Monday, October 29, 2018

In Pursuit of Plume Theory

Fig. 1 Depth Realms
I. The Search Difficulties

The search for the realities involved in sea level change is still ongoing.

But we still suffer from the mistake of crowning "thermal expansion" as "the major cause" of sea level rise, and also for crowning it as "a major cause" of sea level rise "in the 20th century."

The problem we still have is not limited to fringe scientists, no, competent scientists who were caught up in the mistake have asserted that "thermal expansion was the main driver of global sea level rise for 75 - 100 years after the start of the Industrial Revolution" (Union of Concerned Scientists);  "As water warms, it expands. This expansion has been the major cause of sea-level rise" (Coastal Adapt).

Fortunately, those "the major cause" statements across the literature and Internet now seem to be morphing into "a major cause," but how "fortunate" the minimizing of the myth will turn out to be remains to be seen.

I have written a lot about that mistake (On Thermal Expansion & Thermal Contraction, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38).

One thing I still argue is that the myth was originally fostered by the oil industry (Humble Oil-Qaeda - 2).

II. Bathing With Rubber Ducky

A partner in the mythical scenario of sea level rise is the "bathtub model" of the ocean (The Bathtub Model Doesn't Hold Water, 2, 3, 4, 5).

That grand illusion has taught many a recent young scientist to conceive of the ocean surface, the sea level, as a "bathtub scene" in the sense of the ocean having an equal level everywhere.

One misused mathematical implementation that goes along with the bathtub model concept is the "global mean sea level" (GMSL).

Dr. Jerry Mitrovica has stated that this misuse of GMSL language actually led sea level science-reporting down a useless research path.

The basic essence of the bathtub model problem was to ignore Newton, Woodward, and more recently scientists like Dr. Jerry Mitrovica (NASA Busts The Ghost).

It is little wonder, then, that the research efforts going back a couple of decades were thrown off the main trail.

I mean the trail where the fingerprints were to be found (Build Your Own Sea Level Change Fingerprinting System, 2, 3).

I am talking about the main trail that leads to the plume of "the doomsday glacier" and its big brother the Totten Glacier.

Remember that the foggy idea of thermal expansion as the major factor led to the concept that everything else is a minor factor, including the melting ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

Myths of this sort can lead to worldwide catastrophes (Greenland & Antarctica Invade The United States, 2, 3, 4).

III. The Major & The Minor Plumes

I am taking the opportunity of this post to feature a scientific paper that took a serious look at another pop hypothesis that has made its way into ocean models (AGU Jackson 2017).

That paper exposes, in a well rounded critique, one of the current hypotheses about tidewater glacier plumes (the buoyant plume theory, BTM; cf. Frontal processes on tidewater glaciers).

My criticism of all plume models and hypotheses, except those that are applied to Thwaites Glacier and Totten Glacier, is that they major in the minors.

None of them feature the civilization threatening glaciers, the two majors, Thwaites and Totten, both of which are located in Antarctica.

IV. Totten's Prime Plume

Totten is a prime, if not the prime, location to research a major league tidewater glacier while using a relevant plume theory.

Its grounding line is found at about 2500m deep, which goes as far as the better part of the Bathypelagic depths:

0 - 10m
10m - 20m
20m - 30m
30m - 50m
50m - 75m
75m - 100m
100m - 125m
125m - 150m
150m - 200m
200m - 250m
250m - 300m
300m - 400m
400m - 500m
500m - 600m
600m - 700m
700m - 800m
800m - 900m
900m - 1000m
1000m - 1100m
1100m - 1200m
1200m - 1300m
1300m - 1400m
1400m - 1500m
1500m - 1750m
1750m - 2000m
2000m - 2500m

WOD Ocean depths continue down past the 2500m mark to the Abyssopelagic, then even further down to the Hadopelagic (Fig. 1).

We need not consider those deeper ocean depths while doing plume research, because the import of tidewater glacier grounding line depths are well represented by Totten and Thwaites (Hot, Warm, & Cold Thermal Facts: Tidewater-Glaciers - 7).

Another interesting plume research paper indicates that depth and temperature are main factors in tidewater glacier subsurface melting (Willis 2018, OMG Research).

In that paper, both glaciers studied were much more shallow than Totten, but both were melting.

The grounding line of the deeper one was at about 600 m, the shallower one was at about 350 m.

The deeper one melts much faster than the shallower one.

V. Conclusion

I think that the glaciers, like Totten and Thwaites, which are an existential threat to civilization as we know it should be the subjects of intense plume research (Why Sea Level Rise May Be The Greatest Threat To Civilization, 2, 3, 4, 5).

So, I am planning on developing a plume model that uses TEOS-10 as the computation library.

While doing the model I will not forget enthalpy (Hot, Warm, & Cold Thermal Facts: Tidewater-Glaciers - 7).

The next post in this series is here.