Stefan Rahmstorf: Greenland Could Melt With Another 0.4°C Of Warming

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The 5th Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø, Norway recently took place with about 1000 scientists attending from all over the world (another big footprint). But except for a few fringe media outlets, no one listened. So I thought I’d lend these poor desperate alarmist scientists a favour and help them get their message out.

This year’s motto for the conference was dubbed: “Tipping Points”. The German online, leftist TAZ daily wrote a piece called:

The Blind Spots Of Climate Scientists

The article of course is another spread-the-panic piece that claims the climate could reach a tipping point at a certain temperature, this according to “leading scientists”. This is so shocking that Norway’s foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre was compelled to say:

 “The scientists are warning us that we are approaching a condition where the Arctic ecological system is about to collapse.”

Scientists warn that the tipping point is rapidly approaching because a number of “tipping components” are already in action, namely the melting of sea ice, which reduces albedo and leads to warming of the ocean. There’s also the thawing of the permafrost, which leads to the release of methane gas, which…and so on. And TAZ reminds us of the Greenland ice pack:

“If the ice on Greenland disappeared, oceans would rise seven meters globally – but that would take thousands of years, because the ice in the middle is 2 km thick.”

I thought Greenland’s ice was three km thick. Has 1 km already melted away? Oceanographer Carlos M. Duarte of the Spanish research centre Imedia says:

With a melting of Arctic sea ice, the ‘tipping point’ would already be exceeded. Beginning in the year 2020, an Arctic in the summer months that is practically without ice most likely cannot be averted.

Perhaps Mr Duarte is not aware, but the Arctic core has gained 2000 CUBIC KILOMETERS of ice since 2007. That would be 4 million sq km of equivalent additional ice half a meter thick. Add that to the current sea ice area!

Greenland melts with another 0.4°C of warming

Wherever alarmism and end of the world scenarios are fantasised, one can expect to find Stefan Rahmstorf of Germany’s alarmist Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research. TAZ quotes Rahmstorf:

New research could yield that the targeted limitation of global warming to 2°C will not be enough, says oceanographer Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research: It’s possible that Greenland’s ice already could melt irrevocably with a rise of 1.3 to 2.3°C, which is what still unpublished research indicates. In its 2007 report, the IPCC spoke of 1,9 to 4.6°C. Already now the global temperatures have risen on average 0.8 to 0.9°C .

So as TAZ reports it, Rahmstorf is claiming that Greenland could melt with just another 0.4°C of warming. TAZ mentions “still unpublished research”. Perhaps this is new research from Rahmstorf that’s designed to salvage his already discredited claims of 1.8 metres of sea level rise by 2100. Does that mean we should expect another piece of panic science from Rahmstorf to appear in an upcoming Nature issue.

What is needed is an early warning system for a climate tipping, say the scientists. But TAZ reports  that the scientific basis is still missng for such a system – there are so called blind spots. Oran R. Young, Professor at the University of Santa Barbara:

Our problem is not that we have too little data. We have to find out which data is relevant. We need just a few but decisive indicators.”

Blind spots? I’d say dead zones would be more accurate.

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51 responses to “Stefan Rahmstorf: Greenland Could Melt With Another 0.4°C Of Warming”

  1. Dana

    Typical Pierre – “I don’t want to believe it, therefore it’s wrong”.

    Coincidentally, your claims of increasing Artic sea ice volume (based on some blogger cherrypicking one day the past 3 years) is not surprisingly, totally wrong.
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/ArcticSeaiceVolume/images/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrent.png

    It’s unfortunate that this blog has turned into “a scientist said something I don’t like so he’s an alarmist”.

    1. Ed Caryl

      Dana, Read your own chart and tell me the change in ice volume anomaly in the last 8 months. Pierre was talking about the ice “core” not the total. The core is that area north of Greenland that doesn’t get flushed through the Fram Strait by the wind. Be careful, your biases are showing.

      1. Dana

        Sorry, is your point that Arctic ice volume increases during the winter?

        Stop the presses.

      2. Rob Honeycutt

        Ed… That strikes me as cherry picking from a basket of cherries. Step back just a little and look at the broader picture, please.

        The past 30 years have seen an accelerating trend in ice loss in the Arctic for each and every month.

        Winter shows the slowest trend but it has almost no impact on Arctic feedbacks because it’s the dead of winter and dark 24hrs a day.

        The most accelerated ice loss is at the annual sea ice minimum in September, which is potentially worse than satellite data is picking up on. See Barber lecture: http://video.hint.no/mmt201v10/osc/?vid=55

        Just read the latest report from NSIDC:
        http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html
        “Repeat of a negative Arctic Oscillation leads to warm Arctic, low sea ice extent.”

        You guys are really scraping the bottom of the barrel for signs of a rebound in sea ice. Listen to the scientists who are studying this. “The scientists are warning us that we are approaching a condition where the Arctic ecological system is about to collapse.”

        No one is mincing words here. This is extremely serious.

  2. slimething

    Dana,
    You still have not replied to my comment that you falsely claimed the stratosphere is cooling. You said that while bashing Joe Bastardit over at Romm’s blog.

    1. Dana

      The lower stratosphere is cooling at a rate of -0.3°C per decade.
      http://www.ssmi.com/msu/msu_data_description.html#figures

      Perhaps you’re referring to the fact that the stratospheric temperature has been steady since 1995. This is due to ozone recovery, as is made clear by the fact that the higher layers of the atmosphere (which aren’t complicated by ozone effects) are cooling as well.
      http://www.ufa.cas.cz/html/climaero/topics/global_change_science.pdf

      1. slimething

        Ah, no Dana, the stratosphere is not “holding steady” according the the data analyzed in this paper.
        http://tinyurl.com/26rxj89

        You don’t think that Mt. Pinatubo and El Chichon volcanoes had something to do with changes in stratospheric behavior or does common sense go out the window to satisfy one’s POV? It isn’t difficult to locate information on what happens to the stratosphere when large volcanoes erupt, particularly in the tropics in the case of Pinatubo and El Chichon, although at higher latitudes a less intense volcano can have the same effect being closer to the stratosphere.

        Your stated “long term” trend for stratospheric cooling is utter nonsense, with zero evidence that CO2 was responsible for said cooling from 1982-1994. Neglecting to mention solar influence on ozone levels is duly noted as well, and an inference that CO2 was largely responsible is more of the same untested assumptions that permeates AGWology.

        1. Dana

          Did you even bother to read that paper? How about at least the abstract?

          “The reversing trend may relate to a possible recovery of stratospheric
          ozone concentration.”

          1. Rob Honeycutt

            And of course, there is also the last sentence in the paper:

            “This study may provide evidence to the recovery of stratospheric ozone. It should be pointed out that other greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 are increasing and also affecting stratospheric temperatures (Ramaswamy et al. 2001).”

            And Ramaswamy 2001 states: “The stratosphere has, in general, undergone considerable cooling over the past 3 decades.”

          2. Dana

            I would suggest not linking to a study which confirms exactly what the guy you’re arguing with is saying, in the future. Just a suggestion.

  3. Ed Caryl

    Rob and Dana,
    Speaking of cherry-picking…
    Aren’t we speaking of “Global” warming? What is the Antarctic trend? Long term?

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Ed… There is nothing about Antarctic trends that negate what’s happening in the Arctic. GRACE shows ice mass loss. The small gain in sea ice extent is also anticipated to turn negative, but even that is of little consequence since there is a land mass there. Sea ice melts back to the coast in the summer regardless, so we won’t see the amplification due to albedo like we will in the Arctic.

    2. Dana

      Are you talking sea ice or ice sheets? Sea ice has a slightly positive trend – nowhere near the negative trend of Arctic sea ice.
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton-Myth-6-Global-Sea-Ice.html

      Then of course there’s Antarctic land ice, which is what contributes to sea level rise, and which is declining at an accelerating rate.
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice-intermediate.htm

      What was that about cherrypicking?

      1. Peter Wilson

        You guys really do need to stop linking to skepticalscience – it contains neither, and further damages your declining reserves of credibility.

        To claim we should be reading original research, and then link to that shallow collection of tripe and snark, is just too rich for my diet.

        1. Dana

          Skeptical Science discusses peer-reviewed science. Rejecting the scientific evidence because it is discussed on skepticalscience.com is ad hominem.

  4. Paddy

    Assuming that the average global temperature increases 0.4C, how many thousands of years would it take for the Greenland ice cap to melt?

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Paddy… There is a ton of research being done right now on that very subject. Right now scientists are trying to get a grasp of dynamical flow of the ice sheet. One scientist has literally been putting tiny GPS units in yellow rubber ducks and throwing them into moulins to try to track flow at the base of the ice sheet.

      There’s a problem with the figure you’re using though. You’re comparing 0.4C rise in global temperature to Greenland. Please look at what the temperature rise in Greenland itself. It’s significantly higher. Currently something on the scale of 4X global warming.

      1. DirkH

        “There is a ton of research being done right now on that very subject.”

        Using the latest models, i hope! 😉

        1. Rob Honeycutt

          Using rubber duckies! Didn’t you read, Dirk? 😉

  5. Ed Caryl
    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Ed… If you look at the time period we were discussing you’ll see that from the 1960’s to the present shows about 1.1C of warming.

  6. Ed Caryl

    Rob,
    This one is older, so if it is warming, it must be just in the last few years, which doesn’t tie it very tight to global warming.
    http://www.dmi.dk/dmi/greenland.pdf

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Ed… Very interesting stuff…

      “These results demonstrate the regional vagaries of the global weather machine; climatic change is not a simple uniform process. Yet as one of these regions, Greenland greatly influences the surface heat budget, atmospheric circulation and (through the waxing and waning of its Ice Sheet) global sea level.4 Therefore it is very important to preserve and extend observational/instrumental records and accompanying metadata (details on sites and instruments, including any changes) from long-running Greenland stations.”

  7. Ed Caryl
  8. Ed Caryl

    I have a question. Why should things in Greenland suddenly change, in 2000, just when GRACE is launched?

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Or, maybe GRACE is throwing a wrench into your confirmation bias machine.

      There is the actual site temperature record for GISP2…
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/Gisp2Graphedited.png

      Or, if you want the latest paper on the same subject you linked to above you could go here:
      http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2009JCLI2816.1

      This paper shows about 1.4C increase in the latter part of the 20th century.

  9. R. de Haan

    I am getting so incredibly tired by the moronic claims of ice melt in the Arctic basin after all what’s been published.

    Dana, about the famous Naval Testimony for which the Navy was rewarded with a bio fuel program that produced algae based jet fuel at the price of 450 us dollar per gallon there is also a testimony from another ret. Navy scientists who states the entire AGW/Climate Change doctrine is a scam. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100058265/us-physics-professor-global-warming-is-the-greatest-and-most-successful-pseudoscientific-fraud-i-have-seen-in-my-long-life/

    Now we have this BS (Bad Science of course) about Greenland again.
    Have a look at the temp maps and the snow/ice accumulation and you will know Greenland is in a fine shape with nothing to worry about.
    Why don’t you guys take a holiday at Greenland and experience all the heat yourself.
    http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/04416.html

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      R de Haan… Greenland is doing exactly what has been anticipated. Accumulation at the summit with accelerated ablation at the glacier faces.

  10. R. de Haan

    We had 4 ships and one of the biggest nuclear ice breakers in the world stuck in the ice of the Sea of Okhotsk for an entire month and we still have to hear the warmist hubris of the declining ice extent.
    Ice extent is not a proxy to determine the ‘condition’ of our ice caps because the floating ice fields are subject to ocean currents and winds.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/02/three-days-early.html

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Again, I suggest you watch this lecture from a scientist who has worked up there for the past 30 years…
      http://video.hint.no/mmt201v10/osc/?vid=55

  11. R. de Haan

    “TAZ mentions “still unpublished research”

    Oh No, Rob and Dana are not going to like that.
    They only accept published and peer reviewed science.

  12. Gordon Walker

    I care nothing about sea ice extent because by Achimedes’ Principle it has no significant effect on sea level. The seven metre rise that alarmists refer to would occur if the Greenland icecap were were to melt. Its temperature is about -31 °C at present so that even if current interglacial temperatures were to rise by six degrees, to the level that they reached in the Eemian, simple algebra gives -31 + 6 = -25.
    I do not trust these “computer models” so I have just been to my freezer and although the temperature inside is a tropical -18°C, it is not standing in a pool of water!

    1. Dana

      Greenland (and Antarctic) ice sheet, not “icecap”. And they’re already losing ice rapidly.
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Latest-GRACE-data-record-ice-loss-in-2010.html

      The concern about Arctic sea ice is not sea level rise, it’s the decreasing reflectivity (albedo) due to the ocean below being much darker than the ice, and thus absorbing more sunlight. That’s why the Arctic is the fastest-warming part of the planet.

    2. Rob Honeycutt

      Interesting chart here.
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/51/Plot_arctic_sea_ice_volume.svg

      Note that maximum sea ice volume now comes close to what the minimum sea ice volume was around 1980.

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