Tuesday, May 9, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Antarctic Ice More Stable Than Thought

Antarctic Ice Sheet Has Been Stable For Millions Of Years: Study

In this newsletter:

1) Antarctic Ice Sheets Stable For Millions Of Years
The Indian Express 8 May 2017

2) Antarctic Peninsula Ice More Stable Than Thought
University of Leeds, 2 May 2017

3) Data Analyses Show Rapid Global Surface Cooling, Growing Arctic Ice Thickness
No Tricks Zone, 6 May 2017

4) Scientists ‘More Confident Than Ever’ In Global Warming After Studying The Lack Of It For 15 Years
Daily Caller, 5 May 2017

5) NYT Columnist Warns Of ‘Intellectual Hubris’ Among Climate Scientists
Daily Caller, 7 May 2017 

6) Ivanka Trump To Review Climate Policy As US Mulls Paris Pullout
Associated Press, 6 May 2017

7) And Finally: Are Microbiologists Climate-Denying Science Haters?
American Council On Science and Health, 4 May 2017 

Full details:

1) Antarctic Ice Sheets Stable For Millions Of Years
The Indian Express 8 May 2017 

The ice sheets of central Antarctica have been stable for millions of years when conditions were warmer than now, a new research has found.

Scientists calculated that the mountains have been shaped by an ice sheet over a million-year period, beginning in a climate some 20 degrees warmer than at present. (Reuters)

The ice sheets of central Antarctica have been stable for millions of years when conditions were warmer than now, a new research has found. Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Northumbria studied rocks on slopes of the Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica, whose peaks protrude through the ice sheet. However, the scientists are concerned that ice at the coastline is vulnerable to rising temperature, though the discovery points towards the long-term stability of Antarctica’s ice sheet.

Scientists calculated that the mountains have been shaped by an ice sheet over a million-year period, beginning in a climate some 20 degrees warmer than at present.

“The preservation of old rock surfaces is testimony to the stability of at least the central parts of the Antarctic ice sheet — but we are still very concerned over other parts of Antarctica amid climate change,” said David Sugden, professor at University of Edinburgh.

The last time such climates existed in the mountains of Antarctica was 14 million years ago when vegetation grew in the mountains and beetles thrived, the paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters noted.

This time marked the start of a period of cooling and the growth of a large ice sheet that extended offshore around the Antarctic continent.

Glaciers have subsequently cut deep into the landscape, leaving a high-tide mark — known as a trimline — in the exposed peaks of the Ellsworth range.

The extended ice sheet cooled the oceans and atmosphere, helping form the world of today, researchers stated.

Journal Reference:
David E. Sugden, Andrew S. Hein, John Woodward, Shasta M. Marrero, Ángel Rodés, Stuart A. Dunning, Finlay M. Stuart, Stewart P.H.T. Freeman, Kate Winter, Matthew J. Westoby. The million-year evolution of the glacial trimline in the southernmost Ellsworth Mountains, AntarcticaEarth and Planetary Science Letters, 2017; 469: 42 DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.04.006

2) Antarctic Peninsula Ice More Stable Than Thought
University of Leeds, 2 May 2017

Glacier flow at the southern Antarctic Peninsula has increased since the 1990s, but a new study has found the change to be only a third of what was recently reported. The new research calls into question recent claims of much more dramatic ice loss.

An international team of researchers, led by the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds, are the first to map the change in ice speed. The team collated measurements recorded by five different satellites to track changes in the speed of more than 30 glaciers since 1992.

The findings, published today in Geophysical Research Letters, represent the first detailed assessment of changing glacier flow in Western Palmer Land — the southwestern corner of the Antarctic Peninsula.

View from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Rothera research station, on Alexander Island at the Antarctic Peninsula

The new Leeds led research calls into question a recent study from the University of Bristol that reported 45 cubic kilometres per year increase in ice loss from the sector. The Leeds research found the increase to be three times smaller.

Lead author Dr Anna Hogg, from the Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment, said:

“Dramatic changes have been reported in this part of Antarctica, so we took a closer look at how its glaciers have evolved using 25 years of satellite measurements dating back to the early 1990s.”

The researchers found that between 1992 and 2016, the flow of most of the region’s glaciers increased by between 20 and 30 centimetres per day, equating to an average 13% speedup across the glaciers of Western Palmer Land as a whole.

These measurements provide the first direct evidence that Western Palmer Land is losing ice due to increased glacier flow — a process known as dynamical imbalance.

The team also combined their satellite observations with an ice flow model using data assimilation to fill in gaps where the satellites were unable to produce measurements. This allowed the complete pattern of ice flow to be mapped, revealing that the regions glaciers are now pouring an additional 15 cubic kilometres of ice into the oceans each year compared to the 1990s.

The earlier study reported that the region was losing three times this amount of ice, based on measurements of glacier thinning and mass loss determined from other satellite measurements. The Leeds study casts doubt on that interpretation, because the degree of glacier speedup is far too small.

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3) Data Analyses Show Rapid Global Surface Cooling, Growing Arctic Ice Thickness
No Tricks Zone, 6 May 2017
P Gosselin

Analyses show that global temperatures continue their rapid cooling, as Schneefan here writes. What follows are excerpts of his recent comprehensive analysis.

In April surface temperatures 2 meters above the ground plummeted as the following NCEP chart shows:


Global satellite temperature anomaly from the mean measured by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) rebounded a bit after a large March drop.

Source: UAH Global Temperature +0.27 deg. C.

Foremost the atmosphere above the oceans cooled the most during March, 2017. This is clearly depicted by the UAH: an anomaly of +0.29°K to +0.09°K compared to the WMO 1981-2010 mean.

Plot UAH satellite temperatures von UAH in the atmosphere 1500 m altitude (TLT) over the oceans. Note the rose colored curve shows the ARGO ocean buoys’ mean of the sea temperature to a depth of 2.5 m, with 37-month smoothing.  Source:, sea surface temperature estimates: UAH.

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4) Scientists ‘More Confident Than Ever’ In Global Warming After Studying The Lack Of It For 15 Years
Daily Caller, 5 May 2017
Michael Bastasch

A new study examining explanations for the 10- to 15-year “hiatus” in global warming has scientists “more confident than ever that human influence is dominant in long-term warming.” But climate skeptics are already firing back at the claims.

“In a time coinciding with high-level political negotiations on preventing climate change, skeptical media and politicians were using the apparent lack of warming to downplay the importance of climate change,” researchers with the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science (IACS) in Switzerland wrote in a study published Thursday in the journal Nature.

“A few years of additional data are unlikely to overturn the vast body of evidence that supports anthropogenic climate change,” reads the study, adding the recent El Nino and new data have them “more confident than ever that human influence is dominant” in global warming.

IACS’s study looked at different explanations for the “hiatus” in global warming, which the study defined as the 10 or 15 years after 1998, ultimately to put to rest arguments by skeptics the lack of warming during this time cut into theories of catastrophic warming.

“I think it does a really good job at tying a bow on the last five years or so of hiatus arguments,” Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann told The Los Angeles Times.

But skeptics are already firing back at IACS’s work.

Dr. David Whitehouse with the Global Warming Policy Foundation reminded IACS the “hiatus” only ended because of a strong El Nino — a naturally-occurring weather event.

“The pause ended not because of gradual global warming but because of a natural weather event whose temporary increased rate of global warming was far too large to be anthropogenic,” Whitehouse wrote.

“One could be a little sarcastic in saying why would Nature devote seven of its desirable pages to an event that some vehemently say never existed and maintain its existence has been disproved long ago,” Whitehouse wrote. “Now, however, as the El Nino spike of the past few years levels off, analyzing the ‘pause’ seems to be coming back into fashion.”

The “hiatus” in warming confounded scientists for years, sparking a fierce debate over its causes or if it even existed. Tom Karl, a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists claimed to debunk the “hiatus” by adjusting buoy temperatures upward, creating more warming.

Some scientists saw Karl’s study as the final blow in the debate, but subsequent studies continued to argue for the existence of a “hiatus” being caused by natural factors.

Based on Karl’s data and increased warming in recent years, IACS researchers say the lack of warming from 1998 onward doesn’t diminish their confidence in long-term predictions made by climate models.

“In fact, it increases the confidence in the dominant role of humans in long-term warming,” reads the study.

IACS researchers removed natural factors, like El Nino events, aerosols and solar forcing, they found “the anthropogenically forced global warming signal has not decreased substantially.”

“When we take these into consideration, what we are left with from the apparent hiatus is not inconsistent with the understanding of human influence on global climate,” reads the IACS’s study.

“Then, as now, the deep ocean was proposed to store the heat,” the study found, adding “that this would be only temporary, although other factors such as aerosol forcing probably played a part in the halted warming.”

“A decade ago it was held that the anthropogenic signal of global warming was strong,” Whitehouse wrote. “Only when surface temperatures did not increase by the 0.3°C per decade most climate models had predicted that qualifications were made. Natural decadal variability was used to explain the lack of temperature rise and it resulted in a gradual change of view.”

“Whether the pause will return after the recent El Nino and its aftermath settles down remains to be seen,” Whitehouse wrote. “From its skeptical beginnings the pause has become the major controversy and debating point in climate science.”

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5) NYT Columnist Warns Of ‘Intellectual Hubris’ Among Climate Scientists
Daily Caller, 7 May 2017 
Chris White

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens said Sunday that climate scientists risk sounding incompetent when making predictions about the future effects of global warming.


Stephens, who formerly worked with the Wall Street Journal, told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that climatologists should dial back their dire predictions about the effects of global warming or risk looking foolish when those predictions turn out to be false. He also reiterated that he is not a climate skeptic.

Stephens faced backlash last month for writing in his first NYT column that “if there was less certitude about our climate future, more Americans would be more interested in having a reasoned conversation.”

He explicitly stated in the piece that he doesn’t refuse the idea of climate change, and reiterated Sunday to Zakaria that he doesn’t deny climate change or “that we need to address it.”

“The point of the article was to say that there is a risk in any predictive science of hubris,” Stephens said, referring to a U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report in 2007 claiming a very high likelihood that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 — the prognostication was later discredited. “I think that’s a distinction that I’m afraid was lost in some of more intemperate criticism,” he added. “But people who read the column carefully can see I said nothing outrageous or beyond the pale of normal discussion.”

Climate scientists and activists threatened to unsubscribe from the NYT for hiring a person they consider a climate “denialist.”

Climatologists Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf urged other left-leaning academics to follow their lead to send a signal to The Gray Lady that climate skepticism is intolerable.

Rahmstorf, a researcher at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research in Germany, accused The NYT of “unbearable hypocrisy” for hiring Stephens while holding itself up as a beacon of “truth.”

Mann, a climate academic at Pennsylvania State University, mirrored much of his colleague’s concerns earlier this month.

“I’m now convinced that the NY Times is part of the problem,” he told reporters at the time. He also said that it “it really is time for people to cancel their subscriptions.”

The NYT has continued to defend Stephens’ pedigree.

“The crux of the question is whether his work belongs inside our boundaries for intelligent debate, and I have no doubt that it does,” James Bennett, the paper’s editorial director, said April 22. “I have no doubt he crosses our bar for intellectual honesty and fairness.”

An online petition urging the paper to fire Stephens has now gathered more than 30,000 signatures in the last seven days.

6) Ivanka Trump To Review Climate Policy As US Mulls Paris Pullout
Associated Press, 6 May 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ivanka Trump will head a review of US climate change policy even as President Donald Trump considers pulling the US out of a global emissions-cutting deal.

Ivanka Trump is in favor of staying in the Paris agreement, while Scott Pruitt wants the U.S. to leave it. (AP Photos)
The United States says it will continue attending United Nations climate change meetings in Bonn, Germany, but Trump’s advisers will meet Tuesday to discuss what to do about the global pact known as the Paris agreement, officials said.

The conflicting signals suggested the administration was trying to keep its options open while Trump decides whether to withdraw, a move the international community would strongly oppose.

Though Trump’s inclination has been to leave the agreement, he’s allowed his daughter, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, to set up an extensive review process, a senior administration official said. The goal is to ensure Trump receives information from both government experts and the private sector before a making a decision.

To that end, Ivanka Trump will hold a separate meeting Tuesday with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, the official said. Pruitt is a chief proponent of leaving the deal and has questioned the science that says humans are contributing to global warming.

And the decision to participate in next week’s UN climate talks shouldn’t be construed as a sign that Trump has decided to stay in the Paris pact, a State Department official added. To the contrary, the US will be sending a “much smaller” delegation than it has in years past, the official said.

The officials weren’t authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly and requested anonymity.

Full story

7) And Finally: Are Microbiologists Climate-Denying Science Haters?
American Council On Science and Health, 4 May 2017 
Alex Berezow

Recently, I gave a seminar on “fake news” to professors and grad students at a large public university. Early in my talk, I polled the audience: “How many of you believe climate change is the world’s #1 threat?” Silence. Not a single person raised his or her hand.

Was I speaking in front of a group of science deniers? The College Republicans? Some fringe libertarian club? No, it was a room full of microbiologists.

How could so many incredibly intelligent people overwhelmingly reject what THE SCIENCE says about climate change? Well, they don’t. They just don’t see it as big of a threat to the world as other things. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of them felt that antibiotic resistance and pandemic disease were the biggest global threats. One person thought geopolitical instability was the biggest concern.

I told them that I believed poverty was the world’s biggest threat. The reason is poverty is the underlying condition that causes so much misery in the world. Consider that 1.3 billion people don’t have electricity. And then consider how the lack of that basic necessity — what the rest of us take completely for granted — hinders their ability to develop economically and to succeed, let alone to have access to adequate healthcare. If we fix poverty, we could stop easily preventable health problems, such as infectious disease and malnutrition.

Was I booed out of the room? No, the audience understood why I believed what I did. But woe unto you who try to have a similar conversation with climate warriors.

Woe Unto You, Bret Stephens

Conservative columnist Bret Stephens, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, landed a new gig at the New York Times. His very first column, “Climate of Complete Certainty,” caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth. And probably the rending of garments. What did he say that caused so much outrage?

In a nutshell, his thesis was that certainty often backfires. He used the Hillary Clinton campaign as an example; in his view, certainty of victory was one factor in her defeat. Next, Mr. Stephens drew an analogy with climate science, worrying that the certainty expressed by the most vocal proponents of major climate policy reforms are speaking with a sense of certainty that is not well-founded. He warned against taking imperfect models too seriously and the dangers of hyperbolic doom-mongering.

It often irks me when political commentators write about science, usually because they haven’t the foggiest clue what they’re talking about. But Mr. Stephens’ article used reasonable and cautious language, and to my knowledge, he didn’t write anything that was factually incorrect. He simply concluded, as I myself have, that doomsday prophesying is wrong — and even if it was right, it convinces few people, anyway. (Do the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church change anyone’s mind?)

Yet, the reaction was swift and entirely predictable. Vox, whose stated mission is to “explain the news,” called Mr. Stephens a “bullshitter.” GQ ran the headline, “Bret Stephens Is Why Liberals Have Every Right to Be Dicks.”

And Wikipedia (whose founder is going to try to solve the problem of fake news) labeled him a “contrarian.”

All that because Mr. Stephens warned against speaking hyperbolically. The concept of irony appears to be lost on his critics.

Can Smart People Disagree About the Threat of Climate Change?

What so many in the media (and apparently the climate science community) fail to understand is that people have different values and priorities. Foreign policy analysts are terrified of North Korea. Economists fear Brexit and a Eurozone collapse. Geologists, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, fear a huge earthquake. Experts across the spectrum perceive threats differently, usually magnifying those with which they are most familiar.

That means smart people can accept a common core of facts (such as the reality of anthropogenic global warming) without agreeing on a policy response.

Yet instead of being a place to debate a policy response for complex science issues, the media have chosen to be an extension of the militant Twitterverse. Even if you are just discussing courses of action, you are not allowed to deviate from climate orthodoxy lest you be labeled a science-denying heretic.

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The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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