Tuesday, February 2, 2021

GWPF Newsletter - NASA: Antarctic sea ice is growing, but we don’t know why


New Cold War threatens to sink international climate efforts

In this newsletter:

1) NASA: Antarctic sea ice is growing, but we don’t know why
NASA Earth Data, 28 December 2020
2) Fewer clouds contribute to more sea ice in Antarctic, Chinese scientists discover
Xinhua, 26 April 2019


3) Where Is Zwally’s New Study?
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 31 January 2021
4) New Cold War threatens to sink international climate efforts
SupChina, 28 January 2021

5) German climate foundation branded a Russian ‘puppet’ over Nord Stream II gas pipeline
The Sunday Times, 31 January 2021
6) Nuclear winter for Britain as power plants close
The Sunday Times, 31 January 2021
7) Net Zero: Two-thirds of UK homes will be unsellable by 2028 unless they insulate
Mail Online, This is money, 25 January 2021
8) And finally: The Impossible Net Zero Fantasy
Willis Eschenbach, Watts Up With That, 27 January 2021

Full details:

1) NASA: Antarctic sea ice is growing, but we don’t know why
NASA Earth Data, 28 December 2020

Sea ice in the Southern Ocean defies predictions. Observations show that ice extent in the Antarctic it has been growing slightly.


[…] Paul Holland, a climate modeler with the British Antarctic Survey, has spent the last ten years studying Antarctica’s sea ice and the Southern Ocean. Lately, he has been scrutinizing the seasons of Antarctica and how fast the ice comes and goes. Holland thinks these seasons may be a key to a conundrum: If Earth’s temperatures are getting warmer and sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking fast, why then is sea ice in the Antarctic slowly increasing?

Opposite poles
Sea ice is simply frozen seawater. Although found only in the Arctic and the Antarctic, it influences Earth’s climate in big ways. Its bright surface reflects sunlight back into space. Icy areas absorb less solar energy and remain relatively cool. When temperatures warm over time and more sea ice melts, fewer bright surfaces reflect sunlight back into space. The ice and exposed seawater absorb more solar energy and this causes more melting and more warming.
Scientists have been watching this feedback loop of warming and melting in the Arctic. To them, Arctic sea ice is a reliable indicator of a changing global climate. They pay the most attention in September when Arctic sea ice shrinks to its smallest extent each year. Measured by satellites since 1979, this minimum extent has been decreasing by as much as 13.7 percent per decade. Antarctic sea ice, on the other hand, has not been considered a climate change indicator. Whereas Arctic sea ice mostly sits in the middle of land-locked ocean—which is more sensitive to sunlight and warming air—Antarctic sea ice surrounds land and is constantly exposed to high winds and waves.
According to climate models, rising global temperatures should cause sea ice in both regions to shrink. But observations show that ice extent in the Arctic has shrunk faster than models predicted, and in the Antarctic it has been growing slightly. Researchers are looking much closer at Antarctica, saying, “Wait, what is going on down there?” Holland is one of those intrigued.

“The Antarctic case is as interesting as the Arctic case,” Holland said. “You can’t understand one without understanding the other.”
Minding the models
To Holland, the discrepancy calls parts of the climate models into question. Modeling groups from around the world collaborate on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), which simulates Earth’s climate and predicts how it will change in the near future. World leaders and policy makers rely on it to decide how much countries should limit carbon emissions, known to cause some aspects of climate change.

“Almost all of the CMIP5 models produce a decrease in Antarctic sea ice,” Holland said. “There is a problem in the bit that reproduces the last 30 years of sea ice variability.” Holland was searching for data to improve and verify his own modeling of trends in Antarctic ice when he noticed that other researchers were finding that the trends varied in strength in the different seasons.

Most studies on Antarctic sea ice trends focus on changes in ice extent. For Holland, it was more important to look at how fast the ice was growing or shrinking from season to season. “Changes in climate forcing directly affect the rate of ice growth,” he said, “not the amount of ice.” Year to year cooling in autumn, for example, may cause faster ice growth during autumn, but not necessarily an increase in the amount of autumn ice.
Spring surprise
Holland used data from NASA’s National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) to calculate the ice concentration rate of growth for each single day, which he called intensification; and the total ice area rate of growth, which he called expansion. “I did that for all thirty years of data and plotted the trends,” he said. Holland’s plots showed that the different regions in the Southern Ocean contributed to the overall increase, but they had very diverse trends in sea ice growth. This suggested that geography and different wind patterns played a role. So to gain more insight Holland looked at seasonal wind trends for the different regions.

Holland found that winds were spreading sea ice out in some regions and compressing or keeping it intact in others and that these effects began in the spring. It contradicted a previous study in which, using ice drift data, Holland and Ron Kwok from the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) found that increasing northward winds during the autumn caused the variations.

“I always thought, and as far as I can tell everyone else thought, that the biggest changes must be in autumn,” Holland said. “But the big result for me now is we need to look at spring. The trend is bigger in the autumn, but it seems to be created in spring.”

“Paul has created two more sea ice metrics that we can use to assess how Antarctic sea ice is responding,” said researcher Sharon Stammerjohn, referring to the measures of intensification and expansion. The new metrics help assess how the system is responding as opposed to simply monitoring the state of the system. “Say your temperature is at 99.2 degrees Fahrenheit,” Stammerjohn said. “You don’t have any insight to that temperature unless you take it again an hour later and you see that it changed to 101 degrees. Then you can say, okay, my system is responding to something.”
Partial explanations
Holland continues to study the Antarctic spring to better understand why Antarctic sea ice is changing. While Holland’s work helps researchers begin to see the problem in more detail, scientists continue to develop ideas about why the ice is expanding.

One study paradoxically suggests that ocean warming and enhanced melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is causing the small but statistically significant sea ice expansion in the region. Another study suggests that rain caused by a warmer climate has been causing an influx of fresh water into the Southern Ocean, making it less dense and inhibiting oceanic heat from reaching sea ice in the Antarctic. To date, there is no consensus on the reason for the expansion.

“Partial explanations have been offered, but we don’t have the complete picture,” said Ted Scambos, a scientist at NSIDC DAAC. “This may just be a case of ‘we don’t know yet.’”

Full post
Video: Antarctica sea ice 2012 - 2020
Anthony Lawrence, YouTube, November 2021
Daily transition of sea ice around Antarctic 2012 - 2020. 

click on image to watch short video
2) Fewer clouds contribute to more sea ice in Antarctic, Chinese scientists discover
Xinhua, 26 April 2019

BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Researchers have discovered that lower cloud coverage in the Antarctic can promote sea ice growth.
Unlike the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice in the warming climate, Antarctic sea ice witnessed a modest extension over the past four decades, according to the paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

The researchers from China and the United States found that Antarctic sea ice had a strong rebound from 2011 to 2012.

"We quantified the effects on sea ice growth via a thermodynamic model based on reanalysis and satellite data and concluded that lower cloud coverage cooled the sea surface and accelerated the sea ice storage," said Wang Yunhe, a researcher from the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"Clouds are like a down jacket for the Antarctic to preserve heat during winter," said Bi Haibo, a researcher from the institute. "Fewer clouds mean more heat is lost from the ocean."

Rapid temperature decline and thicker sea ice in the Antarctic during the winter in 2011 was mainly due to fewer clouds, he said.
3) Where Is Zwally’s New Study?
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 31 January 2021

You might recall Jay Zwally’s inconvenient study published in 2015, showing that the Antarctic ice sheet was actually growing.  

Zwally has since continued this research, and was confident in 2018 that his new updated study would confirm this.
Curiously though this new study is still awaiting publication.
Knowing the shenanigans uncovered in Climategate revolving around suppression of any papers which did not agree with the consensus, has Zwally’s new study also been censored?
4) New Cold War threatens to sink international climate efforts
SupChina, 28 January 2021

Beijing rejects idea of climate as ‘standalone issue’ in U.S.-China relations

China is not eager to appear friendly with the U.S., despite the change of leadership in Washington.

As the Trump administration concluded a marathon run of speeches denouncing Chinese communists and announcements of tough-on-China policies right through to its final days, expectations dimmed that the Biden administration would be able to change much in China relations, at least at first.
“Bilateral relations will barely budge,” we wrote in the SupChina 2021 Red Paper, citing three constraining factors on the Biden administration’s side:
* A bipartisan consensus in Washington that the U.S. approach to China should continue to be more assertive, even though there isn’t agreement on policy details.
* The experience of incoming Biden officials, who would likely heed advice to reject initial offers of a reset from Beijing. (The White House said earlier this week that it was approaching China, for now, with “strategic patience.”)
* A new surge in COVID-19 cases and the unprecedented challenge of a nationwide vaccine rollout. 
Of course, Beijing plays a critical part, too, and today, China indicated that it is not at all eager to appear friendly with the U.S., despite the change of leadership in Washington. In today’s Foreign Ministry press briefing (EnglishChinese), spokesperson Zhào Lìjiān 赵立坚 threw cold water on the idea of U.S.-China cooperation on climate change: 
"China is ready to cooperate with the United States and the international community on climate change.
That said, I’d like to stress that China-U.S. cooperation in specific areas, unlike flowers that can bloom in a greenhouse despite winter chill, is closely linked with bilateral relations as a whole. China has emphasized time and again that no one should imagine they could ask China to understand and support them in bilateral and global affairs when they blatantly interfere in China’s domestic affairs and undermine China’s interests. We hope the United States can create favorable conditions for coordination and cooperation with China in major areas."
In other words, China disagrees with President Biden’s special climate envoy John Kerry, who suggested yesterday that climate change should be a “standalone issue” in U.S.-China relations. 
“U.S. can’t partner [with], confront China at the same time” is how nationalistic state media tabloid the Global Times put it in a piece today, citing comments from Zhao, other senior officials, and Chinese academics. 
Full story

see also Sky News Australia: China threatens to ‘do nothing’ on climate change if US continues genocide accusations

5) German climate foundation branded a Russian ‘puppet’ over Nord Stream II gas pipeline
The Sunday Times, 31 January 2021

The Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation faces accusations that Moscow is funding it to bypass American sanctions on a controversial energy project.

A German environmental foundation that has been given more than £17m by Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, has been accused of being a “puppet” funded by Moscow to circumvent American sanctions on the final stretch of a controversial pipeline carrying Russian natural gas to Germany.

The Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation was set up this month in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the largely rural state in northeast Germany where the 764-mile Nord Stream II pipeline comes ashore.
It is the creation of Manuela Schwesig, the state’s Social Democratic premier, who is an ally of Gerhard Schröder, Germany’s former chancellor and chairman of Nord Stream II.

Schröder has been attacked by political opponents for his close relationship with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, with whom he reached the Nord Stream deal in 2005 shortly before leaving office.
The new foundation espouses a variety of green causes but also has a commercial wing that is authorised to buy parts and equipment for the pipeline, and is seen by Nord Stream’s opponents as a barely veiled attempt to circumvent sanctions.
Some €20m (£17.7m) of its budget comes from Gazprom, which leads the pipeline project – 100 times the €200,000 donated by the state government. The Russians are promising a further €40m in coming years.
Nord Stream also has the right to name the head of the foundation’s commercial wing and other posts on its board.
“Frau Schwesig describes it as an environmental foundation. In fact, it’s a Gazprom Foundation,” Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a senior member of the opposition Free Democratic Party and a leading critic of the project, told Deutschlandfunk radio.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the text of the articles of association is about climate and environmental protection, but 99 per cent of the money comes directly from Nord Stream II AG, which belongs to Gazprom.”

Full story (£)
see also 
Nato claims Moscow funding anti-fracking groups
How cheap energy was killed by Green lies and Russian propaganda
Green-Russian anti-fracking campaign paying off: Britain becomes more dependent on Putin’s gas
6) Nuclear winter for Britain as power plants close
The Sunday Times, 31 January 2021

“The reality is that nuclear capacity will come off before it is replaced, which means carbon emissions will go up or won’t come down.”

[…] Last week, that bold vision lay in tatters as Hitachi pulled down the shutters on Horizon, which it will wind up by the end of March. It has cancelled its application for a development consent order — a formal process needed to secure planning permission — for the £20 billion Wylfa Newydd plant, despite having spent £2 billion exploring every aspect of the project, from the rock strata on the island to the location of Roman ruins.

Hitachi’s defeat follows the collapse of several other nuclear projects and the gradual retreat of companies, first European, then Japanese, from the UK’s nuclear industry. A succession of big players, some backed by governments, has tried to make it work — but, spooked by the huge risks and ambivalence from Westminster, they have concluded it is not worth the trouble and walked away. […]

The consequences will start to become evident over the next few years as ageing reactors are closed down. Those eight power stations, owned jointly by EDF and Centrica, provide about 20 per cent of the country’s electricity, yet they have been repeatedly patched up to extend their lives, and all but one is due to shut over the next decade because their graphite cores are degrading. As one nuclear industry source put it: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. It all decays so glacially slowly. We are about to run out of time to replace this.”

For a government that has made eliminating carbon emissions by 2050 a central policy, those closures are a huge problem. The switch to renewable sources of energy has been one of the great successes of the past decade, their use rising fourfold while that of fossil fuels has more than halved.
Last year, in a run of sunny, windy weather, the UK enjoyed 67 consecutive days of coal-free power generation. But underpinning that low-carbon streak was a substantial slice of nuclear, and when the worst-case scenario arrived in November and wind turbines stopped turning, the country had to revert to gas and coal to keep the lights on.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said the power system was highly vulnerable to price spikes when renewables struggled. He cited the £1,500-a-megawatt hour hit during this month’s cold snap.

“We’re nowhere near where we need to get for net-zero or even the 2030 decarbonisation target. It has also meant that at times, prices have gone up massively.”

“The reality is that nuclear capacity will come off before it is replaced, which means carbon emissions will go up or won’t come down. There is a fallacy at the heart of this debate that assumes everything that’s currently available will be available in 2050. It won’t.”

Full story (£)
7) Net Zero: Two-thirds of UK homes will be unsellable by 2028 unless they insulate
Mail Online, This is money, 25 January 2021

Owners of energy inefficient homes may find themselves the proprietors of unsellable and unlettable properties just over seven years from now.
The Climate Change Committee, which is advising the UK government on how to achieve its net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, has recommended that all homes should have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C from 2028.

UK homes are responsible for about 15 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions.
EPC is a rating scheme which bands properties between A and G, with an A rating being the most efficient and G being the least efficient.

There are currently about 29 million homes in the UK, of which 19 million have an EPC lower than C according to the CCC’s figures. 
In order to improve a property’s EPC rating, an owner will need to make improvements to make it more energy efficient.
The CCC are proposing all UK homes reach an EPC of band C in order to help the government meet its net zero carbon target by 2050.
‘We welcome the report and share the ambition for net zero by 2050,’ said Rob Wall, head of policy at the National Housing Federation.
‘Buildings are the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.’
‘We need to decarbonise our homes, and how they are heated, if we are successfully to tackle climate change.’

What does it mean for homeowners?
The CCC proposes that all homes for sale must attain an EPC rating of C from 2028 onwards.

Currently, only 29.1 per cent of owner occupier properties meet the required rating, so widespread changes will be required.

The last gas boiler should be sold in 2033, with the majority of homes needing to be heated by electric powered heat pumps drawing warmth from the ground. The CCC estimates 415,000 installations per year will be required by 2025 so as to hit a target of 5.5 million heat pumps in homes by 2030.
The report states 700,000 lofts will need to be insulated per year by 2025 – there were only 27,000 lofts insulated in the past year. The committee wants 200,000 cavity wall insulations each year by 2025, when only 41,000 cavity walls were insulated in the past 12 months.
It also recommends solid wall insulation measures to increase to 250,000 a year by 2025, when just 11,000 such works were carried out in the past year alone.
This all comes at a considerable cost for a homeowner.

Estimated costs of some improvements proposed by the CCC which could boost an EPC rating
According to the Green energy supplier, GreenMatch UK the installation cost for an air source heat pump ranges between £8,000 and £18,000.
A ground source heat pump will be even dearer ranging between £20,000 to £40,000 per installation.
Solid wall insulation is around £100 per square meter according to the tradesman matching site, myBuilder, meaning that for a terraced house it could cost around £7,000 while for a larger detached property it could amount to more than £20,000.
‘There is a considerable quantity of pre-1950’s housing stock in the UK which, in the main, lack thermal efficiency,’ said James Perris a chartered surveyor for De Villiers Surveyors.
Perris warns that many homeowners will need to switch to electric or hydrogen heating systems, install double glazing and loft insulation, use solar panels and if possible, operate heat management systems to get a C rating.
Although the CCC does not specifically estimate the costs for the UK’s housing stock achieving an EPC of C, Savills estimate this to be in the order of £304 billion across just England and Wales.

Full story
8) And finally: The Impossible Net Zero Fantasy
Willis Eschenbach, Watts Up With That, 27 January 2021
After reading some information at Friends of Science, I got to thinking about how impossible it will be for us to do what so many people are demanding that we do. This is to go to zero CO2 emissions by 2050 by getting off of fossil fuels.
So let’s take a look at the size of the problem. People generally have little idea just how much energy we get from fossil fuels. Figure 1 shows the global annual total and fossil energy consumption from 1880 to 2019, and extensions of both trends to the year 2050. I note that my rough estimate of 2050 total annual energy consumption (241 petawatt-hrs/year) is quite close to the World Energy Organization’s business-as-usual 2050 estimate of 244 PWhr/yr.


Figure 1. Primary energy consumption, 1880-2019 and extrapolation to 2050. A “petawatt-hour” is 10^15 watt-hours
So if we are going to zero emissions by 2050, we will need to replace about 193 petawatt-hours (10^15 watt-hours) of fossil fuel energy per year. Since there are 8,766 hours in a year, we need to build and install about 193 PWhrs/year divided by 8766 hrs/year ≈ 22 terawatts (TW, or 10^12 watts) of energy generating capacity.
Starting from today, January 25, 2021, there are 10,568 days until January 1, 2050. So we need to install, test, commission, and add to the grid about 22 TW / 10568 days ≈ 2.1 gigawatts/day (GW/day, or 10^9 watts/day) of generating capacity each and every day from now until 2050.

We can do that in a couple of ways. We could go all nuclear. In that case, we’d need to build, commission, and bring on-line a brand-new 2.1 GW nuclear power plant every single day from now until 2050. Easy, right? …
Don’t like nukes? Well, we could use wind power. Now, the wind doesn’t blow all the time. Typical wind “capacity factor”, the percentage of actual energy generated compared to the nameplate capacity, is about 35%. So we’d have to build, install, commission and bring online just under 3,000 medium-sized (2 megawatt, MW = 106 watts) wind turbines every single day from now until 2050. No problemo, right? …
Don’t like wind? Well, we could use solar. Per the NREL, actual delivery from grid-scale solar panel installations on a 24/7/365 basis is on the order of 8.3 watts per square metre depending on location. So we’d have to cover ≈ 96 square miles (250 square kilometres) with solar panels, wire them up, test them, and connect them to the grid every single day from now until 2050. Child’s play, right?
Of course, if we go with wind or solar, they are highly intermittent sources. So we’d still need somewhere between 50% – 90% of the total generating capacity in nuclear, for the all-too-frequent times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.
To summarize: to get the world to zero emissions by 2050, our options are to build, commission, and bring on-line either:
• One 2.1 gigawatt (GW, 109 watts) nuclear power plant each and every day until 2050, OR
• 3000 two-megawatt (MW, 106 watts) wind turbines each and every day until 2050 plus a 2.1 GW nuclear power plant every day and a half until 2050, assuming there’s not one turbine failure for any reason, OR
• 96 square miles (250 square kilometres) of solar panels each and every day until 2050 plus a 2.1 GW nuclear power plant every day and a half until 2050, assuming not one of the panels fails or is destroyed by hail or wind.

Full post

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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