Arctic ice definitely melting

iceberg melting

From the Washington Post

Associated Press

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.

Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 metres showed the Gulf Stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.

 


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Kiwis and icebergs — they go together well

This post has been in the works for several weeks now but it hasn’t lost its fascination. A story appeared in the NZ Herald on 8 November about the latest sighting of icebergs, which annoyed me for its references to global warming. But on investigating I discovered some interesting science.

Icebergs are beautiful

Let’s do something for the language
There’s no collective noun for icebergs (the situation is worse than we thought!). Here are some suggestions: a group, a herd, a glide, a float, a thunder, sizzle, swish, a gleam, a crackle or a slush? That has a lovely rhythm. Let me know your preference, or send in your suggestions. When the list is a bit longer we’ll put up an online poll.

The story is stale and the icebergs have melted, but two issues remain: The first is that there’s nothing new about icebergs floating past New Zealand. It doesn’t happen often, but evidence proves regular visits going back millennia. Believe it or not, we have photographs! Not of icebergs exactly, but where they’ve been… well, you’ll see, read on.

The second point is that NIWA scientists can be relied on to mention the magic words “climate change” any time they’re talking about ice, water, wind or weather and that, my friends, makes me angry. Continue Reading →

Prove it, iceman!

This was in the Herald this morning:

Icebergs coming en masse

More than 100 Antarctic icebergs – and possibly even hundreds of them – are floating towards New Zealand.

An Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist, Neal Young, said yesterday that the ice chunks, spotted in satellite photos, had passed the Auckland Islands and were heading towards the South Island, 450km northeast.

He said more than 100 icebergs – some more than 200m across – were seen in just one cluster, indicating there could be hundreds more.

Dr Young said they were the remains of a massive ice floe which split from Antarctica in rising sea and air temperatures resulting from global warming.

– AFP

I think it’s exciting that we might see giant icebergs again, because it’s dramatic. However, the assumption that their close approach is connected with warming is odd, since the appearance of ice in my gin and tonic indicates just the opposite—a cooling trend. As you sail to Antarctica, the appearance of icebergs in the sea certainly confirms a cooling trend. A reasonable person, on hearing that icebergs appear because of warming, surely considers enquiring whether it’s actually because of cooling.

Dr Young’s easy attribution of the calving of these icebergs to “global warming” is unlikeable and unconvincing. More likely is that, as usual, the ice shelf reaches such a length (through continual plentiful production of ice, please note!) that the ocean waves can move it about with sufficient force to snap it off. If warming was causing melting, what would survive to embark on a voyage to anywhere?

It is equally likely that, because of cooling seas, the icebergs now survive the long voyage to New Zealand!

I know of no evidence supporting a global rise in temperature recently. Certainly, no more than perhaps 0.2°C, something like that, in the few months which might have influenced the calving. In the Antarctic, such a rise might get you up to around minus eleventy five which is dreadfully chilly and won’t melt anything. There’s nothing abnormal going on here. Might we not reasonably expect the Herald to know this and to question the AFP story?

They have let us down.