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Antarctic scientists may find climate Holy Grail, ice with magic 7 digit age

ABC news tells us intrepid researchers are in a race for the sacred key. The news is a sexed up advert for climate funding done in the theme of Raiders of the Lost Ice:

“It’s the “holy grail of climate science”, a piece of ice so old that it might be able to reveal the climate of the past and help predict the future of Earth’s atmosphere.

And Australia’s Antarctic scientists are now part of an international race to find the ancient time capsule.

So, what is it?

Somewhere deep below the surface of Antarctica, ice has laid untouched for a million years or more — it’s believed to be the world’s oldest ice“

I don’t know why scientists think the million year mark is so holy, they’ve pretty much ignored the message in the first 800,000 years. They hunted and drilled but the telex from prehistory kept saying temperature controls CO2, not the other way around.

Either CO2 followed the temp, or CO2 stayed high, but temp did its own thing. (See the spot from circa 130,000BC, for about 15,000 years? CO2 was at “record highs” unseen for 120,000 years, but that didn’t stop [...]

Antarctic sea ice strangely the same as 100 years ago when Ford Model T was around

A hundred years of cars, planes, wars, and five billion more polluting people, and there’s nothing to show for it. Old log books kept by Scott and Shackleton show that Antarctic sea ice hasn’t changed much since 1912. Right now, at least three ecowarriors are rejoicing that perhaps there is a future for penguins after all.

Click to enlarge

Scott and Shackleton logbooks prove Antarctic sea ice is not shrinking 100 years after expeditions

“The missions of Scott and Shackleton are remembered in history as heroic failures, yet the data collected by these and other explorers could profoundly change the way we view the ebb and flow of Antarctic sea ice,” said Dr Jonathan Day, who led the study, which was published in the journal The Cryosphere.

“We know that sea ice in the Antarctic has increased slightly over the past 30 years, since satellite observations began. Scientists have been grappling to understand this trend in the context of global warming, but these new findings suggest it may not be anything new.

“If ice levels were as low a century ago as estimated in this research, then a similar increase may have occurred [...]

Backflip: Antarctic peninsula, posterchild of Polar disaster, has been cooling not warming

The “fastest warming place” on Planet Earth wasn’t warming.

A new Antarctic study wipes out 20 years of panic about the West Antarctic Peninsula. All these years while people were crying about penguins, it turns out that the place was cooling rather than warming. Mankind has emitting a third of all its “CO2-pollution” ever from 1998, and there was “no discernible” effect on Antarctica. Indeed,  the study quietly finds that even the bigger longer warming that has happened in the last century was not “unprecedented” in the last 2000 years.

In the last decade as this cooling trend was happening in the real world –  in the media, the same spot was being described as “one of the fastest warming places on Earth”:

 The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth, NBC, 2013

West Antarctic Ice Sheet warming twice earlier estimate, BBC, 2012

And this sort of news has been going on for years. This was “big deal” once-in-2000 year type stuff:

UK scientists say parts of Antarctica have recently been warming much faster than most of the rest of the Earth. They believe the warming is probably without parallel for nearly two thousand [...]

CO2 hits record high: Antarctic temperatures do nothing

The terrifying effect of CO2

Feel the panic.

South Pole CO2 levels cross 400 ppm first time in 4 million years!

WASHINGTON: The Earth passed another unfortunate milestone when carbon dioxide levels surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) at the South Pole for the first time in 4 million years, according to US scientists.The South Pole has shown the same, relentless upward trend in carbon dioxide (CO2) as the rest of world, but its remote location means it is the last to register the impacts of increasing emissions from fossil fuel consumption, the primary driver of greenhouse gas pollution, researchers said.

In response, the South pole temperatures “pause”

Satellites show the real warming effect of CO2 on the air over Antarctica (thanks Ken Stewart)

For thousands of years temperatures in West Antarctica have been higher than now.

Graph via WattsUP

Temperatures (orange) peaked around 4,000 years ago (top graph). Graph: T.J. Fudge | University of Washington


Notice how CO2 controls the temperature in Vostok – Not. [...]

Nature – finally “finds” cause of Antarctic pause, will last centuries, tosses “global warming” out

Nature ties itself in knots here, and reveals a lot more than they probably meant too, but mostly about themselves rather than about Antarctica. If it’s correct, the implications from this study are pretty big, not that the study will tell you that. The term “Global warming” is tossed under a bus, along with almost all the Antarctic man-made scares of the last two decades. The political nature of Nature is on full display.

This time Nature claims it has found the cause of the Antarctic pause.  Apparently this now finally resolves yet another conundrum (fantastic, what!) that was, as usual, not called a conundrum until it was solved. Another secret problem fixed. Where was the press release telling us there was a problem?

Those who said there was a conundrum were just deniers. It’s right there in the press release, paragraph two:

The study resolves a scientific conundrum, and an inconsistent pattern of warming often seized on by climate deniers.

Which rather begs the question: If there was a conundrum then the skeptics who pointed it out were not deniers, but correct. And if there was no conundrum, and deniers were denying something, then this is not [...]

1000 year rainfall study suggests droughts and floods used to be longer, worse

A study done on… golly, Antarctic Ice, allegedly shows that in the catchment area for Newcastle in NSW, Australia, the last 100 years have been pretty darn nice, compared to the past when droughts and big-wet periods used to last a lot longer.

Set aside, for a moment, that the ice cores are thousands of kilometers away and in a totally different climate, if they are right, if, then natural climate change is much worse than our short climate records are telling us. And if our current records are so inadequate and don’t represent the “old-Normal”, then we have a flying pigs of predicting the “New Normal”. Has the climate changed at all, or is the new one just like the old old one?

Hydroclimatologist and lead author, Dr Carly Tozer from the ACE CRC said the research showed exposure to drought and flood risk was higher than previously estimated.

“The study showed that modern climate records, which are available for the past one hundred years at best, do not capture the full range of rainfall variability that has occurred,” Dr Tozer said.

“The wet and dry periods experienced since 1900 have been relatively [...]

Hot magma is melting Greenland ice – can windfarms save it?

Here on the ball of magma called Earth, there’s a hot plume of rocks under Iceland that stretches right across under Greenland. Those hot rocks are melting the ice from below in a band 1,200 km long and 400 km wide.[1]

I don’t think solar panels are going to stop Greenland melting.

The main part of the plume has been progressing eastward over the last 120 million years, right under Greenland and now lies under Iceland.

Will the media take a million years to catch on?

Presumably, being world class journalists, from now on all ABC/BBC/CBC stories will not mention melting Greenland ice-sheets without also noting that geothermal heat may be causing it instead of your long hot showers.

But a similar study published in Nature Geoscience 3 years ago was the forerunner to this one with similar conclusions and the mainstream media don’t seem to have noticed yet.[2]  No mention of magma, tectonics and hot rocks here: ABC — [...]

The non-disaster of 150,000 missing penguins? They just went somewhere else.

The media hype and the story of the false Penguin Panic

Image: UNSW/Chris Turney

Much fuss was made of 150,000 missing penguins in Antarctica as if climate change had killed them. A monster iceberg had washed in, stopping the cute swimming tuxedos from getting to dinner and the colony of 160,000 suddenly shrank to 10,000. Where did all those penguins go? In previous tough times, when they could be tracked they just split up and went to different colonies.

Given that the penguins have survived repeated ice ages and warming for millions of years who would have thought that they would have a strategy for dealing with the odd big iceberg?

The penguin catastrophe:

[Grist] Researchers found that a colony of Adélie penguins in Antartica’s Cape Denison has decreased from 160,000 to just 10,000 since 2011, when a huge iceberg ominously named B09B became grounded in nearby Commonwealth Bay. The penguins were once a short waddle from their food source, but the arrival of the iceberg — which is nearly the size of Rhode Island — has turned that jaunt into a 75-mile round trip. Talk about a long lunch.

Cry for those penguins:

“It’s eerily silent now,” expedition leader Chris Turney told [...]

Giant blob of superheated rock under West Antarctica

A new seismic survey shows there is a blob of superheated rock 60 miles below West Antarctica. To describe it, the researchers use the phrase “like a blow-torch”. Of course, just because the parts of Antarctica that are warming are near or over this hot blob does not mean it’s causing the melting. It could be a coincidence. ; -)

… this is the first detailed look at the Earth beneath this region.

Not surprisingly, the maps show a giant blob of superheated rock about 60 miles beneath Mount Sidley, the last of a chain of volcanic mountains in Marie Byrd Land at one end of the transect. More surprisingly, they reveal hot rock beneath the Bentley Subglacial Trench, a deep basin at the other end of the transect.

The Bentley Subglacial Trench is part of the West Antarctic Rift System and hot rock beneath the region indicates that this part of the rift system was active quite recently.

The study really highlights how little we know about heat flow in Antarctica:

While heat flow through the Earth’s crust has been measured at at least 34,000 different spots around the globe, in [...]

Australia has had megadroughts for the last thousand years says ice core study

A new study of Law Dome Ice cores tells us that droughts are common in Australia, and that there appears to be eight mega-droughts over the last thousand years, including one that lasted a whopping 39 years from 1174- 1212AD. By their reckoning the 12th Century in Australia was a shocker with 80% of it spent in drought conditions. Things weren’t so bad from 1260 – 1860, at least, as far as they can tell. The researchers are convinced theirs is the first millennial-length Australian drought record. It does seem significant.

The researchers, sensibly, think we might want to pay attention to the Pacific cycles and store a bit more water. Without fanfare the paper also suggests that droughts were worse in medieval times.

“this work suggests Australia may also have experienced mega-droughts during the Medieval period that have no modern analog. Therefore, management of water infrastructure in eastern Australia needs to account for decadal-scale droughts being a normal feature of the hydrological cycle.”

h/t to Paul Homewood at Notalotofpeopleknowthat

The ABC reported this largely as a water management story, without asking whether their past stories that blamed CO2 for droughts were less likely to be true. [...]