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West Antarctic Glacial Melting From Deep Earth Geological Heat Flow Not Global Warming

November 4, 2016

By Paul Homewood




Geologist James Edward Kamis writes for Climate Change Dispatch:


A few of West Antarctica’s glaciers that lie directly above the 5,000-mile long, world class, heat-emitting West Antarctic Fault / Rift System are bottom melting from deep earth geologically induced high geothermal heat flow and heated fluid flow, not manmade atmospheric global warming.


Figure 1. Recently released and widely publicized NASA high altitude photo of West Antarctic area where three glaciers are bottom melting at an accelerated rate. A proxy for high melting rate, high glacial velocity, is shown as red shading and black arrows (photo credit NASA Earth Observatory).


The media and prominent entities studying Antarctica’s glaciers, most notably the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), see things quite differently.

They believe that the increased basal melting of these West Antarctic glaciers is from manmade atmospheric global warming. According to NASA, manmade CO2 emissions have acted to greatly warm Earth’s atmosphere thereby heating West Antarctica’s surrounding ocean waters. This heated ocean water then acts to bottom melt portions of several West Antarctic glaciers, specifically portions of these glaciers that ride atop of this warmed water. There are numerous and very serious problems with this explanation:

  1. Overall ice mass and extent of Antarctica has increased for 35 years. This strongly implies that Earth’s supposedly anomalously warmed atmosphere is not having any noticeable or direct effect on this continent’s glaciers.
  2. Other nearby West Antarctic glaciers are growing, not melting / diminishing (see here). This is an extremely telling piece of information because many of the nearby glaciers also ride atop the surrounding Antarctic ocean water. Why aren’t they melting? Clearly some other non-atmospheric or non-ocean warming natural force is at play in the West Antarctic area.
  3. A few West Antarctic glaciers that are not riding on top of ocean water are also bottom melting. This again indicates that some other non-atmospheric or non-ocean warming natural force is at play in localized regions of West Antarctica.
  4. Lastly and most importantly, the role that geologically induced deep earth heat flow and chemically charged heated fluid flow likely play in bottom melting the three studied West Antarctic glaciers (Pope, Smith, Kohler) is not considered or even mentioned by those performing the research.

This article will show the role geologically deep earth heat flow and chemically charged heated fluid flow plays in bottom melting selected West Antarctic glaciers with a special focus on the Pope, Smith, and Kohler Glaciers.


Read the full article here.

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    November 4, 2016 10:48 am

    Isn’t it amazing how the lack of ice melt in the Antarctic as a whole was not mentioned once in the BBC’s “Arctic Lie” programme? You don’t think so? You cynic! No wonder the warmistas don’t like to use the term “global warming” any more.

  2. AndyG55 permalink
    November 4, 2016 11:04 am

    When you have one VERY localised spot of melting…

    …it is NOT global anything !!

    Just like the current warm patches over ONLY the Arctic are NOT global anything

    Every TINY bit of warming in the whole satellite era has been REGIONAL warming from El Nino or Ocean effects.

    These feed into the so-called “global” warming…


    In fact, MANY parts of the globe, are NOT WARMING AT ALL.

    • November 4, 2016 1:11 pm

      Good points Andy. Temperatures in the Antarctic show an overall downward trend since 1979 based on CFSR estimates:

  3. November 4, 2016 11:55 am


  4. November 4, 2016 12:00 pm

    The above article is a bit tardy to the table. Science Daily (Jan. 22, 2008) “First Evidence of Under-Ice Volcanic Eruption in Antarctica”. I used the article in a talk I gave in Sept. 2008 to students at WVU. The source for the article is given as British Antarctic Survey.

    From the opening of the 2008 article:”The first evidence of a volcanic eruption from beneath Antarctica’s most rapidly changing ice sheet has been reported. The volcano on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet erupted 2000 years ago (325 BC) and remains active.”

  5. Broadlands permalink
    November 4, 2016 12:40 pm

    And what about the rest of the oceans? The 40,000 mile volcano?

    “A main question is to what extent the volcanism changes over time. The old idea was that the eruptions of oozing lava and related activity occurred at fairly steady rates. Now, studies hint at the existence of outbursts large enough to influence not only the character of the global sea but the planet’s temperature. Experts believe the activity may carry major repercussions because the oceanic ridges account for some 70 percent of the planet’s volcanic eruptions. By definition, that makes them enormous sources of heat and exotic minerals as well as such everyday gases as carbon dioxide, which all volcanoes emit.”

    • NeilC permalink
      November 4, 2016 1:44 pm

      “By definition, that makes them enormous sources of heat and exotic minerals as well as such everyday gases as carbon dioxide, which all volcanoes emit.”

      Particularly from the slopes of the worlds biggest shield volcano…oh, that will be Mauna Loa where the world standard for measuring carbon dioxide is located.

      Call me a cynic/sceptic if you like.

  6. Athelstan permalink
    November 4, 2016 3:48 pm

    Good paper, a cracking read – oops!

    And……………”shock horror Antarctic ice sheet melting due to man made emissions of a fabulous gas!” another ‘crock’ one is shot down!

    Same old, same old krud, when the climactivists mention calving ice sheets/glaciers and mumble something to the effect “global warming we’re all doomed see how the glaciers is/are disappearing into the sea!”

    Er no, it just means the ice is moving and the upper end is blooming and ongoing accretion -. lots of snow falls -> neve -> into firn compacted ice, gravity does the rest.


  7. Reasonable Skeptic permalink
    November 4, 2016 4:57 pm

    I have had this debate with more than a few warmists over the years. To me this was simply the most logical reason for the WAIS melting.

    As I like to say… logic>data>science. I based my position on logic and they based theirs on science.

  8. dangeroosdave permalink
    November 5, 2016 12:36 pm

    It’s almost as if the earth’s core is a giant molten nuclear fusion reactor that warms us from within while we live on the frozen crust….

  9. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador permalink
    November 6, 2016 4:26 am

    Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but that article is dreadful. It’s like Trump’s plan to pay off the national debt with oil, gas and coal leases; the fact that the latter amount to $9 billion a year while the former totals $18 trillion never crossed his mind.

    Why do so many people in the climate debate (in all sides) seem to have a binary brain? Why can’t they understand that thing X can be caused not just by factor A or B, but by factor A *and* B? In real life surely we don’t expect phenomenons to be 100% caused by one factor, right? Surely the right question is HOW MUCH of a phenomenon is caused by this or that factor; anyone who is asking *whether* is fighting a strawman.

    Anyway, the paper in question (which neither you nor the original article linked to) talks about a geothermal heat flow of 0.1 to 0.2 w/m2 in West Antarctica, compared to a global average of 0.065w/m2. If this intuitively sounds like little, you’re correct: CO2 forcing since 1979 is about 40ppm, or 0.4w/m2, and other GHGs have added another 0.1 or 0.2w/m2.

    In other words, even if geothermal flow was exactly 0 prior to 1979, the geothermal forcing can only have been 0.1 to 0.2w/m2. But of course that’s absurd: surely the volcanoes didn’t appear out of nowhere in the last 40 years. At a minimum, the ‘background’ forcing, i.e. the one already present by 1979, should be the global average or 0.065w/m2. (I use 1979 as that’s the start year the article chose, though it’s unclear why; he claims there is more ‘ice’ than then but the only paper showing an increase in land ice, Zwally 2015, only goes back to 1990).

    So if pre-1979 West Antarctic geothermal flow was already 0.065w/m2, then the increase has been about 0.1w/m2. That’s it – and it cannot explain *all* of the melt we’re seeing in West Antarctica. (Whether such melting is anything to be worried about is of course a different matter, as the sea level rise involved is not even 1mm a year).

    See more specific figures:

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