WAIS outlet glacier being melted by magma – not co2 global warming after all

Posted: June 9, 2014 by tallbloke in geothermal, sea ice

thwaitesPhys.org finds a nice way of saying the doomsters have completely misunderstood the reason why the West Antarctic Ice Sheet outlet has been thinning. New research finds hotter than previously thought geothermal activity underneath the glacier. This means the animated model showing massive WAIS recession by 2350 Cabot Institute director Prof. Rich Pancost was scaring the punters with down at SPRI last week is junk science:

Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it’s being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.

The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts.

Using radar techniques to map how water flows under ice sheets, UTIG researchers were able to estimate ice melting rates and thus identify significant sources of geothermal heat under Thwaites Glacier. They found these sources are distributed over a wider area and are much hotter than previously assumed.

The geothermal heat contributed significantly to melting of the underside of the glacier, and it might be a key factor in allowing the ice sheet to slide, affecting the ice sheet’s stability and its contribution to future sea level rise.

The cause of the variable distribution of heat beneath the glacier is thought to be the movement of magma and associated volcanic activity arising from the rifting of the Earth’s crust beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-major-west-antarctic-glacier-geothermal.html

  1. oldbrew says:

    Will the doomsters now withdraw their recent claims that the conditions in West Antarctica are all somehow man’s fault – or will pigs have to fly first?

  2. mitigatedsceptic says:

    Which reminds me to ask (again) what account has been taken of geothermal energy in the models`?

  3. tom0mason says:

    Of course there is only one ‘logical’ place the church of CAGW can go, and that is CO2 has caused the geothermal activity underneath the glacier.
    As if I need to say so but /sarcoff

  4. tallbloke says:

    We know more about the surface of mars than we do about the bottom of the oceans.

  5. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction Blog and commented:
    Ice floes were reported in lower latitudes during the LIA (far North as the River Plate). The LIA is also reported to have had increased siesmic activity.

  6. hunter says:

    Check off another one where the climate obsessed are wrong and the skeptics are correct.

  7. ren says:

    If you look at the actual temperature of the ocean around Antarctica, it was obvious that it was just activity volcanic melts ice and this on the land side. Lately even in summer ice in the south is above average.

  8. oldbrew says:

    ‘Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean’

    Is it really being ‘eroded by the ocean’ at all? If there’s geothermal activity there, the local ocean waters could be warmed by that, so the real erosion source would again be geothermal.

    That seems likely as the rest of the Antarctic ocean has been cold enough to support sea ice expansion for over 3 decades (see ren’s graph, above).

  9. […] Oops. New Study finds West Antarctic Ice Sheet outlet glacier being melted by magma – not co2 glob… […]

  10. […] It’s still volcanoes. No evil CO2 lurking anywhere in the background. […]

  11. mitigatedsceptic: To answer your question, “what account has been taken of geothermal energy in the models?” None whatsoever. They use the approximation that the earth’s crust is a giant insulator and that there is zero heat flux. That works in some areas, but certainly not locally or regionally, where the difference can be great. A simple back of the envelope calculation will show that the heat released by the current eruption cycle of that speck called Kilauea is enough to move the atmospheric temperature of the earth by about 0.01C. Not much you might think, but when today’s global temperature rise rate is near zero, it is no longer insignificant.

    The models also ignore the much greater effect of sunspots, which release charged particles, which interact with cosmic rays, which reduces cloud formation, and its inverse. That is one reason why the cloud models are notoriously so very wrong. And without an accurate cloud model, then there is obviously no accurate reflection parameter.

  12. Gail Combs says:


    This is OLD NEWS, they have known the ice was melting because of a volcano under the ice for years. I do not think my contempt for the MSM and sensation seeking Climastrologists can get much lower. And yes I realize this is further info on the subject, but the MSM has been putting out blatant propaganda on the Antarctic melting with the aid of Climastrologists who either knew better or were outright lying.

    A newly discovered volcano found buried beneath a thick layer of ice in Antarctica could speed up ice loss and raise global sea levels when it erupts, scientists say.

    The finding, detailed in the current issue of Nature Geoscience, marks the first time that an active volcano has been discovered under the ice of the frozen continent.

    …The new volcano’s discovery was accidental. In January 2010, scientists set up a series of seismometers, or earthquake detectors, on Marie Byrd Land, a highland region of West Antarctica.

    The instruments array detected two swarms of earthquakes about one year apart, in 2010 and 2011. The earthquakes were small, with magnitudes of between 0.8 and 2.1.

    The tremors occurred at depths of about 15 to 25 miles (25 to 40 kilometers), close to the boundary between the crust and the mantle, and much deeper than normal crustal earthquakes.

    Same for the Arctic 2008: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080626-arctic-volcano.html

  13. oldbrew says:

    The climate spin industry has no memory, or selective memory. It’s shallow and weak-minded.

    The first link above says:
    “We’re not talking about an eruption causing the ice sheet to melt and cause catastrophic sea-level rise,” Lough told National Geographic [November 2013].

    Key word for climate dummies: NOT.

  14. linneamogren says:

    It’s not just one glacier, it’s 1/4 of the Continental Ice shelf. Could it account for that much melting?

  15. tallbloke says:

    Linnea: It’s all about the rate of flow of the glacier off the land into the ocean, the rate of thinning, and the rate the broken up bergs dissipate into the Southern Ocean with winds behind them. I expect the seismic activity is only part of the story here. It is thought for example that wind patterns around the Antarctic peninsular have changed over the last 30 years to a different regime, causing some warming there.

  16. linneamogren says:

    Hi Roger!

    Thank you! So, air circulation, volcanic activity and oceanic currents all contribute. I also read the link you posted and it turns out the energy ( heat ) from the volcanic activity is much hotter than expected and more importantly spreads further than once thought.

  17. tallbloke says:

    Further than once thought or, perhaps, admitted. Narrative-spoiling data has a way of staying out of the climate journal limelight. 😉

  18. linneamogren says:

    That’s true Roger. I read the report you had on TSI and I was shocked to learn the NASA satellite was never positioned above the Earths atmosphere. We are missing huge amounts of data as the total effect of irradiance or the Suns power. That point never mentioned is diabolically dishonest.

  19. oldbrew says:

    ‘That point never mentioned is diabolically dishonest.’

    Welcome to the ‘climate wars’ Linnea 😉

  20. linneamogren says:

    Thanks Oldbrew!

    Mostly when I debate AGW folks they always tell me never to assume the climate experts are being dishonest, rather it’s just mistakes. But holding back on information such as NASA’s TSI satellite and flat earth models begs to differ. When you look at their projections their collective “mistakes” seem to always fall on the high end. Amazing : )

  21. Grumpa Joe says:

    Reblogged this on Grumpa Joe's Place and commented:
    To all of you man made global warming believers, here is the real reason for all the ice melting. Now come up with another stupid thing to limit that will make this source of heat go away.

  22. Brian H says:

    Oh noes! the hot rock is going to flood the world by melting the WAIS! How can we fix it? Maybe we can cool it by covering it with ice?

    Oh, wait …