Another Antarctic Sea Level Rise False Alarm

by Rud Istvan

Aitken et. al. in Nature newly comports to confirm 2015 fears about instability of the Totten Glacier in Eastern Antarctica. This could ‘suddenly’ raise sea level as much as 4 meters! (Or, based on the abstract, maybe only 0.9 meters in ‘modern scale configuration’, but over 2 meters [2.9-4] in unspecified other configurations).

There are two parts to the story of Aitken et. al. 2016: the author’s comments as reported by MSM, and what the paper actually found.

Media reports         

An example from the Weather Channel:

“An Antarctic glacier three-fourths the size of Texas continues to melt into the sea, and if it disappears completely, sea levels will rise dramatically around the world, a new study says. The Totten Glacier is melting quickly in eastern Antarctica and threatens to become yet another point of concern as global temperatures rise, according to the study published in the journal Nature. It’s getting close to a “tipping point,” the study found, and if the glacier collapses, global sea levels could rise nearly 10 feet…”I predict that before the end of the century the great global cities of our planet near the sea will have two- or three-meter (6.5 to 10 feet) high sea defenses all around them,” study author Martin Siegert told the French Press Agency.” [Bolds mine]

From Science Daily, drawn from the Imperial College London press release:

Current rates of climate change could trigger instability in a major Antarctic glacier, ultimately leading to more than 2m of sea-level rise. By studying the history of Totten’s advances and retreats, researchers have discovered that if climate change continues unabated, the glacier could cross a critical threshold within the next century, entering an irreversible period of very rapid retreat. This would cause it to withdraw up to 300 kilometres inland in the following centuries and release vast quantities of water, contributing up to 2.9 metres to global sea-level rise. [Bolds mine]

Finally, the lurid title of Chris Mooney’s article in the WaPo on May 18: ‘Fundamentally unstable’: Scientists confirm their fears about East Antarctica’s biggest glacier


Most of the paper is a complex analysis of detailed gravimetric and magnetic data captured from low pass aircraft mapping an important ridge component of Totten’s subglacial geology.

It is helpful to understand the context for seeking evidence of alarming seal level rise (SLR) (see my previous CE post Sea Level Rise Tipping Points). SLR is not accelerating, so warmunists have searched for future ice sheet ‘tipping points’ that might cause the abrupt SLR supporting urgent CO2 mitigation. Greenland was the initial focus; it is not cooperating because of its bowl shaped geology. See my previous post for details and references.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) was the next focal point. The Ronne Ice Shelf proved pinned and stable per the above linked Tipping Points guest post. ANDRILL showed that the Ross Ice Shelf is also stable; its grounding line hasn’t shifted for about 4 millennia, ditto the Tipping Points sites linked to above. Attention then shifted to the Amundsen Embayment, where much was made in 2014 of the flowing Pine Island Glacier (PIG)–until it was pointed out PIG sits on an active volcano that has nothing to do with global warming. (There are volcanic ash layers embedded in PIG.) WAIS is not cooperating, either. So attention has now shifted to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) where Totten is the biggest glacier/catchment basin, almost half of the above figure’s NASA defined geological sector (which also contains the Moscow University Ice Shelf and the Frost glacier) just ‘east’ of the Wilkes Land sector in the figure  below.

Totten images 1

Where Totten enters the Southern Ocean, it is mostly grounded in shallows <500 meters deep. This does not affect its stability (like the Ross Ice Sheet), since the first ~500 meters of Antarctic coastal seawater is basically at the freezing point. But warmer seawater below about 500 meters is melting Totten’s base at a deep trough about 5 km wide and about 800 meters deep, discovered in 2015 [link]. This melting causes a slow retreat of the grounding line behind the trough. The annual basal melting/grounding line retreat rate is presently about 100 meters/year, (but as fast as 175 meters per year in some places according to Aitken per WaPo). It is useful to note that Aitken was an author, but not lead author, on the 2015 trough discovery paper.

This deep ocean melting process could move inland for about 150 km through the Sabrina subglacial basin (deep blue in the following figure from the 2015 paper) over about 1500 years before hitting a sub-ice rock ridge perpendicular to the glacier only about 200 meters below sea level, which would stop the melting (since melting water is below ~500 meters). Aitken et. al. 2016 estimate that this would raise sea level about 0.9 meters, or ~6 cm/century. No cause for alarm.

Toten images 2

What Aitken et. al. 2016 reports is another fjord like deep ‘fault trench’ through this blocking ridge, which would (if water temperature stratification remained undisturbed) enable basal melting to proceed through the interior Aurora subglacial basin behind the ridge. This process would continue for about another 350 km, or about 40% back into the Totten catchment basin. Aitken et. al. also used ice-penetrating radar to probe both the Sabrina and Aurora basin floors to confirm that Totten did in fact melt back through both basins about 3 million years ago in the Pliocene (before the onset of the current ice ages), with CO2 at about 400 ppm. That was spun into the PR alarm—it happened before at 400 ppm!!! At the current melting rates this would take about 3 millennia and could raise sea level about 2.9 meters, an unalarming 10cm/century. This is probably still far too fast, since all the Aurora warming water would have to enter undisturbed through the newly reported narrow trench through the ridge.

Totten images 3

This is NOT fundamentally unstable collapse, implying 2-3 meters SLR by the end of this century, as the authors clearly intimated in their press releases.

How to get 3 feet of SLR by melting the Sabrina basin back to the ridge? Simply assume that all the ice in the catchment basin to the ridge disappears, even that above sea level not subject to seawater melting. To the ridge and ‘trench’, the catchment basin is about 200-250 km wide, the glacier about 100 km wide, its mouth and protruding ice shelf 145 km wide. The assumption is dubious, but not implausible. It would imply ice flow similar to that of coastal northeast Greenland glaciers today (another overhyped SLR alarm favorite), except where there are no such flowing glaciers today, and where Antarctica never gets above freezing in summer (while most of Greenland does, briefly).

How to get 2.9 meters SLR from the red oval? Easy. Just use the same entire catchment assumption to that deeper recessional melting point.

How to get ~4 meters (WaPo)? Just assume that if the Aurora basin behind the ridge melts via trough/trench intrusion of warmer seawater, the entire catchment will then lose all its ice because it lost its Totten ‘plug’ (up catchment ice is about 2.5 km thick).

This is the same assumption Rignot made in raising PIG alarm about losing all the ice in the Amundsen Embayment catchment, even though his own paper showed that is impossible (as per my previous post at CE).

This is the same assumption that the Greenbaum et. al 2015 trench paper cited above made (on which Aitken was a co-author), upon which Aitken et. al. 2016 builds. From its SI,

8. Sea Level Potential for Totten Glacier and the Aurora Subglacial Basin

We estimate the global sea level potential of ice flowing through Totten Glacier using a modified approach applied for Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers. We find the ice volume within the Totten Glacier Catchment20, correct for the higher density of seawater, subtract the volume of seawater required to replace the submarine ice, and divide the result by the area of the world oceans (3.6E14 m2). The result, ~3.5 meters, is conservative because it implies vertical catchment boundaries whereas, in reality, ice from neighboring catchments would contribute to the total sea level contribution if the entire catchment was drained of ice.

We follow a similar procedure to compute the total potential global sea level contribution of the Aurora Subglacial Basin (ASB) using catchment 13 defined on NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s drainage basin website21. Using that catchment we find that at least 5.1 m of global sea level potential is grounded below sea level and is therefore more susceptible to retreat. This figure assumes that all remaining ice grounded above sea level remains as it is today with unrealistic vertical cliffs. If all of the ice in the ASB were to melt, the total sea level contribution would be closer to 6.7 meters. The sea level figures here have not been corrected for isostatic rebound associated with the removal of ice loading of the crust.

[Note: the 6.7 meters assumes all the ice in this entire sector of the first figure disappears. It is easy to build scary PR from bad assumptions. Rignot blazed a false trail now relied on [SI fn 17, 18] by others.


The alarming estimates from this new Nature paper, particularly as represented by the media, are grievously wrong both with respect to the amount of and the rate of sea level rise that might be associated with melting of the EIAS Totten glacier.

There is unjustified author spin in the press releases and author’s interviews. There are underlying bad assumptions never mentioned except by reference to a previously refuted [here] bad paper by Rignot. A tangled web of deceit, to paraphrase a famous poem.

Regards to all CE denizens.

Postscript. Since JC justifiably demanded and has received edited precision from an earlier first draft guest post on most of the above, the final paraphrase is exactly to Sir Walter Scott’s Marmion (1808) concerning the Battle of Flodden. Canto VI, XVII:

‘Oh what a tangled web we weave,

When we first practice to deceive!’

JC note:  As with all guest post, please keep your comments civil and relevant.

116 responses to “Another Antarctic Sea Level Rise False Alarm

  1. Pingback: Another Antarctic Sea Level Rise False Alarm – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. a really great lecture and clearly written for all to understand. thank you. i will pass this on.

  3. bernie1815

    In sum, if all the ice in Antarctica melted tomorrow we would be in deep trouble.

    Nicely done Rud. I particularly like the pulling together of earlier “cries of wolf.” One minor point: You were too gentle with Mooney’s WP article.

    • In the first draft, I was much harsher. Our gracious hostess Judith toned it down. She is right. Play the problem, not the person. Regards.

    • Ristvan, I can’t visualize the 3D setting without a set of cross sections. Did these guys make cross sections to show how a water parcel at 500 m below sea level would move inland, release heat, melt ice, and exit back the 350 km round trip? What’s the driving force? Does the water exit just under the ice, or does it exit at the lowest level possible?

      • Fernando, they published mostly 2D transects. There is some pseudo 3D bottom mapping based on the gravimetric interpretation, mostly to merge with the magnetic data. The trough and trench are there.
        Neither paper how seawater would flow into essentially a dead end through a narrow trough and then a narrower trench. I that that fair, since their radar probing of the bottom topography does show it did happed at least once before.
        I presume a slower melting process the further into the interior one goes, since it really about the vertical water column temperature profile as melting moves deeper into the subbasins. The 1500 yr Sabrina and 3500 year calculations were based on the observed ~100m/yr which is still basically at the coast. The eventual much slower is likely, but unnecessary to refute the ‘tipping point collapse’ PR point.

  4. Curious George

    The deep through was discovered in 2015. The rate of melting is 100 to 175 meters per year.

    I like the accuracy of measurement and even more that of predictions. Glaciologists now can measure not just the size of the glacier, but even its first derivative – or maybe even the second one. Those of us who shave can estimate daily how fast our hair grows, but here it is done by a guy with a long beard.

  5. When earth gets warm, polar oceans thaw, it snows more, that rebuilds the ice. The ice advances and does cause cooling. Put that into your models. When the earth gets cold, polar oceans freeze, it snows less, ice depletes and retreats and earth gets warmer. Put that into you models.

    About 2000 years ago, there was a Roman Warm Period and then it got cold. About 1000 years ago, there was a Medieval Warm Period and then it got cold. That was called the Little Ice Age. It is warm now because it is supposed to be warm now.

    Oceans warm, Polar Oceans Thaw, Snowfall increases. Ice is replenished on Antarctica, Greenland and Mountain Glaciers. Ice builds up and spreads out, reflecting more energy, dumping more ice and ice cold water into the oceans and on land until earth and oceans cool. Polar oceans freeze and then the sun takes away ice every year until earth warms again.

    It is a natural cycle and we did not cause it.

    CO2 just makes green things grow better, while using less water.

  6. Thanks Rud. I love me some scary tipping points. Climate science is so dull without ’em.

    Seriously, if this swamping SLR ever comes to pass there will be a bright side. Those old historic ports which now lie inland – Ephesus, Ostia Antica, Richborough Castle and the Claudian Invasion landings, Aigues-Mortes, Deal Castle…

    Hey! Shouldn’t they be underwater already?

  7. Back in the Pliocene, when temperatures were 2 to 3 C warmer than today, and sea levels were 25 meters higher, with CO2 at about 400 ppm, what me worry?

    A little ice melts in Greenland a little from the Totten glacier, a little from Thwaites etc, pretty soon we get some serious high tides.

    • The important point is that cooling temperatures (the temperatures had cooled about 7-8°C in 40 million years) and falling CO2 levels (the CO2 levels had declined to 400 from about 1000 PPM in the same 40 million year period) causes glacial melting.

    • …pretty soon…

      Weasel Words™

    • Ah, but you assume that 400ppm “caused” the 2-3 C warmer. Upside down, amigo. Two to three C actually caused the 400ppm. The same temperature dependent relationship seen in the ice cores is seen in benthic cores that extend back through the entire Pliocene.

      Once we figure out what really caused that 2-3, commence nattering, but there will likely be nothing we can do about it.

  8. Rud Istvan, thank you for the essay.

  9. Willis Eschenbach

    Thanks, Rud. Interesting post, well written.


  10. Thanks Rud. There are in my opinion six lines of disinformation, six sleights of hand that allow alarmists to get away with their rubbish in the MSM while still claiming they ‘never lied’; this latest paper gives up on one of them while using implicitly or explicitly the other four. You cover this deception more in-depth in the previous article but since many people won’t read it may I try to summarize things in this comment.

    First: the use of CO2 levels to imply sea level will reach X meters above current values. But of course what matters for sea level is not temperature, not CO2; the latter might be the highest in 3 million years but the former is only the highest in a few thousand years (or tens of thousands depending on whom you ask), and remains below the level it had in the Eemian for example.

    Second: the assumption that a global temperature determines sea level when in fact the only thing that matters is polar temperature, and in particular East Antarctica – which seems to have the lowest warming in the world and might even be cooling. The reason is that non-polar glaciers nowadays hold very little water – only about 40cm worth of SLR. Of course documentaries and scientists doing ‘outreach’ never mention this, e.g. a recent report into how Iceland’s glaciers had done into ‘full tilt retreat’ casually forgot the tiny detail that, in the event they were wiped out altogether, sea levels would rise ONE CENTIMETER!

    For a nice combination of BS points 1 and 2 you have this tweet by Rahmstorf:

    (And the ice sheets could collapse, but there is no way thermal expansion could move dramatically from its present leisurely pace of about 1mm/year to what the alarmist narrative requires. So again, global temperature and ocean heat content are almost irrelevant).

    Third: the assumption that future CHANGES in temperature and SLR will be equivalent to those seen in the past; this is in fact another version of point 2, i.e. that there is some ‘ratio’ or relationship between temperature and sea level (perhaps, but in any case you should only look at the temperature in Greenland and Antarctica). The example usually chosen is the warming seen from the Last Glacial Maximum to the ‘pre-industrial’ baseline, which is about 5ºC and was accompanied by some 120 meters of SLR. To make things even dumber some have called an ‘Ice Age Unit’, according to which a warming of 2ºC would cause SLR of 120 x (2/5) ≈ 50 meters (they never say it so plainly because it sounds stupid, but it’s what they imply).

    This is obviously wrong at an extreme level – there are only 70 meters worth of sea level left in the world’s ice, so that’s all we can melt regardless whether we heat up 5ºC or 10ºC. There cannot be a geometric progression.

    But even before getting extreme it is obvious the ratio doesn’t really work like that. In the Younger Dryas, according to Shakun and Carlson, global temperatures dropped 0.6ºC and stayed there several centuries; nevertheless SLR continued – in fact faster than now! I’m going a bit on a limb here but a likely reason is that although the places where people actually live (i.e. Northern Hemisphere) saw a cooling of several degrees, the Southern Hemisphere including Antarctica continued to warm during this period.

    (The ‘Ice Age Unit’ meme would also create a contradiction between reconstructions showing temperatures steadily declining for thousands of years up to the industrial era, such as Marcott et al, and sea level records showing a steady rise over the same period.)

    Fourth, and most important: whether a temperature level ‘locks in’ a given amount of SLR is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is how quickly this will happen. All the paleo evidence says it would take at a minimum hundreds of years, and more likely thousands.

    At a basic level, nobody cares what happens in the year 3000. But even if we did, and even if we knew that the seas are going to rise let’s say 10 meters by then because West Antarctica and Greenland will both melt down, it wouldn’t matter a bit. A thousand years is plenty of time to adapt – not to mention that we will face the threat with with the means we have a few centuries from now, which might be slightly better than what we currently have. Predicting is a hard business but continued economic and technological progress is a sure bet.

    Fifth: the use of the term ‘tipping point’ can only be a deliberate attempt to mislead. A tipping point is a point of no return: when a glass tips over there is no natural force to pull it back up. (There’s also the matter that a glass tips over in a few seconds rather than a few thousand years but let’s ignore that).

    If temperature goes above a certain threshold, it might stay there forever – or not. Of course there is the claim that climate change would be ‘irreversible’ because a fraction of CO2 remains airborne for millenia – a claim that unfortunately will take a few centuries to verify. But even if true this ignores any other future development. What if the next Milankovitch cooling sets in? (It should be starting any century now) What if we invent carbon capture and storage that actually works? Any factor like this would disrupt the ‘irreversible’ meme.

    Some of these points are so obvious you might say ‘duh’ but there is no question the MSM gets confused over them – largely because Rignot, Hansen, etc. do their best to mislead.

    The paper, or at least one author in his statement to the media, does give up on the dumbest line of misinformation: the claim that this kind of sea level rise would force us to abandon coastal cities.
    “I predict that before the end of the century the great global cities of our planet near the sea will have two- or three-meter (6.5 to 10 feet) high sea defenses all around them,” study author Martin Siegert told the French Press Agency.'”

    Well, it only took them a few decades to realize you can build a seawall.

    PS: and yes, the ‘abandon cities’ claim is made routinely by ‘mainstream’ scientists, see e.g. this deranged diatribe by Rahmstorf.

    PPS: I just remembered this tweet. No comment needed.

    • ‘while using implicitly or explicitly the other four’ –> should be five
      ‘what matters for sea level is not temperature, not CO2’ –> the first ‘not’ is a mistake

      Re CO2 capture and storage (or use), many people dismiss it because the scale is so massive. But the timescale is just as massive. Removing 1ppm (8 billion tons) a year on average would get the job in centuries, not millenia. Whether the energy and devices we use are based on uranium, thorium, silicon, lithium, or any other element is up to future generations. Perhaps by the year 2100 people will find the arguments for removing the stuff more convincing.

    • Sea level could continue rising even if temperature were dropping due to transient effects. For example, the movement of heat from shallow to deep water ought to cause an slight total expansion (I think). Another transient effect could be glacier melt as bottlenecks and plugs may have disappeared and released ice to move towards the sea. This is something I think can be modeled.

  11. Canute rebukes his courtiers
    fer hubris concerning the elements.

    As yer show, Rud, the devil’s in the detail
    and the context…
    Context’s the thing
    where by we may
    discover the problem
    situation of the king
    (and troops.)

    .Still looking for Greenhouse.
    Ross Island Shelf? -Nope.
    Pine Island Glacier? -Nope.
    East Island Antarctic Ice Sheet? – Well –
    hypo-thetically …

  12. A good post – another example of the blame for hyped up alarmist stories lying with the scientists themselves and/or their universities.

    But please include a direct link to the
    university press release!

    “Scientists predict extensive ice loss from huge Antarctic glacier”

    “Current rates of climate change could trigger instability in a major Antarctic glacier, ultimately leading to more than 2m of sea-level rise.

    This is the conclusion of a new study looking at the future of Totten Glacier, a significant glacier in Antarctica. Totten Glacier drains one of the world’s largest areas of ice, on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS).”

    • I’ve looked at the Nature paper and can’t see a conclusion about current climate change triggering instability and 2m of sea level rise. Did I miss it?

    • There is going to be a big ice gain in the interior. It regularly snows on the interior and the only way for South Pole snow to disappear is sublimate.

      CO2 is cooling the South Pole.

      So. Is the snow on the interior going to be greater than the melting? Currently the snow is winning.

      It really doesn’t matter if the exterior melts. The only thing that matters is the balance between interior snow build up and exterior melting.

  13. The SLR rate is accelerating. SL rose 7-8 cm in each of the first and second half of the 20th century, but has risen another 7 cm in just the last 25 years. This is a doubling of the 20th century rise rate.

    • Wow

      13 inches per century.

      I’ll get my wellies.

    • You say that like it was true.

      I got this off the NOAA page.

      There doesn’t seem to be an acceleration.

      In fact it has tapered off if anything from the early 21st century.

      I can make the case for everything from 2.8 mm/Y for the rest of the century to topping off after 2 more inches.

      Your acceleration theory is likely to take a beating the next couple of years. But don’t worry, I will remind you.

      I’m getting fond of 4 inches as the sea level rise for the rest of the century.

    • Jim D, you have fallen for a subtle SLR deception. The apparently faster SLR since 1979 is because satellite altimetry is used, and with or without GIA it reads about a mm/year higher than the ~70 long record tide gauges within 100km of a differential GPS land motion corrected tide gauge. The ‘geostationary’ gauges do not show this acceleration. They show little if any change since 1900, as you point out. That is still the case.
      That the sats are reliable but not accurate is shown by the closure problem: sat SLR > sum of estimated ice sheet loss (e.g. GRACE) plus Argo estimates of thermosteric rise. By about 1/3. No closure problem using ‘geostationary’ tide gauges.

    • It is a factor of two acceleration. People need to look at sea-level rise over increments of 25 or 50 years to eliminate the noise in the annual rates. These are much more robust numbers. The 20th century average is 7-8 cm per 50 years, while since 1990 it is 7 cm in 25 years. These numbers are not disputed and speak for themselves. The next 7 cm will likely come well within 25 years. We will exceed the whole 20th century rise within the first 40-50 years of the 21st century, if not sooner.

      • It will be much sooner, Jim.

      • Jim D, I understand that is your fear. It is your assertion. Now back it up with solid evidence. That evidence would : 1. Explain the sat alt/ geostationary tide gauge discrepancty and 2. Resolve the closure problem.
        Until you post here fact rather than faith based explanations for those discrepancies, you are entitled to your opinions, but not to the facts of the matter. Please up your game.

      • You can use your own preferred estimate of the 20th century global rise rate, and the average rate since 1990 to see for yourself. You will find it has doubled. I am not advocating a particular dataset. It is robust across estimates because it is about aggregated multidecadal rises.

      • By closure problem, are you referring to the sea level budget?

      • My understanding was that the closure works fine unless you replace GRACE, etc., with Zwally’s one low estimate for Antarctica which raised the closure problem.

      • Well, there is also a paper that found the steric contribution is underestimated. Regardless, those issues don’t question what he he appears to be claiming.

      • If Kopp, et al. (2016) are reasonably accurate, SLR should accelerate throughout the 21st c and become obvious to all.

      • Those who are arguing about sea level rise – tossing up their graphs for everyone to see – apparently overlook the fact that we’ve had record rainfall all around the world. Cities, towns and villages have been decimated by flood waters.

        Where is this excessive volume of rain water coming from?

        Most of it comes from the rapid evaporation of our oceans – why?

        because they have been abnormally warm – so they are rapidly evaporating.

        Why have the oceans been so warm?

        Because of the dramatic increase in volcanic sea floor eruptions which include eruptions on the sea mounts – and can be estimated at ten times the number of volcanic eruptions above the sea floor.

        Six volcanic islands emerged from the sea floor in under two years – off the coasts of Pakistan, Japan, Tonga, Russia and two in the Red Sea.

        Pause a moment to consider the volumes of heat being released from the sea floor and then imagine what impact this is having on the evaporation of the sea water around the world.

        Then imagine what sea level rise would be if the oceans hadn’t been rapidly evaporating and dropping record rainfall all around the world.

        The hot spots show up on the Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Maps so you can see it with your own eyes – although NOAA has been doing a white-out of the Arctic and Antarctic regions since 1998 – to keep the public from realizing that life as will know it will soon end –

        it’s working because the public is ridiculously ignorant:

        Rapid glacial melt and rapid evaporation of the oceans, seas and lakes is impacting sea level rise far more than the maps and graphs are telling you – so please stop these ridiculous – and totally pointless – arguments.

      • Any day now is it, Jim? Any day now? SLR rate has not changed for the last couple of centuries, and is not going to until it slows with glacial inception. Much ado about nothing, literally.

      • You didn’t bother to do the research which would have showed you the truth.

        Instead, you show up here and make smug insults.

        Dozens of historic documents prove that Antarctica was pulverized by colossal tsunami waves in January 1700 –

        completely pulverized which meant “mountains of ice” were tossed into the sea waters where they caused below freezing temperatures as far north as the Falkland islands – in January – when temperatures are typically balmy at 15.5 to 21 C.

        As mountains of ice rapidly melted, sea levels rapidly rose.

        These historic documents are corroborated by independent sources in several languages from around the world, ships captains’ logs, bathymetry readings and maps, etc.

        To cowardly cling to the belief that sea level rise, tsunami waves, storm surges and large magnitude quakes will not wipe out nuclear reactors anytime soon is to deny dozens and dozens of historic documents.

        Meanwhile, warm ocean waters are drilling river tunnels, 300 meters high, into the ice shelves while glacial ponds are drilling river tunnels downward from on top. The rapidly melting ice shelves serve as pedestals for glaciers – the size of Pennsylvania –

        what do you suppose will happen when the equivalent of Pennsylvania crashes into the sea water?

        All around Antarctica is about 50 glaciers, precariously perched on top of rapidly-melting ice shelves.

        Since you didn’t bother to do the research, the chances of you realizing the devastation that’s about to happen is next to zero.

        As for me, I did the research and then I packed and left.

      • ptolemy2, I am still waiting for the skeptics to dispute the actual numbers I gave. 15 cm in the 20th century, 7.5 cm since 1990, which is a doubling of the rate. Perhaps they haven’t figured it out on their sliderules yet.

      • Sorry Jim D, maybe no one read what you wrote? Don’t feel you need to respond, thank you.

      • Next to zero… pretty much says it all, Mr.whirledpublishinggmailcom

      • The Fukushima disaster show us what happens when tsunami waves destroy a few nuclear reactors.

        Imagine what will happen when ocean waves and tectonic plate movement destroys hundreds of nuclear reactors –

        along the Atlantic, North Pacific, the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

        That’s what’s coming.

        To think it won’t happen is to gamble with your life, the lives of your family and friends and everyone else in the world.

        Where do you get the idea Whirled Publishing is a Mr. ?

        No one who sees me in the flesh ever mistakes me for being a man –

        but online, almost everyone assumes I’m a man.

        Very revealing

      • Why is that do you think?

      • Thank you for your confidence in me. Ms.whirledpublishinggmailcom.

      • If you haven’t already done so, please read my other comments on this page – and then watch my three videos uploaded in April.

      • Curious George

        “The Fukushima disaster show us what happens when tsunami waves destroy a few nuclear reactors.

        Imagine what will happen when ocean waves and tectonic plate movement destroys hundreds of nuclear reactors.”

        That one is easy. Hundreds times zero people will die.

      • whirledpublishinggmailcom ,
        I am sorry to say that AGW scientists are quick to point out that when you talk about Fukushima, you are really only talking about 600 tons of melted nuclear fuel sequestering its own self. Until the proper amount of CO2 is buried there can be no peace. So I should have plenty of time to catch up on your earlier comments later.

      • Sitting ducks that attempt to dance the goose step to their own self-destruction are not worth mentioning –

        in the face of the real climate data.

        When the intelligent refer to Fukushima, their concern is for the death of the North Pacific, the death of the Japanese people and the death of millions of Americans –

        but that is viewed as a minor issue given the horror that will soon be upon the whole world.

  14. Rud, it is always a joy to read your material, whether they be comments or a post such as this. Nice work and very informative.

    Somewhat OT, I have been looking for an analysis of how the water temperatures surrounding Antarctica have changed in the last several hundred years since the so called warmer waters are seen as the culprit of some of the destabilized glaciers of the ice shelves. Are you aware of any studies addressing this issue? I haven’t seen any actual data on how much the SST or deeper waters had actually warmed to account for the ice shelves to destabilize.

  15. Aitken et. al. in Nature newly comports to confirm 2015 fears about instability of the Totten Glacier in Eastern Antarctica. This could ‘suddenly’ raise sea level as much as 4 meters! (Or, based on the abstract, maybe only 0.9 meters in ‘modern scale configuration’, but over 2 meters [2.9-4] in unspecified other configurations).

    Tell you what, Rud. Let’s just let it melt. Then we’ll know for sure.

  16. Rud Istvan said:

    A tangled web of deceit, to paraphrase a famous poem.


    When it comes to peddling pseudoscience and using the long arm of the law to quash dissent, the climatariat is without peer.

    Notice how in this propaganda film the climatariat conflates CO2/global-warming with smog and pollution. It’s bait and switch all the way.

  17. I am interested in the bowl shaped geology of Greenland, I almost stopped reading there, but that was just the beginning.

    • Visit Tamsin Edward’s blog.

      • Tamsin Edwards only lists the chance of retreat. She should also list the chance of attack.

        The center of Greenland is basically a hog trough. When the surface melts you get slop not runoff. The “more lubrication makes ice move uphill faster” theory advocated by global warmers needs some theoretically support.

      • PA:

        Minor metaphorical correction: The center of Greenland is a depressed geological bowl covered by a depth of 3 km. Washington, DC is a depressing hog trough covered by a debt of $20 trillion.

        Try to keep them straight. ;-)

      • It’s been awhile but I have been there, Tamsin’s blog, not Greenland, though I have been north of Greenland under the ice cap.

        It may be bowl shaped, but the bowl is rather cracked and not good enough for this ex sailors daily grog. Being an ex merican sailor, that’s a rather small bowl. That theory just doesn’t hold water.

        In summer when the ice starts melting on the surface and melt ponds form an they drain to wherever it is they drain to, (an unanswered scientific question) do they have the hydraulic punch to reach the ocean?

      • PA says

        ” The “more lubrication makes ice move uphill faster” theory advocated by global warmers needs some theoretically support.”

        I prefer the “Ice Floats” theory.

  18. “Rivers Will Run Red! Oceans Will Begin to Boil…” ~Dr. Hansen

    The AGW propaganda machine putters along cuckoo clock. That children fear receding glaciers can be attributed to the serious lack of quality education in the dropout factories of the failed governmental-education complex. Moreover, a powerful interest group has taken over public education: the secular, socialist agenda gives the Left a special interest in putting forward a distorted view of the world for ideologically motivated political purposes

    • It is not a secular agenda. It is the new Religious Left.

    • Wagathon,

      “Rivers Will Run Red! Oceans Will Begin to Boil…” ~Dr. Hansen

      “Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!” ~Dr. Venkman

      The AGW propaganda machine putters along cuckoo clock.

      One good turn deserves another, hey?

      • Dr. Hansen apparently has no understanding sufficient to distinguish Earth from Venus nor understand that a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth would defy the laws of physics–e.g.,

        “The Oceans will begin to boil…” –Dr. James Hansen

      • Wagathon,

        Dr. Hansen apparently has no understanding sufficient to distinguish Earth from Venus nor understand that a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth would defy the laws of physics–e.g.,

        Let’s not confuse impassioned hyperbole with lack of physical understanding:

        If Earth’s lower atmosphere did warm enough to accelerate escape of hydrogen it would still take at least hundreds of millions of years for the ocean to be lost to space. Additional time would be needed for massive amounts of CO2 to accumulate in the atmosphere from volcanoes associated with plate tectonics and convection in Earth’s mantle. So Venus-like conditions in the sense of 90 bar surface pressure and surface temperature of several hundred degrees are only plausible on billion-year time scales.

        Nor let us fail to recognize willingness to stand for correction from critics:

        At least one sentence in “Storms” will need to be corrected in the next edition: even with burning of all fossil fuels the tropical ocean does not “boil”. But it is not an exaggeration to suggest, based on best available scientific evidence, that burning all fossil fuels could result in the planet being not only ice-free but human-free.

        Et tu? Or will you simply recycle the same quotemined and self-disavowed snippet like the ignorant fool of a propagandist you’d like to think he is?

  19. Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  20. Allways words.
    They often use the word collapse of these glaciers. Do they really think it vanishes like a building that collapses in a big dust cloud.
    They may disappear or become smaller, but it is far from a collapse, when it takes hundreds thousands of years.
    In fact most buildings will be gone long before without any collapses.

    • The reason the word “collapse” is used is because ice sheets are physical structures whose geometry is governed by basal shear stress, bedrock configuration and ice shelf buttressing. If you change these boundary conditions then the mass of the ice sheet can cause a very rapid thinning. It’s like knocking pillars out from under a building.

      I suggest you study some of the physics that apply to glaciers.

      • Do you know why no one teaches Calculus to a class of developmentally delayed kids?

        Because it’s a waste of time.

        Look at all the people who think they can understand climate change when they can’t even understand Algebra – let alone Calculus.

        Will they understand the physics and chemistry enough to realize the devastation being caused by the alarming increase in volcanic sea floor eruptions? Lava-hot sea mounts right next to the ice shelves? “Several burners” under Thwaites Glacier…

        you think they’ll understand why hundreds of glacial lakes are * under * the Antarctic ice sheet? Will they understand the dramatic increase in the volcanic eruptions in Iceland, Russia, Japan, Italy, Greece, Latin America, etc., is about one-tenth of the volcanic eruptions on the sea floor?

        When we tell them six volcanic islands emerged from the sea floor in under two years, will they calculate the heat needed to do this in order to begin to understand the volume of heat that is causing our oceans to rapidly warm up which is causing rapid evaporation which results in record-breaking rainfall and torrential flooding all around the world…

        will they understand this soil saturation results in deadly landslides and sinkholes which is shutting down freeways and roads all around the world, destroying homes and villages all around the world…

        will they do the research to know the warm ocean waters are drilling river tunnels – nearly 300 meters high into the ice shelves while glacial ponds are drilling river tunnels downward. Will they be able to conceptualize glaciers – the size of Pennsylvania, weighting billions of tons – are precariously perched on top of the ice shelves that are looking more like Swiss cheese…

        Are they able to calculate the size of the displacement tsunami waves that
        will result when the equivalent of “Pennsylvania” crashes into the sea?

        I offer this little image as a visual aid and tell them to imagine this ice cube is 200 miles across so they can see the size of the displacement tsunami waves that we can expect:

        I remind them that West Antarctica has about 50 life-threatening glaciers and that all of them will most likely crash into the sea which will launch catastrophic tsunami waves.

        I tell them this is not speculation but is based on dozens of historic records going back hundreds of years – for this has happened in the past and it will happen again –

        but few people care enough to do the research.

        Most of the “experts” are too busy stuffing their pockets with money and bragging about their opinions – which are based on unsubstantiated theories – so they have no time to actually look at the historic records from around the world.

        I remind them that hundreds of nuclear reactors are installed along the coasts and along river banks – but this doesn’t result in any intelligent action either.

        We don’t teach Calculus to developmentally delayed kids – because it’s a waste of time – and we don’t expect someone with an IQ below 180 to comprehend the complexities of climate change and the extinction level event that’s underway – because that would be insane.

        Can we expect someone to understand physics, chemistry, geology, glaciology, seismology, volcanology, atmospheric chemistry and oceanography enough to compile thousands and thousands of independent sources of climate change… can we expect this person to translate climate reports from over a dozen languages… to study hundreds of historic records going back over 500 years and to study the vivid descriptions of cataclysmic devastation in the ancient texts from around the world?

        This would be too much to expect, wouldn’t it? What human could possibly do all that?

        We know the climate models and computer forecasts are all wrong so what does that leave us with?

        We’re left with reports from numerous sources that all humans will be dead by 2030. Their calculations are well supported by the climate data.

        Is there any hope?


        Because worldwide devastation occurs far more frequently than the public has been led to believe – and people survive.

        Knowing the dangers, knowing where to be, when to be there and how to get there is vital to survival. Knowing how to survive and thrive once you get there is also vital to survival – but then it’s pointless to attempt to explain this to those who are arguing about CO2 and politics while blaming humans for the volcanic eruptions on the sea floor. So I’ll just leave it at that.

        Thank you for sharing your research, Anthony.

        I’m aware that you are correct and I’m aware that the vast majority of the public is so far from reality as to be insane.

  21. Good post Rud Thanks

  22. Volcanic sea floor eruptions are heating the ocean waters which are drilling river tunnels, nearly 1,000 feet high, into the ice shelves while glacial ponds are drilling river tunnels downward. The ice shelves are looking more like Swiss cheese while glaciers, the size of Pennsylvania, weighing billions of tons, are precariously perched on top.

    Volcanic heat from beneath the glaciers is causing rapid melting in both Antarctica and Greenland – the Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly maps are now brown and purple from all the heat and unusually high volumes of glacial melt in the oceans – those who think hell on Earth is not coming are those who have failed to do the research.

    Is there any evidence of tsunami waves pulverizing the ice shelves and glaciers? Yes, these reports come from numerous ship captains in the early 1700’s. Historic evidence is documented in numerous languages including Chinese, Spanish, Latin, English, etc.

    Cling to theories or consider the evidence – the choice is yours.

    Can we expect tsunami waves to pulverize the Antarctic ice in the near future? Yes

    Can we expect colossal tsunami waves to decimate hundreds of nuclear reactors, thousands of nuclear waste storage tanks, millions of cities, towns and villages and billions of lives? Yes

    If you’d done decades of research and translated climate reports from over a dozen languages, studied historic documents from around the world and the descriptions of cataclysms in ancient texts… if you’d monitored glacial melt for nearly 20 years, monitored floods around the world for years, monitored sea temperature and atmospheric temperature anomalies, atmospheric methane levels, landslides, sinkholes, train derailments, hurricane-force winds, mass animal die-offs, etc., you would know this and you would have already packed an left.

    Instead, you’re here feeling confident that you are safe.

    You are not safe.

    • whirledpublishinggmailcom
      “”Can we expect tsunami waves to pulverize the Antarctic ice in the near future? Yes.
      By the same logic
      -Can we expect tsunami waves to have pulverized the Antarctic ice in the near past? Yes.
      Did it?
      Your argument is sloppy.
      Can we expect you to keep making improbable possibility claims?

      • You didn’t even bother to look for the proof online – you just jumped to your conclusions.

        Dozens of historic documents corroborate the facts I assert and I have uploaded the records.

        The historic records are confirmed by numerous other researchers –

        those are uploaded as well.

        The historic documents from the British, Dutch, Italians, Chinese and numerous other nationalities say what needs to be said.

        I have no argument to make.

        Good luck to you.

      • ” consider the evidence
        Can we expect tsunami waves to pulverize the Antarctic ice in the near future? evidence of tsunami waves pulverizing the ice shelves and glaciers?”
        Yes in the early 1700’s.
        -Nothing recent in the evidence then? Like in the near past?

        “Can we expect colossal tsunami waves to decimate hundreds of nuclear reactors, thousands of nuclear waste storage tanks, millions of cities, ”

        Best answered by hyperbole.
        There are no millions of cities in Antarctica [or the world]
        let alone hundreds of nuclear reactors in Antarctica [or the world]
        Though they might put some nuclear waste storage tanks in Antarctica one day.

      • “… millions of cities, towns and villages… ” refers to the fact that China has

        “more than six hundred thousand administrative villages …”

        India also has about six hundred thousand villages.

        The 1.2 million villages in India and China do not include their cities.

        China has over 600 cities.

        India and China together have millions of villages and cities and only 37% of the world population.

        You still think my comment was hyperbole?

        As for the tsunami waves, calculate the height of the waves that will be created when glaciers – the size of Pennsylvania – begin to crash into the oceans. These glaciers are sitting on top of the ice shelves which are rapidly melting.

        The glaciers on top of rapidly-melting the ice shelves won’t crash into the Weddell Sea?

        The Bellingshausen, Amundsen and Ross Seas?

        Glaciers all around Antarctica will plop into the sea.

        Glaciers all around Greenland will plop into the sea.

        Glaciers in Alaska, northeastern Canada and Svalbard will plop into the sea.

        You think the tsunami waves and sea level rise won’t impact the 444 nuclear reactors?

        This is a world map of nuclear reactors – it’s an old map but it’s more graphic than the others:

        If you were as smart as you think you are, you’d be able to get one or more perfect scores on your SAT or your college placement test, right?

        And you’d be able to get an IQ score over 150 on the WAIS-R –

        like I did.

        If you were as smart as you think you are, you would have already done decades of research instead of leaving idiotic comments for all the world to see.

    • You said over at notrickszone that it’s hot stuff coming from deep in the Earth that’s going to cause havoc to the Antarctic ice sheet. And then the dominoes fall. I’ll put the thermal mass of the oceans up against all the molten lava we’re going to get in the next few decades. I think what on average comes from the deep earth is 0.1 watt per square meter. That is it comes from all that magma deep in the earth. Say it was 1.0 on average because you are correct. Then what happens next? 1 watt on the bottom of the ocean. Versus a column of water 4,000 meters tall and 1 meter square. 10 watts. The oceans win. 100 watts? Getting interesting.

  23. Willis Eschenbach

    Jim D | May 23, 2016 at 8:09 pm |

    You can use your own preferred estimate of the 20th century global rise rate, and the average rate since 1990 to see for yourself. You will find it has doubled. I am not advocating a particular dataset. It is robust across estimates because it is about aggregated multidecadal rises.

    Thanks, Jim, but that’s not true in the slightest. I fear you are merely comparing tidal gauge records and satellite records. But there is no big jump in the tidal gauge records … and the satellite records only go back to 1992. You’re comparing apples and oranges.


  24. You are saying satellite data doesn’t agree with tide gauges since 1990? Which one would you trust?

  25. Say, when did this occur? See-saw-sea-level
    rise and fall … A family member pointed out
    this ancient shoreline 10 -12 metres above
    current sea levels, Mornington Peninsular, Oz,
    at the foot of granite rise Arthur’s Seat.
    Links ter images.

  26. Canadian Climate Guy

    Reblogged this on Canadian Climate Guy.

  27. Pingback: Antarctic Sea Level Rise False Alarm | The Drinking Water Advisor

  28. As a professional researcher into sea level change this critique is among the most ill-informed I have ever encountered.

    Let us start with the most basic element. In order for sea level to rise we do not require that the corresponding volume of ice be melted, we require only that the necessary volume of ice be discharged into the ocean, where, by Archimedes’ principle it will displace an equivalent mass of sea-water and raise sea level.

    The rate of melting is thus not the determinative factor on sea level rise, it is the rate of glacial discharge. The rate of glacial discharge is affected by basal conditions and the degree of buttressing provided by ice shelves. Rising sea levels and warmer water adversely impact both of these structural elements.

    These processes represent examples of unstable equilibria. Once the buttressing is removed and the basal conditions unfrozen very rapid glacial discharge can occur in very short order as the built up mass upstream suddenly spews out into the ocean. Because these processes are inherently unstable and hinge on very fine scale processes, the uncertainty over the magnitude of sea level rise is significant. There are professional glaciologists who consider 6m of total sea level rise by 2100 to be entirely possible, the consensus view however is in the 1-2 m range.

    The assertion that the WAIS is stable is demonstrably incorrect. There is an enormous gravity anomaly observed by the GRACE mission. The suggestion that the discharge from Pine Island Glacier is due to volcanism is also demonstrably untrue, the volcano in question is inland, and its last eruption is timed at 2200 years ago. Sub-glacial melting would not produce a shift in grounding line at the glacier outlet which is directly observed.

    I would encourage Dr Curry to perhaps consult with people who understand the subject a little better before placing her imprimatur on this sort of misrepresentation.

    • AP, way belated, but for the record you are just wrong. The GRACE stuff pre 2013 is way wrong because of a wrong modeled ncessary GIA adjustment, by a factor >4 . When the observationally (diff GPS on shorelines) number is substituted, there is no Antarctic ice mass loss. Steve McIntyre wrote a rather definitive post on this specific problem. Zwally’s 2015 interpretation of ICESat reached an even more agressive conclusion: Antarctic ice mass gain. That paper definitely set the fox into your henhouse.
      I wrote about/referenced Rignot re Amundsen embayment, yet you assert we do not understand ice shedding and Archimedes principle. Why the heck do you think I specifically commented about the Ross grounding line?
      Your imputation that we do not understand Archimedes is both wrong and offensive. You want to play, raise your game. You lost this match big time. On its face.