Posts Tagged ‘Antarctica’

Antarctica Breaks Apart, In The Middle Of Winter!

July 13, 2017

It’s not just what, where, but when. In the depth of winter. Even in the depth of winter, Antarctica breaks apart. Larsen C Iceshelf, a vast 5800-square-kilometre iceberg more than a quarter the size of Wales, weighing more than a trillion tonnes, has now calved. It was detected by Nasa’s Aqua MODIS satellite instrument.

The calving reduces the size of the Larsen C Ice Shelf by around 12 per cent and will change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula forever.  

As the iceshelves disintegrate, the feeding glaciers, overland, accelerate and the sea warms further. The Larsen C break forked like a snake tongue, 2 months before breaking. (Meaning more is coming soon!)

Iceshelves are part of Antarctica’s glaciers. They are glaciers which have separated from the rockbed, and start  floating on the sea. Some are 800 kilometers (500 miles) wide, and 800 meters (half a mile) thick.

Just a bit of math: an iceshelf 1000 kms wide extending 1000 kms in the sea, and a kilometer thick weights: 10^6 10^6 10^3 = 10^15 tons, that is one thousand trillion tons. It’s obvious that such an object in the way, especially when anchored here and there to rocky islands, is hard to move. So the iceshelves slow down the interior glaciers of Antarctica, force them to bunch up (thus to receive more snow).

Thus 12% of the Larsen C iceshelf in Antarctica just broke this week. In the middle of Antarctica’s winter. The whole  Larsen C, three times as large as Wales, could well follow…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3nZbIRi7WM

To this a denying insect responded: A. D.. Jordan ridiculously screeched on the Internet: “Perhaps you should complete your story on the Larson [sic] C Ice Shelf story. Scientists who study such things say it will take many years of study to determine if this event was due to what you assert. Fear mongering based on no factual information has been the biggest black eye the Man Made Climate Change folks have suffered.”

When a plane, and, a fortiori, a planet, crashes, one does not wait for “Scientists”, whatever a “scientist” is supposed to be, years from now to deliver a verdict (Darwin, certainly a scientist, was no official “scientist”: he had no serious degree, let alone a “scientist” job… My grandfather, who drew the geological maps of Algeria, had no official geology degree, his “real” job was something else… The point is that good science is what good scientists do, and a tool they use is having a good hunch, or skill; not being corrupt helps.).

The Larsen A and B iceshelves previously disintegrated in a similar fashion. By chance, there an automated weather station in the area of the Larsen B iceshelf when it collapsed into a zillion tiny bergs (all of which Zuck sucks). The disintegration happened in the polar night too. For four days, incredibly warm and powerful foehn wind blew at temperatures exceeding 50 Fahrenheit (and actually 15 Centigrades!)

If all iceshelves of the Antarctic Peninsula disintegrated, we would not need “scientists” to tell us what is going on. Many scientists are on the take: Google will pay “scientists” up to 400,000 dollars to sing the right tune. This methodology, of paying “scientists” was long practiced by the drug industry (of tobacco leaves).

The 180-kilometer-long crack threatening one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves had branched out, before the break. Radar mapping shows that a second crack has split off from the main rupture like a snake’s forked tongue, the Antarctic Project MIDAS reported May 1. That second branch, which stretches around 15 kilometers, didn’t exist on radar maps taken six days earlier, the scientists say.

Denying the facts of anthropomorphic climate change is dishonest, or ignorant, or both. The map of Antarctica will have to be redrawn, smaller, that’s a fact. The fact that the iceshelf broke in the Antarctic winter is itself telling: that means there is warming even when there is no sun (there can be foehn in the dark, and also the warm circumpolar current is undermining the ice from below; this was long hypothesized by your truly, and it’s increasing becoming a demonstrated fact: warmer water is denser.).

West Antarctica is mostly a huge iceshelf and giant icesheet grounded on rock most of which is way below sea level, as deep as the Grand Canyon (much fun is to be had when warm ocean water sneaks below). It’s also one of the fastest warming region on Earth (more than twice the global rate, that is in excess of 2.5 C, where the average is 1.2 C…) Soon the gigantic icesheet which constitutes most of West Antarctica will turn into an iceshelf, and the denial insects will migrate to higher land from flooded Florida. 

Iceshelves are goners, admire while they last…

In the last ten years, the speed of sea rise, worldwide, has augmented by 50%. It’s already clear that much of Florida will go below the waves (no dam can save it, as the limestone there is porous), very soon. The debate, increasing, is whether we will be able to limit sea level rise in the next few centuries, to 20 meters.

More can be done, like repelling the Donald Trumps at the heart of Anglo-Saxon imperialists. By “Anglo-Saxon imperialists” I don’t mean the British The British, as the good Europeans they are, emit only b. Great Britain has reduced its CO2 emissions by 40% since 1990!

High CO2 emissions have, arguably, to do with the nastiness of a country: Luxembourg, an obnoxious tax haven hidden in plain view inside the European Union, recently emitted 21.4 tons of CO2 per person per year (Luxembourg does not have the excuse of high fossil fuels production, as Qatar, Emirates, Trinidad & Tobago have).

The CO2 emissions, per capita, per year of the EU 28 (European Union including rogue Britain) were less than seven (7) tons in 2015 (and decreasing strongly). By the way, the added value of manufacturing in the EU 28 was on a par with China, and 30% larger than that of the USA. (So the USA can’t retreat behind a cloud of smoky justification that America is Great Again, and has been emitting a lot…)

French CO2 emissions per capita in 2015 were only 5.1 ton (France has the greatest number of nuclear reactors functioning… in the world, even more than the USA).

Australia crows that it didn’t have a recession in 20 years. That’s true, but it’s also true that Australia is a massive producer and exporter of CO2 generating substances. The CO2 emissions per head in Australia are 18.6 tons, mostly from coal used in power generation. Natural gas is frantically exported to other countries, which made the city of Adelaide recently go without electricity, when the gas ran out…  

Canada, with its boyish heir to the throne, Trudeau, is paying lip service to climate change, all cosmetic: in spite of giant hydropower in some states, for example Quebec, the country is a miserable 15.5 tons per capita per year in CO2 emissions. Mostly because Canada selfishly, not to say dementedly, insists to produce and export the world’s most polluting fuel, tar sands. I guess, when you have killed nearly all the Indians and French-Indian metis, you may as well try to kill the rest of the planet too. Good things have come out of these massacres… (I feel, that, as Putin himself had the impudent honesty of recognizing, higher-ups in Canada believe that global warming is a good thing. Some of Trump’s advisers have expressed the same feelings, long hidden at the top of America…)

A few months ago, during the Austral summer, a French expedition pushed towards the Totten glacier, not far from the Dumont Durville station. They dived along the massive cliff of the iceshelf.

The French have the only autonomous scaphander tech to dive in subfreezing waters: the equipment weights hundreds of pounds and is figured as cover story in National Geographic, July 2017. The entire swimsuit has several layers, one of them being electrically heated… The report is fascinating:

“Deepest Dive Ever Under Antarctica Reveals a Shockingly Vibrant World. 
Our special report offers a rare look at life beneath the frozen continent—where penguins, seals, and exotic creatures thrive.
Tendrils of ice-covered brine, or brinicles, leak from sea ice near East Antarctica’s Dumont d’Urville Station. Ephemeral and seldom seen, they form when trapped, supercooled brine escapes from the ice and freezes less salty seawater…”

Notice the hanging tentacles of ice…

The French scientists dived next to a towering cliff, and expected the ice to go deep, hundreds of meters deep. Instead, it mysteriously stopped, sort of right away. The scientists were floored by this discovery. In my humble opinion, it seems the ice is just hanging there from a cantilever effect. That would explain why the iceshelves so readily disintegrate… It also mean the ice is melted from below by the warm circumpolar current, irresistibly gnawing, preparing to spring a nonlinear trap, onto a humanity in denial…

Global warming is a fact, not just a theory! Yet, it gives us the occasion of drawing conclusions about national moods…

Patrice Ayme’

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Runaway Antarctica

April 1, 2016

I have written for years that a runaway Antarctica was certain, with half the icy continent melting rather spectacularly on an horizon of two centuries at most, and probably much less than that. This rested on the fact that half of Antarctica rests on nothing but bedrock at the bottom of the sea. At the bottom of what should naturally be the sea, in the present circumstances of significant greenhouse gas concentrations.

Visualize this: until sometimes in the Nineteenth Century, GreenHouse Gas (GHG) concentration was 280 ppm (280 parts per million), including the man-made sort. Now we are close to 500 ppm, using a variety of exotic gases we produce industrially, among them, CO2. In CO2 alone we are at:  Week beginning on March 20, 2016: 405.62 ppm. Weekly value from 1 year ago: 401.43 ppm. Weekly value from 10 years ago: 382.76 ppm. So the CO2 alone is augmenting at a bit more than 1% a year. Thus we will be at an equivalent of 550 ppm in ten years (including the full panoply of all the other man-made greenhouse gases, not just CO2). There is evidence that, with just 400 ppm, disaster is guaranteed.

Now visualize this:

How Antarctica would appear if its ice melted: it’s half under the sea.

How Antarctica would appear if its ice melted: it’s half under the sea.

Why so watery? Because the enormous glaciers, up to nearly 5,000 meter thick, press down on the continent with their enormous weight. Since the end of the last glaciation, 10,000 years ago, Scandinavia has been rising, and is still rising (I long used a picture with a similar information about Antarctica’s bedrock.)

A paper published on line in Nature on March 30, 2016, that is, two days ago, “Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise” opines that:

Polar temperatures over the last several million years have, at times, been slightly warmer than today, yet global mean sea level has been 6–9 metres higher as recently as the Last Interglacial (130,000 to 115,000 years ago) and possibly higher during the Pliocene epoch (about three million years ago). In both cases the Antarctic ice sheet has been implicated as the primary contributor, hinting at its future vulnerability. Here we use a model coupling ice sheet and climate dynamics—including previously underappreciated processes linking atmospheric warming with hydrofracturing of buttressing ice shelves and structural collapse of marine-terminating ice cliffs—that is calibrated against Pliocene and Last Interglacial sea-level estimates and applied to future greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated. In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years.

Notice that the scenario evoked in the last sentence is different from my  very old scenario, which is similar to the one advanced in November 2015 by the famous Hansen and Al. (I raised the alarm before Hansen, at least seven years ago). In my scenario, and Hansen’s the ice sheets melt from below, due to warm sea water intrusion.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is larger than Mexico.

Here is a taste of the paper (I have a Nature subscription):

“Reconstructions of the global mean sea level (GMSL) during past warm climate intervals including the Pliocene (about three million years ago)1 and late Pleistocene interglacials2, 3, 4, 5 imply that the Antarctic ice sheet has considerable sensitivity. Pliocene atmospheric CO2 concentrations were comparable to today’s (~400 parts per million by volume, p.p.m.v.)6, but some sea-level reconstructions are 10–30 m higher1, 7. In addition to the loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)2, these high sea levels require the partial retreat of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), which is further supported by sedimentary evidence from the Antarctic margin8. During the more recent Last Interglacial (LIG, 130,000 to 115,000 years ago), GMSL was 6–9.3 m higher than it is today2, 3, 4, at a time when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were below 280 p.p.m.v. (ref. 9) and global mean temperatures were only about 0–2 °C warmer10. This requires a substantial sea-level contribution from Antarctica of 3.6–7.4 m in addition to an estimated 1.5–2 m from Greenland11, 12 and around 0.4 m from ocean steric effects10.”

So notice: when CO2 ppm per volume was at 280 130,000 to 115,000 years ago, sea level was up to ten meter higher than now. And now we are at 500 ppmv…

And notice again: When CO2 ppmv was at 400, sea level was up to 30 meters (100 feet) higher than today. And now we are at 500 ppm, and, in a blink, in ten years, at 550 ppm.

Here is another example from the paper. I said all of this before, but to have scientists paid to do research in this area write it black on white in the world’s most prestigious scientific magazine, will no doubt endow me with greater, and much desired, gravitas. So let me indulge, not so much for my greater glory, but because it should help taking what I have long said more seriously.

“Much of the WAIS sits on bedrock hundreds to thousands of metres below sea level (Fig. 1a)13. Today, extensive floating ice shelves in the Ross and Weddell Seas, and smaller ice shelves and ice tongues in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas (Fig. 1b) provide buttressing that impedes the seaward flow of ice and stabilizes marine grounding zones (Fig. 2a). Despite their thickness (typically about 1 km near the grounding line to a few hundred metres at the calving front), a warming ocean has the potential to quickly erode ice shelves from below, at rates exceeding 10 m yr−1 °C−1 (ref. 14). Ice-shelf thinning and reduced backstress enhance seaward ice flow, grounding-zone thinning, and retreat (Fig. 2b). Because the flux of ice across the grounding line increases strongly as a function of its thickness15, initial retreat onto a reverse-sloping bed (where the bed deepens and the ice thickens upstream) can trigger a runaway Marine Ice Sheet Instability (MISI; Fig. 2c)15, 16, 17. Many WAIS grounding zones sit precariously on the edge of such reverse-sloped beds, but the EAIS also contains deep subglacial basins with reverse-sloping, marine-terminating outlet troughs up to 1,500 m deep (Fig. 1). The ice above floatation in these East Antarctic basins is much thicker than in West Antarctica, with the potential to raise GMSL by around 20 m if the ice in those basins is lost13. Importantly, previous ice-sheet simulations accounting for migrating grounding lines and MISI dynamics have shown the potential for repeated WAIS retreats and readvances over the past few million years18, but could only account for GMSL rises of about 1 m during the LIG and 7 m in the warm Pliocene, which are substantially smaller than geological estimates.”

I said it before. Including the details. So the evidence was clear, and out there. The optimism (it will take 5 centuries for 50 feet of sea level rise) is not supported by evidence. Actually collapsing channels coming from inverted rivers running up on the bellies of ice sheets are now obvious on satellite pictures and collapse of major ice shelves is going to be a matter of years, not centuries.

But science is made by tribes and these tribes honor the gods (of plutocracy) who finance them, and their whims. So they don’t want to make their sponsors feel bad. So they say unsupported, optimistic stuff, contradicted by a first order analysis.

Science is good, metascience, better. Metascience includes the sociological reasons which explain why some scientists will take some “facts” for obvious (although, coming from another sociology, they are not).

Deep in the Nature paper, in the quote above, or in four drawings and graphs of future sea level rise, one can find projections according to what various models “predict”… 130,000 years ago (!) The “Old Physics” model predicts one meter rise of the sea (this is the official UN maximal prediction for 2100). The new model, again starting with the present conditions, predict more than a six meter rise (!) This is a case of metascience playing with sea level.

This way, the authors of the paper will be able to say, one day: we told you so. While at the same time not irritating their sponsors now (because to understand what they are really saying takes quite a while, and has to be understood as tongue in cheek, when they pretend to apply the analysis to 130,000 years ago… What they really mean is six meters now, not just one meter… Bye bye Wall Street. Punished by its own instruments…)

The question is not whether we will be able to avoid a twenty meter sea level rise: that’s, unbelievably, a given (barring unforeseeable, yet imaginable technological advances to extract quickly a lot of CO2 from the atmosphere). The question is whether we will avoid a 60 meter rise.

Patrice Ayme’

NASA’s Antarctic Interpretational Error

March 6, 2016

NASA observed a gain of altitude of much of Antarctica. From there NASA scientists deduced that Antarctica was gaining ice and snow. Unfortunately, as they admit, this leads them to predict that there is an unknown, massive cause of Sea Level Rise (SLR). The advantage is that this hypothesis makes nice with NASA’s sponsors (fossil fuels loving Republicans controlling Congress and the Supreme Court of the US). The disadvantage is that all SLR contributing factors have been accounted for, but one. And that one, NASA just denied, that it could possibly exist.

However, there is another interpretation differing vastly from the one NASA scientists made: Antarctica is gaining ice, snow, and… WATER. NASA did not see the water. How could it? Back to preschool: the water is below, the ice on top. See? The water is below, thus sight unseen. The ice is actually floating up. But that does not mean it’s not there. Actually the NASA map itself shows where the water is coming in. It’s not because one does not see something that one should not consider it. Progress in thinking is always achieved ONLY by considering what one has not considered before. So it’s always an exercise in atonement.

Water Sneaking Below The Ice: This Is The One Factor That Will Dominate Sea Level Rise, If It Does Not Already Do So

Water Sneaking Below The Ice: This Is The One Factor That Will Dominate Sea Level Rise, If It Does Not Already Do So

Of course such an explanation is valid only when there is water laying below the ice. But this is actually much of Antarctica, already. In some places, water goes below ice shelves, by 800 kilometers (500 miles). Much of the solid continent has lakes below the ice.

NASA’s Altitude Accumulation Map Shows Where Water Penetration Already Occurs

NASA’s Altitude Accumulation Map Shows Where Water Penetration Already Occurs

When NASA looks at this map, it claims that Antarctica is gathering snow. Indeed, globally, it is: warmer air carries more water, so, the warmer the air, the more it snows… until all turns to rain! This is why there are tropical downpours. This was fully expected by those, who, like me, believe in catastrophic temperature, and sea level, rise.

So NASA blares gigantic titles, to make its sponsors feel good about themselves, and thus expecting their gratitude: NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses. In truth, all what NASA saw was:  NASA study: ALTITUDE Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses. Altitude is not mass. Oops!

However, the NASA map clearly shows something OMINOUS is going on. Antarctica is quite a bit like the space shuttle Columbia warmed by the hot fluid during its final re-entry in the Earth atmosphere. All the area in grey, green and a fortiori blue are losing altitude. They are not anymore north, or warmer: it is that water is sneaking in below, melting the ice which then contracts. Hence the loss of altitude, because ice occupies (roughly) ten percent more volume than water of the same mass.

So NASA’s map shows, at a glance, that around 10% of Antarctica is undermined by water (or then is in a zone of thinning due to accelerated flow, caused by underlining water, or proximity of underlying water accelerating and thining glacial flow).

But this is not all: the areas undermined and sinking, thus invaded by water below, are the gateways of the West Antarctic Ice Shield (WAIS), the Wilkes Basin, and the Aurora Basin.

WAIS is 1.97 x 10^6 square kilometers in area (a fifth of the area of the USA, Canada, or China). The ice sheet is more than 2,000 meters thick in many parts, and its icy belly rests 2555 meters below sea level, directly on the rock at its lowest (more than a mile and a half). If warm water got there, the WAIS, or portions thereof, would quickly disintegrate.

Remember the wing on Space Shuttle Columbia? Hot gases penetrated in one gap in the front of the wing, and then went all over inside, disintegrating the innards. Antarctica has at least a dozen similar holes, through which HOT WATER is sneaking in. Under the Totten glacier, the narrow gateway to the giant Aurora Ice Basin, hot water has already penetrated hundreds of kilometers.

More generally, this error of NASA, brings the question of what the scientific method is. One make a theory, and then one finds out whether the theory fits the fact better. If it does, it’s viewed as true (meaning more true). Depending how the new theory fits better and differs more, the difference between the new and the old theory can be viewed as the difference between “truth” and “error”.

That water is coming up below the ice explains SLR. NASA’s theory does not. This makes my theory experimentally superior to NASA. This is traditional evaluation of the correctness of one scientific theory relative to another.

However, there is more. I claim that when comparing scientific theories, one cannot just judge if one theory fits the known facts better.

An example is the theory of glaciations. It was started by a Frenchman in the early Nineteenth Century. The key observation was that huge continents are bunched around the North Pole, so their insolation is sensitive to Earth’s orbital elements.

The theory was launched by Joseph Alphonse Adhémar (1797–1862), a French mathematician. He published this fundamental idea in 1842, in his book Revolutions of the Sea.[1] It took 160 years, and sophisticated computers to check that the theory was right.

So what was the difference? The idea. A new complexity. Adhémar introduced the completely new idea, that astronomical forces changed earth’s climate. It was a new dimension of complexity (at the time scientists, including Goethe, had just uncovered the existence of past extensive glaciations).

The difference between an erroneous, obsolete theory and a better one is often an addition of logical dimension(s). Thus Einstein’s “General Relativity” predicted a faster precession of the perihelion of Mercury, because time slows down closer to the massive sun. This was the introduction of a new element of complexity: classical mechanics, but with VARIABLE time.

Similarly, my theory on Antarctica introduces a new element: water. That element not considered by NASA adds a logical dimension. That makes my theory more sophisticated. When comparing theories, one has to compare not just their experimental predictions, but their logical sophistication.

Patrice Ayme’

Proof ANTARCTICA Is BREAKING UP

March 2, 2016

OUTSMARTING NASA (or is NASA, and other climate “scientists” being deliberately dumb?):

Abstract: Found below is the proof that Antarctica Is Already Breaking Up. Using a recent NASA study is crucial. Interestingly NASA drew the opposite conclusion from its own data. Had NASA been more ASTUTE, its data would have let it to the conclusion below. Amazingly, it did not. It’s all about the water level not changing in a glass with melting ice, and contrasting it with what happens when one starts with ice only!

***

I was reading the description of the damage from Sea Level Rise (SLR) in “Learning From Dogs”:“Interconnections Two”. Therein are found reference to “scientific” papers. The big question is what does “scientific” mean? “Science” means what’s known. The problem is that today’s scientists are afraid of the biggest questions, because the answers attached to them are very ugly, something intolerable in the age of beauty, celebrity, and philanthropy (aka plutocracy).

Antarctica Stripped Of Ice. In Some Places, Ice Rests On The Ground 2,500 Meters Below Sea Level (a mile and a half).

Antarctica Stripped Of Ice. In Some Places, Ice Rests On The Ground 2,500 Meters Below Sea Level (a mile and a half).

[NASA picture. The greyish area is now covered by kilometers of ice. The ice presses down with enormous weight, so its bottom is kilometers below sea level.]

Up to 2015, no reputable scientist would have dared to consider that the polar ice sheets could melt before several millennia. Such a contemplation was way too dangerous for their careers and livelihood. Thus the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) excluded considering the gigantic masses of ice covering Greenland and Antarctica for its computations of Sea Level Rise. This is rather curious as the main factor in SLR is the melting of ice. This how the IPCC got to a roughly ONLY one meter of SLR by 2100 CE.

However, there is an obvious way to melt maybe half of the ice sheets instantaneously on a geological time scale: four degree centigrade (38 F) water is the densest, and can melt the threshold, the stoop holding them tight. Once that’s done, the water can flow down on the other side, a mile down or more.

Scientists have to be careful, because they need to be funded. In the plutocratic USA, funding varies from year to year, like carrots do for donkeys from day-to-day. The authorities funding “scientists” ultimately depend upon the fossil fuel lobby and related plutocratic lobbies which fund both politicians and private (“elite”) universities. So scientists cannot dare to roll out a half-baked theory, before we get fully baked ourselves. (But don’t worry, plutocrats want to roast us ASAP.)

Dr. Hansen, who used to work for NASA as chief climate scientist, published last Spring (2015) what he viewed as his “most important paper ever” arguing that ice sheet melting could rise sea level within a century or two by several meters. I am not that sanguine, I think it will happen much faster, and I can prove that it already started.

Indeed there is an obvious theory, full of brand new science, which demonstrates that the break-up of Antarctica ice sheets has already started: on October 30 2015, NASA published studies showing that Antarctica is actually gathering snow… And not losing it.

NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses:

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.”

This is expected as the warmer it gets, the more the air carries water, the more it snows (until it turns to rain!) “We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”  Zwally added that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.”

To deduce the “net gain”, NASA, also using satellite data, watching changes of altitude carefully computed how much the volume change:

“Scientists calculate how much the ice sheet is growing or shrinking from the changes in surface height that are measured by the satellite altimeters. In locations where the amount of new snowfall accumulating on an ice sheet is not equal to the ice flow downward and outward to the ocean, the surface height changes and the ice-sheet mass grows or shrinks.

But it might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse, according to Zwally. “If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the same rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long-term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years — I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses.”

NOW THE BIG QUESTION:

So, if Antarctica is gathering ever more snow, as NASA showed, and as Sea Level Rise is accelerating, what is going on?

Officially, no one knows.

But I do know what is going on, because I think, and, as I am not funded by fossil fuel plutocracy, and I am strongly motivated as I consider anthropomorphic climate change the greatest problem humanity ever faced.

As all other factors have been considered, and as Sherlock Holmes would observe, all is left is what we cannot see: the ice sheets are already breaking up, from below. As I described in several essays, there is evidence that the Totten glacier, the plug holding the giant Aurora Basin in Antarctica, has melted on hundreds of kilometers, much below its apparently placid surface.

How come NASA did not see it? Because, if one puts ice in a glass containing water, and keep the temperature high enough to melt all the ice, the water level will NOT change. (This can be viewed as a consequence of Archimedes Principle).

So far, so good. However, the ice sheets are not floating: they rest on the ground, until the famous “grounding line”. So one cannot apply Archimedes Principle to start with. although one has to apply it, once the ice shield has become an ice SHELF, and floats, because it melted.

The very fact NASA saw nothing, no change of elevation, means a loss of mass from the ice sheets. This is due to the fact that ice occupies more volume than water. Relative to water, ice has only .91 of the density: this is why ice floats on water (Archimedes Principle).

So the ice sheets are breaking down, MELTING FROM BELOW, and they don’t go down, because more water is coming in.

Contemplate an ice cube in a glass: contemplate the top surface of the ice cube. That is what NASA’s satellites look at. If an ice cube melts in the glass, its top surface goes down until it completely disappears, level with the water surface. This loss of altitude is what NASA did not see, and thus it claims there is no melting. However, in the case of an ice sheet, to start with, the ice is resting on the ground, and there is NO water.

As the melting proceeds, water appears below. If the top level of the cube does not come down, it is that more water has been brought in.

How would we know this is happening? Well, if the global Sea Level is rising. Not only that, but SLR is accelerating (by 30% in the last three years).

If I find time, I will draw a little cartoon of the situation, but that’s not easy on a smartphone (I don’t own a tablet…)

Antarctica is breaking up. It’s happening from below, sight unseen. It requires a bit of logic to understand it, as we saw. When the unexplained Sea Level Rise will become blatantly catastrophic, and the climate in public opinion will be safe enough to parrot the reasoning above, said reasoning will be made by all scientists. Of artful parroting, and “hiding one’s sources” a successful scientific career is made… said no less an authority than Albert Einstein. However, that’s not as bad as hiding the main source of accelerating Sea Level Rise, as all climate scientists are presently doing, led by NASA.

A “scientist” is someone who knows. When “scientists” don’t want to know, lest they don’t get a paycheck, are they still “scientists”?

More generally, thinkers, those who think creatively, tend not to get a paycheck, because really new ideas are unsettling to all ideas. Those have most of the money generally have no interest to unsettle the established order upon which their fortunes rest. And it is the more so, the richer the richest individuals are. This is why a state owned by just one family, like Saudi Arabia, is so “conservative”. So, do we want to think, or do we accept to drown? That is the question.

In its own press release, linked above, NASA scientists declared:

“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”

Well, it’s coming from Antarctica. It’s your logic which is faulty.

Patrice Ayme’

Antarctica Disintegrating Soon

December 9, 2015

[One more essay to contribute to the Paris’ CO2 negotiations!] One has to be careful with science. Science is certain knowledge. And certain knowledge is not just hard to gather, it is subtle, and even harder to organize in a coherent logic. It is pretty much certain that Antarctica will melt (in my opinion). However a NASA study, just out, claims that Antarctica is gathering a huge amount of ice:

“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.”

If One Looks Carefully, One Can See The Three Places Where Warm Water Is Sneaking In Below (In Green & Blue in WAIS and In East Antarctica).

If One Looks Carefully, One Can See The Three Places Where Warm Water Is Sneaking In Below (In Green & Blue in WAIS and In East Antarctica).

This, paradoxically, does not contradict any of my apocalyptic predictions about Antarctica. Quite the opposite: a greater snowfall is a mark of a warming climate. Warmer air carries more moisture. The gathering of snow and ice in the interior and at high altitude, over wide expanses has not effect to the melt extending below.

In truth, the situation is dire and will evolve quickly. One is reminded of the Space Shuttle Columbia, when hot gases penetrated in its left wing. After they got in, they melted vital equipment all over inside, including hydraulics, and the shuttle struggled for control, finally losing its wing.

http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=4347

Antarctica’s ice shelves — the thick, floating slabs of ice which encircle the continent — are melting. The shelves slow and stabilize the glaciers, hundreds of kilometers behind them. They are succumbing to a hidden force: deep, warming ocean currents are melting the ice from beneath ice shelves, and up giant valleys penetrating the continent.

The collapse of small ice shelves caused glaciers to accelerate two-fold to ten-fold and spill more ice into the ocean, raising sea level. A study published in April shows that more ice shelves are threatened: From 1994 to 2012, the rate of ice shelf shrinkage increased twelvefold. Parts of the ice sheet considered at risk hold enough ice to raise the global sea level by 22 feet (seven meters). Here’s the latest on Antarctica’s vulnerability in 2015:

More Snow, Less Ice:

Climatologists speculated in the 1990s that Antarctica might slow sea level rise. They fancied that rising temperatures would produce more water vapor, leading to more snowfall and more ice. This is indeed what the latest NASA study shows. Researchers reported in March, and November 20215, that over the past 20,000 years, warmer temperatures have indeed correlated with higher snowfall: For each Fahrenheit degree of warming, snowfall increased by about 2.7 percent. But that does not mean the threat of fast melting receded..

Larsen B’s Last Gasp:

Glaciologists reported in June that the last remnant of the Larsen B Ice Shelf is splintering, and glaciers flowing into it are accelerating. Its approaching demise continues a disturbing trend: the progressive collapse of five ice shelves since 1989.

Next, Larsen C:

The neighboring, and much larger Larsen C Ice Shelf, a significant part of the Antarctica Peninsula, could soon collapse (hey, it’s summer!). A major crack is advancing rapidly, reaching an unprecedented 60 miles long in early 2015. (A British base in the Ross Ice Shelf is threatened by another advancing crack, and is scheduled to be moved ASAP! A German base disappeared altogether.)

Southern Peninsula “Starting to Sweat “:

(“Sweating” was the term used in a scientific report…) While the glaciers in this region seemed stable, warming ocean currents have been melting the belly of the ice. Results published in May show this region crossed a threshold in 2009, with a dozen major glaciers simultaneously starting to thin, “sweating off” 60 billion tons of ice per year.

Weak Underbelly:

The Amundsen Sea coast is the vulnerable underbelly of West Antarctica. Its glaciers slide on beds that lie nearly a mile below sea level, exposing them to ocean currents. New data show ice shelves are collectively losing 100 billion tons of ice per year, and glaciers have accelerated by up to 70 percent.

Hidden Hazards in the East:

East Antarctica, situated on high ground that protects it from warming ocean currents, was considered stable, impervious, a Reich to last 10,000 years, strong and dominating. But not exactly, according to surveys with ice-penetrating radar. A March study shows that one large swath of the ice sheet sits on beds as deep as 8,000 feet below sea level and is connected, by very long, deep valleys to warming ocean currents. Totten Glacier, one of East Antarctica’s largest ocean outlets, is already thinning — an ominous sign, since this single glacier drains enough ice from the AURORA Basin to raise the sea level more than all of West Antarctica’s ice loss would. The mouth of the Totten glacier is well north of the southern polar circle. This means that the potential for warming from decreased albedo is considerable.

The same story is unfolding with the Wilkes Basin, as I have explained.

Thus, right now, sea level is rising slowly, and climate change deniers are chuckling, because Antarctica is gathering warm snow. But, once the warm currents penetrate in force, and they will, Antarctica will go the way of the Space Shuttle: sudden, irresistible disintegration.

A last riddle is that, should the latest story (above) from part of NASA, be correct (and not another piece of disinformation to serve the fossil fuel plutocracy, as happened more than once in the past), how come sea level is increasing as fast as is presently observed? The math just don’t add up: the greatest contribution to sea level rise comes in with the wrong sign! So either the latest NASA accumulation studies are wrong, or there is a massive contribution to sea level rise undetected so far (the worst is imaginable…) Just when we saw that the Green House Gas disaster was boring in its irresistible unfolding, a new mystery surfaces…

Patrice Ayme’

 

Ice Sheets Melt: Academics Waking Up; New York Times In Denial

September 25, 2015

There has never been a more important moral, philosophical, military, civilizational, psychological, sociological and economic issue than the concerted holocaust of the biosphere by Homo Sapiens, presently passing one tipping point after another. Thus I will not present excuses for keeping abreast of any advance in understanding in the field. Even if it is just to confirm what I have long said.

The first scientific paper including computerized models of ice sheets melt predicts the obvious: if we burn all PROVEN fossil fuels reserves, ice will completely melt, all over Earth. Yet, it is a big surprise to most scientists.

This is humanity as a geologic force,” said Ken Caldeira, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, an author of the paper. “We’re not a subtle influence on the climate system – we are really hitting it with a hammer.”

Nice to read. Nietzsche was doing philosophy with a hammer, we went further: we are doing climate with a hammer. Hopefully, it will crack soon: nothing like a great catastrophe to bring further fascism. Nihilism is bad thing, naivety, even worse. To please the powers that be, and thus to be taken seriously, serious climate scientists have made unwarranted, profoundly unscientific, over-optimistic declarations about the ice sheets. Now they time is up. In truth the GreenHouse emissions are completely out of control, and still increasing… At a geological scale, every year:

50 Gigatons Per Year: This GreenHouse Is Bigger Than CO2 Alone

50 Gigatons Per Year: This GreenHouse Is Bigger Than CO2 Alone

“I didn’t expect it would go so fast,” Dr. Caldeira said.To melt all of Antarctica, I thought it would take something like 10,000 years.” Didn’t they all. Why? Because only then would one be invited at the White House. Thinking correctly means, first, to think in a way that pleases those with power.

“Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet” [Ricarda Winkelmann, Anders Levermann, Andy Ridgwell, Ken Caldeira]:

“The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 meters in global sea-level rise. We show in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 meters per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.”

The famous Doctor Hansen and his collaborators upset the establishment two months ago by predicting a rise of three meters within 85 years (they use the reasoning I have used before, namely that paleontological data show sea level rise of 5 to 9 meters, with a rise of just one degree Celsius; actually the reasoning was obvious since 2009, when I pointed out that “2C Is Too Much“). The new paper potentially confirms Hansen’s findings. As I said, the new paper tries to NOT upset the powers that be (differently from yours truly, who views most individuals and institutions in power more than suspiciously, and it shows).  Thus, one has to read between the lines to deduce that, from the paper itself, interpreting it optimistically is completely unwarranted.

The paper says: “Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions.” Hmm… Let’s see, how long would that take, at the present increasing rate? Now emissions of CO2 itself are around 35 Gt, per year (35 billion tons of CO2, per year). That’s a number often brandished, but, left at that, it’s disinformation.  With other GreenHouse Gases, we are at 50 Gigatons of CO2 equivalent emission, per year. Sorry for taxing the mathematical capabilities of our great leaders:  12 x 50 = 600. This fits perfectly my “Ten Years To Catastrophe” essay. Thus, the West and EAST Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable in TWELVE YEARS (according to this paper; I obtained the same rough estimate with a paleoclimatic approach).

The United Nations has said that the rise of the sea would not likely exceed three feet in this century. Some island nations will be wiped out (oops). Yet experts officially hope that major cities could be protected from it, in the richest countries that is (re-oops), though at a cost in the trillions of dollars (contemplate the enormous works to protect London or Venice).

The New York Times mentioned the paper above, which say the ice sheets will start melting irreversibly within a decade, to argue, in Politically Correct fashion, that ice sheets respond slowly enough to changes in the climate that it simply takes longer than a century for large-scale melting to begin. As if that notion was in the paper. It is not. Far from it. As I have argued before, that notion is ridiculous.

Indeed, warm water will rush below the ice sheets in West Antarctica, and East Antarctica’s immense Wilkes and Aurora subglacial basins.

Subglacial Basins Are The Achilles’ Heel Of The Biosphere

Subglacial Basins Are The Achilles’ Heel Of The Biosphere

{WAIS = West Antarctica Ice Shelf; WB = Wilkes Basin; AB = Aurora Basin.]

Yet from that (tipping) point on, the paper found that thereafter, the sea would rise at the rate at a foot per decade, ten times faster than now, the New York Times admitted.

However the real text is much more alarming. Here is an extract:

“The Antarctic Ice Sheet is severely affected by high carbon emissions through both the marine ice-sheet instability and surface elevation feedbacks. On the time scale of millennia, large parts of the ice sheet melt or drain into the ocean, raising global sea level by several tens of meters. Most of the ice loss occurs within the first millennium, leading to high rates of sea-level rise during this period (Fig. 3; for more details, see also fig. S6). Our simulations show that cumulative emissions of 500 GtC commit us to long-term sea-level rise from Antarctica of 1.15 m within the next millenium, which is consistent with the sensitivity of 1.2 m/°C derived with a different ice-sheet model (33, 34). Paleo data suggest that similar rates of sea-level rise have occurred during past warm periods (35). If the 2°C target, corresponding to about 600 GtC of additional carbon release compared to year 2010, were attained, the millennial sea-level rise from Antarctica could likely be restricted to 2 m. In our simulations, this would keep the ice sheet below the threshold for the collapse of the Wilkes Basin. However, if that threshold is crossed, the Antarctic ice cover is significantly reduced in thickness and area (Fig. 4). If we were to release all currently attainable fossil fuel resources, Antarctica would become almost ice-free. It is unclear whether this dynamic discharge would be reversible and, if so, on which time scales.”

As I already said, since 2010, we have added another 230 Gigatons. So we are within eight year of the Wilkes ice sheet, the largest in the world, to become unstable. The paper admitted that about half the Antarctic ice sheet would melt or fall into the sea in the first thousand years.”

The New York Times’ interpretation  that it will take nearly a century for dramatic melting to start was obviously tainted. It is just driven by political Machiavellianism: let’s admit there is climate “change” just as there is sea level “change”, and misinform about the unfolding catastrophe (although Main Stream Media had to recently admit the snow pack in California last April was the lowest in at least 500 years). How do I know this? The scientific paper used computerized models of the huge ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland. It is the first paper to do so. Yet, according to the biased New York Times, it would have found exactly what the UN found, during this century… Although the UN did not incorporate the ice sheet melt models.

Once the ice sheet melting is incorporated, faster melting ought to have been predicted, for THIS century. However that grim prediction would have upset the powers that be. We don’t want that to happen. Now that they have the drone habit, killing throngs of people they know nothing about, who knows what’s coming next if one disparages them? Beheading and crucifixion at the most esteemed Saudi plutocracy?

For plutocrats, the Saudis are a model of Human Rights: thus they elected them to head the UN panel on Human Rights. And ice sheet melting is perfect: all great catastrophes call onto lining up fanatically behind whom Obama celebrates as our “leaders” (our masters). If a bit of engineered inflation could bring Hitler, imagine what an inflating ocean can bring! A great future for the few who rule us, tax-free.

Patrice Ayme’

Antarctica Heat Records. A Consequence Of Hubris?

April 1, 2015

WE KNEW OF NUCLEAR MELT-DOWNS. WHAT ABOUT HUBRIS MELT-DOWNS?

Hubris melting down world security, including Antarctica. Five national heat records were beaten since the start of 2015.

Including the one in Antarctica, last week.

The poles are where heat records are going to be achieved the most.

Why?

Planetary warming is concentrated there. If the temperature goes up two degrees Celsius overall, it will get up TEN degrees Celsius at the Poles. Or so I claim. (Right now we are up officially only .8 degree Celsius, in the global average.)

NASA explains why climate change is warming the poles of our planet faster than the rest this way: “energy in the atmosphere that is carried to the poles through large weather systems.”

That is true, but does not explain the big picture.

500 Kilometers South Of Esperanza Base, Lemaire Channel.

500 Kilometers South Of Esperanza Base, Lemaire Channel.

[Antarctica has 70% of the World’s sweet water.]

The big picture of why the poles are warming up so fast is proven by history, and explained by simple physics. The history of the last five million years, basic thermodynamics, biology and celestial mechanics. It’s etched in stone.

Five millions years ago, the planet was warm. The global CO2 level was the same as now. The global sea level was much higher (30 to 40 meters higher). Then the Central America isthmus closed down, thanks to all its volcanoes. This modified currents worldwide. Or, at least, so went the theory that reigned for thirty years. But now doubts have surfaced; the isthmus between the Americas may be much older than previously thought.

In any case, a few million years ago, Earth’s orbital parameters changed: the inclination of the Earth on the ecliptic (the plane in which its rotation occurs) diminished. That implied colder summers, hence the persistence, thus built-up, of ice at the poles.

Glaciations are all about the peak temperatures, in summer (the rest of the year does not count: ice melts mostly in the warmest two months).

The Arctic became colder, as it got colder in summer. Ice gained, shutting down the CO2 within the ocean with a cold water lid. So CO2 levels in the lower atmosphere collapsed… Down to about 280 ppm. That increased the cooling down. The ice gained further… Until it went so south that it melted in summer.

The planet ended up with two very white, snowy and icy poles, reflecting a lot of light back to space. Earth got equipped with two immense refrigerators. This is the environment in which our species evolved (although there were a few transient spikes even warmer than today, for as inclination over the ecliptic became momentarily pronounced, with torrid summers that made ice melt; the present warming is different, as it is Anthropogenic Green House Gases driven; particularly nasty volcanism could drive the CO2 up, but did not happen in the last five million years.)

Now we are back to Pliocene CO2 levels, 5 million years ago. With these levels of CO2, so much infrared radiation gets trapped close the ground, that the refrigerators are bound to melt. Another reason is that the warm CO2 blanket tends to unify the temperature.

Another way to look at it is that the temperature of the equatorial regions is an average of 25C. The average temperature of the planet is 15C. The average temperature within Antarctica goes from -10C (Coast) to -60C (Interior). Say it’s minus 45C (the official estimate).

If the CO2 blanket is thick enough, the poles will roughly get as warm as the rest.

There will be a lot of inertia: when an ice cube melts in water, the water stays around freezing during the process.

The warmest temperature recorded on the continent of Antarctica occurred on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, when the mercury shot up to 63.5°F (17.5°C) at Argentina’s Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Shown below:

Esperanza Base, Antarctica: the Glaciers Even Appear To Be Melting

Esperanza Base, Antarctica: the Glaciers Even Appear To Be Melting

[Glaciers that are melting are thin at the margins, and convex… Just as above on the left and center.]

The previous record was 63.3°F (17.4°C) set just one day previously at Argentina’s Marambio Base, an island just off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

I am warming up to this subject. (And I did not even mention the relationship between obesity and rising CO2 that some researchers have recently suggested. C02 rose around 30% in 60 years…)

According to satellite data, researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK, found that sea level rise around the coast of Antarctica over the past 19 years was 8 centimeters (3.15 inches).

Average sea level rise was 6 centimeters (2.36 inches).

Why the difference?

Last summer, in Nature Geoscience, the specialists explained that melting glaciers create an outflow of sweet water. As it is less dense, it floats above the salted water, according to Archimedes Principle.

This will only accelerate melting.

Up north, on February 25, 2015, Arctic sea ice extent reached its annual maximum extent. It was the lowest, and earliest, ever.

Humanity would seem to be in a fascinating state of denial. But not really. After all, maybe only 2,000 individuals lead the world.

Those individuals, who Obama calls the “leaders” (what else?) can only adopt Louis XV of France’s utterance: ”Après moi, le déluge”. (After me, the flood.)

Indeed those leaders are different creatures. Those who are so much greedier for personal power that they end up dominating billions, can only be blinded by it. They have more power than anybody before. More power than any tyrant ever had before.

Contemplate Benjamin Netanyahu: he could fry Iran, with Israeli H bombs. That has got to make him dizzy. And he leads only six million Israeli Jews (who make 75% of Israel’s 8 million).

Now think of Putin, with 24 times more subjects, and more than 8,000 nukes.

Then contemplate the senseless wars the Greek city-states were making to each other. Everybody was allied, and enemy, of everybody else, and often in very short order (weeks). Meanwhile the “King”, namely the emperor of Persia, was busy making the mess messier, with the tremendous money, power and influence at his disposal.

This fibrillating, bellicose frenzy went on and on. Until the plutocrats from the north, the Macedonians, whose wealth rested on horses and gold mines, swooped down.

We could easily fall back in a similar state.

It was the inability of Athens to impose a sustainable empire that caused the war panic in Greece. The war itself was launched by Sparta’s anxiety for the rise of Athenian power (said Thucydides, 24 centuries ago). Sparta’s socio-economic model, ferocious racist exploitation (of the Helots) was failing. Athens’ global trade was winning.

But, too sure of her strength, Athens mismanaged the war (in several dimensions: ethically, strategically, tactically, diplomatically, epidemiologically, etc.).

Result? 23 centuries of eclipse of direct democracy. And counting. Direct Democracy has been re-installed only in Switzerland. Now the stakes are higher. Western Europe is at peace… All too much.

The Main Stream Media have put everybody to sleep. Regularly the media, in turn, publish articles of Matt Ridley. An excellent writer, with a PhD in biology, author of many best sellers in life sciences, Matt Ridley returns to the Wall Street Journal to to argue against clean energy rapidly scaling up, and the science linking the year 2014’s record heat, widespread extreme weather with carbon pollution.

Lord Ridley is a parody of plutocrat. Not only he sieges at the Chamber of Lords, he is a “coal baron” with a revenue from a coal mine on his family estate of six million dollars a year. Yes, he is a major corrupt banker too.

Such people mold world public opinion, as their friends in the MSM give them the means for propaganda. See Lord Ridley’s Rule.

Because they did not have even enough elements to get angry, let alone fight our corrupt leaders, and take over their so-called leadership, our supine populations will soon have to fight the flood. And a real one.

And that will come with a Greek situation, the war of all against all (whom Xenophon related in his Hellenica, the primary source for Greek history from 411 BCE to 362 BCE, the explicit continuation of the History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides).

The war of all against all may have already started. See Obama desperate to strike a deal with his friends of the instant, in Iran and Russia, while others (notably France) want an exemplary accord, and hang tough. Well, France is right. The last thing we need is nuclear weapons all over, while the global flooding accelerates.

Patrice Ayme’

West Antarctica Melting, Amazon Not Helping

March 21, 2015

A curious fact has baffled those who observe Earth: the Antarctic sea ice has been augmenting, year after year (whereas it has been shrinking year after year around the North Pole, as expected). How could the former fact, increasing sea ice, be compatible with global warming?

Scientists have been baffled. Some meekly suggested that stronger winds spread the cold water, and sea ice, further out. Winds have increased in the Antarctic Ocean, indeed. The latter point is straight from what one would expect of global warming: heat is motion on the smallest scale, resulting in density differentials, thus pressure differentials, hence winds, from high to low pressures.

The continent of Antarctica seems to be a solid mass, but the reality below all that ice is different. If one melted all the ice, Antarctica, at this point is more like an archipelago.

All Antarctica That Is Blue Will Be Under Water Soon

All Antarctica That Is Blue Will Be Under Water Soon. So Will Be Most Coastal Areas Around the Continents.

(However, if the ice melted, the continent would raise by hundreds of meters… I would guess, taking into account that rock is about three times the density of ice. But that would take millennia. Many quakes, as still experienced in Scandinavia, which is still rising at the pace of one meter per century.)

Notice that it is often much deeper inland than along the continental margins. The West Antarctic Ice Shield (WAIS; drained by the Pine, and other glaciers mentioned below) is on the left. To the bottom of the page, one sees the Wilkes Subglacial Basin I mentioned in 2009. Right of it is the Totten catchment and Aurora Subglacial basin.

The Wilkes Subglacial Basin Was Part of the Ocean In the Pliocene, 5 Million Years Ago

The Wilkes Subglacial Basin Was Part of the Ocean In the Pliocene, 5 Million Years Ago

Most of these three giant basins have up to 4 kilometers of ice any of these If the three of them melted, sea level would go back to conditions 5 million years ago (when CO2 levels were the same as today). The ocean would be up to 40 meters higher.

I will suggest a much more sinister explanation for the spreading of the sea ice around Antarctica (sinister explanations are my specialty).

The dynamics of water in the ocean is dominated by its density, and friction of atmospheric winds on its surface (the latter creating trade winds and storms heading east below the two main temperate jet streams centered around 45 degrees, plus upwelling; all of this consequences of Earth’s mighty rotation and the Coriolis force).

Denser water sinks, less dense water rises. Water density itself is a two-dimensional quantity: it depends upon temperature, and salinity. The more salt, the more dense, the more the water sinks. The dependence on temperature is subtle: pure water is denser at 4 Centigrade, not zero Centigrade (when it freezes, by definition of the Centigrade scale). Thus the water which sinks the most, and thus wiggles the most below ice, the 4C water, is plenty warm enough to melt ice.

The warm water comes from below, dragged by the current melting creates, and its higher density (caused both by its salt content, and the fact warmer water is denser, close to the freezing point, a weird fact of H2O). When it rubs along the ice shelf, it gets colder, hence less dense, all the more as it mixes with glacial sweet (thus less dense) water. (By the way, this creates inverted water channels scouring the ice sheets from below, and they can even be seen from the air.)

The Melting Of The Grounding Line Creates Surface Cold Water That Spreads Out

The Melting Of The Grounding Line Creates Surface Cold Water That Spreads Out

Thus, the more extended the sea ice is around Antarctica, at this point, the greater the evidence that the ice continent is losing cold, so to speak: it loses cold by spreading out at the surface of the ocean.

Something similar, on a much larger scale, caused a massive cooling of Europe 18,000 years ago (so-called Younger Dryas). Right in the middle of global warming, Europe froze for a millennium (due to the spread of cold water from Greenland melting, plus the subsequent short-cut of the Gulf Stream).

Here is a related fact. My friend Paul Handover called my attention on the following opinion I used to have:

“The melting of the ice sheet over Greenland is now a given. The ice sheets of West and East Antarctica a hair’s breadth from being a given.”

This is what I thought, say ten years ago. However I do not believe this opinion anymore: Antarctica will melt before Greenland. And nobody expects this.

Reason: it is easier to melt ice with warm water than with warm air, because the caloric capacity of water is much higher. Much of Antarctica, East and West is below sea level.

All the continental margin of Greenland is mountainous, and extends for hundreds of kilometers (mostly, although very long deep canyon have been found, lurking below the ice, in the last couple of years). In the case of Antarctica, the mountainous margins are either perfunctory and thin (WAIS), or inexistent (East Antarctica). This is why what was supposed to melt last, big time, East Antarctica may well melt first, big time.

Another factor, also overlooked, is that a lot of Antarctica’s coast is at pretty high latitude (hugging the polar circle), especially in East Antarctica, whereas only the mountainous tip of Greenland is south of the polar circle.

Here is the Geophysical Research Letters on 27 May 2014 about the catastrophic situation in West Antarctica: Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011.

The grounding line retreat of glaciers draining the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica was documented, using Earth Remote Sensing from European satellites (which went many times over their lifespans).

(ERS-1/2) satellite radar interferometry from 1992 to 2011 showed the following:

Pine Island Glacier retreated 31 km at its center, with most of the retreat in 2005–2009 when the glacier ungrounded from its ice plain. Thwaites Glacier retreated 14 km along its fast flow core and 1 to 9 km along the sides. Haynes Glacier retreated 10 km along its flanks. Smith/Kohler glaciers retreated the most, 35 km along its ice plain, and its ice shelf pinning points are vanishing. These rapid retreats proceed along regions of retrograde bed elevation (this means that, the further inland, the lower the ice plain below the glaciers; so warm water has a potential to fall DOWN towards the INTERIOR of the continent, as the future sea floor is crushed by the mass of the ice).

The team concluded: “Upstream of the 2011 grounding line positions, we find no major bed obstacle that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat and draw down the entire basin.”

A similar situation holds under the Ronnie Ice Shelf, east of the base of the Antarctica Peninsula. There again the Ice Shield rests mightily on an old ocean floor, sloping down towards the interior, to a depth of at least a mile. I don’t see why this sort of contraption cannot melt, and disintegrate, in a few years. I really don’t. Actually, I fully expect it. I don’t see how it could be otherwise.

This is the ultimate sucking sound… And something nobody very seriously employed as a “climate scientist” can afford to believe, lest she/he, wants to go live under a bridge.

Lest some will conclude that this is just a matter of a few billion people moving out of the way, please be reminded that the littoral is often where the best lands are.

But not just this. The assault of humanity against the biosphere are many, and some of these attacks are directed at the CO2 absorbing system. For example the Amazon absorbs only half the CO2 that it did, twenty years ago.

We need much more advanced technology, just to save the biosphere. Now.

Patrice Ayme’

Antarctica’s Glaciers Disintegrating

May 14, 2014

Unstoppable Retreat Of Glacial Antarctica Officially Launched:

Two independent teams working differently arrived to similar conclusions about the main glaciers plunging in Antarctica’s Amundsen Sea next to the Pines Island Glacier (PIG) (see map below).

Modelling and radar data from Amundsen Sea suggest current melting will run away.

This has to be put in the context that, as far as official science was concerned, this was not supposed to happen. A completely independent agent such as yours truly predicted this many years ago, and incredibly much worse, because of a confluence of very precise reasons.

Don't Worry, Be Happy: Catastrophe Ineluctable, And Soon

Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Catastrophe Ineluctable, And Soon

Pine Island Glacier covers about 160,000 square kilometers, about two-thirds the area of Great Britain. Just one glacier.

Like the Thwaites, Smith, Haynes, Pope, Smith and Kohler Glaciers in this region – the PIG has been thinning and retreating rapidly. The Twaithes is much larger than PIG.

Joughin’s team found that Twaithes glacier’s grounding line — the border between sections of ice that float on the sea and sections that rest on the bedrock — currently sits about 600 meters below sea level (2,000 feet!). But 60 to 80 kilometers inland, the bedrock topography under the glacier drops to more than 1.2 kilometer below sea level!

When the grounding line reaches that inward-sloping basin, the glacier’s retreat will speed up dramatically, Joughin’s team calculates (I have explained the same phenomenon will happen in giant basins of East Antarctica in “Sun Cooling, Ice Melting“).

The reason for this is that two degree Celsius water is denser than colder water (!), and will slip below the ice. That will happen in a matter of centuries, the team suggested (to please the higher-ups).

The team has, of course, to suggest total melting would take centuries, otherwise it would irritate the powers that be, and, thus, the financing of the entire field.

These scientists have to earn a living, feed their families, bask in successful careers. They have comfortable houses, cars… They sell not just science, but hope. As the great mathematician Gregory Perelman, who solved the Soul, Thurston and Poincare’ conjectures, among other things, said, about American mathematics:

It’s possible to sell a theorem and it’s possible to buy it. Even if you don’t have anything to do with it.”

(Perelman was talking about a few dozen top mathematicians that I personally knew for years, before getting as disgusted by their dishonesty, not to say viciousness, as he later would be!)

If that intrusion of the lowest human traits happens in math, it’s worse in much more money oriented fields. Such as the confluence of the fossil fuel plutocracy and climate science (typical representative of fossil burn plutocracy: Vlad Putin.)

This buying and selling of theorems is exemplary of the problem of mixing power, politics and money, as is the case in the mightiest “private” or “public” universities in the USA (and wherever the American university system is imitated). I am NOT saying that the system these universities (Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, pseudo-public Berkeley, etc.) represent is to be condemned and eradicated like RasPutin, just that it needs to be taken for what it is: a plutophile system.

Plutophilia needs to be counterbalanced by the love of wisdom. (Thus a true public university system ought to be preserved.)

In the case of these glaciers, wisdom consists into realizing that considering that it will take centuries for these glaciers to melt, is wishful thinking. The evidence, both factual and theoretical, points the other way.

Grounding lines determined by radar from now defunct European satellites were found in some cases to retreat by more than one kilometer per year.

Radar data show that the Pine Island Glacier retreated by 31 kilometers between 1992 and 2011. It retreated fastest between 2005 and 2009.

Rignot’s team found no underlying ridge that could potentially slow the retreat, for any of the glaciers studied.“These systems, whether Greenland or Antarctica, are changing on faster timescales than we expected. We are kind of rediscovering that every day,” says Rignot.

Telling us that it will take at most centuries to melt those glaciers is exactly the sort of politeness that authorities and the plutocrats who have elected (“financed”) them would expect.

Actually Observing Glaciers Thinning

Actually Observing Glaciers Thinning

Yet, is that science? Indeed, how do they know it will take centuries? Well, they roll out “models” that are as good as what they put inside them, and no better. Let’s reason a bit.

Why will the glaciers melt ever faster? The glaciers will melt ever faster because their cold bellies rest on what would be the new ocean bottom after enough warm sea water has insinuated itself below.

The seas are warming up around Antarctica, because wind speeds have augmented, augmenting the up-welling, another of these run-about effects from global warming. Around Antarctica, surface waters are colder than those in the depths. Wind speed have augmented because of my (six year old) generalization of the Equipartition of Energy Theorem that rules the climate (and also all of thermodynamics!).

Such phenomena as the warming of the underbellies of ice sheets by sea water, tend to be exponential, not linear. And we have the proof: the Hudson Bay, now a sea, transformed itself from ice shield to ocean in a few decades. That, in turn, made the Mediterranean spill catastrophically into the fertile Black Sea area, flooding there around 100,000 square kilometers in no more than 30 years. (That gave the legend of Noah’s Ark.)

Notice that retreating over a continent at one kilometer per year (the speed of the Labrador-Quebec Laurentide ice sheet disintegration), is probably slower by orders of magnitudes to that a sub-oceanic margin. The “forcing” at the time was caused by more insolation, 8,200 years ago (from more sun in July-August then). Now, though, the situation is worse as the “forcing” is from a low lying blanket of man-made greenhouse gases (so, instead of warming equally the entire atmosphere, the greenhouse concentrates the warming at low altitudes, say below 8,000 meters; the stratosphere is actually cooling!).

It was already known, in 1990, that the disintegration of the gigantic Laurentide ice sheet centered around Hudson Bay took no more than 4 centuries. (That ice sheet used to be more than 3,000 meters thick, being the world’s largest, 20,000 years ago).

It boils down to this: is it wiser to risk underestimating the speed of melting of these glaciers, or is it wiser to risk overestimating said speed? Obviously, for those who are anxious to please their masters who feed them, it’s wiser to say there will be a problem, but only in a generation or two.

For those who don’t want to risk the biosphere we know, it’s much wiser to consider the worst possible case. Remember inertia: short of astronomical objects, the system with the most inertia is the biosphere itself. That’s a system that has been capable of maintaining the planet’s temperature within fifteen degrees (Celsius) of the present temperature for more than three billion years. It has enormous inertia. However, our stupid obstinacy to burn all the carbon we can find has definitively got that enormous system to start moving.

We imparted acceleration to the biosphere. We are pushing the biosphere around. And we know that the force we are applying is only augmenting. That means the acceleration, and even more the speed of the change, is going to get worse quick. That’s basic dynamics, first quarter of undergraduate physics.

Of course, neither the leaders of France, Great Britain, or the USA has taken such a course: they are basically ignoramuses at the helm (and Angela Merkel, who knows plenty of physics, made a risky bet she seems to be losing).

Clearly, we should instead apply the brakes to the maximum (instead of flooring the accelerator). What would be the price of this cautious? None, for common people: hard work to de-carbonize the world economy would require dozens of millions to be employed that way, in the West alone.

That, of course, is a scary thought for plutocrats, who much prefer us unemployed, impotent, and despondent.

Patrice Aymé

References:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/the-equipartition-of-energy-theorem-should-be-applied-for-climate-change-and-predicts-wild-fluctuations-of-temperatures/

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/sun-cooling-ice-melting/

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/ten-years-to-catastrophe/