Posts Tagged ‘Antarctic’

Credit: British Antarctic Survey


Much ado about sea ice in recent times, but usually in terms of promoting climate alarm. On closer inspection East Antarctica (2/3rds of the continent) tells a somewhat different story.
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Some ice shelves in the eastern Antarctic have grown in the last 20 years despite global warming, a study suggests.

Researchers say that sea ice, pushed against the ice shelves by a change in regional wind patterns, may have helped to protect the ice shelves from losses, reports Yahoo News.

Ice shelves are floating sections of ice attached to land-based ice sheets and they help guard against the uncontrolled release of inland ice into the ocean.

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Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC]


The obvious conclusion would be that the climate models are wrong, due to application of incorrect climate theory. As usual, researchers cast around desperately for other alternatives, only to find natural variation preventing warming from being global.
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Antarctic sea-ice has expanded over the period of continuous satellite monitoring, which seemingly contradicts ongoing global warming resulting from increasing concentrations of greenhouse gasses, says Phys.org.

In a study, published in Nature Climate Change, an international team of scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and South Korea shows that a multi-decadal swing of the tropical sea surface temperatures and its ability to change the atmospheric circulation across large distances is in large part responsible for the observed sea-ice expansion since the late 1970s.

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Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica


It’s noted that ‘Getting clouds right…is important for calculating how much solar radiation reaches Earth.’ A difference of 10 watts per square metre could be involved in some zones, the researchers found.
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Clouds come in myriad shapes, sizes and types, which control their effects on climate, says Phys.org.

New research led by the University of Washington shows that splintering of frozen liquid droplets to form ice shards inside Southern Ocean clouds dramatically affects the clouds’ ability to reflect sunlight back to space.

The paper, published March 4 in the open-access journal AGU Advances, shows that including this ice-splintering process improves the ability of high-resolution global models to simulate clouds over the Southern Ocean—and thus the models’ ability to simulate Earth’s climate.

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Antarctica


The alarmist Guardian’s ‘climate disaster’ turns out to be ‘climate mitigation’, due to the massive snowfall. A so-called heatwave where temperatures reached a chilly 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 Celsius), seems to have fooled a lot of people. The Guardian speculates that ‘climate breakdown could be accelerating’, but seeing what you wanted to see doesn’t always work.
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While researchers say it’s too early to know what role, if any, climate change plays here, the event has their attention because it’s so extreme, says NBC News.

It’s been a strange stretch for the icy desert at the bottom of the world.

In mid-March, temperatures in parts of East Antarctica soared 70 degrees Fahrenheit above average. It was high enough for researchers living there to brave the elements for a bare-chested group photo.

The comparatively balmy temperatures, which reached around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, arrived courtesy of a history-making atmospheric river — a plume of concentrated moisture that flows through the sky.

This one brought an incredible dump of snow in the inner reaches of the ice sheet, something quite rare for the area.

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The Endurance


After the search vessel nearly suffered the same fate, what was one of the world’s greatest undiscovered shipwrecks is identified on the Antarctic seafloor.
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Scientists have found and filmed one of the greatest ever undiscovered shipwrecks 107 years after it sank, reports BBC News.

The Endurance, the lost vessel of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, was found at the weekend at the bottom of the Weddell Sea.

The ship was crushed by sea-ice and sank in 1915, forcing Shackleton and his men to make an astonishing escape on foot and in small boats.

Video of the remains show Endurance to be in remarkable condition.

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Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC]


There’s a pattern here. How often do these gung-ho sea trips to polar regions by climate botherers — sorry, researchers — run into sea ice trouble, usually sooner rather than later?
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When Ernest Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, became trapped in Antarctic sea ice in 1915, the crew had no choice but to drift helplessly for nine months before their ship finally sank, says The Telegraph (via MSN News).

The expedition to find the Endurance’s wreck came close to the same fate late on Sunday.

But where Shackleton’s men could rely only on patience, the Agulhas II has 16,000 horsepower of propulsion, movable ballast, and a container full of aviation fuel.

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Opposite sea ice trends? [Credits: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Joy Ng]


Climate modellers need yet more and bigger computers to stand a chance of eradicating faulty sea ice projections in the polar regions, apparently. Meanwhile, they believe there must be some ‘delay’ in their long-predicted but not (yet?) happening Antarctic sea ice decline. Quote: “Our study supports the hypothesis that climate models and projections of the Antarctic sea ice will be far more reliable as soon as they are capable of realistically simulating a high-resolution ocean, complete with eddies”.
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Despite global warming and the sea-ice loss in the Arctic, the Antarctic sea-ice extent has remained largely unchanged since 1979, says Eurekalert.

However, existing climate model-based simulations indicate significant sea-ice loss, contrary to actual observations.

As experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute have now shown, the ocean may weaken warming around Antarctica and delay sea-ice retreat.

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Antarctica


A key sentence to note in this report says: ‘Half of all carbon dioxide bound in the world’s oceans is found in the Southern Ocean.’ What impact does the outgassing have on the total carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, which we’re expected to believe is a matter of huge climate concern requiring drastic and expensive measures for decades to come?
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Storms over the waters around Antarctica drive an outgassing of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to a new international study with researchers from the University of Gothenburg. — Phys.org reporting.

The research group used advanced ocean robots for the study, which provides a better understanding of climate change and can lead to better global climate models.

The world’s southernmost ocean, the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, plays an important role in the global climate because its waters contain large amounts of carbon dioxide.

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Antarctica


The article says ‘The satellite measurements start in 1979’, but the USGS Landsat satellite project has been ‘imaging the Earth since 1972’. The researchers say in the abstract of their paper: ‘In stark contrast to the Arctic, there have been statistically significant positive trends in total Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979. However, the short and highly variable nature of observed Antarctic sea ice extent limits the ability to fully understand the historical context of these recent changes.’ The UK Met Office reported in October 2021: ‘Antarctic sea ice reached a maximum extent (to date) of 18.75 million sq km on 1st September 2021 (Figure 7), which is very close to the 1981-2010 average maximum extent of 18.70 million sq km.’
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A study led by Ohio University researchers shows that the increase of sea ice surrounding Antarctica since 1979 is a unique feature of Antarctic climate since 1905—an observation that paints a dramatic first-ever picture for weather and climate implications on the world’s southernmost continent, says Phys.org.

Dr. Ryan Fogt’s study, published today in Nature Climate Change, is the first to detail sea ice extent surrounding the entire continent though all four seasons over the last century.

Weather, especially winds and temperatures, contribute to sea ice changes. Fogt is professor of Geography in OHIO’s College of Arts and Sciences.

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Ice core sample [image credit: Discovering Antarctica]


Previous studies indicated temperature change preceded CO2 change, but the BBC says they occurred ‘in parallel’ or ‘in lockstep’, obscuring the key role of insolation while waffling about supposedly ‘heat trapping’ gases.
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Efforts are about to get under way to drill a core of ice in Antarctica that contains a record of Earth’s climate stretching back 1.5 million years, says BBC News.

A European team will set up its equipment at one of the highest locations on the White Continent, for an operation likely to take four years.

The project aims to recover a near-3km-long cylinder of frozen material.

Scientists hope this ice can help them explain why Earth’s ice ages flipped in frequency in the deep past.

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Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC]

We’re asked to believe this is just a blip in the relentless march of supposedly human-caused global warming, but let’s give it a few more years to see how things progress.
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Antarctica’s frigid winter temperatures are in contrast to trends in the rest of the world, which overall recorded its fourth hottest summer, says LiveScience.

Between April and September, a research station sitting on a high plateau in Antarctica, registered an average temperature of minus 78 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 61 degrees Celsius).

That’s the coldest temperature recorded since record keeping began in 1957, and about 4.5 F (2.5 C) lower than the most recent 30-year average, according to The Washington Post.

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antarcmap

Antarctica

More meltdown than melting. The author reckons ‘Tackling global warming will be the central project of the 21st Century’, but the NSIDC graphic below doesn’t suggest anything alarming. No doubt the BBC will be offsetting all those supposedly wicked ‘carbon emissions’ from flying a reporter round the world. Sadly the trip only extended to West Antarctica, parts of which are close to a significant volcanic region, whereas the majority of the ice is in East Antarctica. See: Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet. In 2015 a NASA study reported ice gains exceeding losses in Antarctica as a whole, with the net losses being in the west and the net gains in the east.
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A trip to a melting glacier will shape how the BBC’s new climate editor reports on climate change, says the BBC.

You cannot help but be awed by the scale of Antarctica, the great white continent.

I visited just before the pandemic struck and it is impossible not to feel humbled in the presence of something that seems so much bigger and more powerful than you.

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Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC]


Warming, but not global – is the polar see-saw hypothesis in play here? In any case, it seems climate models are falling short again.
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Sea ice in the Southern Ocean defies predictions.

Observations show that ice extent in the Antarctic has been growing slightly, reports The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

Paul Holland, a climate modeler with the British Antarctic Survey, has spent the last ten years studying Antarctica’s sea ice and the Southern Ocean.

Lately, he has been scrutinizing the seasons of Antarctica and how fast the ice comes and goes.

Holland thinks these seasons may be a key to a conundrum: If Earth’s temperatures are getting warmer and sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking fast, why then is sea ice in the Antarctic slowly increasing?

Opposite poles

Sea ice is simply frozen seawater. Although found only in the Arctic and the Antarctic, it influences Earth’s climate in big ways. Its bright surface reflects sunlight back into space. Icy areas absorb less solar energy and remain relatively cool.

When temperatures warm over time and more sea ice melts, fewer bright surfaces reflect sunlight back into space. The ice and exposed seawater absorb more solar energy and this causes more melting and more warming.

Scientists have been watching this feedback loop of warming and melting in the Arctic. To them, Arctic sea ice is a reliable indicator of a changing global climate. They pay the most attention in September when Arctic sea ice shrinks to its smallest extent each year. Measured by satellites since 1979, this minimum extent has been decreasing by as much as 13.7 percent per decade.

Antarctic sea ice, on the other hand, has not been considered a climate change indicator. Whereas Arctic sea ice mostly sits in the middle of land-locked ocean—which is more sensitive to sunlight and warming air—Antarctic sea ice surrounds land and is constantly exposed to high winds and waves.

According to climate models, rising global temperatures should cause sea ice in both regions to shrink. But observations show that ice extent in the Arctic has shrunk faster than models predicted, and in the Antarctic it has been growing slightly.

Researchers are looking much closer at Antarctica, saying, “Wait, what is going on down there?” Holland is one of those intrigued.

“The Antarctic case is as interesting as the Arctic case,” Holland said. “You can’t understand one without understanding the other.”

Minding the models

To Holland, the discrepancy calls parts of the climate models into question.

Continued here.

NASA pdf: https://cdn.earthdata.nasa.gov/conduit/upload/756/NASA_SOP_2014_unexpected_ice.pdf

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The NLCs are playing a game of hide-and-seek this season, bemusing regular observers.

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 8, 2021:

They’re back. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), recently missing, are once again circling the South Pole. And, in an unexpected twist, they’ve just appeared over Argentina as well.

“This is a very rare event,” reports Gerd Baumgarten of Germany’s Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, whose automated cameras caught the meteoritic clouds rippling over Rio Grande, Argentina (53.8S) on Jan. 3rd:

A second camera recorded the clouds at even higher latitude: Rio Gallegos (51.6S). At this time of year, noctilucent clouds are supposed to be confined to the Antarctic–not Argentina. In the whole history of atmospheric research, NLCs have been sighted at mid-southern latitudes only a handful of times.

“Personally, I am thrilled to see NLCs in Argentina, as I had not expected them to occur so far north,” says Natalie Kaifler of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), who operates a lidar (laser radar) alongside one of Baumgarten’s…

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Is it a coincidence that we’re just past the end of the lowest sunspot cycle for over a century?

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 28, 2020: Something strange is happening 50 miles above Antarctica. Or rather, not happening. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which normally blanket the frozen continent in December, are almost completely missing. These images from NASA’s AIM spacecraft compare Christmas Eve 2019 with Christmas Eve 2020:

“The comparison really is astounding,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. “Noctilucent cloud frequencies are close to zero this year.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up from the poles to the edge of space. Water crystallizing around specks of meteor dust 83 km (~50 miles) above Earth’s surface creates beautiful electric-blue structures, typically visible from November to February in the south, and May to August in the north.

A crucial point: Noctilucent clouds form during summer. And that’s the problem. Although summer officially started in Antarctica one week…

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Antarctica


If they were hoping to see a steady rate of change that matched carbon dioxide emission levels, they were disappointed. Natural variations inconveniently got in the way, two in particular: ‘When two extreme snowfall events in 2009 and 2011 dropped around 600 gigatons of snow and ice, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet thickened so much that it temporarily halted the entire continent’s ice losses, said Wang—a pattern that had previously escaped notice.’
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A new analysis of long-term satellite records shows the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is unexpectedly dependent on fluctuations in weather.

This study may improve models of how much sea levels will rise, says Eos News.

As more coastal communities face the looming threat [Talkshop note: unsupported assertion] of rising sea levels, it’s more important than ever to accurately predict changes in one of the greatest potential sources of sea level rise—the melting of Antarctica’s massive ice sheet.

Recently, scientists analyzed nearly 2 decades’ worth of data from sensitive NASA satellites documenting mass changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

They found the ice inventory ebbed and flowed across the continent in unexpectedly variable patterns.

Traditionally, some groups of Antarctic researchers have assumed the rate of change across the ice sheet is constant, but they drew their conclusions from data sets that spanned only a few years, said Lei Wang, a geodesist at The Ohio State University who will present this research at AGU’s virtual Fall Meeting 2020.

“These long data records give us the capability to characterize the ice sheet’s variation over a range of timescales,” rather than just modeling seasonal variations and short-term trends, Wang said.

Understanding Long-Term Trends

The Antarctic Ice Sheet, the largest mass of ice on Earth, is divided into two unequal portions, with the East Antarctic Ice Sheet covering about two thirds of the continent. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, although smaller, has historically been more closely studied because it’s melting faster. (The East Antarctic Ice Sheet sits on bedrock above sea level, said Wang, so it is less susceptible to the effects of the warming ocean.) NASA estimates Antarctica has lost 149 billion metric tons of ice per year since 2002.

When so much ice is involved, projections of how sea levels will respond are uncertain—especially when trends already are so difficult to gauge.

Indeed, the field still argues about sea level changes in the past century, said Jim Davis, the study coauthor and a geodesist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. “We’ve got to get to the point where we can talk about what’s happening this year in sea level change,” he said.

To do that, researchers need a more sophisticated model of how Antarctica’s shield of ice is evolving.

Full article here.

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Is La Niña having an effect on Antarctica already?

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 2, 2020: Consider it the tip of the iceberg. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) over the south pole are AWOL.

“Normally we see the first NLCs of the southern season around Nov. 21st,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). “But this year, it’s already December and we’re still waiting.”

Above: What a different one year makes. NASA’s AIM spacecraft took these pictures of NLCs over Antarctica on Nov. 29, 2019 (left) and Nov. 29, 2020 (right)

Missing NLCs is just one of the curious weather patterns currently underway at the southern end of our planet.

Making a list: (1) Earth’s southern ozone hole is not only open, but also the biggest it’s ever been in December. (2) The air above Antarctica is currently at record cold levels for this time of year–the result of an icy polar vortex that refuses to break…

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Credit: earthhow.com


As Accuweather explains here, research has shown that a combination of conditions at solar minimum can create this effect.
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The European Union’s Earth observation program said Tuesday that the ozone hole over Antarctica has swelled to its largest size and deepest level in years, reports Phys.org.

Experts at the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service said a strong, stable and cold polar vortex has driven the expansion, and called for greater international efforts to ensure countries abide by an international accord to phase out use of ozone-depleting chemicals.

Vincent-Henri Peuch, who heads the service, said in a statement that the ozone hole was “definitely” among the largest in the last 15 years.

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So when global temperatures failed to behave as models expected due to inevitable but hard to predict natural variation, they were forced to re-think – or just think? The GWPF concludes, at the risk of stating the obvious: ‘The lesson of the hiatus is that we do not understand internal climatic variability as much as many think we do, and our predictive power is less than many believe.’
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Researchers from the Universities of Princeton, California, Tokyo, Kyushu and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, say the recent hiatus in global temperature increase has led to a surge in climate science.

The global effort to understand the global warming hiatus they say has led to increased understanding of some of the key metrics of global climate change such as global temperature and ice-cover.

Searching for an answer to the hiatus, they say, meant that the scientific community grappled with difficulties with these climate metrics, in particular the fact that they do not unequivocally portray the same story about global warming.

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Kangerlussuaq Fjord, Greenland [image credit: notsogreen.com]


Less than a year ago NASA was reporting from Greenland: Jakobshavn Glacier Grows for Third Straight Year, and ‘The glacier grew 22 to 33 yards (20 to 30 meters) each year between 2016 and 2019.’ So this new report may be, to some degree at least, already obsolete since it says: ‘The largest thinning rates were between 4 and 6 m a−1 in Jakobshavn and Kangerlugssuaq glaciers’.
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Sea levels have risen by 14mm since 2003 due to ice melting in Antarctica and Greenland, scientists have said.

Nasa launched a satellite to measure global heights in 2018 and spotted the rise after bouncing laser pulses against sheets of ice, says the London Evening Standard.

The study found that Greenland lost an average of 200 billion tonnes of ice per year, and Antarctica lost an average of 118 billion tonnes.

One billion tonnes of ice is enough to fill 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington compared the data with measurements taken by the satellite between 2003 and 2009.

The findings, published in the journal Science, found the loss of ice from Antarctica and Greenland outweighs any gains from accumulated snow.

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