ENVIRONMENT by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Melting Antarctic ice sheet, or more climate alarmism?
, September 27, 2014
Over recent weeks, a number of media outlets have reported claims that the Antarctic ice sheet is melting, some say irreversibly, with the prospect of causing rising sea levels around the world.
The Climate Council, previously the government-funded Climate Commission, headed by alarmists Dr Tim Flannery and Will Steffen from the ANU, has just released a report claiming that, over the next century, Australia will face rising sea levels which will put vast areas of the Australian coastline at risk of inundation.
The report’s conclusions come despite the fact that satellite observations of global sea levels have been conducted only since about 1992, far too short a time to yield long-term predictions.
The tide-gauge records have been collected for a far longer period; but, according to the Climate Council, tide levels — measured across Australia, which show low rises in tide levels — “should be treated with caution when considering the likely future sea level rise”.
Instead, they say, “The must useful estimates of future sea-level rise (i.e., the rise several decades or more hence) come from climate projections provided by computer models” — the very computer models which have proved to be unreliable in predicting climate change!
One of the authors of the report, John Hunter, told the Sydney Morning Herald, “Sydney is very vulnerable. One-in-a-hundred year [floods] by the end of the century will finish up being pretty much every day, with every high tide.
“If we’re very lucky, and we only end up with the low estimate for business-as-usual [emissions], then it will be every 10 or 12 days” (SMH, September 17, 2014).
The problem with sea-level measurements is that the earth’s surface is constantly moving, so it is very difficult to differentiate rising sea levels from falling earth levels. Even whole continents are gradually shifting, both vertically and laterally.
Because of the huge quantities of ice on the Antarctic continent and in the surrounding seas, scientists have been looking anxiously at the Antarctic to see whether there is any significant ice melting.
A recent report in Science magazine claimed that the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf, a floating mass of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula, was due to global warming.
However, the latest observations from satellite of the extent of Antarctic sea ice, a measure of whether ice is accumulating or declining, shows that sea-ice cover in the Antarctic is now at its highest level since records began over 30 years ago.
Satellite images show 20 million square kilometres of ice surrounding the continent.
That is 170,000 square km more than last year’s previous all-time record, and more than 1.2 million square km above the 1981-to-2010 mean, according to researchers.
“This is an area covered by sea ice, which we’ve never seen from space before,” meteorologist and sea-ice scientist Jan Lieser, with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), told the ABC.
“Thirty-five years ago, the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two-dimensional area, of sea-ice was covered and we’ve never seen that before, that much area. That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia.”
Despite having predicted less ice — not more — as a result of alleged man-made global warming, alarmists have now tried, paradoxically, to blame the record extent of Antarctic ice on global warming!
Indeed, in a bizarre attempt to explain away the latest findings, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC boss Tony Worby tried to blame “the depletion of ozone” and the “warming atmosphere” for the phenomenal growth in sea ice.
On that reasoning, if the quantity of sea ice had fallen, they would have blamed it on global cooling!
The results are also being seen in the northern hemisphere. Some years ago, there were constant claims that the Arctic ice-sheet was declining in size, and would eventually disappear. Claims were also made that changes in habitat would obliterate the polar bear.
In fact, the past few northern winters have been significantly cooler. Heavier than usual snow falls have occurred across northern Europe, Russia and North America.
The extent of Arctic ice, which for a number of years was below average, has now started to rise again. The recent snow falls across Canada and the northern prairies of the United States suggest that the next winter will also be severe.
Other evidence shows that ocean-warming, which has also been blamed for both atmospheric climate change and melting of the ice caps, is not happening. Measurements of the temperatures in the North Atlantic show that temperatures there are falling, not rising.
The latest data comes at an inconvenient time for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is hosting the next UN international climate change conference in Paris in November-December 2014. Tony Abbott has said he will not be attending.