Tuesday, June 19, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Antarctica Is Still Gaining Ice, NASA Scientist Says

Claimed Antarctic Ice Loss In Doubt

In this newsletter:

1) Antarctica Is Still Gaining Ice, NASA Scientist Says 
Daily Caller, 15 June 2018 
2) Ice Loss? Maybe
GWPF Observatory, 15 June 2018

3) Reminder: Scientists Uncover Earth's Largest Volcanic Region Two Kilometres Below Antarctic Ice Sheet 
Daily Mail, 13 August 2017
4) Renewable Energy An Existential Risk To Australian Industry
Xinhua News Agency, 15 June 2018
5) Green Loans Dry Up As UK Govt Ends Subsidies For Renewables
Peer2Peer Finance News, 15 June 2018 
6) Audi CEO Stadler Arrested in Diesel-Cheating Probe
Bloomberg, 18 June 2018

Full details:

1) Antarctica Is Still Gaining Ice, NASA Scientist Says 
Daily Caller, 15 June 2018 

Michael Bastasch

Is Antarctica melting or is it gaining ice? A recent paper claims Antarctica’s net ice loss has dramatically increased in recent years, but forthcoming research will challenge that claim.

NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally first challenged the “consensus” on Antarctica in 2015 when he published a paper showing ice sheet growth in eastern Antarctica outweighed the losses in the western ice sheet.

Zwally will again challenge the prevailing narrative of how global warming is affecting the South Pole. Zwally said his new study will show, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.

Much like in 2015, Zwally’s upcoming study will run up against the so-called “consensus,” including a paper published by a team of 80 scientists in the journal Nature on Wednesday. The paper estimates that Antarctic is losing, on net, more than 200 gigatons of ice a year, adding 0.02 inches to annual sea level rise.

“Basically, we agree about West Antarctica,” Zwally told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “East Antarctica is still gaining mass. That’s where we disagree.”

Reported ice melt mostly driven by instability in the western Antarctic ice sheet, which is being eaten away from below by warm ocean water. Scientists tend to agree ice loss has increased in western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula has increased.

Measurements of the eastern ice sheet, however, are subject to high levels of uncertainty. That’s where disagreements are.

“In our study East Antarctic remains the least certain part of Antarctica for sure,” Andrew Shepherd, the study’s lead author and professor at the University of Leeds, told TheDCNF.

“Although there is relatively large variability over shorter periods, we don’t detect any significant long-term trend over 25 years,” Shepherd said.

However, Zwally’s working on a paper that will show the eastern ice sheet is expanding at a rate that’s enough to at least offset increased losses the west.

The ice sheets are “very close to balance right now,” Zwally said. He added that balance could change to net melting in the future with more warming.

So, why is there such a big difference between Zwally’s research and what 80 scientists recently published in the journal Nature?

There are several reasons for the disagreement, but the biggest is how researchers make what’s called a glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), which takes into account the movement of the Earth under ice sheets.

Scientists use models to measure the movement of land mass in response to changes the ice sheet sitting on top.

For example, Zwally said eastern Antarctica’s land mass has been going down in response to ice sheet mass gains.

That land movement effects ice sheet data, especially in Antarctica where small errors in GIA can yield big changes ice sheet mass balance — whether ice is growing or shrinking. There are also differences in how researchers model firn compaction and snowfall accumulation.

“It needs to be known accurately,” Zwally said. “It’s an error of being able to model. These are models that estimate the motions of the Earth under the ice.”

Zwally’s 2015 study said an isostatic adjustment of 1.6 millimeters was needed to bring satellite “gravimetry and altimetry” measurements into agreement with one another.

Shepherd’s paper cites Zwally’s 2015 study several times, but only estimates eastern Antarctic mass gains to be 5 gigatons a year — yet this estimate comes with a margin of error of 46 gigatons.

Zwally, on the other hand, claims ice sheet growth is anywhere from 50 gigatons to 200 gigatons a year.

Full story

2) Ice Loss? Maybe. Maybe Not
GWPF Observatory, 15 June 2018

Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

The headlines say “Antarctica loses three trillion tonnes of ice in 25 years.” They add that it’s shedding ice at an accelerating rate. Sounds a lot, perhaps it will be gone soon? Actually it amounts to only 0.011 percent of total Antarctic ice. If that is, anything is being lost at all.

An analysis published in the journal Nature looks at satellite observations of the continent. They began in the early 90s and measure the height of the ice and its motion. Some satellites can measure the change in gravity as they pass over the ice and infer its mass.

The papers abstract reads:

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Here we combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modeling of its surface mass balance to show that it lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres (errors are one standard deviation). Over this period, ocean-driven melting has caused rates of ice loss from West Antarctica to increase from 53 ± 29 billion to 159 ± 26 billion tonnes per year; ice-shelf collapse has increased the rate of ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula from 7 ± 13 billion to 33 ± 16 billion tonnes per year. We find large variations in and among model estimates of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment for East Antarctica, with its average rate of mass gain over the period 1992–2017 (5 ± 46 billion tonnes per year) being the least certain.

The main loss of ice is from west Antarctica which is the largest and densest volcanic region on Earth with over 100 volcanoes under the ice.

The first worrying thing about the paper are the error bars. In scientific literature it is normal to use errors of two standard deviations and not one. Even two sigma errors are in my opinion not enough but one certainly isn’t. It’s often used in cases where to quote two sigma errors would make the measurement look unconvincing.

The paper states that 2720 +/- 1390 billion tonnes of ice were lost between 1992 -2017. Using two sigma errors changes that to a loss of 2720 +/- 2780 billion tonnes, which gives an entirely different impression. In fact the hypothesis that there has been any ice loss at all is not warranted by such errors.

If you accept the figures then the ice loss has been contributing 0.3 mm per year to sea level rise, or just over ten percent of the observed rise since the 19th century.

Another talking point about these observations is that they contradict other studies. In particular a NASA study of a few years ago which indicates Antarctica is gaining ice.

With only 25 years of observations it is not possible to tell if this is part of cyclic behaviour. As the authors of the paper admit the ice loss in west Antarctica is due to the intrusion of warmer water, and nothing at all to do with global warming. It is likely that such changes have happened before.


3) Reminder: Scientists Uncover Earth's Largest Volcanic Region Two Kilometres Below Antarctic Ice Sheet 
Daily Mail, 13 August 2017

A team of scientists unearthed a volcanic region previously hidden under ice sheets, with the geologist who led the team warning of destabilising consequences.

Edinburgh University researchers uncovered almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest almost as tall as Switzerland's 3,970-metre Eiger.

Geologists think the region, which sits two kilometres below ice in west Antarctica, will dwarf east Africa’s volcanic ridge, which is rated as the world's densest concentration of volcanoes…

'The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.'

Full story
4) Renewable Energy An Existential Risk To Australian Industry
Xinhua News Agency, 15 June 2018

The Australian industry will be put at risk unless the federal government’s new energy policy guarantees round-the-clock power at internationally competitive prices, according to the country’s biggest aluminium producer.

Tomago chief executive Matt Howell said renewable forms of energy were unable to deliver reliable and affordable power to energy-intensive users.

“We cannot, in our approach to this transition, lose sight of the fact that there are 24/7 baseload energy customers,” Howell told The Australian newspaper on Friday.

“And we have to make sure our grid can still provide energy to those customers at competitive prices, irrespective of the weather.”

His company, based in the Hunter region of New South Wales, produces 593,000 tonnes of aluminium a year, but a sharp fall in available energy last week caused three potlines at its plant to shut down.

Maintenance work meant coal-fired generation was unavailable and this had coincided with low solar generation and higher-than-usual domestic demand.
Howell said Australia’s overall baseload capacity had been cut, with coal generation replaced by unreliable energy sources that could not be economically bolstered with gas or battery storage.

Battery storage was not viable for big energy users, noting that South Australia’s vaunted solar Tesla battery “would power us for about eight minutes.”

“So, our question is: in the absence of wind and solar and commercial reliable storage for energy-intensive industries, where does the energy come from for industries such as ours that need it every minute of the day? Where does it come from when the intermittent generators are simply not providing?”

Full story

5) Green Loans Dry Up As UK Govt Ends Subsidies For Renewables
Peer2Peer Finance News, 15 June 2018 

A dearth of renewable energy loans has been blamed on over-zealous lenders chasing “low hanging fruit” and an end to a government-backed subsidy programme.

In May, Assetz Capital closed its Green Energy Account (GEA) and in March, defunct P2P platform Trillion Fund paid off its final renewable energy loan. Both platforms have blamed a lack of new loans and an end to government subsidies for the failure of their green initiatives.

However, Bruce Davis, joint managing director of Abundance Investment, told Peer2Peer Finance News that most P2P lenders were disproportionately targeting lower-risk operational loans in the renewable energy space, and ignoring the opportunities in infrastructure and construction.

“In terms of operational assets, there is an abundance of money chasing too few deals at the moment,” said Davis. “The big money tends to go after the low hanging fruit which is operational assets. This means that it is challenging to compete for project tenders in this sector.”

According to Theresa Burton, chief executive of Trillion Fund, the end to government subsidies meant that Britain’s emerging wind and solar farms were unable to scale up to meet demand, and this is what caused deal flow to dry up.

Full story

6) Audi CEO Stadler Arrested in Diesel-Cheating Probe
Bloomberg, 18 June 2018

VW manager becomes highest-profile arrest in emissions probe

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested in Munich today in connection with the diesel-cheating scandal, making him the highest-profile target in the probe that’s engulfed the carmaker and parent Volkswagen for almost three years.

Munich prosecutors investigating Audi’s role in the 2015 scandal confirmed they arrested Stadler, 55, in the Bavarian capital because of risk he may tamper with evidence, according to an emailed statement Monday.

The decision throws into doubt the manager’s future at the helm of Volkswagen’s most important earnings contributor.

Pressure on Stadler has steadily built over the past few months, including a raid at his home last week. Until now, backing of the Porsche and Piech families, who control the world’s biggest carmaker, ensured him continuing in the role he’s held since 2007. Volkswagen’s supervisory board is meeting today, where Stadler’s future will be among the topics of discussion.

Full story

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

1 comment:

5th generation Kiwi said...
Reply To This Comment

Your argument stacks up and indicates that once again alarmist predictions particularly regarding so called global warming will always grab the news headlines because that's what grabs the audience attention and it helps prove all the leftist green propaganda that we have been subject to for the last 20 odd years. The true or balanced facts get in the way and don't get any attention, that would ruin a good story eh!