made “global climate change”.
- 2009: In 2005 two glaciers in Greenland were found to be moving faster than they were in 2001. Scientists concluded from these data that the difference observed was a a long term trend of glacial melt in Greenland and that carbon dioxide was the cause of this trend. The assumed trend was then extrapolated forward and we were told that carbon dioxide would cause the land based ice mass of Greenland to be discharged to the sea and raise the sea level by six meters. They said that the only way out of the devastation was to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. However, in 2009, just before a meeting in Copenhagen where these deep cuts in emissions were to be negotiated, it was found that the glaciers had returned to their normal rate of discharge.
- 2009: Some glaciers on north and northeast Greenland terminate in fiords with long glacier tongues that extend into the sea. It is found that the warming of the oceans caused by our use of fossil fuels is melting these tongues and raising the specter of devastation by sea level rise.
- WITH REGARD TO THE INTENSITY OF FEARMONGERING IN 2009, KINDLY NOT THAT IT WAS THE YEAR OF COP15 IN COPENHAGEN WHERE CLIMATE SCIENCE AND THE UN MADE A LAST DITCH EFFORT FOR A GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION AGREEMENT BUT FAILED.
2020: THE GUARDIAN SAYS THAT “ Melting Antarctic ice will raise sea level by 2.5 metres – even if Paris climate goals are met, study finds. Research says melting will continue even if temperature rises are limited to 2C. LINK TO SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/23/melting-antarctic-ice-will-raise-sea-level-by-25-metres-even-if-paris-climate-goals-are-met-study-finds
PART-1: WHAT THE GUARDIAN ARTICLE SAYS
Melting of the Antarctic ice sheet will cause sea level rises of about two and a half metres around the world, even if the goals of the Paris agreement are met, research has shown. The melting is likely to take place over a long period, beyond the end of this century, but is almost certain to be irreversible, because of the way in which the ice cap is likely to melt, the new model reveals. Even if temperatures were to fall again after rising by 2C, the ice would not regrow to its initial state, because of self-reinforcing mechanisms that destabilise the ice, according to the paper published in the journal Nature. Simulation shows how much warming the Antartic Ice Sheet can survive. The more we learn about Antarctica, the direr the predictions become,” according to co-author Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. These scientists have determined that „we will get enormous sea level rise from Antarctica melting even if we keep to the Paris agreement, and catastrophic amounts if we don’t. The Antarctic ice sheet has existed in roughly its current form for about 34m years, but its future form will be decided in our lifetimes, according to Levermann. We will be known in future as the people who flooded New York City“. Temperatures of more than 20C were recorded for the first time in the Antarctic earlier this year. Jonathan Bamber, a professor of glaciology at the University of Bristol evaluated the Potsdam Institute research as follows: “This study provides compelling evidence that even moderate climate warming has incredibly serious consequences for humanity, and those consequences grow exponentially as the temperature rises. The committed sea level rise from Antarctica even at 2C represents an existential threat to entire nation states. We’re looking at removing nations from a map of the world because they no longer exist.”
Earlier this week, the earth’s northern ice cap also showed the impacts of the climate crisis. Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum, at the second lowest extent seen in four decades. On 15 September, the ice was measured at 3.74m sq km, which marked only the second time that the extent has fallen below 4m sq km in the current record, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center. Scientists said the melting ice was a stark sign of how humans were changing the planet. It’s devastating to see yet another Arctic summer end with so little sea ice. Not only is there a very small area of sea ice, but it is also younger and more vulnerable overall. The Arctic is a changed place. All hope rests on humans to act on climate and slow this alarming pace of ice loss.”
While the Antarctic ice sheet will take centuries to melt in response to temperature rises, the new Nature paper showed how difficult it would be to reverse. Antarctica’s vast ice cap holds more than half of the earth’s fresh water. Some of it is floating sea ice, which does not cause sea level rises in the way of ice melting from land, and is subject to melting from above and below because of the warming sea. The researchers examined how ice over land in the region can be expected to melt, and found a strong “hysteresis” effect, which makes it harder for ice to re-form than to melt. When the ice melts, its surface sinks lower down and sits in warmer air, so it requires lower temperatures for the ice to reform than it did to keep the existing ice stable.
If we fail to take climate action and if temperatures rise by 4C above pre-industrial levels, which some predictions say is possible, then the sea level rise would be 6.5 metres from Antarctica alone, not counting the contribution from Greenland and other glaciers. That would be enough eventually to inundate all of the world’s coastal cities and cause devastation on a global scale.
PART-2: CRITICAL COMMENTARY
- As shown in a related post, LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/06/22/global-warming-1979-2019/ , satellite temperature data since 1979 show that indeed global warming is real and that indeed the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. We find there that the globe is warming at a rate of 1.3C per century and that the Arctic is warming at a rate of 2.6C per century, twice the rate of the global mean just as climate scientists had predicted. However, the data for the South Polar region where Antarctica is, show a starkly different pattern. Here we find a warming rate of only 0.16C per century, not twice the global rate as in the Arctic but about 12% of the global warming rate and 6% of the Arctic warming rate.
- It is probably for this absence of global warming in Antarctica that extreme temperature events there are highlighted as a way of claiming anthropogenic global warming impacts in Antarctica. These temperature events are discussed in related posts at this site. LINK#1: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/07/20/global-warming-antarctica/ LINK#2: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/03/22/10684/ LINK#3: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/02/26/antarctica-heat-wave-of-2020/ LINK#4: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/02/08/antarctica-hottest-ever/
- As explained in these related posts, these temperature events have no interpretation in terms of the AGW issue and that they have a more rational explanation in terms of episodic geothermal heat and chinook winds. An additional consideration is the internal climate variability issue described in a related post: LINK https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/07/16/the-internal-variability-issue/ . Briefly, the internal climate variability issue is that anthropogenic global warming is a theory about long term trends in global mean temperature and that the interpretation of localized climate events in terms of AGW is not possible because “ Internal variability in the climate system confounds assessment of human-induced climate change and imposes irreducible limits on the accuracy of climate change projections, especially at regional and decadal scales„.
- Yet another consideration in understanding ice melt events in Antarctica is that the specific regions of Antarctica where they tend to occur are known to be very geologically active specifically in terms of two significant geological features underneath all that ice. They are the West Antarctic Rift system and the Marie Byrd Mantle Plume and the large number of active volcanoes under the ice. These extreme geological features are capable of and have been known to create extreme episodic localized heat and ice melt events as described in a related post on this site: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/06/27/antarctica/ and also at the VOLCANO HOTSPOT BLOG: https://volcanohotspot.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/antarctica-3-the-volcanoes-of-marie-byrd-land/
A product of these geological features is seen below. It is Deception Island Collapse Caldera. A collapse caldera is a huge volcano that erupts so violently that the center of it collapses. It is often filled with fresh water but in this case because it is so close to the ocean, this huge hole is filled with sea water. Here there’s a little opening in this large caldera so that eco tourists can come in and visit it. On the right slide is the interior of the collapse caldera where the tourists are soaking in steaming hot water on black volcanic sand. The reason for the steaming hot water is that this caldera is still active. It is one of the first stops in visits to Antarctica
CONCLUSION: BASED ON THE TEMPERATRE TREND DATA AND THE GEOLOGICAL FEATURES OF ANTARCTICA PRESENTED ABOVE, AND IN CONSIDERATION OF THE INTERNAL CLIMATE VARIABILITY ISSUE IN CLIMATE SCIENCE, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO ARBITRARILY ATTRIBUTE ALL TEMPERATURE AND ICE MELT EVENTS IN ANTARCTICA TO AGW WITHOUT EVIDENCE THAT THE EVENTS DESCRIBED WERE CAUSED BY FOSSIL FUELED ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING AND THAT THEY CAN THEREFORE BE ATTENUATED OR MODERATED BY TAKING CLIMATE ACTION IN THE FORM OF REDUCING OR ELIMINATING THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS.