Sunday, December 13, 2015

Scientists create stunning map of what's under the Antarctic - and reveal mysterious volcanic ‘hot zones’ are recently active

A most interesting map. Warmists recently have been dining out on reports of ice melting in West Antarctica generally and in the Antarctic peninsula in particular.  I have always pointed out on such occasions that melting in one small part of Antarctica is hardly indicative of a global process and also pointed out the probable explanation for what is going on:  Reports of vulcanism in the area.  The map above now puts the matter beyond doubt.  Note how hot the Antarctic peninsula is shown to be. It's full of volcanic activity.

And note below that the findings are said to explain the retreat of the Thwaite and Pine Island Pine Island glaciers -- exactly the two glaciers that Warmists have been getting erections over. So it's all just volcanic activity!  How boring and disappointing for the Warmists. I do enjoy being proved right, though

The new findings will not slow the Warmists down much, however.  We have long known of the Gakkel ridge in the Arctic -- a long line of active volcanoes underneath the floating ice of the Arctic -- yet Warmists persist in claiming that the occasional melt in the Arctic has significance for global warming.  It does not.  It just reflects the variability of volcanic activity in the Arctic.  So in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, volcanoes should be taking the Warmists' joy away. But when you are as good at ignoring reality as the Green/Left are, they will no doubt continue to peddle their fraudulent claims

There is a mysterious line of volcanoes that have formed in certain areas of Antarctica - and could hold the key to the area's future.

For years, researchers have been trying to look below the ice sheets to find out why, but due to extreme cold their technology has not been able to gather any answers.

Now with the assistance of ruggedized seismometers, geologists have been able to get the first look at the mantle below the ice, revealing areas of 'hot rock'.

This was the first time researchers had technology that was tough enough to withstand Antarctica’s harsh weather and the first time humans eyes have seen below this region.

A giant blob of super heated rock about 60 miles beneath Mount Sidley was seen on the map.

This is the last chain of volcanic mountains in Marie Byrd Land at one end of the transect.

What surprised researchers the most was the hot rock beneath Bentley Subglacial Trench, a deep basin at the other end of the transect.

This means the rift system just recently became active.

Mount Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica, sits directly above a hot region in the mantle, Lloyd said.

Mount Sidley is the southernmost mountain in a volcanic mountain range in Marie Byrd Land, a mountainous region dotted with volcanoes near the coast of West Antarctica.

‘A line of volcanoes hints there might be a hidden mantle plume, like a blowtorch, beneath the plate,’said Doug Wiens, PhD, professor of earth and planetary sciences and a co-author on the paper.

‘The volcanoes would pop up in a row as the plate moved over it.’  ‘But it's a bit unclear if this is happening here,’ he said.

‘We think we know which direction the plate is moving, but the volcanic chain is going in a different direction and two additional nearby volcanic chains are oriented in yet other directions.’

‘If this was just a plate moving over a couple of mantle plumes, you'd expect them to line up, as they do in the Hawaiian Islands.’

It was apparent that there was higher heat flow into the bottom of the ice sheet in this area, regardless of the hot zone’s ill-defined shape, according to the researchers

The West Antarctic Rift is less known, because it’s so hidden and leaves a lot of room for research and discovery.

‘We didn't know what we'd find beneath the basin,’ Wiens said.

‘For all we knew it would be old and cold.’

‘We didn't detect any earthquakes, so we don't think the rift is currently active, but the heat suggests rifting stopped quite recently.’

The rift valley was created in the late Cretaceous period, a time of diffuse extension, and more focused extension created deep basins like the Bentley Subglacial Basin and the Terror Rift in the Ross Sea.

‘This period of more focused extension likely occurred in the Neogene,’ Lloyd said.

‘If it's still hot there, it might also be hot under other basins in the rift system.’

This system is known to have the most influence on ice streams in West Antarctica.

The researchers believe that seismic surveys, similar to this one, will improve the models of the ice sheets, as the modelers require an estimate of the heat flow and need to know what the geological conditions at the bottom of the ice are in order to estimate drag.

In July, scientists reported the heat flow at one of these spots was four times higher than the global average, which raised the question to why the reading was so high. Researchers think this recent extension in the Bentley Subglacial Trench might explain these findings.

The second issue was understanding the structure under the Thwaite and Pine Island Pine Island glaciers, which are closer to the shoreline than the Bentley Subglacial Trench.

The two glaciers have been described as the ‘weak underbelly’ of the ice sheet because surges in the ice flow there could possibly cause the rapid disintegration of the entire West Antarctica ice sheet.


Massive El Niño sweeping globe is now the biggest ever recorded

So here we have an explanation of the recent small apparent rise in global temperatures.  If a global temperature increase this year rises to statistical significance, it will be clear what is going on.  Ocean currents rather than global warming will be behind the statistics.  This could be roughly adjusted for in the statistics -- by substracting the rise above surrounding years of the 1997-98 El Niño.  That calculation may never be made public, however.  The Warmists are very prolific with very dubious adjustments but they won't like that obvious one

The current extreme El Niño is now the strongest ever recorded, smashing the previous record from 1997-8. Already wreaking havoc on weather around the world, the new figures mean those effects will probably get worse. Climate change could be to blame and is known to be making the extreme impacts of El Niño on weather more likely.

The 1997-8 El Niño killed 20,000 people and caused almost $97 billion of damage as floods, droughts, fires, cyclones and mudslides ravaged the world.

Now the current El Niño has surpassed the 1997-8 El Niño on a key measure, according to the latest figures released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.

El Niño occurs when warm water that has piled up around Australia and Indonesia spills out east across the Pacific Ocean towards the Americas, taking the rain with it.

A key measure of its intensity is the warmth of water in the central Pacific. In 1997, at its peak on 26 November, it was 2.8 °C above average. According to the latest measurements, it reached 2.8 °C on 4 November this year, and went on to hit 3.1 °C on 18 November – the highest temperatures ever seen in this region.

“The El Niño community is closely watching the evolution [of this El Niño] and whether the current event will surpass the 1997-8 event,” says Axel Timmerman at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. “Monthly and weekly central Pacific temperature anomalies clearly show that this current event has surpassed it.”

The temperatures in the central Pacific have the biggest impact on the global atmospheric circulation, and therefore the biggest impacts on global weather, says Timmerman, who has been warning that this El Niño is likely to be a record-breaker.

The event hasn’t broken temperature records across the entire eastern Pacific, but in the central eastern Pacific. “It’s shifted into an area where most likely the atmosphere will respond even more,” Timmerman says.

Timmerman and others showed in 2013 that El Niños have been stronger in the last few decades than in any period over the past four centuries. It is unknown whether that’s because of climate change, but Timmerman and colleagues have also shown that extreme impacts from El Niño’s will double in frequency this century as a result of climate change.

In similar findings, Scott Power at the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia and colleagues showed that climate change will amplify the way that El Niño redistributes rainfall, making droughts and floods worse.

El Niño has been implicated in a host of extreme weather events across the globe. Combined with global warming, it’s partly responsible for 2015 being the hottest year on record. In India, more than 2000 people died in a heatwave caused by a delayed monsoon – an effect of El Niño.

Now the region is experiencing unusually heavy rains as the monsoon has finally arrived – also an expected impact of El Niño. “Southern India is having a lot of rain as it goes into winter, having come out of the dry monsoon. This is only so during extreme El Niño, so it is a confirmation that the El Niño is huge,” says Wenju Cai at Australia’s government scientific research body, CSIRO in Melbourne.

El Niño is also probably making record-breaking illegal fires in Indonesia worse, by reducing rainfall there.

Massive El Niño sweeping globe is now the biggest ever recorded
And in some Pacific Islands, water levels have dropped so much that coral reefs are exposed, in a phenomenon known as Taimasa, Samoan for “smelly reef”. New Scientist has received photographs from Guam showing this dramatic effect, only seen during extreme El Niño events. Across the globe, the El Niño has also begun a mass coral bleaching.

Australia has dodged some of the worst effects of El Niño, as the Indian Ocean Dipole – an oscillation of sea temperatures in the Indian Ocean – which was amplifying El Niño, has eased off. And because of the location of the warmest water, some regions like Peru and Ecuador are also likely to experience fewer impacts.

But overall, Timmerman suspects that the impacts of this record-breaking El Niño will be record-breaking too.

Many of the effects are yet to come. For example, whether it will bring rains to California and relieve the drought – or even whether it will go too far and cause floods – isn’t yet known. Timmerman says the models are predicting a higher chance of rain for California.

And once the El Niño is over, it might not be time for celebration, since it’s likely to be followed by a strong La Niña, which will bring roughly opposite effects to the world’s weather. La Nina’s are also expected to be about twice as common as a result of climate change this century.


No agreement in Paris so far

China and India won't budge so any final agreement will be a paper tiger

Talks to agree a new international deal to tackle climate change are set to overrun as many countries remain divided over the key issues.

Ministers from 195 countries worked through the night as fraught discussions on how to phase out greenhouse gases and finance for poorer nations continued to stall the UN's climate summit in Paris.

The talks were due to end tonight after two weeks of wrangling, but the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who is chairing the summit, conceded the talks would run in to Saturday.

He said a final version of the draft agreement will not be produced until Saturday morning and will then be voted on by delegates.

However, many countries including China and Saudi Arabia have been refusing to yield ground on key issues within the agreement.

The conference is the last chance for 195 countries to agree on a strategy since members agreed in 1992 to stabilise greenhouse gases 'at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.'

The text has already been slimmed down since the talks started from 43 pages to just 27 in an attempt to find compromises, but Saudi Arabia said it would continue to oppose the text.

It fears that plans to limit global temperature rises to within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels could jeopardise oil production.

The latest draft, which was published on Thursday night, also sets targets that would see countries attempt to become 'greenhouse gas emissions neutral' in the second half of the century by shifting to cleaner energy sources.

This was target was more ambitious than in previous texts and was insisted after many countries such small island states and members of the European Union pushed for more stringent commitments to emissions cuts.

Arguments over finance deals to help poor countries cope with climate change and adapt to low carbon economies has also been a major point of disagreement.

The United States has said it remains opposed to any wording that might force it to give compensation to developing nations struggling to cope with the impacts of climate change as a result of past emissions by developed countries.

Gurdial Sing Nijar of Malaysia, the head of a bloc of hardline countries including India, China and Saudi Arabia, said: 'We are going backwards.'

They have put up the fiercest resistance against attempts by the U.S., the European Union and other wealthy nations to make emerging economies pitch in to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and help the poorest countries cope with climate change.

The issue, known as 'differentiation' in United Nations climate lingo, was expected to be one of the last to be resolved.

Nijar said it was unreasonable to expect countries like Malaysia to rapidly shift from fossil fuels - the biggest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions - to cleaner sources of energy.

'We cannot just switch overnight ... and go to renewables,' he said, on a coffee break between meetings at 1:30 am.  'If you remove differentiation you create very serious problems for developing countries.'

US Secretary of State John Kerry held several meetings with ministers from around the world through the night as he attempted to haggle them into an agreement.  'We're working on it,' said Mr Kerry as he emerged from one meeting.

However, Matthieu Orphelin, spokesman for the Nicolas Hulot Foundation which advises President Francois Hollande on climate change, said: 'Major countries have entrenched behind their red lines instead of advancing on compromise.


Fault found with the facts in Obama's  presentation in Paris

Paris, the City of Light, which earned its moniker by being an early adapter of natural gas to light its public spaces, is currently hosting COP21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties) — often referred to as the UN Climate Change Conference — that aims to end the use of fossil fuels. There, more than 150 world leaders gathered under the guise of, supposedly, slowing the warming of the planet.

Ask anyone on the street: “What is the big international conference on climate change, going on right now in Paris, about?” — and, assuming you find someone who actually knows it is happening, they will tell you it is to stop global warming.

However, on December 4, five days into the 12-day event, Christina Figueres, the UN’s top climate change official, made clear, that the meeting isn’t “about the temperature” — which she said “is just a proxy.” Instead, she revealed: it “is about the decarbonisation of the economy” — which means ending the use of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, and coal.

No wonder, this year, the world leaders wanted to speak on the opening day of the conference — before the messaging got muddled by comments such as Figueres’. At the start of the show, they could wax eloquent instead of being embarrassed by the meetings’ eventual failure to produce the touted deal. Each world leader was given three minutes to speak. All followed the rules and stayed within the limited timeframe — except for President Obama. In an incredible show of hubris, he over-spoke by nearly five times what he was allotted and ignored the frequent beeps designed to signal that time is up.

What did he have to say that required 14 minutes of prepared remarks?

Apparently, if he’d been honest about the “decarbonisation” goal, he wouldn’t get the needed cooperation of countries like India and China — which are continuing to build new coal-fueled power plants at an alarming rate and which intend to remain reliant on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Instead Obama’s speech was filled with hyperbole and distortions such as these:

"The sea is already swallowing villages"

The above statement is referencing his trip recent to Alaska and likely is describing Kivalina — a village of indigenous people that he flew over on Air Force One. It is located on a barrier Island, a spit of land not reachable by road. By nature, barrier beaches, islands and other ephemeral structures are constantly changing. For example, in the 1990s the National Park Service had to move the iconic Hatteras Lighthouse because its barrier island had moved away from the ocean and towards the sound side; this migration of the Outer Banks has been ongoing the last 10,000 years—long before any talk of “climate change.”

Despite increasing CO2 levels, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tide gauge station closest to Kivalina is in Nome, AK. It shows no sea level rise in that part of Alaska.  Kivalina may face changes due to nature, but not because of fossil fuels.

"Glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times"

During his Alaska trip, Obama visited Exit Glacier, near Seward. Historians, geologists, Park employees, and glaciologists have been keeping track of glaciers for hundreds of years, and the records for Exit Glacier are no exception. The records show for more than 100 years, Exit Glacier has been retreating, but the maximum retreat rate was 300 feet per year in 1918. Last year Exit Glacier retreated a mere 187 feet. Near Exit Glacier, at Seward Alaska, sea levels, as measured by the tide gage there, are actually falling.

Similarly, in Glacier Bay — which Obama didn’t see, but cruise ships frequent —  retreat has slowed from its peak in the 1860s.

"Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow"

Here, based on later comments, we can guess that he is referring to the coral islands of the Pacific. However, researchers J. R. Houston and R. G. Dean examined 57 tide gauges: East, Gulf, West, Alaskan, Aleutian and Island having 100-year-long periods of record and they show no late 20th century acceleration of sea level rise. Additionally, recent research confirms that of Charles Darwin on the HMS Beagle in the 1830s: corals keep up with rising seas. In July 2014, Science Magazine published a report titled: “Warming may not swamp islands.” It states: “Studies suggest that atoll islands will rise in step with a rising sea.”

Regarding his “fields that no longer grow” comment, we’ve seen historic records of changing patterns of coastlines and abandoned lands. One such example is found in the 1897 National Geographic magazine. It makes clear that before the establishment of the Mississippi channel and building of levees, and because of the natural sinking of the Mississippi Delta, the Mississippi overflowed every spring, spreading fresh sediment on the land. Construction of the levees brought that process to a halt. It states: “It is a fact well known to people living in the delta of Mississippi that large tracts of land were long ago abandoned in consequence of overflow by Gulf waters, due to the sinking of the lands.”

These three examples are just a sampling of the extreme statements Obama offered in his 14-minute opening speech that was filled with soaring rhetoric and scary statements. Had he stuck to his three-minute timeframe, he might have had to acknowledge that temperature is just a proxy. What this is really about, as Figueres revealed at COP18, is “a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.”

Early this year, Figueres restated the same basic ideas: “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

But that would be a tough sell, maybe not at the meeting in the City of Light, but to average Americans who aren’t looking for a complete transformation of the structure of the world — which sounds a lot like the goal of ISIS and its terrorist allies.

Maybe climate change, or, more accurately, the proposed cure, is the biggest threat facing the world today.


Yet another "last chance"

Leaders from around the world, including President Barack Obama, have been saying that the COP21, also known as the Paris climate conference, is the last best hope to save the planet from catastrophic warming. Evidence and observed data, however, suggest otherwise.

History shows us that this isn’t the only time international leaders have cried that the sky is falling when it comes to global warming.

French President François Hollande said last week that “[n]ever have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, since what is at stake is the future of the planet, the future of life.”

Obama echoed those sentiments in his opening remarks, claiming that “there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us.”

In 2011 in Durban, Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, the World Council of Churches general secretary, called the United Nations UNFCCC COP17 meeting the “last opportunity for the international community to be responsible in addressing climate change.”

At the 2009 United Nations global warming conference in Copenhagen, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

    If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement in some future period can undo that choice. By then it will be irretrievably too late.

Stavros Dimas, European Union environment minister, warned the world that “Copenhagen [is] the world’s last chance to stop climate change before it passes the point of no return.”

Philip Clapp, head of the Washington-based National Environment Trust, said that 2007 was the imperative deadline for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: “The scientists are telling us that this is the world’s last shot at avoiding the worst consequences of global warming.”

You get the point.

Virtually every international global warming summit has been deemed the last chance for the world. Dismissing problems of world poverty, hunger, disease, and terrorism, leaders have claimed that climate change is the world’s greatest problem.

The climate data simply does not suggest that man-made global warming should be at the top of the list of concerns. The climate models international bodies are using to justify regulations and commitments to restrict the use of affordable energy to reduce carbon dioxide are over-predicting warming.

As climatologists Patrick Michaels and Paul Knappengerger note:

    "Recent climate change literature has been dominated by studies which show that the equilibrium climate sensitivity is better constrained than the latest estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA) and that the best estimate of the climate sensitivity is considerably lower than the climate model ensemble average. From the recent literature, the central estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity is ~2°C, while the climate model average is ~3.2°C, or an equilibrium climate sensitivity that is some 40 percent lower than the model average".

Even studies that have attempted to refute the 18-year pause in global warming show that the temperature trend is much less than that projected by climate models. And even though man-made greenhouse gas emissions have increased, the world has not experienced trends in the increased frequency or magnitude of extreme weather events.

Although the media and international leaders have hyped the Paris climate conference as the last chance to save the planet, 2015 is not very different from most of years’ worth of failed negotiations.

What is different in 2015 compared to past years is that the Obama administration is unilaterally imposing carbon dioxide regulations on America’s energy sector. The administration’s regulations on new and existing power plants are perhaps the most harmful example of Obama’s push to regulate CO2.

The regulations will drastically shift the energy economy away from coal, which provides approximately 40 percent of America’s electricity. Restricting the use of that affordable, reliable energy supply will raise electricity rates, and those higher prices will reverberate through the economy, resulting in hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and tens of thousands of dollars lost for American households.

When it comes to global warming, the sky isn’t falling.

But if the administration continues to drive up energy costs for families and businesses with top-down climate regulations, economic growth and the rate of employment certainly will fall.


‘Green’ Cronyism Is on Full Display In Paris

Cronyism is on display here at the United Nations climate conference (COP21), as developing countries aren’t the only ones trying to cash in on carbon regulations.

The conference is full of exhibitors showcasing their carbon cutting technologies–each of which would benefit greatly from taxing carbon or forcing commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The general conference arena contains rooms filled with vendors demonstrating how their business is reducing mankind’s carbon footprint. They include:

    Reinsurance companies (warning against greater costs from extreme weather events).

    Water systems companies.

    Companies that make charging stations for electric vehicles.

    Organizations dedicated to planting more trees.

    Companies dedicated to capturing carbon from power plants and storing it underground.

The list is certainly exhaustive. The problem with all of them, however, is that they’re in Paris pushing for special privileges that will help their businesses at the expense of their competitors and at the expense of a competitive free market.

It doesn’t matter what policies are advocated for – subsidies for carbon free energy technologies, a Green Climate Fund that finances green projects in developing countries, regulations that restrict the use of carbon-emitting natural resources or a carbon tax – those with special connections will benefit and the costs will be dispersed among the rest of us.

These are policies that will cost American households and businesses – at least those businesses not connected to politicians and bureaucrats – leading to lower levels of output, income and employment.

Because more than 80 percent of America and the world’s energy needs are met through carbon-emitting conventional fuels like natural gas and coal, reducing CO2 emissions will increase energy prices and force consumers to use less.

In addition to the direct budget impact of higher costs for electricity, gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas, higher energy costs force cutbacks in both the production and consumption of all goods and services because energy is a staple input for the economy. The ultimate result is economic retraction and a reduction in living standards.

Crony policies that favor the well connected do more harm than the direct higher prices we pay. They harm competition and skew how markets should work. Businesses can and should take advantage of emerging markets and innovate to provide products people want.

That’s not what’s going on in Paris.

Companies here are bent on crafting policies with the government and international bodies that would direct taxpayer money and private investment toward their projects. Private investment dollars will follow taxpayer-funded, subsidized projects because those government programs reduce the financial risk. Those are private investment dollars that can’t be spent on other potentially promising ideas. The result is a system that rewards what the government wants rather than what the market would produce, crippling innovation, competition and growth.

There also have been calls for energy policy reform and energy subsidy reform here in Paris, but even those calls are off base. They continue to get it wrong by calling for the end to subsidies for conventional resources like oil, coal and natural gas and pouring more money into intermittent, expensive renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

True policy and subsidy reform would eliminate preferential treatment for all energy sources and technologies and get the federal government and international bodies like the United Nations out of the energy businesses altogether.

The world has a diverse mix of energy producers and suppliers and the demand for affordable and reliable electricity and transportation fuel isn’t going anywhere any time soon. They don’t need help; they need bureaucrats to get out of the way. Only then will we eliminate cronyism in energy policy, encourage innovation, and have the resources to protect the environment



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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