June 25, 2018

Antarctic Land Rising while Global Warming Shrinks

Timothy Birdnow

Reuters tries to explain the lack of acceleration of sea level rise by claiming that the land is rising as a result of declining ice weight and thus keeping sea levels relatively constant.

According to the article:
The Earth’s crust in West Antarctica is rising by up to 4.1 centimetres (1.61 inches) a year, an international team wrote in the journal Science, in a continental-scale version of a foam mattress reforming after someone sitting on it gets up.

The rate, among the fastest ever recorded, is likely to accelerate and could total 8 metres (26.25 feet) this century, they said, helping to stabilise the ice and brake a rise in sea levels that threatens coasts from Bangladesh to Florida.

"It’s good news for Antarctica,” lead author Valentina Barletta of the Technical University of Denmark and Ohio State University told Reuters of the findings, based on GPS sensors placed on bedrock around the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica."

End excerpt.

See, sea levels aren't cooperating, so they had to find a way to explain this and not discard their apocalyptic scenario.

The authors of this article either do not understand how this works or they don't care to report the reality of the situation.

The Earth's crust is like a tube of toothpaste that is half full. Weight from ice or water puts pressure on the crust, and the result is that where land is low it is higher in places with less weight on it. If you squeeze a tube of toothpaste in one spot it rises in another, right? Magma under the crust shifts and you have rising land - and falling land.

Which means that somewhere the land MUST be dropping. In the end you have homeostasis because rising antarctic land means shrinking land elsewhere, probably in ocean depths.

But there is no evidence of land actually dropping anywhere.

This article fails to mention a number of things. For instance, West Antarctica has been losing ice precisly because there is considerable volcanic activity under the ice sheet, which is largley responsible for the melting sheet and for the large ice shelf collapses. This also helps explain the land rise to a degree, as there is considerable pressure underneath the land that is pushing upward. It should also be pointed out that the East Antarctic ice sheet has been gaining mass as WAIS has been losing it - more so in fact. (In point of fact, overall Antarctica has been greater than the ice loss.

What does that mean? It means there is increased isostatic pressure in the East while vulcanism is reducing the weight of ice in the West. Naturally there will be a rise in the west.

Here's a real doozie from the Reuters article:

"The fast rise of the bedrock beneath will lift ever more of the ice onto land, reducing the risks of a breakup of the sheet caused by warming ocean water seeping beneath the ice."

End excerpt.

I don't think so.

The West Antarctic ice Sheet is different from the East, in that it is not an ice dome so much as a long glacier that stretches out miles into the ocean. Water is ALREADY UNDER IT and even where it is not the fact is the ice is moving because of warming from volcanoes on the underside, which means that as the land rises the ice feels more pressure from the interior of the continent and thus more ice will slide into the ocean - and the ocean ice will break up faster. It's like tipping over a glass of water; the more you tip the glass the more water will flow out of it.

The fact is this is nothing new or unusual, and the dishonesty in not discussing the eastern part of the continent, or the volcanic activity under the WAIS, speaks volumes. This is more fake news/fake science.

Oh, and did I mention there hasn't been any planetary warming since the late '90's? Strange how no warming can melt ice.

A recent paper in Nature argued that Antarctica has claims Antarctica has seen a tripling of ice loss in the last five years although this is entirely based on WAIS ice loss.  (Needless to say the mainstream media has breathlessly reported this, without the caveat.) What is ignored in this paper is a competing paper by James Zwally et. al that shows that the Eastern ice sheet has more than made up for the loss of ice in the west.

David Whitehouse at the Global Warming Policy Foundation discrediting the paper in Nature, by the way.

Whitehouse states:

"The main loss of ice is from west Antarctica which is the largest and densest volcanic region on Earth with over 100 volcanoes under the ice.

The first worrying thing about the paper are the error bars. In scientific literature it is normal to use errors of two standard deviations and not one. Even two sigma errors are in my opinion not enough but one certainly isn’t. It’s often used in cases where to quote two sigma errors would make the measurement look unconvincing.

The paper states that 2720 +/- 1390 billion tonnes of ice were lost between 1992 -2017. Using two sigma errors changes that to a loss of 2720 +/- 2780 billion tonnes, which gives an entirely different impression. In fact the hypothesis that there has been any ice loss at all is not warranted by such errors.:

end excerpt.

Another point to ponder; the WAIS has shrunk far more in cooler weather in the past.
According to this article in National Geographic:

"Scientists have discovered that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet underwent a major retreat between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, at a time when the world was actually cooler than it is today. The collapse happened at the close of the last Ice Age, and it left the ice sheet 135,000 square miles smaller than it is today – a difference nearly as large as the state of Montana.


"Most researchers had believed that the West Antarctic ice sheet hadn’t been much smaller than it is now for at least 120,000 years. "We were really surprised,” says Reed Scherer, of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, who co-authored the new paper, published today in the journal Nature, with nine other scientists."

End excerpt

As I have pointed out before, much of the WAIS floats on top of water. If the ice sheet is breaking up, it means warer water is underneath the ice. But why?  If ice is forming heavily on the surface of the ocean it means the air is not warmer, but rather the water underneath. Now the Antarctic is surrounded by a circumpolar current of cold water that is very wide and deep - and it is unlikely that warm water would find it's way through that current. warm water sits on top of cold water, after all. So the warming water is coming from the continent itself.  That tells me it is because of volcanic activity, not warming air.

Bear in mind, the average coastal temperature is
14* F. amd evem the warmer Antarctic Peninsula is below the freezing point of water in mid summer most of the time. Ice melt could hardly be related to the temperature.

This was another good college try but in the end it fails.

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