Scientists Find Antarctica Is Rapidly Cooling And Any Ice Sheet Melt Is Not Due To CO2, But Natural

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Natural variability rules in Antarctica. Scientists identify clouds, wind, and localized solar heating – not CO2 – as the factors driving ice melt. Rising CO2 leads to Antarctic cooling.

Image Source: Lüning et al. 2019

Antarctica rapidly cooling in recent decades

In a review of the scientific literature, Lüning et al. 2019 report Antarctica as a whole has undergone a cooling trend in recent decades.

The Antarctic Peninsula has cooled at a rate of -0.5°C per decade since the late 1990s.

West Antarctica as a whole has “slightly cooled” (or the warming has “plateaued”) over the past two decades.

East Antarctica “has not experienced any significant temperature change since the 1950s” with  ice sheet mass gains and cooling during the past 15 years.

Rising CO2 leads to Antarctic cooling

Antarctica contains about 90% of the world’s ice.

Because the continent averages -28.2°C in summer and -60°C in winter, inducing even partial retreat for an ice sheet that averages 2.3 kilometers in height would require a substantial amount of heat energy.

This effectively rules out a significant human influence.

According to scientists, raising CO2 concentrations does not even lead to warming in Antarctica. Actually, scientists find Antarctica cools in response to rising CO2 concentrations, which means we humans may be contributing more to ice mass gains than to losses.

Image Source: Schmithüsen et al., 2015

Natural variability – clouds, wind, localized solar heating – drive Antarctic ice melt

The surface melting of portions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has received quite a bit of attention in media circles, often accompanied by scary warnings of ice sheet collapse and catastrophic sea level rise.

For example, Dr. James Hansen – admitting his doomsday predictions are tendentiously designed to be “persuasive” – has claimed sea levels will rise by 10 feet by 2065 mostly due to Antarctic ice sheet melt.

Image Source: Slate

These harrowing warnings often seem to arise in response to observations of glacier calving events – large glaciers fissuring and breaking off from the ice sheet.

But glaciologists know that calving events are indicative of ice sheet thickening, not thinning. Glaciers calve when the ice accumulation has become so heavy and thick that the base of the ice sheet can no longer bear the load.

Image Source: Christmann et al., 2016

Yes, portions of Antarctica are undergoing ice melt. But ice sheet recession and advancement are both natural. And modern ice melt is well within the range of what occurs naturally for Antarctica.

Indeed, as Jones et al. (2016) conclude, natural variability “overwhelms” any forced response in satellite era trend observations.

Image Source: Jones et al., 2016

In two new papers, scientists identify the natural mechanisms driving the recession of some of West Antarctica’s glaciers in recent decades.

Scott et al. (2019) conclude surface melt is driven by wind currents and downwelling longwave radiation from clouds.

Stewart et al. (2019) find localized solar heating of surface water can explain melting in small portions of the Ross Ice Shelf.

Considering the total Antarctic meltwater contribution to sea level rise may only amount to 0.34 of a centimeter since 1958 (Frederikse et al., 2018), it is quite reasonable to conclude that nothing unusual, unprecedented, or concerning is occurring in Antarctica that could be said to fall outside the range of natural variability.

Image Source: Scott et al. (2019)

Image Source: Stewart et al. (2019)
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24 responses to “Scientists Find Antarctica Is Rapidly Cooling And Any Ice Sheet Melt Is Not Due To CO2, But Natural”

  1. Shawn

    This is bullshit. Four of the references cited are the author of this very article. Stop propagating lies.

    1. tom0mason

      Shawn,
      And your problem with the content of the papers is what exactly?
      “Stop propagating lies.”
      Where are these ‘lies’ that you claim?
      “Four of the references cited are the author of this very article.”
      So What! Are not each of these papers independent research papers in their own right?
      Or are you just here to attempt to disparage the authors of all these papers?
      Or maybe this comment of yours, Shawn, is just a smear from you because you can not find anything SCIENTIFICALLY wrong with these papers?

      Either way you Shawn sound very childish with your puerile comment.

    2. Yonason

      James E. Hanson, climate activist extraordinaire cites himself 10 times in this publication.
      https://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1988/1988_Hansen_ha02700w.pdf

      It’s done all the time, and is perfectly legitimate. That is not what makes a paper right or wrong.

      Thank you, Shawn, for playing, and better luck next time.

  2. SebastianH

    Kenneth, you’ve outdone yourself. Really 😉

    Antarctica rapidly cooling in recent decades

    You do know who this Lüning guy is, right? I’d be very skeptical about anything they (him and Vahrenholt) put out in the wild.

    Because the continent averages -28.2°C in summer and -60°C in winter, inducing even partial retreat for an ice sheet that averages 2.3 kilometers in height would require a substantial amount of heat energy.

    This effectively rules out a human influence.

    So you imagine warming something up from -30°C to say -25°C doesn’t have an effect on the total ice mass?

    How is it then that Antarctica is losing six times more ice mass per year than a few decades ago? (or another paper about the ice loss)

    How is that the existence of one glacier basically holds back lots of interior ice and this glacier is melting and could trigger quite a lot of ice melt?

    According to scientists, raising CO2 concentrations does not even lead to warming in Antarctica. Actually, scientists find Antarctica cools in response to rising CO2 concentrations, which means we humans may be contributing more to ice mass gains than to losses.

    You aren’t getting tired of repeating that falsehood, aren’t you. That’s not what they found. Please stop this gross misinterpretation …

  3. Tom

    This has been debunked several times before. Cherry picking information to suit your interest isn’t scientific. The cooling trend is temporary. The West Antarctic has already reversed, and the peninsula isn’t far behind. The article the author cited even says the cooling data in the West Antarctic contradicts itself many times. Temporary cooling happens, but the general trend is still towards warming. 20 years of cooling doesn’t negate 50+ years of warming. You all pride yourselves on the shreds of evidence against, no matter how shaky, and ignore the mounds of evidence in favor.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2098187-one-part-of-antarctica-has-been-cooling-since-1998-heres-why/amp/

    1. tom0mason

      “This has been debunked several times before.”

      Hardly!

  4. William H Johnson

    How is “COOLING” to be understood as global warming ? Don’t you think it is time to quit lying? Bill

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  6. Phil Salmon

    The surface layer of the 45 def S Southern Oceanhave cooled over the last 3 decades.

    For as long as I have been looking at global SSTs, there has been a persistent cold anomaly around Antarctica. This is rarely discussed for some strange reason. It could be the most important climate fact on earth. Antarctica led the earth into the Holocene interglacial, and it will probably lead us out of it as well.

  7. Phil Salmon

    Because the continent averages -28.2°C in summer and -60°C in winter, inducing even partial retreat for an ice sheet that averages 2.3 kilometers in height would require a substantial amount of heat energy.

    This effectively rules out a human influence.

    This is actually silly, and spoils the impact of an otherwise well reasoned and accurate article. Antarctica is not performing as scripted for the alarmists.

  8. Lonegreat

    Give hope and but certainly not falsehoods….these are propagandas by large companies who are affected by the great green drive….guys we all know we are responsible for what we have have done … responsible enough to change it to back beautiful cool planet home…only because of our ancestors didn’t have any idea of they were actually doing to this world… to us…well future depends on us changing it cause past has already set a catastrophic future…

    1. Yonason

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      @Pierre

      You must be doing something right, because there has been a surge in the troll infestation of late, each one loopier than then last. Loungerat’s meaningless doublespeak platitudes, however, may be slightly more banal than the rest, at least so far.

      1. tom0mason

        Indeed Yonason, Pierre must be very close to the target.

        I wonder if Loungerat’s “great green drive” is the not the same as (or very similar to) Chairman Mao Zedong ‘great leap forward’. We should all know and understand what a failure that was.

        The outstanding thing about these cAGW advocates is their illogical over-emotionalism and hysteria, mistaking how things are for how they feel about how things are. It’s that they’re a failure, and it is their failure. Their failure to seek out and understand weather/climate history that enables such an irrational perspective on what is now observed.

        Previously I’d have advised them to read http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/climatehistory.pdf (a 1.3MB pdf) to put a little perspective in their thinking but it’s now worthless as these day too many of them are too deeply into the cAGW cult.

        1. Yonason

          “Great Green Drive,” “Great LEAP Forward;” same difference

          Interesting link you have there. Lots of material contradicting the narrative of an idyllic past prior to modern times. Thanks.

  9. Yonason

    Caught off their guard
    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/icebreaker-headed-for-north-pole-turned-back-by-thicker-ice-than-expected/

    When can we expect them to say “We meant to do that. An increase in arctic ice is just what we expect in a warming world.”?

    Just what they said about snow, when it wasn’t disappearing like they predicted. Give them a minute to concoct a similar lie about ice.

  10. Phil Salmon

    All those inmates on the ship of fools to explore nonexistent new ice free routes seem to be fishing for a Darwin prize. One doesn’t know whether to wish them luck or not.

  11. Steve Borodin

    “Antarctica cools in response to rising CO2 concentrations, which means we humans may be contributing more to ice mass gains than to losses.”

    Keep that quiet!

    GLOBAL DROUGHT! LOSS OF ALL MARINE SPECIES! BURN THAT COAL!

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    […] Scientists Find Antarctica Is Rapidly Cooling And Any Ice Sheet Melt Is Not Due To CO2, But Natural […]

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