Will Hillary Clinton's Climate Plan Save Antarctica from certain destruction?
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Although the eckook/envirokook fringe are more concerned with the Arctic (because presently, it’s easier to spin the Arctic as an anthropogenic disaster), they will throw out the occasional doomsday scenario regarding the WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) or (especially) the Antarctic Peninsula & a few massive ice shelves there that are on the precipice of collapse… because nothing like that has happened before.
Prior to 1900, prior to man’s evil industrial age that gave us the uber-comfortable lifestyle our great-great-great grandparents could’ve only dreamed of—Antarctica was a frozen paradise that never saw so much as an upward or downward tick in temperatures, nor a change on ocean currents one way or the other. Ice shelves were comfortably-ensconced on the continent, nothing could or would sway them one inch.
It's as if these clowns have never read any paleoclimatology, never absorbed any insight as to what was happening on the continent prior to satellites being launched or man’s expeditions there. Once one considers the big picture & delves into the details (e.g. more than a 90-second soundbite on the Evening Snooze or gender-neutral Rachel Mandow or the obese Ed Schultz on MSNBC), you’ll find Antarctica is a hot-bed (no pun intended) for climate change.
It has “survived” disasters of Biblical magnitude & churns on like a self-perpetuating motor, it will not be deterred by ecokooks broadcasting from an efficiency apartment, nor will it be deterred by government-funded (read: taxpayer-funded) “scientists” autistically-repeating, “The end is nigh if you don’t give up your comfortable lifestyle, but we’ll keep our jets, thanks!”
Climate models are also another casualty on the continent of Antarctica, they've missed the boat when it comes to projections of sea ice extant in the Southern Hemisphere & in the Southern Ocean.
Those who “deny climate change” (those “deniers” because they’re like those Holocaust-deniers, you see) aren’t denying climate change has happened, they’re just denying the mechanism (man’s evil inventions) or that the mechanism’s effect is overblown. But it’s easier to beat up a straw man, isn’t it? Without any further delay, let’s delve into Antarctica & determine if “climate change” there is unprecedented & whether it’s the fault of your automobile or not.
I simply listed the sources this time, sans linking them in the actual section & didn’t take the time to insert them as I usually do. Feel free to copy them & open them in your browser.
One thing I agree with the global warmers on is the Antarctic Peninsula has grown warmer over the past few decades. What they usually leave out is this warming is not unprecedented and:
- According to the study of Franzke (2013), "there is no evidence for an increase of the annual maximum temperature." "Typically," in the words of Franzke, "one would expect that a significant warming also leads to absolute warmer temperatures and not just to a reduction in cold temperatures." But the latter is precisely what has happened at the Faraday/Vernadsky weather station: it's only the colder temperatures that have gotten warmer. Franzke also notes that "global climate projections suggest that the frequency of hot extremes will increase due to global warming," citing Meehl et al. (2007). The [climate models] therefore also miss the mark as it applies to the Antarctic Peninsula, and to other parts of the world as well (see, for example, Kukla and Karl, 1993; Easterling et al., 1997). And thus it is that Franzke writes that the data from the Antarctic Peninsula "are somewhat at odds with the general opinion that global warming leads to more frequent and larger extremes." In fact, on the Antarctic Peninsula, Franzke finds that "annual maximum temperatures are almost constant over the last six decades," while minimum temperatures have actually gotten less extreme.
Addendum to the above concerning climate models:
- 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 [sea ice extent] 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. In contrast to the satellite data, which exhibits a slight increase in SIE, the mean SIE of the models over 1979 - 2005 shows a decrease in each month, with the greatest multi-model mean percentage monthly decline of 13.6% dec-1 in February and the greatest absolute loss of ice of -0.40 × 106 km2 dec-1 in September. The models have very large differences in SIE over 1860 – 2005. Most of the control runs have statistically significant trends in SIE over their full time span and all the models have a negative trend in SIE since the mid-Nineteenth Century. The negative SIE trends in most of the model runs over 1979 - 2005 are a continuation of an earlier decline, suggesting that the processes responsible for the observed increase over the last 30 years are not being simulated correctly.
- Mulvaney et al. drilled an ice core to the bed of the ice cap on James Ross Island, which lies just off the northeastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, next to an area that has experienced a series of recent ice-shelf collapses. And based on deuterium/hydrogen isotope ratios of the ice (δD), they developed a temperature history of the region that spans the entire Holocene and extends into the last glacial period.
- In examining the records, the nine researchers report that "the Antarctic Peninsula experienced an early Holocene warm period followed by stable temperatures, from about 9200 to 2500 years ago, that were similar to modern-day levels." They also found that "the high rate of warming over the past century is unusual (but not unprecedented) in the context of natural climate variability over the past two millennia." More specifically, they state that "over the past 100 years, the James Ross Island ice-core record shows that the mean temperature there has increased by 1.56 ± 0.42°C," which ranks as one of the fastest (upper 0.3%) warming trends since 2000 years before present, according to a set of moving 100-year analyses that demonstrate that "rapid recent warming of the Antarctic Peninsula is highly unusual although not outside the bounds of natural variability in the pre-anthropogenic era." And even though the temperature of the northern Antarctic Peninsula has risen at a rate of 2.6 ± 1.2°C over the past half-century, they say that "repeating the temperature trend analysis using 50-year windows confirms the finding that the rapidity of recent Antarctic Peninsula warming is unusual but not unprecedented." Thus, considering all of the above, even for what Mulvaney et al. describe as "one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth," recent warming there has not been unprecedented within the context of the past two millennia.
- In an attempt to rewrite climatic history, certain scientists have for several years promoted the idea that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) were neither global in extent nor strong enough where they did occur to have a discernible influence on mean global air temperature, which made it easier for them to claim that the warming of the last decades of the 20th century was highly unusual, which they equated with anthropogenic-induced, which they associated with the historical rise in the air's CO2 content, which gave them a reason to call for dramatic reductions in the burning of fossil fuels. And because of this glaring misuse of science, we have ever since scanned the emerging scientific literature for studies presenting new evidence that comes to bear upon the crucial central question of whether or not the MWP and LIA were truly significant global events.
- What was done: Explaining that ikaite "is a low temperature polymorph of calcium carbonate that is hydrated with water molecules contained in its crystal lattice," Lu et al. write that "ikaite crystals from marine sediments, if collected and maintained at low temperatures, preserve hydration waters and their intact crystal structures, both of which have the potential to provide isotopic constraints on past climate change," after which they go on to describe "the first downcore δ18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP)" that they say were "suitable for reconstructing a low resolution ikaite record of the last 2000 years."
- What was learned: The nine UK and US researchers report that "the ikaite record qualitatively supports that both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to the Antarctic Peninsula." They also state that the "most recent crystals suggest a warming relative to the LIA in the last century, possibly as part of the regional recent rapid warming," but they add that "this climatic signature is not yet as extreme in nature as the MWP," suggesting that even the dramatic recent warming of the AP may not yet have returned that region to the degree of warmth that was experienced there during the MWP, when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was more than 100 ppm less than it is today.
- What it means: Week after week, new evidence adds to the already voluminous database that suggests that the earth has not yet eclipsed the level of global warmth experienced during the MWP (see our Medieval Warm Period Project), even with the help of all of the anthropogenic-produced CO2 that resides in the atmosphere, which facts cast great doubt upon the climate-alarmist claim that anthropogenic CO2 is the primary cause of earth's current level of not-so-unprecedented global warmth.
- After the Mid-Holocene warmth, cooling signals were found in different parts of the AP at various times between 2.5 and 1.2 ka, followed by the Medieval Warm Period (MWP, 1.2–0.6 ka) and the Little Ice Age (LIA) (Bentley et al., 2009). The cooling–warming trends indicated by δ18Ohydra and αCaCO3-ppw values appear to be in good agreement with this climate pattern… Elemental ratio records from Maxwell Bay, northern Bransfield Strait, allow identification of both the MWP and the Little Ice Age (Monien et al., 2011). Moss exposed by recent ice retreat on Anvers Island, West AP, were radiocarbon dated to 0.7–0.97 ka, contrary to the much older ages of reworked marine shells in the same sections, indicating that the ice-sheet was reduced during that period to an extent of similar magnitude to today… The LIA has been recognized in the AP region broadly between 700 and 150 yrs B.P. (Bentley et al., 2009, Domack et al., 1995 and Liu et al., 2005), in sediment cores and glacial advances. Our only ikaite crystal formed during LIA does indicate significant cooling relative to the MWP… Our most recent crystals suggest a warming relative to the LIA in the last century, possibly as part of the regional recent rapid warming, but this climatic signature is not yet as extreme in nature as the MWP. The resolution of our record is insufficient to constrain the ages of these climatic oscillations in the Southern hemisphere relative to their expression in the Northern hemisphere, but our ikaite record builds the case that the oscillations of the MWP and LIA are global in their extent and their impact reaches as far South as the Antarctic Peninsula, while prior studies in the AP region have had mixed results.
Antarctic Peninsula Warming & The Larsen Ice Shelf:
Oh noes, Larsen B might collapse soon & that of course is your fault, especially if you’ve been in an airplane at any time during your life. Ice shelves & massive climatological upheavals have never happened in Antarctica before; the climate was static for millions of years without so much as a tick one way or the other… until now. Uh, ok.
- We are doubtlessly all aware of claims that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming parts of the world. The implication is clear, that this is global warming in action. Yet the story is not quite all that it appears.
- Let’s look at the GISS temperature records for Rothera and Faraday, on the west side of the peninsula, and the Argentine stations of Esperanza and Marambio on the east. At all four stations, there was a sharp rise in temperatures between 1980 and 1983, since when temperatures appear to have been fairly stable. We can also see from the longer records at Faraday and Esperanza that there was a similar jump in the 1960’s.
- Since 1983, there have been ups and downs, notably the drop in the early 1990’s associated with the Pinatubo eruption, but clearly temperatures now are no higher than they were in the mid 1980’s. Indeed, as we see below, the trend since 2000 is flat at Faraday, and falling at Esperanza.
- There is strong evidence to suggest that the temperature increase observed on the Peninsula has nothing to do with “global warming”, but is due to changing wind patterns. We can speculate on the cause of such changes, but essentially we are looking at natural variation which is likely to have happened in previous eras. But the significant point about these temperature trends is that there was a step change, but that since then temperatures have stopped increasing. There is no evidence to suggest that temperatures will increase in future years, and, until we understand better the reasons for the step change, there is a possibility that temperatures will fall back in the future.
Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula
The Antarctic Peninsula was subjected to a major uptick in temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period, as well as recent decades.
- The rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula, which occurred from the early-1950s to the late 1990s, has paused. Stabilisation of the ozone hole along with natural climate variability were significant in bringing about the change. Together these influences have now caused the peninsula to enter a temporary cooling phase. Temperatures remain higher than measured during the middle of the 20th Century and glacial retreat is still taking place. However, scientists predict that if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise at the current rate, temperatures will increase across the Antarctic Peninsula by several degrees Centigrade by the end of this century.
- Reporting this week in the journal Nature researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) describe how the stabilisation of the ozone hole and changing wind patterns has driven a regional cooling phase that is temporarily masking the warming influence of greenhouse gases.
- Lead author, Professor John Turner of British Antarctic Survey says: “The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most challenging places on Earth on which to identify the causes of decade-to-decade temperature changes. The Antarctic Peninsula climate system shows large natural variations, which can overwhelm the signals of human-induced global warming. In recent years, there has been an international research effort to explain what’s happening in the region and to understand the implications for the Antarctic environment and future sea-level rise.
- “Our study highlights the complexity and difficulty of attributing effect to cause. The ozone hole, sea-ice and westerly winds have been significant in influencing regional climate change in recent years. Even in a generally warming world, over the next couple of decades, temperatures in this region may go up or down, but our models predict that in the longer term greenhouse gases will lead to an increase in temperatures by the end of the 21st Century.”
- A wide range of climate data was analysed for this study, including atmospheric circulation fields, sea-ice records, ocean surface temperatures and meteorological observations from six Antarctic Peninsula research stations with near-continuous records extending back to the 1950s.
- During the Twentieth Century, Antarctic Peninsula temperatures increased by up to 0.5? C per decade, helping to trigger the dramatic collapse of ice shelves and causing many glaciers to retreat. Whilst there was a decrease in sea ice extent around the Antarctic Peninsula towards the end of the last century it has been increasing in recent years, particularly in the north-east of the region. The cold easterly winds observed in the 21st Century have had a greater impact on the region because the sea ice has prevented ocean heat from entering the atmosphere.
- To set their observations in a longer-term context, the research team looked at a 2,000-year climate reconstruction using the chemical signals in ice cores. As previously reported, analysis suggests that peninsula warming over the whole twentieth century was unusual, but not unprecedented in the context of the past 2,000 years. The reconstruction shows a warming starting in the 1920s, which is consistent with the warming trends recorded by the meteorological stations. The ice core records also reveal periods of warming and cooling over the last several centuries that were comparable to those observed in the post-1950s instrumental record. This highlights the large natural variability of temperatures in this region of Antarctica that has influenced more recent climate changes.
Unpublished Law Dome series
Antarctic Ice Sheet contribution to sea levels
The ecokooks told us that melting glaciers & ice loss at the poles (Antarctica & the Arctic) are going to be the Great Deluge all over again. Probably not.
- A paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth finds "The new upper bound [upper limit] to sea-level rise from the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) averaged over the time span 2003 - 2012 is about 0.16 ± 0.09 mm/yr." At this rate, this is equivalent to an upper limit of about one-half inch sea level contribution by the year 2100, and is about 70% less than the IPCC AR4 upper limit estimate of sea level contribution from the Antarctic ice sheet of 0.21 ± 0.35 mm/yr [upper limit 0.56 mm/yr] from 1993-2003.
Antarctica Ice Mass Balance over long periods of time
High variability (lots of noise) when it comes to SMB (Surface Mass Balance) on Antarctica. Massive snow one year, drought the next. As one can see, SMB has seen several peaks & valleys since 1200. The current SMB on Antarctica is not unprecedented, the mid-16th century-mid-17th century, as well as well as the latter decades of the 14th century & the mid-13th century saw huge SMB increases.
- Climate models predict that snow and ice ought to accumulate over Antarctica and that this will help slow down sea-level rise. Maybe the models are right on this, but there’s no evidence in this data that the current accumulation is different to natural cycles. The summer melt might be faster at the moment, but the accumulation rate is also seemingly at the higher end. If climate scientists want to blame increased CO2 emissions in the last 150 years for the increased ice mass (snow accumulation) and faster summer melt, then how do they explain all the other rises and falls over the last 800 years? Look at the graph below [at the link] and ponder that all the bumps and falls were natural apparently but that last bump — we’re 90% sure it’s caused by coal power stations.
Antarctic meltwater volume in the present not unprecedented. Again, current climatological events there aren’t a harbinger of the Apocalypse.
- We surveyed and dated the former shorelines of one lake in the Shackleton Range and two lakes in the Pensacola Mountains, situated inland of the Weddell Sea embayment Antarctica between 80° and 85°S. These are amongst the highest latitude lakes in the Antarctic and are located in areas where there is little or no Holocene climate and hydrological information. Surveys of the lake shorelines show that past water levels have been up to 15.7, 17.7 and 69.5 m higher than present in the three study lakes. AMS radiocarbon dating of lake-derived macrofossils showed that there was a sustained period of higher water levels from approximately 4300 and until sometime after 2250 cal. yr BP. This is interpreted as being the result of an increased number of meltwater events and/or degree-days above freezing, relative to the present. The closest comparable ice cores from the Dominion Range in the Transantarctic Mountains (85°S, 166°E) and the Plateau Remote ice core on the continental East Antarctic Ice Sheet (84°S, 43°E) also provide some evidence of a warmer period beginning at c. 4000–3500 yr BP and ending after 2000–1500 yr BP, as does a synthesis of oxygen isotope data from five Antarctic ice cores. This suggests that the well-documented mid- to late-Holocene warm period, measured in many lake and marine sediments around the coast of Antarctica, extended into these regions of the continental interior.
Little Ice Age in the Ross Sea
- Rhodes et al. used "a new glaciochemical record of a coastal ice core from Mt Erebus Saddle, Antarctica, to reconstruct atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the Ross Sea sector of Antarctica over the past five centuries," wherein they observed that "the LIA is identified in stable isotope (δD) [NOTE: Deuterium, a stable isotope of hydrogen 2H] and lithophile element records."
- With respect to the first of these data sets, the seven scientists report that "the region experienced 1.6 plus/minus; 1.4°C cooler average temperatures prior to 1850 AD than during the last 150 years." With respect to the second data set, they say it suggests "strong (>57 m/s) prevailing katabatic winds between 1500 and 1800 AD," with three especially strong wind periods centered on about 1690, 1770 and 1840 AD. And they indicate that "these strong wind events occur coincidently with cooler temperatures." Last of all, they state that "ice core concentrations of the biogenic sulphur species MS- suggest that biological productivity in the Ross Sea polynya was ~80% higher prior to1875 AD than at any subsequent time."
- Summing up their work, in the closing words of their paper the authors write, "we conclude that during the LIA colder temperatures promoted stronger katabatic winds across the Ross Ice Shelf, causing sea ice divergence and creating a greater polynya area in the Ross Sea," which allowed for the increased marine primary productivity experienced there between 1600 and 1875 AD. And we would only add to their statement that these findings help to substantiate the fact that the LIA was indeed a global climatic event.
And somehow, Antarctic & the Ross Sea area were subjected to the ravages of the LIA & crawled out of it, all without the help of man’s evil inventions.
No evidence that higher CO2 concentrations are leading to cataclysmic events in Southwestern Antarctica.
- The authors write that "although the Antarctic ice sheet plays a pivotal role in the global ocean and atmospheric circulation systems and their response to warming climates, there are few long-term observations of surface temperature across the continent," which they say is "particularly true for areas pole-ward of the Antarctic Peninsula because of the sparsity of scientific bases and problems associated with satellite measurements of surface temperature (Mayewski et al., 2009)." Consequently, for this important part of the world, they assert that there is a "pressing need for a better understanding of climate variability and the forcings that underlie these changes."
- What was done: In search of this understanding, Sinclair et al. studied isotope-temperature relationships at a site on the Whitehall Glacier in northern Victoria Land (72°54'S, 169°5'E) on a flat ice divide about 12 km from the nearest seasonally-open water. Working with an ice core drilled to a depth of 105 meters there in 2006/2007, they developed a well-calibrated isotope-temperature relationship that they used to reconstruct annual temperatures, as well as summer (December-February) and cold season (April-September) for the 125-year span of their data.
- What was learned: Over the full length of their record, the three researchers say, with respect to temperatures, that they could find "no significant trends between 1882 and 2006." Neither were there any significant trends in either summer or cold season temperatures since 1958. However, they say there was "a decrease in cold season temperatures of -1.59°C ± 0.84°C/decade at 90% confidence (p = 0.07) since 1979," which cooling, in their words, was "coincident with a positive trend in the southern annular mode, which is linked to stronger southerly winds and increased sea ice extent and duration in the western Ross Sea," which they say "is one of the few regions experiencing a significant positive trend in sea ice and a negative trend in sea surface temperatures," citing Comiso et al. (2011).
- What it means: Sinclair et al. conclude that "positive sea ice extent anomalies in the region adjacent to the Whitehall Glacier site, and cooler more vigorous meridional circulation in cooler months, may also be linked to lowered continental surface temperatures," but they indicate that additional data are required to determine the full extent of the recent cooling.
Vostok, Antarctica Medieval Warm Period
- The Vostok ice core temperature chart reveals the following essential points about this frozen region of the world: The 2010 annual temperature was below both the long-term and short-term averages. The temperature average since 1990 is significantly below the peaks of the Medieval and Roman eras, and even below those prior to the Roman peak. For the 5,000+ year period, the linear trend (aqua line) indicates overall cooling. The green polynomial fitted curve to the data shows temperatures heading in a warming direction over the past 1,300 years, prior to modern era consumer/industrial CO2 emissions.
- It should be noted that although the two polar regions both have a lot of ice, snow and cold, they are entirely different climates. These polar extremes experience warming and cooling periods at different times and at different rates/levels of change. As a result, the historical temperature regimes, commonly referred to as the 'Roman' and the 'Medieval', happened differently at the geographical opposites.
Vostok, Antarctica Part II:
One thing that is abundantly clear from the vaunted Vostok ice core is that area has seen numerous, massive temperature swings over the past 450,000 years that would make a modern day ecokook’s head explode if anything close to that was happening today.
Antarctic Neumayer Station
- It’s official: the Alfred Wegener Institute Antarctic Neumayer-Station III is a meteorological observation station that’s been measuring air temperature and other magnitudes in Antarctica for 30 years, which is the period of time used to define climate for a region. The results are clear and indisputable. The AWI writes in its press release: “At the Neumayer Station it has not gotten warmer over the last 30 years.”
- Note they avoid saying it got cooler. If the trend had been the opposite, the results would have been blasted out to the world in the most vivid terms. Annual mean temperature for the years 1982 to 2011 measured at the Neumayer-Station (all graphics come from the Alfred Wegener Institute):
- According to the press release, the temperature station uses instrumentation that makes US climatological measurement system look like a meteorological junkyard. The Antarctic station uses a special type thermometer that is protected from the sun’s rays and has a sensitive platinum wire. The thermometer is 2 meters above the surface. Whenever a measurement is made, the surrounding air is set into turbulence and the measurement is then input into a computer. According to Director Gert König-Langlo: “We check the stability of the measurement system on a regular basis using calibration thermometers. At the station the annual mean temperature over the last 30 years was minus 16°C. The year 1996 with a mean temperature of minus 14.3°C was the warmest of the last 30 years and the year 2000 was the coldest with a mean temperature of minus 17.8° Celsius.”
- With all the concern over global warming gripping Europe, you’d think this would be all over the news. Nope! Not a peep of this cooling trend has appeared anywhere in the German news as far as I can tell.
Ice core from the coastal Dronning Maud Land (East Antarctica)
- Antarctica's modern temperatures are not unusual, nor are they rapidly warming versus what has occurred naturally in the historical past. As the evidence clearly shows, a natural warming has been taking place over the last 400+ years.
- "Working with an ice core (IND-22/B4) that had been extracted during the austral summer of 2003 from the coastal region of Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica... -- the authors developed 470-year histories of δ18O and δD that "showed similar down core fluctuations with [an] excellent positive relationship (R2 = 0.9; n = 216) between the two."..."the estimated surface air temperature at the core site revealed a significant warming of 2.7°C with a warming of ~0.6°C per century for the past 470 years."..."...Thamban et al.'s results clearly indicate that all three of these climate-alarmist claims are false in regard to this portion of the planet's southern polar region."
Victoria Lower Glacier ice core
- [A]uthors Bertler et al. (2011) obtained new deuterium (δD) data from the Ross Sea region of Antarctica that they acquired via analysis of the top fifty meters of a 180-meter-long ice core that had been extracted from the ice divide of Victoria Lower Glacier in the northernmost McMurdo Dry Valleys, which they converted to temperature data by means of a temperature-isotope relationship developed by Steig et al. (1998) from data obtained from the Taylor Dome ice core record. Bertler et al. report that they identified three distinct time periods in their record: the last 150 years of the Medieval Warm Period (AD 1140 to 1287), the Little Ice Age (AD 1288 to 1807), and the Modern Era (AD 1808 to 2000). And with respect to the Little Ice Age, they note that summer temperatures at the core site were 2°C colder than those of the Modern Era (ME), while they write that "the McMurdo Dry Valleys were 0.35°C warmer during the MWP than during ME, accompanied by warmer conditions in the Ross Sea."
- The three researchers say their results suggest that "the McMurdo Dry Valleys experienced warm summers, with increased snow accumulation and higher sea surface temperatures in the Ross Sea/Southern Ocean, perhaps accompanied by less sea-ice." And they report that "a magnetic susceptibility record from Palmer Deep marine core (PD92 30MS) also supports warmer MWP conditions, this time in Drake Passage (Domack and Mayewski, 1999)."
Little Ice Age in East Antarctica
- Li et al. (2009) conducted chemical analyses of a shallow (82.5-m) ice core they obtained from "a location [76̊32.5'S, 77̊01.5'E] in the essentially unexplored area of Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica," which they used to construct "a continuous, high-resolution 780-year (AD 1207-1996) glaciochemical record." Results indicate that "the period of AD 1450-1850 in this record is characterized by sharply reduced snow accumulation rates and decreased concentrations of several chemical species that suffer post-depositional losses linked to very low accumulation rates." In fact, they found that "the average accumulation rate between 1450 and 1810 is nearly 80% lower than the twentieth century average," noting that "such sharply reduced accumulation suggests that the climate conditions in this region during this period of 400 years were colder than the earlier and later periods." And they correctly state that "this period of unusually cold climate conditions in the eastern Indian Ocean sector in East Antarctica coincides with the time frame of the Little Ice Age, which has been found to be a common neoglacial episode in many Northern Hemisphere locations and in a few places in the Southern Hemisphere."
- If there was a Little Ice Age in Antarctica that separated the Current Warm Period from something else, that "something else" must have been the Medieval Warm Period, which is thus demonstrated by the study of Li et al. to have occurred in Princess Elizabeth Land, where Roberts et al. (2001) also found evidence for it. In addition, Li et al. report that the Little Ice Age has been demonstrated to have made its presence felt at Antarctica's Law Dome (Morgan and Van Ommen, 1997), Dronning Maud Land (Karlof et al., 2000), Northern Victoria Land (Stenni et al., 2002), and the Antarctic Peninsula (Fabres et al., 2000; Domack et al., 2001; Shevenell and Kennett, 2002). Hence, the Medieval Warm Period must have preceded the Little Ice Age at these locations as well, reconfirming the global presence of that earlier low-CO2 high-temperature period that some are reticent to recognize, because of the implications it holds for the non-CO2-induced global warming of the 20th century.
We have this to add as well:
- High-resolution ice-core δ18O data from a site with well-preserved seasonal cycles are used to extract seasonal temperature trends over the last 700 years with an effective resolution of a few months. Examination of this record on timescales of decades to centuries shows distinctly different patterns of temperature variation between summer and winter. Over the last 700 years, the summer months show relatively little change, with the coolest summers occurring early this century. The winters, in contrast, show significant fluctuations including a period of warmer temperatures between AD 1400 and 1500 and a colder period centred around the early 1800s which corresponds to the latter part of an era of glacier advance and cold winters in Europe sometimes known as the 'Little Ice Age' (LIA). Since many proxy temperature indicators respond principally to seasonal extremes, they will consequently give biased results in the presence of seasonally confined trends. This may account for the fact that events such as the LIA do not appear in some records.
A little perspective on glacier loss in the Antarctic Amundsen Sea Embayment:
- The research, by a team led by University of Cal-Irvine doctoral candidate Tyler Sutterley, first appeared online at the journal Geophysical Research Letters on November 15th, about two weeks before Thanksgiving. So why is it making headlines now? Probably because the National Aeronautics and Space Administration issued a press release on the new paper on December 2nd. Why wait so long? Because on December 1st, the United Nations kicked off its annual climate confab and the Obama administration is keen on orchestrating its release of scary-sounding climate stories so as to attempt to generate support for its executively commanded (i.e., avoiding Congress) carbon dioxide reduction initiatives that will be on display there. This also explains the recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration speculation that 2014 is going to be the “warmest year on record”—another headline grabber—two months before all the data will be collected and analyzed… Missing from the hype are the broader facts.
- The new Sutterley research finds that glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment region along the coast of West Antarctica are speeding up and losing ice. This is potentially important because the ice loss contributes to global sea level rise. The press coverage is aimed to make this sound alarming—“This West Antarctic region sheds a Mount Everest-sized amount of ice every two years, study says” screamed the Washington Post…
- The global oceans are vast. Adding a “Mount Everest-sized amount of ice every two years” to them results in a sea level rise of 0.02 inches per year. But “New Study Finds Antarctic Glaciers Currently Raise Sea Level by Two-Hundredths of an Inch Annually” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
- Nor does the coverage draw much attention to the fact that the Amundsen Sea Embayment is but one of a great many watersheds across Antarctica that empty into the sea. A study published in Nature magazine back in 2012 by Matt King and colleagues provided a more comprehensive look at glacier behavior across Antarctica. They did report, in agreement with the Sutterley findings, that glacial loss in the Amundsen Sea Embayment was rapid, but they also reported that for other large areas of Antarctica, ice loss was minimal or even negative (i.e., ice was accumulating). Figure 1, taken from the King paper, presents the broader and more relevant perspective (note that the Amundsen Sea Embayment is made up by the areas labelled 21 and 22 in Figure 1).
- We discussed the King and colleagues study in more detail when it first came out. We concluded: “So King and colleagues’ latest refinement puts the Antarctic contribution to global sea level rise at a rate of about one-fifth of a millimeter per year (or in English units, 0.71 inches per century). Without a significantly large acceleration—and recall the King et al. found none—this is something that we can all live with for a long time to come.”
Here’s a little ditty on the Thwaites Glacier, which is in the same zip code:
- A paper published today in Earth and Planetary Science Letters finds evidence that one of the largest glaciers in West Antarctica, the Thwaites Glacier, is primarily melting from below due to geothermal heat flux from volcanoes located along the West Antarctic Volcanic Rift System, i.e. not due to man-made CO2.
- CAGW proponents have alleged that West Antarctic glaciers such as such as the Thwaites Glacier and the neighboring Pine Island Glacier are rapidly melting due to man-made greenhouse gases and/or ocean heating, despite observations showing the air temperature in the Antarctic hasn’t risen since 1979, Antarctic sea surface temperatures have fallen since 2006, and ARGO ocean heat content of the Southern Ocean shows no increase at any level of the top 2000 meters since the system was put in place in 2004. The authors find the neighboring Pine Island Glacier also overlies the same volcanic rift system and thus may also be melting from geothermal heat below.
- The West Antarctic Volcanic Rift System is illustrated by JoNova below, and just so happens to correspond to the areas of notable glacier melt and alleged warming. In contrast, East Antarctica, which holds > 80% of Antarctic ice mass and does not have any known underlying volcanoes, is significantly increasing in ice mass.
Climate Change in Antarctica
- Thomas et al. developed "a new stable isotope record from Ellsworth Land which provides a valuable 308-year record (1702-2009) of climate variability from coastal West Antarctica." More specifically, they obtained deuterium (δD) data from the Ferrigno ice core (F10) drilled on the Bryan Coast of West Antarctica during the austral summer of 2010/2011, which they say was "significantly correlated with the ERA-Interim temperature (1850, 1979-2009)."
- The four UK researchers report "the large isotopic warming since the 1950s is not unusual, with equally large warming and cooling trends observed several times over the past 308 years," which they further note is "consistent with a study from continental West Antarctica (Steig et al., 2013) which concluded that this recent warming is not unprecedented in the context of the past 2000 years."
- [T]he recent isotopic warming trend is not the largest in the 308-year record. Larger 50 year warming trends occurred in the middle to late eighteenth century [+4.1‰ dec (1740–1789)] and the mid-nineteenth century [+3.8‰ dec (1888–1839)] with several equally-large cooling trends. Overall, there is no signiﬁcant trend in the δD record since 1702 A.D.
Is the climate change in Antarctica over the past few decades unprecedented? Spoiler alert: Uh, no.
- In a news & views item published in Nature Geoscience, van Ommen (2013) comments on the prior publications of Abram et al. (2013) and Steig et al. (2013), which, in his words, "add to the evidence that changes currently seen in Antarctica are unusual relative to the past 2000 years." And he says that "taken together, alongside other indicators of change, the message is becoming clearer: Antarctica is very likely to be showing a response to the warming climate of the planet," which he says may "reflect the effects of a combination of natural variability and the early impacts of rising greenhouse gas concentrations."
- But are the findings of Abram et al. and Steig et al. truly unusual relative to the past 2000 years? We think not. And why? Because we have reviewed several scientific studies of Antarctic temperature reconstructions that clearly suggest otherwise, as can readily be verified by perusing the brief one-sentence synopses listed below that pertain to a half-dozen journal reviews we have posted on our website that support our contention.
- Roberts et al. (2004) conducted a fossil diatom analysis of an 82-cm sediment core that was removed from the deepest part of one of the Windmill Islands of East Antarctica, finding a multi-centennial period of warmth (2000-1700 14C yr BP) that experienced summer temperatures they described as being "much higher than present summer temperatures."
- Hall et al. (2006) found evidence of elephant seal presence at 14 different locations along Antarctica's Victoria Land Coast between 600 BC and AD1400, which they said is indicative of "warmer-than-present climate conditions."
- Hall (2007) determined that the Collins Ice Cap margin on Fildes Peninsula (King George Island, South Shetland Islands) "is still more extensive than it was prior to ~650 cal. yr BP," which led her to conclude that the climate prior to that time may have been "as warm as or warmer than present."
- Hall et al. (2010) examined organic-rich sediments exposed by the recent retreat of the Marr Ice Piedmont on western Anvers Island near Norsel Point, finding peat from the exposed sediments dated between 707 ± 36 and 967 ± 47 cal. yr B.P., which led them to conclude that "ice was at or behind its present position at ca. 700-970 cal. yr B.P.," meaning that temperatures during that period were as warm as or warmer than they are currently.
- Bertler et al. (2011) studied deuterium (ðD) data obtained from a 180-meter-long ice core that had been extracted from the ice divide of Victoria Lower Glacier in the northernmost McMurdo Dry Valleys, finding that "the McMurdo Dry Valleys were 0.35°C warmer during the Medieval Warm Period than during the Modern Era."
- Lu et al. (2012), working with "a downcore ð18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the Antarctic Peninsula," found that the "most recent crystals suggest a warming relative to the Little Ice Age in the last century, possibly as part of the regional recent rapid warming," but they add that this latter event "is not yet as extreme in nature as the Medieval Warm Period."
- So, no. There is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about the current level of warmth in and around Antarctica relative to the past 2000 years. And, therefore, there is no logical basis for accusing the historical increase in the air's CO2 concentration over the past 2000 years of having caused any unusual, unnatural or unprecedented warming of the globe, simply because there has been no such warming.
Volcanoes wreaking havoc in West Antarctica: Call me crazy, but this may be part of the reason some areas of West Antarctica are melting.
- Planetary scientists would be thrilled if they could peel the Earth like an orange and look at what lies beneath the thin crust. We live on the planet’s cold surface, but the Earth is a solid body and the surface is continually deformed, split, wrinkled and ruptured by the roiling of warmer layers beneath it. The contrast between the surface and the depth is nowhere starker — or more important — than in Antarctica. What is causing the mysterious line of volcanoes that emerge from the ice sheet there, and what does it mean for the future of the ice…
- Lloyd helped deploy research seismometers across the West Antarctic Rift System and Marie Byrd Land in the austral summer of 2009-10. He then returned in late 2011 and snowmobiled more than 1,000 miles, living in a Scott tent, to recover the precious data.
- The recordings the instruments made of the reverberations of distant earthquakes from January 2010 to January 2012 were used to create maps of seismic velocities beneath the rift valley. An analysis of the maps was published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth on Nov. 12, 2015 (doi:10.1002/2015JB012455).
- This is the first time seismologists have been able to deploy instruments rugged enough to survive a winter in this part of the frozen continent, and so this is the first detailed look at the Earth beneath this region.
- Not surprisingly, the maps show a giant blob of superheated rock about 60 miles beneath Mount Sidley, the last of a chain of volcanic mountains in Marie Byrd Land at one end of the transect. More surprisingly, they reveal hot rock beneath the Bentley Subglacial Trench, a deep basin at the other end of the transect. The Bentley Subglacial Trench is part of the West Antarctic Rift System and hot rock beneath the region indicates that this part of the rift system was active quite recently.
- Mount Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica, sits directly above a hot region in the mantle, Lloyd said. Mount Sidley is the southernmost mountain in a volcanic mountain range in Marie Byrd Land, a mountainous region dotted with volcanoes near the coast of West Antarctica.
- “A line of volcanoes hints there might be a hidden mantle plume, like a blowtorch, beneath the plate,” said Doug Wiens, PhD, professor of earth and planetary sciences and a co-author on the paper. “The volcanoes would pop up in a row as the plate moved over it.”
- “But it’s a bit unclear if this is happening here,” he said. We think we know which direction the plate is moving, but the volcanic chain is going in a different direction and two additional nearby volcanic chains are oriented in yet other directions.
- “If this was just a plate moving over a couple of mantle plumes, you’d expect them to line up, as they do in the Hawaiian Islands,” he said. Although the hot zone’s shape is ill-defined, it is clear there is higher heat flow into the base of the ice sheet in this area, Wiens said.
- The geothermal heat flux is a critical thermal boundary condition that influences the melting, flow, and mass balance of ice sheets, but measurements of this parameter are difficult to make in ice-covered regions. We report the first direct measurement of geothermal heat flux into the base of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), below Subglacial Lake Whillans, determined from the thermal gradient and the thermal conductivity of sediment under the lake. The heat flux at this site is 285 ± 80 mW/m2, significantly higher than the continental and regional averages estimated for this site using regional geophysical and glaciological models. Independent temperature measurements in the ice indicate an upward heat flux through the WAIS of 105 ± 13 mW/m2. The difference between these heat flux values could contribute to basal melting and/or be advected from Subglacial Lake Whillans by flowing water. The high geothermal heat flux may help to explain why ice streams and subglacial lakes are so abundant and dynamic in this region.
Is the rate of snowfall accumulation (or lack thereof) in Antarctica unprecedented or not?
- The resultant 2035 year-long proxy (22 BC to 2012 AD) is presented in the figure below. As reported by the authors, the average long-term snow accumulation rate was calculated as 0.686 m yr-1 (27 inches) ice equivalent, which rate they say “is in agreement with previous estimates, and further supports the notion that there is no long-term trend in snow accumulation rates, or that any trend is constant and linear over the [2035-year] period of measurement.”
- If this number seems low for such an icy continent, the fact is that most high-latitude locations in both hemispheres would qualify as deserts based upon annual precipitation. In many places, it is literally “too cold to snow” as the frigid air can hold only tiny amounts of moisture.
- There were several decadal-scale oscillations in the record, described by the authors as “common,” with “74 events (33 positive and 41 negative) of at least a 10-year duration in the record.” The three longest periods of above average integrated snowfall occurred over the intervals 380-442, 727-783, and 1970-2009, while the three longest periods of below average integrated snowfall occurred during 663-704, 933-975 [coincides with the Medieval Warm Period], and 1429-1468.
- With respect to the cause of the interannual and decadal variability in the record, Roberts et al. report they found no significant correlation between snowfall accumulation and (1) the Southern Oscillation Index, (2) volcanic activity, (3) the Southern Annular Mode or (4) the Law Dome CO2 record. Spectral analysis, however, revealed periodicities that “may be related to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) frequencies.”
IPCC climate models miss the boat concerning sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere & Antarctica.
More bad news for the ecokooks: They've been trying to downplay/ignore the increase in sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere & around Antarctica, some have even gone so far as to say it's consistent with global warming/climate change/weird weather. Problem being, ~85% of IPCC models predicted a decreasing trend for Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent. Whoops!
- A team of three Chinese scientists led by Qi Shu compared the observed trends in Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent (SIE) with those projected by the collection of climate models used to forecast future climate changes by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In a nutshell, they found increases in sea ice around Antarctic were not consistent with human-caused climate change at all—or at least not by how climate models foresee it taking place. Figure 1 shows the extent of the mismatch—rather shocking, really.
- Shu et al. write: “The linear trend of satellite-observed Antarctic SIE is 1.29 (±0.57) x 105 km2 decade-1; only about 1/7 [climate] models show increasing trends, and the linear trend of [multi-model mean] is negative with the value of -3.36 (±0.15)x105 km2 decade-1.” This should pretty much quell talk that everything climate is proceeding according to plan.
More climate model fails & climatological apocalypse in Antarctica’s past:
- A paper by Max D. Holloway and colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), reports that the last interglacial period, known as the Eemian, was warmer than the one we are in currently, known as the Holocene. In “Antarctic last interglacial isotope peak in response to sea ice retreat not ice-sheet collapse,” it was rising temperatures that caused the rising sea levels and explains the data taken from Antarctic ice cores.
- “Several studies have suggested that sea-level rise during the last interglacial implies retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The prevalent hypothesis is that the retreat coincided with the peak Antarctic temperature and stable water isotope values from 128,000 years ago (128 ka); very early in the last interglacial. Here, by analysing climate model simulations of last interglacial WAIS loss featuring water isotopes, we show instead that the isotopic response to WAIS loss is in opposition to the isotopic evidence at 128 ka. Instead, a reduction in winter sea ice area of 65±7% fully explains the 128 ka ice core evidence.”
- More succinctly put: “During the last interglacial (LIG; 130,000–115,000 years ago) global climate was warmer than today and global mean sea level was 6-9 m higher.” And these researchers are not the only ones to conclude that temperatures were hotter the last time we had an interglacial warm period. See P. Bakker et al. “Temperature trends during the Present and Last Interglacial periods - a multi-model-data comparison,” and B. L. Otto-Bliesner et al. “How warm was the last interglacial? New model-data comparisons” for a start. The Eemian warm spell, 115,00 to 130,000 years ago, shows that global warming can happen without man's interference.
Plenty of climate model fails as well.
Plenty of snow & ice on Antarctica:
- Antarctica has way fewer rocky outcroppings than scientists previously estimated, according to a new study that found less than half a percent of the South Pole is not covered by snow and ice. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) found “a 21,745 km2 total area of rock outcrop, equivalent to 0.18 ± 0.05% of the continent’s land area and 48% of the previous estimate.” Previous estimates put rocky outcroppings at 0.37 percent of the continent.
- “This is a significant decrease and highlights an overestimation in the current predictions of rock outcrop extent in Antarctica,” BAS scientists wrote in their new study. BAS researchers wanted to establish a more accurate baseline to measure how global warming impacts the frozen continent. Unsurprisingly, Antarctica still has tons of snow and only small areas of it aren’t covered with ice and snow.
Climate change in the Antarctic, déjà vu all over again:
Oh noes! "The WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) is gonna melt, we better live in log cabins again or we're all gonna die." Like most Hollywood movies, we've seen this &!#% before.
- Climate scientists, with their new toys, would like you to believe that glacier retreat in West Antarctica is a recent phenomenon, caused by man. Back in 1999 however, scientists revealed that these glaciers have actually been retreating at a fairly steady rate for at the last 7500 years:
- “An icy crust covering part of Antarctica has receded steadily for the last 20,000 years and may continue to do so regardless of human impacts on climate, a new study suggests. At its current rate of retreat, the ice will disappear in 7000 years, researchers report in tomorrow’s Science. However, the team cannot rule out a sudden collapse of the ice sheet in the next few centuries–an event that would raise sea levels worldwide by 5 or 6 meters.”
- “The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a mass of thick glaciers spanning nearly a million square kilometers. It rests on bedrock that sits below sea level. Contact with the gradually rising ocean may make the sheet more unstable than ice at higher elevations elsewhere on Antarctica. Indeed, when glaciologists drilled through the ice sheet, they found signs that it has disintegrated completely sometime within the last 1.3 million years, in a climate not much warmer than today’s (Science, 3 July 1998, p. 17). However, researchers had few details about the timing and extent of melting during recent millennia.”
- “The new study pins down several dates and locations that trace the ice sheet’s shrinkage. The team–led by glaciologist Howard Conway of the University of Washington in Seattle and geologist Brenda Hall of the University of Maine, Orono–used radar to image old layers within the ice, which revealed its growth and decay over time. The researchers also used radiocarbon dating to analyze the ages of organic material left high and dry on beaches as the ice sheet melted away to expose land, which rises as the weight is lifted during the ice’s retreat. These and other methods revealed a pattern of steady retreat at an average rate of 120 meters per year over the last 7500 years.”
The Ross Ice Shelf is going to collapse & we’re all going to die!
We need to act now or Antarctica is going to see massive ice loss on land & in the Southern Ocean. We need a Kyoto-style agreement to mitigate anthropogenic global warming (we also need a global government, preferably a shadow government telling everyone what appliances they can & cannot have, but that's for later, right now we have work to do) or Antarctica will be a tropical destination for rich folks.
- The Ross Ice Shelf is the world’s largest ice shelf, a vast floating extension of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is about the size of France. But at the end of the last ice age, it extended much farther north and covered the entire Ross Sea. A study in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details how the ice shelf shrank during a period of climate warming following the ice age [NOTE: long before the Medieval Warm Period, where there was a marked warming on the Antarctic Peninsula, different part of the continent though]. The paper was co-authored by Rice University oceanographer John Anderson, postdoctoral research associate Lauren Simkins, graduate student Lindsay Prothro and colleagues at the University of Tokyo.
- “At the height of the last ice age, we know that the sheet of ice covering the Antarctic continent was larger and thicker than it is today,” said Anderson, Rice’s Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography and professor of Earth science. “This continent-enveloping ice sheet extended all the way to the continental shelf, and in western Antarctica it filled the entire Ross Sea basin.”
- While people typically think of continents as landmasses that rise above the sea, the margins of all continents, including Antarctica, extend well beyond their shores to include continental shelves, subsea aprons that are far more shallow than the deep ocean abysses that mark the continental boundary. In western Antarctica, the Ross Sea is characterized by a continental shelf that extends nearly 1,000 miles from the coast and is as much as 3,500 feet deep. Anderson said the geologic record shows that as recently as 18,000 years ago the entire Ross basin was filled with ice that was so thick and heavy it was grounded on the seafloor all the way to the edge of the continental shelf.
- “We found that about 10,000 years ago, this thick, grounded ice sheet broke apart in dramatic fashion,” Anderson said. “The evidence shows that an armada of icebergs — each at least twice as tall as the Empire State Building — was pushed out en masse. We know this because this part of the Ross Sea is about 550 meters (1,804 feet) deep, and the icebergs were so large and so tightly packed that they gouged huge furrows into the seafloor as they moved north.” […]
- The Ross Ice Shelf appeared after the breakup of the ice sheet. An ice shelf is the floating, seaward extension of an ice sheet and marks the point at which the ice is thin enough to float… The researchers know the times when the seafloor was partially or fully ice-covered, thanks to painstaking geochemical analyses of seafloor sediments that were overseen by study lead author Yusuke Yokoyama, a professor at the University of Tokyo who was also a Wiess Visiting Professor in Rice’s Department of Earth Science in 2014-2015. The geochemical analyses also relied on evidence gathered by the Palmer, which is capable of drilling and recovering sediment cores from the seafloor. Such cores contain a geological record that can extend thousands of years, and Yokoyama’s team used Ross Sea core samples that were recovered during a 1999 Palmer cruise as well as 2015 cores and seafloor imagery to pinpoint the timing of the ice-shelf breakup.
- “The really big breakup began around 3000 B.C.,” Anderson said. “We believe it was similar, in many respects, to the breakup of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002. The Larsen is far smaller than the Ross Ice Shelf, but satellite imagery that year showed the Larsen dramatically breaking apart in just a few weeks. We believe the large breakup of the Ross Ice Shelf occurred at roughly this same pace, but the area involved was so much larger — about the size of the state of Colorado — that it took several centuries to complete.”
- By 1500 B.C. the breakup had exposed about 100,000 square miles of the Ross Sea that had been either wholly or largely ice-covered for many millennia, Anderson said.
So, the next time a taxpayer-funded ecokook or some online 24/7 armchair climatologist suggests to you that the end is nigh in Antarctica, you can laugh to yourself or if you’re feeling especially good, laugh at them & tell them you pity them.