Mainstream media sources are having a field day with the latest findings from NZ’s Antarctic research team that suggest that a certain portion of the ice cover, the Ross Ice Shelf, is melting at a vastly greater rate than the rest of the continent. Naturally, “man made” climate change is being touted as the culprit for this rapid melt.
Of course, it’s this author’s opinion, based on careful reading-between-the-lines, that this is unfounded and constitutes fearmongering. While it’s an interesting study, it has nothing to do with human induced global warming. Let’s examine a quote from one of the more objective sources. The bold emphases are mine, and highlight the relevant points:
The melting was affected by a large ocean expanse in front of the Ross Sea Ice Shelf devoid of sea ice due to strong offshore winds.
This area, known as the Ross Sea Polynya, absorbed solar heat quickly in summer and in turn influences the ice shelf cavity.
The findings were significant for several reasons.
Firstly, they suggested that conditions in the ice shelf cavity were more closely coupled with the surface ocean and atmosphere than previously assumed
This implied that melt rates near the ice front would respond quickly to changes in surface climate.
While this process had been happening for a long time, Williams believed it could change.
“Climate change is likely to result in less sea ice, and higher surface ocean temperatures in the Ross Sea, suggesting that melt rates in this region will increase in the future,” he said.
“This study builds our understanding of the important but rarely observed processes that drive melting of ice shelves.https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/science/part-of-ross-ice-shelf-melting-10-times-faster-than-the-rest-of-it/?region=christchurch
If, like myself, you’ve watched news relating to Antarctica for many years, you’ll know that “calving” and seasonal melt in the Ross Shelf region is quite common. All the remarks made in the NewstalkZB quote above regarding Climate Change are clearly speculative. “Likely..suggesting..believed..could..implied..assumed..suggested”.
It really doesn’t amount to much, does it?
Here’s NIWA’s info on the subject: https://www.niwa.co.nz/news/scientists-discover-solar-heat-drives-rapid-melting-of-ross-ice-shelf
Let’s cut through the bull: The reasons for the rapid melt are clearly stated and are natural, seasonal and cyclic processes! Quite simply, the ocean in this area is relatively free of ice due to local weather conditions, resulting in greater surface warming during the Antarctic summer. Scientists previously assumed deep oceanic waters were the agent, but new data suggests surface warming/solar factors are important. Period.
The final coup de grace for the misinformation is buried within this quote from the strongly pro-AGW source Stuff.co.nz:
While the average melt rate for the whole of the 500,000sqkm of the RIS is about 0.1m a year, in the north-western sector it is above 1m a year. Melt rates in the area studied were about three times faster in summer than the rest of the year. Despite that, for now the RIS is considered to be near equilibrium. That meant the amount of ice being lost was being balanced by the ice flowing off Antarctica and snow falling on top of the shelf, Williams said.https://www.stuff.co.nz/science/112311916/sunwarmed-surface-seawater-drives-fast-melt-in-ross-ice-shelf-region
The sky isn’t falling guys. And nor are the Poles melting, nor will Waterworld become a reality any time soon.
Martin Harris 1/5/19
Here’s more from
Iowa Climate Science Education
Ice Sheets Melting: Deceptive Reporting
The growing alarm over melting ice sheets is directly attributable to deceptive reporting. The sheer number of reports inundates the public with an incessant message of angst. A single scientific study can be the source for headlines in hundreds of news articles. With social media repeating the news and the subsequent chorus of lectures from celebrities and politicians, we find ourselves in the deafening echo chamber of Climate Alarmism. However, it is a mistake to assume the real risks are proportional to the frequency or intensity of the message.
The primary problem is that the news writers do not have the scientific background to report on the subject responsibly, and therefore they routinely corrupt and distort the facts. Take for example an article in Smithsonian dated September 1, 2016, entitled “Melting Glaciers Are Wreaking Havoc on Earth’s Crust.” The first two sentences of the article read:
“You’ve no doubt by now been inundated with the threat of global sea level rise. At the current estimated rate of one-tenth of an inch each year, sea level rise could cause large swaths of cities like New York, Galveston and Norfolk to disappear underwater in the next 20 years.”
A sea level rise rate of one-tenth of an inch per year yields 2 inches of SLR in 20 years. Topographical maps show the lowest elevations of these cities are more than ten feet above sea level. No portion of these cities will disappear underwater from 2 inches of SLR.
The news writers seem obligated to pepper the facts with their own opinions such as “… climate change is real, undeniable and caused by humans.” It is often difficult for the reader to discern the facts from the opinions…..
Ice Sheets Melting: Summary
Despite the overwhelming number of popular news reports to the contrary, studies of ice sheets melting over the past century show remarkable ice stability. Using the proper scientific perspective, analysis of ice-melt rates and ice-mass losses show the ice sheets will take hundreds of thousands of years to melt, assuming the next glacial period doesn’t start first. An application of basic physics shows that for every 1 °C of atmospheric heat exchanged with the ice sheets we get a maximum 0.4 inches of SLR and a correspondingly cooler atmosphere. Over the 20th century, we observed a worst-case 4:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained atmospheric heat. It is proposed that this ratio can be used to assess potential ice-melt related SLR for a hypothetical atmospheric temperature increase scenario over the current century. Using a reasonable range for all of the variables we can estimate an SLR of between 1.4 – 6.4 inches, but our current observations support the rise being toward the lower end of that range.
The atmosphere and oceans do not show the increase in energy necessary to cause catastrophic SLR from rapidly melting ice. Humankind does not possess the technology to melt a significant amount of ice because the energy required is enormous and only nature can meter out this energy over very long periods. With the proper scientific perspective about the amount of energy required to melt ice, it should be much more difficult for Climate Alarmists to scare the public with scenarios not supported by basic science.
(Well worth reading the entire article with strong scientific data; very compelling!) MH