JoNova

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Surprise, West Antarctic volcano melts ice

Who would have thought? Antarctic volcanoes are hot after all.  Having a volcano under an icesheet makes a difference, and some of the sea level rise blamed on CO2 is more likely to be because 1,000 °C lava is not far from sub-zero ice. Right now, according to scientist Dustin Schroeder and co,  it is as if the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctic is sitting on a “stovetop burner”.

Only last week I wondered if West Antarctic volcanoes had something to do with the Antarctic warming and pointed out this strange coincidence below where almost all the warming seems to occur over the volcanic area which is part of the hot “Pacific rim of fire”. I also wondered why some parts of the media don’t seem to mention the volcanoes. Wait and see if this story gets picked up. So far, Fox, and Business Insider have it.

“Using radar data from satellites in orbit, the researchers were able to figure out where these subglacial streams were too full to be explained by flow from upstream. The swollen streams revealed spots of unusually high melt, Schroeder said. Next, the researchers checked out the subglacial geology in the region and found that fast-melting spots were disproportionately clustered near confirmed West Antarctic volcanoes, suspected volcanoes or other presumed hotspots.

“There’s a pattern of hotspots,” Schroeder said. “One of them is next to Mount Takahe, which is a volcano that actually sticks out of the ice sheet.”… “It’s pretty hot by continental standards,” he said.” — Fox

West Antarctica is melting. East Antarctica is not really. Could it be CO2, or is it volcanoes?

Significance
Thwaites Glacier is one of the West Antarctica’s most prominent, rapidly evolving, and potentially unstable contributors to global sea level rise. Uncertainty in the amount and spatial pattern of geothermal flux and melting beneath this glacier is a major limitation in predicting its future behavior and sea level contribution. In this paper, a combination of radar sounding and subglacial water routing is used to show that large areas at the base of Thwaites Glacier are actively melting in response to geothermal flux consistent with rift-associated magma migration and volcanism. This supports the hypothesis that heterogeneous geothermal flux and local magmatic processes could be critical factors in determining the future behavior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The actual Watts of heat are not large: 0.1 W/m2, but applied to the base of the glacier, may create a lubricant layer of meltwater.

From the press release:

Major West Antarctic glacier melting from geothermal sources

Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it’s being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.

press release… cont

The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts.

Using radar techniques to map how water flows under ice sheets, UTIG researchers were able to estimate ice melting rates and thus identify significant sources of geothermal heat under Thwaites Glacier. They found these sources are distributed over a wider area and are much hotter than previously assumed.

The geothermal heat contributed significantly to melting of the underside of the glacier, and it might be a key factor in allowing the ice sheet to slide, affecting the ice sheet’s stability and its contribution to future sea level rise.

The cause of the variable distribution of heat beneath the glacier is thought to be the movement of magma and associated volcanic activity arising from the rifting of Earth’s crust beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Knowledge of the heat distribution beneath Thwaites Glacier is crucial information that enables ice sheet modelers to more accurately predict the response of the glacier to the presence of a warming ocean.

Until now, scientists had been unable to measure the strength or location of heat flow under the glacier. Current ice sheet models have assumed that heat flow under the glacier is uniform like a pancake griddle with even heat distribution across the bottom of the ice.

The findings of lead author Dusty Schroeder and his colleagues show that the glacier sits on something more like a multi-burner stovetop with burners putting out heat at different levels at different locations.

The findings of lead author Dusty Schroeder and his colleagues show that the glacier sits on something more like a multi-burner stovetop with burners putting out heat at different levels at different locations.

“It’s the most complex thermal environment you might imagine,” said co-author Don Blankenship, a senior research scientist at UTIG and Schroeder’s Ph.D. adviser. “And then you plop the most critical dynamically unstable ice sheet on planet Earth in the middle of this thing, and then you try to model it. It’s virtually impossible.”

That’s why, he said, getting a handle on the distribution of geothermal heat flow under the ice sheet has been considered essential for understanding it.

Gathering knowledge about Thwaites Glacier is crucial to understanding what might happen to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. An outlet glacier the size of Florida in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, it is up to 4,000 meters thick and is considered a key question mark in making projections of global sea level rise.

The glacier is retreating in the face of the warming ocean and is thought to be unstable because its interior lies more than two kilometers below sea level while, at the coast, the bottom of the glacier is quite shallow.

Because its interior connects to the vast portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that lies deeply below sea level, the glacier is considered a gateway to the majority of West Antarctica’s potential sea level contribution.

The collapse of the Thwaites Glacier would cause an increase of global sea level of between 1 and 2 meters, with the potential for more than twice that from the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The UTIG researchers had previously used ice-penetrating airborne radar sounding data to image two vast interacting subglacial water systems under Thwaites Glacier. The results from this earlier work on water systems (also published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) formed the foundation for the new work, which used the distribution of water beneath the glacier to determine the levels and locations of heat flow.

In each case, Schroeder, who received his Ph.D. in May, used techniques he had developed to pull information out of data collected by the radar developed at UTIG.

According to his findings, the minimum average geothermal heat flow beneath Thwaites Glacier is about 100 milliwatts per square meter, with hotspots over 200 milliwatts per square meter. For comparison, the average heat flow of the Earth’s continents is less than 65 milliwatts per square meter.

The presence of water and heat present researchers with significant challenges.

“The combination of variable subglacial geothermal heat flow and the interacting subglacial water system could threaten the stability of Thwaites Glacier in ways that we never before imagined,” Schroeder said.

REFERENCE

Dustin M. Schroeder, Donald D. Blankenship, Duncan A. Young, and Enrica Quartini. Evidence for elevated and spatially variable geothermal flux beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. PNAS, June 9, 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1405184111 [Abstract]

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Surprise, West Antarctic volcano melts ice, 9.4 out of 10 based on 54 ratings

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117 comments to Surprise, West Antarctic volcano melts ice

  • #
    crakar24

    Another chunk of the AGW iceberg just fell off into the water, pretty soon there wont be enough for even a Poley bear to stand on. Off course the usual suspects will fall silent at this news only to return when another study is presented that breathes new life into their dying religion.


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  • #
    the Griss

    No, No, No.. everyone knows its “secret” warm CO2 currents sneaking up from Trenberth’s missing heat !!


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    • #
      Peter Miller

      This heat will be accompanied by hot gases and fluids containing dissolved chemicals.

      Pressure from the gases could help reduce the resistance of the underlying rock as the glacier flows over it. Also, these gases could cause doming and fracturing in the overlying ice, which in turn would accelerate the rate at which it breaks up.

      The dissolved chemicals will have the effect of lowering the freezing point of water and thus could be a very important facing in aiding the movement of the ice over the underlying rock.

      One thing which should not be forgotten is the hydrothermal heat will not be a linear factor, it will pulse, sometimes with catastrophic results, such as occurs with the ice-covered volcanic vents in Iceland.


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      • #
        Brian

        But where is the evidence that there has been some unusual increase or even a recent change in the heat flux. Hoping that this is the reality is not the same as actual evidence.


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    • #
      Greg Cavanagh

      More telekinetics in nature. Proof I tell ya!


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  • #
    Ursus Augustus

    Further to my post on the peer review thread, this is also more than worthy of mention, if not as a Gold Standard but perhaps, in the light of the Turney Twerkpedition aka the Ship of Fools, as the Fools Gold Standard for failure in peer review.

    These volcanoes have been known about and reported on for years so it can hardly be some sort of shock revelation to ‘researchers’ looking into causes for any increase in observed melting rates etc.

    I am sure that all the observations made and statistical analysis undertaken were mathematically and scientifically robust and would evidence an arguable case for AGW being a ‘mechanism of interest’ – if it were not for those damned volcanoes!

    It seems to me some “scientists” literally need a volcano up their **** before they give up on their groomed and petted theories.


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  • #
    tom0mason

    So the IPCC, and all the other proponents of ‘CO2 melted my polar icecaps’, will now take the next logical step and start a massive campaign to show that man-made CO2 causes polar volcanic and geothermal flux changes.

    They had better hurry for the correlating icecore evidence.


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    • #
      crakar24

      Aw gee shucks thats easy, all the co2 created all that heat which then lead to the intial ice melt. When the ice melted it reduced the weight on the continent, which in turn allowed the continent to rise thus allowing the volcanic activity to begin.

      Ergo this is another positive feedback to increasing co2 levels in the atmosphere, hence (as i alluded to previously) a new study that will breathe new life into their dying religion.


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    • #
      Greg Cavanagh

      Via Trenberth we know that heat goes from the warm atmosphere into the deep ocean via telekinetics because the ocean is colder than the atmosphere. It follows that the heat in the deep ocean has jumped from the warming ocean (relatively speaking) into the colder deep ice sheet.

      The heat is accumulating at an unprecedented rate, it’s far worse than we thought!!! We’re all doomed.


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      • #
        the Griss

        Gees Greg,

        that’s probably the best explanation of the Trenberthian hidey-seek ocean-heat that I’ve ever seen..

        And I’ve asked LOTS of alamistas about it.


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  • #
    Neville

    Another study has found a significant decrease of 4.2% in cloudiness over the USA in the last 30 years. This would easily account for any warming over that period. In fact even half of that percentage would account for the warming.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/new-paper-finds-significant-decrease-in.html


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    • #
      the Griss

      Hey but…. wait there….

      isn’t CO2 warming meant to lead to more water vapour… more clouds…

      OOPS !!!

      AGAIN


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      • #
        sophocles

        Yes. The CAGW theorists also overlooked their required Clouds need lots and lots of condensation nuclei as well as lots of water vapour to form. Lots of water vapour can cheerfully exist without creating clouds if the condensation nuclei aren’t available. It’s called humidity. OOPs!

        Commercial greenhouse operators have blinds to draw over their greenhouse roofs to moderate temperature. Atmospheric clouds do just the same thing for the planetary `greenhouse.’ That’s a negative feedback mechanism! Clouds causing cooling! Cooling? OOPs!


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  • #
    yonason

    Why do they put Antarctica upside down? Is it to disorient us? If it’s to annoy, they are succeeding.

    Otherwise, thanks for the update on that theme.

    Apparently the same has also been true of the Arctic for some time, as well.

    But then, when did the facts ever get in the way of a greenie’s lies?


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  • #
    the Griss

    Now.. how many hundreds of papers are out there blaming the West Antarctic melt on CO2 atmospheric warming ………..

    when they are actually melting from below because of thermal activity.
    .
    .
    .
    ….. should journals consider retracting all these papers ?


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  • #
    tom0mason

    Slightly off-topic-ish -
    Similarly no-one says a thing about the active geology of the Arctic.
    You remember this startling report from four years ago?

    Volcanoes exploding under water at North Pole

    The Arctic seabed is as explosive geologically as it is politically judging by the “fountains” of gas and molten lava that have been blasting out of underwater volcanoes near the North Pole.

    Or was MSM kept quiet about it?

    http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/story.html?id=57168a68-6f4d-4667-b8fe-27580efc38f0

    It must be the CO2 doing it, eh?


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  • #
    King Geo

    So volcanoes melt glaciers if they are in close proximity – well surprise surprise. Please tell the “CAGW Alarmists” – mind you they won’t believe you. Reminds me of that Monty Python skit “the three Yorkshiremen” – it is a parody about exaggeration – the 3 gents describe how life was so tough for them while growing up – the level of exaggeration steadily increasing to ridiculous levels as more ales are consumed – the punch line “tell the young people today that I grew up in a septic tank and our dad would beat us kids up every night and ….. and they won’t believe you” – it so similar to the “CAGW Alarmists” blaming every weather event on our fine planet to CO2 emissions e.g. the Polar Vortex that paralysed the USA this past winter and caused Niagara Falls to freeze – of course the exaggerating “Warmists” will say that CO2 was the culprit just like it has caused the Thwaites Glacier to melt.


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  • #
    James Bradley

    Connolley will pitch a “CO2 caused the globe to warm, the crust to expand and the volcanoes to erupt” line.

    He will have a convoluted argument that starts and ends nowhere.

    BA4, Brian, Chester, Phil Shehan etc will all be operated through various e-mail accounts leading back to Cook and will variously chip in with youtube links, corrupted data and inverted graphs ending in righteous indignation because nobody understands that – seriously – they only post on sceptic blogs out of sincere craving for credible validation from acknowledged experts.

    Griss will ping another warmy or two, Jo will scold in Bold and I’ll probably be snipped and cautioned by the moderator for gratuitous use of various expletives. [Hmm? -Fly]

    And despite all this you know, somehow life manages to go on regardless of whether the temperature rises within, or just outside, the current margin of error.

    It’s working outside the margins that probably kicked life off on this planet anyway.

    Such a pity that those that have the most to learn suddenly want to stay inside the lines, blinkered in a rigid belief of corruption and catastrophe instead of embracing the reality of change and expanding their horizons.

    Apparently warmies are so afraid of everything causing CO2 that they don’t procreate.

    Just as well, imagine a world where humanity was too afraid to use the ingenuity and resources it was provided.

    Wouldn’t be a cyber bridge for the trolls to hide under for one thing…


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    • #
      the Griss

      “Griss will ping another warmy or two”

      Ducks in a barrel………

      …except you have to remember to aim below the barrel. :-)


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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      “Connolley will pitch a convoluted argument that starts and ends nowhere.

      BA4, Brian, Chester, Phil Shehan etc will all be operated through various e-mail accounts leading back to Cook and will variously chip in with youtube links, corrupted data and inverted graphs ending in righteous indignation because nobody understands that – seriously – they only post on sceptic blogs out of sincere craving for credible validation from acknowledged experts.”

      Sorry James Bradley, it is Operation Canute, designed to turn back the tide of scepticism. All that waffle is what they think is science, and all that indignation is because no-one (except possibly Griss) takes them seriously.


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      • #
        the Griss

        Hey ????????

        Since when have EVER taken any of these guys seriously.

        I think they are clown acts, and to get the best out of a clown, you need to keep them going, and going, and going. :-)


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        • #
          the Griss

          Whoops.. secret out. ! :-(


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        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          Since when have EVER taken any of these guys seriously.

          Since when have you ever taken anything seriously?


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          • #
            the Griss

            Hey.. I can be serious..

            really I can :-)


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          • #
            sophocles

            I’m beginning to consider the proposition:

            …if we didn’t have Climate Catastrophists to flay, we’d have to invent them!

            Unfortunately, the CAGW memes are now echoing from the halls of power and that is really scary!
            (Australia, Canada, NZ and India possibly excepted …).


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            • #
              Graeme No.3

              sophocles:

              Add China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Brazil and South Africa to the list. (I know the last 2 sound off, but that is only in the forlorn hope of getting a payout). Also, look at Germany, building coal fired power stations almost as fast as the Chinese. Poland is fighting the EU to protect its coal fired power, and a number of countries in the east of the EU are fractious.

              The Danes, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Greeks have all moved to reduce or eliminate subsidies for “renewable” power.


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      • #
        James Bradley

        But they do turn to sceptic blogs for validation because climate science isn’t a legitimate discipline…


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        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          Then we should complain to the judiciary that we have a lot of undisciplined people using science and chemicals for illegitimate purposes.


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          • #
            James Bradley

            And they claim to be skeptical scientists and they can’t spell sceptic and they’re not real scientists…

            That’s like false advertising isn’t it?


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  • #
    Geoffrey Williams

    Congratulations to Jo for being up on this one so quickly.
    We all believed you Jo and now there is corroboration for you.
    Geoff W Sydney


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    • #
      John Knowles

      “Not by Fire But By Ice” by Robert Felix talks about volcanic activity warming the oceans and therefore affecting climate. Piers Corbyn seems to be on to some connection between solar magnetism and seismic/volcanic activity here on Earth.
      I’m guessing there are plenty of well qualified folks who know a fair bit about this but there’s no political milage or money in it yet.


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  • #
    Phillip Bratby

    Thank goodness we have “settled science” to fall back on. We can ignore all this alarmism about volcanoes melting the ice.


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    • #
      tom0mason

      The climate models had, of course, already made allowances for this as they are programmed with all the best known physical and geological science al-gore-rythms and data. Remarkable what you can model on a super-Excel® spreadsheet.

      They were however a little late off the mark with up-dating everyone as they were running the other program – the design of the super-superduper computer whose very operating matrix is organic life itself…

      Time for that Pan-Galactic-Gargle-Blaster® !


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  • #
    manalive

    This is another example of the alarmists using quasi-proxies, polar bears, hurricanes, glaciers, Arctic ice, anything really, anything rather than temperature when that data shows no positive trend.


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  • #
    Peter Kemmis

    Certainly this research deserves further work. I think we need to be careful not to leap on this quite sensible explanation too quickly, but it does give hope for considerably more sensible planning for adaptation. While it may be that we are at the beginning of some global cooling, I believe we need to pay careful attention to the Antarctic to understand what is really happening. As we know, too much effort has been spent seeking to demonstrate that carbon dioxide is the villain, rather than undertaking scientific research free of pre-judgment of results. In our protest over the nonsense, we mustn’t lose sight of the main game, which is to keep finding out, testing, and verifying.

    We need to remember that we always must adapt to changing climate. When the CAGW cry finally is heard no longer, should we see melting continue as indicated in this report, we will have some significant ocean level increase, barring major recycling into snow so regenerating the glaciers.

    Meanwhile, what else can the past teach us about previous volcanic activity under the Thwaites Glacier? Also, have we had periods of rapid sea level rise (e.g over say 200-500 years)? Any suggestions?


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    • #
      the Griss

      “We need to remember that we always must adapt to changing climate”

      Buy more blankets !!


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    • #
      the Griss

      Or, if by some pure chance it does actually warm by a degree or so.. (in real terms, not adjustments)

      .. buy a toga… The Romans seemed quite happy with them, even in England.


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      • #
        Rod Stuart

        The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus relayed the observation of an orator on Rome’s descent into entertainment culture during the first century AD thusly: “The causes of the decay of eloquence are by no means difficult to be traced,” the orator explained. “The true causes [of the decay] are, the dissipation of our young men, the inattention of parents, the ignorance of those who pretend to give instruction, and the total neglect of ancient discipline.”

        Near the beginning of the first century the Roman historian Titus Livy mourned “the dark dawning of our modern day,” and noted: “In these later years wealth has brought avarice in its train, and the unlimited command of pleasures has created in men a passion for ruining themselves and everything else through self-indulgence and licentiousness.”

        Does this ring a bell two thousand years later?


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      • #
        John Knowles

        It must have been a fair bit warmer around 100 A.D. in the British Isles. Some of my worst childhood memories of were of persistent cold, damp and windy conditions at Prestatyn on the coast of North Wales yet the Romans had a small garrison on the site of my school, complete with a sauna/bath-house. Maybe they built ‘em tough in days of old.


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  • #

    Note the expression “contributors to global sea level rise”. Nothing’s been contributing much to sea level since the 1860s. And no big deal in the eighty or so years before that, after rises became apparent.

    Is lack of subtantial sea level rise the mastodon in the warmist phone booth? I mean, beyond subsidence and what you get after any glaciation or mini-ice age, where is this swamping sea level rise? They make cheesy disaster movies about it, draw up evacuation plans for Sydney Harbour…but nobody can find it.


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    • #
      the Griss

      “draw up evacuation plans for Sydney Harbour”

      At 6.5mm/decade (Fort Denison data) I don’t think there needs to be any particular rush.


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  • #
    Dave

    This is what really peeves me off

    The Guardian publishes this garbage
    “Volcanic eruptions causing global warming slowdown, study says”

    The article has now been removed (as copyright expired) – Bull

    So lets see:

    1. Volcanoes cause Global Warming Slowdown?
    2. Antarctica west ice melts caused by Global Warming (Dencorub Deep Ocean Heat)
    3. Antarctica ice melts indicates slow down in Global Warming from Volcanoes
    4. Ice in Antarctica melting from Global Warming but if:
    5. There were NO volcanoes, it wouldn’t blooody melt

    And this CAGW crew think they have a handle on how to get their message across

    Just a bunch if lying little Greedy Gang Greens

    Can’t find any papers explaining CAGW causing ice melt reduction from Volcanoes

    Me, average Joe, is totally fed up with the garbage, and this article once printed, handed out at work will again add another little nail in the coffin of the CAGW religion.


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  • #
    Yonniestone

    Just for a comparative reference 815c is the ignition point of mild steel, when it glows cherry red.


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  • #
    Aaron Mead

    You, Joanne Nova.

    You.

    (begins the slow clap that ends in massive stadium eruption of cheering and applause :)


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  • #
    vic g gallus

    The actual Watts of heat are not large: 0.1 W/m2, but applied to the base of the glacier, may create a lubricant layer of meltwater.

    I thought that that was a guestimate of the heat coming from the Earth to the ocean floor as an average. I suspect that it is much more near the ring of fire or other volcanic areas/trenches.


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    • #
      vic g gallus

      From the abstract “West Antarctica. We show that the Thwaites Glacier catchment has a minimum average geothermal flux of ∼114 ± 10 mW/m2 with areas of high flux exceeding 200 mW/m2 consistent with hypothesized rift-associated magmatic migration and volcanism.”

      In other words, to get geothermal power, you would need a collector the size of a hectare to get 1kW of power, a small house-hold heater. Why do I get the feeling that the estimate would have been a lot higher if they were pushing renewable energy.

      We get 11 000 MW (1e10 W)of energy from geothermal. At 0.1 W/m2 this come out to be 1e11 m2 equivalent of heat coming from the crust. That is 1e5km2. The Earth is 5e8km2 so we harness 0.02% of the heat coming from the crust already? I know that they drill down to hotter parts but if they don’t rely on conduction of heat through the rock than it would not be economically viable. You’d be drilling new bores too often.

      100-200 mW/m2 is a ridiculously low estimate for even dormant areas. Somebody is playing games because it is about 100 times less than needed to explain the melting ice.


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    • #
      vic g gallus

      From Wikipadia, a map of surface-heat flux.. Notice that the Andes is quite cool.

      Also from Wikipedia.

      The Andean Volcanic Belt represents a large geothermal province, with numerous hot springs, solfataras and geysers associated with its volcanoes.


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  • #
    ROM

    The word collapse is mused in this press release with gay abandon so may I point out the very informative WUWT post on the real meaning of words like collapse when used in the context of a geological event such as the usual fear inducing warmist predictions of a collapse of the Thwaites Glacier.
    ___________________________
    From the WUWT post;

    The specialized meaning of words in the ‘Antarctic ice shelf collapse’ and other climate alarm stories

    [ quoted ]

    Q. On TV I saw that the ice in Antarctica is collapsing, and that will raise sea level and inundate cities. Others reports say this will take thousands of years. How serious is the problem?

    What you are witnessing here is a result of confusion between the public perception of the ordinary meaning of words, and the very special definitions used in scientific discourse.

    Geologists deal with changes in the earth that occur over epochs of millions of years. Anything that happens in less than 10,000 years is “sudden,” and something happening in only 1,000 years is “instantaneous.” To geologists, the word “collapse” is appropriate for a 10,000 year process.

    A hot-topic in the media these days has to do with the West Antarctic Ice Shelf (WAIS), a region comprising about 8% of the ice covering Antarctica.
    Within that region, there are two glaciers that are sliding down to the sea at a steady pace, as glaciers always do.
    They comprise about 10% of the WAIS, less than 1% of Antarctic ice.
    This descent has been in progress for several thousand years, and is neither new nor man-caused. It will go on for a few thousand more, after which they’ll be gone. In the parlance of geology, those two glaciers are collapsing.

    If that doesn’t sound to you like your usual meaning of the word “collapse,” you’re absolutely right. It’s a specialized geological term.

    Unfortunately, the major media overlook the distinction of meanings, and then make the further generalization from two specific glaciers to the entire WAIS, and moreover to Antarctica in general.
    Scientists who point out the small actual glacier size (and volume of ice) are brushed aside in the rush to get a headline or a flamboyant sound byte that will keep the viewers tuned in. Words like unavoidable collapse carry a sense of foreboding.

    [more]
    __________________________

    Other word definitions as used in science are also provided in this WUWT post.

    So when you get the usual pseudo panic mode, “the end is near”, of the greens and the alarmists then you at least will have the correct description of the terms used by geologists and others in science.

    Not that it will make the slightest difference for as that old tram ticket saying went.

    Some minds are like concrete;
    All mixed up and set hard


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  • #

    You’ll see here why I assiduously stay away from commenting on Science, because I just speak from the point of view of an amateur.

    However, look closely at the map of Antarctica which Joanne has at the top of the Post here.

    I like to look at maps which have North/South/East/West as you see them on a compass, so I like to look at Antarctica (sorta) right way up as shown on the Map shown at this link.

    Now, here we have this volcanic area on the left side.

    So now, look at the (direct) South Pole.

    See how the Continent is really heavy on one side, the East, and the area where the volcanoes are is lacking land mass.

    This is also the way I looked constantly at the image when I was reading all about Shackleton, who sailed into the Weddell Sea there, was ice bound close to the land mass, and remained ice bound virtually all the way back out of the Weddell Sea, before the ship was crushed, and they escaped across the ice to the staging point, and then escaped from there.

    All of that ice in Weddell, and also around those other areas there is (again) sea ice, or shelf ice, virtually same same, ice actually floating on water, even while still attached to glacial outcrops. In Winter, it extends a long way out to sea, extending the size of Antarctica.

    It decreases during Summer, and also, now, because of volcanic action.

    However, it is still ice on, or in water hence subject to Archimedes Principle.

    It could all melt and not raise sea levels at all.

    To me, it all seems like a huge beat up, relying on people’s complete lack of understanding, and forgetfulness of something they all learned in High School.

    Now see why I stay away from Science. It tends to make me look like an amateur.

    It puzzles me why I get so many blank looks every time I even mention Archimedes.

    Tony.


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      Rereke Whakaaro

      Tony, you need to see the movie, Enders Game, because you are fixated about which way is up.

      On your map, where it says, “West Antarctica”, it should say, “North Antarctica”, because it is further north than the South Pole in the middle of the continent.

      Similarly, where it says, “East Antarctica” on your map, is should say, “North Antarctica”, because it is further north than the South Pole in the middle of the continent, as well.

      That is why there is a convention based on the Prime Meridian that runs through Greenwich. The further North or South you go, the less meaning East and West have, hence the need for some form of convention.

      There is no concept of up, in space, once you leave earth orbit.

      The Far East is to the Near West to me, and North to you, but it still remains the Far East. :-)


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        See what I mean. I’m clueless, utterly clueless.

        I still think I’m OK with Archimedes though.

        WRT Prime Meridian, I read an absolutely wonderful book, Longitude, by Dava Sobel, the story of the Harrison Clocks. If you can get hold of a copy, I thoroughly recommend it.

        Tony.


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      James Bradley

      Thought the same thing for years and I’ll raise you the effects of submarine volcanoes adding sea floor mass to confuse the issue.


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      vic g gallus

      Tony, your naivety shows. Scientists are amateurs if you consider how way off humans are at being any good at it, as Alarmists keep reminding us. Its interesting to read some of the stuff that our heroes came up with that are pretty dodgy. Getting things wrong is the norm. Correcting things is the art.

      So with that in mind, I’ll give it to the chicken littles that they do claim that the ice on the water holds back the glaciers from slipping off faster so it is ice on land melting that will raise the sea levels.


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    ROM

    Well Tony between us we had better educate them.
    I’m only an old uneducated farm guy but Archimedes discovery came down through 2300 years of history and was even taught to me in my primary school days. Somewhere in perhaps about the mid 1980′s it seems that those old discovereries of so much that has shaped our world were just discarded as irrelevant in the education system in exchange for some “modern” ideologies that have little or no bearing on basic knowledge, life or living after the education system is finished with the kids of today

    EUREKA
    The story of Archimedes and the Golden Crown


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    RoHa

    “Antarctic volcanoes are hot after all.”

    Of course they are. Global warming caused by CO2 heats up everything.


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    PeterK

    “The collapse of the Thwaites Glacier would cause an increase of global sea level of between 1 and 2 meters, with the potential for more than twice that from the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet.”

    No having a Phd in glaciology, I would assume that the melt would be over many years and natures way of compensating for the melt would be additional evaporation which would then result in more snow accumulating on the Antarctic continent thereby reducing global sea level rise to a miniscule?


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    pat

    o/t apologies. however, this piece is so juvenile & ridiculous, yet it u look at the writer’s pic, he’s no kid:

    9 June: Marketwatch: Paul B. Farrell: The 1 big reason GOP will lose the presidency in 2016
    Commentary: Climate-science deniers can’t win with majority of Americans
    Warning to GOP: A new poll says you can kiss the presidency goodbye for 10 more long years: Why? “Voters have little tolerance for a presidential candidate in 2016 who doesn’t believe that climate change is caused by human activity.” More on that below…
    GOP’S biggest problem 2014-2024? The one and only … Big Oil
    Yes, Big Oil will be the GOP’s biggest problem for years. And the big reason the GOP can kiss the presidency goodbye. Why? Big Oil won’t change. For one, they’ll fight any carbon tax. But to win the presidency, the GOP must change. A classic double bind. That’s why no Republican will occupy the White House likely till 2024. One reason: Big Oil, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and, of course, the Koch billionaires.
    Yes, the GOP’s in love with Big Oil…
    The money keeps them in Washington. They’re mutually dependent, addict-and-supplier, obsessed-and-object, master-and-servant, trapped in a symbiotic dance of death. So blindly dependent they can’t see, cannot break free of their dependency. One has the money and power, needs to manipulate the law. The other craves money, status and an illusion of power. A classic dependency syndrome.
    Both hold tight, won’t wake up, till it’s too late after they bottom-out, trigger a collapse, like 2000 and 2008, that takes down the economy, forces them to create a new business model, new political game strategy…
    But unfortunately Big Oil and its dependent politicians in the GOP are now on the wrong side of history when it comes to global warming and climate change. But both remain intransigent, no compromise, clutching to the old playbook, blind to how the sands of history are shifting under their outdated business model.
    Sounds too harsh? The blunt truth always is…
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-1-big-reason-gop-will-lose-the-presidency-in-2016-2014-06-07?link=mw_home_kiosk
    (About Paul B. Farrell from above link: Paul Farrell writes the column on behavioral economics. He’s the author of nine books on personal finance, economics and psychology, including “The Millionaire Code,” “The Winning Portfolio,” “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing.” Farrell was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley; executive vice president of the Financial News Network; executive vice president of Mercury Entertainment Corp; and associate editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He has a Juris Doctor and a Doctorate in Psychology.)


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    bananabender

    Obviously the Warmists have never heard of Deception Island. It lies on the West Antarctic Peninsula. Water temperatures can reach as high as 70C! due to volcanic activity.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deception_Island


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    Ilma

    I did wonder how today’s atmospheric CO2 could get to the *underside* of such a massive ice sheet and melt it!


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    John Knowles

    I find it curious that we only became aware of some of the ocean volcanoes off Antarctica in the last few years.
    http://www.livescience.com/15006-underwater-volcanoes-discovered-antarctica.html
    Whalers knew about Deception Island decades ago but most climate people seem to dismiss volcanic/ hydrothermal venting as insignificant.


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    Well blow me! The reason that the glaciers are slipping into the sea is due to a heat source underneath the ice. A heat source that is hundreds of degrees. Even if molten lava is not at the surface, the rock surface can be still well above freezing, melting the ice. This provides the lubricant that accelerates the glacier towards the sea.
    Yet you have climate scientists who do not state this obvious point. Instead they infer that it is due to a degree or two of warming of the air is on average well below freezing. The few extra days a year of above freezing temperatures causes loads of melt water to get through hundreds of metres of ice to the base of the glacier. This melt water then spreads out over a large portion of the ice acting as a lubricant.
    A recent paper in GRL was
    Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011
    When lead author and climate scientist Eric Rignot was interviewed, he did not say that it was nothing to do with global or regional surface warming. Instead he inferred the whole West Antarctic ice sheet would slip into the sea, raising global sea levels by four feet (1.2 metres). Even worse is this

    He suggested that the amount of sea-level rise from these glaciers could be difficult for humans to cope with, but also that if these Western glaciers let go then this will accelerate ice loss from the rest of the continent.


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    Mark D.

    Can we find a vulcanologist to comment on whether there is presently an increase in global vulcanism? Somewhere in my dusty memory I recall that there may have been a global increase in volcanic activity prior to the ice ages.

    Anthropogenic my ass.

    http://www.iceagenow.com/Volcanic_activity_increasing_worldwide.htm


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    john karajas

    Volcanic activity under the Vatnajokull glacier in Iceland in 1996 led to a major amount of ice melting. The water resulting from this melting migrated underneath the glacier and fairly soon burst out onto the floodplain to the south, sweeping away a large bridge and roadworks. Large chunks of ice remained on the floodplain for quite a few months afterwards.


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    Roy Hogue

    Another surprise that knocked me over with the proverbial feather.

    What else do we have to look forward to? Maybe they’ll discover that enough heat can boil water.

    Or maybe they’ll discover that they ought to drink water, since clearly what they’re drinking now isn’t doing their brains any good.


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    Kent F

    One might also wonder about the effect of Antarctic volcanic emissions on the cyclical thinning of the ozone layer. I tried to raise this as a question to a CSIRO guru at a conference some years ago and received a very curt response. He abruptly claimed the hole was “new”. I was asking if it was perhaps just newly detected and something that had long been in place, meaning since geological times. His response and obvious anger was based on his conviction that the cause of the ‘hole’ in the ozone layer was entirely man-made and due to freons. He said I was questioning “settled science” and the accepted model explanation. Today that sounds an all too familiar response to questions about meteorology.


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    yonason

    Sorry this information on the same phenomena in the Arctic is so late, but I just found it while looking for something else.

    Pay no attention to that “HOTBED OF VOLCANIC ACTIVITY FOUND BENEATH THE ARCTIC.”


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