Monday, April 4, 2016

The Ghost-Water Constant - 6

Fig. 1
I. Introduction

Yet another new paper reveals that the ice shelves of Antarctica are degenerating from below.
Fig. 2

Fig. 3
What is new about this paper is that the warmer water below the shelves is "bubbling" up through weaknesses in the ice shelves.
Fig. 4

The paper surprisingly points out that some of that upwelling water sometimes even reaches the surface of the ice shelves.

Fig. 5
In today's post I will argue that the gravity of the ice sheet has a pull on that ghost-water which gives it the upward bias.
Fig. 6

Fig. 7
You might want to read or review the hypothesis of ice sheet gravity and its impact on sea level (The Gravity of Sea Level Change, 2, 3, 4).

II. Ice Shelf Stressors

The ocean tides bend and stress ice shelves each and every day (NASA Tracking the Influence of Tides on Ice Shelves In Antarctica).

Fig. 8
Warm water flowing under the ice shelves, pulled towards the ice sheet and coast by ice sheet gravity, finds weak spots.

Weak spots caused by cracking and other imperfections (dirt etc.) in the ice shelf: "Our observations show that basal channels are associated with the development of new zones of crevassing, suggesting that these channels may cause ice fracture." (Impacts of warm water on Antarctic ice shelf). [or be made by fractures]

The creation of sub-ice-shelf water channels is also caused or enhanced by ice sheet gravity:
"The mapping shows that basal channels have a tendency to form along the edges of islands and peninsulas, which are already weak areas on ice shelves. The team observed two locations where ice shelves are fracturing along basal channels, clear evidence that basal channel presence can weaken ice shelves to the point of breaking in vulnerable areas."
(Warming ocean water undercuts Antarctic ice shelves, emphasis added).

Then the incessant pull of ice sheet gravity (like a continual high tide) on the ocean water under the ice sheets pulls it upward and presses it against then into cracks and other weak places (Polynyas).

Some polynyas form without channels and persist for years: see "Years observed", "Channel type ... None" (Supplementary Info, Appendix B, p. 22, PDF).

The result of this in the commentariat world is "worse than previously thought" (Rising Seas Could Threaten the World's Coastal Cities Much Sooner than Scientists Thought, Study Confirms; World’s Coastal Cities Unsavable; If We Don’t Slash Carbon Pollution, Ice melt could make seas rise 6 feet by 2100, study says).

III. Deeper Ghost Water Discovery

The ghost-water science is moving along on another front too:
"So Rignot and an international team of researchers took it upon themselves to map out 14 glacial fjords in West Greenland, north of the famous Ilulissat Glacier. At various points between 2007 and 2014, they measured temperature and depth in these fjords and used sonar to map out underwater topographic features. They found that the actual seafloor depths were anywhere from 100 to 1,000 meters deeper than what was previously suggested by the charts.
The Oceans Melting Greenland, or OMG, mission kicked off last April with the goal of measuring ocean temperatures and modeling the shape and depth of the seafloor in Greenland to help scientists better understand the role the ocean plays in the melting of the ice sheet."
(Greenland’s melting, OMG). Regular readers will remember that uncertainty in this area had caused me to be very conservative in calculations concerning how much ghost-water was located along the shores of ice sheet supporting land masses (The Ghost-Water Constant - 4).

I may have to increase the percentage that I now use, once these studies become more robust by way of further discoveries.

IV. Warm Air Also Accelerates The Process

The ghost-water science is moving along ... faster ... in another area too:
Polar temperatures over the last several million years have, at times, been slightly warmer than today, yet global mean sea level has been 6–9 metres higher as recently as the Last Interglacial (130,000 to 115,000 years ago) and possibly higher during the Pliocene epoch (about three million years ago). In both cases the Antarctic ice sheet has been implicated as the primary contributor, hinting at its future vulnerability. Here we use a model coupling ice sheet and climate dynamics—including previously underappreciated processes linking atmospheric warming with hydrofracturing of buttressing ice shelves and structural collapse of marine-terminating ice cliffs—that is calibrated against Pliocene and Last Interglacial sea-level estimates and applied to future greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated. In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years.
(Antarctica Melting). Over, around, under, and through is the way ghost-water is working to accelerate sea level change (by accelerating ice shelf disintegration which accelerates ice sheet flow into the ocean).

V. The Graphs of Wrath

That brings up the graphs in today's post, so let me describe them as pieces of portions of the evolving model.

I have not completely finished the fingerprint modules that project into the future, although some of the work is producing graphing data now.

The part that is unfinished has to do with the high-end estimates of future sea level change, and the expected finger prints in the future.

Anyway, the historical data is the basis of all of them.

Even he future projecting algorithms are all based on and spring from the official PSMSL official historical records.

Today's area involved in the graphs is AM.NW.SE (Hawaiian Islands).


The area's PSMSL mean historical sea level is shown in Fig. 1, the geographical fingerprint in Fig. 6, and the geophysical fingerprint is shown in Fig. 7 .

The graph at Fig. 8 shows how some ghost-water flows from the sea level fall areas in northern latitudes down to the AM.NW.SE sea level rise area of Hawaii, as rotational pull relocates it nearer to the equator.

The graphs at Fig. 2 and Fig. 5 show (in two graph styles) the historical, then future low-end IPCC / Hansen et. al. projections for the area.

The graphs at Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 show the geographical and geophysical effects on sea level change at the IPCC low end projections out beyond historical levels to the year 2100.

When I finish the high-end projections I will publish more graphs.

VI. Conclusion

The bottom line for today's post is that ghost-water is a larger player in accurate projections than thermal expansion is, and that displacement (see Fig. 7) caused by calving and ice sheet melt is the big dog in sea level change.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


  1. “We the people of Isle de Jean Charles (Island) are being displaced by hurricanes, climate change and sea-level rise,” said Chief Albert Naquin of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe. “The displacement of the people is causing the tribe to lose its culture. Also, the tribe is losing its family atmosphere.”

    The chief explained that his tribe has attempted multiple times, unsuccessfully, to move out of harm’s way. They are concerned that, if the state does not fully cooperate with the move now that $48 million in federal funding has been secured, the tribe could cease to exist as a community." (link)

  2. This is getting very interesting Dredd!

    "In general, in areas of the planet where gravitational forces are stronger, the mean sea level will be higher."
    As the 'ghost' (gravity gripped) water migrates away to influence Earth's gravity somewhere else (towards the equatorial regions) the higher 'g' at the poles and ensuing differential with lower 'g' at the equator will become greater.

    And, must not ignore the very active heat source from within the Earth as a contributor:

    1. Mark,

      The geothermal paper you linked to is questionable.

      Its source, The Helmholtz Association ("Helmholtz") in the past and in the present has exhibited undue influence from fossil fuel money.

      They use some of that money to fund "fracking science" and their scientists are listed in fracking endeavor pages (e.g. SHIP where Heimholtz experts Elsner, Schreglmann, Ludwig are listed as part of the fracking study team).

      Also: "Funding ... the Shale Gas Information Platform was funded by ... the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres ... " (ibid, link above)

      Also: "Helmholtz-Alberta-Initiative

      In April 2011, the Helmholtz Alliance of German Research Centres and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, signed an agreement that paves the way for future collaboration in the fields of energy and environmental research.

      Helmholtz-Alberta-Initiative ... the Helmholtz Alliance of German Research Centres and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, signed an agreement that paves the way for future collaboration in the ... upgrading of bitumen [a.k.a. "tar sands"] ...

      This initiative is the Helmholtz Alliance’s most extensive international cooperation to date, with a total of four Helmholtz Centres – the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam: German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and Forschungszentrum Jü̈lich (FZJ) – currently involved in the initiative. From a long-term perspective ..." (Canadian Trade Commissioner).

      Don't go there.

      PS. They mention Iceland which has had actual volcanic activity triggered by melting ice, not the other way around:

      "In places like Iceland, for example, where you have the Eyjafjallajökull ice sheet, which wouldn't survive [global warming], and you've got lots of volcanoes under that, the unloading effect can trigger eruptions," McGuire said.

      With the changing dynamics in the crust, faults could also be destabilized, which could bring a whole host of other problems.

      "It's not just the volcanoes. Obviously if you load and unload active faults, then you're liable to trigger earthquakes," McGuire told LiveScience, noting that there is ample evidence for this association in past climate change events

      (Global Warming & Volcanic Eruptions, I posted that on April 17, 2010).

    2. Thanks for the 'inside' story Dredd. Just in time!Driving along and hearing this (txt to voice),I immediately selected 'R' from 'D' ( was still moving) and stomped the throttle. As I had just entered their compound and was unaware of their related activities, I don't feel quite so bad about their destroyed boom gate arm which stupidly failed to re-open as I had clearly changed my mind and vehicular direction.
      Many more thanks for the April 2010 link-am studying that(gratefully).

    3. Mark,

      Please help with studying the issues in today's post (the post following this one) when you get a chance.

      Some aspects of Iceland's sea level changes are tough to explain, as you will see.

  3. That Helmholtz group looks like a Merchants of Doubt operative (link).

  4. Heh, even NASA doesn't know any better . ..

    NASA faces a climate change countdown – ‘The beach used to be at least 50 yards out’


    The concrete block perches absurdly atop a piling, elevated about 10 feet above the beach sand. Is it art? A bulky milepost?

    Carlton Hall pointed to the puzzling object and explained that it was once a tie-down block for securing structures like antenna towers. Dr. Hall, the chief scientist for the space center’s ecological program, said that when he started working here a few decades ago, the block had been buried. Now the sand that enveloped it is gone, swept away by the forces of coastal erosion and storms.

    He gestured toward the waves rolling in nearby and said, “The beach used to be at least 50 yards out.”

    On the other side of the dunes, a quarter mile away, sit two artificial hills some 50 feet high. Those are NASA’s two biggest launchpads. And to the south sit several smaller ones.

    This is America’s busiest spaceport, and the water is coming.

    Like so much of Florida, the Space Coast — a 72-mile stretch along the Atlantic — is feeling the threat of climate change. Some of the erosion is caused by the churning energy of ocean currents along the coastline. Hurricane Sandy, whose power was almost certainly strengthened by climate change, took a big bite in 2012, flattening an already damaged dune line that provided protection from the Atlantic’s battering.

    A rising sea level will bring even greater risk over time — and perhaps sooner than most researchers expected.


    1. Yes Tom,

      If you will recall one of their (NASA) leaders, Dr. James Hansen, first warned congress of these dangers in a hearing in 1988.

      Recently he retired to become an activist and was arrested at the White House for spreading truth.

      Hey, destroying a planet takes a lot of work and political "science."