Forget about the UN IPCC’s upcoming AR5 climate change report, their colleagues in New Zealand’s Antarctic Research Institute have gone the full Chicken-Little and are predicting sea level will rise 4cm per year, or a whacking great four metres per century.
Given that sea levels are currently rising by between 1.5 and 3 millimetres a year, an increase to 4cm a year will require some doing. Nonetheless, the NZ ARI are trying to suggest that’s what’s around the corner if we don’t stop using roads, lights, heaters and supermarkets:
“Antarctic ice melt may result in sea levels rising by up to 5 m and as fast as 4 cm per year. Even with the most optimistic scenarios for stabilizing atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations, the world can no longer avoid 2°C of warming by 2100, meaning we are already committed to irreversible meltdown of Greenland and West Antarctica. The questions is when, how much and how fast!,” the NZ ARI state in a just released paper.
In it, they justify their warnings by claiming the IPCC and other climate scientists have been getting it wrong:
“Whereas most climate models, including those used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are based on a linear sequence of progressive and predictable changes, the melting of polar ice is the result of complex interactions that have resulted in non-linear, even runaway rates of melting during times of past warming.”
The paper claims New Zealand climate scientists are the world experts on Antarctic ice melt and are well-placed to lead research on runaway sea level rise:
“Even though 80% of the heat from global warming ahs [sic] gone into the Southern Ocean, the international community is only now focusing attention on the important role of the water mass beneath ice-shelves contributing to ice shelf disintegration. We still have very few measurements of the water mass beneath an ice shelf, let alone an understanding of how changing ocean currents around Antarctic will destablise the ice shelves. New Zealand is well placed to lead an international initiative to obtain the first transect of data from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf.
“The international research community is establishing terrestrial observing systems through the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and New Zealand has already taken the lead in developing the Antarctic Environments Portal to ensure policy ready Antarctic research knowledge is made immediately available to national and international decision makers.”
Meanwhile, back in the real world… you would read this:
“I find it almost inconceivable that ‘business as usual’ climate change will not result in a rise in sea level measured in metres within a century. Am I the only scientist who thinks so?” asked NASA’s Jim Hansen.
Possibly, now, he just might be. According to a new study by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Colorado University’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, Hansen has more chance of finding a snowball in global warming hell than he does of seeing the sea level rise by five or ten metres.
The study took on board the claims Hansen and other global warming believers have made about melting ice, but then did something that hasn’t been done before – they checked to see how fast the glaciers would actually have to melt to achieve a multi-metre rise in sea levels, and whether this was actually possible.
“Despite projections by some scientists of global seas rising by 20 feet or more by the end of this century as a result of warming, a new University of Colorado at Boulder study concludes that global sea rise of much more than 6 feet is a near physical impossibility,” begins a bulletin from the University.
“For Greenland alone to raise sea level by two metres by 2100, all of the outlet glaciers involved would need to move more than three times faster than the fastest outlet glaciers ever observed, or more than 70 times faster than they presently move,” one of the Colorado team, Tad Pfeffer, explained. “And they would have to start moving that fast today , not 10 years from now. It is a simple argument with no fancy physics.”
The reason it’s simple is because glaciers don’t just melt overnight, no matter how hot it’s been. The ice not only has to turn to water, but the water has to find its way out. The world’s fastest outlet glaciers, incidentally, are moving at a hefty 12 kilometres a year, so Greenland’s glaciers, all of them, would have to start whizzing out of their valley beds at speeds approaching one kilometre a week, and continue moving that fast, day and night, for the rest of this century, just to achieve Hansen and Gore’s fantasy of a two metre sea level increase.
Logistically then, the chances of a big sea level rise are almost non-existent, even with global warming.
“The gist of the study is that very simple, physical considerations show that some of the very large predictions of sea level rise are unlikely, because there is simply no way to move the ice or the water into the ocean that fast,” said Pfeffer.
Their study, published in Science, indicates the NASA GISS chief’s claim is possible, but only on paper, and arguably even then only after a long night of weed-smoking.
“We consider glaciological conditions required for large sea level rise to occur by 2100 and conclude increases of 2 metres are physically untenable. We find that a total sea level rise of about 2 metres by 2100 could occur under physically possible glaciological conditions but only if all variables are quickly accelerated to extremely high limits.”
Like others, Pfeffer says the research is a warning to political leaders to make sure they’re certain of the science before they start spending money like water.
“If we plan for 6 feet and only get 2 feet, for example, or visa versa, we could spend billions of dollars of resources solving the wrong problems.”
The irony here is that global warming’s high priests are being unintentionally skewered by colleagues working in the climate research field.
As if on cue, the journal Science has just published a major study suggesting nearly three quarters of the warming recorded in the Atlantic Ocean since 1980 has nothing to do with climate change, and everything to do with dust storms in Africa spreading out over the Atlantic like a cloud and keeping the sea cooler. An analysis of the past 26 years shows years with fewer dust storms and volcanic eruptions invariably resulted in higher sea temperatures.
“A lot of this upward trend in the long-term pattern can be explained just by dust storms and volcanoes,” lead researcher Amato Evan told ScienceDaily. “About 70 percent of it is just being forced by the combination of dust and volcanoes, and about a quarter of it is just from the dust storms themselves.”
Only 30% of the ocean warming can be laid at the door of other factors, including climate change or solar forcing. Dustier or more volcanic years mean fewer hurricanes because of the lower ocean temperatures (hurricanes need warm water to feed on). Conversely clearer years mean a warmer Atlantic and rising sea levels because of thermal expansion of the water, as well as warmer currents affecting Arctic sea ice.
“Volcanoes and dust storms are really important if you want to understand changes over long periods of time,” Evan reported. “If they have a huge effect on ocean temperature, they’re likely going to have a huge effect on hurricane variability as well.”
So much for the hurricane images in Al Gore’s movie. [All extracted from the book “Air Con”]
The NZ Antarctic Research Institute scare story of a multi-metre sea level increase within a century is also sharply at odds with recent studies finding Antarctic warming is within the bounds of historical normal.
Nor is the NZ position in sync with predictions from top Russian scientists who argue we are currently heading towards a new mini ice age.
A newly-released scientific paper reveals Antarctica’s ice melt rate during the so called “hottest decade ever” would, if it continued at the same rate, contribute half an inch to global sea level increases by 2100.
Meanwhile, here’s a simple piece of logic you can test the NZ Antarctic Research Institute’s claims against: If 80% of the world’s entire global warming heat has “gone into the Southern Ocean”, why is Antarctic sea ice reaching record high levels?