Euopean Climate Institute EIKE Says Antarctica Ice Calving “Totally Normal”, Natural Causes

The Vice President of the Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) Michael Limburg wrote that the recent ice chunk breaking off the Antarctic ice shelf has everything to do with natural cyclic calving, and that the media reporting has been mostly alarmist hype. EIKE writes:

Antarctic ice shelf breaking is a totally normal process – the Antarctic has in fact gotten colder over the pst 30 years.

Germany’s number one tabloid, Bild, blared out the headline on July 13: “South Pole Breaking Apart!” and quoted alarmist climate scientist Mojib Latif: who warned it is a “warning shot to mankind”.

Bild Leipzig July 13, 2017, thanks to Dietmar Ufer

Climate scientist Mojib Latif called it a “warning shot for mankind”. Source: Bild

Mostly drama and hype

However, EIKE writes that such media reports are mainly drama and hype, and that natural mechanical forces and oceanic currents are behind the calving. EIKE cites facts from the Bremen Germany-based Alfred Wegener Institute.

Antarctic sea ice extent has in fact been growing over the past 4 decades, defying global warming. Source: Die kalte Sonne.

EIKE reminds that the recent ice mass breaking off will have no effect on sea level at all because the ice had already been floating on the ocean surface, and that even if the broken off mass had fully displaced the sea water, the magnitude of the resulting global sea level rise would not have been detectable.

Compared to the total Antarctic ice mass, the broken ice chunk with its 1 trillion-ton mass is only 1/26,000 of the entire ice mass at the South Pole.

Sea level rise not accelerating

Moreover, sea level over the past years has slowed down, and not accelerated, EIKE writes:

Slowing sea level rise from 1993 to 2012, Chart: K.E. Puls

Sea level rise stable

Granted the EIKE chart used above is somewhat outdated, and sea level rise has not been slowing down. Paul Homewood here takes an objective look at sea level rise and writes that alarmists use “two tricks” to back up claims of accelerating sea level rise:

1) They splice the satellite record, which only started in 1993, onto the tidal gauge records.

According to satellites, sea levels have been rising at 3.4mm/yr. Whether this figure is right or not, no half competent scientist would dream of splicing two totally different sets of data together in such a way.

Worse still, their banner figure of 3.4mm includes what is known as glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), which accounts for the fact that the ocean basins are getting slightly larger since the end of the last glacial cycle.

In other words, if the basins were not

1) They splice the satellite record, which only started in 1993, onto the tidal gauge records.

According to satellites, sea levels have been rising at 3.4mm/yr. Whether this figure is right or not, no half competent scientist would dream of splicing two totally different sets of data together in such a way.

Worse still, their banner figure of 3.4mm includes what is known as glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), which accounts for the fact that the ocean basins are getting slightly larger since the end of the last glacial cycle.

In other words, if the basins were not getting larger, sea levels would rise more. To account for this, they add 0.3mm a year to their sea level figures.

This is all well and good, if it were not for the fact that tidal gauges do not include such an adjustment, so the comparison of satellites and gauges becomes incompatible.

2) They compare recent sea level rise with the 20thC average.

However, sea levels were not rising at an even pace during the last century. There were times when it was rising at rates similar to today, and others, notably between 1950 and 1980 when global temperatures were falling, which saw a lower rate of rise.

As the IPCC stated in its 2013 AR5 report:

It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm/yr between 1901 and 2010 and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm/yr between 1993 and 2010. Tide gauge and satellite altimeter data are consistent regarding the higher rate during the latter period. It is likely that similarly high rates occurred between 1920 and 1950

http://ar5-syr.ipcc.ch/topic_observedchanges.php#node11

So, the current rate of rise is not unprecedented, and does not “prove” that the rise will continue to accelerate. Indeed, if the 20thC record is anything to go by, it could well slow down again, as part of a natural cycle.”

Moreover a recent analysis of tide gauges, where people actually live, sea level was shown to be stable or falling at half of the locations.

25 responses to “Euopean Climate Institute EIKE Says Antarctica Ice Calving “Totally Normal”, Natural Causes”

  1. SebastianH

    even if the broken off mass had fully displaced the sea water, the magnitude of the resulting global sea level rise would not have been detectable.

    Compared to the total Antarctic ice mass, the broken ice chunk with its 1 trillion-ton mass is only 1/26,000 of the entire ice mass at the South Pole.

    That would be 1 * 10^15 kg of molten ice spread over an area of 3.62 * 10^14 m² or an increase of 2.76 mm. It should be detectable 😉

    And still, calving of such a large ice berg causes the ice behind it to speed up on its way into the ocean and should cause short term sea level rise. That one I’d call undetectable.

    1. John F. Hultquist

      an increase of 2.76 mm. It should be detectable

      In a technical measurement sense, you are right.
      If a person stood in a swimming pool with very still water to mid-thigh and the water rose 2.76 mm., would they notice? What if there were 30 active people in that pool? Non-detectable, I think.

    2. AndyG55

      ” calving of such a large ice berg causes the ice behind it to speed up on its way into the ocean ”

      roflmao

      Still the fantasy fabrications

      This is an ice shelf, there was nothing “pushing” behind.

      The berg was pulled from the front edge by natural mechanic of bending.

      You have your “everything” ass-backwards, as always, seb-t.

      1. SebastianH
        1. Kenneth Richard

          “Do you need more proof?”

          Proof of what?

          Do you agree that cracks in ice shelves are significantly caused by ice thickening? Or do you think humans are a significant cause?

          1. SebastianH

            Proof that ice accelerates when ice at the front calves.

          2. Kenneth Richard

            “Proof that ice accelerates”

            Ice growth accelerates? Ice recession accelerates?

            I’ll ask again, since you failed to respond the first time(s) I asked.

            (1) Do you agree that cracks in ice shelves are significantly caused by ice thickening (thicker ice is more prone to calve)? Or do you think humans are a significant cause?

            (2) If CO2 is the main cause of shifts in Antarctic sea ice and ice sheet behavior, as you presumably believe, why is it that (a) Antarctica hasn’t warmed to any significant degree since human CO2 emissions began rising rapidly in the 1950s, and (b) why was Western Antarctica and the Peninsula so much warmer than now during the MWP, when CO2 levels were so much lower?

          3. AndyG55

            Looks like seb-t is saying that the ice shelf HEALS itself quickly.

            Isn’t nature wonderful 🙂

          4. SebastianH

            Ice growth accelerates? Ice recession accelerates?

            Why do you desperately want to add a word to “ice accelerates”?

            (1) Do you agree that cracks in ice shelves are significantly caused by ice thickening (thicker ice is more prone to calve)? Or do you think humans are a significant cause?

            That’s not an either/or question. Warming causes more snow in cold regions and thicker ice as a result, doesn’t it? And humans caused part of that warming (as you know is my “belief” as a holy priest of the church of AGW … and we make it so the evidence is only visible to non-skeptics … you know, since we are evil)

            (2) If CO2 is the main cause of shifts in Antarctic sea ice and ice sheet behavior, as you presumably believe, why is it that (a) Antarctica hasn’t warmed to any significant degree since human CO2 emissions began rising rapidly in the 1950s

            Do you need the greenhouse effect explained to you again?

            And: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/Pubs/Zhang_Antarctic_20-11-2515.pdf

            and (b) why was Western Antarctica and the Peninsula so much warmer than now during the MWP, when CO2 levels were so much lower?

            Yes, try to explain that yourself, please.

            And an added question since this was about AndyG55 denying that the ice accelerates because of smaller backpressure after calving of large icebergs:
            Do you agree or disagree that ice accelerates?

            Someone made a nice picture about that mechansim: https://cleantechnica.com/files/2017/04/1-Y9Q0sKM8bs_kO1jUMp_GDw.png

          5. Kenneth Richard

            Why do you desperately want to add a word to “ice accelerates”?

            Desperation? It’s clarification of the direction of the acceleration. With ice, acceleration could go either way. Again, is it an acceleration in ice growth or ice recession? Why not just answer this simple question? Or is it too distracting for you to explain what you meant by “ice accelerates”?

            (1) Do you agree that cracks in ice shelves are significantly caused by ice thickening (thicker ice is more prone to calve)?

            That’s not an either/or question.

            It wasn’t meant to be an either/or question. It’s a more/less question. It was meant to clarify whether you will reject the science that says thicker ice shelves are heavier and thus more prone to fissure and break up than thinner ice shelves, which are less likely to fissure and break up. Do you accept this science? Or do you reject it because you don’t want to acknowledge that the AP ice has been thickening as it has cooled since the late 1990s?

            Warming causes more snow in cold regions and thicker ice as a result, doesn’t it?

            Yes, I’ve read that. So can we conclude that you believe that humans caused the Antarctic ice sheet to grow and its ice to thicken? If Antarctica and the Southern Ocean were to actually cool (as scientists say has happened), would the ice sheet lose mass or gain mass? Would the ice thicken or become thinner? Or does warming cause thinning and thickening ice, and SMB gains and losses…simultaneously? Also, remember, when CO2 increases over Antarctica, it causes cooling (Smithusen et al., 2015). So, since you believe it’s warmed there, does that mean you believe humans caused CO2 to increase, causing cooling, which caused warming, which caused more snow and thickening ice…which caused the Larsen C ice shelf to break up…which was caused by…warming? Wow, this CO2 stuff is magical.

            And humans caused part of that warming (as you know is my “belief” as a holy priest of the church of AGW … and we make it so the evidence is only visible to non-skeptics … you know, since we are evil)

            You meant cooling, right? Because you agree that increasing CO2 over Antarctica causes cooling. Or don’t you agree with that anymore?

            Schmithüsen et al., 2015
            Abstract: For this region [central Antarctica], the emission to space is higher than the surface emission; and the greenhouse effect of CO2 is around zero or even negative, which has not been discussed so far. We investigated this in detail and show that for central Antarctica an increase in CO2 concentration leads to an increased long-wave energy loss to space, which cools the Earth-atmosphere system. … For most of the Antarctic Plateau, GHE-TES [greenhouse effect as measured by the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer] is close to zero or even slightly negative; i.e., the presence of CO2 increases radiative cooling.

            Why is it that (a) Antarctica hasn’t warmed to any significant degree since human CO2 emissions began rising rapidly in the 1950s?

            Do you need the greenhouse effect explained to you again?

            Hmm. That doesn’t appear to answer my question. Antarctica has cooled since the 1970s. That wasn’t supposed to happen with greenhouse warming. So did the “negative” greenhouse effect (cooling) described by Smithusen et al. (2015) cause that cooling? Or do you still believe Antarctica has been warming?

          6. SebastianH

            Why not just answer this simple question? Or is it too distracting for you to explain what you meant by “ice accelerates”?

            It’s just that … the ice accelerates. The ice is moving down from the glacier into the sea and this movement accelerates when ice at the front calves and backpressure is reduced. (see linked papers above).

            Or do you reject it because you don’t want to acknowledge that the AP ice has been thickening as it has cooled since the late 1990s?

            I don’t reject the claim … but it’s not just thick ice that calves, isn’t it? It’s the stress at the “front line” … pressure from all sides (see linked papers above).

            And has it cooled since the 90s? More than it has warmed before? And hasn’t global warming led to more snow in cold regions?

            Wow, this CO2 stuff is magical.

            When you make up this much nonsense then yes … magical. Try to understand the mechanisms maybe?

            You meant cooling, right?

            What? I’d like to have what you are smoking.

            Or do you still believe Antarctica has been warming?

            http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/Pubs/Zhang_Antarctic_20-11-2515.pdf

            Do you disagree with this paper?

    3. AndyG55

      “That would be 1 * 10^15 kg of molten ice spread over an area of 3.62 * 10^14 m² or an increase of 2.76 mm”

      Seb-t again ignore basic physics.

      A detracted ice shelf will not add anything to sea level.

      Even a primary school child-mind would know that.

      Junior high level maths applied with pre-primary school physics.

      Seb-t has surpassed himself.

      1. SebastianH

        A “primary school child-mind” would be able to read and understand the sentences written in the article and quotes in the original comment, don’t you think AndyG55?

        1. AndyG55

          Yes, maybe you will once you reach primary school.

          You did in fact go through some simplistic calculations and said…. “or an increase of 2.76 mm”

          Stop trolling for attention, seb-t… Its pathetic.

  2. John F. Hultquist

    Since the beginning of photography, folks have taken pictures of coasts, people on beaches, seawalls, docks, and such things.
    Perhaps some of the money spent on climate studies should be spent on a wide search, digitizing, and archiving of these photos. When time and date are available a current photograph duplicating the scene could be acquired.
    Sure there a problems. I still think it would be informative and useful.

    [I just learned folks are going to cemeteries and photographing grave stones. Thousands are now posted on sites. My grandfather’s marker was done by someone totally unrelated — just because it was there.]

  3. Kenneth Richard

    Stresses in ice shelves are more likely to happen when the ice shelves are thickening, not thinning.

    Christman et al., 2016
    https://epic.awi.de/40947/1/viscous-and-viscoelastic-stress-states-at-the-calving-front-of-antarctic-ice-shelves.pdf
    “[T]he stress maximum directly depends on the size of the freeboard and increases linearly with the thickness of the ice shelf. Twice the thickness leads to a doubling of the maximum stress value. … [T]he stresses increase with the thickness, i.e. thicker ice shelves are more prone to calving by bending than thinner ice shelves.”

    Ice thickens as it cools.

    Easterbrook, 2016
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128045886000070
    “Surface temperatures at 13 stations on or near the Antarctic Peninsula have been cooling sharply since 2006. … Larsen Ice Shelf Station has been cooling at an astonishing rate of 1.8°C per decade (18°C per century) since 1995.”

    Oliva et al., 2017
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716327152
    “However, a recent analysis (Turner et al., 2016) has shown that the regionally stacked temperature record for the last three decades has shifted from a warming trend of 0.32 °C/decade during 1979–1997 to a cooling trend of −0.47 °C/decade during 1999–2014. … This recent cooling has already impacted the cryosphere in the northern AP [Antarctic Peninsula], including slow-down of glacier recession, a shift to surface mass gains of the peripheral glacierand a thinning of the active layer of permafrost in northern AP islands.”

  4. Edward

    Calving is, a sign of ice sheet/glacier growth, ice/snow accretion further into the interior/in the mountains, next gravity and regelation force from behind towards the sea edge ice causing its movement. Slowly moving towards the sea, eventually thus to crack and shear off. It is a signal of enormous forces at play but simple stuff in effect and there is really, no need to panic.

  5. Nico

    Can someone explain to me how a iceberg can contribute to sealevel rise when it already floats like larsen C. It shouldn’t because it’s simply the law of Archimedus. So in my opinion its a story about nothing.

    1. AndyG55

      Precisely.

      Just another mindless AGW piece of propaganda nonsense.

      Ice shelves “calve” regularly.

      Much larger ones in 1956 and 1920’s

      Its only NATURAL.

  6. Juergen Uhlemann

    I was just amazed how the Bild, ZDF and others were so concerned about an ice cube. This ice cube is about 0.04 % of the Arctic sea ice in relation to the sea ice right now.
    https://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png
    The sea ice will grow another 2-3 Million square kilometers this winter.

    1. AndyG55

      ” 0.04 % ”

      AHHH.. now there you have it .. the SCARY percentage. !! 🙂

      1. Juergen Uhlemann

        LOL – you’ve got 😀 That’s can’t be coincidence 😉

        P.S. Just in case someone, I meant to write “Antarctic sea ice”

  7. AndyG55

    Now what is HOT and could melt the underside of galciers?

    Not CO2 , that is for usre.

    http://www.plateclimatology.com/antarcticas-larsen-ice-shelf-breakup-driven-by-geological-heat-flow-not-climate-change/

    1. AndyG55

      And of course this one turns out to be on the small side of “normal” for big icebergs.

      http://joannenova.com.au/2017/07/there-have-been-far-bigger-antarctic-icebergs-than-the-latest-a68-larson-c-berg/

  8. sunsettommy

    Jo Nova,posted additional info on Calving ice bergs here:

    There have been far bigger Antarctic icebergs than the latest A68 Larson C berg

    “CNN is “freaking out” about the latest large iceberg. But John Sutter doesn’t mention that there was an iceberg twice its size in the year 2000 which was 11,000km2, and that as long ago as 1967, two other icebergs of a similar size were recorded. Thanks to John McLean for the links.

    UPDATE: Tony Heller has found a newspaper story about an even bigger one from 1956. This monster iceberg was allegedly 334km x 96km or 32,000 km2. (h.t John of Cloverdale).

    UPDATE #2: Monster bergs are everywhere. Lazzara lists two other massive icebergs as well as B15 that occurred in just 18 months: A38 in Oct 1998 was 7,600km2 and A43 in May 2000 was almost as big as B15, being 9,250km2. h/t WS All three of these were larger than the current “freak”.

    When it comes to long term trends in iceberg sizes, the only scientific answer is “who knows”. Satellite records are so short, if a bigger iceberg broke off in say, 1811, how the heck would we find out? Not much is left of an iceberg 100 years later. What kind of proxy could show it ever existed — ancient stone carvings of satellite pics from ancient Greece?

    The latest 2017 Larson C iceberg is 5,800 square kilometers and weighs a “trillion tons”. But back in 1967, two icebergs calved – one of 7,000km2 and one of about 5,000 km2:

    Swithinbank (1969), basing on analysis of the ESSA-3 satellite imageries, reports that in 1967—68 two giant icebergs were seen in the eastern part of the Weddell Sea, measuring 70 by 100 km, and 45 by 100 km respectively, with total area of about 11.000 km.

    – Birkenmajer, 1980”

    http://joannenova.com.au/2017/07/there-have-been-far-bigger-antarctic-icebergs-than-the-latest-a68-larson-c-berg/

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