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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Penguins pretty happy about melting sea ice

Adelie Penguins would probably benefit from a bit of global warming. When 175 were tagged and tracked it turned out that they ate more krill when there was less sea ice. This is not so surprising given that they swim better than they waddle, so long stretches of sea ice make it harder to get to the supermarket and back.

And Krill (dinner) apparently like less sea ice too. Phytoplankton bloomed when the sea ice was gone.

Penguins on sea ice. Photo by Danielle Barnes on Unsplash

Penguins may be an unlikely winner from climate change

Tom Whipple, The Australian

“Counterintuitively for this ice-dependent species, body conditions and breeding success ­improved in the ice-free environment,” wrote researchers from the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research, in the journal Science Advances.

The scientists used accelerometers, video cameras and tracking devices to plot each hunt. They found that when there was no ice the penguins did a lot more swimming — and this was a good thing.

“For penguins, swimming is a whopping four times faster than walking.

For the first three seasons the sea ice was large, then it shrank and the […]

SSW, Sudden Stratospheric Warming hitting a record over Antarctica, Ozone hole almost gone already?

Two days ago over the Antarctic the SSW or Sudden Stratospheric Warming was still running strong up at 10 hPa or around 30 km high.

NIWA claim it may be the strongest SSW seen in the Southern Hemisphere ever (which means the last 50 years).

Temperatures in the green circle marked in the centre were 11C, instead of minus 40 to minus 60C. As we mentioned before, this is extremely rare, and the likely implications are that sometime in the next few weeks a cold beast will hit somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, but no one really knows where. The Australian BOM are rather bravely predicting a warmer less rainy spring for NSW and QLD. (See below).

If only we really understood the major drivers of our climate we might have predicted this more than a few weeks in advance. Perhaps it is caused by some of those solar factors that the big GCM’s completely ignore?

From Nullschool:

Stratospheric Sudden Warming, Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica.

Two years ago, same time, we see a single large polar jetstream at 10hPA and temperatures of around minus 40C in the warmest part and minus 60 elsewhere in the jetstream. These normal winds flow […]

Antarctica was warmer one thousand years ago — and life was OK

Remember when polar amplification was the rage? So much for that theory

Antarctica is twice the size of the US or Australia. Buried 2 km deep under domes of snow, it holds 58 meters of global sea level to ransom. The IPCC have been predicting its demise-by-climate-change for a decade or two.

A new paper looks at 60 sites across Antarctica, considering everything from ice, lake and marine cores to peat and seal skins. They were particularly interested in the Medieval Warm Period, and researched back to 600AD. During medieval times (1000-1200 AD) they estimate Antarctica as a whole was hotter than it is today. Antarctica was even warmer still — during the dark ages circa 700AD.

Credit to the paper authors: Sebastian Lüning, Mariusz Gałka, and Fritz Vahrenholt

Feast your eyes on the decidedly not unprecedented modern tiny spike:

….

The little jaggy down after 2000 AD is real. While there was rapid warming across Antarctica from 1950-2000, in the last twenty years, that warming has stalled. Just another 14 million square kilometers that the models didn’t predict.

We already knew the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon, thanks to hundreds of proxies, and 6,000 boreholes. But […]

Antarctic Sea Ice lowest in 40 years, but no one knows why — “back to drawing board”

Put it in a history book: scientists are sounding like scientists — admitting they don’t understand

Antarctic Sea Ice set records in 2014, but then in 2016 it rapidly declined and hasn’t recovered, indeed right now as the southern winter peaks, it’s at a record low. The long term trend is still rising, but its now only half the rate it was in 2014. On this blog, Mike Jonas recently demonstrated that the Southern Ocean had cooled, not warmed as all the models predicted. But what matters here is that sea ice covers 7% of the world and we don’t know what caused it.

What is also a record is that most scientists and journalists are showing real restraint and are not blaming this as a climate change event.

Even, bowl-me-over, New Scientist, is showing admirable restraint: Antarctic sea ice is declining dramatically and we don’t know why. This is the first time since starting this blog ten years ago that I have been able to say that. Congrats Adam Vaughan.

Decades of expanding sea ice in Antarctica have been wiped out by three years of sudden and dramatic declines, leaving scientist puzzled as to why the region […]

Far Southern Ocean cools. Kiss Goodbye to polar amplication around Antarctica

A map of the sea surface zone that has cooled since 1979 — from 56S – 72S . It’s a pretty big area. Click to enlarge.

For years the IPCC have said that warming would be amplified at the poles. They warned us things would heat up twice as fast, which would melt sea ice. The oceans surface in turn would switch from being reflective white to a dark absorbing deep blue. Enormous amounts of energy would then flow into the ocean instead of being reflected back out to space. The more it warmed, the more it would warm — unleashing a devastating feedback loop.

As the Arctic warmed, the merchants of doom were keen to tell us how how right they were and this was evidence of man-made warming. But in the Antarctic exactly the opposite trend was taking place.

Mike Jonas has done what the IPCC should have been doing — investigating the trends in the Sea Surface Temperature in the polar latitudes with satellite records. In the latitude band from 56 to 72 degrees south the oceans have cooled, not warmed. The models don’t even have the sign of the trend correct. At the latitudes where […]

Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled, from near zero to an extremely tiny number! (Nobody mention those volcanoes)

Quick — tax the magma

It’s another round of Antarctic Doom about next to nothing. In April Antarctica’s ice was melting five times faster than usual. Now it’s losing ice three times faster in the last five years than the 15 before that! What you won’t hear is how the Antarctic ice cap has 29 million cubic kilometers of ice and has been there for 30 million, mostly warmer, years. You also won’t hear how Antarctica was warmer in Roman Times, or that the Antarctic Peninsula has cooled by almost 1 degree.

You also won’t hear a word about any volcanoes

The new paper has zero mentions of the word. But other scientists have published plenty of papers describing how the West Antarctic zone is being warmed from below by 1200 degrees of magma. According to scientist Dustin Schroeder and co, it is as if the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctic is sitting on a “stovetop burner”.[1] His words. Thwaites Glacier,, smack in the middle of the warming is being melted from below by geothermal heat. Then there is the large blob of superheated rock 60 miles below West Antarctica. The researchers use the phrase “like a blow-torch”…. Capping it […]

Panic time: a tiny 0.01% of Antarctica, resting on volcanoes, melts five times faster than nothing

Let this go down as a prime example of Big Meaningless Numbers used to scare you:

Antarctica’s ice melts five times faster than usual Ben Webster — The Times (copied at The Australian)

Antarctica has lost an area of ice the size of Greater London since 2010 as warmer ocean water erodes its floating edge, a study has found. Overall about 1,463 sq km of Antarctica’s underwater ice melted between 2010 and 2016.

What does 1,463 fewer square kilometers of ice mean?

The findings suggest that melting glaciers on the continent could add significantly to long-term sea level rises, with severe implications for thousands of coastal towns and cities.

Your house might wash away. Or not. How close to zero can a number be and still be “a number”?

The total area of Antarctic sea ice averages about 11 million square kilometers. So that’s one part in 7,500 that melted or 0.013%. But volume is what matters and the percentage of volume that melted is even smaller. Let’s assume ice volume was lost to a depth of one kilometer (the depth of the “grounding line” where the ice-sheet meets the earth). The giant Antarctic Ice Sheet […]

Antarctica cooling since Roman Times, climate models wrong (again)

A new study suggests temperatures across Antarctica have been falling for the last 1,600 years. This natural climate change would have been a threat to baby penguins, forcing them to walk much further across sea-ice for food. (Looks like it was even worse for polar bears 😉 ). The cooling trend would have threatened inland lakes, shortened summer breeding periods, affected seal behaviour, extended glaciers over important habitats, and destroyed rare tundra. It may have contributed to the death of a man called Scott. If man-made climate change warmed Antarctica we need to burn more oil.

Any recent weak “man-made” warming trend would have slightly reversed this destructive slide — restoring the continent back to levels last seen in 1400AD. Though, given that the models are wrong about everything, including Antarctic warming, maybe not.

 

These trends are not what the Climate Models predicted for Antarctica. The slight recent warming trend is too small. (Polar Amplification, anyone?)

The Daily Caller:

However, Stenni admits the “absence of significant continent-scale warming of Antarctica over the last 100 years is in clear contrast with the significant industrial-era warming trends that are evident in reconstructions for all other continents (except […]

Antarctica – 91 volcanoes coincidentally found under glaciers warming “due to climate change”

It’s possibly the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world, some as high as 4km and we didn’t even know these existed til recently. Despite that overwhelming ignorance, we’re 97.00% certain that all the warming in Antarctica is due to your car and airconditioner. Robin McKie, The Guardian writer, talks about the recent discovery of so many volcanoes under the ice. Not surprisingly, we have no data on how active these volcanoes are. However because we *know* climate change is definitely wrecking Antarctica, it follows that your car, air conditioner and pet dog could melt more ice, take the pressure off the tectonic plate and set one off. Then things will really get out of hand.

Anyhow, it’s just a coincidence that all the warming in Antarctica is where the volcanoes are.

Warming in Antarctica | New volcano discoveries

Spread the hagtag #allvolcanosmatter.

From The Guardian: Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica.

The project, by Edinburgh University researchers, has revealed almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest as tall […]

There have been far bigger Antarctic icebergs than the latest A68 Larson C berg

CNN is “freaking out” about the latest large iceberg. But John Sutter doesn’t mention that there was an iceberg twice its size in the year 2000 which was 11,000km2, and that as long ago as 1967, two other icebergs of a similar size were recorded. Thanks to John McLean for the links.

UPDATE: Tony Heller has found a newspaper story about an even bigger one from 1956. This monster iceberg was allegedly 334km x 96km or 32,000 km2. (h.t John of Cloverdale).

UPDATE #2: Monster bergs are everywhere. Lazzara lists two other massive icebergs as well as B15 that occurred in just 18 months: A38 in Oct 1998 was 7,600km2 and A43 in May 2000 was almost as big as B15, being 9,250km2. h/t WS All three of these were larger than the current “freak”.

When it comes to long term trends in iceberg sizes, the only scientific answer is “who knows”. Satellite records are so short, if a bigger iceberg broke off in say, 1811, how the heck would we find out? Not much is left of an iceberg 100 years later. What kind of proxy could show it ever existed — ancient stone carvings of satellite pics from […]