‘Melting’ West Antarctic Logic: Alarmist Fashion

Written by Myles, PSI Researcher

‘The Guardian’ newspaper (London) is giving prominence to a new global warming scare story that West Antarctic glaciers are now melting “past the point of no return.” But all is not as it seems in the article ‘Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn,’ (May 12, 2014).

Mount Sidley

This latest alarmist story hangs its hat on new research that shows an influx of warm sea water is permeating underneath where the glaciers extend into the sea, causing them to melt back. The inference is a human cause.  “A large sector of the western Antarctic ice sheet has gone into a state of irreversible retreat. It has passed the point of no return,” Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at Nasa and the University of California, Irvine, told a conference call. “This retreat will have major consequences for sea level rise worldwide.”

But Rignot and the newspaper fail to point out a crucial caveat that diminishes the credibility of their claims: the melt back cannot raise sea levels, as explained by independent researcher, Dr Bernie Gunn. Nor is it mentioned that volcanic activity in the region is an overrriding factor. Gunn posits this scenario:

“Suppose we have a horrendous increase in summer temperatures, warm water flows under the Ross Ice Shelf and thins it from its present thickness to, say 500ft. It would then be less able to resist cracking by northerly swells and the face could retreat by say a hundred miles. What is the effect going to be on world sea-levels? Absolutely none, as a floating body displaces its own weight of water, as that Greek fellow (Archimedes) realised when he was taking a bath.”  Dr Bernie Gunn

 So the floating glacial ice will not cause any sea level rise at all and the rest which has protruded into the sea and is melting at the “ground line” is also displacing its own weight in water so that can all melt back and the sea level remains unaffected.

Where will this rise in sea level come from then? Allegedly from the melting of the glaciers on land. But the influx of warm water isn’t touching that. A climate realist explanation from Dr Gunn tells us what would more probably happen:

“However, being aground, the tide cannot flow under it, and melting is restricted to the ice front. It then becomes a matter of, does the rate of ice-flow seaward at 200-800m/yr match the rate of melting along the face? As we are now a long way further south it probably would in most cases. The Ross Ice Shelf front is in actual fact, currently further north than it was in 1955.

With open seawater much closer, the humidity and snowfall would increase greatly and the average mean temperature would still be around -40ºF, at which not a great deal melts if you will pardon the sarcasm. So our southern Ice Cap as well as the Greenland one are comparatively stable structures with a great deal of inbuilt inertia and resistance to change.”

   So the worst possible disaster scenario of warm water continuing to get under the glacier fronts cannot increase the sea level at all. Even if it melted back all the way to the continental body what would make the land based ice melt at  – 40C.? Certainly not current or forseeable atmospheric temperature.

Meltback Due to Volcanic Activity

   In fact, the only way the land based ice could melt is from natural volcanic activity – and this is precisely what has recently been discovered to be occurring in the West Antarctic region. Seismologist, Amanda Lough from Washington University in St. Louis reports (sci-news.com):

“a subglacial eruption and the accompanying heat flow will melt a lot of ice…By lubricating the bedrock, it will speed the flow of the overlying ice, perhaps increasing the rate of ice-mass loss in West Antarctica.”

Prof Doug Wiens, also from Washington University in St. Louis, adds that volcanic activity will cause water to “rush beneath the ice towards the sea and feed into the hydrological catchment of the MacAyeal Ice Stream, one of several major ice streams draining ice from Marie Byrd Land into the Ross Ice Shelf.” [1]

Now contrast and compare the above rational and non-politicized analysis from these seismologists with the biased, agenda-driven claims of “climate scientists” who, in the wake of 17 years of flatlining global temperatures seem desperate for alternative (human-caused?) explanations. They now tell us the unpredicted stall in alleged anthropogenic global warming has triggered an unpredicted amount of heat to go into the oceans which has now pushed the West Antarctic over a tipping point. Clearly the scenario flies in the face of scientific logic.

   Once the essential scientific facts outlined above are understood the disaster scenario fades away as yet another ridiculous man-made global warming scare story.

[1] ‘Active Volcano Discovered Under Ice Sheet in West Antarctica,’ (Nov 18, 2013) Sci-News.com


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