Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Ghost Plumes - 4

Fig. 1 The Long Ice Wall
I. Background

Scientist R. Bindschadler, along with several other authors, detailed the coastline (or should I say "iceline") of Antarctica (Getting around Antarctica: new high-resolution mappings of the grounded and freely-floating boundaries of the Antarctic ice sheet created for the International Polar Year, The Cryosphere, 5, 569–588, 2011).

The authors of that paper stated that "[t]he grounded ice boundary is 53 610 km long; 74 % abuts to floating ice shelves or outlet glaciers, 19 % is adjacent to open or sea-ice covered ocean, and 7 % of the boundary ice terminates on land" (ibid, Abstract).

The 74% of "53,610 km long" and "27,521 km and is discontinuous" are figures in the paper that I want to focus on in this post (among other things).

II. Where The Action Is

The object of the use of that paper's conclusions is to determine a ball-park figure for thermodynamic plume flow volume along the world's longest wall of ice (Fig. 1).
Fig. 2 Where The action Is

Therefore the 74% of 53,610 km, which equals 39,671.4 km, is used for the hypothetical maximum length of the wall of ice, and the 27,521 km is used as the hypothetical minimum length of the wall of ice.

For "ball-park" (hypothetical) calculations I consider the "39,671.4 km" to be the cumulative maximum glacier widths, and the "27,521 km" to be the cumulative minimum glacier widths. [NOTE: I have more exact values now since I downloaded Bindschadler's  data]

That is an enormous amount of ice from which the seawater around Antarctica can continuously generate melt water plumes, caused by heat flowing from warmer seawater into colder glacial ice.

III. Where The Research Is

The fact that melting of the tidewater glaciers is taking place is not debatable, however, the amount of melt water in hypothetical thermodynamic plumes (Fig. 2) is quite debatable since the concept is "embryonic" at this point.

Fig. 3 Areas A-F
What I have done, with the benefit of the awesome help of Bindschadler et. alia (2011) is to make more accurate ball-park calculations than those which were done in previous posts of this series (The Ghost Plumes, 2, 3).

The calculations as to a 1 mm global mean sea level (GMSL) rise due to ghost plumes are now stored in Appendices A, B, C, D, E, and F.

Those appendices relate to the areas shown in Fig. 3.

The calculations are based on actual in situ measurements taken over the years then stored in the World Ocean Database (WOD), and then converted into TEOS-10 values.

Those measurements are stored in the WOD to be used by researchers like you and me.

IV. The Organization of The Appendices

The calculations depicted in the appendices are now based on values required to raise GMSL by 1 mm due to ghost plumes in Antarctica.

The reason for the change is that I have not found a database of sea levels around Antarctica for the Areas and Zones, even though the grounding line lengths and geoid heights are recorded.

I am working on acquiring data so I can relate the grounding line heights to sea level in order to derive the glacial ice heights that are exposed to tidewater.

I will update this series when that is accomplished.

I am sorry if this has disrupted any reader's efforts ... but the dearth of data about some Antarctica characteristics required a reconstruction of plume dynamics working backwards toward a much more certain set of values.

V. Conclusion

It would seem that a potential annual average of each Area (A-F), and all Zones in those Areas, in terms of what volume in cubic meters of melt water would be required to raise sea level 1 mm, is a more accurate way to determine plume melt water volumes.

Since so much is yet to be learnee, there is little wonder that scientists are taking "way down under" seriously (The Race).

Further explanation will be presented in the next post of this series (and see The Ghost Plumes - 6).

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


  1. That "The Race" link has this sentence in it "And when that happened, well, goodbye, Miami; goodbye, Boston."

  2. That "The Race" link also has this sentence: "His group has taken the name Ghost, which stands for Geophysical Habitat of Subglacial Thwaites." (bold added)

  3. I made some adjustments, including zone counts, and some other clean up.