Sunday, November 26, 2017

Melting Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in Antarctica -- more prophecy from the prophets who keep getting it wrong

And as the authors below say: "The science isn’t yet certain. Not enough is understood about the mechanics of glaciers or the physics of ice to be sure"

PINE Island. Thwaites. These two names are likely to become increasingly familiar in future years.  They’re among Antarctica’s biggest and fastest-melting glaciers.

But what makes these different is that they’re fed from ice sitting on solid ground. This ice does not displace the ocean.

That means all the water that melts off them must be added to the total mass forming the world’s seas.

[But that mass will be diluted by snowfall onto the glaciers -- thus taking water OUT of the sea and onto land-based glaciers -- for no probable net effect.  Once again we have the Green/Left mentioning only half the story.  They make no attempt to calculate the net effect]

Current calculations put that at roughly 3.4 meters.

According to US meteorologist Eric Holthaus, that’s enough to inundate every coastal city on our planet.  “There’s no doubt this ice will melt as the world warms,” Holthaus writes. “The vital question is when.”

And that’s the thing.

Scientists used to think it would take thousands of years for Antarctica’s ice sheets to melt under a warming atmosphere.

But new evidence shows it could happen within a few decades.
Clash of titans ... A satellite image showing the calving of the Mertz Glacier, left, after it was struck by a 97km-long iceberg in Antarctica. Such a chain of collapses could result in rapid sea level rise. Picture: Australian Antarctic Division.

Clash of titans ... A satellite image showing the calving of the Mertz Glacier, left, after it was struck by a 97km-long iceberg in Antarctica. Such a chain of collapses could result in rapid sea level rise. Picture: Australian Antarctic Division.Source:Supplied


They’re slumbering some 4000km beneath the southernmost tip of South America.

They sit on a 300km long frozen plain, and stem from a 3km thick ice pool roughly the size of Texas.

Holthaus says they are holding human civilisation hostage.

“Together, they act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet (3.4m) of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans,” he writes. “For that reason, finding out how fast these glaciers will collapse is one of the most important scientific questions in the world today.”

Holthaus cites a study published in the science journal Nature last year which warned of an unstoppable chain of ice-cliff collapses.

Ice, it turns out, is not as strong as we thought.

Traces remain of the last time Earth underwent a major climate-change event — the end of the most recent ice age 11,000 years ago.

That evidence points to a rapid collapse of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers.

The cause is in the region’s geology. The sea gets deeper beneath the glaciers’ outflow. So every new iceberg exposes taller and taller cliffs.

“Ice gets so heavy that these taller cliffs can’t support their own weight,” Holthaus writes. “Once they start to crumble, the destruction would be unstoppable.”

Given the unabated rise in carbon emissions, the study concluded that a 2m rise in sea levels was now much more likely than the 1m predicted under earlier models. But a worst-case carbon-atmosphere model shows a full 3.4m could be unleashed if West Antarctica’s ice reserves were unlocked.

A one-metre rise in sea levels would cause frequent flooding in almost all coastal settlements. At 2m, some of the worlds biggest cities — including Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City — would simply be swallowed by the sea.

At 3.4m, the majority of the planet’s fertile — and densely habited — coastal regions would be inundated.

Such scenarios are just decades away.  Holthaus says these key glaciers could conceivably collapse within 20 to 50 years.

“The new evidence says that once a certain temperature threshold is reached, ice shelves of glaciers that extend into the sea, like those near Pine Island Bay, will begin to melt from both above and below, weakening their structure and hastening their demise, and paving the way for ice-cliff instability to kick in.”

Iceberg after iceberg would break away in an unstoppable chain-reaction.

And the landlocked ice sheet behind them — no longer contained by a floating ice shelf — would start to slip faster and faster.

“A wholesale collapse of Pine Island and Thwaites would set off a catastrophe. Giant icebergs would stream away from Antarctica like a parade of frozen soldiers. All over the world, high tides would creep higher, slowly burying every shoreline on the planet ...”

Such an event would unleash a human tide of refugees unlike anything seen in history — hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seawater.

And it would all happen to fast for our infrastructure — and society — to adapt.

“Previous models suggested that it would take hundreds or thousands of years for sea-level rise of that magnitude to occur,” Holthaus writes. “But once they accounted for marine ice-cliff instability, DeConto and Pollard’s model pointed toward a catastrophe if the world maintains a “business as usual” path — meaning we don’t dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

The science isn’t yet certain. Not enough is understood about the mechanics of glaciers or the physics of ice to be sure. But climate researchers agree the new evidence is pointing in a deeply disturbing direction.

“Next to a meteor strike, rapid sea-level rise from collapsing ice cliffs is one of the quickest ways our world can remake itself,” Holthaus says. “This is about as fast as climate change gets.”


This week, thousands of scientists issued a bleak and terrifying "second notice" to mankind about how we will destroy the planet unless we take "urgent" action.

If this warning is as reliable as the first notice these scientists issued in 1992, we have nothing to worry about. There is also some doubt about who were the scientists giving the second warning. There is some suggestion that the whole thing is a prank

In an article published in the journal Bioscience, 15,364 scientists warned that we are "jeopardizing our future" and that "immediate action" is needed to "safeguard our imperiled biosphere."

"Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out," the scientists say.

The article is meant to be an update on a 1992 notice — ominously titled "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" and signed by 1,700 leading scientists — that predicted environmental catastrophes to come if humans remained on the current course.

But the 1992 statement was wildly off the mark in its dire predictions.

Back then, the world's leading scientists said that, if current trends continued, air pollution would get worse, water supplies would run short, the world's supply of fish would sharply decline because of dying oceans, land would become less productive, vast acres of forests would be "gone in a few years," mass extinctions would limit the ability to develop new medicines, and unchecked population growth would cause more to live in poverty and suffer malnutrition.

"No more than one or a few decades remain," the scientists warned 2-1/2 decades ago, "before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished."

Turns out that the world didn't make any "fundamental changes" those scientists said were so urgently needed. If anything, it went faster in the same direction.

There was no concerted effort to control population, which grew by almost 1.9 billion — a 34% increase in 25 years. We didn't "move away from fossil fuels" — global consumption climbed nearly 56% since 1992. We didn't "greatly reduce overconsumption," either. Consumer spending on goods and services soared some 56% from 1990 to 2010.

And what happened to the "fragile planet" that was supposedly on the knife's edge of permanent destruction?

Global supplies of clean water have increased. In 1990, 76% of the world's population had reasonable access to drinking water. By 2010 that had increased to 89%, according to a report from the Food and Agricultural Organization at the U.N.

The per-capita supply of fish worldwide climbed roughly 30% over those years.

World hunger and poverty have dropped dramatically. The share of the global population that is undernourished declined more than 40% between 1990 and 2015, U.N. data show. The share of the global population living in abject poverty went down by more than 35%.

Land has gotten far more productive, not less. In fact, the share of land devoted to agriculture hasn't budged since 1990, according to the U.N. report. Think about that for a minute: We are able to feed 34% more people, and feed them better than ever, using the same amount of land!

In the U.S. at least, air pollution is down since 1992 for every single pollutant the EPA measures. And our CO2 emissions are down since the mid-1990s, thanks not to government regulations, but because of the fracking innovation.

That massive deforestation predicted by scientists? The amount of forest land in the world declined by just 3% from 1990 to 2010, the U.N. report says. (In the U.S., it's increased.)

How about the warning that we were cutting off new medicines by destroying species? The pharmaceutical industry is in a golden age of innovation, with more than 5,000 new treatments in the production pipeline.

What's also interesting about the scientists' 1992 warning is that it barely mentions global warming, which is the cause for all the current end-of-the-world predictions.

But today's doomsday scientists are making the same fundamental mistake they made 25 years ago.

They are blind, apparently, to the fact that when people are emboldened by free-market capitalism they are amazingly innovative and will ceaselessly devise new technologies and new ways of doing things that are cheaper, less energy-intensive and less polluting. There's no need for the massive central planning or worldwide austerity these scientists keep demanding.

Our bet is that when 2042 comes around, the terrifying "second notice" from the world's leading scientists will look just as ridiculous as the first one does today.


The University of Reading say molecules from burning fat could counteract global warming

Amusing that the article below assumes (rightly) a cooling effect from clouds.  Warmist theory is that clouds HEAT the planet!

Fatty acids released into the air from cooking may contribute to the formation of clouds that cool the climate, say scientists.  Fatty acid molecules comprise about 10% of fine particulates over London, and such particles help seed clouds.

But researchers dismiss the idea that cooking fats could be used as a geo-engineering tool to reduce warming. Instead, the research is designed to help reduce uncertainties about the role of cooking fats on climate.

Researchers believe the fatty molecules arrange themselves into complex 3-D structures in atmospheric droplets.

These aerosols persist for longer than normal and can seed the formation of clouds which experts say can have a cooling effect on the climate.

The authors say the study will shed new light on the long term role of aerosols on temperatures.

Atmospheric aerosols are one of the areas of climate science where there are considerable uncertainties.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Molecules from deep fat frying may have a cooling effect on the climate

The description covers tiny particles that can be either solid or liquid, ranging from the dusts of the Saharan desert to soot to aerosols formed by chemical reaction.

These can have a variety of impacts, while most aerosols reflect sunlight back into space others absorb it.

Aerosols and the clouds seeded by them, are said to reflect about a quarter of the Sun's energy back into space.

Researchers have known for some time that the emissions of fatty acid molecules from chip pans and cookers may coat aerosol particles in the atmosphere - but this is the first time that scientists have looked at their role inside the droplets.

Using ultrasonic levitation to hold individual droplets of brine and oleic acid in position, the research team was able to make them float so they could analyse them with a laser beam and X-rays.

The X-rays proved crucial in revealing the inner structure.

"We found these drops could form these self-assembled phases which means these molecules can stay much longer in the atmosphere," said lead author Dr Christian Pfrang, from the University of Reading.

"These self-assembled structures are highly viscous so instead of having a water droplet you have something that behaves much more like honey, so processes inside the droplet will slow down," he told BBC News.

"They are resistant to oxidation so they stay around longer, so cloud formation will be easier."

Scientists believe that the number of fatty acid molecules in the air is relatively high, comprising about 10% of the fine particulate matter over London, according to research published last year.

This could be having an impact on the number of clouds and the amount of heat they reflect back into space.

"If you want to establish emissions control measures for McDonalds for example, you could assume that instead of two hours the molecules can last more than one day," said Dr Pfrang.

"Then this air parcel that comes from McDonalds will travel 10 times further, this is important for local air pollution but also to determine the effect of clouds which is the largest uncertainty."


UK: Renewable energy project developers have been dealt a huge blow as the government said there will be no new subsidies until 2025


A document published by the Treasury, alongside the Budget yesterday, suggests the government wants to keep energy costs “as low as possible” and therefore there will be no new low carbon electricity levies “until the burden of such costs is falling”.

It states: “Until the total burden of these costs is forecast to fall in real terms over a sustained period, the Control will not allow for new low carbon electricity levies to be introduced. Based on the current forecast, this will rule out new levy spend until 2025.”


Australia's Energy Guarantee Could ‘Decimate’ Wind, Solar


Australia’s proposed National Energy Guarantee program could slash investment in large-scale wind and solar projects if the government fails to boost its 2030 emissions-reduction target, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull government’s goal of reducing emissions by 28 percent by 2030 only requires an additional 1.5 gigawatts of new large-scale renewables, according to an estimate by BNEF. That target “could decimate large-scale wind and solar construction” while a 45 percent reduction target advocated by the opposition Labor party would “continue the current boom,” it said.

“The National Energy Guarantee could be an effective and innovative policy mechanism, but if the target is weak, it will deliver little,” BNEF’s Australian head Kobad Bhavnagri said in an email.

Turnbull’s Liberal-led coalition government will provide information to the states on Friday in a bid to get them to back the National Energy Guarantee, which aims to bolster reliability of Australia’s faltering electricity grid. Australia’s six states and two territories will need to approve the program for it to function properly with a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments to be held Friday in Hobart to discuss the plan.

The Labor plan would require 17.3 gigawatts of large-scale renewables, according to BNEF’s modeling. The level of ambition by the nation’s political parties on emissions reduction targets will ultimately play a big part in determining the success of the government’s proposed energy policy, according to BNEF.

Turnbull on October 17 ditched plans to set renewable power targets as part of his latest policy to lower electricity prices and require generators to guarantee reliable supply and limit emissions. The government has argued that falling costs mean the technologies no longer need government subsidies to compete against traditional energy sources.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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