Antarctic ‘Catastrophic Ice Sheet Collapse’ Alarmism Gets Axed In 2 New Scientific Papers

Newly published science reveals scientists grossly underestimated the timescales for land uplift in compensating for Western Antarctica ice mass loss, leading them to conclude “the ice sheet may stabilize against catastrophic collapse” (Barletta et al., 2018).  Furthermore, even if the most vulnerable ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula did collapse completely, the total ice melt contribution to sea level would be negligible – less than 1 centimeter by 2100 (Schannwell et al., 2018). 

In recent decades, Antarctic climate trends have not been favoring alarmist perspectives predicated on the assumption that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are catastrophically melting glaciers and contributing heavily to sea level rise.

For example, the ice melt contribution to global sea levels for Antarctica as a whole was about one-third of a centimeter during the 56 years from 1958-2014 (Frederiske et al., 2018).

Image Source: Frederiske et al., 2018 (annotations added)

East Antarctica has been cooling (Clem et al., 2018) and gaining ice mass (Martín-Español et al., 2017) in recent decades.

Over the past 60 years, the climate of East Antarctica cooled while portions of West Antarctica were among the most rapidly warming regions on the planet. The East Antarctic cooling is attributed to a positive trend in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and a strengthening of the westerlies, while West Antarctic warming is tied to zonally asymmetric circulation changes forced by the tropics. This study finds recent (post-1979) surface cooling of East Antarctica during austral autumn to also be tied to tropical forcing, namely, an increase in La Niña events. … This enhanced cooling over western East Antarctica is tied more broadly to a zonally asymmetric temperature trend pattern across East Antarctica during autumn that is consistent with a tropically forced Rossby wave rather than a SAM pattern; the positive SAM pattern is associated with ubiquitous cooling across East Antarctica.” (Clem et al., 2018)

We investigate the mass balance of East Antarctica for 2003–2013 using a Bayesian statistical framework. … We apportion mass trends to SMB and ice dynamics for the EAIS, based on two different assumptions, different remote sensing data and two RCMs. In the first experiment, the model apportions about a third of the mass trend to ice dynamics, +17 Gt/yr, and two thirds, +40 Gt yr−1 to SMB, resulting in a total mass trend for the EAIS [East Antarctic Ice Sheet] of +57 ± 20 Gt yr−1″ (Martín-Español et al., 2017)

The Antarctic Peninsula has been rapidly cooling since 1999 (Turner et al., 2016) at a rate of -0.47°C per decade (Oliva et al., 2017), leading to 10 times smaller ice losses in 2003-2014 than 1995-2003 (Seehaus et al., 2015).

“[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 glacier and layer of permafrost in northern AP islands.” (Oliva et al., 2017)
Ice mass loss (2003–2014) was approximately one order of magnitude smaller than between 1995–2003. … The northern Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest changing regions on Earth. The disintegration of the Larsen-A Ice Shelf in 1995 caused tributary glaciers to adjust by speeding up, surface lowering, and overall increased ice-mass discharge. … The contribution to sea level rise was estimated to be 18.8±1.8 Gt, corresponding to a 0.052±0.005 mm sea level equivalent [half a centimeter] for the period 1995–2014.” (Seehaus et al., 2015)

Two New Papers Effectively Nix Catastrophic Ice Sheet Collapse Alarmism

Barletta et al. (2018) discover that the West Antarctic bedrock’s rebound response to ice mass losses takes decades, or less than a century.  It was previously thought this process would occur “on a time scale of 10,000 years”.  This has led them to conclude that “the ice sheet may stabilize against catastrophic collapse”.

Barletta et al., 2018

Observed rapid bedrock uplift in Amundsen Sea

Embayment promotes ice-sheet stability

“The marine portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) accounts for one-fourth of the cryospheric contribution to global sea-level rise and is vulnerable to catastrophic collapse. The bedrock response to ice mass loss, glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), was thought to occur on a time scale of 10,000 years. We used new GPS measurements, which show a rapid (41 millimeters per year) uplift of the ASE, to estimate the viscosity of the mantle underneath. We found a much lower viscosity (4 × 1018 pascal-second) than global average, and this shortens the GIA response time scale to decades up to a century. Our finding requires an upward revision of ice mass loss from gravity data of 10% and increases the potential stability of the WAIS against catastrophic collapse. … This means that as ice is lost, the crust rebounds much faster than previously expected. Although estimates of total ice loss have to be revised upward, the surprising finding indicates that the ice sheet may stabilize against catastrophic collapse.” 

In another new paper, Schannwell et al. (2018) report that even the total collapse of gigantic Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves (Larsen C and George VI) will contribute less than 1 cm to sea levels by 2100, effectively cancelling proclamations that ice shelf collapse would have catastrophic consequences.

Schannwell et al., 2018

Dynamic response of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet

to potential collapse of Larsen C and George VI ice shelves

Ice shelf break-up and disintegration events over the past 5 decades have led to speed-up, thinning, and retreat of upstream tributary glaciers and increases to rates of global sea-level rise. The southward progression of these episodes indicates a climatic cause and in turn suggests that the larger Larsen C and George VI ice shelves may undergo a similar collapse in the future. However, the extent to which removal of the Larsen C and George VI ice shelves will affect upstream tributary glaciers and add to global sea levels is unknown. Here we apply numerical ice-sheet models of varying complexity to show that the centennial sea-level commitment of Larsen C embayment glaciers following immediate shelf collapse is low (< 2.5 mm to 2100,  < 4.2 mm to 2300). Despite its large size, Larsen C does not provide strong buttressing forces to upstream basins and its collapse does not result in large additional discharge from its tributary glaciers in any of our model scenarios. In contrast, the response of inland glaciers to a collapse of the George VI Ice Shelf may add up to 8mm to global sea levels by 2100 and 22mm by 2300 [0.8 cm to 2.2 cm] due in part to the mechanism of marine ice sheet instability. Our results demonstrate the varying and relative importance to sea level of the large Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves considered to present a risk of collapse.

50 responses to “Antarctic ‘Catastrophic Ice Sheet Collapse’ Alarmism Gets Axed In 2 New Scientific Papers”

  1. Bitter&twisted

    I wonder how our resident troll will spin this?

    1. John Brown


    2. spike55

      Who cares, he is only here as lite comedy relief.

      All he has is headless-chook spin.

    3. tom0mason

      Probably he will say that we have all accepted these studies and Kenneth’s appraisal of them without skepticism — for he believes he ‘knows’ how we all think and reason.

      Probably he will disparage the scientists mentioned in the studies, and when all else fails he will offer a rude snide remark about the people making comments here.

      If we’re truly lucky he may offer one of his deranged analogies. 😉
      Failing all that he will just go completely off topic and blather about the Arctic, or European weather, or windfarms, or electric vehicle, or anything off topic.

      Really it will just be the usual daft, totally unconvincing remarks he always offers.

      Still he does make me laugh — a lot! 🙂

      1. SebastianH

        Probably he will say that we have all accepted these studies and Kenneth’s appraisal of them without skepticism — for he believes he ‘knows’ how we all think and reason.

        Something like that. Is Kenneth cherry picking? By quoting the “Frederiske et al., 2018” paper, does he accept that sea level rise is accelerating now? Or is it just the “good parts” (for skeptics denying that anything extraordinary) is happening) that might be true?

        And how does this work?

        The contribution to sea level rise was estimated to be 18.8±1.8 Gt, corresponding to a 0.052±0.005 mm sea level equivalent [half a centimeter] for the period 1995–2014.” (Seehaus et al., 2015)

        When we all know that Antarctica lost more than 2000 Gt in this timespan? Or is this just talking about the effect of a single glacier? Then why the emphasis?

        Things like that don’t make you skeptical of what Kenneth writes? You just cheer in and call the opposition being trolls. Great strategy … only shows how non-skeptical you guys are. You literally believe anything if it confirms your bias. Just wow!

        1. spike55

          Yet another ZERO EVIDENCE post from the headless chook.

          So funny.

          Isn’t Shepherd the guy from the Ship OF FOOLS, or was that some other goose?

          The CABAL of AGW high priests have spoken,..

          seb MUST believe, MUST bend over and lick their boots..

          GRACE over massive volcanic region.. seb doesn’t understand. incapable of basic comprehension.

          Modelled garbage.

          Input-output…. GIGO, you mean. !

          Baseless unproven assumptions about the cause if its even real.

          Certainly NOTHING to do with human caused warming, because it just IS NOT HAPPENING.

          Glaciers in West Antarctic only..

          funny about that..

          no VOLCANIC activity there, is there , seb

          Seems these guys REMAIN IGNORANT about all that VOLCANIC activity.

          Just like seb likes to REMAIN IGNORANT.

          Have you found ANY EVIDENCE for human CO2 causing warming anywhere yet, seb?????

          Or still just the headless chook evasions.

        2. spike55

          “By quoting the “Frederiske et al., 2018” paper,”

          Gees seb, great to see you accepting that the sea level rise is LESS THAN 1.6mm/year with a barely perceptible acceleration.

          (even though tide gauges show deceleration)

          I hope you find that 1.6mm/year really, really SCARY…


          BOO !!!

          1. SebastianH

            Let’s apply basic math, spikey. Let’s see if you can follow …

            From that paper:

            The global-mean sea level reconstruction shows a trend of 1.5 ± 0.2 mm yr−1 over 1958–2014 (1σ), compared to 1.3 ± 0.1 mm yr−1 for the sum of contributors. Over the same period, the reconstruction shows a positive acceleration of 0.07 ± 0.02 mm yr−2

            An average increase of 1.5 mm per year over 56 years? That’s 84 mm in total, right? An acceleration of 0.07 mm / per year^2 means the latests yearly sea live rise needs to be 3.92 mm bigger than the first one. But starting at zero sea level rise in 1958 and 3.92 mm in 2014 results in the sea level rising by 107.8 mm up until 2014, so the sea level needs to start in a shrinking phase.

            With a sea level decrease of about 0.5 mm in the first year and an acceleration of 0.07 mm per year^2 from 1958 to 2014 we get an average of 1.5 mm per year increase and a final rate of around 3.5 mm per year in 2014. Which is roughly what we currently observe.

            Any questions?

            P.S.: You can extrapolate this into the future and get a sea level rise of 250 mm until 2050 (at a then current rate of 6 mm per year). For the year 2100 it’s 635 mm and 9.5 mm per year. Which looks a lot like the IPCC predictions.

          2. spike55

            Sea level rise of less than 1.6mm/year

            Get over it, seb.

            And only a complete mathematical imbecile extrapolates noisy, somewhat cyclic data into the future.

            Is that YOU, seb. !

          3. SebastianH

            Uh, yes, there was a positive acceleration because the year chosen to begin the study was 1958, when sea levels rise rates had slowed to a crawl relative to the 1920s to 1940s.

            Huh? You posted this graph of past sea level rise:

            Please draw in a line where you think 1958 is located! Either this graph is wrong or you claim is wrong. Which is it?

            If we, on the other hand, compare the first half of the 20th century to the 2nd half, there was a deceleration in the global tide gauge data.

            And here I thought global sea level data back until 1958 is probably not the most perfect dataset … and then you come up with data going back a few decades further. Great! What did Frederiske not in the paper? “Since 1993, both reconstructed sea level and the sum of contributors show good agreement with altimetry estimates.”. Before that, they aren’t … guess how big the error of those reconstructions is!

            Anyway, maybe this presentation lets you understand:

            That would assume that the oscillation in sea level rise rates and magnitude only rises, rather than rises and falls like it’s been doing as it follows natural processes.

            So you are repeating that graph that clearly not shows that “sea levels rise rates had slowed to a crawl”, this time with an incorrect 2017 value. Great 😉 Current rise rates are around 3 mm/year.

            Also consult this graph … the acceleration has been going on for a long time now. Doesn’t look like you graph, does it?

            Maybe consult this presentation (slide 4) again to see just how different the reconstructions are:

            Do you understand that acceleration and deceleration are relative terms, SebastianH? Relative to a starting point?

            1) you are replying to a comment that just demonstrated that
            2) i am not sure you understand how acceleration works … you know, because an average acceleration over a long period of time (56 years) is ultimately exponential rise of the sea level … and we know how good you are with exponentials.
            3) Coming back to the previous quote I copied up there (“That would assume …”), do you understand that it doesn’t matter that the rate oscillates when the average has been that it increased by 0.07 mm each year over the entire period? It is not decelerating when the acceleration becomes smaller, that is not how acceleration works.

            No, apparently this is not something you either understand or want to understand.

            Ehm …

          4. spike55

            Fist graph.

            Slowed since mid 1900’s, then increased, thanks for showing us a TOTALLY NATURAL LONG TERM CYCLE, seb, even back to 1700..

            NO SIGN of any deviation due to CO2

            Third graph, tacks corrupted satellite altimetry onto REAL tide gauges.
            Only a mathematical imbecile would think that meant anything.

            Slide 4.. shows how much UNCERTAINTY there is.. but still, apart from the corrupted satellite data, LESS THAN 2mm/year.. PANIC TIME !!

            Note when the step was in slide 12, seb, around 1998-2000

            Step change in 4 of 6 graphs.. so not CO2 or any other human cause, wouldn’t you agree, seb

            Or would you just “imagine”, and make up more CRAP about human causes even though you have ZERO EVIDENCE..

            You KNOW you

          5. SebastianH


            “Slowed to a crawl?”

            Neither the Frederiske paper nor the Jevrejeva paper are my claim. I’m just posting the findings from their papers.

            So it is not your claim when you write something like “the year chosen to begin the study was 1958, when sea levels rise rates had slowed to a crawl relative to the 1920s to 1940s.” … it sure sounds like a claim. Or is this “not my claim” thing just an excuse for posting non-facts and letting them appear as facts?

            The tide gauges indicate sea levels are rising at about 1.0 to 1.8 mm/yr. The sum of contributors noted in the Frederiske paper indicate they’re rising at a 1.3 mm/yr clip, which is similar to the averages/medians for tide gauges.



            Needs repetition apparently. The rise accelerated during those times … quoting the average will not make the current rate become smaller, Kenneth.

            The math is pretty simple and a continued acceleration like what we observed in the last 60 years, will lead to a sea level rise of more than 60 cm until 2100.

        3. spike55

          Amazing the coincidence of melt and volcanoes, isn’t it, seb

          Or do you think volcanoes are cold ???

          1. SebastianH

            So do you think the volcanic activity increases recently? If not, how do the glaciers melt now and did not a long time ago?

            You really should tell the scientists about this coincidence they have overlooked. Also those working on interpreting GRACE data should immediately be notified how volcanic activity changes everything. I am sure they have no idea right now … /sarcasm off

          2. spike55

            Ocean temperatures have increased by 0.1C since 1955

            Even seb can’t be DUMB ENOUGH to think this would cause ice at -20ºC to melt

            IFF these glaciers are loosing mass,

            .. it is NOT because of any atmospheric warming of 0.8ºC

            .. it is NOT because of any global ocean warming of 0.1ºC

            .. it is NOT because of a small increase in beneficial atmospheric CO2

            It is highly localised, and JUST over large pockets of volcanic activity.

            And yes, there has been increased volcanic activity over the past decade or so.. Didn’t you read the post from a couple of weeks ago ???

            “I am sure they have no idea right now”

            I’m sure they CHOOOSE TO IGNORE the reality of the volcanic activity…

            it would ruin the “fairy-tale” they feed to GULLIBLE twerps like you, seb.

          3. SebastianH

            Uh, they melted (and advanced) a long time ago too. Glaciers that exist today didn’t exist a few thousand years ago.

            So? Are you trying to do the it-was-warm-before routine again? When will you finally understand that the reasons for something happening in the past are not necessarily the same reasons it is happening today?

            Huh? So you think scientists aren’t aware of high geothermal heat flux causes basal melting of the polar ice sheets (Greenland too)? Could it perhaps be new information for you? Wow.

            Really?! I even marked that passage with a clear sarcasm sign. How does your mind work? Do you start reading a sentence and when you feel the need to reply you just reply without reading it to the end?

            This is crazy …

          4. SebastianH

            So was geothermal heat flux below the ice sheets melting the ice in the past, or is that only happening today?

            How did the ice accumulate if the geothermal heatflux is melting it today? Was there a period of low volcanic activity?

            …that question was supposed to be understood as sarcasm?

            And again he loses context … so typical. Read again, what paragraph of yours I replied to with this and what paragraph of mine you quoted back then.

            Just so you know, the last sentences were on purpose. Ignored what you wrote next like you do it regularly. How does that taste?

            Have you now changed your mind and agree that Greenland and Antarctica are melting due significantly to high geothermal heat flux

            I’ll reply with a quote from one of your quotes up in the article: “[The] West Antarctic warming is tied to zonally asymmetric circulation changes forced by the tropics.”

            Do you think a change in the mW/m² range has a significant effect?

          5. Yonason

            @Kenneth Richard 25. July 2018 at 5:30 PM

            You respond to the troll’s question about how the ice could have formed with all that volcanic activity.

            Well, by analogy, how could homes have been built and lived for years in the area in Hawaii where there is now volcanic activity.

          6. spike55

            And the mindless, evidence-free BLATHER from seb, the headless chook, continues.

            Plenty of evidence that the West Antarctic melt is from volcanoes and similar geothermal activity

            ZERO evidence its caused by anything to do with humans.

            Ocean warming of 0.1ºC does not melt ice which is well below zero, and aim at one specific locality.

          7. SebastianH

            But it’s not worth my time to try to decipher this gem of an exchange.

            1) You quoted me and replied with “Huh? So you think scientists aren’t aware of high geothermal heat flux […]”
            2) I replied “Really?! I even marked that passage with a clear sarcasm sign.” while quoting what you wrote in 1)
            3) You ask me if that means a different paragraph was supposed to be understood as sarcasm (e.g. losing context).

            In contrast, the effects of CO2 forcing for Antartica average a “rather small” 0.5 to 1 W m-2 per year according to Schmithusen et al. (2015). And the forcing values are “comparatively weak” for the Arctic:


            Do you find these “rather small” forcing values to be sufficient enough to melt ice sheets from below?

            You are serious with this question, right?

            “[The] West Antarctic warming is tied to zonally asymmetric circulation changes forced by the tropics.”
            Doesn’t mean anything to you, does it? The various ways heat gets transported poleward just don’t exist in your model of the world when it comes to arguing against the greenhouse effect. No, you just repeat this “GHE is weak at the poles” stuff and hope nobody notices …

          8. spike55

            ““GHE is weak at the poles” “

            GHE is weak to NON-EXISTANT everywhere, seb

            There is ZERO evidence of warming from the GHE.

            It has NEVER been measured on this planet or anywhere else.

            But you KNOW you have NO EVIDENCE,

            which is why you keep up the headless chook evasions of those two questions

  2. Hivemind

    People don’t realise just how bitterly cold Antarctica is, and just how incredibly stable that makes the ice there. Particularly when their incomes rely on them not admitting it.

    1. Bitter&twisted

      Unlike our resident troll I have done fieldwork in the Antarctic and can vouch personally for the extreme cold.
      And I was there in Summer.

  3. tom0mason

    It is instructive when talking about the Antarctic to remember how truly vast this continent is —
    here’s a graphic of Antarctica compared to the contiguous states of the USA

    Thanks Kenneth for the heads-up on the info here, and to Pierre for keeping this blog going, showing that the mantra of the IPCC and their acolytes are neither accurate or real, and all too often are untrue.

    P.P.S. Thanks for allowing this blog let me log-in so easily. 😉

    1. Newminster

      When there was the usual fuss a few weeks ago about bits the size of Greater London falling off Antarctica somebody did a comparison and worked out that if Antarctica was a football pitch, Greater London would be a bit bigger than the little quarter-circle you take corner kicks from!

    2. SebastianH

      showing that the mantra of the IPCC and their acolytes are neither accurate or real, and all too often are untrue.

      Ha Ha Ha 😉 You are a funny guy!

      1. spike55

        EMPTY nothingmess from seb, yet again

        Still the attention-seeking headless chook comments from him.

        So HILARIOUS.. but all the poor petal has to offer.

        Any answer to those two simple questions yet, seb.

        Here. I’ll restate them to give you yet another chance to show us what you’ve got.

        .. OR NOT.

        Q1. In what way has the climate changed in the last 40 years, that can be scientifically attributable to human CO2 ?

        Q2. Do you have ANY EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE at all that humans have changed the global climate in ANYWAY WHATSOEVER?

      2. tom0mason

        I’m glad you enjoy laughing, it means you didn’t get the point…
        and that IS truly funny.

        Thanks SebastianH for yet another laugh (at you).

        P.S. Hope you’re not still having difficulty with logging in your name and Email each time. I have no such problems! 🙂

        1. SebastianH

          I’m glad you enjoy laughing, it means you didn’t get the point…
          and that IS truly funny.

          So you didn’t get the point of my reply since you are … laughing?

          It’s definitely funny how you guys try to spin everything around and imagine that the other side does something fraudulent and you are somehow the victims of their doings. And you couldn’t let my reply just sit there, no you had to turn that around too 😉

          P.S.: I am having the cookie problem on every device in every browser and I doubt it is working for you if you are not logged in as a registered user, but just want to write comments. The blog is saving a cookie named “euCookie” and some Google Analytics cookies … that’s it.

          1. spike55

            “So you didn’t get the point of my reply”

            You mean the POINTLESSMESS of all your replies.

            That is what is so LAUGHABLE.

            And then yet another whinge..

            get over yourself, seb.. you are NOT important.

          2. tom0mason

            Hey SebastianH,

            Still staying away from the topic of the post eh?

            OK here’s a whole bunch of off-topic news from the past month for you to hyperventilate about.

            “BP CEO Bob Dudley, was recently astonished to find that power companies still get as much of their energy from coal as they did 20 years ago.
            US oil & gas show record production; Gazprom’s next giant gas field on course to start production. Coal output up in Australia, coal in the US, coal in South Africa and coal in India. Nuclear production running in India, new nuclear in China, nuclear still running in the US, even Ghana is looking at nuclear, as well as Niger and Bangladesh (thanks to the Chinese).

            There’s falling global investment in renewables.
            California’s emissions down but at the cost of more power intermittency and request for customers to restrict their consumption.
            There’s looming EU energy efficiency fines,while the UK suffers an ongoing wind drought, and increased reliance on burning fuels.

            And still volcanic activity melts the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and researchers say Svalbard was 6°C warmer 10,000 years ago.

            Or maybe you subscribe to the completely banal idea that man-made climate change contributed to trapping the boys of the Thai football team in that cave.”

            That should keep you off topic for days, weeks even…

            Haha ha 🙂

        2. SebastianH

          Still staying away from the topic of the post eh?

          I am laughing because of your worldview expressed in the first comment, how is that not on topic? You made joke and now I am laughing.

          The only ones hyperventilating are you guys. Whenever I post something you guys scramble to bury it with nonsense. What would you call such a behaviour?

          1. tom0mason

            Yes SebastianH, and I’m sure you believe it.

            Here’s laughing at you 🙂

          2. Yonason


            As B&T writes, DNFTT.

            Better to leave the steaming piles dumped by the troll un-burried. The more involved in them some of us get, the more undeserved credibility he’s given. He’s just here to waste our time. Why give him the satisfaction?

  4. Antarctic ‘Catastrophic Ice Sheet Collapse’ Alarmism Gets Axed In 2 New Scientific Papers – Newsfeed – Hasslefree allsorts

    […] Ref.:… […]

  5. The Other Brad

    “Thank you sir, may I please have another?” Seb getting spanked again. A little comedic respite.

  6. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #323 | Watts Up With That?
  7. Svend Ferdinandsen

    If dams (the one in Laos) could collapse in the same pace as ice shelfs, no one would suffer.

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