Melting Antarctic Ice Part of Natural Cycle

Historical records for the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) show that it is particularly prone to rapid climate change—change that occurs in cycles of ~200 years and ~2500 years. By studying major transitions in plankton productivity in the western Antarctic, scientists have shown that “spectacular” ice-cover losses have happened many times in the past. In other words, the “unprecedented rapid loss of ice” from parts of Antarctica that global warming alarmists make so much of are a normal part of nature's cycles.

According to the latest report in the journal Science, this is how it works: Less ice in the northern zone causes more cloud cover, reducing the amount of light reaching the plankton. A loss of light, together with less ice-melt freshwater and stronger winds means fewer large plankton blooms. By contrast, in the south, the skies stay cloudless for longer and the Antarctic current increases its flow rate, pulling up more nutrients. Both factors contribute to greater primary productivity. These physical changes explain the striking shifts recently observed in krill and the vertebrate communities of the western Antarctic.

For those who take their science straight, here is the abstract of the paper titled “Recent Changes in Phytoplankton Communities Associated with Rapid Regional Climate Change Along the Western Antarctic Peninsula,” by Martin Montes-Hugo, et al, as it appears in Science:

“The climate of the western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is undergoing a transition from a cold-dry polar-type climate to a warm-humid sub-Antarctic–type climate. Using three decades of satellite and field data, we document that ocean biological productivity, inferred from chlorophyll a concentration (Chl a), has significantly changed along the WAP shelf. Summertime surface Chl a (summer integrated Chl a ~63% of annually integrated Chl a) declined by 12% along the WAP over the past 30 years, with the largest decreases equatorward of 63°S and with substantial increases in Chl a occurring farther south. The latitudinal variation in Chl a trends reflects shifting patterns of ice cover, cloud formation, and windiness affecting water-column mixing. Regional changes in phytoplankton coincide with observed changes in krill (Euphausia superba) and penguin populations.”

What this means is that, by measuring amounts of the chemical chlorophyll-a, scientitsts can figure out living conditions in the Antarctic ocean, from which they can infer what was going on with ice cover and other climate conditions. What they found was that the recent period of rapid ice melting in the WAP fits normal climate cycles that have been detected by other scientists. Previous studies have reported similar oscillations in sea ice extent and rate of change during the Holocene—the relatively warm interglacial period we have been in for the past 15,000 years. One such study was by Amy Leventer, et al, reported in the Geological Society of America Bulletin, in December 1996.

In a paper titled “Productivity cycles of 200–300 years in the Antarctic Peninsula region: Understanding linkages among the sun, atmosphere, oceans, sea ice, and biota,” Leventer and colleagues report the results of a multiproxy record from a sediment core retrieved from a deep basin on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The report reveals “a dramatic perspective on paleoclimatic changes over the past 3700 yr. Analyses completed include measurement of magnetic susceptibility and granulometry, bed thickness, particle size, percent organic carbon, bulk density, and microscopic evaluation of diatom and benthic foraminiferal assemblages and abundances.” Their conclusion was that “variability of these parameters demonstrates the significance of both short-term cycles, which recur approximately every 200 yr, and longer term events (~2500 yr cycles) that are most likely related to global climatic fluctuations.”

In other words, ice in the Antarctic region undergoes periodic episodes of rapid melting—and it is all entirely natural, not because of human activity. The new paper echos these findings: “Paleo-records show that analogous climate variations have occurred in the past 200 to 300 years, and over longer 2500-year cycles, with rapid (decadal) transitions between warm and cool phases in the WAP. In this study (~30 years), the Chl a trend evidenced in the southern subregion of the WAP presented similar characteristics to those trends detected during typical interneoglacial periods (~200 to 300 years) (i.e., high phytoplankton biomass, and presumably productivity, due to less area covered by permanent sea ice).”

Science is marvelous, it never rests and never accepts any simple answer at face value. Here we see confirmation of an alternate explanation for rapid ice melting in Antarctica. The latest paper cites thirty supporting references and cross referencing the older paper provides links to eighteen others—this paper's conclusions are not from a single group of “fringe” scientists. Yet have you heard this well documented explanation for rapid ice melting from any media outlet reporting on global warming? Of Course not! What is reported is “more unprecedented melting!”

To have reported that the melting ice could be explained more accurately by a scientific theory other than anthropogenic global warming would muddy the water, not to mention confuse the news anchor doing the reporting. This is what makes other scientists, myself included, so angry about the climate change clique—their lack of open mindedness, their willful disregard for any facts counter to their preconceived ideas, their out right lies. When the dust finally settles on the great global warming debate there will be a number of climate scientist with much to account for.

Meanwhile, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.

Of course it is natural, the

Of course it is natural, the problem is that the human level of tech development can influence the grade of the melting and this can be very dangerous.

No proof of human influence

And that is the problem with AGW. There are no data suggesting that the observed melting is not part of the natural cycle. The observed variation is within previous bounds. Can does not mean it is the cause. Such conjectures are just idle speculation, not science.

Hello

I love to see snow on mountains and I love to spent my time there. I really enjoyed your post, thanks for sharing this interesting post.
Best Regards

cosplay

As I know that Ice in the Antarctic region undergoes periodic episodes of rapid melting—and it is all entirely natural, not because of human activity. In fact, the great global is warmer than before.

Valuable info there.

As I know that Ice in the Antarctic region undergoes periodic episodes of rapid melting—and it is all entirely natural, not because of human activity. In fact, the great global is warmer than before.

well if this is happening,

well if this is happening, some action needs to take place. let's try to prevent this from happening. but how? well thanks for the post. i enjoyed it.

Updates

Two recent Arctic Ice updates:

Beginning in early January 2009, sensor drift caused an underestimation of ice that grew until the error was finally caught in the mid-February. Internet visitors who look to the NSIDC for data sent emails to the center and, it became clear that there was a significant problem—sea-ice-covered regions were showing up as open ocean. (See NSIDC)

MORE . . . (May 4, 2009)

Ice in the Arctic is often twice as thick as expected, report surprised scientists who returned last week from a major scientific expedition. The scientists - a 20-member contingent from Canada, the U.S., Germany, and Italy - spent one month exploring the North Pole as well as never-before measured regions of the Arctic. Among their findings: Rather than finding newly formed ice to be two metres thick, "we measured ice thickness up to four metres," stated a spokesperson for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research of the Helmholtz Association, Germany's largest scientific organization.
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/05/04/la...

Ice melting

Shalom

My theory: Ice melting cause by the disappearing of trees.

The rain forests decrease force the planet encourage other lands to recreation of vegetation,felled trees release unkown gas (yet) to the atmospheare and earth warmth echelon protection is damaging. Thats why we observe fast melting.

BR

Gadi Gertel

Israel

And I think that ice is

And I think that ice is melting for a whole bunch of reasons that we just can't separate from one another.
Among them are the extinction of rainforests, cars, industrialization, overpopulation, the growth of cities, etc.
All this being put together serves as the reason of global warming....

BR,
Mike, Russia
http://www.azoft.com

Thank you for a thoughtful

Thank you for a thoughtful article.I like it

Interpretation

The interpretation of the these peer reviewed articles is not accurate and not in context with the studies.

Climate cycles are caused by different mechanisims. These studies do not address the causes (forcing) of the climate change.

Important science - but you take it out of context.

On the contrary

I present extensive quotations from the articles, often giving the text of the entire abstract, along with links to the articles themselves so people can read and decide for themselves. You may not agree with my interpretation of the science presented but you have provided no proof to the contrary. In science it is both proper and accepted to interpret other researcher's results. Asserting that things are taken out of context without a specific example is meaningless.

You're welcome

You are very welcome. Thank you for the kind comment.

Regards,
Doug

Gorebull Wurming

I absolutely loved your closing! Mind if I quote it? I am a geologist, an older one, and all I have done for a living for the past quarter century is clean up the very worst of toxic waste sites and intractable groundwater plumes wherever in the world I have been. In the third of a century that I have actually been a geologist, I have been fascinated with climate change. Why? Because it determines what is laid down in the sedimentary record.

As of this moment, my cybrary, the digital lodgement of things I found worth saving since becoming internet aware, is at 9,684 files and 22.6 gigs. The folder containing climate change and hominid evolution (oh yes, they are tied!) data contains 2,460 of those files and occupies 2 of those gigs. I have read every one and continue to research the nuances of climate change. Recently, I have focused on the Eemian, the interglacial which preceded this one (the Holocene), and the one in which we, meaning Homo sapiens, first appears in the fossil record. We are presently in a 100k year mode of ice-age/interglacial couples extending back to the Mid Pleistocene Transition about 800k years ago. In that time we have had 7 ice ages and 6 interglacials, the interglacials lasting, on average, about 10k years, or about half a precessional cycle. Meaning, of course, that at 11,500 years old, this one is getting a little long in the tooth. This is also the one in which all of human civilization has occurred as nothing but cave paintings have so far been found older than 10k years.

And that is why I love your closing.

I would enjoy trading data with you. You are welcome to all that I have. In terms of the Eemian alone, there were several sea level highstands. Many are recorded in the vertically stable platform of the lateral sliding Cayman islands going back at least 500k years. Best as I can ascertain from all of the papers I have accumulated on the subject, sea levels topped out about 20 meters (65.6 feet) above present during the Eemian there. Could be much higher at sites in Siberia. Between the end of the Eemian and now there have been either 24 or 26 Dansgaard-Oeschger events, reliable, dramatic and completely unavoidable global climate change events that average 8-10C global temperature changes in from just a few years to mere decades (with outliers ranging to 16C), and the classical sawtooth temperature decay with 2-4C shifts in even shorter intervals being commonplace, just like the major transitions do to the MPT and beyond which lie the 41k cycles (which match precisely the obliquity in our orbit) for another million years or so.

If we go back 2.8 million years, when we split away from the Austrolopithecines, our braincase size registered a mere 500cc. Today, the average is about five times that. And it did not occur on a straight line. Do some anthropogenic research and you will soon come to know that this happens pretty much in lock step with those reliable, dramatic and thoroughly unavoidable global climate change events we see clearly in the proxy records.

You see, the problem is not whether we have accumulated enough knowledge to understand these events which happen so reliably we can set our geologic clocks by them, no, the problem is our relative permeability to fact and fiction. Some remarkable research was conducted in the 1970's which concluded that H. sapiens is 9 times more susceptible to rumor than it is to fact. Although the study i refer to does not offer this proof, I do. Which, of all mankind's religions (I refer here to those for which a written records exists, e.g. within the last 10k years, since we figured out how to write....) is correct? In your musings you are allowed to consider Zeus, and the pantheon of gods once co-resident on Mt. Olympus, or perhaps Rah, the sun god of ancient Egypt (and of course Horus and Isis, just to mane a few). Or perhaps Ishtar, the precursor to Islam.

Over the past two years I have conducted what I call "blog research" to see if I can ferret out the root cause of adherence to predictions (think of rumors, or call them potential future facts, future fantasies, or model results, your call) and actual facts (the remarkably hi-resolution records of the Greenland ice cores complemented by the virtual desert, but longer lived records from the Antarctic ice coring expeditions to Dome Concordia, for example). In this wholly psychologically oriented research on denial, I have found two major classifications of the true deniers in all of this. I have classified them parrots and parents. Parrots are rather easily sorted out as equivalent to those that can repeat a thing (such as Al Gore's intonations) without actually understanding it, and parents, or those which have offspring in the offing. Aside from that are merely the uninformed, which can go either way, depending on whether or not they have "one in the oven" or whether or not they can rub more than one fact together at any one time. it really does boil down to that.

At the end of the day, the most striking conclusion of all is simply this. In a paper submitted to Geology magazine in 2004 regarding Marine Isotope Chrons data collected from the North Sea Pleistocene sediments, the authors state “The next predicted decrease is now, though anthropogenic warming will certainly serve to temper this kick into the next ice age.”

Meaning of course, that if the only known clock we have in the recent Quaternary record is correct, we are due for another ice age, and that if the vast majority of believers in GHG theory are correct, instead of reducing GHG emissions, you may find yourself needing to increase them, precipitously.

Isn't it fascinating how the many facets of denial work?

William McClenney
CA Professional Geologist #4430

konteyner

I absolutely loved your closing! Mind if I quote it? I am a geologist, an older one, and all I have done for a living for the past quarter century is clean up the very worst of toxic waste sites and intractable groundwater plumes wherever in the world I have been. In the third of a century that I have actually been a geologist, I have been fascinated with climate change. Why? Because it determines what is laid down in the sedimentary record.
years old, this one is getting a little long in the tooth. This is also the one in which all of human civilization has occurred as nothing but cave paintings have so far been found older than 10k years.

And that is why I love your closing.

I would enjoy trading data with you. You are welcome to all that I have. In terms of the Eemian alone, there were several sea level highstands. Many are recorded in the vertically stable platform of the lateral sliding Cayman islands going back at least 500k years. Best as I can ascertain from all of the papers I have accumulated on the subject, sea levels topped out about 20 meters (65.6 feet) above present during the Eemian there. Could be much higher at sites in Siberia. Between the end of the Eemian and now there have been either 24 or 26 Dansgaard-Oeschger events, reliable, dramatic and completely unavoidable global climate change events that average 8-10C global

25000 year cycles showing signs of radioactivity

is there any research indicating possible radioactivity laid down in core samples that seem to repeat every 25000 years consistent with major geophysical changes such as passage of large body past earth that would affect the inner core and mantle sheering by reversing the spin of earth, including major tsunami oceanic chaos?

thanks for any assistance.

John

No.

The spin of Earth does not reverse because of a passing "large body." Your statement is either a troll, a joke, or you are seriously miseducated.

Creatures of the Ice Age

Thank you for your long and thoughtful comment posting. Please feel free to quote anything from our blogs. Many of the things you mention are actually touched on in our book, The Resilient Earth, the text of which can be found on this web site (or, of course, purchased from Amazon.com). To quote from the book about the origins of humanity:

“We are creatures of the Ice Age. Many scientists believe that, without the extreme challenges brought on by the advancing ice sheets, mankind would never have developed the survival skills that have brought us to planetary dominance. Great intelligence, ability to collaborate using language, and facile use of tools has enabled Homo sapiens sapiens (“wise wise man”) to spread from nearly pole to pole.

Most of our closest relatives were not as adaptable. They were also not as fortunate. Earth is littered with the bones of other failed members of the genus Homo; Homo habilis, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis. Anatomically, modern humans generally have a lighter physical build compared to our earlier cousins. Physically, we were weaker, yet our species was the one that survived.”

I've always felt a particular kinship with polar bears since they, like our species, were molded by the last glacial period. Interesting information has recently been presented regarding the use of fire by early hominids and how cooking food may have been humanity's “killer app,” in evolutionary terms. Anthropologist Richard Wrangham, of Harvard University, thinks that Homo erectus evolved a larger brain, narrower hips and smaller ribcage because cooking food makes digestion easier and more energy efficient. In short, humans traded guts for brains.

As for the onset of the next glacial episode, a number of very reputable scientists have been saying the general trend is in that direction. In view of incidents like the PETM and even the Dryas periods at the beginning of the Holocene, I don't think that human activity can stop the onset of a new glacial. We affect climate but not enough to change the long term natural trend. As always, nature is going to do what nature does and we are just along for the ride.

Global Warming is such a

Global Warming is such a hoax. I can't belive that everyone is buying it. Thanks for the article.

data

“The climate of the western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is undergoing a transition from a cold-dry polar-type climate to a warm-humid sub-Antarctic–type climate. Using three decades of satellite and field data, we document that ocean biological productivity, inferred from chlorophyll a concentration (Chl a), has significantly changed along the WAP shelf. Summertime surface Chl a (summer integrated Chl a ~63% of annually integrated Chl a) declined by 12% along the WAP over the past 30 years, with the largest decreases equatorward of 63°S and with substantial increases in Chl a occurring farther south. The latitudinal variation in Chl a trends reflects shifting patterns of ice cover, cloud formation, and windiness affecting water-column mixing. Regional changes in phytoplankton coincide with observed changes in krill (Euphausia superba) and penguin populations.”

These are data we *should* think about...

___
Anthony from his blogs about baby high chairs and home furniture.

This is precisely the

This is precisely the position I have taken, always. A sound look at all the data makes this the only logical conclusion. Whatever man does, it can have only minimal effects on the earth. It is way too large a system for man to matter very much.

Regards..
Adraian Clive from Android Development