the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Antarctic Ice is Increasing – Duh.

Posted by Jeff Id on April 19, 2009

Finally, a little reality from the press.

Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away

Antarctic / Reuters

ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.

The results of ice-core drilling and sea ice monitoring indicate there is no large-scale melting of ice over most of Antarctica, although experts are concerned at ice losses on the continent’s western coast.

Antarctica has 90 per cent of the Earth’s ice and 80 per cent of its fresh water, The Australian reports. Extensive melting of Antarctic ice sheets would be required to raise sea levels substantially, and ice is melting in parts of west Antarctica. The destabilisation of the Wilkins ice shelf generated international headlines this month.

However, the picture is very different in east Antarctica, which includes the territory claimed by Australia.

East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for last week’s meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington noted the South Pole had shown “significant cooling in recent decades”.

Let’s take a quick peak at the Steig Reconstruction again. Note the complete lack of cooling at the south pole in the first RegEM plot. This plot is my best effort at reconstructing his conclusions and was presented here:

Steig AVHRR Reconstruction from Satellite Data



And if you’ll all indulge me a bit second longer, this is what I said:

I’ll say it now for the first time. In my opinion the paper is flawed and has an exaggerated warming trend due to bad mathematics. Temperature distributions on the continent are a result of artifacts in RegEM and not supported by the natural weather patterns as they were presented.

As an example which is pretty clear. Steig’s paper shows warming across the entire Antarctic. Here’s a plot of the ground data at the south pole.

A reconstruction cannot ignore a trend this strong. So TCO, it isn’t up to me. As Gavin likes to say, the data is the data. This data just cannot support Steig’s conclusions.

I didn’t even require peer review. Well to continue with the article, apparently there is a paper confirming what my readers already know, Antarctic Ice is increasing.

Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison said sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years had been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica.

“Sea ice conditions have remained stable in Antarctica generally,” Dr Allison said.

The melting of sea ice – fast ice and pack ice – does not cause sea levels to rise because the ice is in the water. Sea levels may rise with losses from freshwater ice sheets on the polar caps. In Antarctica, these losses are in the form of icebergs calved from ice shelves formed by glacial movements on the mainland.

Last week, federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said experts predicted sea level rises of up to 6m from Antarctic melting by 2100, but the worst case scenario foreshadowed by the SCAR report was a 1.25m rise.

Mr Garrett insisted global warming was causing ice losses throughout Antarctica. “I don’t think there’s any doubt it is contributing to what we’ve seen both on the Wilkins shelf and more generally in Antarctica,” he said.

Dr Allison said there was not any evidence of significant change in the mass of ice shelves in east Antarctica nor any indication that its ice cap was melting. “The only significant calvings in Antarctica have been in the west,” he said. And he cautioned that calvings of the magnitude seen recently in west Antarctica might not be unusual.

A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded.

Finally a little bit of sanity on the eve of the political tipping point.

13 Responses to “Antarctic Ice is Increasing – Duh.”

  1. pyromancer76 said

    Jeff Id, thanks for info new to me (or at least to my current memory): “Antarctica has 90 per cent of the Earth’s ice and 80 per cent of its fresh water, The Australian reports.” Wow! With all the concern about the Arctic, too, I had no idea it was relatively so insignificant.

    The info you report seems pretty persuasive.
    1.Scientific Committee for the Antarctic Treaty Nations (13, or 12, originals — now 43 or 46 depending on sources)reports the South Pole (East Antarctica?) shows “significant cooling in recent decades”.
    2. Dr. Allison, head of the Australian Antarctic Glaciology Division also reports cooling, increasing ice overall.
    3. The British Antarctic Survey is expected to report in a peer reviewed journal that sea ice has increased.

    One might think that the politicians don’t have a chance. You have always been ahead of the game in this regard. Now recolor that abominable graphic of Steig’s used for the cover of Nature. Create new colors that will always be used for warming in a place where temperatures are below freezing either all the time or most of the year.

    Thanks for your continued best efforts.

  2. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I think this thread topic again touches on the issue of what the Antarctica consists as a climate entity – and why it appears so important to those who would apparently like to use the warming Peninsula to make a case for the Antarctica as a whole.

    The media and the science, for that matter, appear to want to talk about the Peninsula warming and implied spreading of that warming to rest of the geographic Antarctica. I think that the implication was more left to the imagination until Steig et al. (2009) came along and the cover of Nature.

    Perspective is appreciated.

  3. MikeN said

    Jeff, this statement

    Extensive melting of Antarctic ice sheets would be required to raise sea levels substantially,

    is at odds with actual global warming theory, as reports. There it said that warming in Antarctica would not melt any ice since it is too cold there, and instead the surrounding waters evaporate, and you get more ice. On net there is no ice melted globally, and the sea level rise comes from water expanding.

  4. Jeff Id said

    #3 – I’ve heard this argument before as well as the melting glaciers of the Antarctic accelerating into the ocean after the ‘massive’ collapse of the sea ice shelves.

    Any links, I love to learn.

  5. Page48 said

    Hi Jeff,

    I don’t think this is exactly the kind of information you’re looking for, but this article from The Australian is worth a read. The author has done a pretty good job of compiling a lot of facts (reports from various researchers, most of which you’ve probably heard before), but the Russian ship captain’s observations are hilarious.

    Title: Change is a Cold Certainty

    Author: Greg Roberts

    Introductory Blurb: “RUSSIAN sea captain Dimitri Zinchenko has been steering ships through the pack ice of Antarctica for three decades and is waiting to see evidence of the global warming about which he has heard so much.”


  6. Vernon said

    Well, the end of the last ice age about 19000 years ago started with a massive failure of parts of the Antarctic ice sheet. It was very quick and from my reading happened during a 200-500 year period. Enough ice melted to cause a 20 meter sea level rise.

    Now this was not due to GHG, CO2 did not rising till 1000-2000 years later. But so far, I have not read of a cause for the melting either.

  7. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) said

    getting snow here next 24H.
    rare but not unheard of.
    snow tire law was/were to take off on/before April 15th.
    The farms here are plowing and disc-ing trying to plant the corn for the animals.
    no frost in weather predictions but snow is not good for working in the field.
    I just wish the lies and deceit would stop, so we can get a handle on what is coming.

    Jeff, we owe you big for digging into this, and thank you as best we can. 🙂

  8. The Diatribe Guy said

    #3 – even if scientific global warming theory claims this, it is not what is being sold to the public. How often have we heard about melting ice causing a rise in sea levels? Whether the North Pole, Greenland, Mount Kilimanjaro, or the Antarctic ice shelf, anything anywhere that melts becomes the latest poster child for global warming alarmism.

    There are many theories that abound regarding both warming and cooling. Some believe we’re on the precipice of an ice age. That seems doubtful to me, but the theories, from a scientific point of view, actually seem more sensible to me than theories that predict temperature rises over the next 100 years that would require taking the most aggressive warming trend we currently see (the 25 year trend), multiplying it by 3, and extrapolating it out linearly over 100 years. It fails the all-important reasonableness (gut) check, and yet it’s bandied about as if it’s an entirely reasonable scenario.

    The inability or unwillingness of both scientists and laypersons to raise their hands and say “Um… what the hell? This makes no sense.” is a sad testament to the ability of an entire movement to brainwash and render otherwise intelligent people stupid.

    And I am NOT saying that any belief in AGW or global warming puts one in that category. It’s a questionable theory, but I can understand a certain adherence to it. But a much more reasonable position is that it has contributed somewhere between zero and 0.5 degrees warming per Century. I suppose you may think it could be a bit more if we “shold have cooled” over the last century, for some reason. But realistically, anything above a 1 degree per Century level hypothesis starts becoming unreasonable with any high-school analysis of the cycles and trend lines apparent in the tmeperature data.

  9. The Diatribe Guy said

    #7 – Saturday in Wisconsin: High of 74 degrees.
    Sunday in Wisconsin: High of 47 degrees
    Monday in Wisconsin: High of 37 degrees. Right now it’s snowing.

    Degrees above average high on Saturday: 16 degrees. Now, we’ve been freakin’ below normal for nearly 2 years. And what do I hear people talking about when we finally get an above-average, beautiful day? Global Warming. You know… something’s wrong. I seriously want to whack these people alongside the head.

    Strangely, I hear people complain about the cold weather, but they don’t seem to be concerned that it’s colder than normal. They only worry about the nice days.

    This has become a global delusion of massive proportions. Otherwise normal people are thinking about this and worrying about it when they shouldn’t be. Yes, be a good steward and don’t pollute and turn your lights off. All good stuff. But this is truly a brainwashing that, quite frankly, I am stunned to be witnessing.

    I have started making a mental note over the last week about all the “green” references I see. It’s everywhere. On the YMCA marquee… on the front page of the paper (green camping, of all things, was highlighted)… our company is constructing a new building. Thank God it’s “green.”

    The whole world has lost it. Well, everyone except me. And Jeff. OK, maybe a couple others, too. But not enough…

  10. The Diatribe Guy said

    Not to clog up your board, but I apologize for my inability to post anything less than four paragraphs long.

    Except for this post.


    Maybe not;)

  11. Page48 said

    RE: #9

    It’s really unbelievable, isn’t it.

    Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would see the day when people were praying for cold.

    I wonder how enthusiastic all the brainwashed are going to be when they’re hungry, in the dark, and seriously cold? Scratch that – I’m convinced that the happy, frozen lemmings are going to leap over the cliff.

    It’s nuts.

  12. MikeN said

  13. alanb said

    Once again the alarmist do not have it right. I just saw a news commentary regarding this with a guy named Dan Greene being dishonest. He did say the ice in the west is melting but did not say it was a quarter the size of the east. He was trying to get his point across for warming and this study by Australia was brought up.

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