Mighty Greenland glacier slams on brakes

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Jakobshavn glacier, West Greenland [image credit: Wikipedia]
Even the climate alarm oriented BBC has finally had to admit the inconvenient truth about Greenland’s largest glacier. Instead of dropping in height by 20m. a year, it’s now thickening by 20m. a year. This isn’t supposed to happen when one of the stock phrases of the fearmongering media is ‘the rapidly melting Arctic’. Of course logic says that since glaciers can grow naturally they can also retreat naturally, despite attempts to blame humans.

European satellites have detailed the abrupt change in behaviour of one of Greenland’s most important glaciers, says BBC News.

In the 2000s, Jakobshavn Isbrae was the fastest flowing ice stream on the island, travelling at 17km a year.

As it sped to the ocean, its front end also retreated and thinned, dropping in height by as much as 20m year.

But now it’s all change. Jakobshavn is travelling…

View original post 230 more words

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Basic Science: 4 Keys to Melt Fears About Ice Sheets Melting

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

William Ward, April 18, 2019


[HiFast BLUF:  Here’s the author’s summary/bottom line up front.] Despite the overwhelming number of popular news reports to the contrary, studies of ice sheets melting over the past century show remarkable ice stability. Using the proper scientific perspective, analysis of ice-melt rates and ice-mass losses show the ice sheets will take hundreds of thousands of years to melt, assuming the next glacial period doesn’t start first. An application of basic physics shows that for every 1 °C of atmospheric heat exchanged with the ice sheets we get a maximum 0.4 inches of SLR and a correspondingly cooler atmosphere. Over the 20th century, we observed a worst-case 4:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained atmospheric heat. It is proposed that this ratio can be used to assess potential ice-melt related SLR for a hypothetical atmospheric temperature increase scenario over the current century. Using a reasonable range for all of the variables we can estimate an SLR of between 1.4 – 6.4 inches, but our current observations support the rise being toward the lower end of that range.

The atmosphere and oceans do not show the increase in energy necessary to cause catastrophic SLR from rapidly melting ice. Humankind does not possess the technology to melt a significant amount of ice because the energy required is enormous and only nature can meter out this energy over very long periods. With the proper scientific perspective about the amount of energy required to melt ice, it should be much more difficult for Climate Alarmists to scare the public with scenarios not supported by basic science.


 

The world is drowning in articles about catastrophic sea level rise (SLR), reminding us that if the ice sheets melt, 260 feet of water will flood our coastal cities. We know that sea level today is 20-30 feet lower than it was at the end of the last interglacial period 120,000 years ago. We also know that sea level has risen 430 feet since the end of the last glacial maximum 22,000 years ago. Research shows this rise was not monotonic but oscillatory, and during periods over the past 10,000 years, sea level has been several meters higher than today. So, evidence supports the possibility of higher sea levels, but does the evidence support the possibility of catastrophic sea level rise from rapidly melting ice?

In this paper, basic science is used to show that catastrophic SLR from melting ice cannot happen naturally over a short period. Additionally, humankind does not possess the capability to melt a large amount of ice quickly even through our most advanced technology. This news should relieve the public, which is routinely deceived by reporting that misrepresents the facts. The public is susceptible to unnecessary alarmism when melt rates and ice-melt masses are presented without perspective and juxtaposed against claims that scientists are worried. This paper uses the same facts but places them in perspective to show that catastrophic risks do not exist.

Ice Sheets Melting: Deceptive Reporting

The growing alarm over melting ice sheets is directly attributable to deceptive reporting. The sheer number of reports inundates the public with an incessant message of angst. A single scientific study can be the source for headlines in hundreds of news articles. With social media repeating the news and the subsequent chorus of lectures from celebrities and politicians, we find ourselves in the deafening echo chamber of Climate Alarmism. However, it is a mistake to assume the real risks are proportional to the frequency or intensity of the message.

The primary problem is that the news writers do not have the scientific background to report on the subject responsibly, and therefore they routinely corrupt and distort the facts. Take for example an article in Smithsonian dated September 1, 2016, entitled “Melting Glaciers Are Wreaking Havoc on Earth’s Crust.” The first two sentences of the article read:

“You’ve no doubt by now been inundated with the threat of global sea level rise. At the current estimated rate of one-tenth of an inch each year, sea level rise could cause large swaths of cities like New York, Galveston and Norfolk to disappear underwater in the next 20 years.”

A sea level rise rate of one-tenth of an inch per year yields 2 inches of SLR in 20 years. Topographical maps show the lowest elevations of these cities are more than ten feet above sea level. No portion of these cities will disappear underwater from 2 inches of SLR.

The news writers seem obligated to pepper the facts with their own opinions such as “… climate change is real, undeniable and caused by humans.” It is often difficult for the reader to discern the facts from the opinions. However, even the facts become troubling because they consist of numbers without the perspective to understand their significance and are wrapped in existential angst. Consider the following excerpt from a June 13, 2018 article in the Washington Post, entitled “Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade. If that continues, we are in serious trouble.”

“Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported… The melt rate in Antarctica has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped.”

As reported, the reader assumes a melt rate that has tripled must be dire, and billions of tons of melting ice must be extreme. However, this perception changes if the facts are analyzed to provide perspective. An analysis shows that the original annual melt rate of 1.3 parts-per-million (ppm) has increased to nearly 4 ppm over 26 years. The news writer failed to inform us of these facts which provide perspective. The new melt rate is analogous to losing 4 dollars out of 1 million dollars. Losing slightly less than 4 parts in 1 million each year means that it will take over 250,000 years to melt entirely. No natural process is static, so we should expect variation over time. Most change is cyclical. Sometimes the ice is increasing and sometimes it is decreasing. The average person’s body mass fluctuates by 20,000 to 40,000 ppm each day. By comparison, Antarctica varying by 1-4 ppm over a year should be considered rock-solid stability in the natural world.

Ice Sheets Melting: What Happened Over the Past Century

Antarctica holds 91% of the world’s land ice, Greenland 8%, and the remaining 1% is spread over the rest of the world. Therefore, by understanding what is happening to the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, we understand what is happening to 99% of the world’s land ice.

NASA is a good source for research about what is happening in Antarctica. However, two NASA agencies have recently published studies with conflicting conclusions. The Goddard Space Flight Center recently published research concluding Antarctica is not contributing to SLR. According to the study, snow accumulation exceeded ice melting, resulting in a 0.5-inch sea level reduction since 1900. Contrarily, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) reports that the rate of Ice loss from Antarctica has tripled since 2012 and contributed 0.3 inches to SLR between 1992 and 2017. To cover the worst-case scenario, we can analyze the JPL study and provide the perspective to understand their results.

Over 26 years, Antarctica’s average annual mass loss was less than 0.00040% of its total. If Antarctica were a 220 lb man, his mass loss each year would be 0.4 grams or about eight tears. (Eight human tears weigh about 0.4 g.) At this alarming rate that makes our most elite climate scientists worried, it would take 250,185 years to melt all of the ice. It would take over 1,000 years of melting to yield 12 inches of SLR from Antarctica if we ignore natural variability and the cyclical nature of ice volume and assume the melt rate continues uninterrupted.

The best information we have about Greenland comes from a study in the journal Nature, estimating Greenland’s ice losses between 1900 – 2010. Using current ice volume estimates from USGS, we calculate the ice mass in 2010 was between 99.5% – 99.8% of what it was in 1900. Ice melt from Greenland in the 111 years contributed 0.6 – 1.3 inches to SLR. It would take over 1,300 years of melting to yield 12 inches of SLR from Greenland if we ignore natural variability and the cyclical nature of ice volume and assume the melt rate continues uninterrupted.

The average annual inland temperature in Antarctica is -57 °C and most coastal stations average -5 °C to -15 °C. The much talked about Western Antarctica averages several degrees below 0 °C. Southern Greenland does experience summer temperatures above 0 °C and seasonal melting. Northern Greenland stays below 0 °C even in the summer months, and the average annual inland temperatures are -20 °C to -30 °C. The temperatures in Greenland and Antarctica are not warm enough to support significant rapid ice melt. In the past century, we have 1 °C of retained atmospheric heat, and enough heat exchanged with ice in Greenland and Antarctica to raise sea level by 0.9 – 1.6 inches. Despite all of the reports in the media to the contrary, we have no real observations of any ice melt crisis. The past 111 years have been remarkable because of ice stability – not because of ice melting. We are 19 years into the 21st century with no evidence supporting an outcome much different from the 20th century.

Ice Sheets Melting: The Process

The lifecycle of an ice sheet begins as snow. Snow falls in the higher elevations and over time it compacts and becomes ice. The ice thickness in Antarctica is over 12,000 feet in the center of the continent and over 9,000 feet over most of East Antarctica. The force of gravity initiates a thousand-year journey where the ice flows from its heights back to the sea. At the end of this journey, when its weight can no longer be supported by the sea, it “calves” and becomes an iceberg. Some icebergs can float around Antarctica for over 30 years before fully melting. So, young ice is born inland from snow, and old ice dies near the coast from seasonal melting or after drifting for years as an iceberg. This process is the natural cycle of ice and not one which should create panic. During some periods we have more snow accumulating than ice melting, such as the period between 1300 CE and 1850 CE, known as the “Little Ice Age.” During other periods we have more ice melting than snow accumulating, such as the Medieval Warm Period and our present time.

In our present time, sunlight alone is insufficient to cause significant changes to ice sheet mass. Sunlight must act in concert with other effects such as cloud cover, water vapor and other “greenhouse” gasses such as CO2. Regardless of the mechanisms, the Earth system must do two things to melt more ice: 1) retain more heat energy and 2) via the atmosphere, transport this heat to the poles and transfer it to the ice. Additional heat energy in the system cannot melt ice unless this transport and transfer happen.

Ice Sheets Melting: Conservation of Energy

A 2007 study by Shepherd and Wingham published in Science shows the current melt rate from Greenland and Antarctica contribute 0.014 inches to SLR each year. For perspective, the thickness of 3 human hairs is greater than 0.014 inches. The results align reasonably well with the other studies mentioned. Despite the minuscule amount of actual SLR from melting ice, NOAA and the IPCC provide 21st century SLR projections that range from a few inches to several meters. The wide range of uncertainty leads to angst about catastrophe; however, the use of basic science allows us to provide reasonable bounds to the possibilities.

Before the start of the American Revolution, Scottish scientist Joseph Black (and others) solved the mysteries of specific heat and latent heat, which gives us the relationship between heat energy, changing states of matter (solid/liquid) and change of temperature. Equations 1 and 2 give us the mathematical relationships for specific heat and latent heat respectively:

(1) E = mc∆T

(2) E = mL

Where E is thermal energy (Joules), m is the mass (kg), c is the “specific heat” constant (J/kg/°C), ∆T is the change in temperature (°C), and L is the latent heat constant (J/kg). Specific heat is the amount of heat energy that we must add (or remove) from a specified mass to increase (or decrease) the temperature of that mass by 1 °C. Latent heat is the thermal energy released or absorbed during a constant temperature phase change. If we know the mass of the ice, water or atmosphere, it is easy to calculate the amount of energy it takes to change its temperature, melt it or freeze it.

Understanding that energy is conserved when melting ice, the equations above can be used to calculate the temperature effects that must be observed in the oceans or atmosphere to support an ice melt scenario. We can provide reasonable bounds and reduce the uncertainty.

See the reference section at the end of the paper for all sources and calculations.

Key #1: Importance of the Latent Heat of Fusion

It is essential to understand the latent heat of fusion because of the enormous amount of heat energy that is required to change the state of H2O from solid to liquid. Figure 1 shows the specific heat and phase change diagram for water. The blue line shows the temperature of water in °C (y-axis) plotted against the change in thermal energy in kJ/kg (x-axis). It shows how temperature and energy are related as we go from cold solid ice to boiling liquid water. The average annual inland temperature of Greenland is -25 °C and this is the reason for Point 1 on the line. If we start at Point 1 and progress to Point 2, this shows how much heat energy must be added to change the temperature of 1kg of ice from -25 °C to 0 °C. It is important to note that at Point 2, the ice is still 100% solid at 0 °C.

Figure 1: Water Phase/Specific Heat Diagram

The diagram reveals something interesting about the behavior of water. As we progress from Point 2 to Point 3, the water undergoes a phase change from solid to liquid. There is no temperature change as the ice becomes liquid water; however, a large amount of heat energy must be added. The energy that must be added to change the phase of water from solid to liquid is the latent heat of fusion. For melting ice, temperature alone does not inform us about what is happening to the system. To assess ice melting, we must understand the net change of energy. Whether we melt 1kg of ice or the entire ice sheet in Greenland, using Equations 1 and 2, we can easily calculate the energy required to do so. Going from Point 1 to Point 3 requires 3.86×105 Joules of energy for each kg of ice mass warmed and melted. For simplicity, we call this quantity of energy “E.”

Figure 1 also shows what happens as we move from Point 3 (0 °C liquid seawater) to Point 4 (seawater starting to boil at 100 °C). It takes a measure of energy “E” to move between Points 3 and 4, just as it does to move between Points 1 and 3. Therefore, as shown in Table 1, the energy required to melt the ice is equivalent to the energy required to heat the meltwater to a boil at 100 °C. (Note: the fresh water from the ice is assumed to flow to the oceans.)

Energy to melt 1kg of polar ice from -25 °C to 0 °C water <– Is Equal To –> Energy to raise the temperature of 1kg of seawater from 0 °C to 100 °C

Table 1: Relating Energy Between Polar Ice Melt and Boiling Water

Key #2: Total Energy Required to Melt the Ice Sheets

Using Equations 1 and 2, we calculate that the total heat energy required to melt the ice sheets entirely is 1.32×1025 J. This value can be given perspective by calculating the increase in ocean water temperature that would result from adding 1.32×1025 J of heat. We know that deep ocean water below the thermocline is very stable in temperature between 0-3 °C. 90% of the ocean water mass is below the thermocline. The thermocline and surface layer above contains the ocean water that responds to changes in atmospheric heat, whether that be from seasonal changes or climate changes. Therefore, if we constrain the 1.32×1025 J of heat energy to the upper 10% of the ocean mass, we calculate the temperature increase would be 25.6 °C, assuming equal heat distribution for simplicity of analysis. This increase would make the surface temperature of equatorial ocean water close to 55 °C, similar to a cup of hot coffee. Polar seas would be perfect for swimming at nearly 25 °C. According to NOAA, over the past 50 years, the average ocean surface temperature has increased approximately 0.25 °C.

Another way to give perspective is to calculate the increase in atmospheric temperature that would result from adding 1.32×1025 J of heat to the atmosphere. First, we must understand some related facts about the atmosphere. Heat energy must be transported by the atmosphere to the polar regions, or no ice can melt. However, the atmosphere’s capacity to store heat energy is extremely low compared to the energy required to melt all of the ice. The ice sheets contain more than 900 times the thermal energy below 0 °C as the atmosphere contains above 0 °C, and therefore the atmospheric heat energy must be replenished continuously to sustain ice melting. Melting polar ice with heat from the atmosphere is analogous to filling a bathtub with a thimble. The low specific heat of air is one reason the atmosphere lacks heat carrying capacity. The other reason is its low mass.

Figure 2 shows the vertical profile of the Earth’s atmosphere. The red line in Figure 2 shows the temperature of the atmosphere in °C (x-axis) plotted against the altitude in km (y-axis). 75% of the mass of the atmosphere is contained in the Troposphere, where all life (outside of the oceans) exists on Earth. Figure 2 reveals that most of the atmosphere is far too cold to melt ice. We can ignore the Upper Thermosphere as the mass of atmosphere contained in that layer is negligibly small. Only the Lower Troposphere below 2.5 km altitude contains air at a warm enough temperature to melt ice. (See the region of the graph enclosed in the yellow oval.) 35% of the atmospheric mass exists below 2.5 km, and the average temperature is ~ 8 °C.

Figure 2: Vertical Profile of Earth’s Atmosphere

Using Equation 1 with E = 1.32×1025 J, the mass of the atmosphere below 2.5 km and solving for ∆T, we can calculate what the temperature of the air below 2.5 km would be if it contained the energy required to melt all of the ice. The atmospheric temperature would have to be 7,300 °C, which is 1,522 °C hotter than the surface of the sun. Life on Earth would be in jeopardy from the increased atmospheric heat long before all of the ice melted. While there are no plausible thermodynamic pathways to heat the Earth’s atmosphere to such temperatures, the calculations of energy required are accurate. According to NASA, the global average temperature over the past 50 years has increased approximately 0.6 °C.

Key #3: SLR From Incremental Atmospheric Heat Exchange with Ice Sheets

It is said, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Similarly, you can’t have atmospheric heat and melt with it too. If the ice consumes heat, then the atmosphere cools. If the atmosphere retains its heat, then no ice melts. So, let’s examine some scenarios where we trade energy from the atmosphere with ice to see how much corresponding SLR we can get.

Using Equation 1, we can determine the change in energy for a 1 °C temperature decrease in the atmosphere below 2.5km. We can then apply this energy to the ice, assume maximum melting volume and translate that to SLR. For every 1 °C of atmospheric energy transferred to the ice, we get 0.4 inches of SLR. Some IPCC scenarios project a 4 °C rise in “global average temperature” in the 21st century, due to increased atmospheric CO2. An increase in temperature does not melt any additional ice unless the heat is transferred to the ice. If 4 °C of energy from the atmosphere is transferred to the ice, we get a corresponding 1.7 inches of SLR and an atmosphere that is 4 °C cooler. If we transfer all of the energy in the atmosphere above 0 °C to the ice, then we get 3.4 inches of SLR and a world where the entire atmosphere is at or below 0 °C. The global average temperature would be 6 °C less than the coldest experienced during the depth of a glacial period.

To raise sea level by 12 inches would require the atmosphere to heat up by 28 °C before exchanging that energy with the ice. As we would experience it, the atmosphere would have to heat up by some incremental value, then exchange that incremental value of energy with the ice, thus cooling the atmosphere, and then repeat this process until the 28 °C of atmospheric heat is consumed.

Key #4: Maximum Ice Melt Potential from Technology

Keys #1-3 don’t offer much to support the possibility of large quantities of ice being melted rapidly by natural causes. The next obvious question is, can humankind generate enough heat with our most advanced technology to melt a significant amount of ice rapidly?

The power of the atom is one of the most awesome powers humankind has harnessed. There are 8,400 operational nuclear warheads in the world’s nuclear arsenal, with a total yield of 2,425 Megatons of TNT. It is interesting to note that the energy contained in this nuclear arsenal is over 800 times the equivalent explosive power used in World War II. It is said that there are enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world a hundred times over. So, perhaps this is enough energy to melt the ice sheets entirely. For this exercise, we assume the nuclear weapons release their energy slowly – only fast enough to melt ice and no faster. For maximum melting, we evenly distribute all of the weapons in the ice. However, when we convert 2,425 MT to Joules, we get a number that is far below the energy required to melt all of the ice. The SLR we could get by using all of the world’s nuclear weapons for melting ice would be 0.002 inches. For reference, the diameter of a human hair is 2.5 times thicker than this. If we want all of the ice to melt, we need to duplicate each weapon more than 1,300,000 times. So, it looks like our current arsenal of nuclear weapons is no match for the ice.

What other sources of power does humankind have that could be used to melt a significant amount of ice? The annual global energy production of electric power is 25 petawatt-hours (25×1015 Whr) or 9×1019 Joules. If we could, through some advanced technology, transfer all electric energy generated over one year to heaters buried in the ice, and do this with no transmission or distribution losses, then how much ice could we melt? The answer is 0.02 inches of SLR (equivalent to 4 human hair diameters). This scenario would require that humans not use any electric power for that entire year, for anything other than melting ice. Humanity would have to forego the benefits of electric power for over 146,000 years to melt all of the ice, assuming static conditions in the ice.

Ice Sheets Melting: Analysis

Since 1900 we have 1 °C of retained atmospheric heat, and enough heat consumed by the ice sheets to produce 0.9 – 1.6 inches of SLR. From Key #3 we learned 1.7 inches of SLR results from trading 4 °C of atmospheric heat for ice melting. Therefore, as a worst-case approximation, if there had been no net ice melt since 1900, the atmosphere would have heated by approximately 5 °C. We can conclude that ice melting consumed 4 °C of heat, leaving the atmosphere with 1 °C of retained heat. We observed a 4:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained heat in the 20th century, worst case. For the best-case approximation, we use the lower estimate of 0.9 inches of SLR, which yields a 2:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained heat over the same period. In one of the more extreme scenarios, the IPCC climate model projects 4 °C of atmospheric temperature rise in the 21st century. For a 4 °C rise scenario, using the worst-case ratio of consumed to retained heat, we can estimate a 6.4 inch SLR over that period. In a more moderate scenario, the IPCC projects a 1.5 °C temperature rise. For a 1.5 °C rise, using the best-case ratio of consumed to retained heat, we can estimate an SLR of 1.4 inches. Unfortunately, none of the climate models have been able to predict the climate accurately, and none of them backtest successfully. We are one-fifth of the way through the 21st century and do not appear to be on course for the IPCC’s worst-case temperature projections. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the results for the 21st century will likely be very similar to the 20th century, with 1-2 inches of SLR.

Detailed analysis of the claimed Earth energy imbalance is beyond the scope of this paper. The analysis presented here exposes the effects that must occur from an imbalance that leads to catastrophic melting. The ice must absorb large quantities of heat energy for sustained periods. Therefore, inland temperatures over Antarctica and Greenland would need to be maintained well above 0 °C for significant portions of the year. Atmospheric heat lost to the ice would need to be continually replenished to perpetuate the process. The oceans store heat energy, but the large mass of the oceans with the high specific heat of seawater blunts the possible effects from that energy. The energy that would raise the first 2.5 km of atmospheric air by 1 °C would raise the first 1,000 feet of seawater by only 0.0035 °C. The 2nd law of thermodynamics requires a temperature difference to transfer heat energy. Small increases in ocean temperature cannot lead to large movements of heat energy to an already warmer atmosphere. Finally, the system must transport more heat energy to the polar regions. In reality, the Earth maintains a very large temperature gradient between the equator and the poles. Our observations do not show gradient changes that would support significant additional heat transport. Without the increased energy storage and transport, and sustained polar temperatures well above freezing, catastrophic ice melt scenarios are not possible.

Ice Sheets Melting: Summary

Despite the overwhelming number of popular news reports to the contrary, studies of ice sheets melting over the past century show remarkable ice stability. Using the proper scientific perspective, analysis of ice-melt rates and ice-mass losses show the ice sheets will take hundreds of thousands of years to melt, assuming the next glacial period doesn’t start first. An application of basic physics shows that for every 1 °C of atmospheric heat exchanged with the ice sheets we get a maximum 0.4 inches of SLR and a correspondingly cooler atmosphere. Over the 20th century, we observed a worst-case 4:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained atmospheric heat. It is proposed that this ratio can be used to assess potential ice-melt related SLR for a hypothetical atmospheric temperature increase scenario over the current century. Using a reasonable range for all of the variables we can estimate an SLR of between 1.4 – 6.4 inches, but our current observations support the rise being toward the lower end of that range.

The atmosphere and oceans do not show the increase in energy necessary to cause catastrophic SLR from rapidly melting ice. Humankind does not possess the technology to melt a significant amount of ice because the energy required is enormous and only nature can meter out this energy over very long periods. With the proper scientific perspective about the amount of energy required to melt ice, it should be much more difficult for Climate Alarmists to scare the public with scenarios not supported by basic science.

References

NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

Ramp-up in Antarctic ice loss speeds sea level rise: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2749/ramp-up-in-antarctic-ice-loss-speeds-sea-level-rise/?fbclid=IwAR2Vnkbxxa-NTU_v0lRUUGGDffMs4Q6BGvHX-KHzcHM7-q2B7IO59wCEiQc

Sea Level and Climate (Fact Sheet 002-00): https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/

Spatial and temporal distribution of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet since AD 1900: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature16183

Recent Sea-Level Contributions of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/315/5818/1529

All of the constants and calculations are provided in the associated Excel file located here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ice-Atmosphere-Ocean-Energy-20190407-1-1.xlsx

Cooling Down the Hysteria About Global Warming

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest essay by Rich Enthoven

Recently, NASA released its annual report on global temperatures and reported that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record, surpassed only by three recent years. This claim was accompanied by dire predictions of climate change and for immediate action to dramatically curtail CO2 emissions around the globe. Like every concerned citizen read this report with interest. I also read it as an informed and trained climate analyst – and I can tell that there are some serious problems with the report and its conclusions.

For starters, I can assure my readers that I am not a climate change “denier.” No one doubts the climate changed when it experienced the Ice Age that ended 12,000 years ago. I have read enough scientific literature to believe the well documented view that the planet experienced the Medieval Warm Period (950 – 1250 AD) and Little Ice Age (1550 – 1850 AD) when global temperatures changed materially. I have also read enough scientific literature to understand that solar and ocean cycles affect global climate.

NASA is now reporting significant changes to the global temperature. According to NASA (and others) the entire globe experienced a persistent warming trend in the early part of the 20th century (1911 – 1940). Then, this trend reversed, and the globe cooled until the 1970’s.[1] Now, NASA is reporting that the global temperature increased .31° C in the last 10 years and that this trend is different than the .31° C increase NASA reports for the 1930’s[2]. But, a closer look at the data and methods used by NASA should make any reader skeptical of their results.

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Land Temperatures

It turns out, that over long periods of time it is actually quite difficult to measure temperature changes from climate consistently. The problems arise from changes in measurement technology (mercury bulbs then, semiconductors now) and changes in the sites surrounding the measurement locations. A good way to think about this problem is to consider Dallas Love Field Airport where average temperatures have been reported monthly since 1940. During that time Love Field transformed from a tiny airport near a small city[3] – to large urban airport with 200 daily flights. These changes have generated massive heat at the airport. It is no wonder that the reported temperatures at Love Field have trended up by approximately 2.9 ° F since 1940. [4]

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But, when we look at the temperatures in Centerville, TX – much less affected by land use changes – we see the opposite trend. The average reported temperature in Centerville has been on a declining trend and now averages (on trend) .3 °F less than it was in 1940.[5]

As a result of this urban heat effect, scientists around the world have been identifying (or constructing) ‘pristine’ weather monitoring stations to get a clearer look at temperature changes. These stations are located in areas where urban development has not occurred and is not expected. These locations do not show any meaningful change in reported land temperatures. The best data comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which set up 114 rural temperature monitoring stations in the US in 2002 (USCRN). When we look at these, we see no persistent increase in US temperatures.[6] In fact, 2018 was .3°F colder than the first two years measured. February and March 2019 combined to be the coldest two-month period (temperature anomaly) ever recorded by the USCRN.

MONTHLY TEMPERATURE CHANGES AT USCRN STATIONS

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And it is not just the US rural temperatures that are stable – all around the globe, temperature growth is eliminated once land use changes are eliminated. Shown below are temperature graphs from rural areas in Netherlands, Ireland, Chile, Antarctica, Japan[7], and China[8].

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Further calling into question the global land temperature data used by NASA are climate scientists themselves. Seventeen leading climate scientists (including scientists at NOAA) recently co-authored a paper calling for a new network of global weather stations in which they lamented the “imperfect measurements and ubiquitous changes in measurement networks and techniques.”[9]

Even these efforts to measure temperature change may not be enough – even the ‘pristine’ USCRN temperature measurement locations continue to biased towards warmer temperatures from land use changes. For example, a parking area and road was built next to the USCRN weather station[10] at the University of Rhode Island leading to a .34 ° C increase in measured temperatures at that location.[11][12]

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Ocean and Satellite Temperature Measurement

The NASA global temperature estimate also relies heavily on estimates of temperatures in the ocean and air above it. Ocean temperatures have been measured over the years with highly inconsistent methods (buckets off ships; water flowing through ship engine rooms; buoys; and lately, satellites). In addition to technology changes, there are short term annual ocean cycles such as the well-publicized El Nino/La Nina and long term (multi decade) cycles such as the Pacific (and Atlantic) Decadal Oscillations which affect ocean temperatures at many depths over decades. A recent report out of UC San Diego described the problem “Determining changes in the average temperature of the entire world’s ocean has proven to be a nearly impossible task due to the distribution of different water masses.”[13]

Respected climate scientists are tackling the ocean measurement challenge and come up with results very different than the NASA report. Satellite measurements from University of Alabama show atmosphere temperatures over the ocean increasing since 1980 (end of the last cooling period per NASA) but only at .13 ° C per decade.[14] Both major satellite measurement groups report temperatures are lower now than they were in 1998, although by different amounts.[15] Harvard University oceanographer Carl Wunsch estimated the average temperature of the ocean grew by .02 degrees during 1994 – 2013.[16] Scripps Institute of Oceanography recently estimated the ocean temperature growth at .1 ° C total over the last 50 years. The science and history of measuring ocean temperatures is far from ‘settled’ and there are plenty of credible estimates that ocean temperatures are not changing rapidly or at anywhere near the rate that NASA is estimating.

Back to the NASA Temperature Estimate

To come up with their global temperature assessments, NASA faces all these problems and more. For starters, there is very little reliable global scale land data before 1940, and there are still shortages of reliable data in many parts of the world. (Africa, Middle East). Most of the historical data has been affected by land use changes and measurement technology changes. As they have tried to deal with these problems, NASA has dramatically changed the locations and methods that they use to assess temperatures over the last several decades.[17] Some observers question whether the new locations and technologies have the same pattern as the old ones would have had.

Not only have they adjusted the locations they take land measurements from, NASA adjusts the data that goes into their estimates[18]. Here are examples from the NASA website for Darwin Airport, Australia and Reykjavik, Iceland that show the liberal data changes adopted by NASA.[19]

image

image

Readers should note several problematic elements of these graphs:

1) The unadjusted data does not indicate warming at these locations over the last 80 years.

2) The unadjusted data is shown in such a faint outline that its hard to see. Why would NASA present it this way?

3) As NASA changed each data set, they made the past appear cooler – the “adjusted, cleaned” data is cooler than the “unadjusted” data – and the “homogenized” data is cooler still. A cooler past allows NASA to claim current temperatures are dramatically higher.

The NASA has “adjusted, cleaned, and homogenized” the data from these locations along with thousands of others to make up the data set that NASA uses. They then add data from satellites and use data grid methodology to come up with a final temperature change result.

Needless to say, the NASA changes have been the subject of considerable debate – within the climate scientist community, the climate “skeptic” community, and even NASA itself.[20] The “unadjusted” raw data has been adjusted meaningfully over the years as NASA recalculates.[21] The satellite measurements are very controversial according Zeke Hausfather, climate researcher at Berkley Earth – “If you don’t like adjustments, you really shouldn’t use the satellite record.”[22] A major problem is that the average adjustments between raw and final data average strongly in one direction – the adjustments tend to cool the past – which makes the present temperatures seem warmer by comparison.[23] NASA itself is apparently unhappy with their current formulas and plans to release version four of their “adjustments” soon.[24]

Other Indicators of Global Temperatures

The debate about the temperatures adjustments and estimates used by NASA can quickly get in to mathematical manipulations that are well beyond the level of this article. Scientists are arguing about changes in the global temperature that are on the order of one percent of one degree centigrade. Fortunately, we can look at a variety of other climate indicators in an effort to verify whether temperatures are changing. According to the theory endorsed by NASA, humans have been increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere for more than 70 years[25] – and this increased CO2 has led to demonstrably higher global temperatures which affect major aspects of global climate.

Fortunately for the planet, there is no evidence of change in large scale climate indicators that should be changing with the temperature. Here are some notable examples:

· US Land Temperatures: In 1986, James Hansen testified to congress that rising CO2 levels would cause US temperatures to rise by three to four degrees by 2020. [26] This prediction was spectacularly wrong – US land temperatures have moved at most a fraction of that amount since 1986.[27]

image

· Sea Level Rise: NASA (and later Al Gore) have made it clear that a warmer planet would cause ice to melt and the seas to expand – rising by up to four feet in 2050[28]. An accelerating trend in sea levels would potentially inundate lower elevation cities. But, NOAA data makes it clear that there is no change in the rate of sea level increase since measurements began.[29] If the warming globe would accelerate sea level changes, and we don’t see acceleration – it seems reasonable to suggest the globe isn’t warming.

image

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· Hurricanes and Other Adverse Weather Events: By the early 2000s climate scientists told us to expect an increase in hurricanes due to higher temperatures in the ocean. Instead, the US experienced a major hurricane drought from 2006 – 2016.[30] In fact, global hurricanes/typhoon activity have shown no up trend in frequency or severity for the last fifty years.[31] The IPCC also reported in 2013 that there was no change in frequency of other adverse events such as droughts, floods, and tornados.

image

· Glaciers: Observers often become concerned as they see glaciers melting and blame it on global warming. It is certainly true that on average glaciers in the northern hemisphere have been retreating lately. But, glaciers have been retreating since the end of the Little Ice Age (1850) and numerous studies point out that many glaciers were actually melting faster during early 1900’s than they are today.[32] Glacier Bay in Alaska is a good example of the long term melting trend.

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· Snowfall: In 2001, the scientists at IPCC (worlds global authority on climate change) said that rising global temperatures would result in a reduction in snowfall and even the end of skiing industry.[33] However, according to both NOAA and Rutgers University, snowfall has been trending up across the northern hemisphere since 1970. If less snow is expected from higher temperatures – is more snow an indicator of lower temperatures?[34]

image

These are large scale indicators that should not be subject to much measurement debate. They are not subject to “adjustments.” They all tell me that the NASA report is hopelessly biased in favor of reporting a temperature increase that is not happening.

Motivation for NASA to Report Higher Temperatures

Why would NASA come up with results so different from those of other climate observations? Consider the history of the NASA global temperature estimates. In 1986, James Hansen broadly publicized his global warming theory in testimony before the US Senate. For the next 27 years, Mr. Hansen was the chief scientist at NASA in charge of preparing and presenting those estimates. Is it unreasonable to suggest that the “adjustments” and formulas he used after his Senate testimony were biased with an effort to make his predictions turn out to be correct? How much of the NASA estimate is a simple self-fulfilling prophesy?

It’s not just NASA that is subject to significant pressure which likely introduces bias into their results. Climate scientists may be in the same position as those in other fields (i.e. nutrition, pharmaceuticals, psychology) where the desire to produce a pre-selected result influences the inputs, methods, and findings of their science. Alarming results (“hottest ever!” “disaster predicted” “urgent action needed”) all generate headlines; speaking engagements; trips to climate conferences (IPCC); and additional funding for more research. When scientists find opposite results (“nothing is really changing” “it’s just weather” “random events as usual”) they get no publicity; no funding; and instead are attacked (“pro big oil” “anti-environment” or worst of all, a “climate change denier.”)[35] There are indeed thousands of scientific papers that are at odds with NASA, but they don’t get nearly the media coverage and they are not included in NASA’s estimates.

Summary

It is time for a much more open and fair reporting and debate about global temperatures and climate change. Every time an adverse weather event occurs, we have news media blaming it on climate change that isn’t happening. We now have people marching in the streets over a non-existent crisis. All around the globe, trillions of dollars are being spent to avert a perceived global temperature crisis that is not happening. These energies and funds could be spent on far better uses to protect our environment, educate our people, and actually help the planet. We could be spending money on keeping toxins out of our ecosystems; keeping our oceans clean and healthy; improving sustainable farming techniques; expanding and protecting our natural habitats. Its time to take real action to protect and improve our planet – and stop the misplaced worry about climate change.


[1].https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/

[2] Temp anomalies per NASA site: 2018 +.82 ° C less 2008 +.51 ° C =+.31 ° C. 1939 -.03 ° C – 1929 -.34 ° C =+.31 ° C

[3] Dallas population 400,000. Love Field had three daily flights. Wikipedia

[4] Data per iweathernet.com. Authors trend analysis – least squares regression.

[5] Iweathernet.com Authors trend analysis – least squares regression.

[6] https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/national-temperature-index/time-series?datasets%5B%5D=uscrn&parameter=anom-tavg&time_scale=p12&begyear=2004&endyear=2019&month=3 See also https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL067640 for discussion of this data series. Trend is not significant at any reasonable level of certainty. Measurements themselves are subject to +/-.3°C at source.

[7] Temperatures from Japanese Meteorological Association.

[8] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718331978

[9] Journal of Climatology 3/1/18 – https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.5458

[10] Data available at: https://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/uscrn/products/monthly01/CRNM0102-RI_Kingston_1_W.txt

[11] https://iowaclimate.org/2018/04/09/infrastructure

[12] Moose, Wy in Grand Teton National Park is experiencing record park visitors. Are they affecting measured temperatures at the USCRN site there?

[13] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180103160129.htm)

[14] https://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/2019/february2019/tlt_201902_bar.png Note this is closer to one third of the NASA estimated increase.

[15] http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/10/why-2014-wont-be-the-warmest-year-on-record/

[16] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/16000870.2018.1471911)

[17] https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/history/

[18] https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/history/

[19] https://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/stdata_show.cgi?id=501941200000&dt=1&ds=5

[20] Sample paper on the debate from Journal of Geophysical Research – “There remain important inconsistencies between surface and satellite records.” https://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/r-345.pdf

[21] https://realclimatescience.com/2019/03/nasa-tampering-with-reykjavik-raw-temperature-data/

[22] https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-how-surface-and-satellite-temperature-records-compare

[23] https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/history/

[24] https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

[25] CO2 has risen from 315 ppm to 380 ppm per Mauna Loa Observation 1960 – 2018.

[26] https://reason.com/archives/2016/06/17/climate-change-prediction-fail/print).

[27] https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/national-temperature-index/time-series?datasets%5B%5D=uscrn&parameter=anom-tavg&time_scale=p12&begyear=2004&endyear=2019&month=2.

[28] https://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/24/us/global-warming-has-begun-expert-tells-senate.html?/pagewanted=all

[29] NOAA Tides & Currents – https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=9414750

[30] US Hurricanes: https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0184.1

[31]Global Cyclone activity: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL047711

[32] http://appinsys.com/globalwarming/gw_4ce_glaciers.htm

https://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/tc-2018-22/tc-2018-22.pdf https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312185500_High_sensitivity_of_North_Iceland_Trollaskagi_debris-free_glaciers_to_climatic_change_from_the_%27Little_Ice_Age%27_to_the_present

[33] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2001/jan/23/globalwarming.climatechange)

[34] In 2019, Mother Nature is making this point emphatically with at or near record snowfall and cold temperatures across North America and Europe.

[35] Prof. Ross McKitrick http://www.rossmckitrick.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/gatekeeping_chapter.pdf and Judith Curry are well known commentators on this phenomenon.

Natural climate processes overshadow recent human-induced Walker circulation trends

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Institute for Basic Science

Normal conditions (top), strengthening due to natural variability (middle) and weakening due to greenhouse warming (bottom). Black arrows represent horizontal and vertical winds with the shading on the background map illustrating ocean temperatures. Over the past few decades, natural variability has strengthened the Pacific Walker circulation leading to enhanced cooling in the equatorial central-to-eastern Pacific (middle). Climate models forced by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations simulate weakening of the Walker circulation (bottom). (Right) Temporal evolution of model-simulated Walker circulation trends, with the dark blue line and orange shading denoting anthropogenically-induced changes and the impact of natural processes, respectively. Credit IBS

Normal conditions (top), strengthening due to natural variability (middle) and weakening due to greenhouse warming (bottom). Black arrows represent horizontal and vertical winds with the shading on the background map illustrating ocean temperatures. Over the past few decades, natural variability has strengthened the Pacific Walker circulation leading to enhanced cooling in the equatorial central-to-eastern Pacific (middle). Climate models forced by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations simulate weakening of the Walker circulation (bottom). (Right) Temporal evolution of model-simulated Walker circulation trends, with the dark blue line and orange shading denoting anthropogenically-induced changes and the impact of natural processes, respectively. Credit IBS

A new study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that the recent intensification of the equatorial Pacific wind system, known as Walker Circulation, is unrelated to human influences and can be explained by natural processes. This result ends a long-standing debate on the drivers of an unprecedented atmospheric trend, which contributed to a three-fold acceleration of sea-level rise in the western tropical Pacific, as well as to the global warming hiatus.

Driven by the east-west sea surface temperature difference across the equatorial Pacific, the Walker circulation is one of the key features of the global atmospheric circulation. It is characterized by ascending motion over the Western Pacific and descending motion in the eastern equatorial Pacific. At the surface trade winds blow from east to west, causing upwelling of cold water along the equator. From the early 1990s to about 2013, this circulation has intensified dramatically, cooling the eastern equatorial Pacific and triggering shifts in global winds and rainfall (see Figure 1). These conditions further contributed to drying in California, exacerbating mega-drought conditions and impacting agriculture, water resources and wild fires. Given these widespread impacts on ecosystems and society, the recent Walker circulation trends have become subject of intense research.

In contrast to the observed strengthening, the majority of climate computer models simulates a gradual weakening of the Walker Circulation when forced by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations (see Figure 1). “The discrepancy between climate model projections and observed trends has led to speculations about the fidelity of the current generation of climate models and their representation of tropical climate processes”, said Eui-Seok Chung, researcher from the Center for Climate Physics, Institute for Basic Science, South Korea, and lead-author of the study.

To determine whether the observed changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation are due to natural climate processes or caused by human-induced climate change, scientists from South Korea, the United States and Germany came together to conduct one of the most comprehensive big-data analyses of recent atmospheric trends to date. “Using satellite data, improved surface observations and a large ensemble of climate model simulations, our results demonstrate that natural variability, rather than anthropogenic effects, were responsible for the recent strengthening of the Walker circulation”, said Prof. Axel Timmermann, Director of the IBS Center for Climate Physics at Pusan National University and co-author of this study.

In their integrated analysis, the researchers found that the satellite-inferred strengthening of the Walker circulation is substantially weaker than implied by other surface observations used in previous studies. “Putting surface observations in context with latest satellite products was a key element of our study”, said co-author Dr. Lei Shi from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in the United States.

Analyzing 61 different computer model simulations forced with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, the authors showed that, although the average response is a Walker circulation weakening, there are substantial discrepancies amongst the individual model experiments, in particular when considering shorter-term trends. “We found that some models are even consistent with the observed changes in the tropical Pacific, in stark contrast to other computer experiments that exhibit more persistent weakening of the Walker circulation during the observational period”, said co-author Dr. Viju John from EUMETSAT in Germany. The authors were then able to tease apart what caused the spread in the computer model simulations.

Co-author Prof. Kyung-Ja Ha from the IBS Center for Climate Physics and Pusan National University explains “Natural climate variability, associated for instance with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation or the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation can account for a large part of diversity in simulated tropical climate trends”.

“The observed trends are not that unusual. In climate model simulations we can always find shorter-term periods of several decades that show similar trends to those inferred from the satellite data. However, in most cases, and when considering the century-scale response to global warming, these trends reverse their sign eventually”, said co-author Prof. Brian Soden from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, at the University of Miami, United States.

The study concludes that the observed strengthening of the Walker circulation from about 1990-2013 and its impact on western Pacific sea level, eastern Pacific cooling, drought in the Southwestern United States, was a naturally occurring phenomenon, which does not stand in contrast to the notion of projected anthropogenic climate change. Given the high levels of natural decadal variability in the tropical Pacific, it would take at least two more decades to detect unequivocally the human imprint on the Pacific Walker Circulation (see Figure 1, right panel).

Not Threatened By Climate Change: Galápagos Islands

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen

featured_image_galapagosRightfully famous for its strangely different flora and fauna, the products of ages of isolation from the mainland of South America and the  maybe the seed of inspiration to Charles Darwin’s ideas regarding the evolution of Earth’s plants and animals, the Galápagos Islands are almost exactly on the equator some 600 miles west of Ecuador.

The Galápagos Islands  are home to many species, some unique to the Galápagos:

vol_frig

seal_tortoise

blue_frig

And, not the least if last, the uniquely cute, Equator-spanning, Galápagos Penguins:

galapagos_penguins

The fabled living treasures of this group of islands are threatened, besieged and at risk of disappearing forever long before we have had time to discover all of their secrets.

A beautifully illustrated article in the New York Times,  featuring the strikingly evocative photography of  Josh Haner, warns us how  the Galápagos Islands’ ecological niches  and their living legends are endangered.

“As climate change warms the world’s oceans, these islands are a crucible. And scientists are worried. Not only do the Galápagos sit at the intersection of three ocean currents, they are in the cross hairs of one of the world’s most destructive weather patterns, El Niño, which causes rapid, extreme ocean heating across the Eastern Pacific tropics.”

“To see the future of the Galápagos, look to their recent past, when one such event bore down on these islands. Warm El Niño waters blocked the rise of nutrients to the surface of the ocean, which caused widespread starvation.

Large marine iguanas died, while others shrank their skeletons to survive. Seabirds stopped laying eggs. Forests of a giant daisy tree were flattened by storms and thorny invasive bushes took over their territory. Eight of every 10 penguins died and nearly all sea lion pups perished. A fish the length of a pencil, the Galápagos damsel, was never seen again.”

Somehow, this destruction and death may have taken place without it coming to your attention.   Certainly, with the Galápagos Islands being rated #5 in the 8 Best Ecotourism Destinations In The World,  one wonders how the Galápagos maintain their popularity with all those awful things going on.

This is a very typical example what passes for science journalism today, as the Times continues with:

“That was in 1982. The world’s oceans have warmed at least half a degree Celsius since then.”

Let me try to untangle the web of this mixture of fact and fallacy.

Claim 1:  “The world’s oceans have warmed at least half a degree Celsius since then. [1982].”   The link is to the Times’ very own really scary story (based on the IPCC’s SR1.5 ) which stated “But as global average temperatures have risen half a degree in that span, these bleaching events [referring to coral bleaching] have become a regular phenomenon.”  Let me correct this:  ocean temperatures worldwide have not warmed by 0.5°C. 

Ocean_temperature

Not 0.5°C but 0.175-0.20°C (errorless degrees of course, NODC/NOAA produce tiny numbers like these with no uncertainty whatever.)

Maybe the author,  Nicholas Casey, meant to write sea surface temperature (SST) has risen half a degree?  Let’s see what SST looks like at the Galápagos:

Daily_SST_3_2019

On this particular day, 9 March 2019, we see right along the equator  off the shore of Ecuador, dark blue (in the little green circle) which represents sea surface temperature between 2 and 3°C (about 5°F) below the 1971-2000 base period.

Caveat:  These sea surface temperatures change daily.  By sea surface is meant:  “Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is defined as the skin temperature (top 2 mm) of the ocean. …. Instruments on satellites now remotely measure SST for the whole world every day.”

Here’s the last year, with images picked out near the beginning of each month.

sst

The SST of the sea surrounding the Galápagos swings over a range of 4 degrees or so during the year.  And how about the long term changes?

SST_1955-2010Annual temperature climatology at the surface ( 1.00 degree grid)

Again, the small circle off the coast of Ecuador shows the location of the Galápagos Islands, sitting just inside the 24°C contour.  Comparing the decadal averages we find that there has been no change at the Galápagos since 1955.

The fact of the matter is that sea surface temperatures along the equator between South America and Southeast Asia are driven by the phenomena called ENSO — El Niño–Southern Oscillation.  Those readers not familiar with the ENSO can watch this short 2 minute video (opens in a new tab or window).

The event referred to in the Times is the 1982 major El Niño event which temporarily shut down the upwelling of cooler nutrient rich waters that feed the diverse aquatic life in the Galápagos which resulted in population drops of marine iguanas, seals, and penguins.     A similar situation recurred in the 1997-1998 major El Niño event and can reasonably be assumed that this was also repeated every time there was a Major (or Super) El Niño in the past.

The Galápagos Islands lie some 600 miles west of the shore of Ecuador and sit straddling the Equator.

Maps_Galapagos

galapagos_currents

Five important Pacific Ocean currents meet there:  The Panama Current, the nutrient rich Humboldt flows north up the coast of South America and then turns west heading to the Galápagos, where it joins in the westward flowing South Equatorial Current.  Slipping along the equator, flowing west to east, is the North Equatorial Countercurrent.  “Lastly, and possibly most importantly, is the Cromwell Current, aka the Pacific Equatorial Undercurrent. Until now, we’ve been talking about surface ocean currents, but the Cromwell flows about 300 feet down, from west to east along the equator. When it hits the Galápagos from the west, it’s deflected toward the surface, bringing yet more cool, nutrient-rich water. “ [ source ]  Nutrient rich waters increase the plankton growth and that attracts the sardines and other fishes which eat the plankton.

El Niño conditions do not “cause rapid, extreme ocean heating across the Eastern Pacific tropics.” (as stated in the NYT)  Rather, according to NOAA, an El Niño event is when “huge masses of warm water …  slosh east across the Pacific Ocean towards South America.”  (well, sort of…) The El Niño is not something that causes heating of the ocean surface, it is an effect of warmer waters moving from the western Pacific to the eastern Pacific, in part by a weakening of the easterly trade winds, which blow east to west.  El Niño can be identified by a certain pattern of changed wind and ocean currents — and in fact, there are many sub-classes of El Niños, which each have differing effects on the world’s weather.

But for the Galápagos, this is the important effect in regards to the ocean:

El Niño’s mass of warm water puts a lid on the normal currents of cold, deep water that typically rise to the surface along the equator and off the coast of Chile and Peru, said Stephanie Uz, ocean scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. In a process called upwelling, those cold waters normally bring up the nutrients that feed the tiny organisms, which form the base of the food chain.

“An El Niño basically stops the normal upwelling,” Uz said. “There’s a lot of starvation that happens to the marine food web.” These tiny plants, called phytoplankton, are fish food – without them, fish populations drop, and the fishing industries that many coastal regions depend on can collapse.  [ source ]

el_Nino_windsAs for the small pelagic fish that depend on those upwellings and the plankton that feed off their nutrient rich waters, they move with the food supply — similar in patterns occur off the west coast of North America.

Further complicating the situation for Galápagos seals, flightless cormorants and penguins  is that the world’s fisheries experts know that sardine and anchovy populations experience multi-decadal-scale cycles of boom and bust population numbers — which may be somewhat related to ocean temperatures, with sardines preferring warmer waters than anchovies — maybe. Some of the fluctuation may be due to or contributed to by overfishing.  The scientific jury is still out on the issue.  Anchovies boom while sardines bust, and vice-versa.   The patterns seen are similar on the western coasts of North America, South America and Africa, and on the east coast of Japan.

anchovy_sardine_rollercoastIt is UNESCO that makes the claim most commonly repeated:

“Already under pressure from tourism development, population growth and the impacts of introduced species, the native wildlife and ecosystems of the Galápagos will be significantly affected by changes in the climate. The key factor looks likely to be how changes in El Niño and other cyclical events are manifest under global warming and how ocean currents and productivity respond.

 CLAIMED THREATS:  El Niño is blamed for shrinking marine iguanas (oddly true), damage to Daisy Tree Forests (happened twice in the last 100 years), starving penquins, cormorants and seals,  invasive blackberrys, invasive fire ants, damage from rising sea levels.

Taking the last of the claims first:  Sea Level.

Sea level hasn’t been  changing much in the Galápagos:

Baltra_SLR_monthly

Baltra_SLR_annual

Monthly and annual tide gauge records at the PSMSL station located on Isla Baltra show relative sea levels rising and falling and mostly staying within a 100mm/4inch band since 1985.  El Niños are known to have a positive effect (raising) on sea levels in the eastern Pacific and we see these noted on the annual graph above.

Just to be thorough we have to look at Vertical Land Movement in order to know if it is the sea surface or the land that is moving — up or down.  The good news is that there are CGPS (continuously operating GPS stations — CGPS@TG) in the Galápagos:

GLPS_VLM_800

Nothing in particular going on with Vertical Land Movement, other than something that seems to be a seasonal cycle, but constrained mostly in a range of about 1 inch (0.025 meters).  Even with this short ten year record, we  can see that there is no upward VLM disguising rising sea level.

 

Combining Tide Gauge and CGPS data it does not appear that there has been any SLR at the Galápagos over the last 30 years.

Bottom Line –  Sea Level Rise :   Not a current threat to the Galápagos Islands or their flora and fauna.

This leaves us with the concerns that El Niño episodes or events will seriously damage the delicate ecological balance of the Galápagos.

NOAA says:  “El Niño is a natural, ocean-atmospheric phenomenon marked by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean near the equator. Typical El Niño patterns during winter and early spring include below-average precipitation and warmer-than-average temperatures along the northern tier of the U.S., and above-normal precipitation and cooler conditions across the South. While impacts vary during each El Niño event, NOAA regularly provides temperature and precipitation outlooks for the seasons ahead.”

El Niño events are thought to have been occurring for thousands of years.[ ref. ] For example, it is thought that El Niño affected the ancient Moche people, in what is in modern-day Peru, who may have sacrificed humans in order to try to prevent heavy El Nino rains.

There have been at least 30 El Niño events since 1900, with the 1982–83, 1997–98 and 2014–16 events among the strongest on record. Since 2000, El Niño events have been observed in 2002–03, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2009–10 and 2014–16.

Major ENSO events were recorded in the years 1790–93, 1828, 1876–78, 1891, 1925–26, 1972–73, 1982–83, 1997–98, and 2014–16.

Typically, this anomaly happens at irregular intervals of two to seven years, and lasts nine months to two years.  The average period length is five years. When this warming occurs for seven to nine months, it is classified as El Niño “conditions”; when its duration is longer, it is classified as an El Niño “episode”.

There is no consensus on whether climate change will have any influence on the occurrence, strength or duration of El Niño events, as research supports El Niño events becoming stronger, longer, shorter and weaker.” [ some data from  Wiki ]

Analysis of past weather records shows that El Niños occurred about 30 times since 1900:

El_Nino_Occurences

As with all analysis of the past, earlier records are likely to have missed weak or short El Niños.  For instance, there was a strong El Niño 1931-1932 (which is not shown in the illustration above).   Today El Niños are mostly determined by satellite images and measurements.  It is impossible, of course, to counter any claim that concerns the future, so we must depend on the past for an idea of how frequent Major, or Super El Niños do occur.

Almost all of the Climate Change concern for the Galápagos rests on model predictions of double the number of El Niños and stronger El Niños through the 21st century.

“In short, if you are someone who wants more or stronger ENSO events in the future, I have great news for you – research supports that. If you are someone who wants fewer or weaker ENSO events in the future, don’t worry – research supports that too.” [ Climate.gov ]

“Year-to-year ENSO variability is controlled by a delicate balance of amplifying and damping feedbacks, and one or more of the physical processes that are responsible for determining the characteristics of ENSO will probably be modified by climate change. Therefore, despite considerable progress in our understanding of the impact of climate change on many of the processes that contribute to El Niño variability, it is not yet possible to say whether ENSO activity will be enhanced or damped, or if the frequency of events will change.”     [ CCSD ]

Here is how these worries related to reality:

There is no substantive evidence that strong or super- El Niño’s will occur more often or that they will be stronger or of longer duration.  Climate Science presently does not know what causes El Niños, though we can recognize the physical signs of ENSO changes.  Models cannot reliably predict/project El Niños in the future.  Thus:

1)  When there are future major El Niños, which is almost certain,  then there will be starving wildlife (seals, cormorants, penguins and marine iguanas) if and when upwelling slows, waters warm and  sardines move to better feeding spots.  This is the natural order of things.

2)  El Niños in the future will bring more rain to the dry Galápagos, as they have always done, which is good for most of the flora but has some downsides for the some of the fauna like giant tortoises (which prefer dry soil for egg laying).  Long rainy seasons can lead to waterlogging of the thin soils which can cause shallow-rooted plants, like the Giant Daisy Tree, to be blown down in storm conditions.

3)  El Niños will mean warmer sea surface temperatures by definition, which if high enough, can cause coral bleaching of the reefs around the islands.

These real threats from El Niños are no different today than they have been during the known past and we can confidently assume that these threats existed in the more distant past.  The ecological niche that is the Galápagos may actually have been created by and depend upon, in part,  the cyclical nature of the ENSO, with its El Niños and La Ninas.

Bottom Line – El Niños:  El Niño is not currently an increased risk for the Galápagos.  No evidence exists, other than unreliable model projections, that there will be more or stronger El Niño episodes or events in the future.

# # # # #

I did say, at the beginning:  “The fabled living treasures of this group of islands are threatened, besieged and at risk of disappearing forever long before we have had time to discover all of their secrets.”  If the risks are not Sea Level Rise, and not future El Niños, what is threatening the Galápagos? In one word:

SUCCESS

 UNESCO World Heritage gave us a hint: “Already under pressure from tourism development, population growth and the impacts of introduced species…”

The Galápagos Islands were at one time a sleepy little place, visited sometimes by curious scientists and photographers. Today:

“….the sheer growth in tourism, which has been fueled, in part, by the growing popularity of both shorter cruises and land-based tourism, has had an undeniable impact on the islands in recent decades. From 1990 to 2013, tourism arrivals increased from around 40,000 to just over 200,000. During that time, the population of the Galápagos increased from around 10,000 to just over 30,000 [currently believed to be 35-40,000], as Ecuadorians from the mainland migrated here in search of jobs and opportunities created, directly and indirectly, by the tourism industry.

Population growth in inhabited areas has created demand for new infrastructure, housing, automobiles, fresh water, sewage treatment and waste disposal. It has also lead to an increase in the number of new, small businesses in operation, which has further fueled immigration from the mainland.  [ source ]

Too many people — a quarter of a million people per year visit the Galápagos, stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, are taken by excursion boats to visit uninhabited islands, swim with the seals and sea turtles and drop their trash and cigarette butts everywhere.  All the natives (nearly 100 percent immigrants — both from mainland Ecuador and the world at large) and the tourists live on 3% of the land in the Galápagos — by decree from the government.  That’s a lot of people crammed into a little space.

All those tourists means lots of built infrastructure — water treatment plants, electrical generation (diesel fueled), fresh water wells, trash disposal, roads, marinas, hotels — all those tourists need local people to see to their needs and desires.  But luckily, this also means lots of tourist dollars, at least some of which remain in Ecuadorian hands.

And some of that money goes to fund conservation efforts.  Add to the local money grants from the UN and other NGOs, and there is a lot conservation work being done.

The islands need it — tagging along with the people came goats, dogs, cats, pigs, donkeys, cattle, chickens and rats — plus a veritable Noah’s Ark  of insects and some troublesome plants.

The worst of the invasive plants might be a blackberry — which establishes itself in distressed soil, such as storm damaged areas of Giant Daisy Trees forests.  The blackberries grow so quickly and so dense that the Giant Daisys cannot reestablish themselves.

Of course, feral pigs, goats, donkeys and cattle can nearly denude a whole small island in just a few short years.  Tourist dollars have financed elimination schemes (hunting, both from the ground and from helicopters) which have finally been successful on several islands.

“A goat eradication program, however, cleared the goats from Pinta and Santiago and most of the goat population from Isabela. In fact, by 2006 all feral pigs, donkeys and non-sterile goats had been eliminated from Santiago and Isabela, the largest islands with the worst problems due to non-native mammals.”

“…in 1996 a US$5 million, five-year eradication plan commenced in an attempt to rid the islands of introduced species such as goats, rats, deer, and donkeys. Except for the rats, the project was essentially completed in 2006.  Rats have only been eliminated from the smaller Galápagos Islands of Rábida and Pinzón.” [ Wiki ]

The government of Ecuador is making bold efforts to get the situation under control:    “In 1959, the centenary year of Charles Darwin‘s publication of The Origin of Species, the Ecuadorian government declared 97.5% of the archipelago’s land area a national park, excepting areas already colonised.”  Emigration to the Galápagos has been restricted and tourist visits to many sites are being monitored to keep fragile areas from being overrun.

Take Home Messages:

1)  The Galápagos Islands have weathered the storms of the Pacific for centuries, probably millennia,  and its plants and animals have survived and been shaped by their experiences.  They are not threatened in any unusual way in the present or the near future by Climate Change, Sea Level Rise or future El Niños.

2)  The real present threats to the treasures of the Galápagos Islands are too many people (both residents and tourists) and the arrival of invasive species over the last 500 years.

3)  The Galápagos Islands are home to some magnificent sights and interesting flora and fauna — if you are a Nature enthusiast, it is a great place to get to know.   It is better that you visit by proxy and let nature videos and photography inform you. — the Galápagos Islands already have too many visitors.

4)  If you must go, find a way to volunteer with one of the conservation groups so that your visit can be part of the solution.  (also here, here, and here. Some of these are commercial enterprises, buyer beware.)

5)   Various NGOs have programs to which you can donate:   The Galápagos Conservancy, The Charles Darwin Foundation, and the  The Galápagos Conservation Trust.

# # # # #

 Author’s Comment Policy:

So many of the world’s wonderful places suffer from too much fame and the resulting rush of tourists.  Much of the tourism is powered by the desire of the local people to gain financially.  Usually the next  cycle  brings in international travel and hotel conglomerates which insist in building giant hotels and providing all sorts of intrusive services such as guided walking tours, kayaking trips, scuba and snorkeling outings, motor-cat rides — all of which result in degraded environments.

Although the government of Ecuador changes every few years, it has made important strides in improving the situation in the Galápagos.   The Ecuadorian National Budget includes support for ongoing work in the Galápagos. UNESCO’s declaration of the Galápagos as a World Heritage site in 2007 has brought aid money from the UN and other international environmental organizations.

If you have been there recently, let us know in comments what you found.

If addressing me, begin your comment with “Kip…” so I’ll be sure to see it.

Going Dutch: How Not to Cut Emissions

Science Matters

Everyone knows the Dutch are serious and determined people.  Their saying: “God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands.”  A relative of mine had some run-ins with Dutch neighbors, and his saying about them:  “Wooden shoes, wooden heads, wouldn’t listen.”  Well, now the Dutch have another saying:  “Whatever you do, don’t try to cut carbon emissions the way we did.”

You see, being Dutch they took on the challenge of “fighting climate change,” and are now living to regret their actions.  Karel Beckman writes in Natural Gas World  The Flaws in Dutch Climate Policy Mar 20, 2019.  H/T GWPF  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Why should the wisdom of Dutch climate policy be of concern to anyone besides Dutch taxpayers? At this moment all developed countries are entering a new phase in their climate policies. They are moving beyond broad reduction targets and temperature goals to the…

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CA sea level rise alarmist study ignores 30 years of NOAA data with no coastal sea level rise acceleration

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

NOAA tide gauge data measurements exist for 17 locations along the California coast with 8 of these locations having actual measured sea level rise data covering periods for more than 70 to 120 years in duration.

This measured data shows that none of these California locations are experiencing coastal sea level rise acceleration since climate alarmist first made such erroneous and flawed sea level acceleration claims before the U.S. Senate in 1988.

Climate alarmists and their supporting media conveniently conceal the fact that their flawed claims have been hyped for the last 30 years as they continue to try again and again to make the same repeated but flawed claims apparently hoping that the public will forget their long track record of failure and exaggeration.

NOAA measured tide gauge data shows that coastal sea level rise at Ca. locations varies between 3 to 12 inches per century and have remained at those levels during the long measurement periods during which actual measured data have been recorded with a sample of that measured data shown below for San Diego, La Jolla, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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The recent climate alarmist propaganda study hyped by the media speculating that CA coastal sea level rise levels of 1 to 2 meters (about 3 to 6 feet) by 2100 “could” occur along with associated grossly exaggerated damage estimates are based solely on invalid “computer models” which ignore the extensive measured NOAA tide gauge data which shows that 30 year old climate alarmist claims of accelerating coastal sea level rise are unsupported by actual measured data.

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The UN IPCC clearly established in its 3rd Annual Climate Report in 2001 that it is impossible to develop computer models that represent the earth’s climate because climate behavior is too difficult and complex for such models.

Specifically the UN IPCC concluded the following with respect to the ability to develop valid climate models:

“In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

The politically driven world of climate alarmism propaganda claims such as those represented in this most recent hyped CA alarmist study always rely upon the speculation and conjecture derived from invalid “computer models” with their results cloaked with words like “could” and “might” to avoid having to specifically address the huge limitations of such models.

Greenpeace co-founder and former President of Greenpeace Canada Patrick Moore noted in a recent article addressing the hidden political drivers behind the global campaign of climate alarmist propaganda claims which he characterized as follows:

“And so you’ve got the green movement creating stories that instill fear in the public. You’ve got the media echo chamber — fake news — repeating it over and over and over again to everybody that they’re killing their children. And then you’ve got the green politicians who are buying scientists with government money to produce fear for them in the form of scientific-looking materials. And then you’ve got the green businesses, the rent-seekers, and the crony capitalists who are taking advantage of massive subsidies, huge tax write-offs, and government mandates requiring their technologies to make a fortune on this. And then, of course, you’ve got the scientists who are willingly, they’re basically hooked on government grants.”

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CA has a long and tarnished track record of pushing politically contrived climate alarmist hype to promote more government mandated control of our state’s business enterprise including the ridiculous law requiring that the state’s electricity be 100% renewable by 2045.

Until CA citizens wake up and stop allowing themselves to be herded into supporting these scientifically unsupported climate alarmist propaganda claims the state will only become more and more government controlled and dominated with loss of power and influence residing within its citizenry.

Taking down the latest Washington Post Antarctic scare story on 6x increased ice melt

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Ice loss from Antarctica has sextupled since the 1970s, new research finds
An alarming study shows massive East Antarctic ice sheet already is a significant contributor to sea-level rise

Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis

January 14 at 3:00 PM (Washington Post)

Antarctic glaciers have been melting at an accelerating pace over the past four decades thanks to an influx of warm ocean water — a startling new finding that researchers say could mean sea levels are poised to rise more quickly than predicted in coming decades.

The Antarctic lost 40 billion tons of melting ice to the ocean each year from 1979 to 1989. That figure rose to 252 billion tons lost per year beginning in 2009, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That means the region is losing six times as much ice as it was four decades ago, an unprecedented pace in the era of modern measurements. (It takes about 360 billion tons of ice to produce one millimeter of global sea-level rise.)

“I don’t want to be alarmist,” said Eric Rignot, an Earth-systems scientist for the University of California at Irvine and NASA who led the work. But he said the weaknesses that researchers have detected in East Antarctica — home to the largest ice sheet on the planet — deserve deeper study.

“The places undergoing changes in Antarctica are not limited to just a couple places,” Rignot said. “They seem to be more extensive than what we thought. That, to me, seems to be reason for concern.”

The findings are the latest sign that the world could face catastrophic consequences if climate change continues unabated. In addition to more-frequent droughts, heat waves, severe storms and other extreme weather that could come with a continually warming Earth, scientists already have predicted that seas could rise nearly three feet globally by 2100 if the world does not sharply decrease its carbon output. But in recent years, there has been growing concern that the Antarctic could push that even higher.

That kind of sea-level rise would result in the inundation of island communities around the globe, devastating wildlife habitats and threatening drinking-water supplies. Global sea levels have already risen seven to eight inches since 1900.

The full drivel here


Why do I call it “drivel”? Three reasons:

1. Anything Chris Mooney writes about climate is automatically in that category, because he can’t separate his fear of doom from his writing.

2. The math doesn’t work in the context of the subheadline. Alarming? Read on.

3. Data back to 1972…where?

First, let’s get some data. Wikipedia, while biased towards alarmism in this reference, at least has the basic data.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_ice_sheet

It covers an area of almost 14 million square kilometres (5.4 million square miles) and contains 26.5 million cubic kilometres (6,400,000 cubic miles) of ice.[2]A cubic kilometer of ice weighs approximately one metric gigaton, meaning that the ice sheet weighs 26,500,000 gigatons.

Now for the math.  

So, if the Antarctic ice sheet weighs 26,500,000 gigatonnes or 26500000000000000 tonnes

252 billion tonnes is 252 gigatonnes

Really simple math says:  252gt/26,500,000gt x 100 = 9.509433962264151e-4 or 0.00095% change per year

But this is such a tiny loss in comparison to the total mass of the ice sheet, it’s microscopic…statistically insignificant.

In the email thread that preceded this story (h/t to Marc Morano) I asked people to check my work. Willis Eschenbach responded, corrected an extra zero, and pointed this out:

Thanks, Anthony. One small issue. You’ve got an extra zero in your percentage, should be 0.00095% per year loss.

Which means that the last ice will melt in the year 3079 …

I would also note that 250 billion tonnes of ice is 250 billion cubic meters. Spread out over the ocean, that adds about 0.7 mm/year to the sea level … that’s about 3 inches (7 cm) per century.

As you said … microscopic.

w.

Paul Homewood noted in the email thread:

Ice losses from Antarctica have tripled since 2012, increasing global sea levels by 0.12 inch (3 millimeters) in that timeframe alone, according to a major new international climate assessment funded by NASA and ESA (European Space Agency).

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2749/ramp-up-in-antarctic-ice-loss-speeds-sea-level-rise/

0.5mm per year.

Not a lot to worry about.

“They attribute the threefold increase in ice loss from the continent since 2012 to a combination of increased rates of ice melt in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, and reduced growth of the East Antarctic ice sheet.”

Translation: The volcano riddled West/Peninsula is melting bit more and the Eastern Sheet is growing a little less than usual.

Paul Homewood adds on his website:

Firstly, according to NASA’s own press release, the study only looks at data since 1992. The Mail’s headline (Taken from the Washington Post – Anthony) that “Antarctica is losing SIX TIMES more ice a year than it was in the 1970s “ is totally fake, as there is no data for the 1970s. Any estimates of ice loss in the 1970s and 80s are pure guesswork, and have never been part of this NASA IMBIE study, or previous ones.

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Secondly, the period since 1992 is a ridiculously short period on which to base any meaningful conclusions at all. Changes over the period may well be due to natural, short term fluctuations, for instance ocean cycles. We know, as the NASA study states, that ice loss in West Antarctica is mainly due to the inflow of warmer seas.

The eruption of Pinatubo in 1991 is another factor. Global temperatures fell during the next five years, and may well have slowed down ice melt.

Either way, Pinkstone’s claim that the ice loss is due to global warming is fake. It is a change in ocean current that is responsible, and nothing to do with global warming.

Then there is his pathetic claim that “Antarctica is shedding ice at a staggering rate”. Alarmist scientists, and gullible reporters, love to quote impressive sounding numbers, like 252 gigatons a year. In fact, as NASA point out, the effect on sea level rise since 1992 is a mere 7.6mm, equivalent to 30mm/century.

Given that global sea levels have risen no faster since 1992 than they did in the mid 20thC, there is no evidence that Antarctica is losing ice any faster than then. To call it staggering is infantile.

NASA also reckon that ice losses from Antarctica between 2012 and 2017 increased sea levels by 3mm, equivalent to 60mm/century. Again hardly a scary figure. But again we must be very careful about drawing conclusions from such a short period of time. Since 2012, we have had a record 2-year long El Nino. What effect has this had?

But back to that previous NASA study, carried out by Jay Zwally in 2015, which found:

A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed   to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses 

Far from losing ice, as the new study thinks, Zwally’s 2015 analysis found the opposite, that the ice sheet was growing.

OK, Zwally’s data only went up to 2008, but there are still huge differences. Whereas Zwally estimates ice gain of between 82 and 112 billion tonnes a year between 1992 and 2008, the new effort guesses at a loss of 83 billion tonnes a year.

It is worth pointing out that Zwally’s comment about the IPCC 2013 report refers to the 2012 IMBIE report, which was the forerunner to the new study, the 2018 IMBIE.

Quite simply, nobody has the faintest idea whether the ice cap is growing or shrinking, never mind by how much, as the error margins and uncertainties are so huge.

The best guide to such matters comes from tide gauges around the world. And these continue to show that sea levels are rising no faster then mid 20thC, and at a rate of around 8 inches per century.

What’s Natural? Changing Sea Levels – Part 1

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

web version of column article published in Pacifica Tribune February 13, 2019

by Jim Steele

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Local sea levels appear to rise when ocean volumes increase, but also when the land sinks. Scientists increasingly warn that coastal cities are sinking much faster than ocean volumes are rising. Pumping out groundwater not only causes lands to sink, it increases the oceans’ volume.

China’s Huanghe Delta is sinking 10 inches a year. Southeast Asian cities battle sinking rates of 1.2 to 2.4 inches per year. Regions around Houston, Texas had sunk 10 feet by 1979; a disaster waiting to happen where hurricanes commonly generate 15-foot storm surges. Likewise, New Orleans was doomed by sinking 1.4 inches per year. Built on marshland, San Francisco’s airport sinks 0.4 inches per year.

In contrast, ocean warming plus added glacial meltwater are estimated to have only added 0.06 inches per year to sea level from 1850 to 1990, punctuated by decades that accelerated sea level rise to 0.14 inches a year. Still, that fastest rate of modern sea level rise remains only one-tenth of New Orleans’ sinking rate.

Better water management could minimize the primary causes of sinking coastlines. But even if climate policies could reduce our carbon footprint, natural sea level rise that began in the 1800s will likely continue. To what degree rising CO2 concentrations are accelerating sea level rise is still debated. Prominent climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann gives scant attention to the critical issue of sinking lands. He prefers scary models supporting his theory regards a rising CO2 effect on sea level, “We’re talking about literally giving up on our coastal cities of the world and moving inland.”  Likewise, at California’s local coastal planning meetings, Mann’s followers similarly advocate moving inland, otherwise known as “managed retreat”.

Intriguingly, San Francisco and North America’s west coasts have not experienced a rising sea level trend since the 1980s. Equally curious, using the average estimates from all researchers the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported known contributing factors only explained 40% of 20th century sea level rise. So, there is still much to learn.

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So, does Mann’s disaster scenarios represent an extreme climate doomsday cult? Or is he offering sage scientific advice we should heed?

Some researchers and politicians argue any accelerating rate of sea level rise must be the fingerprint of a human contribution as some models predict. But that is simply not true. In a 2007 peer-reviewed paper, On the Decadal Rates of Sea Level Change During the Twentieth Century, researchers reported rates of sea level rise accelerated up to 0.2 inches/year every 10 years, followed by a decade of deceleration. Sometimes sea levels fell.  Some of Mann’s followers believe it’s impossible for sea levels to fall in an age of climate warming. But they are ill-informed.

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Sea level remains un-changed when the same amount of water evaporating from the ocean returns to the ocean. However, when more rainfall remains on the land, sea levels fall. During the last Ice Age, rainfall stored in ever-growing glaciers caused global sea level to fall by 400 feet. Although those melting glaciers then raised sea level back to its current level, sea levels have yet to fully recover. Large amounts of meltwater that sank into the ground are still flowing slowly but surely back to the oceans.

Furthermore, water need not be stored as ice. When rains fall over land-locked landscapes with no outlets to the ocean, that precipitation similarly returns to the ocean via slow-moving sub-surface flows or evaporation. Rainfall over Nevada that sinks into the ground requires thousands of years to reach the Pacific. A similar fate befalls snowmelt and rainwater entering Lake Tahoe, and melt-water from Sierran glaciers draining into land-locked Nevada. Analyses of global sea level change have yet to fully incorporate the fact that over 13% of the earth’s land surface consists of landlocked basins slowly supplying ancient groundwater to today’s oceans.

Since the 1990s, satellites likewise detected a 10-year cycle of accelerating and decelerating sea level rise. A period of more El Niños followed by more La Niñas likely explains the 10-year accelerated rise followed by a 10-year deceleration. During the most recent deceleration, from 2010 to 2011 a La Niña amplified monsoons carrying above average rainfall into Australia’s landlocked basins. This caused global sea level to fall by nearly 0.3 inches.

Amazingly, global sea level fell despite Greenland simultaneously experiencing its greatest ice melt. Conversely, during earlier El Niños, above average rains fell back onto the ocean, accelerating sea level rise.

There is still no consensus regards Greenland and Antarctic contributions to sea level. There is also significant debate regards what adjustments need to be applied to satellite data. However, that discussion must wait for part 2. Until then, I urge local planning commissions to wait at least 20 more years for more data before “giving up on our coastal cities of the world and moving inland”.

Jim Steele authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

UN IPCC Scientist blows whistle on lies about climate, sea level

Tallbloke's Talkshop


Quoting from the report: ‘Mörner, meanwhile, cautioned promoters of the man-made warming hypothesis that they were going to ultimately be exposed, with catastrophic consequences for the scientific community.’

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) is misleading humanity about climate change and sea levels, explained Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, the retired head of the paleogeophysics and geodynamics at Stockholm University. By Alex Newman @ The New American.
– – –
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) is misleading humanity about climate change and sea levels, a leading expert on sea levels who served on the UN IPCC told The New American.

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