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Archive for July 2019
















FIGURE 6: THE LARSEN & WILKINS ICE SHELVESantarctic-peninsula-iceshelves









  1. 1999: An article in the Journal Science says that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a natural event not related to global warming contrary to claims by climate scientists. The WAIS is indeed melting quite rapidly receding at the rate of 400 feet per year but it has been doing so for thousands of years long before human activity and greenhouse gas emissions, having receded 800 miles since the last ice age. If the process continues unchecked it will melt completely in another 7000 years.Therefore it seems unlikely that the event is linked to human activity or that the time frame of a collapse of the ice shelf could fall within 100 years.
  2. 2001 ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE: A report by the National Research Council (USA) says that global warming may trigger climate changes so abrupt that ecosystems will not be able to adapt. Look for local or short term cooling, floods, droughts, and other unexpected changes. A growing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere due to the use of fossil fuels is to blame. Some regional climates have changed by as much as 10C in 10 years. Antarctica’s largest glaciers are rapidly thinning, and in the last 10 years have lost up to 150 feet of thickness in some places, enough to raise global sea levels by 0.4 mm. Global warming is a real problem and it is getting worse.
  3. 2002, ICE SHELF COLLAPSE: A piece of ice the size of Rhode island broke off the Larsen ice shelf in Antarctica and within a month it dissipated sending a huge flotsam of ice into the sea. At about the same time an iceberg the size of Delaware broke off the Thwaites Glacier. A few months ago parts of the Ross ice shelf had broken off in a similar way. These events serve as a dramatic reminders that global warming is real and its effects are potentially catastrophic and underscores the urgent need for a binding international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. 2004: An unprecedented 4-year study of the Arctic shows that polar bears, walruses, and some seals are becoming extinct. Arctic summer sea ice may disappear entirely. Combined with a rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet, it will raise the sea level 3 feet by 2100 inundating lowlands from Florida to Bangladesh. Average winter temperatures in Alaska and the rest of the Arctic are projected to rise an additional 7 to 13 degrees over the next 100 years because of increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. The area is warming twice as fast as anywhere else because of global air circulation patterns and natural feedback loops, such as less ice reflecting sunlight, leading to increased warming at ground level and more ice melt. Native peoples’ ways of life are threatened. Animal migration patterns have changed, and the thin sea ice and thawing tundra make it too dangerous for humans to hunt and travel.
  5. 2004A meltdown of the massive Greenland ice sheet, which is more than 3km-thick would raise sea levels by an average seven meters, threatening countries such as Bangladesh, certain islands in the Pacific and some parts of Florida. Greenland’s huge ice sheet could melt within the next thousand years if emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and global warming are not reduced.
  6. 2004: The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report says: increasing greenhouse gases from human activities is causing the Arctic to warm twice as fast as the rest of the planet; in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia winter temperatures have risen by 2C to 4C in the last 50 years; the Arctic will warm by 4C to 7C by 2100. A portion of Greenland’s ice sheet will melt; global sea levels will rise; global warming will intensify. Greenland contains enough melting ice to raise sea levels by 7 meters; Bangkok, Manila, Dhaka, Florida, Louisiana, and New Jersey are at risk of inundation; thawing permafrost and rising seas threaten Arctic coastal regions; climate change will accelerate and bring about profound ecological and social changes; the Arctic is experiencing the most rapid and severe climate change on earth and it’s going to get a lot worse; Arctic summer sea ice will decline by 50% to 100%; polar bears will be driven towards extinction; this report is an urgent SOS for the Arctic; forest fires and insect infestations will increase in frequency and intensity; changing vegetation and rising sea levels will shrink the tundra to its lowest level in 21000 years; vanishing breeding areas for birds and grazing areas for animals will cause extinctions of many species; “if we limit emission of heat trapping carbon dioxide we can still help protect the Arctic and slow global warming”.
  7. 2007: A comparison of Landsat photos taken on 8/11/1985 and 9/5/2002 shows that global warming caused by our use of fossil fuels is melting the massive Greenland ice sheet and exposing the rocky peninsula beneath the ice previously covered by ice.
  8. 2007: Climate scientists say that the current rate of increase in the use of fossil fuels will melt the Greenland ice sheet and cause sea levels to rise by 7 meters in 100 years and devastate low-lying countries like Bangladesh. When these estimates were challenged and their internal inconsistencies exposed, the forecast was quietly revised downward 100-fold from 7 meters to 7 centimeters on their website but the news media alarm about 7 meters continued unabated with “thousands of years” inserted in place of “100 years. 
    Climate scientists looking through satellite pictures found a crack in the Petermann glacier in Greenland and concluded that it could speed up sea level rise because huge chunks of ice the size of Manhattan were hemorrhaging off. Yet, scientists who has been travelling to Greenland for years to study glaciers say that the crack in the glacier is normal and not different from other cracks seen in the 1990s.
  10. 2008: When there was a greater focus on Antarctica climate scientists said that global warming was melting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet; but the melting was found to be localized and with an active volcano underneath the melting and the attention of “melt forecast” climate science shifted to Arctic sea ice after the an extensive summer melt was observed in September 2007.
  11. 2008: Climate scientists have determined that Adelie penguins in Antarctica are threatened because climate change is melting Antarctic glaciers although it is not clear whether the melting is caused greenhouse gas emissions or by volcanic activity underneath the ice.
  12. 2008Mt. Erebus along with most of the mountains in Antarctica are volcanic mountains and it is now known with certainty that volcanic activity under the ice there is causing great amounts of ice to melt and to cause glaciers to flow faster. The attempt by climate scientists to represent these events as climate change phenomena is inconsistent with this reality.
  13. 2008: THE FIRE BELOW: A volcano under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, that last erupted 2000 years ago, is now active and responsible for melting ice and for retreating glaciers in that part of the continent (The fire below, Bangkok Post, April 28, 2008). Yet, climate scientists claim that these changes are man-made and that they are caused by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels as predicted by their computer model of the earth’s climate.
  14. 2008: In March 2008, the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula lost more than 400 square kilometers to a sudden collapse. Following that event, the it continued to break up even as the Southern winter brought frigid temperatures.
  15. 2009: Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have caused the Wilkins Ice Shelf to break up. If all of the land based ice in Antarctica melted it would raise the sea level by 80 meters
  16. 2009: Human caused global warming is causing havoc in Antarctica with potentially incalculable results. Over one hundred icebergs broke off and a huge flotilla of them are floating up to New Zealand. 
  17. 2009: Our carbon dioxide emissions are causing the East Antarctic ice shelf to lose 57 billion tonnes of ice per year and that if CO2 emissions are not reduced this process could raise sea levels by 5 meters.
  18. 2009: Temperature data 1957-2008 show that the whole of Antarctica including Western Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, and Eastern Antarctica, is warming due to CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
  19. 2009: Man-made global warming is causing Greenland’s glaciers to melt at an alarming rate. By the year 2100 all the ice there will have melted causing a calamitous rise in the sea level that will inundate Bangladesh, the Maldives, Bangkok, New Orleans, and atolls in the Pacific. 
  20. 2009: Climate scientists say that the melting of Antarctica is more severe than “previously thought” because the melt is not limited to the Antarctic Peninsula but extends to West Antarctica as well. The melt could cause devastating sea level rise. (although new data show that the West Antarctic ice shelf collapses every 40,000 years or so and that this cyclical process has been regular feature of this ice shelf for millions of years (Antarctica ice collapses were regular, Bangkok Post, March 19, 2009). These melting episodes can raise the sea level by as much as 5 meters but the process takes a thousand years or more.
  21. 2009: Climate scientists say that the Wilkins Ice Shelf collapse is caused by warming of the Antarctic Peninsula due to man-made “global climate change”.
  22. 2009: In 2005 two glaciers in Greenland were found to be moving faster than they were in 2001. Scientists concluded from these data that the difference observed was a a long term trend of glacial melt in Greenland and that carbon dioxide was the cause of this trend. The assumed trend was then extrapolated forward and we were told that carbon dioxide would cause the land based ice mass of Greenland to be discharged to the sea and raise the sea level by six meters. They said that the only way out of the devastation was to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. However, in 2009, just before a meeting in Copenhagen where these deep cuts in emissions were to be negotiated, it was found that the glaciers had returned to their normal rate of discharge.
  23. 2009: Some glaciers on north and northeast Greenland terminate in fiords with long glacier tongues that extend into the sea. It is found that the warming of the oceans caused by our use of fossil fuels is melting these tongues and raising the specter of devastation by sea level rise.









  1. We live on an ice planet. The normal equilibrium climate condition of the earth is a state of glaciation in which very cold temperatures and icy conditions persist. The poles and the temperate zones of the earth are shrouded in large ice formations in the form of ice sheets, glaciers, and ice shelves. So much of the ocean water is trapped in land based ice that the mean global eustatic sea level is more than 100 meters lower than the interglacial sea level with which we are familiar. This difference in sea level is shown in Figure 7. 
  2. Every ≈100,000 years or so give or take 20,000 years, the glacial equilibrium state of the earth is interrupted by brief balmy warm periods for ≈15,000 years give or take 5,000 years. Both states of the earth – glaciation and interglacial – are dynamic and chaotic with violent changes in both directions. The video in Figure 8 shows the chaotic rise of glaciation from the previous interglacial (the Eemian) through the last glacial maximum (LGM) to an equally chaotic decline to the current interglacial, the Holocene, in which we live.
  3. By “chaotic” we mean that the system exhibits non-linear dynamics possibly due to Hurst persistence in both directions. In terms of the albedo effect of ice, the more the ice forms, the more the ice can form and the more the ice melts, the more the ice can melt. This kind of behavior is known to impose Hurst persistence and that in turn creates the kind of chaotic behavior seen in Figure 8.
  4. In both glaciation and interglacial states there are sharp changes in both directions – towards warming and ice melt and toward cooling and ice formation at millennial and longer time scales. The difference between glaciation and deglaciation is simply a small advantage to ice formation in glaciation and the glacial state and to ice melt in deglaciation and the interglacial state. This dynamic is discussed in a related post [LINK] .
  5. In the initial phases of an interglacial, the ice sheets of the glaciation state go through violent disintegration and melt events that in turn cause catastrophic sea level rise relative to the very low sea level of the glacial maximum. It must be emphasized that these ice melt and sea level rise events occur early in interglacial period or in the final stages of deglaciation prior to the interglacial state. Although warming and cooling cycles are found throughout the duration of interglacials these cycles do not involve significant changes in global mean sea level (GMSL).
  6. The current Holocene Interglacial period is now more than 11,700 years old. The violent ice melt and sea level rise events of this interglacial have already occurred in the early part of the interglacial. These sea level rise events were driven primarily by disintegration of non-polar ice sheets such as the Laurentide. They are recorded by paleo climatology as melt pulses, described in a related post [LINK] and indicated above in the chart labeled Figure 7
  7. Polar ice may also be taken down in interglacial deglaciation. An example of such an event is seen in the previous interglacial, the Eemian, when the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) disintegrated early in the Eemian to cause significant sea level rise events described in a related post [LINK]It is important to note, however, that even when there is a significant effect of deglaciation on polar ice, that ice melt and disintegration and consequent sea level rise event occurs early in the initial stages of the interglacial.
  8. The anthropogenic global warming (AGW) era comes rather late in the Holocene Interglacial well after the large and violent sea level rise events of the transition to interglacial warmth have already taken place and have already raised mean global sea level by ≈130 meters. It is thus a difficult task to relate the ice melt and sea level rise events of the Holocene to AGW.
  9. The current warming since the Little Ice Age (LIA) is thought to have begun at some time around 1830 accoroding to Abram et al [LINK]. It is attributed by climate science to fossil fuel emissions of the industrial economy. However, it comes rather late in the interglacial to participate in the violent and catastrophic sea level rise events that tend to occur in or soon after the transition from glaciation to interglacials. Furthermore, the current warming period does not seem unusual in the context of the warming and cooling cycles seen throughout the Holocene as described in a related post [LINK] .
  10. However, it remains an important objective of climate science to establish a fear of AGW in terms of ice melt and sea level rise. Since only polar ice remains this late in the Holocene, and since the WAIS had disintegrated early in the Eemian interglacial, climate science has emphasized polar ice melt and sea level rise as a dangerous consequence of AGW that could cause catastrophic melt of the WAIS with equally catastrophic sea level rise. It appears that the underlying motivation for this assessment is to motivate climate action in terms of reducing or eliminating fossil fuel emissions.
  11. Specifically mentioned in Figure 7 (past forecasts of sea level rise) are the Greenland Ice Sheet in the North polar region. In the South Polar Region various features of the ice continent of Antarctica are of interest in this regard. These include the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Thwaites Glacier, the Pine Island Glacier, the Ross Ice Shelf, the Larsen Ice Shelves, and the Wilkins Ice Shelf. (Figure 1 to Figure 6).
  12. In this line of reasoning in climate science, it is argued that the warming since the LIA being artificial and human caused, is an anomaly in earth’s climate history that may cause a catastrophic collapse of polar ice that are still intact after the natural portion of the deglaciation and sea level rise have already taken place. From the weight of the polar ice that could melt a figure can be computed for sea level rise that the melt would cause, and it is claimed that the theoretical projection of sea level rise thus caused would be a global catastrophe that would inundate low lying areas such as Florida, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and the atolls of the South Pacific.
  13. No evidence exists for sea level rise of this magnitude this late in an interglacial, but climate science explains this anomaly in terms of the artificial nature of the current warming period that is expected to make the warming more intense and more harmful than the natural cycles of warming and cooling seen in the prior history of the Holocene described in a related post [LINK] . The anticipation of such a calamity may serve a purpose in climate change politics aimed at banning the use of fossil fuels [LINK] .
  14. Much of the AGW sea level rise discussion, including those by climate scientists, appear to be emotionally charged with an alarmist component in tone and language. This pattern in the discussion of AGW driven catastrophic sea level rise can be seen in the Congressional testimony of Earth Science professor Robin Bell who admits to being emotionally affected and motivated by the disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002 which she had witnessed. Reference Article #1.
  15. It appears that, not just Professor Bell, but many climate and polar scientists working on the AGW driven ice melt and sea level rise hypothesis, have been deeply and emotionally affected by the rapid collapse and disintegration of the Larsen B Ice Shelf shown in the video in Figure 4. Their emotional response is derived from the coincidence that the scientists happened to be there, carrying out polar research on ice sheets and ice shelves and searching for evidence of their possible destruction, when the disintegration of the Larsen B began.
  16. Melting of land ice is expected to cause sea level rise with the extra water added by the ice that melted; but melting of ice shelves do not cause sea level rise directly (ice shelves are already submerged in the sea), but rather as a secondary consequence of the melt. When an ice shelf melts, the source glacier that feeds the ice shelf begins to flow directly into the sea unhindered by the ice shelf. That flow rate is much faster than flow into an ice shelf with rates of 8-times the ice shelf rate reported in the case of the Larsen B ice shelf collapse of 2002.
  17. A history of the interest in climate science of the possibility of catastrophic polar ice melt an sea level rise is described in a related post [LINK] with some salient features listed above in Figure 9This history reveals a keen interest in and apprehension of the possibility of collapse of polar ice formations that would cause catastrophic sea level rise and submerge low lying areas (Florida & Bangladesh).
  18. Specific polar ice areas targeted by these forecasts in Figure 9 include the Greenland Ice Sheet, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Thwaites Glacier, the Larsen Ice Shelves, the Wilkins Ice Shelf, the Ross ice shelf, and Mt. Erebus. As seen in the reference articles below and in Figure 9 above, climate science has often mistaken geological phenomena in the Antarctic as climate change phenomena driven by a warming atmosphere.
  19. In a related posts on Antarctica [LINK] and the Arctic [LINK], it is shown that both of these regions are very active geologically such that warming and melting of ice as well as warming of the ocean can be understood in terms of he known geological features of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. It appears that, in its investigation of sea level rise by melting polar ice, climate science is hindered by an atmosphere bias.
  20. The atmosphere bias in climate science favors the presumption of atmospheric heat driven by fossil fuel emissions as the the primary planetary force that explains ice sheet and ice shelf melt phenomena. The atmosphere bias of climate science is described in a related post [LINK]  and also in an online paper posted by geologist James Edward Kamis [LINK] .
  21. As an example of atmosphere bias, consider items #8 &#9 in Figure 9. Item#8 describes an event in which climate science identified ice melt in the WAIS as an AGW impact of the atmosphere but eventually had to concede that the ice melt in the WAIS was due to volcanic activity under the ice. In item#9 climate science attributes the disintegration of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in 2008-2009 [LINK] to AGW as the effect of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica.
  22. The breakup of the Wilkins Ice Shelf began during the southern summer in March 2008 (southern summer) and it was reported by climate science as “Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration Underscores a Warming World“. However, the melt continued and intensified into the depth of the southern winter in July 2008. It was then that it began to disintegrate. It was reported as “Wintertime disintegration of Wilkins Ice Shelf“. It was feared that in the coming summer weather the ice shelf would fully disintegrate and break off into icebergs. Instead, in December 2008, all they could report was that “New Cracks” had appeared on the Wilkins Ice Shelf. As the summer intensified researchers gathered to watch what they thought would be the demise of the strip of ice connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf to Charcot Island; but this did not happen. But in April (southern autumn) the ice bridge did finally collapse.
  23. The articles below shed further light on the atmosphere bias of climate science in the investigation of ice melt in West Antarctica, a region that is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and with known geological sources of heat and fluid flow that can cause ice melt directly and also warm the oceans under ice shelves.
  24. In Reference Article #1: Professor Robin Bell addresses a Congressional body with multiple diverse objectives that include (1) informing audience on the nature of Antarctica, the AGW concerns about Antarctica, and how much climate science knows about the Arctic and its relationship with climate change particularly in terms of catastrophic sea level rise. But it appears that she is also there to seek additional research funding and in doing so she emphasizes how much they don’t know and how much more they need to learn before they can save the planet from AGW caused sea level rise. More noteworthy in the presentation is that the climate science emphasis on taking climate action by eliminating fossil fuels from the energy infrastructure reinforced by the fear of the catastrophic consequences of inaction and inadequate research funding. As part of this presentation, Professor Bell becomes emotional at at the horror of watching the Larsen B Ice Shelf Collapse in 2002 describing her personal emotional experiences that event and the importance for properly funded research expedition to learn more about these events so they can save the planet from these kinds of horrors of AGW.
  25. Reference Article #2 is an assessment of the risk faced by the Ross Ice Shelf and of sea level rise consequences of its collapse.







REFERENCE ARTICLE #1: A CASE FOR FUNDING ANTARCTIC RESEARCH BY PROFESSOR ROBIN ELIZABETH BELL. [LINK] Introduction: the changing ice sheets: The ice is melting on home planet. This change is happening at the ends of our planet but is lapping at our doorsteps now. Thirty years ago when I first flew over Antarctica in a Naval Research Laboratory P-3 it seemed unimaginable to me that the vast ice sheet below could change. Now we know those white expanses are changing and these changes matter to our homes and communities around the globe. The changing polar ice is tightly linked to the changing coastlines. My testimony is based on decades of experience studying our planet’s ice. Evidence for Changing Ice: The surprising wakeup call for the polar science community came in early 2002. This buzzing alarm came from the Antarctic Peninsula, the part of Antarctica that is the furthest north, jutting towards South America. The Antarctic Peninsula is where global temperatures have risen the most – more than 7°F over 50 years (3.88C, 0.0776C/year). We had thought that ice shelves changed very slowly. Ice shelves are floating extensions of continental ice sheets. By 2002, warming temperatures had started to produce more meltwater on top of the ice shelves. The floating Larsen B Ice Shelf, the size of Rhode Island, developed hundreds of lakes. Suddenly the ice shelf disintegrated into thousands of icebergs over the course of two weeks. The change occurred before our very eyes. The Larsen B ice shelf had been in place for over 10,000 years. Once the floating ice shelf disintegrated, the glaciers that flowed into the ice shelf sped up, pushing more ice into the ocean. Glaciers are the earth’s conveyor belts delivering ice to the ocean and an ice shelf controls the speed — if an ice shelf collapses, the conveyor belt speeds up. Satellite images of this collapse were printed in major newspapers around the globe. Suddenly, changing ice was newsworthy. Together scientists and the public from Harrisburg to India learned Antarctic ice could change faster than we imagined. The Antarctic conveyor belt had sped up. For the first time many around the world saw the link between blue meltwater on the ice shelf surface, the glacier conveyor belt speeding up and sea level rising. The large ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are thick ice, in places over two miles thick, that rest on solid ground although the ground may be below sea level. Melting these ice sheets will raise sea level around the globe. Antarctica holds 200 feet of potential sea level rise and Greenland 20 feet of potential sea level rise. These very thick ice sheets on land are distinct from the thin floating sea ice that covers much of the Arctic Ocean Antarctic Oceans. Arctic sea ice has been steadily shrinking over the past two decades and recently the Antarctic sea ice has begun to retreat. Changing sea ice reduces the Earth’s albedo thereby increasing the rate of warming and creating weather patterns that impact food available to wildlife from penguins to polar bears. But shrinking sea ice itself will not cause sea level to rise, since sea ice is already floating in the water. The major source of future sea level rise are the grounded ice sheets. Changing ice is not a belief system but knowledge gained from three different sets of satellite data. The first measurement is how fast the ice moves. Several parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (key parts of the conveyor belts) have doubled their speed in the past two decades, showing that the ice is speeding up. The second measurement is the height of the ice surface, and is made using laser and radar instruments from a satellite or aircraft. In the same places where the ice is speeding up the ice surface is getting lower. Ice is stretching. The third measurement is ice sheet mass calculated from observations from satellite measurements of changes in the gravity field. In the same places that the ice is speeding up and lowering, it is losing mass. These three measurements together demonstrate in more detail than ever before how the ice in Greenland and Antarctica is changing. We can use these three key observations to quantify how fast the ice sheets are changing. For a large continent like Antarctica, the size of the lower 48 states, requires careful examination of each measurement. After much debate and tests of assumptions, a team of 77 scientists found a clear signal that both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice. The current mass loss from these ice sheets is contributing one millimeter of global mean sea level per year. Sea level rise is not evenly distributed around the globe. Antarctica is now losing mass at twice the rate it was in the 1990s. For these calculations, the team broke Antarctica up into three parts, the Peninsula where the Larsen B Ice Shelf was; West Antarctica, the ice sheet that rests on low-lying topography and is exposed to changes in the ocean temperature; and East Antarctica, the large ice sheet where the South Pole is located at a higher topography. Each region stores different amounts of ice, has a different history and a different susceptibility to a warming world. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is the most susceptible to warming oceans and atmosphere as it sits lower and is in direct contact with the ocean. West Antarctica is where the greatest changes have occurred over the past decade. Most of the 8 mm of sea level rise from Antarctica in the last decade has come from West Antarctica. Evidence for Changing Coastlines: Why did the changing ice emerge as the highest priority in the National Academy Report? We are beginning to see the melting ice, including from Antarctica, at the tide gauges along our coastline. Globally, average sea level has risen 8-9 inches since 1880, with the global rise since 1993 being 3 inches. Right here at the dock along the bike path in Southeast Washington sea level has risen a foot in since 1919. I put my hand on my leg just below my knee and realize the water level has risen that far since my father was born. At most locations around the globe sea level is rising. At a few locations, sea level is actually falling. Three major components make up the change at an individual coastal city: the change in ocean temperature, the melting ice and whether the land the city rests on is rising or sinking. Up to now the warming of the ocean waters by 0.72°C since 1960 is the major signal that of warming that has appeared at our coasts. Melting ice has the greatest potential for new rapid sea level rise globally. The contribution of ice melt to changes in global mean sea level rise is modulated by the self-gravitation of the ice sheets. Already the modulation of the impact of melting ice in Greenland by the self-gravitation is apparent in the tide gauges along the east coast of the United States. Because of this gravitational effect, sea level is rising faster in the Southeastern US than in New England. Atop these signals are local impacts. The land cities and towns are built on can be rising or sinking, impacting local sea level. In cities like Juneau and Stockholm the land is rising due to the loss of ice 20,000 years ago while cities like Norfolk, Virginia and New Orleans are sinking due to removal of groundwater. Every community is going to see a different future sea level depending the ocean temperature, the changing ice, and whether the land is rising or falling. Linking the changing ice to the changing coastlines is a challenge that will require collaboration from the ice to the shorelines. Impacts of Changing Coastlines We have begun to witness the melting ice and see the impact along our shorelines. The higher sea level made the impact of recent major storms like Maria, Harvey, Irma and Sandy more devastating. For example, close to my home 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean they used bulldozers to clear boats from the roads after Superstorm Sandy. Because of the sea level rise over the past century, 45,000 more people were impacted by Sandy’s flooding. The impact of rising sea level is not just during major storms. All around the US we are seeing increased nuisance flooding. Nuisance flooding is called sunny day flooding where high tides in fair weather make it difficult to get home because the roads are flooded. Miami and Norfolk are both experiencing this and are working to adapt to this. Scientists are working to provide these cities with the forecasts of future sea level they need to adapt. Ice Sheet Change Projections: Looking ahead the scientific community is scrambling to provide answers to how fast and how much will sea level rise in each community from ice sheet melt. Suddenly city managers, architects, reinsurance companies and resiliency officers care about Antarctic ice. The efforts to answer the how-fast-how-much question range from simple exercises to frame the problem to quizzing experts locked in a room to probabilistic projections and Ice Sheet Models. These models are like climate models only for ice. In contrast to weather and hurricane models, these models are still in the early stages of development. Ice sheet modeling scientists have made big advances in these efforts, such as figuring out how to capture mathematically the changing forces when ice goes afloat and using the latest supercomputing resources to allow the models to include many of the important stresses at play within the ice. The ice sheet models are now linked to different futures, whether temperatures go up a little, a lot or a huge amount. These different futures will be determined by how much CO2 we release into the atmosphere. The science community is working through this collaboratively and through peer review, the way good science happens. An idea is published, the community tests it and new ideas are advanced. Since scientists have never watched an ice sheet disappear, we use records from the past. We know sea level rises when temperature rise — Miami is built on rocks formed in a shallow sea very similar to the Bahamas today. The hills of Miami formed 120,000 years ago when the planet was warm and sea level was 19-30 feet higher than it is now. The other point we use to calibrate our models is from three million years ago, the last time CO2 was as high as it is now sea level was 19-65 feet higher than it is now. The challenge faced by climate scientists working on the models is that we are still learning so much about how ice sheets work. For example, while we are all familiar with how water flows across our familiar landscape, we are still trying to understand what happens when water collects on Antarctica. Greenland wears a necklace of blue ponds every summer and has water hidden in crevasses and in the snow. What happens if Antarctica warms until it looks like Greenland? Will all the new water make the remaining ice shelves disintegrate like the Larsen B, triggering more glaciers/conveyor belts to accelerate, or will rivers form atop the ice? Will we will see giant ice cliffs that become unstable causing a sudden runaway collapse of the ice switching the glacier conveyor belts to hyper-fast? These are the ice processes that might produce drastically accelerate sea level rise. Models with lots of meltwater and collapsing cliffs predict close to six feet of sea level rise from Antarctica by 2100. More recent publications suggest that the number might be closer to 1-1.5 feet (45 cm). As we discover new important processes and discover more, these numbers will change. Our knowledge-base and our models are evolving. My family has a boat on the Hudson and we worry about hurricanes every summer. Thirty years ago the hurricane models could not tell us whether the hurricane was going to hit Maine or our New York home, now we can plan much better. We knew Sandy was possibly coming ten days out and were able to prepare. The improvement in hurricane prediction illustrates that the ice predictions can improve if we work on it by building our knowledge base, deepening the bench of scientists and fostering interdisciplinary and international collaborations. Three Essentials to Improve Ice Sheet Melt Projections: The Antarctic melt projections for 2100 range from just below my knee or over my head, or, quantitatively 1-6 feet. How can we narrow down this answer about how Antarctica will melt in the coming decades? There are three critical things essential to improving the predictions: knowledge of processes (or how ice sheets work), people (to explore, discover, model and communicate, and fostering collaboration: 1) Processes: We have never witnessed an ice sheet collapse and improving our predictions requires getting up close and personal with the ice sheets to better understand how ice sheets work and intense efforts to decide how best to describe these processes in ice-sheet models. 2) People: The community studying ice around the world has grown but the community is still really small. 3) Collaboration: Because changing ice is controlled by the ocean, the atmosphere, the underlying geology and ice physics and Antarctica are huge, this work requires collaboration across disciplines and nations. Our understanding of the process of how ice sheets work has made huge advances. Prior to the International Geophysical Year in 1958, we did not know how much ice there was in Antarctica. By the 1980s we began to understand why those giant conveyor belts of ice can deliver so much ice to the ocean (Alley 1986). These conveyor belts can be over 60 miles wide and in Antarctica move up to about 1.5 miles per year. In Greenland the conveyor belts move even faster – more than 5 miles a year. In the 1990s we began both to drill through the ice sheet and to study extensive regions with aircraft and we discovered that the geology underneath matters. In the 2000s we realized there were extensive networks of water beneath the ice including large lakes, one the size of New Jersey, smaller lakes that will slowly fill and drain, and water networks that move the water. Where the water goes matters because the water is part of the basal lubrication system. Some of the big unknowns include: what is happening in this hidden environment beneath the ice, how will the warming ocean and atmosphere attack the ice sheet and will surface water trigger collapse of all the major ice shelves? A lot remains to be learned. We as a species have lived with changing weather and have a deep knowledge of weather systems Our grandmothers understood the wispy angular clouds they called mare’s tails meant rain soon, but we can now predict to the hour when the rain will arrive. We as a species have far less experience with collapsing ice sheets. To improve our models, we must get up close and personal with the ice sheets. The satellite record has clearly shown us that change is happening but it is the work in Antarctica from surface ships and aircraft that is essential to foster the advances in understanding of how ice sheets work that will improve our projections. NASA’s Operation Icebridge is an example of the importance of comprehensive imaging of the ice sheets that fostered a new norm of freely available open data. The National Science Foundation has responded to the 2015 National Academy report by launching a major program collaboratively with the United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the International Thwaites Glacier CollaborationThe Thwaites Glacier is one of the largest conveyor belts: It is considered one of the most unstable pieces of ice on the planet. Thwaites Glacier is wide and is perched on a topographic ridge where the warming ocean is known to be thinning the ice. Because this glacier can deliver a lot of ice to the ocean fast and because it is already showing signs of thinning and shrinking it is a major threat and a high priority. The major NSF/NERC initiative this as an example of the type of work that is essential to launch around all of Antarctica. Advancing the basic understanding of how the ice sheets work and the processes that control their melting, will improve our predictions. Antarctic scientists are the sea level hunters. The second critical need to improve our projections is people. As President of AGU and as former President of the Cryosphere Section, I am acutely aware of how small our community is. Now, the AGU Cryosphere section has 1,492 members. This number includes scientists from around the globe studying ice, snow and sea ice. To put that in perspective in 2010, there were about 140,000 people enrolled in law school in the US. In a single year, 100 times more people were studying law than the entire global community studying changing ice. There is an acute personnel problem. We need more scientists working on this problem if we are to improve our projections. Science and the science of melting ice from the Arctic to the South Pole must be an open welcoming community. The science is remarkable and the discoveries to be made remarkable. We have barely started to scratch the surface of the ice sheets. The third need is to fully embrace ice as part of the changing earth and enable truly convergent work. When your child is in the hospital with a sudden ailment you really want the specialists to be working together to provide the best care. The ice community is coming to the realization that we need to take a similar approach. We recently completed ROSETTA, a study of the largest ice shelf in Antarctica, the Ross, just a little smaller than Texas. Using Recovery Act funding, in partnership with the New York Air National Guard, we repurposed military imaging technology for ice studies. After three years of flying the IcePod over the Ross Ice Shelf we realized that it was impossible to understand how the ice will melt without bringing all the specialists to the table. We learned that the geology is in essence protecting that sector of West Antarctica from the warming global ocean but the vulnerability is to heat pumped under the ice shelf from the shallow ocean waters by strong winds. It took scientists from many disciplines working together on the same data sets to converge on these complex processes. We were acting like that team of specialists working together for the good for a patient. It is essential to foster this convergent work for the planet and our species. To move the Antarctic work forward will require interdisciplinary and international collaboration as fostered by NSF in the ITGC program but on a larger scale. Ice science must also be more tightly linked to our changing coastlines so each community will know how to respond and adapt. I am hopeful. With investment the hurricane forecasts have improved. We can improve the melt forecasts and provide better information to our neighbors.



REFERENCE ARTICLE #2: Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, World’s Largest, is Melting in a Way Not Seen Before [LINK]: Most of the worry over melting ice in Antarctica has focused on the rapidly melting western shore where there is enough ice to raise worldwide sea levels by up to 3 meters. But new research suggests that the massive Ross Ice Shelf, which has long been considered stable, might be at risk potentially leading to a slower sea level rise of up to 11.6 meters as glaciers that were once held back by the shelf slide more quickly into the ocean. The researchers suspect that other crucial ice shelves could also be at risk. A primary concern is that the potential for melting and collapse of the big ice shelves is not being taken seriously enough because they are not presently showing much signs of change. But on a 100-year timescale, they have the potential for significant change. The largest ice shelf in the world: Located on the side of Antarctica closest to New Zealand, the Ross Ice Shelf spans an area about the size of Spain and has an average thickness of ≈1,300 feet. It is one of many ice shelves that stick out into the ocean from the edge of Antarctica with about 90 percent of their bulk submerged. Melting of these ice shelves has no direct effect on global sea levels, since the ice is already at equilibrium with the surrounding water. But the ice shelves greatly slow the flow of glaciers on the continent that would otherwise slide faster into the ocean, causing water levels to rise. Ice shelves hold back grounded ice: In 2002, Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf broke apart in less than a month, and afterward some of the adjacent glaciers sped up by as much as eight times. The shattering of Larsen B shocked scientists, since no one had previously realized that an ice shelf could disappear so quickly. It is thought that the collapse of the Larsen-B was triggered by pools of water that had formed on the ice shelf’s surface. The proposed mechanism is that water leaked into fissures and forced them open in a process described as hydrofracture. Hydrofracture is one of two mechanisms thought to account for most of the ice loss in the Antarctic. The other mechanism happens when deep, warm ocean currents flow far under an ice shelf: The warm water eats away at the “grounding line” where the shelf connects to the land. That’s what’s happening to the smaller Amundsen Sea ice shelves on Antarctica’s western shore. Satellite measurements over the past 26 years show that these ice shelves sinking. indicating that some are thinning by up to 7 meters per year. As a result, the glaciers they support — which contain enough ice to raise global sea levels by over four feet — are flowing rapidly into the sea. A new way to melt: Satellite measurements suggest that the Ross Ice Shelf has been stable for the past few decades, even growing thicker in certain regions. But ROSETTA-Ice researchers have built a computer model of the interconnected factors that control the Ross Ice Shelf, including seasonal conditions, ocean currents, and the structure of ice and bedrock on the adjacent continent. The model is based on data collected by the ROSETTA-Ice team using instruments mounted on aircraft and on undersea robots. The findings suggest that a spot on the northwestern side of the ice shelf is melting in a way researchers have not seen before — neither hydrofracture nor deep currents at the grounding line. Instead, the Ross’s problem is that seasonal masses of warm water near the ocean surface in front of the ice shelf is melting the ice shelfIn winter, a crust of sea ice — far thinner than the actual ice shelf — covers the ocean in front of the shelf. But in summer, that sea ice melts, and the dark water absorbs solar energy and warms the water beneath. This warm surface water then erodes the northwestern corner of the Ross Ice Shelf, eating away at ice under the lip and causing small icebergs to crumble from its edge. In the Ross Ice Shelf, there are some regions that are showing very high melt rates at the front, by the calving front of the ice shelf, as opposed to the grounding line. What it means for sea level is that the lost ice is currently being replaced by ice flowing down from the continent, so the shelf is not yet getting thinner. But it could easily start to thin as the climate continues to warm, and current projections don’t take the processes the ROSETTA-Ice team observed into account. Most of the grounded glacier ice that is being held back by the Ross Ice Shelf is unlikely to melt anytime soon, in part because it is also held in place by the shape of underlying mountains and valleys. But the melting corner of the Ross happens to be located right in front of a particularly vulnerable swathe of ice on the continent. It just happens to be in the right area where if  the ice shelf thinned, you would have an effect on the amount of grounded ice coming into the ocean. Even in a worst-case scenario, melting in the Ross won’t cause a sudden jump in sea levels over the next few decades BUT over centuries or millenia, the changes could be massive. The researchers are working to estimate how fast they might occurIt’s possible that other Antarctic ice shelves also have spots that are melting rapidly due to summer surface warming. For example, no one has yet looked for such a process on the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, a huge ice shelf currently holding back glaciers that could raise sea levels by about 45 feet if they melted completely. “We’re seeing a new process that we didn’t really think was an issue before. “There is no reason why the stuff that they’re seeing on the Ross Ice Shelf wouldn’t be applicable elsewhere.”




REFERENCE ARTICLE #3: THE ROSS ICE SHELF IS FREEZING NOT MELTING [LINK]  In November 2018, scientists from New Zealand used a hot water drill to go deep into Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. The shelf, which can be up to 10,000 feet thick, is the largest of several that hold back West Antarctica’s massive amounts of ice. If these were to collapse, global sea level would rise by ten feet. Drilling a hole and lowering a camera and thermometer inside is a way for researchers to understand the history of the shelf, and what is happening to it now. In measuring the temperature and currents below the shelf, they expected to find that the ice was melting. Instead, the water appeared to be crystalizing and freezing. In the video from National Geographic, we can see the white dots of ice crystals as the camera is lowered towards the dark sea below. If the shelf were melting, the hole at that level would have smooth sides. It blew our minds” Scientists have left instruments deep in the hole to measure currents and temperatures below the shelf for the next few years. Though the freezing seems to be a promising sign for the shelf’s stability, it doesn’t tell the whole picture. Scientists also hope to learn whether the ice shelf has melted in the past due to other climate shifts. Though results of this study were unexpected, that doesn’t change the larger trend of accelerated warming and icecap melting. In fact, NASA just confirmed we are losing ice in Antarctica at a faster rate every year. The reasons for these odd Ross results probably won’t become clear until much more research is done. But for now, at the very least, it’s a decent sign that catastrophic melting of the Ross Ice Shelf won’t occur in the near future.




  1. REFERENCE ARTICLE #4: ANTARCTICA’S ICE DEGRADING FASTER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT [LINK] : There are plenty of ominous indicators of the consequences of climate change, but few are more worrying to scientists than the ice sheets of Antarctica. They have been melting for quite some time, and it doesn’t take a degree in physics to understand the risk there. As the ice melts it flows into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise. And rising sea levels are obviously a huge problem. New NASA-funded research published in the journal PNAS reveals a concerning complication. Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Washington ran hundreds of simulations to predict how one large ice sheet, Thwaites Glacier, could degrade over the next 50 to 800 years. The results showed the glacier was in danger of becoming unstable. “Unstable” here means something very specific. An “instability” means a frozen, ticking time bomb. The area of the glacier behind where it cantilevers over the water is eaten away, which can cause the glacier’s ice to break off and flow faster out to sea and add to rising sea levels. What’s more ominous, the research finds, is that once this instability is triggered it will be hard to untrigger it. If you trigger this instability, you don’t need to continue to force the ice sheet by cranking up temperatures. It will keep going by itself, and that’s the worry. In other words, even if climate change were magically reversed, it wouldn’t stop the dangerous and rapid rise in sea levels that could be triggered by unstable ice sheets. The worst-case scenario” could be a rise of two or three feet from the Thwaites glacier. Engineers and planners should start building future critical infrastructure farther away from the sea-level line, you don’t need to pack up your coastal homes like it’s high tide yet.



























  2. The data used in the analysis are UAH satellite data for zonal mean temperatures for each calendar month for the South Polar, Southern Extent, Tropical, Northern Extent, and North Polar zones. The study period is constrained by data availability to 1979 to 2018, a span of 40 years. The full span warming rates computed with simple OLS linear regression are presented in Figure 1 and Figure 2 above in units of Celsius units per century.
  3. Figure 1 is a comparison of all five zonal warming rates. The computed OLS full span warming rates for each of the twelve calendar month are shown in the top 6 rows labeled SPOL (South Polar Region), SEXT (Southern Extent),  TROP (Tropical zone), NEXT (Northern Extent), and NPOL (North Polar Region). The sixth row, marked ROTW (rest of the world) is the average warming rate for the four zones south of the North Polar Zone.
  4. The NPOL zone is taken as a proxy for the Arctic and for Canada and it is compared with the ROTW as well as to the other four zones one at a time. Very high rates of warming are seen for the NPOL zone from 1.67C/century in November to 3.36C/century in April with an average of 2.27C/century. Low rates of warming but but with large differences among the calendar months are found in the SPOL (south polar region) where the warming rates for the calendar months range from cooling (-2.65C/century) in July to warming at 4.44C/century in November with an average warming rate of 0.81C/century. The ROTW (rest of the world outside of the NPOL) average ranges from 0.395C/century in July to 2.462C/century in November with an average of 1.43C/century. The month of November contains a number of extreme values.
  5. A comparison of the warming rates in the top six rows of Figure 1 shows that the NPOL contains the highest average warming rate for all calendar months of 2.27C/century followed closely by NEXT at 2C/century, and well above ROTW at 1.64C/century. The next five rows of Figure 1 contain the ratio of the NPOL warming rate divided by the warming rate for the other four zones individually as well as the other four zones combined into the ROTW figures. Some negative values are seen in these ratios for the SPOL due to cooling in the South Polar region. Almost all of these ratios are greater than unity except for some low values of for the NEXT and SEXT zones.
  6. The average ratio is seen in terms of the ROTW figures shown in bold in the bottom row of Figure 1. Here most ratios are greater than unity but with some low values in October and November that are more than offset by very high ratios April to July. The average of all calendar months is seen here as NPOL/ROTW = 1.96, a value very close to the claim that NPOL is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. However the same analysis when carried out without SPOL (Figure 2), shows an averate ratio of NPOL/ROTW = 1.42. This result implies that the claim that NPOL is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world is an artifact of cooling in Antarctica. If Antarctica is removed from the comparison, we find that NPOL is warming about 42% faster than the rest of the world and not twice as fast.
  7. The further claim often heard that NPOL is warming twice as fast as any other place on earth, is clearly not supported by the data presented above. The column of averages on the far right of Figure 1 shows the NPOL warming rate of 2.27C/century implies ratios of 1.1 to 1.6 when the SPOL is not included.
  8. CONCLUSION: Comparison of zonal warming rates shows that the North Polar Region is warming faster than the rest of the world but the usual claim that it is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world is an artifact of cooling in the South Polar Region and is not found when that region is removed from the comparison. The further claim that the North Polar Region is warming twice as fast as any other place on earth is not supported by the data although the data do show that the North Polar Region is warming faster than the other four zonal regions studied in this analysis. A bibliography for this issue is presented below. Geological sources of heat in the Arctic that may have a role in this phenomenon are discussed in a related post on this site [LINK] .






  1. Johannessen, Ola M., et al. “Arctic climate change: observed and modelled temperature and sea-ice variability.” Tellus A: Dynamic meteorology and oceanography 56.4 (2004): 328-341.  Changes apparent in the arctic climate system in recent years require evaluation in a century-scale perspective in order to assess the Arctic’s response to increasing anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcing. Here, a new set of centuryand multidecadal-scale observational data of surface air temperature (SAT) and sea ice is used in combination with ECHAM4 and HadCM3 coupled atmosphere’ice’ocean global model simulations in order to better determine and understand arctic climate variability. We show that two pronounced twentieth-century warming events, both amplified in the Arctic, were linked to sea-ice variability. SAT observations and model simulations indicate that the nature of the arctic warming in the last two decades is distinct from the early twentieth-century warm period. It is suggested strongly that the earlier warming was natural internal climate-system variability, whereas the recent SAT changes are a response to anthropogenic forcing. The area of arctic sea ice is furthermore observed to have decreased~8 · 105 km2 (7.4%) in the past quarter century, with record-low summer ice coverage in September 2002. A set of model predictions is used to quantify changes in the ice cover through the twenty-first century, with greater reductions expected in summer than winter. In summer, a predominantly sea-ice-free Arctic is predicted for the end of this century.
  2. Otto-Bliesner, Bette L., et al. “Simulating Arctic climate warmth and icefield retreat in the last interglaciation.” science311.5768 (2006): 1751-1753.  In the future, Arctic warming and the melting of polar glaciers will be considerable, but the magnitude of both is uncertain. We used a global climate model, a dynamic ice sheet model, and paleoclimatic data to evaluate Northern Hemisphere high-latitude warming and its impact on Arctic icefields during the Last Interglaciation. Our simulated climate matches paleoclimatic observations of past warming, and the combination of physically based climate and ice-sheet modeling with ice-core constraints indicate that the Greenland Ice Sheet and other circum-Arctic ice fields likely contributed 2.2 to 3.4 meters of sea-level rise during the Last Interglaciation.
  3. Serreze, Mark C., and Jennifer A. Francis. “The Arctic amplification debate.” Climatic change 76.3-4 (2006): 241-264.  Rises in surface air temperature (SAT) in response to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are expected to be amplified in northern high latitudes, with warming most pronounced over the Arctic Ocean owing to the loss of sea ice. Observations document recent warming, but an enhanced Arctic Ocean signal is not readily evident. This disparity, combined with varying model projections of SAT change, and large variability in observed SAT over the 20th century, may lead one to question the concept of Arctic amplification. Disparity is greatly reduced, however, if one compares observed trajectories to near-future simulations (2010–2029), rather than to the doubled-CO2 or late 21st century conditions that are typically cited. These near-future simulations document a preconditioning phase of Arctic amplification, characterized by the initial retreat and thinning of sea ice, with imprints of low-frequency variability. Observations show these same basic features, but with SATs over the Arctic Ocean still largely constrained by the insulating effects of the ice cover and thermal inertia of the upper ocean. Given the general consistency with model projections, we are likely near the threshold when absorption of solar radiation during summer limits ice growth the following autumn and winter, initiating a feedback leading to a substantial increase in Arctic Ocean SATs.
  4. Kaufman, Darrell S., et al. “Recent warming reverses long-term Arctic cooling.” Science 325.5945 (2009): 1236-1239.  The temperature history of the first millennium C.E. is sparsely documented, especially in the Arctic. We present a synthesis of decadally resolved proxy temperature records from poleward of 60°N covering the past 2000 years, which indicates that a pervasive cooling in progress 2000 years ago continued through the Middle Ages and into the Little Ice Age. A 2000-year transient climate simulation with the Community Climate System Model shows the same temperature sensitivity to changes in insolation as does our proxy reconstruction, supporting the inference that this long-term trend was caused by the steady orbitally driven reduction in summer insolation. The cooling trend was reversed during the 20th century, with four of the five warmest decades of our 2000-year-long reconstruction occurring between 1950 and 2000
  5. Screen, James A., and Ian Simmonds. “Increasing fall‐winter energy loss from the Arctic Ocean and its role in Arctic temperature amplification.” Geophysical Research Letters37.16 (2010).  Arctic surface temperatures have risen faster than the global average in recent decades, in part due to positive feedbacks associated with the rapidly diminishing sea ice cover. Counter‐intuitively, the Arctic warming has been strongest in late fall and early winter whilst sea ice reductions and the direct ice‐albedo feedback have been greatest in summer and early fall. To reconcile this, previous studies have hypothesized that fall/winter Arctic warming has been enhanced by increased oceanic heat loss but have not presented quantitative evidence. Here we show increases in heat transfer from the Arctic Ocean to the overlying atmosphere during October–January, 1989–2009. The trends in surface air temperature, sea ice concentration and the surface heat fluxes display remarkable spatial correspondence. The increased oceanic heat loss is likely a combination of the direct response to fall/winter sea ice loss, and the indirect response to summer sea ice loss and increased summer ocean heating.
  6. Semenov, Vladimir A. “Meteorology: Arctic warming favours extremes.” Nature Climate Change 2.5 (2012): 315.  The twenty-first century was marked by a number of extreme weather events over northern continents. Amplified warming in the Arctic region and associated changes in atmospheric dynamics may provide a clue for understanding the origin of these recent extremes.
  7. Pithan, Felix, and Thorsten Mauritsen. “Arctic amplification dominated by temperature feedbacks in contemporary climate models.” Nature Geoscience 7.3 (2014): 181.  Climate change is amplified in the Arctic region. Arctic amplification has been found in past warm1 and glacial2 periods, as well as in historical observations3,4 and climate model experiments5,6. Feedback effects associated with temperature, water vapour and clouds have been suggested to contribute to amplified warming in the Arctic, but the surface albedo feedback—the increase in surface absorption of solar radiation when snow and ice retreat—is often cited as the main contributor7,8,9,10. However, Arctic amplification is also found in models without changes in snow and ice cover11,12. Here we analyse climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 archive to quantify the contributions of the various feedbacks. We find that in the simulations, the largest contribution to Arctic amplification comes from a temperature feedbacks: as the surface warms, more energy is radiated back to space in low latitudes, compared with the Arctic. This effect can be attributed to both the different vertical structure of the warming in high and low latitudes, and a smaller increase in emitted blackbody radiation per unit warming at colder temperatures. We find that the surface albedo feedback is the second main contributor to Arctic amplification and that other contributions are substantially smaller or even opposeArctic amplification.
  8. Cohen, Judah, et al. “Recent Arctic amplification and extreme mid-latitude weather.” Nature geoscience 7.9 (2014): 627.  The Arctic region has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average — a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. The rapid Arctic warming has contributed to dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice and spring snow cover, at a pace greater than that simulated by climate models. These profound changes to the Arctic system have coincided with a period of ostensibly more frequent extreme weather events across the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, including severe winters. The possibility of a link between Arctic change and mid-latitude weather has spurred research activities that reveal three potential dynamical pathways linking Arctic amplification to mid-latitude weather: changes in storm tracks, the jet stream, and planetary waves and their associated energy propagation. Through changes in these key atmospheric features, it is possible, in principle, for sea ice and snow cover to jointly influence mid-latitude weather. However, because of incomplete knowledge of how high-latitude climate change influences these phenomena, combined with sparse and short data records, and imperfect models, large uncertainties regarding the magnitude of such an influence remain. We conclude that improved process understanding, sustained and additional Arctic observations, and better coordinated modelling studies will be needed to advance our understanding of the influences on mid-latitude weather and extreme events.
  9. Gramling, Carolyn. “Arctic impact.” (2015): 818-821.  Against the backdrop of “Snowmageddon” and other powerful winter storms that have blasted the United States, Europe, and Asia in the past few years, a different kind of tempest has been swirling within the Arctic science community. Its core is a flurry of recent research proposing that such extreme weather events in the midlatitudes are linked through the atmosphere with the effects of rapid climate change in the Arctic, such as dwindling sea ice. The idea has galvanized the public and even caught the attention of the White House. But some Arctic researchers say the data don’t support it—or that the jury is at least still out. Now, scientists are tackling the issue in earnest, and an increasing number of conferences and workshops are bringing together scientists with a range of viewpoints on this issue, in hopes that a coordinated effort will measure the reach of the north.













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  1. IMAGE#1 above is a video representation of the Last Glaciation beginning with the Eemian, going through the Last Glacial Period, and ending in the mid Holocene. This cycle is typical of the chaotic cycles of ice accumulation and ice dissipation discussed in a related post on this site [LINK] . The information presented below is taken from a lecture on a geological explanation of glaciation cycles by Geologist James Edward Kamis [LINK] . Image2 to Image5 are taken from the slides used in the Kamis lecture.
  2. IMAGE#2 is a two dimensional projection of the Planet Earth. In the color grey are seen the continents of Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia. Along the bottom of the image, in the hashed white area, is an indication of the ice sheet extent on the planet along a timeline measured in millions of years before the present. Above that and in red (with black lines) are the ocean floor plate boundaries. The color red is used here to indicate a high level of geological activity. These are very active sediments. The cooler colors are older sediments. Regions in cooler colors are older and less active sediments. Along the black lines through the center, the rock is very young with a high level of heat flow.
  3. Recent research from MIT shows that glaciation cycles are driven by plate collisions [LINK] . The MIT press release says that collisions of tectonic plates along the tropics cause glaciation because the exposed rocks absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and that therefore, without the CO2 to keep earth warm, it slides into glaciation; but here James Kamis offers a broader interpretation of the correlation between plate collisions and glaciation with the observation that the MIT finding confirms only that there is a relationship between plate tectonics and climate and thereby validates the Kamis Plate Climatology Theory (KPCT) [LINK] . That their interpretation of this finding is in terms of atmospheric phenomena is a different matter altogether and not a consideration in this analysis where a different interpretation is offered. The essential tenet of the KPCT theory is that geological forces have a strong influence on climate and climate related events and that therefore these phenomena cannot be understood purely in atmospheric terms. Glaciation is a climate related event.
  4. The research show that anomalies in the earth’s rotation around its axis and its revolution around the sun create periodic changes in the relationship between the earth and the sun. The traditional interpretation of these changes, in purely atmospheric terms is that they cause periods of warming and cooling because of varying amounts of the sun’s energy reaching the northern latitudes of the planet. The alternate interpretation of he same anomalies in KPCT is that these changes place stresses on plate movements and generate heat flow pulses from the plate boundaries and these in turn cause changes to the climate.
  5. The Lamont and Doherty 2005 paper confirms a cycle of large heat flow pulses from the plate boundaries with period of roughly 100,00 years give or take, and this period matches the that of glaciation cycles within their natural variance. If we combine the Lamont&Doherty results and the recent MIT findings we find a sound basis for developing a relationship between plate tectonics and glaciation cycles consistent with the KPCT proposition that plate tectonics is the dominant force in climate.
  6. IMAGE#3 is a chart of earth’s surface temperature from 400,000 years ago to 1950. The chart is inverted so that warm periods appear below the x-axis with cool periods above the x-axis. It is evident that the the normal state of the planet is the cool period but with periodic brief excursions into warmth, colored red on the chart. Secondly, it is noted that the transition from cool period to warmth a steep and sudden decline – almost instantaneously in the context of the time scale of the chart. It just so happens that we have a mechanism on our planet that can generate that kind of heat flow, and that mechanism is plate tectonics. Also noteworthy is that many of the warm periods are not really warming periods. There is a sharp and steep dive into the warmth and then almost immediately it begins its return to the cold.
  7. The cold periods are the earth’s natural state and the brief excursions into warmth are anomalies that are quickly corrected. The current warming period dives into its peak warming in the initial transition from cold and then it slowly begins its journey back to the cold. These transitions are not smooth however as can be seen in the sawtooth shape of the return to the cold where some periods of stalled warmth will be found. The current warming event also shows the sawtooth return to the cold with relatively brief alternating warming and cooling periods. These observations are made relative to the very long time cycle of the glaciation cycle compared with for example life spans of humans and their civilizations. The current warm event is not about 12,000 years old and the shape of the curve appears to indicate that it is about to end.
  8. CONCLUSION: From these data and from his study of plate tectonics and volcanism, Kamis concludes that the concept of glacial periods (often referred to as “ice ages”) is anomalous in the context of what we see in IMAGE#3. Rather than calling them ice ages or glacial periods, we should understand them as earth’s standard and equilibrium climate state that is from time to time interrupted by plate tectonic events that cause warming an deglaciation. It should be noted however, that this natural state of the planet is extremely volatile with countless dives toward deglaciation that don’t make it all the way into an interglacial state. These cycles are best understood as the brief warming interruptions of the earth’s normal glacial climate state which we tend to describe as glaciation.


























IMAGE#5: (JAN NULL)bandicam 2019-07-03 11-47-06-708



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  1. The El Nino/La Nina event in the Western Pacific Ocean, also known as the El Nino Southern Oscillation or ENSO, is one of the most influential climate events on earth. It is a climate phenomenon that is repeatedly created at the same exact location on the planet. It affects ocean currents and animal migration patterns, and is thought to have caused migration in South American civilizations in a distant past. Here we present the case that the ENSO phenomenon is the creation of geological forces.
  2. Consider for example that all ENSO events originate in the exact same deep ocean location in the offshore region near Papua New Guinea / Solomon Islands. This area is one of the most volcanically active regions on earth.
  3. The bright yellow slide on the left frame of the IMAGE#1 is an El Nino sea surface temperature map. This map shows that the El Nino is a very intense temperature event for both the ocean and the atmosphere. The well defined boundary between the hot red areas and the cooler yellow areas indicate that the energy source is very powerful. The shape of El Nino is not like any other shape in the Pacific Ocean or any other ocean for that matter. There the ocean currents swirl as in swirling hurricanes powered by ocean warming. That is not what happens in El Ninos. These are long linear events.
  4. Also, the El Nino doesn’t occur anywhere else on earth. They form only in this specific spot offshore Papua New Guinea. The analogy for that is in the upper right hand frame of the IMAGE#1. This is a land volcano erupting and sending volcanic ash into the air currents that flow from left to right. That is kind of what El Ninos do. Ocean currents carry the warm water from the left side to the right all the way to South America.
  5. Another interesting aspect is on the lower right slide of IMAGE#1. This is a snapshot of the warming of El Nino. The warming does not occur in uniform fashion. Rather it occurs as in this time lapse video in distinct pulses. So there will be a pulse of very high heat flow originating from the source and flowing, staying together, toward South America. The cumulative effect of these pulses makes the well defined cone shaped feature seen in the left frame of the IMAGE#1.
  6. Climate model simulation of the timing ENSO events consistently fail. The reason for the failure is their exclusive reliance on atmospheric forces to explain all observed climate phenomena on earth. Volcanic activity is not rhythmic or deterministic. It is chaotic and irregular. Such erratic behavior is an issue that climate science is unable to address purely in atmospheric terms but a feature of the ENSO cycle that matches the behavior of volcanic activity.
  7. Yet another issue that relates to AGW assumptions is that there is no evidence of a trend that would indicate that ENSO events are becoming more intense or more frequent over time. Descriptions of these events go back to the time of Spanish explorers of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries. Earlier records of these events are found in ancient Mayan and Aztec records. These early records contain details of very strong ENSO events with civilization changing impacts.
  8. The left frame of IMAGE#2 demonstrates the extreme point source of ENSO events in the context of he vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The right frame of IMAGE#2 is a close look at the location of this point source along the Pacific Ring of Fire (PROF), the most intense active volcanic area on earth. The black markers are the locations of the main fault lines of the PROF. The image also shows the five plate boundaries as well as locations of known highly active volcanoes on the ocean floor marked with red triangles.
  9. Historically, these characteristics of this region did not receive much attention in climate and geological research. Insufficient data and an atmospheric bias in climate research are the likely reasons for that. It is thus that the role of geological forces in ENSO cycles did not receive much attention. There are 360 million of ocean with 3,800 buoys to take temperature data – or one buoy per 9,000 corresponding to an area 3000 km squared, roughly the distance from Bangkok to Beijing, a 4.5 hour flight. The buoys are also limited to a depth of less than 2,000 meters, well above ocean floor volcanoes at depths of 4,000 to 6,000 meters. It is not possible for these buoys to identify the point source of heat that becomes well dispersed as it rises. With regard to atmospheric bias, it should be noted that investigation of the ENSO event with only atmospheric and shallow ocean data resulted in so many conflicting theories that this line of research has not led to any satisfactory conclusions except that ENSO events are caused by some “unknown natural force”.
  10. In February 2015 there was a large swarm of seismic activity and again four months later in June of 2015 in a lagged fashion as shown in IMAGE#3. This was the trigger of the 2014-2016 El Nino event described by various sources as “unusually warm waters developing between South America and mid Pacific Ocean with drought in Venezuela, Australia and the Pacific islands and flooding in other places; more tropical cyclones than normal in the Pacific and fewer than normal in the Atlantic”. It is generally conceded that seismic activity is associated with El Nino events.
  11. IMAGE#4: El Ninos are created by a pulse of heat. La Ninas form when the magma at the source of the heat cools down and the fractures in the fault above open up with sea water still being circulated through this fractured system but it’s much cooler sea water. Additionally, the icy methane clathrates that fill these layers and the sediment layers associated with the faults, re-establish themselves and act to rapidly cool the ocean water. The right fame of IMAGE#4 is a display of these ENSO temperature cycles 1965 to 2010 with El Ninos events in red and La Nina events in blue. The periods with no color are normal years without an ENSO effect. Some examples of sudden drop from extremely high to extremely low temperatures are seen in this image and made somewhat clearer in the Jan Null data in IMAGE#6 where can see the almost vertical temperature drop in the 1997/1998 ENSO. The energy change in such changes is immense in terms of power (energy per unit time). In particular, note the greater change in energy in these events than the energy needed to form an El Nino. Other scientists have noted this difference and it is generally recognized that the transition event from ElNino to ElNina occurs on a regular basis in ENSO events with strong El Ninas. Various examples can be seen in the chart provided by Jan Null in IMAGE#6. These events provide additional evidence that the methane clathrate plays a key role in the La Nina cooling events. Natural gas from geological sources mixing with sea water form clathrates and this physical reaction is strongly endothermic.

Antarctic Sea Ice Photo Provided by New Scientist Magazine antarctic-sea-ice-photo







Figure 1: Jan-May Average Sea Ice Extent 1979-2019 



Figure 2: South Polar Ocean Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomaly 1979-2019



Figure 3: Correlation between sea ice extent and temperature


Figure 4: Regression Table



  1. CONTEXT: In July 2019 a climate change alarm was raised that “Antarctic sea ice is declining dramatically and we don’t know why”. This post is a response to this alarm with the relevant data.
  2. January-May average sea ice extent for the Antarctic and the corresponding lower troposphere temperature anomalies are displayed in Figure 1 and Figure 2 respectively. Neither series shows a statistically significant trend. However, a steep decline in Jan-May average sea ice extent from 2015 to 2019 is seen in the data and. This result is consistent with the claims in the media. However, a plot of sea ice extent against temperature in Figure 3 does not indicate a relationship between sea ice extent and temperature.
  3. Results of regression analysis appear in Figure 4. A statistically significant relationship is not indicated in the results. We conclude from the above analysis that sea ice extent is not responsive to temperature. This result is consistent with prior studies of sea ice reported in related posts on Antarctic sea ice [LINK]  as well as Arctic sea ice extent [LINK] .
  4.  The sudden and unsustained drop in sea ice extent at a 4-year time scale may indicate that the causal agent of this event is geological and not the atmosphere. Only if this trend is found to be sustained over a longer time span can atmospheric causes be considered. A survey of the extensive geological heat sources in the Antarctic is presented in a related post  [LINK] .
















  1. The Eyjafjallajökull 2010 Eruption: In the image below, the left frame shows the intense phase of of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano’s 2010 eruption which occurred on April 14 of that year. It was a very intensive and extensive eruption that lasted 37 days and emitted 252 gigaliters of sulfuric dust into the atmosphere. It caused changes in air traffic, cancellations across  Europe, caused a lot of health problems, both human and animal, and significantly altered weather conditions in Europe and vicinity. But the most important aspect of this eruption was that it was a dramatic visual confirmation that the Arctic region is geologically active and perhaps more so than generally considered particularly with respect to how Arctic data are interpreted in terms of AGW/Climate Change. The smaller frame on the right shows the initial explosion of this eruption where we can see how it is spreading volcanic ash across the glacier. It also shows how it fractures the glacier and connects down to the bedrock. arctic-01
  2. Geological Features of the Arctic Region: The image below shows the 6,000 km long Mid Arctic Rift and its associated active volcanoes. The rift is seen along the right side of the left frame of the image as a long and curvy red hashed area. The red triangles mark the positions of known active volcanoes along the rift. Also shown on this slide is the Greenland/Iceland mantle plume. On the left of Greenland is the Baffin Bay Labrador rift system marked as BBLR. In the left upper corner on the slide is a red hashed area where active volcano locations are market with red triangles. It is the Aleutian Island convergent plate boundary where two giant plates collide and one dives under the other and creates a tremendous amount of geological energy that becomes evident on the surface. bandicam 2019-07-01 16-29-44-526
  3. Arctic Sea Ice: The image below depicts extent of Arctic sea ice in October 2017. This sea ice distribution is representative of sea ice extent in the month of October for the decade ending in 2017. In the color grey are shown the adjacent land areas as Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The red hashed areas mark the sea ice extent prior to the recent decade. The graphic shows that loss of sea extent in agreement with climate science claims that AGW is causing a decrease in Arctic sea ice extent. The loss of sea ice is found to have occurred in two specific areas as shown by the red hashed lines. In the lower left is the western edge of sea ice melt and in the upper right is the eastern edge of sea ice melt. Localization of the melting in these areas has been consistent and persistent over a long period of time of at least 50 years. Note that the sea ice extends out to Russia with no melt zone. The geographical pattern in sea ice melt does not suggest a uniform cause of sea ice melt but rather a geographically defined sources of heat that match the melt pattern.
  4. Geological Drivers of Arctic Sea Ice Melt: The image below shows the pattern of localized geological sources heat and further that this pattern of geological heat matches the pattern of sea ice melt. In the  image below we see the sea ice extent in white and some red hashed areas. The red hatched areas of the Arctic Sea mark the locations of significant atmospheric methane concentrations above the Arctic Sea in April of 2014 detected by NASA satellites. The black lines in the image mark the center-line of the Mid-Arctic and Baffin Bay rift and associated cross faults. The center line is where lava comes up and spreads out. The observed localized geographical pattern of atmospheric methane concentration began in April 2014 when a moderate earthquake along the Mid-Arctic Rift caused a shifting of deep magma chambers. The shifted magma chambers released heat and hydrothermal methane into deep portions of the rift. The heat and methane moved upwards along he fault plane that had been opened by the earthquake. In the process, the heat encountered methane hydrates in ice beds. The heat released methane from the hydrates. The methane along with hydrothermal methane migrated up through the fault and into the overlying ocean. The heat warmed the ocean and the methane entered the atmosphere and created the sudden localized methane concentration. It was a geographically extensive heat flow event, not atmospheric phenomena  that caused Arctic sea ice melt.  arctic-sea-ice2
  5. The Jan Mayen Trend: The Jan Mayen Trend (JMT) is a 1500-km portion of the mid-Arctic rift that is volcanically active. The right frame of the image below shows the location of the JMT. It runs from just north of Iceland up to the Svalbard Islands. Research by Dr. Rolf Pederson of the University of Bergen reported an amazing discovery about the JMT. He writes, “1,200C magma pouring into the sea from hundreds of submarine volcanoes and we wonder why the seas are warming?”  He went on to say “We have found volcanoes at such a shallow level that they could break through to the surface at any moment and form new island groups. I have been writing about underwater volcanoes for years. In fact there is an entire chapter in my new book “Not by fire but by Ice” that discusses the importance of underwater volcanoes and how they are heating the seas”. The JMP ends at the Svalbard Islands. Research for this region shows an extreme amount of underwater heat flow and methane emissions in an around the Svalbard Islands. Also some of the glaciers on the islands are melting and retreating while others are growing. arctic-sea-ice3
  6. Greenland Heat Flows: The left frame in the image below is from a NASA 2018 research paper. It documents the geological time frame for the movement of Greenland across the Greenland-Iceland mantle plume. The black dashed line shows the path of the movement of Greenland across the mantle plume. The color shadings are NASA’s interpretation of the present day heat flow of the rocks in Greenland. It shows that the heat flow map matches the course of the mantle plume. This heat flow is relic heat flow in the sense that it is heat that is captured but occasionally pulses out of the bedrock beneath the glaciers in Greenland. The right frame of the image below shows a specific example of how this relic heat flow has affected the bedrock and associated overlying individual glaciers. Research at Aarhus University in Denmark found in the Young’s Sound glacier (seen in the right frame) as it is pouring into the Greenland Sea, that its upward catchment basin on the bedrock was extremely hot. They decided that this heat was the reason that this glacier was moving so quickly and receding so quickly. They rejected atmospheric warming as a cause of these events. greenland01
  7. Bering Sea Volcanoes and Ocean Currents: The sea ice decline on the Western edge of the Arctic is controlled by the Bering Sea. The Bering Sea is a closed basin. The image below shows the Aleutian Islands and their 90 or so active volcanoes. On the upper left portion of the image below is the Kamchatka Peninsula and its 70 or so very active volcanoes. The ocean currents move from the Kamchatka Peninsula south and then north through the center portion of the Bering Sea and empty into the Western portion of the Arctic Ocean. Another current on the South-side of the Aleutian Islands takes a turn, goes through a gap along the Eastern side of the Bering Sea and empties into the Western side of the Arctic Ocean. The Bering Sea is very warm & it empties into the Arctic Ocean and melts the ice on the western side. bering sea
  8. The Major Event of 2010:  In the image below, the left frame shows the ocean current flows of Gulf Stream on May 26, 2010. It shows that the Gulf Stream current, (in red) as it moves along the Eastern seaboard of the USA is suddenly blocked in 2010 by a large Warm Blob. A warm blob is a large section of ocean water with a higher temperature than the surrounding ocean). The warm blob had formed rapidly. It extended from the surface of the ocean down to the ocean floor. This was a very large and powerful warm blob. In the right frame, the lower slide shows the warm blob in red in its early stages of development. The graphic makes clear that the warm blob is associated with heat flow. The warm blob itself is shown in red. Iceland, a net source of heat in the blob’s heat flow dynamic, is located just to the right of the southernmost portion of Greenland. In black lines are marked the Mid Arctic Rift and the Labrador Rift and their spreading center lines converge in the warm blob area. This arrangement suggests that the warm blob is the creation of a pulse of heat flow from these rifts. The upper slide of the right frame in an image of the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. It should be noted that the Gulf Stream shutdown is coincident with the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, both occurring in April 2010. Although it cannot be said that this eruption itself created the warm blob, it is noted that the eruption is the evidence of accumulated heat flows along the rift that was active in the area over a long period of time. The eruption was simply the orgasmic end of the pulse of heat flow. In the same way these heat flows also resulted in the sudden creation of the warm blob coincident with the eruption. In other words the 2010 eruption and the 2010 warm blob are related not as cause and effect but as effects of a common cause. bandicam 2019-07-02 08-52-43-367
  9. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS: In summary, the Arctic Ocean, specifically the sea floor of the Arctic Ocean is not a static bedrock platform. A 3D image of the Arctic sea floor in the image below shows the elevated sea floor of one of the rifts. The circular cone shaped features are deep ocean volcanoes. The uplifted mountains are very active faults. The dynamics of sea ice melt and the temperature and chemical changes in sea water in the Arctic as well as animal migration patterns are best understood in terms of the geological phenomena in this geologically active zone and not exclusively in terms of atmospheric forcings as assumed in climate science. A statistical test of sea ice melt data presented in a related post [LINK]  supports these conclusions.  bandicam 2019-07-02 08-56-16-251