Today was the day of the Big Push in the Australian‘s war on science. They published two news stories that distorted scientists’ views on Antarctic ice, a long piece promoting “silenced” Ian Plimer’s denialist book, an absurdly over the top piece from Christopher Pearson about how Plimer’s book is the turning point that leads to global warming being recognized as a mass delusion as well as an editorial touting Plimer’s views.

The debunking of this rubbish is outsourced to Harry Clarke.

Comments

  1. #1 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    April 26, 2009

    BPL:

    I may be mistaken, but I think that if one increases something by a negative amount, one is actually decreasing that something.

    Therefore, if “Antactic ice is increasing by -192GT(+/-92) per year“…

  2. #2 Gaz
    April 27, 2009

    This is from The Australian (the web site at least) on Saturday April 25:

    “It is always possible that one day the small but vocal minority of climate change sceptics will be proved right. In the meantime, risk management is the prudent strategy: while the overwhelming majority of scientists with expertise in the area remain persuaded of the human contribution to global warming, we should at least take out insurance against the possible consequences.”

    I think “always possible” is overstating it, but aside from that the article by Mike Steketee “Cool on a hot topic” was a breath of fresh air from the Oz, especially in comparison to some of the tripe it’s published on climate change recently.

  3. #3 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 27, 2009

    Aureola — Oops. I missed the minus sign. My apologies to Michael.

  4. #4 climatepatrol
    April 27, 2009

    @Lee

    And are yo seriously suggesting that West Antarctic ice flow acceleration and mass loss has nothing to do with warming, but is rather entirely due to subglacial flooding? It seems you are confusing cause with ONE of many mechanisms.

    No, I did some more research about Antarctica. I like your suggestion that the growing sea ice extent is not necessarily a good thing. While it cools air temperature, it traps ocean heat from lower latitudes. This will go down under the hundreds of meter thick sub-surface ice shelves of WA. However, the energy from potential global warming used up for the melting of so much ice is a negative feedback by itself. SST -65S – -80°S has even cooled during the melt season in Antarctica. I don’t sea how GRACE could detect such lowering in altitude of the surface of ice shelves that doesn’t necessarily mean the ice has already melted, it may just sporadically have “sunken in” under its own weight near its edge, why not between 2003 and 2006, giving the impression of a mass loss of frozen continental water that has just expanded deep below Sea surface, while the continental ice is continually gaining mass. Anyway, I am going to read the following paper if time allows: “The influence of sea ice on ocean heat uptake in response to increasing CO2.” JCLI CCSM Special issue, Bitz, Gent, Woodgate, Holland, Lindsy, 2006.

  5. #5 Michael
    April 27, 2009

    Aureola,

    I don’t care what mathematical mumbo-jumbo you throw around – Antarctic ice is icreasing.

  6. #6 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    April 27, 2009

    Michael:

    I call Poe.

  7. #7 Lee
    April 27, 2009

    clmatepatrol:
    “However, the energy from potential global warming used up for the melting of so much ice is a negative feedback by itself.”

    uhhh… energy doesn’t get “used up.”

  8. #8 Chris O'Neill
    April 27, 2009

    cp:

    However, the energy from potential global warming used up for the melting of so much ice is a negative feedback by itself.

    It’s not a negative feedback, it’s an inertia, a.k.a. phase lag.

    I don’t sea how GRACE could detect such lowering in altitude of the surface of ice shelves

    GRACE detects changes in gravitational field from which changes in mass can be inferred. In the case of floating ice-shelves there would be zero mass change from melting/freezing.

  9. #9 climatepatrol
    April 28, 2009

    @Lee

    uhhh… energy doesn’t get “used up.”

    microclimate during snow melt. I am talking about the portion of the heat source that is no more available as sensible heat to warm air, snow and soil, but is being transformed into latent heat for the melting and evaporating process. I seek to still apply the term “energy used up to melt” (and evaporate) in my layman’s terms unless there exists better simple English to express the same.

    @Chris

    In the case of floating ice-shelves there would be zero mass change from melting/freezing.
    Ergo there is no change in gravitational field when a floating ice shelve gains mass. Isn’t it that once a floating iceshelf breaks off completely, it is no more considered part of the Antarctic ice shelve although the ice has not melted and often “converts” into growing sea ice? Further inland, some overhanging ice shelves could sink in without losing any of their mass, just an idea. Then even further inland, there are lakes at the bottom of the iceshelf, there is active volcanism…there are just too many uncertainties with this study. I mean, the “net loss” of the entire Antarctic ice cap, including error bars cannot be within a 95% confidence interval. Hence, the statement that “the Antarctic ice cap is losing mass” is premature with regard to the global warming issue.

  10. #10 Gaz
    April 28, 2009

    Hi all,

    I couldn’t find TAWOS #36 so here is my question in #35.

    In today’s edition of The Australian, William Kininmonth makes the following claim:

    “As the Earth warmed during the 1980s and ’90s, it
    was observed that the convective overturning of
    the tropics (the Hadley circulation) increased.
    In contrast, the overturning of the computer
    models is portrayed to decrease as increasing
    carbon dioxide generates global warming.”

    “Separately it is found that the computer models
    underspecify (by a factor of three) the
    important rate of increase of evaporation with
    projected temperature rise, meaning that the
    models underspecify rainfall increase and
    exaggerate the risk ofdrought.”

    Can anyone point me to any published papers discussiing the alleged disparities between actual and predicited convective overturning and/or actual and predicted evaporation?

    There appear to be some obvious issues with the newspaper story, eg the role of the sea as an effectively infinite heat sink.

    That’s not to mention the strange comment that “Evaporation and the exchange of latent energy from the surface is a strong constraint to surface temperature rise.”

    Anyway, if anyone can point me to some sources I’d be grateful.

  11. #11 Chris O'Neill
    April 29, 2009

    cp:

    Isn’t it that once a floating iceshelf breaks off completely, it is no more considered part of the Antarctic ice shelve although the ice has not melted and often “converts” into growing sea ice?

    Is this supposed to be significant?

    Further inland, some overhanging ice shelves could sink in without losing any of their mass, just an idea.

    You’ll need to explain.

    Then even further inland, there are lakes at the bottom of the iceshelf,

    Further INLAND, at the bottom of the iceshelf. I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that iceshelves are floating on the sea which by definition is not inland.

    there are just too many uncertainties with this study.

    I’m already aware that your objective is uncertainty and that you’ll assert as much at every chance you get.

    I mean, the “net loss” of the entire Antarctic ice cap, including error bars cannot be within a 95% confidence interval.

    “cannot”? So you’ve got proof. Let’s see it.

  12. #12 frankis
    April 29, 2009

    Gaz my comment on John Quiggin’s blog will give an inkling as to why I personally would not be wasting too much time fact-checking anything William Kininmonth has had to say. Laughing hard and enjoying the show – yes! Fact checking him – ummm not so much.

  13. #13 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 29, 2009

    Gaz — there’s a conceptual problem in the Australian’s’s statement. The fact that precipitation is rising on global average — which nobody denies — says nothing about where the precipitation comes down. The distribution of rainfall can get more extreme even as overall precipitation rises. Global warming means more drought in continental interiors. Ask the Australians.

  14. #14 climatepatrol
    May 6, 2009

    Further INLAND, at the bottom of the iceshelf. I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that iceshelves are floating on the sea which by definition is not inland.

    I beg to disagree: This map shows how big the twilight zone between the continent and broken off sea ice really is. Looks quite significant to me.

    I mean, the “net loss” of the entire Antarctic ice cap, including error bars cannot be within a 95% confidence interval.

    “cannot”? So you’ve got proof. Let’s see it.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/...
    “Fig. 2. GRACE monthly mass solutions for the Antarctic ice sheet for April 2002 to August 2005. Blue circles show results after removing the hydrology leakage. Red crosses show results after also removing the PGR signal. The latter represent our best estimates of the mass variability. The error bars include only the contributions from uncertainties in the GRACE gravity fields and represent 68.3% confidence intervals“.

    May I add that – as some commenters here have insinuated correctly – three years observation is irrelevant to global climate change.

  15. #15 Chris O'Neill
    May 6, 2009
    Then even further inland, there are lakes at the bottom of the iceshelf,

    Further INLAND, at the bottom of the iceshelf? I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that iceshelves are floating on the sea which by definition is not inland.

    I beg to disagree:

    What a surprise.

    This map shows how big the twilight zone between the continent and broken off sea ice really is. Looks quite significant to me.

    All those ice shelves are floating on the sea.

    I mean, the “net loss” of the entire Antarctic ice cap, including error bars cannot be within a 95% confidence interval.

    “cannot”? So you’ve got proof. Let’s see it.

    The error bars include only the contributions from uncertainties in the GRACE gravity fields and represent 68.3% confidence intervals”.

    That 68.3% confidence interval does not go down to zero. It goes down to a substantial mass loss.

  16. #16 climatepatrol
    May 8, 2009

    All those ice shelves are floating on the sea.

    . Ok then. if I understand correctly, uncertainties in connection with the behavour of iceshelves and marine based ice sheets are accounted for in the error estimates of the study – e.g. under the term “hydrology leakage”. However, you asked me to prove that 95% condidence of a net loss of ice mass cannot be derived from this study:
    – No uncertainty range was calculated for the hydrology leakage accounted for (- 12 km3/year).
    – “The PGR contribution (192 ± 79 km3/year) is much larger than the uncorrected GRACE trend (39 ± 14 km3/year [68.3% confidence]). A significant ice mass trend does not appear until the PGR contribution is removed.”

    – Mike Willis, a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State, who works on POLENET was quoted as follows:
    “They [GRACE] will have this very accurate means to track changes in the mass in the ice in a way that they intended to do…”. In the future, using these tools, scientists will be able to say whether Antarctica grew or shrunk on at least a monthly basis… “We don’t even know that at this time. We have hints of it, but [removing PGR signals] that’s based on models — which are probably wrong.” Source.

    Conclusion:

    – Even if the use of the Antarctic long-term IJ05 model as a trend for the PGR signal during this short ~4 year period is correct, it will obviously miss the already low accuracy using GRACE gravity fields.

    – The GRACE estimate is based on IJ05 for the determination of the lower range of PGR signals (ICE-5G), and on a global model for the upper range of the signal source. I conclude that the global model was clearly used because the trend shown by IJ05 alone didn’t show the desired trend of rock move.

    – Even if the calculated error bars derived from a combination of the IJ05 and ICE-5G models are comparable with the accuracy of the uncorrected GRACE trend, I am correct with my claim that 95% confidence cannot be derived from this study for the following reasons:
    1. There is a 15.8% chance according to uncorrected GRACE that 53 km3/year or more mass is being gained in Antarctica (p95.4% at max. 79 km3/year).
    2. Under the above assumption of same accuracy, there is a 15.8% chance that the the missed mass loss according to the PGR signal is less than -113 km3/year and a 2.3% chance (p95.4%) that PGR is less than -34 km3/year.
    3. The 95% confidence that Antarctica is losing ice mass cannot be derived from the study, since the remaining 4.6% probability (2 SD), which this “PGR removal model mix” would account for – 34 km3/y or less, could be more than offset by the best estimate of observed mass gain (+ 39 km3/y).

    Less serious:

    “ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.”
    Correct. The temporary overspill of ice flows into the Sea caused Antarctica to expand.

  17. #17 climatepatrol
    May 8, 2009

    @ Chris

    Correction:
    The 95% confidence that Antarctica is losing ice mass cannot be derived from the study, since the remaining 2.3% probability (2 SD), which this “PGR removal model mix” would account for – 34 km3/y or less, could be more than offset by the best estimate of observed mass gain (+ 39 km3/y).

  18. #18 Chris O'Neill
    May 8, 2009

    “ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.” Correct. The temporary overspill of ice flows into the Sea caused Antarctica to expand.

    The word “contrary” is incorrect. Sea ice expansion is not contrary to a melting continental ice cap.

  19. #19 climatepatrol
    May 11, 2009

    @Chris

    The word “contrary” is incorrect. Sea ice expansion is not contrary to a melting continental ice cap.

    Sir, “Sea ice” seems to be an ambigious term whatsoever.
    For instance: Where is Chardot Island on this satellite image of 2004 showing err – oh! and where is the reportedly 10’000 year old finger of the Wilkins Ice Shelf?

  20. #20 climatepatrol
    May 11, 2009

    Follow-up. The above NSIDC-link seems not to work. Please check out NSID – images of wilkins 2002-2009.

  21. #21 Chris O'Neill
    May 11, 2009
    The word “contrary” is incorrect. Sea ice expansion is not contrary to a melting continental ice cap.

    Sir, “Sea ice” seems to be an ambigious term whatsoever. For instance: Where is Chardot Island on this satellite image of 2004 showing err – oh! and where is the reportedly 10’000 year old finger of the Wilkins Ice Shelf?

    Does this have anything to do with the continental ice cap?

  22. #22 climatepatrol
    May 12, 2009

    Does this have anything to do with the continental ice cap?

    Well is Chardot Island a real island with ice sitting on bedrock? If so, yes, it has something to do with it. The reason why I question all this is because I have always considered an ice shelf that is formed by outlet glaciers as part of the Antarctic continent since nobody is sure where it starts to sit on bedrock or clay and where is the line where it starts to be afloat. this map seems to show the edge of the previously thought edge of floating ice shelves as a black line, while the bedrock elevation suggests that the floating part of the ice could go much further inland. Does the new satellite sensoring technique change the old map of the extent of “marine ice sheets” versus “floating ice shelves”? I mean, you can classify millions of square km of marine based ice (see bedrock elevation map) as part of the continental ice shelf or not, depending on whether it significantly contributes to sea level rise or not per se (without taking into account the behavor of surrounding glaciers that start to flow faster).

    Having said this, I believe that a claimed thinning of WAIS in Gt/year has less effect on sea level than a claimed thickening of EAIS in Gt/year because ice doesn’t sink below sea level easily because of the weight of snow accumulation in East Antarctica, in a similar way it does in the West. Is there a paper which clearly defines the term “mass loss” in terms of Sea level rise from Antarctica? The paper “Richard B. Alley,1* Peter U. Clark,2* Philippe Huybrechts,3,4* Ian Joughin5* seems to start to address this problem but doesn’t give an answer which would answer the question of contribution of sea level rise IF EVER one day, the claim “ice loss is continuing and accelerating” can be derived FROM OBSERVATION.

  23. #23 luminous beauty
    May 12, 2009

    cp,

    Ice shelves do not float.

  24. #24 Chris O'Neill
    May 12, 2009

    Well is Chardot Island a real island with ice sitting on bedrock? If so, yes, it has something to do with it.

    Be that as it may, what sea ice does is not contrary to a melting continental ice cap. The Australian’s statement is incorrect.

  25. #25 climatepatrol
    May 12, 2009

    @ Chris
    ok thank you. I accept.

    @ luminous beauty

    Ice shelves do not float.

    Really? Maybe you should tell Wikipedia.

  26. #26 luminous beauty
    May 12, 2009

    cp,

    It is an error to think the ‘floating’ ice, a relatively small region of an ice shelf extending seaward beyond the grounding line, is actually resting at neutral buoyancy, much less to think it is a general characteristic of ice shelves.

  27. #27 climatepatrol
    May 13, 2009

    luminou beauty,

    thank you for the link. “Grounding line retreat (or advance)” is the question.

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