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More Antarctic Melting Drivel

July 18, 2017
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By Paul Homewood

 

Utter drivel from the Daily Mail, and doubtless the rest of the MSM as well:

 

image

  • Strong gusts from the east are driving waves of warm water towards the sea ice
  • When the warm water washes against the ice, it causes it to melt at a faster rate
  • Winds of up to 435mph (700km/h) are caused by climate change, research finds
  • Study come days after at iceberg the size of Delaware broke off from the region

The West Antarctic ice shelf is rapidly melting away because of 435mph winds which are driven by climate change, a new study has found.

 

Strong gusts from the eastern coast are driving waves of warm water towards the ice, which is now melting at a faster rate than once believed, according to scientists.

This is fuelling the breaking off of vast icebergs in the West Antarctic – such as the iceberg on the Larsen C ice-shelf last week.

The iceberg weighs a staggering trillion tons and has an area of 2,239 sq miles (5,800 sq km), making roughly the size of Delaware, or equivalent to the size of Wales.

 

This image shows the path of ocean waves push warm waters under the ice shelves of the West Antarctic Peninsula (seen top). These waves are generated by ultra-fast winds

 

This image shows the path of ocean waves push warm waters under the ice shelves of the West Antarctic Peninsula (seen top). These waves are generated by ultra-fast winds

WHY IS THE ICE MELTING?

New research has revealed how strong winds from the east of Antarctica are driving the high rate of ice melt along the West Antarctic Peninsula.

Researchers found that the winds in East Antarctica can travel across the continent at almost 435mph (700km/h) via a type of ocean wave known as a Kelvin wave.

When these waves encounter the steep underwater cliffs off the West Antarctic Peninsula they push warmer water towards the large ice shelves along the shoreline.

The warm Antarctic Circumpolar Current passes quite close to the continental shelf in this region, providing a source for this warm water.

‘It is this combination of available warm water offshore, and a transport of this warm water onto the shelf, that has seen rapid ice shelf melt along the West Antarctic sector over the past several decades,’ said lead researcher Dr Paul Spence from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

In the latest study, researchers found climate change has caused water close to south pole to warm, as well as the increased frequency of strong winds in the region.

They looked at how strong winds from the east of Antarctica are driving the high rate of ice melt along the West Antarctic Peninsula.

Researchers found that the winds in East Antarctica can travel across the continent at almost 435mph (700km/h) via a type of ocean wave known as a Kelvin wave.

When these waves encounter the steep underwater cliffs off the West Antarctic Peninsula they push warmer water towards the large ice shelves along the shoreline.

The warm Antarctic Circumpolar Current passes quite close to the continental shelf in this region, providing a source for this warm water.

‘It is this combination of available warm water offshore, and a transport of this warm water onto the shelf, that has seen rapid ice shelf melt along the West Antarctic sector over the past several decades,’ said lead researcher Dr Paul Spence from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

‘We always knew warm water was finding its way into this area but the precise mechanism has remained unclear.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4697076/Antarctic-sea-ice-melting-strong-winds.html

 

In fact, as the article goes on to report, the scientists themselves have no evidence that climate change has anything at all to do with changes in wind patterns.

The changes in the Antarctic coastal winds, particularly along East Antarctica, might themselves be related to climate change.

The simple reality is that scientists have only been monitoring these ice sheets for a couple of decades or so, and have no idea about their behaviour prior to that.

And as the Mail also points out:

The iceberg, which is expected to be dubbed ‘A68’, is predicted to be one of the 10 largest icebergs ever recorded.

So there have been nine others in just the last few decades. Hardly unprecedented then.

We can however put these events into some sort of perspective, in two separate ways.

 

Explorers’ logbooks

Last year, researchers closely examined the logbooks of Scott and Shackleton. I covered the story here.

They concluded that, despite concerns that Antarctic sea ice had declined significantly since the 1950s, the ice extent was very similar to now 100 years ago.

Clearly there is a cyclical nature to this.

The same Telegraph report revealed that ice loss in West Antarctica had been in progress since at least the 1940s, and was “probably caused by El Nino activity rather than global warming”.

 

Storm tracks

According to the Mail:

Dr Spence said: ‘If we do take rapid action to counter global warming and slow the rise in temperatures, southern storms tracks are likely to return to a more northerly position.

‘That may slow the melting in Western Antarctica and bring more reliable autumn and winter rains back to the southern parts of Australia.’

Claims that global warming has brought drought to southern Australia are common, but also easily disproved garbage.

This is what the Australian BOM rainfall records show for that part of the country for winter and autumn:

rranom.saus.0608.59198

rranom.saus.0305.4041

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/index.shtml#tabs=Tracker&tracker=timeseries&tQ=graph%3Drranom%26area%3Dsaus%26season%3D0305%26ave_yr%3D0

 

There is nothing remotely unusual about these rainfall patterns, and certainly no evidence that storm tracks have gone south.

 

FOOTNOTE

In these sort of scare articles, there are usually a couple of subliminal messages.

Note for instance, the scary headline:

“Winds of up to 435mph  are caused by climate change”

The implication is that such high wind speeds would not be possible without climate change.

This is a straight lie. High wind speeds are commonplace in Antarctica because of the katabatic effect, due to cold, dense air flowing out from the polar plateau of the interior down the steep vertical drops along the coast. It is at the steep edge of Antarctica that the strong katabatic winds form as cold air rushes over the land mass.

The highest wind speed there was actually recorded in 1972.

 

There is also this little sidebar box:

image

 

Record temperatures, and 63F too? No wonder all that ice is melting!

At least, that’s what most readers will think, blissfully unaware of the actual facts. As I noted at the time, the previous record high was 62.8F, set way back in 1961.

Contrary to popular myth, the Antarctic is not melting down!

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43 Comments
  1. Jay Caplan permalink
    July 18, 2017 6:22 pm

    Kids, go find our kites. We’re headed to Antarctica!

  2. Theyouk permalink
    July 18, 2017 6:24 pm

    How does this remotely make any sense? I can see a ‘wave’ in the atmosphere moving at this speed (akin to how tsunamis move across the open ocean), but the surface ‘wind’ ain’t going this fast (even in the jet stream or a tornado!).

    “Researchers found that the winds in East Antarctica can travel across the continent at almost 435mph (700km/h) via a type of ocean wave known as a Kelvin wave.

    When these waves encounter the steep underwater cliffs off the West Antarctic Peninsula they push warmer water towards the large ice shelves along the shoreline.”

    This is just horrible writing, imho.

  3. quaesoveritas permalink
    July 18, 2017 6:42 pm

    “The highest wind speeds recorded in Antarctica were at Dumont d’Urville station in July 1972: 327km/h (199 mph). ”
    The wind speeds quoted in the Daily Mail are over twice that speed.
    Are such speeds even possible at the surface?

  4. Terbrugghen permalink
    July 18, 2017 6:42 pm

    I would also like some clarification about the 435 mph wind speed. Doesn’t seem supported anywhere.

    • duker permalink
      July 19, 2017 1:19 am

      When you know the Tidal ‘celerity’ for the open ocean with a depth of 4000m is 444mph. The celerity is speed of propagation of the tidal crest, of course its not noticeable as the amplitude is small and period is long and same would go for these pressure waves around Antarctica. As someone mentioned the tsunamis have a similar effect.
      http://oceanmotion.org/html/background/tides.htm

      • duker permalink
        July 19, 2017 2:13 am

        The barotropic Kelvin waves which move at 200m/s – which is where they get the 440 mph “winds” from. I have only read the abstract in Nature Climate Change, but from some of the figures displayed there may be quite a lot of computer modelling going on, with the key words ‘ensembles’ and ‘simulated’ mentioned.
        eg”P.S. conceived the study, conducted the global ocean modelling and wrote the initial draft of the paper. R.M.H. performed the single-layer, shallow-water modelling. P.S. and R.M.H. analysed the model data. ”

        http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3335.html?WT.feed_name=subjects_climate-sciences#supplementary-information

        As research which advances techniques and offers new methods of analysis its quite interesting if speculative. Putting it into everyday usage terms seems to have made it junk science out of very complicated terminology.

  5. July 18, 2017 6:45 pm

    There is also an active volcano under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The heat melts water and lubricates the glacier flow. I saw no mention of this in the article.

  6. manicbeancounter permalink
    July 18, 2017 8:10 pm

    The iceberg on the Larsen C ice shelf is quite small in relation to Antarctica, as this graphic shows.

    The most Northerly part of the ice shelf is North of the Antarctic Circle. It is within the Antarctic Peninsula, which is climatically different from the rest of Antarctica.

  7. M E Emberson permalink
    July 18, 2017 8:18 pm

    Strangely enough Television News in New Zealand featured the big crack which detached the ice from the ice sheet. It had been watched for 16 years by the scientists with interest but no alarm. No alarm was generated in the interviews even by the reporters either. However I notice that Russian news sites talk of global warming causing the ice to break off.. no mechanism for the break, though. I think the news there, on the Sputnik site especially , is often just as alarmist as the usual suspects in the rest of the world.

  8. eliza permalink
    July 18, 2017 8:22 pm

    The highest wind speed there was actually recorded in 1972. Nonsense what was the wind speed 1000 or 100000 years ago?

    • July 18, 2017 9:10 pm

      Yes quite true.

      The highest speed “recorded” was 199 mph, but of course recordings only started after the war

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      July 18, 2017 10:21 pm

      Well, strictly speaking, it wouldn’t have been recorded then, but it’s true that the media often quote “highest ever”, figures when they really mean the highest on record.

      • Sheri permalink
        July 18, 2017 10:31 pm

        And they never mention when the records began.

  9. HotScot permalink
    July 18, 2017 8:22 pm

    Polar ice, good for nothing but a G&T.

  10. July 18, 2017 8:59 pm

    Slightly off-topic, but an important event.

    James Hansen is publishing a new paper in support of the children suing the government for not fighting climate change. In it he claims temps now are higher than the Holocene and matching the Eemian, so we should expect comparable sea levels.

    Paper is here:
    http://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/8/577/2017/

    Abstract. Global temperature is a fundamental climate metric highly correlated with sea level, which implies that keeping shorelines near their present location requires keeping global temperature within or close to its preindustrial Holocene range. However, global temperature excluding short-term variability now exceeds +1 °C relative to the 1880–1920 mean and annual 2016 global temperature was almost +1.3 °C. We show that global temperature has risen well out of the Holocene range and Earth is now as warm as it was during the prior (Eemian) interglacial period, when sea level reached 6–9 m higher than today. Further, Earth is out of energy balance with present atmospheric composition, implying that more warming is in the pipeline, and we show that the growth rate of greenhouse gas climate forcing has accelerated markedly in the past decade. The rapidity of ice sheet and sea level response to global temperature is difficult to predict, but is dependent on the magnitude of warming. Targets for limiting global warming thus, at minimum, should aim to avoid leaving global temperature at Eemian or higher levels for centuries. Such targets now require negative emissions, i.e., extraction of CO2 from the air. If phasedown of fossil fuel emissions begins soon, improved agricultural and forestry practices, including reforestation and steps to improve soil fertility and increase its carbon content, may provide much of the necessary CO2 extraction. In that case, the magnitude and duration of global temperature excursion above the natural range of the current interglacial (Holocene) could be limited and irreversible climate impacts could be minimized. In contrast, continued high fossil fuel emissions today place a burden on young people to undertake massive technological CO2 extraction if they are to limit climate change and its consequences. Proposed methods of extraction such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) or air capture of CO2 have minimal estimated costs of USD 89–535 trillion this century and also have large risks and uncertain feasibility. Continued high fossil fuel emissions unarguably sentences young people to either a massive, implausible cleanup or growing deleterious climate impacts or both.

    Antidote would appear to be here:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/01/ice-core-data-shows-the-much-feared-2c-climate-tipping-point-has-already-occurred/

    • Sheri permalink
      July 18, 2017 10:33 pm

      People who have bad science always turn to the courts in the hopes of winning there. Unfortunately, they often win.

      I propose a counter suit for terrifying and depressing children with cries that the sky is falling. It’s child abuse to do things like that.

    • July 18, 2017 11:03 pm

      FWIW I have put together a quick response to Hansen et al.

      https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/eemian-and-holocene-climates/

    • John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia permalink
      July 19, 2017 1:54 am

      Ron, I grew up in Sydney and as a kid played cricket on a harbor foreshore ground called Tunks Park. There were heaps of old sea shells to be found well away from the high tide waterline. Also did my first geology excursion at Bondi (Triassic cliff outcrops) were there are raised coastal rock platforms (extensive coastline feature along the NSW coastline), obviously formed during a time of a higher sea levels. Later I lived near the medieval castle and former shoreline Roman fort (built about 200 AD) at Pevensey, Sussex, when I worked on North Sea data. Pevensey is now over a mile from the coast.
      Here is a link to a paper on Holocene sea levels around the Australian coastline, indicating higher sea levels in the order of 1-2 metres during most of the Holocene until 2000 years ago when they started falling to near the present levels.
      They concluded :
      “Many of the issues, which challenged sea-level researchers in the latter part of the twentieth century, remain contentious today. Divergent opinions remain about: (1) exactly when sea level attained present levels following the most recent post-glacial marine transgression (PMT); (2) the elevation that sea-level reached during the Holocene sea-level highstand; (3) whether sea-level fell smoothly from a metre or more above its present level following the PMT; (4) whether sea level remained at these highstand levels for a considerable period before falling to its present position; or (5) whether it underwent a series of moderate oscillations during the Holocene highstand.”
      Link here: http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/921/
      Photo of Tunks Park:

      • dave permalink
        July 19, 2017 6:50 am

        As someone who also knows Pevensey…the castle is dry because of a local outgrowth of a shingle bank. It has no relevance to sea levels.

        Not a lot of people know that William the Conqueror actually came ashore at the old Roman Fort at Pevensey*, not Hastings. Where the boats of the accursed invaders floated is now dry – reclaimed – land, called Pevensey Levels.

        I think that the average reader of the Daily Mail does not give a toss about CAGW. So the absurd propaganda is wasted on them. I suppose some people will be left with a vague image out of Alien, of a constantly howling wind (435 mph, forsooth!) in a whiteout in a place far, far away.

        *The Medieval castle occupies a small part of this.

      • 1saveenergy permalink
        July 19, 2017 8:40 am

        & Harlech Castle built 1289, was supplied from the sea via a water-gate, (now a mile from the sea) where the road & rail cross (bottom left) in the pic on this page
        http://www.use-due-diligence-on-climate.org/home/climate-change/sea-level-rise/local/
        also you can see the old coastline.

        Caused by post-glacial rebound & long-shore drift.

      • July 19, 2017 12:39 pm

        Thanks John for the comment and the link. You have probably seen this graph that puts the Holocene in context. Australia is noted but not easily seen.
        https://ourchangingclimate.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/post-glacial_sea_level-incl-3-mm-yr-1-trend.png?w=526&h=359.
        It seems to me that the rise Hansen is looking for only happens after an ice age freezes lots of water resulting in a very low baseline.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 19, 2017 1:06 pm

        Rye used to be a port on the English Channel – it can now only be reached by sailing up the River Rother past the Rye Golf Club and the houses and buildings.

    • John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia permalink
      July 19, 2017 2:02 pm

      Ron, Re: sea levels of the Holocene, NSW, Australia (from Jo Nova website). Just found tonight, Jo’s article on Australian sea level changes on her blog. Should have known Jo would have already been onto the paper I listed above.

  11. July 18, 2017 9:01 pm

    This page, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_speed#Highest_speed, says the highest recorded surface wind was 253 mph. What is the author talking about?

    • dave permalink
      July 19, 2017 6:58 am

      “…253 mph…”

      On Mount Washington. Been up it, to the weather station. Got the sticker.

      The author does not know the difference between a wave (of disturbance) and a current (mass transfer).

      Technically, there are no Kelvin waves in the atmosphere. R. Lindzen a long time ago discussed a particular phenomenon and called them QUASI-Kelvin waves because of a certain mathematical similarity.

  12. July 18, 2017 9:35 pm

    More doom NOW for our shallow-minded readers — say news editors.

  13. July 19, 2017 12:32 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

  14. Broadlands permalink
    July 19, 2017 1:40 am

    Dr. Hansen says: “Such targets now require negative emissions, i.e., extraction of CO2 from the air.”

    This is the problem! He “demands?” we lower CO2 back to its 1987 value of 350 ppm. He is very unhappy with the Paris Accord and calls it “wishful thinking” (and worse) because “we” are not acting fast enough?

    BUT.. 50 ppm of CO2 is 100 BILLION metric tons…to capture and then geologically rebury somewhere, somehow at unacceptable costs. That’s trying to put 44 “pounds” of oxidized carbon back into its 12 “pound” geological “bag…while the number of people needing energy continue to increase using “alternative” energy?

    Lunacy.

  15. Athelstan permalink
    July 19, 2017 6:31 am

    Not hot air then?

    I cannot imagine how bad is the weather down ‘south’, nor can many other people either, the system of measuring wind speeds in the heart of the southern continent is miserable to non existent.
    Some tropical Hurricanes wind gusts will be over 200mph + the energy unleashed by a powerful tropical storm must be staggering in intensity and violence.
    Other than Coriolis, katabatic, pressure system differential, endless icy plains stretching for hundreds of miles – which can produce monster winds, in the Austral winter…………..no solar input for obvious reasons, where is the extra energy coming from to produce SL[?] altiplano[?] land wind speeds of +400mph?

    • dave permalink
      July 19, 2017 7:09 am

      “…energy unleashed…”

      Actually, only about 1/200 of the energy in a hurricane cyclone goes into speeding up the wind. The rest is simple transfer of heat from water to air. by evaporation, uplift, and condensation.

      What a cyclone does is CONCENTRATE the angular momentum that is already in the atmosphere in certain broad regions*. If you look at professional forecasts you will always find that certain systems are called “Invests” with slow rotation and winds of, say, 20 knots.
      These are watched in case they tighten up like a skater pulling in her arms.

      *there are equivalent anti-cyclonic regions. The atmosphere as a whole does not have a lot of curl.

      • Athelstan permalink
        July 19, 2017 1:35 pm

        Nah, I was confusing what I wanted to say with my ignorance in these matters , heads up for the update and thank you.

        What we always hear from experts sitting in the newsrooms, as Storm force winds hit land away from the shore onto the land – wind speed velocity is reduced. Yes, cliffs, buildings, vegetation all cause drag and is it also something to do with heat rising from ‘warm’ water enhancing the kinetic energy roaring within the storm and as aeolian storm his dry land ameliorates by method of subtraction of said ‘heat input’?

        I speculate, i do not postulate.

  16. Jack Broughton permalink
    July 19, 2017 9:08 am

    The obvious place for Dong and Siemens to put their subsidy-grabbing white elephants. A few hundred 100 m diameter windmills could power the world!!

    The troubling factor in these press releases is how a half-baked hypothesis is now presented as factual, scientifically proven truth as part of the on-going “project fear”.

  17. dave permalink
    July 19, 2017 10:24 am

    “…loss of Antarctica ice possibly caused by El Nino activity…”

    There is a hint of that in the (temporary?) declines after the vigorous 2010 and 2015 El Nino episodes:

    Of course, when the sun goes away, every Southern Winter, the sea freezes…amazing, that.

    • dave permalink
      July 19, 2017 11:23 am

      By the way, the above chart is an example of what drooling nonsense it is to speak of slopes as if they were trends. The assumed statistical model which is being FORCED ON TO THE DATA is tnat all outliers are accidents – however large – which could just as easily happen in any other year.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        July 19, 2017 3:20 pm

        An element of this problem is that spreadsheets like excel can give all sorts of curve fits with no effort. What they do not give is the significance of the fit provided. Thus, the significance of the fit at 1.3 %/year is very little better than that at -1.3% per year. As you say there is a tendency to force or strangle the data because it is easy to do so and ignore outliers.

      • dave permalink
        July 19, 2017 4:23 pm

        Yes, Jack;

        And, a CLOSER fit is not a BETTER fit, if it means the residuals diverge from a “normal errors” random distribution;

        And, as cannot be stated too often, a RANDOM WALK will generally have sgnificant linear trends – which therefore mean precious little.

      • dave permalink
        July 19, 2017 4:43 pm

        To get the full flavour of the joke, you have to notice the data point at the left-bottom point of the graph!

        https://mse.redwoods.edu/darnold/math45/StrangProblems/SecondThird/chem.pdf

  18. dennisambler permalink
    July 19, 2017 6:00 pm

    04 February 2005 Conference on Dangerous Climate Change, Met Office Exeter.

    “An international conference entitled “Avoiding dangerous climate change” began on Tuesday with a warning that coming up with a global definition of dangerous climate change may be “mission impossible”. Chris Rapley from the British Antarctic Survey revealed that ice sheets in Antarctica – which in total contain enough water to raise sea levels by nearly 60 metres – are undergoing dramatic change. The new view of Antarctica is of a “giant awakening” he said.”

    Only three weeks after the Exeter conference:

    “Antarctic ice shelf retreats happened before” BAS Press Release 4/2005, (23 Feb 2005)

    “The retreat of Antarctic ice shelves is not new, according to research published this week (24 Feb 2005) in the journal Geology by scientists from Universities of Durham, Edinburgh and British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

    A study of George VI Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula is the first to show that this currently ‘healthy’ ice shelf experienced an extensive retreat about 9500 years ago, more than anything seen in recent years.”

    These Antarctic scares are a regular event::
    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/west-antarctic-glaciers-have-been-retreating-for-last-7500-years/

    • dave permalink
      July 19, 2017 9:14 pm

      UAH data shows CLEARLY that there has been NO warming in the Atmosphere, South of 60 S., in the last forty years. How then is it possible to aattribute ANY effect in that area to a NON-EXISTENT cause?

  19. Gamecock permalink
    July 19, 2017 9:46 pm

    ‘This is fuelling the breaking off of vast icebergs in the West Antarctic – such as the iceberg on the Larsen C ice-shelf last week.

    The iceberg weighs a staggering trillion tons and has an area of 2,239 sq miles (5,800 sq km), making roughly the size of Delaware, or equivalent to the size of Wales.’

    OH, MY! THIS IS HORRIBLE!!! HOW MANY PEOPLE DIED ?!?!?

    • dave permalink
      July 20, 2017 6:50 am

      “…such as…”

      Where are the OTHER ones, then?

      I mentioned here, months ago, that there would be MSM sobbing and rage when this bit of ice finally broke off. It has taken sixteen years to do it, and so has been a recurrent “story.”

      A trillion tons is just one cubic km of water which is not staggering at all. The Greenland ice-cap regularly calves about two hundred cubic km a year.

      The sea-ice floating arounnd in the world at any moment is between twenty and thirty thousand cubic km. Its continual melting and refreezing, of course, makes no difference to sea-level.

      By the way, I did not know that Delaware was a country. I flew across it once, in ten minutes.

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