JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Antarctica gaining Ice Mass (balance*) — and is not extraordinary compared to 800 years of data

It’s difficult to say anything for sure about Antarctica because the weather is so variable. Bumper snow one year, not so much the next. (Noise and uncertainty is large). But 800 years of ice cores spread across Antarctica shows the Surface Mass Balance (SMB) is more likely to have been increasing over the last century. (Which fits with what Zwally et al found in 2012 with ICESAT satellite data).

Note the correlation of the smoothed average of the SMB (orange line) with Total Solar Irradiance (green line).

Antarctic Ice has been increasing for the last half century, and over 800 years it correlates with solar radiation. TSI: Total Solar Irradiance (Click to enlarge)  Fig. 5. (A) Mean normalised stacked SMB anomaly time series at the continental scale, calculated as described in the text (black line with positive and negative values filled in with red and blue contours, respectively) and the 40-yr central running average smoothing (orange line). The green line represents the normalised TSI anomalies, and the corresponding ±1 uncertainties are indicated by the green vertical bars.

H/t: HockeySchtick and Jaymez

A paper published today in The Cryosphere finds Antarctica has been gaining surface ice and snow accumulation over the past 150+ years, and finds acceleration in some areas noting, “a clear increase in accumulation of more than 10% has occurred in high Surface Mass Balance coastal regions and over the highest part of the East Antarctic ice divide since the 1960s.” 

They used 67 firn/ice core records to reconstruct the last 800 years.

From this paper we can see:

  1. Over 800 years, Antarctic ice changes all the time, but current rates of change are not unusual. The surface mass balance (SMB) “changes over most of Antarctica are statistically negligible.” The  “current SMB is not exceptionally high compared to the last 800 yr.”
  2. The times with highest accumulation (1370s and 1610s) match records of solar radiation.
  3. Since 1960 the ice and snow accumulation has increased by 10% in high SMB coastal regions and over the highest part of the East Antarctic divide.

 

Fig. 4. Mean normalised anomalies of the annually resolved SMB time series at continental and regional scales obtained from the time ice core dataset, as described in the text. (A) Number of records from each year in the period from 1200 to 2000 used to calculate the continental (black line, left y-axis), WILKES, DML, and WAIS stacked records (black, blue, green and red lines, respectively, right y-axis). (B) Mean normalised anomalies of the SMB time series at the continental scale. (C) The DML mean normalised anomalies stacked record. (D) The WAIS mean normalised anomalies stacked record. (E) The WAIS mean normalised anomalies stacked record along with the ±1 uncertainty standard deviation (grey-filled contour around each stacked record). The blue- and redfilled rectangles represent periods with negative and positive SMBs at the continental scale, respectively, as described in the text.

 Solar irradiance seems to matter to Antarctica

How curious:

Eight hundred years of stacked records of the SMB mimic the total solar irradiance during the 13th and 18th centuries. The link between those two variables is probably indirect and linked to a teleconnection in atmospheric circulation that forces complex feedback between the tropical Pacific and Antarctica via the generation and propagation of a large-scale atmospheric wave train.

As far as we can tell, the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) is growing

The Surface Mass Balance appears to be growing at 2100Gt/year (though this is much higher than the ICESAT satellite estimates of Zwally which estimate a net gain of 49Gt/year.)

[UPDATE: ManicBeanCounter, pointed out that if 2100Gt was being shifted from the ocean to the land, it would reduce oceans by 5mm annually. An improbable figure! DumbScientist below helpfully points out that Zwally is using Total Mass Balance, which is different to Surface Mass Balance. The SMB figure involves "precipitation, evaporation and snowdrift physics" but not glacier run-off. Thanks to both readers.]

“The SMB of the grounded AIS is approximately 2100 Gt yr−1, with a large interannual variability. Those changes can be as large as 300 Gt yr−1 and represent approximately 6% of the 1989–2009 average (Van den Broeke et al., 2011).”

Climate models predict that snow and ice ought to accumulate over Antarctica and that this will help slow down sea-level rise. Maybe the models are right on this, but there’s no evidence in this data that the current accumulation is different to natural cycles.

The summer melt might be faster at the moment, but the accumulation rate is also seemingly at the higher end. If climate scientists want to blame increased CO2 emissions in the last 150 years for the increased ice mass (snow accumulation) and faster summer melt, then how do they explain all the other rises and falls over the last 800 years? Look at the graph below and ponder that all the bumps and falls were natural apparently but that last bump — we’re 90% sure it’s caused by coal power stations.

 

(A) See the copy at the top of this post. (B) Running correlations in 100-, 200-, and 300- yr time windows (red, green, and blue solid lines, respectively) between the normalised TSI anomaly and the continental accumulation record, smoothed as described in the text. The red, green, and blue dashed lines represent the threshold values corresponding to the 95% statistically significant level based on a two-tailed Student t-test (100-, 200-, and 300-yr time running windows, respectively). The filled grey areas represent the Wolf, Sp¨orer, and Maunder minimums in solar activity.

The full paper is here: The Cryosphere, 7, 303-319, 2013

REFERENCE

Frezzotti, M., Scarchilli, C., Becagli, S., Proposito, M., and Urbini S. (2013)  A synthesis of the Antarctic surface mass balance during the last 800 yr The Cryosphere, 7, 303-319,  doi:10.5194/tc-7-303-2013   Final Paper (PDF)   Discussion Paper (TCD)

Zwally, H. Jay; Li, Jun; Robbins, John; Saba, Jack L.; Yi, Donghui; Brenner, Anita; Bromwich, David (2012) Mass Gains of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Exceed Losses Click to View PDF File [PDF Size: 256 KB] [ WUWT discussion]

 

Seee WUWT GRACE’s warts – new peer reviewed paper suggests errors and adjustments may be large

*”Balance” added to the title to clarify

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Antarctica gaining Ice Mass (balance*) -- and is not extraordinary compared to 800 years of data, 8.6 out of 10 based on 62 ratings

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181 comments to Antarctica gaining Ice Mass (balance*) — and is not extraordinary compared to 800 years of data

  • #
    Truthseeker

    Wow … that’s like real science.


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  • #

    I know I keep linking to this site, and while there is some advertising, there are a lot of interesting further links, mainly in the right margin under the Weather Pages title.

    At the main link home page, right at the very bottom is this:

    Solar Energy:
    Because of the tilt of the earth’s axis relative to its orbit around the sun, the sun does not shine at the South Pole for six months of the year. When the sun does shine, much less solar energy actually reaches the ground at the Pole because the sun’s rays pass through a thicker layer of atmosphere than at the Equator. Also, due to the predominance of ice and snow covering Antarctica, most of the sun’s rays that do reach the ground are reflected back into space.

    ANTARCTIC WEATHER

    Tony.


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      AndyG55

      There are also “total external reflection” to be considered, where EM radiation at low angles of incidence are totally reflected, both by the atmosphere as well as from water and ice. It varies depending on wavelength and polarity, but, iirc, the angle is somewhere in the 3-10 degrees (been a long, long time since I did optics).

      We all have seen stunning reflections of light from calm waters and light is but one small range of EM energy.

      Even at quite high angles of incidence there can still be considerable reflection from water, as all surfers know.


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        Carbon500

        Also, according to ‘The Atmosphere’, a book by Frederick J. Lutgens and Edward J. Tarbuck, the ice cap climate (designated by Köppen as EF) has no monthly mean above 0ºC. This climate covers about 9% of Earth’s land area.
        Because the average temperature for all months is below freezing, the landscape is one of permanent ice and snow. This climate of perpetual frost covers a surprisingly large area of more than 15.5 million square kilometres (6 million square miles) and aside from scattered occurrences in high mountain areas, it is largely confined to the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
        Average annual temperatures are extremely low, for example at Byrd Station, Antarctica -21ºC and at Vostok -57ºC. Vostok has experienced the lowest temperature ever recorded, -88.3ºC on August 24, 1960.


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          AndyG55

          The local atmosphere can only hold as much energy as is ‘incoming’ and the pressure gradient allows (and there is not much ‘incoming’ at the poles), and unlike Venus with its very large atmospheric pressures, the Earth’s atmosphere does not have the ability to transfer much equatorial energy to the poles.

          So its going to stay that way !


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            Carbon500

            Interesting point here, Andy. According to meteorologist William J Burroughs in his book ‘Climate Change’, he states on p26 that ‘on a global scale, the most important feature is that whilst most solar energy is absorbed at low latitudes, large amounts of energy are radiated to space at high latitudes, despite lower temperatures. This process is greatest in winter, when there is little or no solar radiation reaching these regions.’
            He also states that ‘broadly speaking, the atmosphere and the oceans transport about the same amount of energy polewards.’
            Have you got more information on the points you make?


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    • #
      KinkyKeith

      Interesting Tony,

      It’s possible that the effect of precession may have been reversed during the last ice age.

      This may have caused the North pole to be the one that was out of the suns reach for 6 month periods and left the north iced up for so long.

      KK :)


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    • #

      Tony, also the surface area, relative to the cross section of solar radiance, is greater. Thus producing fewer watts per square metre.


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      Backslider

      much less solar energy actually reaches the ground at the Pole because the sun’s rays pass through a thicker layer of atmosphere than at the Equator

      That’s one factor, however minor compared to the fact that the sun’s energy is spread over a far greater area. Shine a small torch onto a ball and you will see a nice circle of light at the equator… now move the torch up horizontally to the pole… what do you see?

      Essentially there is much less energy per m2 at the poles.


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  • #
    Yonniestone

    Well that’s enough!
    There’s just too much sense being made here, Meanwhile somewhere at the UN,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KPcVHUWJh4


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    • #
      The Black Adder

      Hmmmm…..

      Was that Flim-Flannery wondering about Geo-thermal ?

      Was it JFC, JB or Nice One contemplating the truth?

      Or was it Tim with his motorbike helmet?? Lol….


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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Looks like some disturbance in the farce going on there alright. Note the heavy breathing and the protective clothing. Definitely the UN! No doubt about it. ;-)


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  • #
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Meanwhile Arctic sea ice area is close to the average for 1979-2008. Since the AMO has turned down, and is cyclical with a period of about 60 years its seems unlikely its going to melt dramatically given the AMO is worth about 0.3 C of cooling as it goes from top (now) to bottom in about 2040. The AMO is a sea surface temperature based index, and you would tend to think colder sea surface temperature would be linked to more ice coverage, not less.

    Antarctic is very much higher than average and is still trending upwards.

    Sure doesn’t look like its all melting to nothing. Robyn Williams should have a look at the data before he buys a house on top of Mt Kosciuszko.


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    Dave

    .
    Are there a similar graphs for the Arctic ice area, eg: Arctic Ice mass from 1200 to present?
    I can’t seem to find any graphs with this time range.

    Is there a correlation between the two ice areas or a lag effect?


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  • #
    The Black Adder

    How are the penguins going??

    Conversely, How are the Polar Bears going?

    All good. Next scare please.


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    • #
      Streetcred

      Adder … this might shed some light on those poly beers : An open letter to David Attenborough

      If the public were to take seriously such alarmist messages about dangerous global warming and the plight of the polar bear they could be led to believe that:

      (a) Global warming is melting all the Arctic sea ice;
      (b) Polar bears will be isolated from their food supplies;
      (c) Polar bears are already starving;
      (d) Polar bears are endangered. Soon they will only be found in zoos.

      So what facts about polar bears should be conveyed to the public and politicians by responsible media personalities? The answer to this question should be sought from those who have both expertise in this area and no vested interest in promoting alarmism about Arctic ice and polar bears.

      [ ... ] Thanks to the introduction of the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act and the 1974 International Agreement for the Conservation of Polar Bears, hunting is now restricted and numbers now exceed 25,000.Arctic biologist Dr Mitchell Taylor is currently studying 13 populations. He says:

      “Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.”


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  • #
    pat

    totally O/T but it’s lovely to see the CAGW scammers scamming each other -

    15 April: Reuters: Michael Szabo: Barclays broke rules, used advisory staff for CO2 deal: lawyer
    Barclays plc broke internal rules by transferring advisory staff with confidential information to its acquisitions team to help buy a Swedish carbon credit firm, a lawyer for a former client said on Monday.
    London-based trading house CF Partners is suing the bank for 82 million euros (70 million pounds), saying Barclays advised it on a potential bid for Stockholm-based Tricorona in 2008 then used the information to buy the carbon firm itself two years later…
    Lord said internal Barclays memos would be used as evidence in the case. He also read out excerpts from recorded calls between Barclays and Tricorona employees and internal phone conversations between Barclays employees, which will also be used in the 8-week trial due to start on May 13…
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/04/15/uk-barclays-carbon-idUKBRE93E0TH20130415


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      ian hilliar

      European carbon price fell below 3 Euros today after a high of 30 Euros in 2008. Sounds like the old Chicago Carbon exchange that, after a high of $7, dropped to 10 cents before the exchange closed and relocated to europe. Maybe they will want to move the European carbon market to Australia, if our silly Mr Combet keeps talking about a projected carbon price of $28 in 2015!!


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      • #
        David

        He can talk all he likes about what it will be in 2015 but I don’t think he’ll be the Minister for Silly Sayings after September this year. Hopefully sanity will return to public discourse – with the exception of the rusted on warmists like Gore et al. As an irrelevant aside I did a trip across Canada [Toronto to Vancouver] by train in March and was held up for 14 hours by mountains of global warming falling on the tracks.


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    Bloke down the pub

    So when TSI drops as predicted, the ice will decline and the warmists will say they were right all along.


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  • #
    Joe Lalonde

    Jo,

    Through my own research on planetary velocity…water changes directions at the 48 degree latitude.
    It is NOT effected with planetary tilting due to it being a different action than rotational velocity of our planet.
    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/guest/lalonde-joe/world-calculations.pdf
    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/guest/lalonde-joe/world-calculations-2.pdf

    But this does effect our atmosphere due to the density difference.
    Yet low laying cloud cover does NOT cross the equatorial region due to the rotational speed that effects the density of water vapour.


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    Albert

    2 days ago the alarmists were saying the Antarctic is melting 10 times faster than 600 years ago, no evidence was given, just an alarm. The satellite photos don’t agree with the alarm so I took no notice of the fear campaign.


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    • #
      Jaymez

      That study was based one one core sample,(the study Jo refers to above was based on 67 spread throughout Antarctica), and was only referring to the speed of the summer melt today verses 600 years ago. Well 600 years ago we were in the Little Ice Age so I’m not surprised the summer melt was slow! But the point that all the media failed to note was that ‘news’ item you are referring to wasn’t claiming the ice in Antarctica was reducing. The scientist who carried out the study offered no conclusion regarding the cause of the increase in the speed of the summer melt other than warmer summer temperatures – that is they did not make a link to man made causes. They did however emphasise that their research showed how sensitive the rate of melt is to a small rise in temperature! Of course they and the media were happy to leave the viewers, listeners and readers to draw the unsubstantiated and incorrect conclusion that the ice was indeed declining and that the cause was man-made global warming.


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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Your last sentence, Jaymez, makes a very important point, that we should all note.

        One of the techniques used in brain-washing is called Association Implanting. It is done through repetitive association. A implies B, and B implies A. “You can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat.” “If you don’t eat your meat, then you will not get any pudding.” Eventually, the subject automatically reacts to A by assuming B, or vice versa, and they do so unconsciously (think about your reactions when driving a car).

        In serious brainwashing, one of either A or B is usually physically painful, and the subject eventually gets to the point where they mentally register the pain in response to the trigger, even if the pain is not physically applied.

        It is a technique (without the physical pain bit) that has been used repeatedly by the pro-AGW crowd on innocent civilians, and as you rightly point out, the vast majority of the population will make the “implanted” association.

        The good news is, that we can recognise it for what it is. The bad news is, that it is very hard to remedy. Those who have been seriously brainwashed, and perhaps suffered pain in the process, will probably never recover. This is a generation we are talking about, and is the reason I try to contribute here.

        /rant


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        • #
          Mark D.

          Rereke, I fear that this brainwashing can now be done on a scale that is unprecedented. The instant media services, the web, e-mail, Twitter, and Etc. can bombard millions and do so in just seconds. The repeat repeat repeat happens almost automatically.

          The important question is: Is this technique being used on the masses already? Who are the people deploying it? What is their ultimate goal?


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          Bite Back

          Disagree with “/rant”! You never started one so how can you end one? :-)

          The truth is the truth.


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          Tim

          And they expertly use fear as the brainwash motivator. A fearful person will do anything, say anything, accept anything, and reject anything if it makes them feel more secure. It works like a charm. A fearful people are the easiest to govern – their freedom and liberty can be taken away and they can be convinced to believe that it was done for their own good. It reminds me of ducklings following behind the parent ducks.


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          Rod Stuart

          Yup. Stock standard Edward Bernays stuff.
          Hitler and his henchmen used it quite successfully.
          The Club of Rome and the Fabians understand it well.


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        ian hilliar

        Jaymez, the results of that single study were presesented on ABC through an interview with the ABCs incredibly knowlegable environmental correspondent, Ms Clarke. Hence the spin imparted has all to do with said Ms Clarke’s mindset, rather than the actual science. No useful questions asked, such as “What is the rest of Antarctica doing- you know , the 97% of the mainland continent of Antarctica that does not include the Antarctic peninsula where all the bases are located [ because the weather is better and they remain a lot more accessable]?”


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    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Hmmmm….

      A distance sensor ostensibly influenced only by the gravitational pull of any aggregate mass within a very large area of the crust and mounted on an orbiting satellite of which there is only one.

      VERSUS

      A repeatable measurement of each year’s remaining ice from cores on the ground.

      Gee I don’t know, this is a tough one, can I think about it some more??
      Hmmm…


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    • #
      Jaymez

      MattB you given us some fairly selective and misleading references there. And I would have thought by now you would have learnt to stop relying on (non)SkepticalScience especially seven year old material.

      ANTARCTIC SEA ICE EXTENT
      NASA’s National Snow Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) provides us with accurate records for the sea ice extent in Antarctica from 1979 – 2012 as measured by satellites. You can compare the declining Arctic Sea ice extent with the Antarctic sea ice increase in this graph.

      <strong/>Compare growth in Antarctic Sea Ice with Decline in Arctic Sea Ice” /></p>
<p><strong>New Record Sea Ice Extent in Antarctica</strong> <a href=http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=79369

      New Record Sea Ice Extent in Antarctica 2012 NASA NSIDC

      You may prefer a simple graph plotting the Antarctic sea Ice extent.
      Growth of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent measured bt NASA NSIDC

      Two weeks after a new record was set in the Arctic Ocean for the least amount of sea ice coverage in the satellite record, the ice surrounding Antarctica reached its annual winter maximum—and set a record for a new high. Of course while the former received world-wide media coverage, there was barely a murmur about the latter in the main stream media.

      Sea ice extended over 19.44 million square kilometres (7.51 million square miles) in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The previous record of 19.39 million kilometres (7.49 million square miles) was set in 2006.

      The map shows sea ice extent around Antarctica on September 26, 2012, when ice covered more of the Southern Ocean than at any other time in the satellite record. The map is based on an NSIDC analysis of data from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imagers flown in the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Land is dark gray, and ice shelves—which are attached to land-based glaciers but floating on the ocean—are light gray. The yellow outline shows the median sea ice extent in September from 1979 to 2000. Sea ice extent is defined as the total area in which the ice concentration is at least 15 percent.

      According to a recent study by sea ice scientists Claire Parkinson and Donald Cavalieri of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Antarctic sea ice increased by roughly 17,100 square kilometres per year from 1979 to 2010.

      So there can be absolutely no doubt that Antarctica’s sea ice extent has been increasing significantly in recent years and in fact by at least as much as any decline in sea ice in the Arctic. But what is the position regarding ice mass in view of the alarming headlines about faster melting ice?

      Antarctic Ice Mass
      The material Jo has already presented on the growing ice mass in Antarctica is pretty convincing, and certainly more comprehensive and up-to-date than what SkepticalSkience are relying on. There is no question the Antarctic ice mass is growing, it is simply a matter of how quickly, and that in West Antarctica, at best it is holding it’s own.


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      • #
        JFC

        You mean to say Jaymez that Arctic sea is declining?!! But, but you have always maintained that it’s not and that is was lower when grandpa was an explorer…blah,blah blah……


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          Otter

          I’m pretty sure your mother did Not give you permission to use the internet, child.


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          Streetcred

          Your mother has a lot to answer for … (Snipped the rest… you should get back on topic and leave out the personal attacks) CTS


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          Jaymez

          Well what an interesting response JFC.

          It is worrying that you not only thought it, but you took the trouble to type the comment and share it with the world.

          I don’t know why Stephan Lewandowsky spends his time on ‘Climate Deniers’ when he could be studying people with real cognitive dysfunctions.

          PS: In case there is anyone who wonders about the veracity of JFC’s comments, I have always stuck to the facts. With regards to the Arctic we have only had complete ice extent measurement since satellites in 1979. We only have partial and anecdotal historical information to go on before then. There is no doubt that there are times recorded in the past when for instance the North West Passage was sufficiently ice free to allow navigation. This is simply an historical fact. There are many records of the Vikings using the route prior to the Little Ice Age. However, after the LIA, there has only been spasmodic access and only to small vessels. As the world recovers from the LIA and perhaps returns to the warmer temperatures experienced in the Medieval Warm Period it would not be unexpected that much of the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer. I’m sure JFC could enjoy researching the topic and learning something in the process.

          Further complicating matters in the Arctic is the fact that the magnetic north pole has been moving towards Russia. The Magnetic field itself has also been weaker in recent years which also has an impact on our climate as far as protecting the earth from solar winds. These two factors will have an impact on the extent and position of Arctic Sea Ice. But is little studied and understood because the funding and focus is on CO2 sensitivity. But again, if JFC cares to do any real research, these would be good mind broadening areas to start.


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        Mattb

        “MattB you given us some fairly selective and misleading references there.”

        Well actually I just gave you the first three links from a google search (ok 3 of 1st four as I didn’t link to Ms Nova’s website).

        I’ve now read the article, and all the peer review comments that were submitted, on TC’s website, and I guess my concern is that I can’t really see where the big anti-warmist conclusions come from, especially in the comments here? (the article itself does not have anti-warmist conclusions, but it is at least suggestive).


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      cohenite

      Matty has linked to a GRACE GIA paper to prove the Antarctic is losing ice mass from the land sheets.

      GRACE is the satellite measuring device which measures land ice by radar; the technique was and still is confounded by the GIA effect which simply refers to the false ice loss effect produced by EXTRA ice compacting the bedrock underneath so the radar signal goes further and creates a erroneous conclusion that there has been ice loss when in fact there has been an ice increase. This problem has been around for a while as these 2005 and 2008 papers show:

      http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=355409

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1873965208000261

      This 2009 paper shows that the Antarctic land ice sheets are growing when GRACE is used ‘properly’:

      http://rses.anu.edu.au/geodynamics/tregoning/36.pdf

      Yet it is true that NASA has recently concluded the opposite, that the Antarctic is losing land ice. In particular the Shepherd et al paper is relied on. That paper and the remaining deficiencies of the measurement of the Antarctic are critiqued here:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/03/why-ice-loss-and-sea-level-measurements-via-satellite-and-the-new-shepard-et-al-paper-are-highly-uncertain-at-the-moment/#more-75186

      The conclusions are:

      1. JPL admits that satellite measurement of the Earth has issues because a stable Terrestrial Reference Frame was never established for any of the satellite programs. It’s like setting out to do a terrestrial survey without having an accurate benchmark first. This puts all subsequent data derived with the stable benchmark (the stable TRF) into question.

      2. The lack of a stable TRF affects most if not all satellite programs used in this new Shepherd et al paper ‘A reconciled estimate of ice sheet mass balance‘ including ICESAT and GRACE, upon which the paper heavily relies.

      3. In searching both the full paper (which I purchased from AAAS) and from the extensive supplementary materials and information (SM-SI available here: Shepherd.SM-SI.pdf ) for Shepherd et al, I find no mention of TRF or “Terrestrial Reference Frame” anywhere. It appears that all 47 authors are unaware of the TRF stability issue, or if they were aware, it was never brought to bear in peer review to test the veracity of the paper and its conclusions from the satellite data. Section 3 of the Shepard et al SM-SI deals with uncertainty, but also makes no mention of the TRF issue.

      4. The lack of a stable TRF puts all of the space based geodetic data into question, thus the conclusions of the Shepherd et al paper are essentially worthless at the moment, since there isn’t any good way to remove the TRF error from the data with post processing. If there were, the GRASP team at NASA JPL wouldn’t be calling for a new satellite platform and mission to solve the problem. Obviously, this isn’t an issue they take lightly.

      In my opinion, the folks at NASA JPL really should get those two teams talking to one another to get a handle on their data before they make grand announcements saying :

      An international team of satellite experts has produced the most accurate assessment of ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland to date, ending 20-years of uncertainty.

      A good first step would be to get the GRASP mission funded and then go back and redo Shepherd et al to see if it holds up. Until then, it’s just noisy uncertain data.


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        Streetcred

        New paper finds climate models have a 50% consensus on Arctic sea ice

        A paper published today in Climate of Past finds a 50% consensus by climate models on the response of Arctic sea ice to changes in solar radiation during the mid-Holocene. According to the authors, “Approximately one half of the models simulate a decrease in winter sea-ice extent and one half simulates an increase.” The paper adds to many others demonstrating that climate models are unable to model the known climate of the past, much less the future.


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        cohenite

        A further interesting thing about the NASA measurements of the Antarctic is shown here.

        As I mentioned NASA has come down strongly in favour of land sheet ice reduction at the Antarctic but while NASA is happy to keep up papers which agree with it when you google the Zwally et al paper this is what you get at NASA:

        The NASA technical reports server will be unavailable for public access
        while the agency conducts a review of the site’s content to ensure that it
        does not contain technical information that is subject to U.S. export control laws
        and regulations and that the appropriate reviews were performed.
        The site will return to service when the review is complete.
        We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

        Odd, isn’t it?


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        Mattb

        “That paper and the remaining deficiencies of the measurement of the Antarctic are critiqued here:

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/03/why-ice-loss-and-sea-level-measurements-via-satellite-and-the-new-shepard-et-al-paper-are-highly-uncertain-at-the-moment/#more-75186

        It’s a shame that doesn;t get submitted for publication.


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          cohenite

          I am heartily sick of this ridiculous publication/peer-review meme.

          Peer review in AGW is at best flawed, most probably corrupt.

          So what you are saying is that because a critique hasn’t gone through a possibly corrupt process it is, what, more corrupt, less corrupt, worthless, what?


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            Mattb

            pretty much. wuwt is at least as dubious a source as SkS


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              AndyG55

              and there is the problem with your whole brain function…..

              You totally lack any sort of scientific understanding if you really believe that to be that case.

              You are a scientific illiterate.


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                KinkyKeith

                Andy

                He may not really be that stupid.

                I think he knows what we know and he is only here putting out his propaganda because he is paid to do it.

                In the end that makes him a smart hypocrite and untrustworthy.

                Your way he is just disabled and a victim.

                KK :)


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                Mattb

                what my brain is pulp because I think they are both dubious? whereas you are a genius as you’d give up your first born for Watts?


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                AndyG55

                I have had many measured arguements on WUWT.

                Arguements that could NEVER happen on SkS

                WUWT does science and allows rational discussion.

                SkS does propaganda.
                It is not possible to have a rational arguement at SkS.
                It is NOT a site to do with science at all.
                .
                .

                DO

                YOU

                UNDERSTAND ????

                and no, your brain is just pulp.. full stop !


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                AndyG55

                And you thinking I’m a genius. Thanks :-)

                but I’m not.


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                Mattb

                If arguing with internet nuffies is your idea of a good measure for quality of a site’s science content then you should try out Bigfooty.com, the world’s #1 science blog/forum.


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              John Brookes

              Rather more dubious than sks!


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    David

    This report is of course completely at odds with the report which the BBC (who else..?) is promoting heavily, that infers (from core samples) that ‘climate change’ is causing more melting on the Antarctic Peninsular..
    Don’t you hate it when facts get in the way of a good story..?


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    Neville

    The IPCC expects Antarctica to gain ice for the next 300 years or until 2300.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1844/1709/F4.expansion.html

    Above are the graphs of all the models for Greenland and Antarctica from the Royal Society until 2300.

    This is about 99% of all the planet’s ice, Antarctica 89% and Greenland 10%.
    Antarctica is negative for SLR for 300 years while Greenland is positive.

    Rather stuffs up the theory of dangerous SLR promoted by the Gillard govt and further endlessly promoted by the MSM.
    Click on graphs for a better view.

    A pity Robyn “100 metres Williams” didn’t do a bit of research before he blurted out his forecast to the Bolter during that famous interview.

    But of course he only runs the science show for THEIR ABC doesn’t he?


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    Eddie Sharpe

    Thanks Jo. How apposite. I was just wondering about Ice Mass Balance yesterday, in light of the UK Met Office trying to explain the Arctic Jet Stream taking an early season Mediteranean break. Maybe it fancied the low season prices.


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    Say, I wonder if there might be a Government grant in here somewhere.

    Hmm! Let’s see now.

    If 90%+ of the Earth’s population lives in the Northern Hemisphere, that means, all things being relatively equal, that the Northern Hemisphere has an excess weight of 352 Million Tonnes, just for the people there.

    We need the growth in Antarctic Ice to prevent the World from toppling over. Conversely, if Antarctic Ice is thinning, then umm, maybe …. no, don’t go there Tony.

    Shh! Don’t tell the good professor from UWA. I can see him now.

    “Hey you, whatever your name is. Check this out for me will you. I want something on my desk by COB tomorrow.”

    Do I really need to says /sarc.

    Tony.


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      KinkyKeith

      Tony,

      You have touched on an enormous problem there.

      When I travel out of town past the rail lines there are inevitably rail wagons loaded with coal that stretch for why seems like kilometers.

      This coal is loaded onto ships and mainly ends up in the Northern Hemisphere.

      The massive shift in weight has been of concern to me for some time and coupled with the excess population in the North I can see nothing but serious Global Warming ahead for a long time.

      KK :)


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        Rereke Whakaaro

        Yes, all that coal, thank heavens they are burning it.


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        Alan

        I wouldn’t worry about the coal going north KK, well it only has a density of around 1.5 and most gets burnt and tuned into even lower density coke and then consummed. It’s Iron ore at about 4 that is the worry. That all gets turned into steel and… aahh bugger that’s right we bring it back south so that blows that theory – scratch,scratch, scratch …


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    • #
      Bite Back

      Tony,

      I’d be glad to ship you the tons of paperwork the Federal and various state governments are generating about climate change and other useless topics and you could dump it all down those empty coal mine shafts Kinky Keith mentioned and correct the imbalance. That would shift a lot of carbon south too. It think we really do need to keep the two hemispheres equalized. I wouldn’t want to find myself suddenly standing on my head when the world tips over.

      I’d also offer to ship you our population of illegal residents to reduce the population imbalance. But I expect you wouldn’t want them any more than we do. In any case, the president wants them so I doubt that he’ll be willing give them up.

      O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! Bring on the red thumbs over that one! But the truth is the truth!


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      AndyG55

      come on guys, all those extra people and coal up north, its being balances by water coming south and that is why we have such a rapid rate of sea level rise down here and why Flannery has bought a second block on the Hawksbury.

      oh wait.. maybe I have something wrong somewhere…


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      Surely you can solve the problem by dividing the world’s population equally over the hemispheres.

      Send the left half to the northern hemisphere and the right half to the southern. ;-)


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    KinkyKeith

    Over longer periods, such as the 13,000 or 26,000 year periodicity of the Milankovic cycles there is more than likely a take turns situation with the two poles.

    Wobble, precession and variations on the orbital ellipse all have a part to play in solar energy received here on Earth and on which pole gets to be in the dark.

    The interesting thing is that the poles must take turns at presenting the closest to the suns rays and so thaw while the other one freezes.

    In the last ice age that ended just over twenty thousand years ago the Northern hemisphere was covered with massive ice sheets. Not sure but I think the southern ice sheets may not have been as extensive.

    Could be that in the next big freeze the Arctic will be relatively lightly covered and the big one may be in the Antarctic this time?

    My main point is that 800 years of data is great but only a drop in the ocean when considering that the full cycles of past ice ages have been over 100,000 years.

    The Sun and Earths orientation did it!

    KK :)


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      Rereke Whakaaro

      If the Antartic ice shelf extends enough, it will reach Argentina. Then we can all sit back and watch the Argentines claim that Antartica belonged to them all along.


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      AndyG55

      KK

      It is highly unlikely that major areas of the Southern continents will ever be a km or so under ice, but the northern continents, we know that has happened before. Sea Ice in the Antacrtic has to expand by an enormous amount to cause any land based ice to form.

      Trouble with the Arctic is that it can expand quickly to reach land, then where do all the rivers that flow out northward go. That is what causes land ice to form rapidly.


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        KinkyKeith

        Hi Andy

        You’ve given me pause to think there.

        The model I had of ice forming on the South Pole was always: snow, rain, ice falling out of the sky onto the coldest parts and accumulating on land, not directly on water because it was at or near zero and generally warmer than the atmosphere.

        Then when the overburden becomes too much it pushes down on the lower layers and they have nowhere to go but outwards towards the land edge.

        I never really considered that sea ice might form on the sea itself, although if there is sea ice it will cause a backup effect on the ice trying to get away from the pressure of the overburden and aid accumulation.

        Interesting.

        KK :)


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          Yonniestone

          Hi KK & AndyG55,
          That’s one of those right in front of your nose points isn’t it?
          I thought of this when there was heavy rain and floods near the coast of Vic and most of the damage was from large amounts of water trying to reach the ocean and the worst damage was where it actually met.
          There’s some good reading on Fjord’s and how they were formed which might be relevant.


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    shauno

    For TonyfromOz

    Tony you seem to be the resident power guru. If you get time would be really good if you could write an article for Jo on what it would take for us to build our first twin 1GW Nuclear power reactor for a total of 2GW. Ignoring political problems just pretend we have the go ahead and can do it.

    Cheers Shaun


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      shauno,

      …..on what it would take for us to build our first twin 1GW Nuclear power reactor for a total of 2GW.

      Short answer, political will, and public discussion, rational discussion that is, not irrationality from friends of the dirt the no nukes at any cost people who have no idea about nuclear electrical power generation, and think nuclear power generation equals nuclear bombs.

      Long answer. Don’t go there. It’s at least ten years away here, if ever, and by then anything new right now (2013) would be outdated by then, and anything in existing technologies currently working now would be 20 years + out of date.

      Three years ago, I wrote a Series for my home site on Nuclear Power Generation if you want to have a look. The link takes you to the Intro with links to the 11 Parts of the series at that link.

      The Nuclear Power option here in Australia is complex, and while worthy of thought, it’s a pretty useless discussion really, because until politicians are ready to even put it out there for discussion, then we can conjecture all we wish, but that’s all it will be, a wish.

      All our lot are willing to do is to dig it up and send it off to whoever wants to use it.

      Nuclear Electrical Power Generation – Why The Fuss?

      Tony.


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        Worthwhile reading.

        It misses molten-salt reactor technology. Solid fuels are all pretty much the same in the nuclear cycle. Molten salts are different. Especially around the Thorium cycle which has a much more efficient fuel cycle; but lacks the ability to start a reactor. Some fissile material is required as a “spark plug”; an initial, intense neutron source to cause the 232-Th to transmute (eventually) to 233-U; breeding new fissile materials for sustained reactor operations.

        The Czech-Australian consortium is working away quietly on a slim budget in Bohemia. They hope to be able to demonstrate a reactor in 2016. Realistically; it’ll take 3 to 5 years longer before the first pilot production reactor is plausible. Maybe, in 2025, Australia will be importing modular reactors from Bohemia. But that requires simultaneously building a base of nuclear knowledge and skills in Australia. 12 years is really not a long time to build such expertise.


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          Chris M

          Maybe they should get Lubos Motl involved – could speed things up.


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          Bruce of Newcastle

          Unfortunately I think the molten salt approach is a dead end.

          I love thorium and even work with it from time to time, but as a respecter of Murphy its more likely that a successful long life thorium reactor would have to be a discrete fuel element design. Basically as uranium reactors now are.

          If you have a fuel element failure in a conventional reactor you just extract it and keep going.

          If you have a fuel system failure in a molten salt reactor you have a diabolical mess.

          My experience with halide systems is that they are very unforgiving particularly of construction materials. Most halide systems I’ve known of in the development phase have failed, mainly because of materials of construction. It is very easy to have a quality issue in the materials, or a weld failure or an abrasion problem you didn’t expect.

          Add to the fact that the materials are going to be blasted with intense radiation, including neutrons, and over a long time will even transmute to different elements.

          My fear is emphasis on the “prettiness” of the molten salt design will kill thorium nuclear power for a long long time when the unrelated materials issues bite it on the bum. Which will be very sad.

          On the plus side that just means more coal fired power stations will be built, which has the added benefit of exploding greenie brains violently.


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            Oddly, I have this gut feeling that anything new in Nuclear Power will be further development of existing technology, BWR, which is in it’s third or fourth stage of improvement now, and PWR, which is also around its third or fourth stage of improvement now.

            The (long buried) Umpner report from Nuclear Physicist Ziggy Switkowski was very interesting reading, and given the very barest of lip service, mainly in the form of “hey this is really wonderful. Thank you so much for this excellent Report,’ said with faux sincerity as it was dropped into the nearest WPB.

            In that report there was an artist’s impression of what could be the next stage of PWR, which actually looks feasible.

            Advances in BWR and PWR technology make this the most likely direction that will be taken, BWR less likely.

            Image of possible Next Gen Nuclear power plant from Umpner and here the Reactor is the orange containment vessel, and the yellow vessel is the Steam Generator, both underground, and separated from the actual turbine/generator complex, again, also separated one from the other.

            Also, perhaps the Pebble Bed system coming out of South Africa has some potential, and that also looks interesting. This is from Nuclear Physicist Dr Kelvin Kemm from two years ago.

            Nuclear Safety: Reactors that Can’t Melt Down

            Tony.


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              Bruce of Newcastle

              Likewise I do like the pebble bed idea, except there is still a lot going for discrete elements that you can monitor and extract separately if required. If a pebble fails you could have quite a bit of difficultly getting it out again. But my reservations about the pebble design are much less than the molten salt design.

              I once as a vacation student had to dig out, by hand, a full sized fluid-bed roaster whose bed had gummed up. We had silver heat-suits and spades. That would not be possible with a pebble bed.


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              Bruce of Newcastle

              Also if we’re doing thorium you have to activate the raw thorium elements first before they can sustain a chain reaction. You can rotate elements in a standard reactor design (and in fact CANDU can already use thorium) so that the activated ones with the U233 are in the middle feeding neutrons out to the new elements (I’m presuming the neutron energies can be made to match up – its been a while since I read up on that aspect). You couldn’t do that with the pebble bed.


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            Dennis

            I thought they were all brain dead


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          Bruce of Newcastle

          Actually I can think of an analogue: fast breeder development programmes.

          They’ve haven’t been able to stop the molten sodium circuits from leaking. Molten fluoride is going to be an order of magnitude worse. It won’t catch fire but the radioactivity will be ‘way higher than the sodium coolant in the breeders. Even small leaks will be large radioactivity safety hazards.


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            The molten salts are stable compounds; largely unreactive even at high temperature. The salts are chosen because of their chemical stability. The molecular binding of group 1 and group 2 elements with halides is stronger than that of group 8 to 10 metals used in the structure of reactors. The “attack” of the fluorides (absent water) on the structure is typically via the “natural oxides”.

            Molten salts are used in other chemical processing and the materials used in such chemical processes can and have been adapted for reactor environments with high neutron flux densities. e.g. Hastelloy N was used successfully for years at ORNL in their molten salt reactor experiments and MONICR was developed by Skoda for use in e.g. molten salt pumps. (see e.g. http://www.iaea.org/INPRO/CPs/COOL/2nd_Meeting/Literature-IAEA.pdf)

            ORNL’s main problems with the MSRE was related to the graphite moderator and its direct contact with the core (and blanket) salts. The moderator’s service life would have been limited; about 4 years of continuous operation. Various reactor designs either facilitate changing the moderator “elements” or do away with the graphite completely; use another moderator or operate with a very much larger blanket volume with fast(er) neutrons.

            The “struggle” right now isn’t to develop the optimum, but to be able to demonstrate a molten salt reactor type that can be scaled to provide useful output for commercial applications. Experience with that type of reactor will be a stronger indicator of which technologies are the most viable than any theories or small-scale experiments on components.

            As with any other device, the design, materials and methods of construction have to be appropriate to the risks. e.g. Zr is used in the fuel rods for solid-fuelled reactors with water cooling; despite Zr acting as a catalyst for hydrogen dissociation at high water temperature.

            Engineering is the art of making the imperfect work effectively.


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              Bruce of Newcastle

              Bernd, I appreciate what you say but I’ve been engaged with both aqueous and molten halide systems for some decades now. I’ve seen Inconel 600 eaten for breakfast by a system that it should’ve been OK for.

              If you are going to get radioactive embrittlement to go with oxygen contamination, stress corrosion cracking and whatever else, you are going to need some good rad suits.

              I could write you a page long list of names of halide processes that work well in the lab and pilot plants which have died in scale up, especially in reliability and availability. It is really not as easy as the proponents make them sound…and a few times that proponent has been me.

              Don’t get me wrong, I want thorium reactors to succeed.


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                Bruce of Newcastle

                Cohenite – Yes I’ve read that good summary before. I would want to know if the Netherlands pilot reactor actually ran continuously for the three years. The Oak Ridge comment about “unique corrosion and operational issues” is interesting.

                I have not tried to chase up detailed reports of these programs as my professional interest is in digging up and separating thorium. I would note though in high temperature equipment last scale up step is the one where many processes fall over – thinking of HiSmelt and the Boondarie plant. And even wet processes like Murrin, where the autoclave let down valves initially lasted for 4 uses before dissolving into uselessness, at a cool $100,000 each. These plants and gear were well tested by experienced people (some of whom I’ve met) before being built at full scale, it is just not a forgiving area of technology.

                Then there’s the lifetime issue. A MSR isn’t likely to be able to be rebuilt every few years like a roaster or an autoclave. You would need a lifetime of decades for the major structures. How do you show these will survive that sort of lifetime? I suspect you need to go longer than 3 years even if that test was fully continuous (which I would be inclined to doubt).


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        shauno

        Tony

        Thanks for the reply


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    John Brookes

    Hmm. Are you really saying that the total mass of antarctic land ice is increasing?

    I’m also interested that the mass of antarctic land ice follows solar irradiance. This makes perfect sense. However I can’t see why the effective of an increase in the greenhouse effect wouldn’t have exactly the same result. And since the greenhouse effect is at least as large as normal variations in solar irradiance, we’d be expecting a fair loss of antarctic land ice now.

    And for some reason, I’ve got the idea in my head that antarctic land ice is decreasing. A quick search shows http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2012/11/six-things-to-know-about-antarctic-ice, or http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/Grace/news/grace20121129.html.

    [see Jaymez reply on the question of sea ice extent and ice mass at 11.2 - Mod]


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      Bite Back

      John Brookes complains,

      Hmm. Are you really saying that the total mass of antarctic land ice is increasing?

      Well… ….Hmm, yes isn’t that what Joanne said? Or is that a trick question?

      You pick from your usual quality of source material for a rebuttal. So here’s a little challenge for you — your homework assignment — go out and find a couple of good sound rebuttals to carbonbrief.org and NASA. Then write up an analysis of the pros and cons of the two positions and present it to us. You might be surprised at what you find.

      You could start with a better analysis of Zwally et al since it’s right in front of your nose.

      This would go a long way toward redeeming you as a valuable contributor about climate change.

      Seriously, it would!


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      John Brooks says

      I’m also interested that the mass of antarctic land ice follows solar irradiance. This makes perfect sense. However I can’t see why the effective of an increase in the greenhouse effect wouldn’t have exactly the same result.

      Maybe you should look at the period covered by the graph John. There is an 800 year correlation of mass of antarctic land ice with solar irradiance, with the biggest movements in both prior to 1800. Insofar as the greenhouse effect is significant, it is nearly all after 1945.

      And for some reason, I’ve got the idea in my head that antarctic land ice is decreasing.

      Sure enough from the Carbon Brief link, this quote

      Measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite since 2002 have shown that the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet is decreasing at an average rate of 100 cubic kilometres every year – the size of a small UK city.

      (emphasis mine)
      The size of a city is usually measured in area, not volume. The ancient City of York, for instance, has an area of 272 square kilometres (105 square miles) and a population of 125,000. Or maybe they mean the volume of the buildings in a city? A famous building in New York is the Empire State Building. Not only is it quite tall it also has quite a large volume. Around 1,040,000 cubic metres or 0.001 cubic kilometres in fact. So does the Carbon Brief claim that a small UK city have a volume of buildings equivalent to 100,000 Empire state buildings? Or each average person in a small UK city occupies a building volume greater than Buckingham Palace?
      Alternatively, does John Brooks quote a source that does not have a clue about basic maths?


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      Streetcred

      John, ice melts in summer … but please reference Jaymez’ links at #11.2 per mod.


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      cohenite

      John says:

      However I can’t see why the effective of an increase in the greenhouse effect wouldn’t have exactly the same result. And since the greenhouse effect is at least as large as normal variations in solar irradiance, we’d be expecting a fair loss of antarctic land ice now.

      Well, that’s just junk; and junk which has been dealt with many times before; the idea that there was an ‘equivalence’ between TSI and CO2 began with Hansen in 1984 who says:

      Our 3-D global climate model yields a warming of ~4°C for either a 2 percent increase of So or doubled CO2

      This is why the THS as shown in Figure 9.1 does not distinguish between solar and GHGs. To say a THS would occur equally in signature from 2XCO2 and a 2% increase in solar forcing is astounding since increases in CO2 have any forcing effect constrained by Beers Law which produces the logarithmic decline so that there are diminishing returns in respect of extra heating for all additional CO2; how can solar forcing be so prescribed?

      Well, obviously it can’t and there immediately is a difference in the linearity, or lack thereof, between the 2 major forcing agents recognised by the IPCC.

      The jest becomes richer when we look at solar main sequence increases in output; the sun over history increases its average energy output 4% every BILLION years; so what John is suggesting is that 2XCO2 is equal to 500 million years of solar main sequence evolution. Well done John, again.

      Look at it this way; 341.5 W/m^2 of incident power from the Sun heats the surface to 287K (384.7 W/m^2 of radiated power) for a net gain of 384.7/341.5 = 1.1, while the IPCC, and by proxy John, claim that 3.7 W/m^2 of incremental forcing from 2XCO2 absorption causes a 3C rise in the surface temperature. If you add 3C to 287 and convert to power, the Earth’s surface emits 401.1 W/m^2, which is an increase of 16.4 W/m^2. This means that the IPCC claim of gain, relative to power from 2XCO2 forcing, is 16.4/3.7 = 4.43, which is about 4x higher than solar forcing.

      By this reckoning 2XCO2 = an 8% increase in solar energy. Sorry, that is impossible.

      To make it even simpler John should just place a saucer of water out at night and see whether it heats.


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      Frezzotti et al. 2013 claim that Antarctica is gaining land ice mass at a rate of +2100 Gt/year? Wow.

      I’ve discussed Antarctic land ice mass changes as measured by GRACE, laser altimetry, and the input-output method. Note that GRACE and the input-output method show Antarctica as a whole losing land ice mass. (All methods show West Antarctica losing land ice mass.) Laser altimetry yields a total Antarctic land ice mass change of approximately [-50,+100] Gt/year, which may indicate mass loss. So the Frezzotti et al. 2013 estimate is ~20 times higher than the upper error bar of the next highest estimate.

      More importantly, four estimates of global mean sea level (GMSL, on the left hand side) show it rising at ~3 mm/year.

      William Llovel explains that sea level rise is the sum of (roughly) ~1.5 mm/year due to thermal expansion, and ~1.5 mm/year ocean mass increase due to land ice loss. Fig. 3 in Chambers et al. 2010 shows that estimates of ocean mass from GRACE agree with those from altimetry, corrected for thermal expansion using Argo data.

      If Antarctica gains land ice mass, that would cause sealevel to drop unless land ice mass loss elsewhere (like in Greenland) compensates. Fig. 5.19 here shows that Greenland’s mass loss is accelerating, and my GRACE inversion shows widespread land ice mass loss, but not nearly enough to compensate for the proposed +2100 Gt/year Antarctic ice mass gain.

      Fig. 5.19 here shows that a land ice mass loss of ~350 Gt/year = 1.0 mm/year equivalent sea level rise. So Frezzotti et al. 2013 seem to be saying that Antarctica is causing a ~6 mm/year drop in ocean mass. But we know that ocean mass is increasing at ~1.5 mm/year, so other ice sheets must be adding ~7.5 mm/year of mass to the oceans. That’s equal to land ice mass loss of ~2600 Gt/year, which is ~10 times faster than GRACE’s Greenland estimate. That seems unlikely, as does the possibility that other smaller ice sheets or runoff, etc. make up the difference.

      Perhaps their statement that “The SMB of the grounded AIS is approximately 2100 Gt/yr” was just a typo, and they actually meant something like 21 Gt/year…


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        I was wrong. Frezzotti et al. 2013 estimates the surface mass balance, which isn’t the same as the total mass estimates from laser altimetry (ICESat) or GRACE. The surface mass balance only concerns precipitation, evaporation and snowdrift physics. It doesn’t include the glacier discharge or runoff which subtract from the surface mass balance.

        Essentially, Frezzotti et al. 2013 only measures the positive parts of the total mass balance, while ICESat and GRACE also measure the negative parts, which allows them to estimate the total mass balance.

        800 years of ice cores spread across Antarctica shows the Surface Mass Balance (SMB) is more likely to have been increasing over the last century. (Which fits with what Zwally et al found in 2012 with ICESAT satellite data). … The Surface Mass Balance appears to be growing at 2100Gt/year (though this is much higher than the ICESAT satellite estimates of Zwally which estimate a net gain of 49Gt/year.) [Joanne Nova]

        Frezotti’s estimate is so much higher than ICESat’s estimate because they’re estimating different quantities. Frezotti’s estimate of the surface mass balance should be compared to climate models that also ignore losses due to glacier discharge and runoff: the same models used in the input-output method.

        Sorry for the confusion.


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          DumbScientist, thank you for clarifying so well, the reason Zwally got such a different result. That is useful. I put the Zwally figure there, and didn’t make much of the 2100Gt figure, because the differences were so large. I shall update the post (h/t to you).

          In my first para I said that noise and uncertainty was large. My main point was about this unusual paper, it’s comprehensive, detailed and long records showing natural rises and falls in SMB that have been going on for 800 years, and also that these authors correlate that at times to solar effects. (Why is none of this mentioned in the media?) None of this supports the idea that any warming, cooling, ice loss or accumulation is man-made. Though given the uncertainties, Antarctica is not something I would use to refute the need for a carbon market. If I used it anywhere it would be to refute the idea that our media is balanced. How many stories have said “Antarctic ice melting 10 times faster than 600 years ago?” Why is that study so meaningful it gets repeated everywhere, this one, not?

          As far as climate models go, I noted that this study agreed with the models. “They might be right”.


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            Thank you for your thoughtful response. Exploring the frontiers of knowledge inevitably results in mistakes. I try very hard to admit my numerous mistakes, and respect those with similar integrity. I think that’s the true test of a scientist.

            My main point was about this unusual paper, it’s comprehensive, detailed and long records showing natural rises and falls in SMB that have been going on for 800 years, and also that these authors correlate that at times to solar effects. (Why is none of this mentioned in the media?) … Why is that study so meaningful it gets repeated everywhere, this one, not? As far as climate models go, I noted that this study agreed with the models. “They might be right”.

            Because it’s not controversial. Like you said, it agrees with other models. Frezzotti et al. 2013 would only be controversial if compared to the ICESat total mass balance in an article claiming that the Antarctic ice sheet is growing and gaining ice mass. Sadly, I didn’t notice Manicbeancounter’s comment until your update:

            … What this study does show is that by honestly looking at data in different ways, it is possible to reach widely different conclusions. It is only by fitting the data to predetermined conclusions (and suppressing anything outside the consensus) that consistency of results can be achieved. [Manicbeancounter]

            It’s unspeakably depressing to watch someone this clever independently go through the same reasoning process as I did (and take it further!), then join the never-ending deluge of baseless accusations that have already buried me.

            None of this supports the idea that any warming, cooling, ice loss or accumulation is man-made.

            Neither did my paper, but that’s because (like Frezzotti et al. 2013) I didn’t try to answer any of those questions. Those who have concluded that most of the warming since 1950 is very likely due to our CO2 emissions.

            Though given the uncertainties, Antarctica is not something I would use to refute the need for a carbon market. If I used it anywhere it would be to refute the idea that our media is balanced. How many stories have said “Antarctic ice melting 10 times faster than 600 years ago?”

            Not nearly enough, but here’s another. Frezzotti et al. 2013 is the first half of the “input-output method” I mentioned earlier. Notice that the input-output method shows the most ice mass loss, more than GRACE gravimetry. Of course I’m biased (alt) in favor of the GRACE satellite observations but I have no problem with these models you’re supporting.


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        Incidentally, Frezzotti et al. 2013 doesn’t support Nova’s claim that “the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) is growing” because it doesn’t address glacier discharge or runoff. The distinction between surface mass balance and total mass balance is subtle but important.


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        Roy Hogue

        Forgive me. But after all this is debated and then debated some more, what difference does the amount of ice on or around the Antarctic continent actually make to my daily life and the daily lives of the rest of the world?

        That’s an honest question from an observer who’s been watching the climate change nonsense since it first boiled over, Al Gore leading the way with his harangue about global warming. I have not seen anything that makes any more difference than spitting in the ocean.

        Nothing out of the ordinary is happening. The prophets of doom have bought beachfront property in spite of their cry of catastrophic sea level rise. They don’t believe their own prophesy! :-(

        Someone please tell me why this really matters.


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        Something does not stack up with the figures that you give here.

        If Antarctica gains land ice mass, that would cause sealevel to drop unless land ice mass loss elsewhere (like in Greenland) compensates. Fig. 5.19 shows that Greenland’s mass loss is accelerating

        Fig. 5.19 very usefully has a scale on the right hand side for the equivalent sea level rise for all the melting. In 2012 Greenland ice melt allegedly contributed over 6 mm to sea level rise.

        four estimates of global mean sea level (GMSL, on the left hand side) show it rising at ~3 mm/year.

        Further, if you look at NASA projections on the same basis, Antarctic ice melt should have contributed around 3-4mm to see level rise in 2012.
        So, to ask a dumb question
        The reason polar ice-caps apparently account for 300% of sea level rise is due to using a flawed MODEL of sea ice melt. I have started looking at Velicogna 2009 here.


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    John F. Hultquist

    Being a card-carrying skeptic I need to point out that “the correlation of the smoothed average” for green and orange lines in the top chart seems to exist only since about 1820 or so, about 200 years.

    Consider the first 600 years.
    Note that (on the left) prior to 1300, the orange line (O) has a peak while the green (G) line slowly decreases. Then G goes up while O drops. As the year 1300 is approached both lines drop (that’s good) but then O bottoms out and starts up while G continues to drop. O goes up sharply for 15 or 20 years while G hangs out low (not good).
    Then to about 1700 there are minor wiggle inconsistencies. At about 1680 or so G is heading down but O scoots up a bit. Then G starts up and stays up for about 80 years. Meanwhile O heads down for about 50 years. When in about 1780, O reaches a peak and then plateaus, G is in a down trend. They cross at about 1810. At this point they begin to travel in unison and there appears to be a strong (positive) correlation.

    This doesn’t bother me and it is not of much interest in a science sense – yet. Skeptics should not claim things without evidence.


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      Absolutely spot on John. There is no correlation in those graphs other than a coincident one.

      The Antarctic is cold enough to snap freeze moisture in the air. THE FACT THAT WE CAN DRILL DOWN TO GO BACK IN TIME MEANS THERE HAS TO BE AN ACCUMULATION, simple. Otherwise what use are the ice cores and the data derived from them?
      The edges of the continent are the only areas where ice mass will wax and wane. The centre of the continent will ALWAYS gain ice.


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    jon

    Could it be that Antartica is so cold that “natural global warming” just brings in more humidity/snow?


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    Of course the current pause in temperatures may be due to the way the temperature record has been obtained. There is a graph of the number of temperature stations vs. global temperatures and the correlation between the reduction in stations and the rapid rise in temperature is remarkable.

    http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/nvst.html

    If the number of stations over the last 20 years is now relatively stable and the method of computing global temperatures is now also stable then things like UHI effects would be also relatively stable so we may now be getting an accurate reflection of global temperatures and the fiddling with the older temperature records would not be important as those records are before the reduction in the number of stations. This would mean that supposition that these last years have been much warmer than previous years is a fallacy, perhaps they are just a bit warmer and the temperature records are at fault.


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    Peter Miller

    So far there are only two troll comments.

    So for a change, I thought I would make a few just to know how it feels to have a frontal lobotomy.

    1. This paper does not use models and therefore provides nothing useful.

    2. Observations are not an acceptable alternative to models.

    3. The Antarctic is obviously melting as the IPCC says it is and they should know as real climate scientists write for it.

    4. Look at the west Antarctic ice sheet, it makes up almost 15% of Antarctica and it is melting.

    Hmm, not funny, but neither are trolls.


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      Rereke Whakaaro

      Peter,

      I have always had concerns with the matter you succinctly address in your point 2. Observations are made by people. And as we all know, people are rarely infallible (myself being one of the few exceptions) so I would expect observations to be somewhat flawed and prone to error. I understand that observations of temperature are only made to an accuracy of half a degree. Well, I ask you, is that reasonable in this day and age? Computers, on the other hand are capable of operating to an extraordinary degree of precision, with many decimal places being used in calculations. It is therefore obvious that observations cannot be an acceptable alternative to models, and all historic observations should be destroyed so that they do not further taint the science.

      /sarc (apart from the bit in parenthesis)


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      Tim

      Peter

      I gave up encouraging masochistic Trolls some time ago. Very tiring and annoying. (I’d rather have a free bottle in front of me than a Pre-frontal Lobotomy.)


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        Jon

        The main problem is scientific debate on climate on one side and political progress based on policy based climate “science” on the other?
        The Trolls main motive is political progress and the policy based climate “science” are the means. Enlighten people on the policy based climate “science” and the Trolls behind it will explode? :-)


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        Peter Miller

        I’ll drink to that and perdition to all trolls.


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    Manfred

    Apologies – off topic.
    Oh Joy! Joss Garman Greenpeace UK stated:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22167675

    The central plank of Europe’s strategy for cutting carbon emissions is now rendered impotent

    This just out on the BBC World Service that the Europeans have essentially moved to let the ETS continue to collapse with the over supply of worthless CO2 credits (<5 Euros a tonne) because of the 'economic down turn'. The intention was to limit credit supply and force up the price. The news item was simply read out and no further expansion offered.

    "Members narrowly voted against a so-called "backloading" proposal that would have cut the huge surplus of allowances currently being traded. Because of this excess, the price of carbon on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has plunged to less than 5 euros a tonne. But opponents won the day by arguing the plan would push up energy costs."


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    JunkPsychology

    It couldn’t have happened to a nicer policy.


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    pat

    Manfred -

    i heard the BBC and they didn’t even give the actual result of the vote. funny, i knew they wouldn’t!

    16 April: Economist: Schumpeter: Carbon Trading: Below junk status
    EUROPE’S flagship environmental policy has just been holed below the water line. On April 16th the European Parliament voted by 334 to 315 to reject proposals which (its supporters claimed) were needed to save the emissions-trading system (ETS) from collapse. Carbon prices promptly fell 40% (see chart). Some environmentalists fear that the whole edifice of European climate policy could start to crumble…
    ***The rejection was a surprise…
    In theory the proposal is not quite dead. In a fit of back-pedalling after the vote, the MEPs decided to send the issue back to the environment committee. From there it could come back to the full parliament again. Or the European Commission could come up with a bunch of new proposals. The EU sometimes works by creating a crisis and then stumbling through it—witness the euro crisis, passim. The trouble is that neither the parliamentary committee nor the commission can do anything much unless significant numbers of MEPs change their minds. The parliamentary vote was exceptionally well attended—a measure of its importance—and there were few wavering MEPs.
    The real question now is whether the scuppering of the ETS will lead to the dismantling of the EU’s climate policies more generally. European greens and supporters of the ETS hope that it will not. They point out that a combination of special influences was at work in the parliamentary vote which may not be repeated (such as Angela Merkel’s refusal to take a position on ETS reform for domestic reasons)…
    Which path Europe will go down is likely to be decided if and when supporters of the ETS attempt a more thorough reform of the system, by closing its many exemptions and reducing excess capacity permanently. As Jesse Scott of EURELECTRIC, a lobby group of power generators, puts it: backloading was “damn silly” but “it was also the only way of testing the waters for the necessary structural measures.”
    The problem is that even if these measures were agreed upon, they would take years to implement—such is the speed of EU decision-making. And until then, ETS carbon allowances remain below the level of junk bonds.
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2013/04/carbon-trading

    ***”a surprise” – only to the CAGW deluded.


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      Manfred

      Pat, I heard the Radio report early this morning and checked the net for more detail. The radio report was the blandest, most bereft of information comment one could aspire to, which punched my buttons effectively.


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    pat

    meanwhile Down Under:

    15 April: Business Spectator: AAP: Labor urged to expand carbon tax
    The federal government is facing calls to broaden the scope of its carbon tax, as new figures show Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions fell only slightly last year…
    The Climate Institute said if those aspects were included, total emissions would have gone up almost one per cent.
    Institute CEO John Connor said the government’s carbon policies needed strengthening…
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/4/15/carbon-markets/labor-urged-expand-carbon-tax

    LOL. so it’s only the “Climate Institute” doing the urging!


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    pat

    it’s all over now:

    16 April: Reuters: Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown
    (Reporting By Alister Doyle, extra reporting by Gerard Wynn in London; editing by Janet McBride)
    Scientists are struggling to explain a slowdown in climate change that has exposed gaps in their understanding and defies a rise in global greenhouse gas emissions.
    Often focused on century-long trends, most climate models failed to predict that the temperature rise would slow, starting around 2000. Scientists are now intent on figuring out the causes and determining whether the respite will be brief or a more lasting phenomenon…
    Weak economic growth and the pause in warming is undermining governments’ willingness to make a rapid billion-dollar shift from fossil fuels…
    “The climate system is not quite so simple as people thought,” said Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish statistician and author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” who estimates that moderate warming will be beneficial for crop growth and human health.
    Some experts say their trust in climate science has declined because of the many uncertainties…
    “My own confidence in the data has gone down in the past five years,” said Richard Tol, an expert in climate change and professor of economics at the University of Sussex in England…
    Experts say short-term climate forecasts are vital to help governments, insurers and energy companies to plan.
    Governments will find little point in reinforcing road bridges over rivers, for instance, if a prediction of more floods by 2100 doesn’t apply to the 2020s…
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/16/us-climate-slowdown-idUSBRE93F0AJ20130416


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    I think this paper does not stack up. I worked as a management accountant in industry for 25 years. One thing I learnt early on when estimating or forecasting was to sense-check the estimates. No matter how good your assumptions are, when estimating or extrapolating well beyond the data trend (where there is potential for error), the best check on the data is by reconciling with other data.
    From the above

    “The SMB of the grounded AIS is approximately 2100 Gt yr−1, with a large interannual variability. Those changes can be as large as 300 Gt yr−1 and represent approximately 6% of the 1989–2009 average (Van den Broeke et al., 2011).”

    A gigatonne of ice is equivalent to a cubic kilometre of water. If the land ice volume is increasing, the water must come from somewhere. Nearly all of that water needs to come from the oceans.
    Now for some basic maths. A gigatonne is a billion tonnes. As water has a relative density of 1.0, a tonne of water (1,000 litres) is a cubic metre. Therefore a gigatonne of water is a cubic kilometre (1000^3 = 1,000,000,000 = one billion).
    A further factor to consider is the area of the oceans. According to my Times Concise Atlas, the total area of the oceans and seas (excluding the enclosed waters like the Dead Sea and Lake Baykal) is 325,000,000km^2. A cubic kilometre of water added to an enclosed sea of one million square kilometres, would raise the sea level by just 1mm (1000mm x 1000m = 1,000,000mm in a kilometre). So 325km^3 = 325Gt-1 of new ice accumulation above sea level in Antarctica would reduce sea levels by 1mm, or 2100GT-1 by 6.5mm.
    Some of the ice accumulation will be on ice shelves, so the impact of 2100GT-1 extra ice per annum extra ice might be to reduce sea levels by just 5mm per annum. Also sea levels might be rising by a little less than the 3.2mm a year that official figures claim, but there is no evidence that sea levels are falling. Further, any net ice melt elsewhere (mostly Greenland) is only adding 1mm to sea level rise. So the rest must be mostly due to thermal expansion of the oceans. I think that the evidence for the oceans heating is very weak and of insignificant amounts. Even Kevin Trenberth in his wildest flights of fantasy would not claim the missing heat (from the air surface temperatures) adds more than 1-2mm to sea level rise.
    What this study does show is that by honestly looking at data in different ways, it is possible to reach widely different conclusions. It is only by fitting the data to predetermined conclusions (and suppressing anything outside the consensus) that consistency of results can be achieved.


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      KinkyKeith

      Hi Manic

      A great contribution.

      sense – checking!

      So much detail, I’ll have to re-read it but it is the sort of thinking needed in this scale of analysis.

      So much of the discussion on Global Warming is made to look silly and irrelevant when the scales of various factors are assessed.

      In our uni modelling work we were always made to do a rough calculation to get order of magnitude for an answer before hitting the slide rule. While not exactly the point you are making it does have some relevance in that you must get accurate answers to calculations.

      Your point is that separation and analysis of effects is important because the scale of one input may make consideration of other factors irrelevant.

      KK :)


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      Manic, forgive my tardiness, I too was suspicious of the 2100Gt figure which is why I didn’t make much of it, and mentioned Zwally, with his 49Gt figure as well, to let people know there was a huge discrepancy. Thanks for following this further. A 5mm fall in sea-level due to Antarctic ice accumulation doesn’t seem realistic.


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    pat

    so much bad news for the CAGW crowd today, yet my Google News page has not a single link to any of it. however, it does still have this oldie:

    Antarctic ice melting 10 times faster than 600 years ago
    ABC Online – ‎Apr 14, 2013‎


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    [...] Nova blogs on a study that claims the Antarctic continent is accumulating ice mass at a rapid rate. I have [...]


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    Streetcred

    Sorry for O/T … but this is important for the future of the Carbon (Dioxide) Tax.

    EU climate change policy in crisis after MEPs vote against high CO2 prices


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    Neville

    I know this is O/T but…..

    Looks like it’s Combet who is the biggest BS artist and certainly not Tony Abbott.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/combets_carbon_system_scheme_rocked_budget_to_lose_billions/#commentsmore

    The EU co2 price will be low for years and therefore from 2015 our companies will be able to purchase these fraudulent credit certificates for about 3 or 4 $ from Europe.

    Meanwhile while Labor/Greens and Combet promote Labor’s plan ? our budget will be in hock for years and years.
    That’s if people are MAD enough to vote for Labor or the Greens or other mad morons of the left.
    But could Swan’s once surplus budget now show a deficit of 15 to 20 billion $?
    We should know in a months time. Whatever, it will be a monster turn around.

    But you have to laugh. Their ABC on AM are wringing their hands about the collapse of the co2 price in Europe.
    Also ABC are showing concern because the co2 obsessed EU is such an economic basket case. BOO HOO.

    But they did say that some are now questioning whether a co2 price is the right approach. JEEEZZZZ.


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      Streetcred

      The penny appears to be dropping for the EU bozoes … at least as fast as there socialist economies … that there’s no future in the proposition of carbon trading; it is a scam of the greatest global magnitude.

      They display all of the attributes of cockroaches scurrying about looking for an escape from their self-made entrapment.


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      Eddie Sharpe

      A depressed economy doesn’t need a price on carbon to reduce carbon emissions. Depressing the economy and reducing carbon emissions go hand in hand.


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        Aaron Roberb

        It used to be interest rates that were used to keep-a-lid on an overheating economy.
        Governments have learned that too many prudent citizens could still benefit from that.
        A derdy tax is a far more effective way of ensuring any residual benefit goes straight to funding the favoured schemes of public officialdom, while the prudence of private citizens is plundered by public privateers, printing more worthless currency.


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    Ace

    More ice in Aunt Tarktika…now we’ll NEVER find those secret NAZI/Alien pact saucer bases!


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    Neville

    Don’t forget that during the NATURAL Eemian the temp at Greenland was 8C warmer than today.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/24/first-complete-ice-core-record-of-last-interglacial-period-shows-the-climate-of-greenland-to-be-significantly-warmer-than-today/

    Also sea levels were also 4 to 8 metres higher than today.

    Yet only a tiny population of primitive humans and zero SUVs. power stns, planes , factories, bitumen, concrete, cars,coal, gas or iron ore mining etc etc.
    Strange but true. Perhaps extreme climate change can be natural afterall?

    The four previous interglacials were also warmer than the Holocene ( today).


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    Streetcred

    O/T but of particular importance confirming our ‘suspicions’ that the US National Climate Assessment Report is a load of bunkum: NRC review of the NCA

    For climate scientists who, by definition, must take a systems perspective, the report is myopic in many regards, missing some key interconnections and history, and instead seeing everything through a climate change “lens.” This is not to say that climate change is
    unimportant, or that human activities are not driving much of this change. But we need an honest assessment of the interplay between the environment, policies, economics, and technology. Our models are not especially good at regional-scale predictions on decadal time scales, but this does not mean that the NCA cannot add value to the decision making process under uncertainty. The challenge is how to use uncertain science to inform these decisions and policies, while recognizing that science cannot provide definitive answers.

    Source


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    Robber

    Just did a search on “global warming for kids” – there are 114 million hits so the brainwashing is well embedded in our education programs. Great training for next gen scientists.


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      Quack

      I just did a search on [SNIP useless spacer comment]ED


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      Joe V.

      Be careful Robber, without the quote marks I got 109 million, but enclosing in the quotation marks for searching the exact phrase, got only 145 thousand.

      The trouble with Lewandowsky research methods is they can give wildly varying results depending on subtle changes in the method. There are some ‘scientist’s who might even exploit such subtleties, to amplify the point they are trying to make.


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    Bush bunny

    A close relative of mine, went to the Antarctic some years ago with a university team from UK. They hired a ship from the Irish Navy. The Irish believe in climate change (as they voted in the latest EU debate on carbon credits) as they had pics of ice flows breaking off during the summer months.(Not whole glaciers mind you) And as the Antarctic is a land mass unlike the Arctic North Pole, they put this down to global warming?????
    When it rained hard in Cork, they released water from the local dam and it flooded many areas. Climate change? They believed this instead of poor management of dam levels like in Brisbane.


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      Eddie Sharpe

      Irish navies are very canny and hardworking. I suspect they saw a business opportunity and were just pleased to take the UK Universitie’s money. Global warming be blowed.


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    Bush bunny

    Robber and Quack I wonder who is funding these websites. We are scaring the s*** out of kids. It’s almost the debate and also the problem with some Canadian schools, regarding preaching to children the Genesis theory and proper science regarding evolution. I am prevented from seeing a close family member and a friend because with a degree in archaeology and palaeoanthropology, I am a evolutionist not a creationist. The world has gone mad.


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    Bulldust

    O/T apologies:

    The US has drastically reduced its GHG emissions. Anyone care to guess why? /drumroll…

    Yes, courtesy of that other Greenie evil, fracking!

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/world-business/the-green-side-of-fracking-20130417-2hzb9.html

    Of course you can’t line the environmental (emphasis on mental) types up fast enough to protest against fracking. Or the other “clean” alternative, nuclear. No, no, nothing but their preferred brand of “clean” energy is acceptable (just don’t ask about the tailings from REO procesing in Mongolia, OK? The stuff vital for turbine transformer magnets amongst other things…)


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      Streetcred

      The 1.9% growth in the USA has also substantially contributed to the reduction in GHG emissions … total vehicular miles travelled has dropped significantly.


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      Nowhere even close to the topic, but it’s near the bottom of this Comment list, so I hope you’ll forgive me for this, but there is a reason for it, and something that needs to be explained correctly, rather than just rest with the headline that U.S. CO2 emissions have fallen.

      This is only due to one thing. Now that hydraulic fracturing is proceeding apace, there is greater availability of Natural Gas.

      Read this very carefully, and if you have any questions, I’ll expand, if asked.

      At the end of 2010, the whole coal fired fleet in the U.S. had an AVERAGE age of (almost exactly) 50 years and the average life span of a coal fired plant is 50 years, so a hell of a lot of plants were older, and some way way older than that 50 years.

      Virtually all those older plants were in the tiny to small range, the babies with respect to size in MW Nameplate Capacity. These were used as (what is referred to as) running reserve, turning and burning, but not used until needed, eg in times of Peaking Power consumption, dedicated hours every day. Hence, even though not delivering power until required, they still added to CO2 emissions.

      The Majors (large scale plants of 1000MW up) supply the power required absolutely to fill the Base Load requirement did what they always did, running all the time, and delivering power all the time.

      Those tiny plants were in a position now where they could still supply peaking power at the times required, and now, with a considerably greater availability of NG, they all converted across to NG usage instead of coal usage, new turbines which actually can run up and down at short notice as required, something coal fired plants cannot do, hence their (original) need to keep turning and burning coal.

      This is borne out by the medium sized fall in coal consumption and the huge rise in NG consumption over those 3 years.

      However, of note here is the fall in coal fired power generation (not coal burned or CO2 emitted but by power actually generated) of 155TWH over those three years.

      However, while you think there would just have been a sideways move, eg, losing it from coal and gaining it from NG, note how NG actual power generation has risen 240TWH.

      This is really important and I’ll get to that.

      Because those older coal plants have closed, there has been a large drop in CO2 emissions, and even though NG has ramped up considerably, those plants emit less CO2, so that is why there has been a pretty handsome drop in CO2 emissions.

      You may think that the drop in generation would be because power consumption is more judicious as people become aware of this emissions scare, but that has not been the case at all. Overall total U.S. power consumption has barely even moved, in fact, the percentage drop is less than 1%.

      I said that the babies are the plants that have swapped from coal to NG. Not one of the Majors has closed, and this next bit is telling.

      Three years ago those Majors generated 41% of all coal fired power. Now, still doing the same as they did 3 years ago, those Majors generate 62% of all coal fired power, hence emitting 62% of all coal fired CO2 emissions (which now comes in at 1.28 Billion tons of CO2 a year…..and that’s just from those Majors)

      Now back to the huge rise in NG power generation. Typically Base Load power is provided by those Majors, and Nuclear Power (which has barely changed its total power generation in those 3 years) and some Hydro, with a small amount of NG in there as well, but typically NG provides peaking power.

      So noting the huge increase in NG power generated, and knowing it is used mainly for those peaking power periods, has the penny dropped yet.

      With the considerable (and here insert the word huge) ramping up of Wind power, you might think that NG would be required for less time, as there is now a huge amount of that wind power available.

      Nup!

      That NG power is required because power HAS to be there at the grid for consumption, and woebetide any grid authority that relies on wind power to fill the power actually required.

      This data shows, and shows pretty conclusively that wind power especially is not doing what is claimed by renewable power urgers.

      It’s amazing how actual data shows the real truth as opposed to lies being spun by people with green agendas.

      I have a link for all this data. There are actually four to five further links but if I include them all, it’s pretty meaningless, unless you know exactly what you are looking at.

      This is that link, the most recent EIA Monthly data.

      I know this has been long and involved, and you’ll just have to believe me with respect to the data, but where you hear spin that CO2 emissions have fallen dramatically, there is always something extra that needs to be shown to give the actual context of why that has happened.

      There will always be people who just say the headline thing that emissions have fallen, but if the actual truth is told, that is all down to modernisation of a coal fired fleet that was quite literally almost on its last legs.

      What is scary is that those Majors are all now pretty old themselves, and perish the thought if they start to shut down, because there’s nothing, literally nothing in the pipeline to replace them, all now working as hard as they always have, and all getting long in the tooth.

      None of those Majors is even mooted to have a dedicated closure date.

      Tony.


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        John F. Hultquist

        Thanks, Tony — interesting information. All of what you write is spot-on at the national level. That coal not being burned in the US is looking for a foreign market – not without controversy, especially regarding the building of shipping terminals at US Pacific Coast ports.

        You write: “You may think that the drop in generation would be because power consumption is more judicious as people become aware of this emissions scare, . . .”

        My personal observation is that most folks don’t have an emissions scare in the top 50 things they think about. Some CAGW-types and some politicians do, but regular folks do not. Cars that can save money on gas are of interest to some folks but it is the cost and not the emissions moving them toward small cars. Locally folks want large pick-up trucks to pull trailers (horses, boats, snow mobiles) and diesel engines are becoming more popular because of the improved performance. As for fully electric cars, lots of space and distance between places is something we share with OZ (and we have long cold spells too). No fully electric things here except on the golf course.

        Well, you wrote about sources of power, so here’s our local situation:

        I live in the State of Washington and our power comes (mostly) from hydro via the Columbia River. However, our valley is known for being windy:

        Newcomer says: “Does the wind always blow like this?”
        Oldtimer: “No. Sometimes it blows harder.”

        Funny thing, though: Sometimes the wind blows so hard the local turbines have to be shut down (Gt. than ~90 km/h) and other times it doesn’t blow at all. Here is a link to the place I can see looking east (~30 km) from my house:
        http://pse.com/inyourcommunity/kittitas/Pages/Wild-Horse.aspx
        This one sends electricity into western WASH (Seattle area and coast); others nearby send into Oregon and California. One only sends to CA when it is needed and is idle when local CA power is sufficient. The wind power industry and the Columbia River compete – lots of water, thus hydro power, thus wind power isn’t needed – and the subsidies don’t flow. This issue reached the courts.
        Two points: (1) Local hydro power is inexpensive and is just there – no one much thinks about it. (2) Governments ought to support research into storage technology and stop hanging out subsidies for rich folks to harvest.


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    pat

    a windy excuse!

    16 April: UK Daily Mail: Matt Chorley/Sean Poulter: Npower under fire after admitting it has not paid ANY corporation tax in the UK for three years (and blames spending on wind farms)
    German-owned firm joins under-fire Amazon, Google and Starbucks
    £766million profits could have generated tax bill of £200million
    Chief executive says company put wind farm costs against tax liability
    Labour MP says public are ‘sick and tired’ of firms not paying ‘fair share’
    Mr Massara replied: ‘We have invested £5billion in the last five years building power plants, creating jobs, creating employment and helping to keep the lights on.
    ‘There is no mystery to it, there is no desire not to pay tax. The fact is you are allowed depreciation for your investments. And we have been the biggest investor by a mile in the renewable offshore business.
    ‘If we had not made that investment, we would not have the (tax) deductibility that we would be allowed. That is a simple UK accounting rule.’…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2310001/Npower-admitting-paid-ANY-corporation-tax-UK-years-blames-spending-wind-farms.html


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      Joe V.

      It may be legal, as they claim, but isn’t the waste of TaxPayers money just criminal ?


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      Bruce of Newcastle

      I predict the Labour MP will rapidly find his case of laryngitis worsening.

      Saying a wind energy company is not paying enough tax is not going to go down well with the heirarchy of his party.


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    Jimmy Haigh

    I have a theory that what CAGW is really doing is causing the tropics to move to the poles and the polar icecaps move to the tropics.


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    Yonniestone

    Eddie,
    Here’s a brilliant video on crop rotation,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12W34XWIQwU


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    Streetcred

    Mattb | April 18, 2013 at 12:39 am

    pretty much. wuwt is at least as dubious a source as SkS

    Well Matty me boy, even Gavin Schmidt reckons that SS is a do-do …

    Gavin skeptic mode: ON – for Skeptical Science

    Gavin Schmidt, a much misunderstood character in the global warming debate, has demonstrated his good faith and honourable intentions by issuing a denunciation of Skeptical Science.

    Earlier today Gavin and I exchanged some tweets about the use of means and modes in climate sensitivity studies. Gavin’s thoughts were as follows:

    @aDissentient @micefearboggis Comparing the mode to previously reported means is a sleight of hand.

    I was slightly confused at first, as I was unaware of anyone who had done such a wicked thing. However, having now read Dana Nuccitelli’s post about Nic Lewis’s paper at Skeptical Science I can now see that Gavin calls out scientific malfeasance whereever he sees it.

    What was that about WUWT being “at least as dubious” as SS ?

    It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you peck in the dirt with chooks.


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    el gordo

    ‘Again the global surface air temperature trends’ direction more or less follow the solar cycles up or down, up until the peak of the SC23. After which there is an anomaly – first the trend goes up while the solar activity descends and then it goes down while the solar activity rises. Which I propose could be attributed to a transient lag …’

    Guest post by Jan Zeman at Watts


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    el gordo

    AGW models predicted an increase in water vapour, a positive feedback, but its failed to materialise.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/new-data-falsifies-basis-of-man-made.html


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    [...] of Antarctic land ice, as a follow up to a couple of comments to Jo Nova’s posting “Antarctica gaining Ice Mass — and is not extraordinary compared to 800 years of data.” The problem with this is that it looks at just part of the total ice mass balance. These [...]


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    rob

    Hello.
    The paper presented here had its’ own chapters called “conclusions” and “summary”.
    These were peer reviewed and passed muster.

    Jo then adds her own. No peer review.
    Saying “this is what the paper means” doesn’t cut it.
    The paper had its own conclusions and that’s all you can present.
    You don’t then go and make your own up- as if the paper was about your conclusions.

    Write your own paper if you want to do that. Or you can publish a quantifiable critique and submit it to actual review.


    [Rob, you are aware that this is a web blog right? THIS post is the critique and the comments (including yours) are actually review. The rest of your comment hints of argument from authority. Specific points would be far more helpful. ] ED


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