The Real Facts on Increasing Antarctic Ice

You wouldn’t think so if you read recent press reports. Just like this time last year, the global press is bombarding the public with alarming reports coming from the bottom of the world. From the Discovery Channel on April 28th, 2009 “Huge Ice Shelf Breaks From Antarctica, Fractures.” From National Geographic News on April 30th, 2009 “Giant Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapses.” From Reuters on April 28th, 2009, “New York City-sized Ice Collapses off Antarctica.”

Exactly one year ago, similar stories circulated, and if anything, they were more alarming. On March 25th, 2008, the BBC reported “Antarctic Ice Hangs by a Thread,” a result, they stated, of “unprecedented global warming.” But these reports, both last year and this year, are talking about the same ice shelf – the Wilkins Ice Shelf, an insignificant bit of floating ice that is located on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Didn’t it break up last year? How many times do we recycle the alarm over the seasonal melting of the same few thousand square miles of floating ice (ice that floats cannot contribute to sea level rise), off a continent that exceeds five million square miles in area?


Apparently over and over. An excellent analysis posted on April 17th, 2009 by Ron de Haan entitled “The Antarctic Wilkins Ice Shelf Collapse: Media recycles photos and storylines from previous years,” documents how the Wilkins Ice Shelf has been reported by the mainstream media to be ominously collapsing every year now since 1999. Haan also provides satellite photography back as far as 1993 showing the end-of-summer thaws and mid-winter maximums for the Wilkins Ice Shelf. Not much has changed over the past 15 years. Thank goodness for the blogosphere to help us accurately assess the cryosphere!

The assumption in all these stories that report on the Wilkins Ice Shelf, and other melting ice around the Antarctic Peninsula, is that global warming is the cause, and that they are representative of a general melt occurring throughout Antarctica. And if this were true, this would be alarming, since 90% of the world’s land based ice is in Antarctica. So is the ocean warming around Antarctica, and is Antarctica’s overall total mass decreasing?


GLOBAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALY – APRIL 2009
As of April 2009, sea surface temperatures surrounding
Antarctica are mostly colder than average.
(Image: NOAA)

The answer to both of these questions is almost certainly no. As this recent imagery from NOAA indicates, the southern ocean is actually colder than average. Except for a few areas directly south of the Indian Ocean, and in the area south of Patagonia and surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula, the rest of the ocean surrounding Antarctica – virtually all of the South Pacific and South Atlantic – is cooler than average. This data indicates no reason to believe ocean temperatures are causing overall loss of ice mass in the Antarctic; with the exception of the insignificant quantity of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula, they suggest the opposite.


CURRENT SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE SEA ICE AREA
As of May 2009, sea ice surrounding Antarctica is
about 1.0 million square kilometers greater than average.
(Image: University of Illinois)

What about the ice mass of Antarctica? Along with land based ice, which can raise sea levels when melted into the ocean, another significant indicator of polar temperature is the extent of floating sea ice. As the above table prepared by researchers at the University of Illinois indicates, the actual sea ice surrounding Antarctica is well above average. The black line represents the last 12 months of sea ice area, based on satellite data. You can see the sea ice reached a peak of 15 million square kilometers around September, during the peak of the southern winter. You can see it dropped to a low of 2 million square kilometers in mid-February, at the height of the southern summer. Currently the sea ice surrounding Antarctica is 7 million square kilometers and rising. The red line, however, is what is significant, because the red line indicates whether or not the sea ice is above or below the historical norm. And as you can see, as of May 2009, Antarctic sea ice is about 1.0 million square kilometers above normal.

Just like last year, to assist in the research for this post I contacted Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., a climatologist at the University of Colorado whose blog www.climatesci.org is one of the most balanced forums and respected sources of technical information on global climate anywhere. In response to my inquiry, he wrote the following: “The sea ice around the continent is far above average (ref. UIUC). Also, note the colder than average sea surface temperatures around Antarctic (ref. NOAA). If the media is going to discuss the Wilkens Ice Shelf, they should also discuss this other data. The expansion of the sea ice coverage implies a cooling.”

Related Posts:

Reforesting Reduces Droughts
Global Warming & Greentech
Pessimistic Reporting, Optimistic Data
How Much for a Degree?
Climate Science
Antarctica’s Ice Mass
Aquabirds & Aquabuoys
Arctic Cooling on Schedule
Greenland’s Ice Melting Slowly
Greenland’s Ice Cap
Antarctic Ice


49 Responses to “The Real Facts on Increasing Antarctic Ice”
  1. larrydalooza says:

    These facts are heresy to the AGW religion.

  2. Robert Way says:

    Notice that the graph utilized in this graph illustrates sea-ice data and not antarctic ice sheet data. The West Antarctic Ice sheet (as measured by “grace” gravity measurements, “Icesat” altimetry measurements and “Radarsat” InSAR measurements) is losing more ice than the eastern antarctic ice sheet is gaining. Overall the mass balance of ice in antarctica which has implications for sea level rise, shows a reduction in ice by 25 cubic kilometers of ice each year. Temperature anomalies over all of Antarctica indicate warming and the antarctic peninsula (where the wilkins is located) has warmed by 4 degrees in the last century. Contrary to what the writer states, ice shelves are very important in that they restrict glacier flow into the ocean(contributes to sea-level rise), and when an ice shelf dissapears, glacier flow into oceans increase. I can provide references for all this information. Maybe the writer should research a little more before spreading disinformation.

  3. Robert Way says:

    One other note, having been to Antarctica within the last year, I had access to regions where sea-ice had been just years ago and does not exist today. It is true that sea-ice is gaining in antarctica, however on the Antarctic peninsula sea-ice is dissapearing alarmingly fast comparable to ice shelves. This region is in danger of destabilization and ice shelves are very important to ensuring the region remains stable. Finally accumulation in the Eastern Antarctic Ice Sheet is increasing, but for the reason that it is a higher elevation region which is warming, allowing the air to have a higher moisture content and precipitate more.

  4. Ed Ring says:

    Disinformation indeed, Robert. You state “Overall the mass balance of ice in antarctica which has implications for sea level rise, shows a reduction in ice by 25 cubic kilometers of ice each year.”

    The total ice mass of Antarctica is well over 20 MILLION cubic kilometers. Your statement regarding 25 km3 of net ice loss is phrased as though this is a large amount of ice and therefore we should be concerned. But even if Antarctica is displaying a net loss of 25 km3 per year, this is a negligible quantity – it is well within margins for error. It is such a minute quantity of ice relative to the total ice mass of Antarctica that it has no significance whatsoever.

    Similarly, you ignore the fact that where limited sea ice melt is occurring, along the Antarctic Peninsula, is obviously not going to facilitate some massive slide of land-based glaciers (should that theory even hold up), since this sea ice recession is along a narrow peninsula not connected in any meaningful way to the major formations of land based ice on the Antarctic mainland.

    You are welcome to provide additional data here to support your claims, but I remain convinced most of the “misinformation” is coming from the alarmist community.

  5. Robert Way says:

    The 25 km3 of ice is a conservative estimate using the full error associations with each method of measurement first of all. Secondly though you say it is negligible, the loss of 25 km3 of ice represents roughly 20% of all sea-level rise which is currently occuring. Furthermore, you keep saying that sea-ice is essentially the important factor in antarctica whereas it is not. Antarctic sea ice varies extensively from 18 million km to roughly 4 million km during the summer. When it is at this minimum is when the important climate change dynamics such as ice shelf melting occurs. Sea-ice is nowhere near as important as ice shelves in holding back glacier ice, as ice shelves themselves are just outwards extensions of these glaciers basically. Below are two papers which illustrate that after ice shelf collapses surging glaciers occur, which discharges more ice into the ocean.

    Angelis & Skvarca (Science, 2003)
    -5/6 Glaciers feeding larsen A ice shelf surged into the ocean after Larsen A collapsed in 1995

    Scambos et al. (2004)
    -4/4 Glaciers feeding Larsen B Ice shelf parts which collapsed in 2002 surged, rapidly increasing flow into the ocean

  6. Robert Way says:

    Also note that the amundsen sea embayment, which holds the pine island glacier and the thwaites glacier has seen dramatic reductions in sea-ice extent and this region is quite important because it represents 10% of global sea level rise.
    Thomas et al. (2004)- This region is discharging 250 km3 of ice per year into the ocean because it is not restricted by ice shelves, and sea-ice reductions have occurred.
    This is not some holocene retreat either as the WAIS rate of retreat since Last Glacial Maximum is ~100 m yr-1 which makes it too slow to represent these losses.

  7. Robert Way says:

    Overall AIS losing 24 Gt year-1, equivalent to +0.07 mm year-1 s.l.
    EAIS = +20 Gt year-1
    WAIS = -44 Gt year-1

    Chen, J.L. et al. 2008. Antarctic regional ice loss rates from GRACE. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 266, 140-148.

    Rignot, E., and Thomas, R. 2002. Mass balance of polar ice sheets. Science, 297, 1502-1506.

  8. Robert Way says:

    I think the real issue I have with this article is that you give the impression that sea-ice is the indicative feature with regards to warming or cooling in the antarctic whereas I would argue ice sheet losses, glacier losses and ice shelf losses are much more important variables for indicating warming. I would argue this because sea-ice in antarctica rarely reaches multi-year stage and is very receptive to yearly variabilities in weather patterns and temperature. Whereas Ice shelves, glaciers and ice sheets are receptive to long term trends such as warming. Therefore the variability assoiciated with sea-ice growth can indeed be representative of yearly patterns but overall when it comes down to a rate of 1.3% growth in sea-ice per decade in antarctica, that is not as important an indicator as ice shelves been lost which have been there for thousands upon thousands of years.

    I believe you are being a bit disingenious by saying ice is increasing without showing the importance of the different elements of the cryosphere and how certain other ones outweigh sea-ice growth.

  9. DeWitt Payne says:

    Maybe I’ve dropped a decimal point or two, but with the current estimated sea level rise rate of 0.0018 m/year, 25km3 of ice melting/year explains about 4 % of that increase, not 20%.

  10. Robert Way says:

    The current rate is 1.8 mm per year since 1960. Church et al. (2004), and 3.1 mm per year since 1993 (Cazenave and Nerem, 2004; Leuliette et al., 2004).

    –Glacier and ICe cap losses equivalent sea level change of 0.77 ± 0.22 mm per year. Dyurgerov and Meier (2005)
    This represents a 24% amount of sea-level rise due to glaciers and ice cap losses

  11. Robert Way says:

    Also Consider each GT of gains on the EAIS does not represent the same amount of sea-level lowering as a GT of losses represents sea-level rising. Some accumulation is not directly coming from the ocean onto the ice sheet. moisture from land regions can be carried and precipitate on the east side. Whereas when Ice calves into the ocean it does relatively fully contribute to sea-level rise.

  12. Ed Ring says:

    Robert: You’ve thrown out a lot of information in your many comments today, and I thank you. But I would like to return to the calculations of sea level rise per cubic kilometer (or gigaton, one cubic kilometer of water is one gigaton) of land based ice melt.

    There are 361 million square kilometers of ocean. If you distribute 25 cubic kilometers of melted ice into this area, you will distribute 0.000006925% of a gigaton (or cubic kilometer) of water onto each square kilometer of ocean. This factor is calculated simply by dividing 25 by 361 million.

    If you multiply this percentage by 1.0 million, which is how many millimeters there are in a kilometer (1,000 meters x 1,000 millimeters per meter), you will get the amount, in millimeters, that 25 cubic kilometers of new water will increase sea level. And that calculation yields 0.06925 millimeters, which is to say, a rise of 6.9 millimeters per century.

    It is therefore profoundly misleading for anyone, anywhere, to suggest that 25 gigatons of melted ice entering our oceans per year is cause for alarm.

    These are indeed complex issues, but failing to address every nuance and every theory does not make one disingenuous when their opinion differs from yours. For example, one may bring up the possibility that loss of sea ice will cause land based glaciers to slip into the ocean. But most of the sea ice loss is on the Antarctic Peninsula, where, once again, there is a proportionally minute quantity of land based ice. One might also suggest that increased glacial slippage into the ocean is not due to a loss of sea ice, but due to greater precipitation and consequently greater ice formation in the interior. And if one is truly concerned about glacial slippage into the polar oceans, one also needs to assess the topography of the land mass upon which these ice caps rest. Unless it is a smooth ramp, it is unlikely these ice caps will be liable to slip into the ocean en-masse. I’m sure you will agree these are only a few of the additional variables we would have to consider.

    In general, I believe a debate regarding polar ice loss, sea level rise, and the general causes of climate change – such as it is – to be quite healthy. I respect your opinion and I respect your concern. The tendency on the part of the alarmist community to demonize dissenters, to invoke moral outrage, and to attempt to squelch debate is not healthy. Too bad we didn’t listen to the contrarians who – such sociopathic pessimists and cynics – who repeatedly warned us that our economic boom was built on unsustainable debt. What price will we pay, are we paying, as a consequence of global warming alarm? What freedoms will remain?

  13. Robert Way says:

    I appreciate your candid nature on all of this but I have to say three things. Firstly i am not an “alarmist”, I do not spout that catostrophic conditions are ensuing and such, however I do support theories that i’m led to based upon research. Secondly, I once again have to say that sea-ice and ice shelves are not the same thing, and the impression you are giving is that they do the same thing, and are essentially the same. Thirdly, I did not intend on being contrite or offending the original writer of the article, however I did feel like mentioning something because I took issue with the overall impression coming from the article that Antarctica is gaining Ice when all the best science we currently have indicate that Antarctica is losing ice, though not a lot due to accumulation in the EAIS associated with increases in moisture content at high elevations because of higher temperatures. Whether or not the entire global warming issue is still debatable, taking action on something like climate change would provide society with the necessary tools to move forward towards sustainability.
    Personally I find that the problem is that there is a lack of trust on both sides, in that I think you don’t believe in climate change because you see what you want to see and you think I believe in it because I am following a wave of alarmism.
    There are numerous reasons to not believe in climate change, but from the research I have conducted, and the studies that have occurred recently, the conclusion that climate change is occurring is one that I feel has more evidence to support its arguments. It does not help when articles such as this one, use evidence that leads individuals to a conclusion and words things in a way to make people skeptical. I would just prefer to see some more balanced writing. It is tough to get a healthy debate going when statements such as:
    “What about the ice mass of Antarctica? As the above table prepared by researchers at the University of Illinois indicates, the actual sea ice surrounding Antarctica is well above average.”
    give the impression that antarctica is gaining mass, when sea-ice doesn’t even come into the budget of antarctic mass balance.

  14. Robert Way says:

    I can’t say that I’d agree with those variables because the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is where the glacier surging is occurring due to losses of ice shelves, and this region is mostly sitting on topography which is below sea-level therefore hypothetically if enough ice is lost the entire ice sheet could destabilize. However I also have to say that the increased precipitation cannot be a causal factor because the increased interior precipitation that you are referring to is on the EAIS which is seperated from the WAIS by the Trans-Antarctic Mountains. Furthermore, much of the topography on the Antarctic Peninsula such as where wilkins, larsen A and B are located, are regions which are mountainous and very dynamic therefore the acceleration of glaciers is a real threat in this region. Finally, about the sea-level rise to which you refer, just like I said before that 25 GT is the overall mass balance of the AIS, the AIS has two components the EAIS and the WAIS, the EAIS is gaining mass due to accumulation from increased precipitation at high elevations, there WAIS is losing due to calving of ice along the peninsula and in the Amundsen sea embayment. Overall combined they equal 25 GT but the EAIS gains are not simply water coming out of the ocean onto land and freezing there. The gains in EAIS do not uniformly affect the sea level in the same manner as the WAIS.

  15. Robert Way says:

    Finally I do have to say that yes there are some recycled photos that the media are using, but if you see the latest ASAR image taken on the 23rd of this month and compare it to other images you will see how drastic a break up this was. Anyone who wants to see this just let me know.

  16. DeWitt Payne says:

    So if 0.77mm/year of sea level rise is coming from melting land based ice and 0.07 mm/year is coming from Antarctic based ice (25 GT/year), then ~90% of land based ice melt is coming from somewhere other than Antarctica.

    “…but the EAIS gains are not simply water coming out of the ocean onto land and freezing there. The gains in EAIS do not uniformly affect the sea level in the same manner as the WAIS.”

    That assertion will require a little more documentation to be believable.

  17. DeWitt Payne says:

    Also, thermal expansion of 2.3 mm/year requires a massive increase in Ocean Heat Content (~7E16 Joules/year), which isn’t happening either, at least not since 2003.

  18. Robert Way says:

    1961-2003 Sea level Rise
    1.8mm per year total

    0.42 mm per year due to thermal expansion
    0.50 mm per year due to glaciers and ice caps
    0.05 mm per year due to Greenland Ice Sheet
    0.14 mm per year due to Antarctic Ice Sheet
    0.7 mm per year unexplained

    1993-2003
    3.1mm per year total

    1.6 mm per year due to thermal expansion
    0.77 mm per year due to Glaciers and Ice Caps
    0.21 mm per year due to Greenland Ice Sheet
    0.21 mm per year due to Antarctic Ice Sheet
    0.3 mm per year unexplained
    (source *IPCC 2007 AR4 WG1)

  19. jotham says:

    Robert Way writes:

    “The West Antarctic Ice sheet (as measured by “grace” gravity measurements, “Icesat” altimetry measurements and “Radarsat” InSAR measurements) is losing more ice than the eastern antarctic ice sheet is gaining.”

    GRACE gravity measurements are somewhat new technology that hasn’t yet been satisfactorily callibrated and verified with observable data. Are you referring to the Villacogna study, which measures ice density for only 3 years (2002-2005)? This is too short a study to determine long-term effects. In fact, shortly after that study was published, Monaghan (2006) found that during those three years, there was an unusual lack of snowfall, which explains the lack of ice-mass they observed:

    “Interannual and interdecadal snowfall variability must be more seriously considered when assessing the rapid ice volume changes that are occurring over Antarctica. With regard to interannual variability, consider a recent estimate of Antarctic ice sheet mass loss that is the equivalent of 0.4 ± 0.2 mm year-1 GSL [global sea level rise] rise for 3 years (2002–2005) from satellite-derived time-variable gravity measurements [made by Velicogna and Wahl]. Antarctic-wide annual snowfall accumulation decreased by about 25 mm y-1 WEQ [water equivalent], or about 0.86 mm year-1 GSL rise, between calendar year 2002 and 2003, suggesting that the gravity fluctuations could be heavily influenced by interannual snowfall variations.”

    Also, Davis (2005) and Wingham (2006) have concluded there is mass gain in Antarctica.

  20. Bill DiPuccio says:

    One must be cautious of “end point fallacy”. Way’s data is from older studies ending in 2003. Since then, there has been some major changes in global climate as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation shifts to negative mode. Not only are average temperatures declining, but more importantly, there has been a decline in ocean heat since mid 2003. Every climate scientist would acknowledge that oceans drive the climate. As Jotham indicates above, newer studies seem to confirm an increase in Anarctic mass. We can probably expect more of that in days to come.

  21. MarkB says:

    There’s some kind of general law of internet message boards that says that any time a person posts three consecutive entries, they’ve becomed unhinged on the topic.

  22. DeWitt Payne says:

    The heat content change for 2.3 mm thermal expansion in #18 above is incorrect. It should be 2E22 Joules for 2.3 mm assuming all the expansion is in the upper 700 m of ocean at an average temperature of 10 C.

  23. cmb says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the GRACE measurements.

    Both ice caps are losing mass, even with the (temporary) cooling influence of the PDO taken into account.

  24. tahoe AC says:

    Quick point:
    Climate is measured on am uch different time scale than weather. So this year it is 1mliion above average, what about 10 years ago, or from now?

  25. DeWitt Payne says:

    Here’s an article that addresses sea level changes during the period from 2003 to 2008: http://etienne.berthier.free.fr/download/Cazenave_et_al_GPC_2009.pdf

    The conclusion is that 80% of the 2.5 mm/yr increase over that time period is from ocean mass increase from melting of land based ice, half from Greenland and Antarctica and half from other land based ice like mountain glaciers. The rate of loss from Antarctica was found to be 198 GT/yr. Thermal expansion is small, ~0.3 mm/year.

  26. michael Truman says:

    Can robert way please go away. Everyone knows now that its all a big con so people can get free trip on large budgets and stay in nice hotels. The Uk is getting ready to admit Mrs Tatcher only set up the IPCC so she could close down a few coal mines in the 80′s. She got a few scientiests to make up a few lies and wow how it has snowballed. The weather is much colder now than it was a few years ago. Last year we had our coldest winter in years in the Uk and Ireland. Mr Way please go away and talk to the Penguin who has to walk further this year just to reach the sea. If you want to get warm this winter its hard even the Canary Islands are cold this year.

  27. M Melville says:

    It would seem that many people cannot come to conclusions without being told what to think. That they need to have simple YESes and NOes, and cannot deal with summations of proclvities.

    This is most unfortunate for that species known as man.

    A small number is not the same as an insignificant number.

    The issue is that IF there is any connection between pollution and global environmental change, it can most easily be corrected early on, and not at the point of catastrophe. You do not wait for your house to burn to the ground before buying home insurance, and do not store gasoline in cardboard boxes by the furnace, because this could have serious negative consequences.

    Similarly POLLUTION, whether industrial, automotive, farming or mining run-off, waste pharmaceuticals being flushed into the wastewater systems, industrial contamination of streams and rivers, and etc, CANNOT, in any sane person’s mind, be considered OK, and to not have any consequential damages.

    Anyone who thiinks human accelerated climate change is a “hoax”, should take their “head” out of the sand or get off the boat.

  28. John M. Quinn says:

    Well, I have found the discussions above quite interesting. However, underlying the Pros and Cons of relative ice accumulation or melt in various parts of Antarctica, is the question of what is the fundamental cause of these climate effects. Is it natural or is it anthropogenic in origin? If these Antarctic snow and ice fluctuations are of natural causes, then there is nothing that can be done about it and the question is relegated to academic interest. So, some of the squabbling among the various participants in the discussions above I presume is motivated by the two opposing factions concerning the ultimate cause of Global Warming.

    For many years now a large number of environmental scientists and others have claimed that Global Warming is caused by anthropogenic CO2. This idea is referred to as the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory of Global Warming. If this theory (and it is still just a theory)is correct, then allocating funds and making promises of CO2 and other greenhouse gas reductions at the Copenhagen meeting would make sense and we should all be pleased that at least something, however pitifully small, is being done about man’s tampering with nature.

    However, my studies over the past 8 years show that Global Warming has nothing at all to do with CO2 or Greenhouse gases in general, regardless of their origins (anthropogenic or natural). I, and I believe that most scientists, accept that the Global Temperature Anomaly (GTA) is a good defining parameter of Global Warming. The secular trend of this parameter decreased from 1850 to 1908 and has been increasing steadily since 1908. Curiously, one finds that the secular trends of both the X and Y components of Earth’s orientation [as defined by the International Earth Rotation Service (IERS)] decreased from 1850 to 1908 and have been increasing since 1908. The correlation between the GTA and Earth orientation is too striking for anyone to toss off as mere coincidence. The sudden 1908 change in Earth orientation and the GTA may be linked to the Tunguska meteor event of 1908. That is, the meteor/comet may have transferred some of its impact energy, resulting from the inelastic collision, to the Earth’s angular momentum, thereby affecting the observed secular-trend change in Earth’s orientation.

    A closer examination on the decade time scale shows (i.e., after removing the secular trends and examining the residuals), one finds that the GTA, the geomagnetic field strength, Earth’s rotation rate, Atmospheric circulation, Hurricane frequency, and other geophysical and environmental parameters, including CO2, all vary more or less in sync with a quasi-period of about 60 – 65 years. From Mauna Loa Observatory data one finds that on the decade time scale, CO2 LAGS the GTA by about 8 years. On the millennium time scale, CO2 LAGS the GTA, on average, by about 800 years (Monin et. al., 2000). Finally, on the annual and inter-annual time scale, one finds that the GTA has sudden jumps in temperature at more or less random intervals that tend to coincide with the sudden erratic changes in the Earth’s rotation rate. These changes appear to be connected with geomagnetic jerks which occur randomly at the Earth’s Core-Mantle Boundary (CMB). Now, the fact that atmospheric CO2 changes LAG GTA changes and the fact that such parameters as the Earth’s rotation rate and the geomagnetic field move in sync with the GTA suggests that these parameters change on the decade time scale due to some common factor. But, this factor can not be CO2 since there is absolutely no way that CO2 or any other Greenhouse gas, regardless of origin, can affect changes in the geomagnetic field or Earth’s rotation rate. Why? These gases have no pondermotive force associated with them. On the other hand, changes in the Earth’s angular momentum and changes in the geomagnetic field do have pondermotive forces (i.e., gravity and electromagnetism) associated with them that, through tidal friction and electromagnetic induction can cause stress and strain due to torsions, vibrations, wobbles and other motions within the Earth that can cause planetary out-gassing for instance..

    Geomagnetic jerks are thought to arise as a consequence of a slow build-up and sudden release of electromagnetic energy at the CMB where there is a substantial electrical conductivity differential between the lower mantle and the outer core. This sudden electromagnetic energy release results, via electromagnetic induction, in a torque being applied to the lower mantle and upper part of the liquid core that alters the relative angular momentum between the core and mantle. This angular momentum change is eventually observed at the Earth’s surface. The angular momentum change in turn affects such things as atmospheric circulation patterns and atmospheric jet-stream patterns. It also affects changes in the geomagnetic field caused by both the electromagnetic energy release itself, and resulting changes in fluid flow at the CMB, which gives rise to the Earth’s magnetic field in the first place. Changes in fluid flow in turn feed back into changes in angular momentum and so on, until the jerk energy is dissipated.
    The resulting geomagnetic field fluctuations pervade the mantle and lithosphere generating Joule heat. The sudden changes in Earth’s angular momentum generates frictional heat, due to the torsions, vibrations, and angular momentum changes (i.e., rotation rate changes and Earth orientation changes) which result in Earth motions that result in the redistribution of the Core fluid due to the jerk/torque, at the CMB. Mechanical slippage, due for instance to baricenter motion among the Sun, Earth, an Moon, at the CMB between the mantle and the surface of the outer core can generate a similar effect. Thus, one observes at the Earth’s surface sudden bursts (jumps) in the GTA along with sudden changes in Earth’s angular momentum, and geomagnetic field strength and direction.

    I refer to this theory as: The Solar-Terrestrial Theory of Global Warming, since the Sun’s interactions with the Earth, through the Earth/Solar magnetic fields and the solar wind, are an integral part of thi Global Climate Theory. It is seldom recognized that the Energy flux from the Sun has more than doubled since 1900, for instance, even though Solar irradiance has changed comparatively little during that time. Details, including references, of what has just been discussed are given in my book titled:

    GLOBAL WARMING: Geophysical Counterpoints to the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory.

    ISBN: 978 – 1 – 4349 – 0581 – 9

    Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.

    The book is being printed now (December, 2009) and hopefully will be available in bookstores like Barnes & Noble, and through Amazon.com, Kindle and other venues in January, 2010.

  29. P.Dunn says:

    M Melville wrote

    It would seem that many people cannot come to conclusions without being told what to think. That they need to have simple YESes and NOes, and cannot deal with summations of proclvities.

    This is most unfortunate for that species known as man.

    A small number is not the same as an insignificant number.

    The issue is that IF there is any connection between pollution and global environmental change, it can most easily be corrected early on, and not at the point of catastrophe. You do not wait for your house to burn to the ground before buying home insurance, and do not store gasoline in cardboard boxes by the furnace, because this could have serious negative consequences.

    Similarly POLLUTION, whether industrial, automotive, farming or mining run-off, waste pharmaceuticals being flushed into the wastewater systems, industrial contamination of streams and rivers, and etc, CANNOT, in any sane person’s mind, be considered OK, and to not have any consequential damages.

    Anyone who thiinks human accelerated climate change is a “hoax”, should take their “head” out of the sand or get off the boat.

    Unfortunately you, like so many others seem to have made the same mistake regurding AGW skeptics,
    which is that anyone not believing in MMGW must surely want to destroy the planet.

    The fact is that mostly everyone whether believer or not agrees with the concept of a better environment with less polution, more recycling, more energy saving, better use of resources, not destroying the rain forests,renewable and cleaner energy and so on and so on.
    this is nothing new, people were having loft/cavity wall insulation fitted ,getting double glazing,installing more energy efficient boilers, recycling and generally trying to be more energy efficient long before AGW was dreamt up, after all it’s just economics and common sence.
    what isn’t agreed upon is the belief that man has any affect on the climate because of c02 emissions (which by the way is not a pollutant and is essential for life) and being forced to pay taxes based on a theory which is constantly being rammed down our throats by the politicians and media alike using expressions like the science is settled when it clearly isn’t,

    you talk about not waiting for your house to burn to the ground before buying home insurance
    well let me ask you,
    if that home insurance policy was going to cost you trillians of dollars plus caused millions of people to suffer and then turned out to have been sold to you by a bunch of shysters, do you still think it would be worth it?.

    climate science is far from understood and until it is we need much more debate on the subject which sadly is greatly lacking.
    The pro AGW movement have made their minds up and now refuse to listen to anything which does not fit in with their beliefs.
    This is very sad as people really should try to keep an open mind and listen to all arguments whether for or against, then discuss the science/data behind these arguments instead of resorting to personal attacks which is all too often what actually happens.
    After all we are in this together and surely the best thing for everyone is to find the truth, so that we may move forward into the future with a unified stance which best suits the challenges we will actually face.

  30. Joe the Plumber says:

    Whether or not ice melt is related to the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory of Global Warming or changes in the Earth’s rotation/axis, or whether it’s even happening at all is not the point. We’ve already seen changes in the cancer rates, asthma rates, and other health issues in humans due to the pollution of our environment. We’ve come to the point where it’s not even safe for pregnant women to eat any substantial amount of fish. I think what this article is going to portray is that it’s okay for people to continue as is, when the fact of the matter is that it isn’t. Spending time and money now on research into alternative fuels/energy, is going to save money in the long run–i.e. higher cost of fossil fuels due to increasing demand (granted I agree with the guy above who doesn’t feel large tax increases/Cap and Trade are warranted). Technology always gets cheaper and decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels will benefit all countries (except maybe the OPEC countries in the short term). And for the comment on “CO2 is essential for life,” that is correct. However, too much anything is also detrimental. For example, drinking too much water can kill a person by causing severe hyponatremia. Along the same lines, elevating the percentage of CO2 that we breath can alter the pH of our blood making it more acidic causing substantial problems. Granted the body can can compensate to some extent, but the people with underlying lung and kidney problems will get screwed. From an environmental standpoint, the higher CO2 levels can cause problems such as massive algal blooms, may contribute to increases in temperature, etc… Just like the body, the Earth has to maintain some degree of equilibrium or else it just won’t be easily habitable. There may come a point where things become too broken to fix, maybe not in the near future, but perhaps in the future of generations to come.

  31. John M. Quinn says:

    Mr. Joe the Plummer, the point that you rejected IS the point. Why? because if, as I claim, CO2 enhancement in the atmosphere, by whatever means (human or natural), has no affect on Global Warming, then those who claim otherwise are robbing other pollution mitigation initiatives (such as cleaning up our rivers and estuaries, preventing pesticide run-off from agri-farms, etc.) that could be resolved. But, if society misguidedly squanders huge sums of money on an environmental factor like Global Warming that can not be mitigated because it is purely natural in origin, as I claim above (12-17-09), every other pollution issue gets set aside, diminished, or ignored, to the detriment of us all.

    No one disputes that there are an assortment of pollutions that can easily be traced to human activity. But, that is not the point as far as this discussion is concerned. Ultimately we are discussing where and how funds should be spent to maintain a livable global environment. Sources of human activity that contribute to land, air, ocean, river, and even space pollution can be mitigated once these pollution sources are identified as being of anthropogenic origin. Once the link between human activity and pollution of whatever kind is established, something can be done about it, if there are sufficient funds, laws, and will. I claim that this link has never been established scientifically with respect to Global Warming and CO2, let alone anthropogenic CO2. It is an assumption based on flimsy evidence related to the Holy Grail called the Greenhouse effect.

    The idea that CO2 causes temperature increases is based on the Greenhouse Effect, which actually is a THEORY, which, even though it was established over one hundred years ago, has never, strictly speaking, been properly verified as far as the Earth is concerned. Remember, the Earth is an open system. This means that energy can escape from it. A Greenhouse is a closed system, which prevents energy from escaping. Scientists are just now realizing this.

    I’ll wager that most people have never even checked to see how much of the Earth’s atmosphere is composed of CO2. It is about 0.038% by volume. You could increase the CO2 level by a factor of 10 and still have less the one half of one percent CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere. It is arguable whether one would even notice a factor of 10 increase. Plants probably would notice, and thrive. Trees, for instance may grow faster and larger, which may counter human deforestation. One would do better to worry about unburned hydrocarbons and carbon particulates in the atmosphere from factories and automobiles.

    Ocean algae blooms that are now plaguing Southeast Asia, for instance, are not caused either by Global Warming or by increased CO2. Blooms are caused by the flow of pollution down the rivers into the oceans due to the general lack of proper sanitation. Thus, huge 450 lb. jelly fish, which feed on the algae and bacteria, have grown to such numbers that Japanese fishermen can no longer catch fish in their nets. Rather, they catch unwanted jelly fish that literally topple their boats due to the excessive jelly fish weight. The jelly fish are acting as nature’s house-cleaning response to human pollution. This can be mitigated. Global Warming cannot. The only way that the algae blooms can affect the global temperature, as suggested by Joe the Plumber, is by decreasing the Earth’s albedo. This is minimal.

    John M. Quinn
    Lakewood, CO

  32. Chris says:

    Any theory that does not permit debate has an agenda.

  33. T. Smith says:

    I do not claim to be a climatologist, although doubtless my credentials would be as valid as many of the so-called experts being published – and advising governments – these days. But I do claim to have some common sense.
    I’ve seen the publications predicting gloom and doom, all of which appear to have conveniently omitted one or more records of history, known chemical reactions, planetary physics, etc. I’ve investigated to the best of my ability the real science used by both sides of the “climate change” argument. I’ve also investigated as well as I can the business holdings of principal promoters of the notion that we need to spend trillions of dollars globally to stop something we started. Here are my conclusions:
    Is the earth warming? Almost certainly. When I was in grade school, we were taught that we were near the end of a minor ice age. Nobody seems to be really arguing that point, although it is conveniently left out of the gloom and doom prophesies. Also, we know not just from paleohistory but from recorded history that the planet warms and cools in somewhat predictable cycles.
    Is man’s use of fossil fuels contributing to the warming trend? Probably, but to an infinitissimally small dgree. And it’s abundantly clear that CO2 is NOT the culprit. Any high school chemistry class (or anybody with
    I’m reminded of my home state of New Jersey, and it’s battle against air pollution. Despite the fact that studies showed that less than .06% of pollution in New Jersey originated in New Jersey (native-made pollution gets blown out to sea very quickly – duh) and was in fact produced by various industries west and southwest of the Garden State, the DEP for years forced residents to use auto fuels laced with MTBE – a known carcinogen which ultimately and predictably found it’s way into the lakes, streams, and wells and will remain a cause of suffering and death for generations. Why did they do this? As with all things political, if you follow the money you’ll arrive at the answer.
    It’s easy to see that “climate change” has long since ceased to be a scientific study. It has become a political-economic issue. It is now a source of power and money for those who are able to get themselves on the bandwagon. And if you delve deep enough, you’ll find the usual suspects leading the band.
    I agree largely with John Quinn in that while all this foolishness is going on we’re being distracted from real environmental issues that we could and should be doing something about. Certainly we need clean energy – to reduce or eliminate burning fossil fuels – and investments should be made to that end. Buying and selling carbon credits won’t get that done, but it will create huge profits for the instigators. Higher fuel prices won’t get that done, but it will generate huge profits for oil companies. Technologies already exist, and have existed for decades, to relieve our dependence on fossil fuels. How the rich and powerful have stifled those technologies, particularly in the U.S., is well-documented. These are the same people and powers that brought the global economy to ruin, the same people and powers that will be trading in carbon credits.
    But there are dozens – maybe hundreds – maybe thousands – of doable projects that deserve our attention in regards to waste management, pollution clean-up, environmentally sound manufacturing process and agriculture (to name a few areas) that get no attention and no funding because the powerful are so devoted to the money and additional power they can reap on “climate change”.

  34. T. Smith says:

    I do not claim to be a climatologist, although doubtless my credentials would be as valid as many of the so-called experts being published – and advising governments – these days. But I do claim to have some common sense.
    I’ve seen the publications predicting gloom and doom, all of which appear to have conveniently omitted one or more records of history, known chemical reactions, planetary physics, etc. I’ve investigated to the best of my ability the real science used by both sides of the “climate change” argument. I’ve also investigated as well as I can the business holdings of principal promoters of the notion that we need to spend trillions of dollars globally to stop something we started. Here are my conclusions:
    Is the earth warming? Almost certainly. When I was in grade school, we were taught that we were near the end of a minor ice age. Nobody seems to be really arguing that point, although it is conveniently left out of the gloom and doom prophesies. Also, we know not just from paleohistory but from recorded history that the planet warms and cools in somewhat predictable cycles.
    Is man’s use of fossil fuels contributing to the warming trend? Probably, but to an infinitissimally small dgree. And it’s abundantly clear that CO2 is NOT the culprit. Any high school chemistry class (or anybody breathing with a thermometer and the will to do so) can prove it.
    I’m reminded of my home state of New Jersey, and it’s battle against air pollution. Despite the fact that studies showed that less than .06% of pollution in New Jersey originated in New Jersey (native-made pollution gets blown out to sea very quickly – duh) and was in fact produced by various industries west and southwest of the Garden State, the DEP for years forced residents to use auto fuels laced with MTBE – a known carcinogen which ultimately and predictably found it’s way into the lakes, streams, and wells and will remain a cause of suffering and death for generations. Why did they do this? As with all things political, if you follow the money you’ll arrive at the answer.
    It’s easy to see that “climate change” has long since ceased to be a scientific study. It has become a political-economic issue. It is now a source of power and money for those who are able to get themselves on the bandwagon. And if you delve deep enough, you’ll find the usual suspects leading the band.
    I agree largely with John Quinn in that while all this foolishness is going on we’re being distracted from real environmental issues that we could and should be doing something about. Certainly we need clean energy – to reduce or eliminate burning fossil fuels – and investments should be made to that end. Buying and selling carbon credits won’t get that done, but it will create huge profits for the instigators. Higher fuel prices won’t get that done, but it will generate huge profits for oil companies. Technologies already exist, and have existed for decades, to relieve our dependence on fossil fuels. How the rich and powerful have stifled those technologies, particularly in the U.S., is well-documented. These are the same people and powers that brought the global economy to ruin, the same people and powers that will be trading in carbon credits.
    But there are dozens – maybe hundreds – maybe thousands – of doable projects that deserve our attention in regards to waste management, pollution clean-up, environmentally sound manufacturing process and agriculture (to name a few areas) that get no attention and no funding because the powerful are so devoted to the money and additional power they can reap on “climate change”.

  35. John the Plumber says:

    I have an idea.

    Everyone on all sides agree to this for the sake of argument:
    Assume global warming is real.

    Now what?

    Like Al Gore, do you rack up a $3,000 per month electric bill and fly everywhere on a private jet leaving an enormous carbon footprint, only to buy “offsets?”

    Or stop driving altogether, eat only what you hunt or grow in your own neighborhood?

    What is someone to do? Because most of the carbon is created from electricity needs and transportation. Should we all sit in our caves in furs.

    Most people like having the airconditioning on, like driving where they want to go and like eating bananas in Manhattan year-round.

    WTF? Something’s gotta give, even for those who DO believe that global warming is real. For those who don’t, I can see why they would want to ignore. But hell, the believers need to lead the charge towards carbon neutrality. Back to the farm, boys!

  36. John Ellingson says:

    What is missed in much of this discussion is comparisons to previous interglacial periods or even this glacial period. Data that covers a mere 100 years in 30,000 to 100,000 year cycles is most probably noise in the system and not indicators of long-term change. When comparing this interglacial history — whether ice pack, temperature, sea level, etc., any deviations are within the standard deviation and certainly not indicators of any fundamental process change.

    Rather than argue about angels on the point of a pin, I’d like to see a discussion about whether or not we are seeing any fundamental change from previous glacial/interglacial cycles.

    Also missing is any discussion of the major greenhouse gas — water vapor. As a greenhouse gas, water vapor dwarfs the effects of CO2. Further, in previous glacial/interglacial periods CO2 changes were trailing indicators, not leading indicators. Has this changed? When did it change? Why has it changed? CO2 levels have been much higher than the present in the holocene and a number of times throughout the Pleistocene.

  37. Gary says:

    There seem to be some rather smart people here and I have a question. I recently read an article (I dont remember where) that suggested that Greenhouse gasses were actually leading to a cooling period due to the fact that they interrupt the radiation in the atmosphere and prevent a percentage of the sun’s energy from reaching the Earth’s surface. Does this make sense to anybody here?

    I have found the back and forth here very interesting and look forward to any information on this subject.

  38. Meg says:

    Interesting that no one factors in volcanic eruptions and earthquake or forest fires into the climate mix probably because we have no control over them. These events have much bigger affects on climate, pollution and all other “bad” things. Our government wants to make us “pay” by forcing EPA standards on us that our legislators have not even voted on. Re-distribute the wealth anyone…stop the next volcanic eruption or earthquake and we’ll take about it until then – a hoax is a hoax by any scientific name!

  39. Lemming says:

    Why don’t we try this experiment? Plunge the entire world into a massive economic disaster. This would force the significant wage earning masses to reduce their carbon foot print to a conservative level with a direct result of decreaseing the increase of rising sea levels. At some point in the future, we will see some significant indication that humans have anything to do with this. Furthermore, if the cattle industry is to blame, than what about the buffalo. I wonder if the sea level increased after we shot them all on our way out west? It has nothing to do with geo-thermal activity. I’ve been there when I got laid off!

  40. Jerry French says:

    As a physicist with more than 40 years practice in common sense, I have to say that all this sounds pretty silly.

  41. Patty Johnson says:

    John M. Quinn, where is your book? I want to review it.

  42. Richard G says:

    Quote – ” Why don’t we try this experiment? Plunge the entire world into a massive economic disaster. ” Hey, I think we’re getting very close so we will see what happens, eh! We are also interested in reading and reviewing your book Mr Quinn; can you send it to Editor, Nexus magazine, PO Box 30 Mapleton, QLD 4560 Australia when you’re ready. Sounds challenging. As for Antarctic ice increasing, it sounds like its reality in this debate.

  43. Gr0undZer0 says:

    IMPORTANT: A Breakdown of the situation utilizing merely common sense and ignoring any facts/opinions that have been heard/read by myself. SIMPLE: You are an absolute idiot to believe that the large scale terraforming we’ve done on the planet has not and will not impact the condition of our planet. You are as well an idiot to believe that the industrial change of our atmosphere will have no impact on the condition of earth’s environment. How bout all them nuclear explosions we’ve set off under land, under water, on land, and in the air…think those affected anything? Come on people…I’m no bandwagon fanatical environmentalist and really haven’t cared to even look into the situation anymore than is forced upon me in daily observance. But come one, are any of you really So Foolish as to believe we’ve made no impact on this planet. Yall just in stage of denial. Wow….all I must say about people is Wow. I don’t believe that people are quite so much stupid, as it is that they are prevented from making intelligent conclusions because of their emotions . They just can’t be that stupid.
    Good Luck!!
    BTW: This article was full of foolish concepts. Whether intentional portrayal of the facts as to manipulate peoples minds into falsely interpreting those facts or the author him/herself misinterpreting, I know not. But misinterpretation is there, it’s obvious on the first read through, by myself anyway. What is it Mr/ms. Author? Are you the fool? Or is it your intent to manipulate fools?
    Peace out yall!

  44. goom daffel says:

    someone give robert way a nobel prize.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks
  1. [...] Ring of Ecoworld has posted today (April 30, 2009) an excellent weblog titled “Antarctic Ice Increasing”, which provides some much needed balance in the discussion of climate science. I am correctly [...]

  2. [...] Antarctic ice, isn’t, and shrinking glaciers are a sure sign of global warming. Oh,wait. nevermind. shrinkage, [...]

  3. [...] it has increasingly gotten colder, even the ocean water and continued expansion of ice on land. Antarctic Ice Increasing | EcoWorld __________________ Ya gonna complain and be a wimp, [...]

  4. [...] see, as of May 2009, Antarctic sea ice is about 1.0 million square kilometers above normal… The Real Facts on Increasing Antarctic Ice __________________ "What are you doing here, I? thought I killed you yesterday!" [...]

  5. [...] about Arctic ice melting, and Antarctic ice in danger as well? Also a lie. Both Arctic and Antarctic ice covers are actually [...]


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