Anthony has taken another trip to Antarctica. This time he is complaining about an article in the Guardian, written by Suzanne Goldenberg. What Anthony seems to be complaining about is that the time scale of the projected total collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheets isn't in the headline, which reads:
Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warnSo there is an indication of time - it's already started. Anthony's upset though. He reckons his deniers will only read the headline and get too scared to read any further. He's really scared that deniers won't read as far as the fourth sentence in the article, which is about the resulting four metre rise in sea level:
But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.
Abused by buried facts
Anthony thinks that if you have to read beyond 75 words of an 880 word article, then the next few words can be regarded as "buried". He wrote:
Truly an abuse of the headline. Buried below the headline in the article, there is agreement with Revkin:
Anthony was referring to a five-year old article in DotEarth, which was about two papers published in Nature early in 2009. At the time (March 2009), Andy wrote about a paper in Nature, which modeled the West Antarctic ice sheets and reported that:
In this simulation, the ice sheet does collapse when waters beneath fringing ice shelves warm 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit or so, but the process at its fastest takes thousands of years. Over all, the pace of sea-level rise from the resulting ice loss doesn't go beyond about 1.5 feet per century.
Obviously as far as Anthony Watts is concerned, some models are good!
Collapses to the West and the East
What Suzanne Goldenberg was writing about in the Guardian today was a new paper by Eric Rignot and colleagues. This is the same Eric Rignot that Andy Revkin quoted five years ago (in Anthony's preferred 2009 article) writing:
Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory cautioned that the new findings were based on a single, fairly simple simulation and said that while the results matched well with the seabed evidence, they lacked the precision needed to know what will happen over short periods.
"This new study illustrates once more that the collapse of West Antarctica and parts of East Antarctica is not a myth." he said. "It happened many times before when the Earth was as warm as it is about to be. In terms of time scales, I do not think the results of this study are relevant to what will be happening in the next 100 years and beyond. The problem is far more complex. But this is a step forward."
Western Antarctica has already started to collapse, but it will take time
The long and short of it is that in denier land, it's an "abuse" to have a factual headline about new research findings:
That Guardian headline was mild compared to the NASA headline about the paper, which was:
Anthony, for a change, not only included the title of the paper, which is:
Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica from 1992 to 2011....he even copied and pasted the abstract. Though he didn't go as far as providing a link to it. (My paras & bold italics)
We measure the grounding line retreat of glaciers draining the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica using Earth Remote Sensing (ERS-1/2) satellite radar interferometry from 1992 to 2011.
Pine Island Glacier retreated 31 km at its center, with most retreat in 2005–2009 when the glacier un-grounded from its ice plain.
Thwaites Glacier retreated 14 km along its fast-flow core and 1 to 9 km along the sides.
Haynes Glacier retreated 10 km along its flanks.
Smith/Kohler glaciers retreated the most, 35 km along its ice plain, and its ice shelf pinning points are vanishing.
These rapid retreats proceed along regions of retrograde bed elevation mapped at a high spatial resolution using a mass conservation technique (MC) that removes residual ambiguities from prior mappings. Upstream of the 2011 grounding line positions, we find no major bed obstacle that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat and draw down the entire basin.
Below is a map showing a couple of these glaciers. (Click to enlarge it.)
|Source: Rignot13, Science|
Anthony Watts doesn't usually go beyond newspapers and press releases. Scientific papers are a bit too deep for deniers. Anyway, he was comforted by Andy Revkin's 2009 headline, made especially for the scaredy cats like Anthony Watts and other science deniers:
latest headline on the subject was similarly aimed at calming the scaredy cats:
Consider Clashing Scientific and Societal Meanings of Collapse When Reading Antarctic Ice News
He's right of course. But deniers go way too far in the other direction. They don't realise that only a couple of centuries from now, there could be a massive collapse causing a big rise in sea level. It might be later (I guess it might be sooner, too.)
Rabbet Run has the scary science
Eli Rabett has written about the study and what it means. It means that sometime in the next few centuries - maybe as soon as 200 years ahead (that is, it could be the children of your children's children who have to cope), the ice in West Antarctica could, over a matter of decades, cause a sudden large rise in sea level. Not something you would wish on your children or theirs.
Where are all the fake sceptic fact-checkers?
I don't know where all the fake sceptic fact-checkers have gone. They are quick off the mark if they see a similar mistake here, but a worse mistake at WUWT eludes them. See if you can spot it. Anthony wrote the following and put up a chart:
And there’s not any significant warming over the entire continent, as it is nearly flat as well (from 70S to the pole):
|Data source: RSS|
Did you see the main problem? Of course you got it. Anthony plotted a chart of the lower troposphere from the outer edge of Antarctica upwards to the equator. Antarctica is more like 70 south to 90 south. RSS doesn't show lower troposphere temperatures below 70S.
What happens near the surface is much more important
The other thing of course is that it's the temperature of the ocean that plays a very big role in melting the ice in West Antarctica. Probably much more so than the temperature of the lower troposphere. There have been other papers about that. A reduction in snow cover can also speed up melting rather a lot.
From the WUWT comments
John Boles is optimistic and thinks the collapse will happen later rather than sooner, and says:
May 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm
It might be worse than we thought, well maybe in the distant future, our models suggest that it could happen perhaps in 1000 years.
Justthinkin doesn't do any thinking at all (or reading) and says:
May 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm
So what’s the problem? She writes a piece full of BS,gets paid,and doesn’t give a hoot about what others say. Until you take away her paycheck,same old,same old. And scientific or un-scientific facts will not stop that. And just what the heck is “several centuries” or a thousand years? To me,several could be 20,000years from now.
Martin C is relieved that the seas may not rise quite four metres until after he's six feet under and says:
May 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm
I think it’s great to see these extremely ‘alarmist’ headlines, followed by a bit less alarmist in the text. People will continue to see the ‘alarmism’ for what it is. And likely continued to get turned off by it. Especially when the same ‘journalists’ keep printing this crap.
pablo an ex pat has been misled by Anthony, who recently made a big fool of himself, and doesn't realise how big Antarctica is (it's about twice the size of Australia ie around twice as big as contiguous USA), or that there are lots of mountains separating east and west, and says:
May 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm
So in two alarmist stories reported during the space of on one day on WUWT the Antarctic is getting colder and warmer all at the same time. It’s both gaining ice and it’s losing ice. And both these occurrences are issues that needs us to do something right now. What exactly ?
Ed P is not good at assessing relative risk but he values money, and says:
May 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm
Yellowstone could explode or meteors might wipe out most of humanity before the sea rises that much. All that is certain is that governments will steal your savings long before you need a boat.
Jeff in Calgary doesn't have a clue what the new paper is about and yes, he's missing something:
May 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm
Isn’t this about a floating ice sheet? How is a floating ice sheet melting going to raise sea levels? Am I missing something?
sadbutmadlad is sad and deluded and doesn't realise that climate is changing in the here and now, and says:
May 12, 2014 at 9:53 pm
The narrative works. Lie first, lie big. Just watching a BBC Breakfast item on the newspapers at 5:50am and they talked about not being able to do anything about global warming as its already here. No mention of the 1000 years, everything was couched in terms of immediacy. Even journalists don’t read the small print and are fooled by the article. Ultimate scaremongering
In all the 97 comments over 13 hours I didn't see one that picked up on Anthony's gaffe with his RSS temperature chart. There may have been one or two that discussed the science. The rest were pure unadulterated wails of denial.
E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, B. Scheuchl. "Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica from 1992 to 2011".. Geophysical Research Letters, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060140
Rignot, E., S. Jacobs, J. Mouginot, and B. Scheuchl. "Ice-shelf melting around Antarctica." Science 341, no. 6143 (2013): 266-270. DOI: 10.1126/science.1235798
Peter Kuipers Munneke, Stefan R.m. Ligtenberg, Michiel R. Van Den Broeke, David G. Vaughan. "Firn air depletion as a precursor of Antarctic ice-shelf collapse". Journal of Glaciology, 2014; 60 (220): 205 DOI: 10.3189/2014JoG13J183
Huybrechts, Philippe. "Global change: West-side story of Antarctic ice." Nature 458, no. 7236 (2009): 295-296. doi:10.1038/458295a
Naish, Timothy, R. Powell, Richard Levy, G. Wilson, R. Scherer, Franco Talarico, L. Krissek et al. "Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations." Nature 458, no. 7236 (2009): 322-328. doi:10.1038/nature07867