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NJwxguy78

[Global] Climate Change Debate

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@Bring Back 1962-63  awesome points and I do not take issue with a reasonable approach to a polarizing topic.

 

Like you, I’m shocked that we haven’t had more discussion here. This is the biggest twitter topic regularly trending in the weather/climate world, yet as soon as we attempt to elevate the discourse a bit, the boxers go back to their 140-ish character talking point corners.

 

 

Thank you for a thorough undertaking; as the masses return over the next 45 days, the research portal will be busy I’m sure!

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7 hours ago, NJwxguy78 said:

@Bring Back 1962-63  awesome points and I do not take issue with a reasonable approach to a polarizing topic.

 

Like you, I’m shocked that we haven’t had more discussion here. This is the biggest twitter topic regularly trending in the weather/climate world, yet as soon as we attempt to elevate the discourse a bit, the boxers go back to their 140-ish character talking point corners.

 

 

Thank you for a thorough undertaking; as the masses return over the next 45 days, the research portal will be busy I’m sure!

 

Thank you Pat. Although I've stated my "balanced" view, I've only just touched on examining the evidence in my post and not even referred to the global impacts which also need to be assessed in a neutral way. That will require a good number of follow up posts.  I shall break this down into a series of shorter posts and review some highly informative papers and presentations on this thread.  Hopefully this might stimulate rather more interactive discussion and get more members involved. I will always be pressed for time as I have a series of posts planned for the Arctic thread, the Teleconnections thread as well as the Hurricane thread not to mention the vast amount of time it takes to build up the Research Portal but I shall ensure that I return here as often as possible.  I shall also give this thread a plug whenever I refer to climate change (directly or indirectly) in my posts on other threads.

 

Finally, you mention that climate change is the biggest twitter topic. This is where we need to exercise our greatest degree of caution.  We all know that many tweets are posted to sensationalise a news feature, spread fake news and twitter is riddled with topics driven by individuals and organisations having their own narrow agendas.  There are so many one liners that are not explained, substantiated or authenticated. Even some high profile and well known names can be totally irresponsible when they should be setting a better example. Some tweets do link to a full and well constructed paper or article. If we see some tweets appear on this thread, I do hope that the poster provides a few comments to at least attempt to put it into perspective. Then we can debate what the tweet says.  David :) 

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Mountain Glaciers (1980–2017)

The following is taken from the recent State of the Climate report on Worldwide Mountain Glaciers:

 

The longest-running records of glacier mass balance (whether a glacier loses or gains mass over the course of a year) are kept by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). The group tracks changes in 140 glaciers; just over three dozen of them qualify as climate reference glaciers, with records spanning more than 30 years. In 2017, 29 of the reference glaciers were surveyed — including those from Austria, Canada, China, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, and the United States — and all but three showed a negative mass balance.  Mass losses were especially dramatic in the European Alps.

 

Based on the preliminary data, 2017, is likely to be the 38th year in a row of mass loss of mountain glaciers worldwide. Furthermore, the melting of mountain glaciers has accelerated since 2000. According to the State of the Climate in 2017:

 

“The cumulative mass balance loss from 1980 to 2016 is -19.9 meters, the equivalent of cutting a 22-meter-thick (72-foot-thick) slice off the top of the average glacier."

 

The graph below shows the mass balance of 37 reference glaciers each year since 1980 (bars), along with the total mass loss over time (red line).

 

Glacier Graph 1980-2017.jpg

 

Full report: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/2017-state-climate-mountain-glaciers

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THE LONG SWIM - DRAWING PUBLIC ATTENTION TO THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

 

When you start reading this post you may initially think "what on earth has this got to do with climate change" or "has this UK member from across the pond lost his marbles" or both? I sincerely hope that when you have read this, that you will realise that this has everything to do with climate change although you might still question my sanity ?

 

If you read my long post (further up this page, from Monday) you will see that I have a balanced view towards climate change. I believe it is definitely happening but it is partly due to natural variability and party due to human influences. I will generally post on the direct measures of the extent of climate change and the causes with reviews of important papers and presentations and I'll happily participate actively in debates on here. This post is very different to any of my posts on any of the 33 threads so far. Whatever the exact causes of climate change, it is already having some significant impacts on the environment as well as on human and animal lives.  This is not an environmental forum but one way of measuring the extent of climate change is by having some regard to these impacts.

 

I imagine that "The Long Swim" is a topic that has received little or no coverage and exposure on US news channels and social media (I may be wrong?). Well today, Lewis Pugh from the UK, completed an epic record breaking swim. The first person to swim the entire length of the English Channel - that is over 330 miles and it took him 49 days. Previously we've had quite a few swimmers crossing the channel to France but that's only 22 miles and can be done in a single day. Lewis had to fight some of the strongest tidal currents in the world, swim through some storm conditions and gales with huge waves, negotiate the busiest international shipping lane in the world and was stung multiple times every day by jellyfish. He was physically exhausted, ill at times and developed serious problems with a shoulder and was in considerable pain.

 

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So why the hell did he carry on day after day? He's not one of those mad Brits, he wasn't seeking personal glory and setting a record that would be hard for anyone else to equal or beat. Lewis is passionate about the impacts of climate change on the environment and he wanted to draw attention to some very disturbing facts.  Well he certainly achieved that over here in the UK and in some European countries too. Sky TV (one of our main channels) covered the whole journey from start to finish. Here's a link to a 3 minute video with highlights of the whole swim: https://news.sky.com/video/the-long-swim-the-everest-of-swimming-11483487

 

Lewis's swim was part of a much wider co-ordinated campaign - the "Action for Oceans". Here's a statement made just before Lewis started the challenge:

 

"Today, UN Patron of the Oceans and renowned endurance swimmer, Lewis Pugh will commence his latest challenge - The Long Swim - an attempt to swim the full length of the English Channel.  

The swim marks the start of a worldwide campaign called “Action for Oceans”, an initiative calling on governments to fully protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.  Starting at Lands’ End in Cornwall and finishing in Dover, towards the end of August, Pugh will cover 560km of English coastline - the equivalent of crossing the Channel from Dover to Calais 16 times over.

The Long Swim is also part of Speedo’s #WaterBabyForever campaign, to preserve the oceans for future generations, as well as an urgent call on the British Government to protect seas around the UK and British Overseas Territories.  Speedo is an official partner of the swim, with Lewis wearing Speedo swimwear, cap and goggles to complete his challenge.  Commenting on the partnership with Speedo, Pugh said: “It's great to be partnering with the world's leading swimwear brand again, not only to supply my equipment but to help to raise vital awareness of the critical need to focus on the health of our oceans."

Around 1,800 people have swum across the English Channel since Captain Mathew Webb first did so in 1875.  However, no-one has ever attempted to swim the length of the Channel. Ahead of the challenge, Pugh said: "The Channel is the world's busiest shipping lane and has plenty of jellyfish. There will be bad-weather days when I simply won’t be able to swim. The English Channel has very strong tides, so I've got to get the timing right or I could be going backwards."

Over the past 30 years, the British swimmer has pioneered swims in the most challenging environments on earth including the Antarctic, the North Pole and the Himalayas. He has campaigned for some of the world's last pristine marine wilderness areas. Now he is bringing his message home."

 

Lewis said that he saw very few fish on his entire swim. Our southern waters are absolutely teaming with jellyfish especially in the summer months. This is partly due to warmer waters and warmer currents as a direct consequence of climate change but also to the vast decline in the numbers of predatory fish species which feed on jellyfish.  Although this is partly due to the waters being over fished and to pollution (the oceans are being filled with plastic wastes and other toxic materials that do not break down for many years) it is also due to climate change with a shift of species from their native areas.  This is happening so quickly, than many species are simply unable to adapt - ie: the shear pace of the changes prevents natural adaptation and evolution. We are seeing similar impacts on land species too. We can see some of the direct impacts of climate change but there are so many more indirect impacts.  Interfering with food chains and changing local habitats puts many species in peril.  

 

So, while we analyse statistics, data, weather charts and records on this forum and debate the extent of climate change on this thread, we should all bear in mind the serious impacts that are already occurring. This is a global issue and requires global solutions. I'll be back with something much more directly related to the weather next time. David :)  

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An interesting chart from Neil Kaye, Climate Scientist at the UK Met Office.

 

"Looking at the patterns it is possible to see global warming emerge. Up to 1920, warm and cold seem randomly distributed. Between 1940 and 1980 warmer years are more recent, but warmest year is not always near the end of series. From 2000, the warmest year is always very recent!"

 

GlobWarming analysis Neil Kaye Met Off.jpg

 

https://twitter.com/neilrkaye/status/1034410752260628480

 

 

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A REVIEW OF A BRILLIANT YOUTUBE PRESENTATION ON THE NAO AND CLIMATE VARIABILITY IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC

 

I've been busy adding yet more papers and presentations to the Research Portal and I'm currently focusing on the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).  I found a paper entitled: "Skilful Predictions of the Winter North Atlantic Oscillation One Year Ahead" published in 2016 by a leading team at the UK Met Office.  Unfortunately, the full paper is still behind a paywall but on researching the citing literature I found this superb YouTube presentation made by the same authors last year (a few months later) with a slightly modified title.  In this post, I shall review this presentation which belongs equally on the Teleconnections thread as well as on the Climate Change thread, so it's going on to both!

 

Firstly, the link to the Research Portal entry (just click on the title):    Near-term Climate Predictions of the North Atlantic Region - YouTube Presentation

From there you will find a direct link to the full presentation. It's nearly an hour long but is well worth the time - so pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple and sit back and enjoy. You'll see that I also provide the link there to the "Nature GeoScience" website entry and anyone who is a subscriber can view the full paper.  Here's a copy of the abstract:

 

"The winter North Atlantic Oscillation is the primary mode of atmospheric variability in the North Atlantic region and has a profound influence on European and North American winter climate. Until recently, seasonal variability of the North Atlantic Oscillation was thought to be largely driven by chaotic and inherently unpredictable processes. However, latest generation seasonal forecasting systems have demonstrated significant skill in predicting the North Atlantic Oscillation when initialized a month before the onset of winter. Here we extend skilful dynamical model predictions to more than a year ahead. The skill increases greatly with ensemble size due to a spuriously small signal-to-noise ratio in the model, and consequently larger ensembles are projected to further increase the skill in predicting the North Atlantic Oscillation. We identify two sources of skill for second-winter forecasts of the North Atlantic Oscillation: climate variability in the tropical Pacific region and predictable effects of solar forcing on the stratospheric polar vortex strength. We also identify model biases in Arctic sea ice that, if reduced, may further increase skill. Our results open possibilities for a range of new climate services, including for the transport, energy, water management and insurance sectors."

 

Now to the presentation itself. I should emphasis that all of us can take something out of this presentation as it provides some simple explanations with clear charts for early learners as well as some much more technical aspects. The main presenter, Dr Nick Dunstone, heads up the "Climate Dynamics Group" which is part of a team of over 200 research scientists based at the Hadley Center, a section of the UK Meteorological Office. Nick has been studying climate variability for many years and completed a PhD in Astrophysics in 2008. The first half of the presentation focuses on climate variability and although slightly orientated towards the UK and Europe, there is plenty on the North American climate impacts too. There is a great explanation of the "AMO" (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation) also known as the "AMV" (Atlantic Multidecadal Variability) and a long section on "decadal climate variability". The second half is on the "NAO" with the focus on predicting winter patterns and related climate impacts for not only one year ahead but also 2 years ahead with seasonal and interannuual timescales.

 

There is a look into climate prediction models.  The UK Met Office "used" to use separate computer systems and models for assessing shorter term forecasts and longer term climate patterns and that is still how most international research (including that in the US) is carried out.  Their new supercomputer came into use two years ago. This enables both short term and long term assessments and predictions to be conducted by extending the paramiters of the same computer models.  This has produced some much more accurate results. The term "hindcasting" has been used increasingly in recent years. This is where a predictive model or individual programme's reliability (strengths and weaknesses) can be tested by inputting past data to see how accurate the results are - measured against what is known to actually happen. This includes all the short term (as well as the longer term) variables and where the new "single" system approach has enormous advantages over totally independent systems. it's also advantageous to have all this under one roof - some countries use completely separate, offices, research teams and even organisations and yet this is all so inter-related.  When assessing and comparing human influenced climate change and natural climate variability this more integrated type of measurement and assessment should prove to be invaluable to get at the real facts.  The UK Met Office take a balanced and open minded approach to climate change and this presentation is a great demonstration of that neutral position which is so important to avoid all the politics and hype at both extremes of the global warming and climate change debate. Here is a small selection of slides to whet your appetite but you'll need to watch and listen to the full presentation to get the real benefit :

 

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I hope that you can now see why this post belongs on both the Teleconnections and the Climate Change threads.  David :) 

 

 

 

 

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Note UAH is down to +0.19c for August. The relative diminution continues from the peak a couple years ago. We've returned to base-line levels seen throughout much of the 2000s. Southern hemispheric temperatures are running very cold so far in September, while, conversely, the NH is still quite warm. I don't anticipate that the upcoming weak el nino (likely) will inject much global heat.

 

 

UAH_LT_1979_thru_August_2018_v6.jpg

 

 

izmjpt.png

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On 10/17/2017 at 9:05 PM, Isotherm said:

"To disambiguate: in totality, my argument – simplified and elucidated – is as follows: anthropogenic climate change exists and Co2 radiative forcing is legitimate; however, the solar forcing component is significantly underestimated given there is a myopic proclivity to concentrate on TSI variations, while concurrently failing to recognize the other, integral modulatory mechanisms of the Sun. Further, the effects of thermal inertia are largely ignored, which plays an exceptionally influential role in determining the atmospheric response time. The rate of warming/cooling will alter as a function of forcing alterations, but cooling will not initiate until forcing is sufficiently low to fall below the current, established equilibrium. If my and innumerable other scientists’ hypotheses are correct, sfc T response is still ahead of us. I think the rate of warming will continue to decrease over the coming two years with the onset of cooling (versus 1998-present levels) likely to occur within the next several years. The magnitude of the cooling (speculation) over the course of the next two decades could be 0.3 or 0.4c, bringing us down near global temperatures of the 1980s. Again, the key question here is relative attribution of Co2 RF vs solar RF; we shall see what we shall see."

 

I am so stealing this.

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HURRICANE FLORENCE AND ARCTIC SEA ICE....AND MUCH MORE

 

I intend to cross- post this onto the Countdown to Winter 2018-19 thread,  the main Hurricane thread (not the archived Florence thread), the Arctic thread, the Teleconnections thread and the Climate Change thread as it relates to all these threads. Why, I hear you ask? - I'll explain in a minute.  I was reading through some Arctic related papers and presentations when I came across this fascinating YouTube presentation which I have just placed into the Research Portal.  This had a lead in headline of "Hurricane Florence and Arctic Sea Ice" but the presentation is entitled:  "How Global Warming and Arctic Ice Melt Intensify Hurricanes" but it covers a lot more than that and includes implications for the North Am climate and the upcoming CONUS winter.

 

I found it on the Arctic Sea  Ice Blog which I read from time to time.  Last month Real Time News interviewed Dr Jennifer Francis, the well known research professor at Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences in New Jersey (since 1994).  I'm sure that some of you will be familiar with her work. She specialises in atmospheric sciences.  She has produced many papers and features in a number of presentations. In recent years she has been focusing in studying climate change, Arctic amplification and ice loss and how this impacts on extreme weather events. In 2015 she was the one who first suggested that global warming and Arctic sea ice loss was starting to effect the jet stream. The initial reaction from a few fellow meteorologists and climatologists was to dismiss her ideas and research findings by claiming that the jet stream had started to behave differently around 15 to 20 years earlier and prior to the more recent ice loss. Like many new theories, the "establishment" often take a while to realise that there is far more too them than they first thought or perhaps "wanted to believe"!. Part of the controversy was simply due to the type of theory which went right into the heart of the global warming and climate change debate. I have always tried to take a very balanced and open minded approach to this subject that has such extreme and polarised views. Jennifer is very concerned about the impacts of global warming but all that she has been doing is researching how the changes which have been happening (however much they are due to human induced activities or natural variability or, as I tend to believe a combination of the two) are impacting on the global weather patterns and what might we expect going forward. 

 

This presentation which is pitched at an "easy to understand" level covers the following: 

  • It starts off with that cool Atlantic pool which formed off the southern tip of Greenland several years ago and how this has impacted on the Gulf stream.
  • This is developed into an explanation of how this was partly responsible for the unusually positioned HP ridge which steered hurricane Florence into the east coast.
  • Then this is also related to hurricane Harvey and Sandy.
  • A more detailed explanation of the weaker and changing Jet Stream follows.
  • Next the Californian droughts are explained (much longer term changes than those created by El Nino and La Nina episodes) 
  • She distinguishes between natural processes in the warming Pacific and unnatural processes like the warm NPAC and the ice loss in the Bering Sea and off Alaska..
  • You will see how this impacts on the whole N Am weather patterns and further afield.
  • The final topic covers Super Typhoon Mangkhut and its intensity, excessive rainfall and the storm surge impacts are largely put down to climate change.

 

Overall, this presentation is rather more than a simple learner's guide and the charts and visuals are really well explained. Just click on the title below for a link to the Research Portal entry:

 

How Global Warming and Arctic Ice melt Intensify Hurricanes - YouTube Presentation   From there, you will find a quick link to the 13 minute presentation.

 

I will be adding more of Jennifer's presentations to the portal in the coming weeks. There is a more detailed one on the changing Jet Stream which I will review on the Teleconnections thread and some which are more specific to the Arctic and I'll review those on that thread.  David :) 

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WHY I'M DETERMINED TO MAINTAIN A COMPLETELY BALANCED AND OPEN-MINDED APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE

 

I've already stated my "balanced" views on this topic in my very first post on this thread but my recent activities strengthen my resolve to continue to take this moderate approach. Yesterday I produced a very long and important post on "Global Glacial Ice" which is on the Arctic thread.  This contains a vast amount of facts and statistics.  It was a real struggle to gather all the data and I went through over 40 sources. We all know that there's a load of conflicting views, reports and data out there but doing this research revealed that only a very small amount of it is reliable and at all accurate. If (which I do not) I held an extreme view at "either" end of the climate change/global warming debate I could easily make a very convincing case for either side based on a lot of "so-called" supporting material. 

 

To cite just one example (and there are many 1,000s of them out there), I saw several reports and presentations with a headline like this:  "Greenland suffers fastest ever ice loss in 2016" but I also saw "Greenland sees above average snowfall accumulation in 2016". This makes me really angry as I closely follow the actual changes from a few trusted sources and I'm aware of what is really going on.  About a week ago,  I produced a special Greenland (long) post on the Arctic thread and I copy just one (of the many) charts below.  In 2016 we did indeed see a long and fast melt season (the yellow bar on the chart) but 2012 was much higher so even that part of the first claim was misleading (not a record - more in a minute on that). Then, 2016 did indeed see an above average annual snowfall but only "slightly" (the red bar with 0 being annual average).  If you only go by "melting" or "snowfall" it's quite possible for both to be above or below average at the same time by the end of a period of weeks let alone over the course of a whole year. Much depends on the circulation patterns that can bring increased snowfall (at any time of the year to most of Greenland with its generally high elevation with mountains, plateaus and/or a deep ice sheet).

 

The main focus has to be on the "net" accumulation or decline and the extremists often ignore this completely unless it suits their case to refer to it. This information is available and shown in this chart too. It's the SMB or "surface mass balance" (the blue bar) which takes account of both ice melt and snowfall. For 2016, the climate change protangonists were in fact closer to the truth on that occasion but the net annual ice mass loss then was only the 5th lowest in the 10 year period up to 2016. Bad enough, so why exaggerate it? 

 

Now if they partly won the argument for 2016, they have definitely lost it for 2017 and particularly for 2018 which both saw net ice gains. For 2017 they reported that snow melt was above average and indeed it was, very slightly.  What they would not admit to was that snowfall was well above average and crucially, so was the SMB - in fact the best year since 1996!  Then in 2018 (to date) we see an amazing swing to favour the deniers' case (but in isolation from everything else). The highest snowfall accumulation since 1972 and in the whole record back to 1960 and with 8 weeks to go at this time of the year, 2018 is almost certain to achieve the highest of all and probably by quite a long way.  This year has seen both high winter snowfall and then record snowfalls during parts of the summer months too - mostly due to anomalous north east flows. Fresh snow cover in the summer whitens the surfaces and increases the albedo effect (you can read all about that on the Arctic thread in several posts there) and greatly reduces melt. There was a period in mid-summer when 2018 saw some very rapid melting but the melt season had started very late and ended extremely early (with considerable snowfalls in late August). So it means that 2018 has seen below average melting for the first time since 2002. The combined effect has been to produce a strongly +ve SMB anomaly - currently the 4th highest in the data set. As we approach winter, hardly any or, more likely, no further melting should occur anyway and Greenland has been seeing well below average surface temps which are predicted to continue (unlike much of the rest of the Arctic region). With further snowfall to come, the SMB can only rise further and "perhaps" challenge those three best years (more after the chart).

gr7.PNG.86302c506b51faa3a3d05b627c2686b0

This chart shows the model results for the Greenland Ice Sheet snowfall and melt runoff since 1960. The model (MAR 3.9) was run using input from National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) weather reanalysis data. The surface mass balance (SMB) refers to the net difference between snowfall input and meltwater runoff, or evaporation, loss. The bars show the relative difference from the 1981 to 2010 reference period of observations and modeling. 

 

You would think that the protagonists would keep fairly quite on Greenland for a while (which they haven't) and focus on many other areas where there are some real concerns (which they have). They now challenge the measurements and put forward various counter arguments. Why did they not do this several years ago?  Answer - simply because it suited them to quote all the figures when there was horrific levels of melting in most of the years years from 2002 up to 2016. We have heard stories and seen news reports (at least up until very recently) of the Greenland ice cap melting, with deep sub-surface lakes being discovered (almost unrelated to the surface conditions and "not" a sign of the ice cap becoming unstable (unlike towards the coast) - I'll do a report into those and the huge ones buried under up to 3 miles of ice in Antarctica in due course....there are other concerns, I know).  What is happening is that global warming and the warming Arctic and declining ice is producing a lot more moisture.  Greenland is so elevated that almost all of this falls as snow even in the summer months.  This extra weight of snow compresses the top of the ice cap and increases the rate of the ice cycle. The higher melt rates (seen in "most" recent years) is likely to continue into the foreseeable future and coastal ice melting and breaking off (calving ice bergs) only accelerates the ice cycle. Even this would not be a huge concern if increased new snowfall allows the SMB to remain +ve. 

 

Greenland and particularly Antarctica are two areas going against the rapid ice loss trend or at least greatly slowing down the "net" global ice loss as precious land ice is vitally important going forward. This does not mean that the deniers have it all their way, very far from it as the Arctic region as a whole is suffering from extremely low levels of sea ice extent, receding glaciers with only a few exceptions (see my Glacial Ice post for the facts on all this) in all the adjoining land areas as well as anomalously high surface temps and SSTs. There is a lot of research and exploration going on into all the large ice sheets and much more sophisticated measurements are being made.  It's essential that all this data is made available to everyone so that we can analyse what is really going on.  

 

I'll finish by copying a short post that I did on Thursday on the UK forum that I'm a member of.  This was to try and add some balance to a passionate exchange of views that was getting out of hand.  Perhaps not a particularly wise thing to do. I'll provide the link to the NASA report at the end. Here's the unedited version of it from their Antarctica thread (albeit a climate change matter):

 

Hi BFTP, I really wanted to avoid getting into this rather heated or shall I say "passionate" exchange of views. I strongly believe in a well considered, evidence based and respectful debate but this does seem to have degenerated into something rather less savoury. I know that you have a good knowledge, especially on solar activity and impacts and that you have formed your own views on climate change over a period of time. I should say that just on that point, I take a very balanced approach towards climate change and global warming. Almost everyone agrees that it is happening but the debate is even more polarised than Brexit is and it's a worldwide issue. It's the degree of human influences vs natural variability that is causing the most disagreement. The politics in all this has gone off the scale.  Well respected scientists are often misquoted, other scientists' are sometimes controlled by their employers who have vested interests at one end of the debate or the other - the paymaster rules! There are still plenty of "independents" out there and I wish all scientists could go back to some of their golden rules, which is to always keep an open mind, challenge existing theories and search for the real evidence. Then the media and other influential people get involved and put their slant on things. Fake news, a lot of hype, misleading or exaggerated statistics and false claims are made from both sides and the divide becomes even greater. Then the instant worldwide exposure through all the social (or unsocial!) media channels expands on these news stories and reports and any inaccuracies become highly magnified with many innocent members of the general public taking much of it as factual when very often it is not. The more the dramatic and sensational the news story or report is the more likely it is that the facts becoming distorted.  

I "passionately" believe in balance and that many of us on these weather forums with varying degrees of meteorological and climatological knowledge and experience should be highly responsible about all of this.  We can pool our knowledge on threads like this (re Antarctica) or on other specialist thread by analysing reports, news stories and statistics with completely open minds - not allowing our personal views to interfere.  That way we have half a chance of sifting out the facts from the fiction to far better understand exactly what is going on.  What is the rate of change; what is the degree of human influence; what are the longer term cycles that effect natural variability; how different are current conditions to those historically (recent and long term past); how do all these interact; what are the short, medium and long term influences and impacts;  what can be done to avoid the worst of them (eg: I've heard recently that technology may be developed to harness the methane as it escapes from thawing tundra and permafrost regions - just one of many sensible solutions which would also reduce atmospheric pollution or avoid a further increase - better to use it as fuel and break down this highly toxic gas into far less toxic ones).

 

Now turning to current discussions @BornFromTheVoid is right that an awful lot of inaccurate claims are being made on here but i can see how a misunderstanding has developed over this report. I've been following NASA's work for some time. If one reads the full article in that report you will see that the first part does refer to NASA's main research into Antarctica volcanoes but they do NOT claim that this will lead to a massive melting of land ice. They explain how some of the fairly recently discovered subterranean lakes (during the last 5 years or so) are quite likely to have been formed by volcanism.  Remember that some of the vast lakes have been discovered further east and more inland too and the biggest ones which contain liquid water are sometimes over 3 miles below the thickest parts of the ice sheet and may be over 40 million year old. NASA are referring to near the western Antarctica coastline where some "net" ice loss has occurred in recent years. They say that the ice sheet/shelves there are becoming more unstable and that volcanism "might" be a contributory factor (it's useful to read some of their earlier reports on this to put it into perspective). They suggest that all this needs to be explored further. Note that the report is on their news media site and it is the second part that they refer to where the claim is being "suggested" but they are referencing the report by scientists Helene Seroussi and Eric Ivins who have done research into this and also into Greenland's ice cap for at least 6 years and they've written many reports.on this subject. (always a good idea to check out the authors).  NASA reference their fascinating paper: "Influence of a West Antarctic mantle plume on ice sheet basal conditions," which you'll find was actually published over a year ago (on 1st August 2017) and built on their earlier research - so nothing new about this latest news - just that social media seem to have been quite late into jumping on the band wagon and bringing it into the heart of the climate change debate. In any event, there is actually a reasonable degree of balance in the paper. Volcanism itself is "mostly" naturally occurring but how it interacts with the more unstable western Antarctic ice sheet certainly does need to be studied and that's exactly what much of the research going on down there is aimed at. Frankly, it is far too early to jump to any conclusions and definitely not to infer that 2+2=5 (or more). The paper was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.  The authors/scientists work for several institutions and are indeed currently contracted to JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) which is sponsored by NASA.

 

It should be noted that the "very slight" net melting in western Antarctica does "seem" to be more or less compensated by the increased snowfall, particularly in the drier interior and much of the east. This additional snowfall, is speeding up the ice cycle. The main ice sheet and small glaciers are indeed moving more quickly. Ice shelves breaking off into the sea do make for sensational news headlines but this is all part of the process.  What matters is the "net" ice amount on the whole continent. There are some conflicting reports on this and we must get at the truth.  With further global temp rises (if/as they happen) there is likely to be far greater snowfall. The Antarctica ice equilibrium may well be maintained for many years if not centuries but "if" other global ice retreat and loss does continue and worldwide temps continue to rise, all that increased snowfall in Antarctica might do (and perhaps also Greenland to a lesser extent - see my long post on the good news story there for 2018 on the Arctic Ice and Stats thread) is slow down the overall process to some extent. The other thing to bear in mind is that the behaviour of a mountain glacier or snowfield and how it reacts to volcanism is on a very minor scale compared to a vast ice sheet. Far more research is needed and we can track some of this on this thread but let's not argue about it all, instead let's examine the facts. David :) 

 

Here's the link to the NASA report:  https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6996   Please note that this is not yet in the Research Portal and I will add this, the "Influence of a West Antarctic mantle plume on ice sheet basal conditions," paper as well as on Antarctica volcanoes within a week or too.  I will also be producing a full post on Antarctica's volcanoes and assess their impacts on destabilising both the ice sheet edges and coastal glaciers and ice shelves as well as under the much deeper interior ice sheet.  There is some fascinating research being conducted not only by NASA but others like the "British Antarctic Survey".  So much to report on and so much for all of us to learn. I love this subject but I am also very concerned at the "possible" consequences - perhaps in a similar way to when some of you US members are faced with the dilemma surrounding a major Atlantic hurricane - exciting and fascinating to track until you focus on the potential loss of life and property. if that's the sprint then the "potential" consequences of climate change that some predict would be the marathon. More research, more true facts and more accurate and independent analysis and reporting by everyone - please!  David :) 

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What a phenomenal thread.   Thank you for such brilliant open minded discussion on the topic. 

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