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No, not that Antarctic ice

24 Apr 2024 | OP ED Watch

When you need a quick serving of climate panic, haul Antarctica out of the icebox, defrost it and serve with a side of steaming hype. Thus “New Research from Antarctica Affirms the Threat of the ‘Doomsday Glacier,’ but Funding to Keep Studying It Is Running Out”. World ends, send money. And The Economist just whinged “Antarctica, Earth’s largest refrigerator, is defrosting” then insisted that those clods at the IPCC were all wrong about it being stable. Instead the sea ice crumbled in 2023, temperatures “soared to 30-40°C above normal” in 2022 and well doom looms as usual. “Glaciologists are warning of a regime change, implying that the ice may be entering a new state where it responds differently to events.” Unless it’s not.

To be fair in the latter item Environment editor Catherine Brahic was quoting a fairly complacent IPCC report from 1995, and of course they’ve been dialing up the panic ever since. Well, the politicians have including in the “Summary for Policymakers” section they write themselves. The actual AR6, the latest, says weird stuff about Antarctic sea ice like “No significant circumpolar trend from 1979–2018 (very high confidence)”. And Tony Heller, on the issue as usual, observes with map that:

“Last year’s relatively low Antarctic sea ice extent was widely touted by the press and academics as proof of a ‘climate emergency.’ In reality it was just an outlier and statistical anomaly which has not repeated…. There is more sea ice around Antarctica today than there was in 1980, 1981, 1989, 2006, 2011, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023.”

Even Brahic concedes that “That 60-metre sea-level rise is not going to happen any time soon. That is well beyond the horizon of this century.” Then she adds ominously:

“But the changes that are being documented now will still have consequences in the next few decades. Twenty years ago, Antarctica was the source of just 4% of Earth’s rising sea levels. Greenland fuelled a slightly larger share, while most came from the thermal expansion of water as it warmed up. The balance has since shifted. Greenland and Antarctica will soon be the main sources. Today Antarctica contributes 12%, a share that will only continue to grow.”

Boo hoo. Seas are rising almost imperceptibly and some journalist deduces that Antarctica will melt a little bit and cause them to keep doing so.

It’s also a bit hard to lose sleep over the New York Times’s “They Came From Outer Space. Now, They’re Going Into Hiding. Rising temperatures in Antarctica are making meteorites sink out of view before researchers can collect them.” According to a travel web site, and these guys must be tough, the average temperature at the South Pole ranges from -14F in January to -68 in July and August and even in McMurdo Sound no month has an average above freezing. (Oh, and that temperature spike touted in the intro? It was a computer artefact not an actual measurement.)

The other Economist piece tries for a bit more adrenaline by invoking the time the “deadliest hurricane ever to hit America made landfall over Galveston, Texas, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, on September 8th 1900” and killed over 8,000 people. But uh, that’s a while ago, right? Before man-made warming caused bad weather?

Yes, and afterward:

“a massive concrete seawall was built to keep future storm surges at bay. The engineers thought making it 5 metres tall would be enough. And it was, for 120 years.”

But not any more. See (and if you’re wondering where Antarctica went, stay tuned) it was before man-made warming caused bad weather but also was not:

“as the wall was being built, human-caused climate change was getting under way, piling new heat and energy into the global climate system which would push the seas up shorelines around the world.”

Wait a minute. Human-caused climate change was getting under way in the early 20th century? It’s got to be one of the time-slipperiest events ever, hitting today, hitting in 2000, threatening to hit and hitting in 1917. If the Hundred Years’ War moved around like this, it would be the Decade War, the Two Century War and who knows what all.

And another thing. Sea levels have been rising for nearly 20,000 years so it’s a bit hard to blame whatever bad thing we did in 1900, 1950, 1980 or all of the above for pushing the seas up shorelines around the world. (And some places like Sydney Harbour have the same sea levels today as back then.)

Still, now climate change is leveling Texas, right? Was at least that bit true?

Not per se. Instead some people in a government think it is and are going to throw money at it:

“the US Army Corps of Engineers has a $57bn plan to build a new barrier, dubbed ‘Ike Dike’, to protect Galveston as well as the Houston region and large petrochemical facilities that sit behind the island from ever bigger and more powerful storm surges. It could be the largest civil-engineering project in American history. Where will the water that it is designed to hold back come from? Much of it will hail from Earth’s southernmost continent more than 10,000km away, home to the world’s largest ice mass by a factor of ten: Antarctica.”

Oh. There you are. And about time since:

“When it comes to polar climate impacts, the Arctic receives most of the world’s attention…. The southern pole, by contrast, has been neglected in the climate narrative.”

Yeah. Except for the part where they keep saying it’s melting and a massive flood will wipe out civilization. Who writes this stuff?

We don’t know because that item was unsigned. And just as well since it mocks the settled science, explaining this imaginary neglect as:

“due in part to its remoteness and in part to an early scientific miscalculation. While the Arctic was melting rapidly, Antarctica looked relatively stable. Not only that, climate models suggested it would see more snowfall in a warming world, causing its ice pack to grow, not shrink. The models, it turns out, were wrong.”

Noooooo! Not the models! But yes:

“A build-up of jaw-dropping events and extremes in recent years has shown that Antarctica is undergoing massive changes on land, sea and in the atmosphere above. As a result, a new portrait of the continent is emerging which has, so far, received little attention. Polar scientists are warning of a regime shift.”

Pfui. Even this piece admits, with graph no less, that sea ice in 2024 is higher than last year or the year before.

As we noted two weeks ago, to the extent that there is a standard definition of climate it refers to the weather in some location over a period of 30 years. So realistic appraisals of what’s going on in Antarctica, or the Arctic, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the planet Earth, ought to be comparing long-term states to one another not seizing on transient fluctuations that may very well reverse themselves while you’re still pounding away at the keyboard.

Alarmists don’t do so because they’re so sure the theory is right that every time some ephemeral fluctuation takes place they think “Aha, that thing we said already arrived at whatever time or times is finally here.” So in this case we’re told by that anonymous Economist author or authors that “Collapsing ice shelves, made more fragile from below by warming waters and jostled by more turbulent seas, have hurried things along.” What things? And in which direction?

Toward Atlantis, it seems. So their map shows that the “Larsen A and B ice shelves, collapsed in 1995 and 2002.”

Um guys if so doesn’t it mean man-made climate change hit more than three decades ago, given the lag before it melts a massive ice shelf? And if so shouldn’t we be looking at conditions around Antarctica from, say, 1925-1964 and comparing them with 1965-1994 and then 1995-2024? Or are we ignoring Antarctica when it comes to climate and then fixating on it over mere weather?

4 comments on “No, not that Antarctic ice”

  1. At no time during the winter or the summer is the average temp above freezing?!?! It is not even close. Well, well, that is a problem for the climate fraudsters such as the contractors who will build the new sea wall to protect the....petrochemical industry in Houston as a prime example of frauds. So now the claim is that warmer and choppier water is undermining this ocean of ice from below...very convenient since it would be impossible to know the temperature of the water under the ice shelves in the past so who can say what the trend is!

  2. Ah,sea level rise agian.But Gates and NO-bama don't seem to be worried with their mansions right on the ocean.Ironic that the Maldives were predicted to be under water 20 years ago.They're not.And condos can go for millions there.But tonight there is a PBS program about those same
    Maldives "fighting climate change".Won't be watching it here.

  3. Most of Antarctica has a permanent temperature inversion that prevents convection and negates the greenhouse effect of more CO2. That's why the average Antarctica temperature has barely changed as the planet warmed after 1975. A few ice shelves and the tiny peninsula does have some melting from nearby ocean warming
    The total ice mass reduction is GUESSED to be 150 gigatons a year, That sounds like a lot but may be statistically insignificant considering the total ice mass is guessed to be 24.4 million gigatons
    The claimed tiny melting rate would take 1.6 million years to melt all the ice. That will never happen unless the current interglacial lasts 1.6 million more years. It is unlikely to last more than 8,000 more years
    The following chart shows where the permanent Antarctica temperature inversion is located (in pink)

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