Review: Frozen Annals by Willi Dansgaard

Posted: June 24, 2013 by tchannon in books, climate, Ice ages
Image

Willi Dansgaard with ice core

FROZEN ANNALS
Greenland Ice Cap Research
Willi Dansgaard
124 pages

Dansgaard is the father of radioisotope ice history. This is his story from discovering about rain through to Vostok ice core.

Edited by The Department of Geophysics of
The Niels Bohr Institute for Astronomy, Physics and Geophysics at
The University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

This book is enjoyable and readable, with a light touch in places, the humour of real life situation most of us can recount.

I think the true greats have no need of pretension, walk straight and recount the path of discovery.

Figure 1.2 shows a beer bottle and funnel on a lawn. As fate would have it a daft experiment, the kind some do, ended with trying to find enough containers, it rained and rained in Denmark.

Book Figure 1.3Image

He had access to a mass spectrometer, samples 1, 2.. 15 were his discovery of the 18O proxy of temperature as huge frontal system passed over, about the temperature of the cloud.

Greenland is Danish, co-operatively the United States were highly active there during the cold war, particularly Camp Century where drilling the ice to bed rock was done.

When things calmed down Dansgaard was given access so quite a tale follows.

There are many interesting photographs.

He commented about cod and overfishing but later seems to contradict himself with the following perplexing paragraph, I’ve emphasised.

As to post-glacial time (the last 10 kyr), most of the already known climate changes were recognizable in Fig. 6.2: (a) High temperatures until ca. 3000 years B.P.; (b) the “Medieval Warmth”
about 1000 years B.P. (AD 900 – 1200); (c) the succeeding “Little Ice Age”; (d) the warm period (AD 1920-40) about 40 years before the recovery of the ice core; and (e) the succeeding cooling that drove the cod away from Greenland waters.”

Niels Bohr Institute website writes

After his retirement in 1992, Willi Dansgaard wrote an autobiograhic book in Danish, Grønland i Istid og Nutid (Rhodos, 2000, ISBN 8772457996).

Later, he wrote an English version, Frozen Annals, which focuses more on the scientific part of the story. The book can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Here is the link

Tim

Comments
  1. tckev says:

    Frozen Annals, what a great book. I’ve only skimmed through right now but I will read it tomorrow – and for free. Thanks Rog.

  2. frankpwhite says:

    Dansgaard was definitely a great among the greats. Thanks for the link to the book.

  3. frankpwhite says:

    “(e) the succeeding cooling that drove the cod away from Greenland waters.”

    Would that have been the abrupt drop in northern hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970.

    “The drop is evident in all available historical sea surface temperature data sets, is not traceable to changes in the attendant metadata, and is not linked to any known biases in surface temperature
    measurements. The drop is not concentrated in any discrete region
    of the Northern Hemisphere oceans, but its amplitude is largest
    over the northern North Atlantic.”

    Phil Jones was one of the authors of this paper:
    http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/ThompsonPapers/ThompsonWallaceKennedyJones_Nature2010.pdf

  4. Lance Wallace says:

    Thanks for the ref–a fine example of history of science told by the guy who did so much to establish iceberg and ice core analysis. He has a wry and dry Scandinavian sense of humor that makes it an enjoyable read.

  5. Bloke down the pub says:

    That’ll teach him not to sit on the ice.

  6. tchannon says:

    Frank, blimey, you did well to find that piece.

    That could be material for a blog article.

    Something does not make sense. The Nature article is dated 2010 and this has only just been noticed?

    Begs the question of what sea ice has done since then. Hang on, this fits with some comments by a student of Overpeck, may have mentioned this in the past.

    Okay I’ll reveal why I took an aside into ice cores. Something had been troubling me about the ice core gas figures where a hare brained idea has appeared for a cross check.

    Not done this yet but it led me to once again dig out gas solubility information. This time I spotted gas solubility is about 30% lower in brine, sea water, than in plain water.

    Out of curiosity I pulled up Vostok ice core data here, added 30% to the figures, plot, gawp. Exactly in line for how it is today, there is a 30% deficit.

    Something so stupid could not be the case but it is frozen fresh water which would be below equilibrium.

    I’m well aware ice core people are very sniffy about gas extraction, something about wet extraction gives bad results. As anyone would do I started to try and confirm my understanding, odder and odder, blanks on many “obvious” searches. What I found was crazy obfuscation, unsupported claims/excuses, just how it is done, propagandist language, but nothing so far which smells of honesty.

    I know it is a complicated situation, lots of strange things going on but also how certain obvious experiments have never been done, one of the reasons why I am sceptical about ice cores.

    And that is how I came across the book.

    I’ll give it a break now.

  7. michael hart says:

    I think you’re right about it being a complicated situation, Tim. The material at interfaces between a solid and fluids (esp aqueous) is not simply representative of either. Whole journals are devoted to such topics. (e.g Langmuir, published by the American Chemical Society.)

  8. Tim Cullen says:

    tchannon says: June 24, 2013 at 11:22 am
    Okay I’ll reveal why I took an aside into ice cores. Something had been troubling me about the ice core gas figures where a hare brained idea has appeared for a cross check.

    Not done this yet but it led me to once again dig out gas solubility information. This time I spotted gas solubility is about 30% lower in brine, sea water, than in plain water.

    Out of curiosity I pulled up Vostok ice core data here, added 30% to the figures, plot, gawp.
    Exactly in line for how it is today, there is a 30% deficit.

    Very interesting…
    It would be interesting to read more…and see more – like graphs and data 🙂

    I know it is a complicated situation, lots of strange things going on but also how certain obvious experiments have never been done, one of the reasons why I am sceptical about ice cores.

    Join the club 🙂
    http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/chronology-ice-cores/

  9. tchannon says:

    Tim Cullen, I’ve a draft post ready but might not published the witterings, not decided.

    A plot

    Image

    (ask if you need the data link)

    Heck of a post you have at malaga bay.

    [edit: darn it, just noticed the plot Y axis are different sizes, will do for the moment, a mistake –tim]

  10. Tim Cullen says:

    tchannon says: June 25, 2013 at 11:44 pm
    Tim Cullen, I’ve a draft post ready but might not published the witterings, not decided.

    Thanks for putting up the graphs… very interesting!

    Now I am reading between the lines and “joining up the dots”…

    Anchor Ice rises from the bedrock.

    Anchor Ice forms in seawater.

    Greenland and Antarctica have inland depressions that could have been full of seawater.

    So do “ice sheets” start forming from the top down [fresh water] and the bottom up [sea water]?

    I really hope you follow through and post your sources, observations and thoughts.

  11. tchannon says:

    I think that is best tackled by someone with a good knowledge of whatever science it is. My actual knowledge is in far removed detail areas.

    There is a lot of valid criticism which continues unanswered, very telling.

  12. Ian Wilson says:

    Tim,

    Here is something Willi Dansgaard might have been interested in:

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/are-dansgaard-oeschger-d-o-warm-events.html

  13. J Martin says:

    @ Ian Wilson I followed the link but was left to wonder if one implication of an expected sudden increase in temperatures in 2150 must first be preceded by a steady fall in temperatures until then.

  14. tchannon says:

    Last 20,000 years of GISP2, graticule at 1470 years. Why there are so many changes in ice core detail is a mystery.

  15. Ian Wilson says:

    Tchannon,

    Your vertical scale is far too compressed to see the Bond events in the Holocene and by choosing -22,000 years as your starting point you have effectively excluded most of
    D-O events in the Pleistocene (Ice Age). All but D-O events 0 and 1 occur prior to 22,000 before the present. D-O event 1 is on the leading edge of the first temperature spike at ~ -12,000 years and D-O event 0 is at the sharp rise in temperature at the end of the Younger-Dryas at ~ -9,000 years.

  16. Ian Wilson says:

    J Martin,

    i know that there will be most likely be general cooling until 2040 but i cannot say what will happen between 2040 and 2160 with any great degree of certainty. It is always possible that we will enter next ice age before then.

  17. Ian Wilson says:

    Tchannon,

    I forgot to mention that D-O event A took place at the very start of the Younger-Dryas around -11,000 years and D-O event 2 took place at -23,500 years which is just off the left of your plot. If you want to see the details go to the first figure at:

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/are-dansgaard-oeschger-d-o-warm-events.html

  18. tchannon says:

    Ian, I am acting as a foil. The time grid is at 1470 years.

    Why are there no obvious recurrences given about 15 chances?

    Are you saying they only happen during an ice age? If so why?

  19. Tim Cullen says:

    tchannon says: June 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm
    There is a lot of valid criticism which continues unanswered, very telling

    An analysis of the Greenland “delta 18O” values provides a few more surprises 🙂
    http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/chronology-2-greenland-and-oxygen-isotopes/

  20. Ian Wilson says:

    Tchannon,

    Thanks for being a good foil.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people want all the answers and they want them now. Science is not like that. Most times when a possible scientific explanation is given for a phenomenon it raises more questions than it answers. Nature always seems to be very reluctant to give up its secrets.

    Between -27,000 and -57,000 years ago there were 15 D-O events out of a potential 20 – 21 events. This could mean that an external forcing mechanism is acting on resonances within the climate system and either:

    a) the strength of the forcing for any given D-O event changes with time so that some events fall short of exciting the internal resonances.

    b) conditions have to just right to excite these resonances.

  21. Ian Wilson says:

    Tchannon said:

    “Why are there no obvious recurrences given about 15 chances?”

    Good question!

    Three reasons:

    a) Your grid is not in (time-)phase with 1470 year cycle.

    b) 8 of the 15 (~53 %) possible events are in the Holocene (modern warm period) where you have used the wrong vertical scale to highlight the much weaker Bond/D-O events.

    c) You have 3 DO events in a row staring you in the face at:

    -12,4000 – DO event 1
    -11,000 – DO event A
    -9,500 – DO event 0

    giving you a hit rate of 3 out of 8 or 38 %

    Indeed, it could be argued that it was the D-O events that jump-started the Holocene warming that brought us out of the last ice age.

    1) DO event 1 started the first failed attempt at warming.

    2)The warming slowly faltered over the next 1500 years and even DO event A was not enough to kick-start another round of warming – leading to the Younger-Dryas cool period.

    3) Finally, DO event 0 got the motor turning and the climate system made the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene.

    Support for this argument is given by the short time scales associated with the temperature changes over this transition period and the alignment of the three DO events with the crucial jumps in warming.

  22. tchannon says:

    This probably adds to the 100ky mystery of why there is change of behaviour.

    I’m still not convinced d18 is really showing temperature even though that can be true. What Cullen is showing does bear consideration, indeed why do colour images reveal what monochrome doesn’t.

    IIRC there are similar events believed dropped by icebergs. Do these match up?

  23. Ian Wilson says:

    Tchannon,

    I cannot take Tim Cullens post seriously since there are many other proxy indicators that indicate when delta 18 indicated a cold climate there was in fact a cold climate.

    For example see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222113522.htm

    “An important aspect of the research is to study when the huge continental ice sheets grew and when they melted away, and to study the environment and climate of the areas that were free of ice. The size and movement patterns of the ice sheets can be calculated by studying land forms and moraine deposits. The ice-free periods can be studied by pollen analysis, among other methods. Pollen analysis is a method in which scientists use pollen grains preserved in ancient sediment to create a picture of what plants once grew in the area and what the climate was like.”

    and

    “During the warm phases of the Ice Age, high amounts of birch pollen were deposited, which indicates that summer temperatures were around 10 degrees centigrade in northern Sweden. During cold ice-free phases, mostly grass and herbal pollen was deposited.”

  24. Ian Wilson says:

    TChannon said:

    “IIRC there are similar events believed dropped by icebergs. Do these match up?”

    These are the Bond events of the Holocene.

    Bond events are North Atlantic climate fluctuations occurring every ≈1,470 ± 500 years throughout the Holocene. Eight such events have been identified, primarily from fluctuations in ice-rafted debris. Bond events may be the interglacial relatives of the glacial Dansgaard–Oeschger events,[1] with a magnitude of perhaps 15–20% of the glacial-interglacial temperature change.

    see: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/278/5341/1257.abstract

    and

    for a contrary view see:

    http://geography.cz/sbornik/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/g08-4-1wanner.pdf

  25. Tim Cullen says:

    Ian Wilson says: June 28, 2013 at 4:49 am
    I cannot take Tim Cullens post seriously since there are many other proxy indicators that indicate when delta 18 indicated a cold climate there was in fact a cold climate.

    I can well understand your reaction.

    However, it is also difficult to take the “settled science” seriously when it thinks July 2003 meltwater is from the Eemian.

    The Greenland “ice age” narrative represents a massive “confirmation bias” failure.

    Therefore, it is prudent to look for “confirmation bias” in other studies.

    For example:

    Gerard Bond’s 1997 study of the North Atlantic is a curious case that identifies “a series of climate shifts with a cyclicity close to 1470 +/- 500 years”. However, his own data actually indicates that a cyclicity of 1,350 year is far more likely. http://malagabay.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/bond-1997.gif

    See: http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/solar-system-holocene-lawler-events/

    Personally, I don’t take any “settled science” for granted.
    Personally, I think in prudent to check any “fact” produced by “settled science”.

  26. oldbrew says:

    @ Tim Cullen

    The Lawler link includes another link provided by Geoff Sharp.
    http://landscheidt.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/a-solar-step-change-during-late-2005/

    That link says:
    ‘If we look at Carl’s graph the unusual solar perturbation is also seen around late 2005.’

    That was also around the time of the phase change of the Chandler wobble.
    http://www.technologyreview.com/view/415093/earths-chandler-wobble-changed-dramatically-in-2005/

  27. Tenuc says:

    tchannon says:
    June 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm
    “Last 20,000 years of GISP2, graticule at 1470 years…”

    Great chart, Tim, which shows little change in temperature (between +/- 1 degree) for the last ~10,000 years. Compared to the wildly oscillating previous period, looks like something significant has changed in the system. Some evidence for major structural changes to the Mid-Atlantic ridge at about the same time-scale, which has allowed the Gulf Stream to follow a more northerly course?

  28. Ian Wilson says:

    Tim Cullen,

    I applaud your efforts to question the “established” consensus and I encourage you to please continue speaking out when ever you see inconsistencies in the analysis of the observations and data. We need people like you in order to advance science.

    The two references that I put in the post to Tim (Tchannon) at June 28, 2013 at 5:06 am (above) both actually question the current established ideas and one:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/278/5341/1257.abstract

    actually proposes that the onset of the last ice age was 20,000 years later than originally thought
    by the powers that be.

    There is still a lot that we have yet to learn about this period and your research will help give a clearer picture of what actually went on during the last ice-age.