Monday, June 24, 2019

The Ghost Plumes - 9

Fig. 1 Phase One
I. Don't Worry Be Happy

You might ask: "Why worry about ghost plumes, ghost water, and ghost photons Dredd?"

Good question.

It reminds me of the time a detective was questioning an infamous bank robber: "Why do you rob banks?" the detective asked of the bank robber.

The bank robber quickly replied "Because that is where the money is!"

By analogy, too many researchers of the Cryosphere have not been "robbing banks", instead they have all too often chosen to attribute sea level change (SLC) to "thermal expansion."

The warming commentariat membership, in order to explain all things SLC, glibly write the
Fig. 2 Phase Two
half truth: "water expands when heat is added to it" (The Warming Science Commentariat, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

"Since thermal expansion is the main cause of SLC in the form of sea level rise (SLR)," they say or write to one another in news papers, magazines, and on blogs, "there is no need to respond to those folks [like Dredd] who have a different opinion about the main cause of SLC" (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, 39).

They don't have to believe in ghost water (The Ghost-Water Constant, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

They don't have to worry about ghost plumes (The Ghost Plumes, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), and those pesky phantom ghost photons give them no pause (The Ghost Photons, 2, 3), so long as they can cling to a thermal expansion hypothesis which has been falsified.

II. Worried Contrarians

However, there are contrarians who do not blindly accept their assertions.

For example, NASA believes in ghost water (NASA Busts The Ghost), and prominent experts around and about the Cryosphere imply that most ice sheet mass loss takes place at the termini of tidewater glaciers:
"Glaciers worldwide are currently losing mass at substantial rates [e.g., Gardner et al., 2013; Luthcke et al., 2013], with the most rapid changes occurring at glaciers that terminate in water [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2013]. In fact, ice loss at the glacier front or underneath floating ice is an important component of the mass budget of many glacier
Fig. 3 Phase Three
systems worldwide: it accounts for most of the mass loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, as well as being a significant factor at other polar to subpolar glaciers and ice caps.For example, about 50% of the increase in ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet over the past two decades has been attributed to the rapid thinning and retreat of Greenland’s outlet glaciers. The thinning is a dynamic effect caused by increased mass loss at the glacier front [e.g., Rignot and Kanagaratnam, 2006; van den Broeke et al., 2009; Rignot et al., 2011; Shepherd et al., 2012]. Tidewater-calving glaciers have accounted for the loss of the entire ice fields in Alaska [e.g., Larsen et al., 2004] and still account for much ice loss there [e.g., Arendt et al., 2006; Berthier et al., 2010], as well as in other nonpolar areas, such as Patagonia [e.g., Rignot et al., 2003; Willis et al., 2012]. Recently, in Alaska, land-terminating glaciers have become the dominant contributors to sea level rise, because many tidewater glaciers have already completed their retreat [Larsen et al., 2015]. Numerous ocean-terminating (tidewater) glaciers worldwide have undergone a combination of thinning, rapid retreat, and, somewhat non- intuitively, flow acceleration.
(Truffer et al., 2016), emphasis added; cf. Rignot et al., 2019; Mouginot et al., 2019). The descriptions of the dynamics of ice melt seem to have been historically interpreted as if the only thing taking place is seawater contacting tidewater ice.

While that observation is true as seen "from a distance", that is, without the application of quantum physics, sometimes "just seawater touching ice" seems inexplicable (because the seawater is quite cold).

III. Enter Gibbs

Oceanographers have been neglecting the work of Gibbs, who should not be neglected according to Einstein:
"Albert Einstein called him 'the greatest mind in American history.' Gibbs’s studies of thermodynamics and discoveries in statistical mechanics paved the way for many of Einstein’s later discoveries."
(In Search Of Ocean Heat - 5). Dr. Einstein had good things to say about the type of work Gibbs did.

The easiest way to NOT neglect Gibbs is to use the TEOS-10 toolbox:
It boils down to the fact that in a world facing climate change catastrophe daily,  it is all the more important to have a standard way of talking about climate change / global warming:
"Observational data of salinity and relative humidity need to be globally comparable within requisite uncertainties over decades and centuries, but both quantities rely on century ‐ old provisional standards of unclear stability, or on ambiguous definitions. This increasingly urgent and long ‐ pending problem can only be solved by proper metrological traceability to the International System of Units (SI). Consistent with such SI ‐ based definitions, state ‐ of ‐ the ‐ art correlation equations for thermophysical properties of water, seawater, ice and humid air such as those available from the recent oceanographic standard TEOS ‐ 10 need to be developed and adopted as joint international standards for all branches of climate research, in oceanography, meteorology and glaciology for data analysis and numerical models.
TEOS-10 is highly accurate.
(Salinity and relative humidity: climatological relevance and metrological needs, emphasis added). That is why Dredd Blog uses the TEOS-10 toolkit (TEOS Org).
(The World According To Measurements - 12). The fact that the software is provided at no cost to the user is all the more reason to use it.

IV. No Excuses Please

You might wonder why I consider much of the corporate scientific community to be a problem (in the sense that it is willfully out of touch).

So, here are some quotes from some who are in accord with my complaint:
"In 2017-18, the Australian Senate inquired into the  implications of climate change for Australia’s national security. The Inquiry found that climate change is 'a current and existential national security risk', one that 'threatens the premature extinction of Earth-originating intelligent life or the permanent and drastic destruction of its potential for desirable future development'."
(Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach, PDF).

"No one is planning for the collapse of civilization, for food shortages, epidemics and mass displacement, but that could happen as the result of a major climate disaster. The vast majority of Americans move ahead with their daily lives as normal. Few actually consider the national, global and personal implications of the breakdown of our climate" (The Hill).

"I suspect the existence of what I call the `John Mercer effect'. Mercer (1978) suggested that global warming from burning of fossil fuels could lead to disastrous disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, with a sea level rise of several meters worldwide. This was during the era when global warming was beginning to get attention from the United States Department of Energy and other science agencies. I noticed that scientists who disputed Mercer, suggesting that his paper was alarmist, were treated as being more authoritative.
I believe there is a pressure on scientists to be conservative. Papers are accepted for publication more readily if they do not push too far and are larded with caveats. Caveats are essential to science, being born in skepticism, which is essential to the process of investigation and verification. But there is a question of degree. A tendency for `gradualism' as new evidence comes to light may be ill-suited for communication, when an issue with a short time fuse is concerned." (The Ghost-Water Constant - 9, quoting James Hansen)

V. Today's Graphics & Graphs

Fig. 4
Plumes are formed when infrared photons radiate from ambient ocean water into tidewater glacier ice.

When enough photons have radiated away from the sea water and then entered into atoms of the ice, the ice eventually reaches its melting point (see graphics at Fig. 1, Fig. 2, & Fig. 3).

Fig. 5
The ice contracts (thermal contraction), i.e. it shrinks (Fig. 6), because it loses volume as it becomes melt water.

The space which the glacial ice once took up is a bit larger than the smaller volume of the newly melted ice water, so, the pressure at the Mesopelagic depth causes the ambient seawater to flow into the smaller volume, and also to mix with the fresh, melted ice water.

Fig. 6
A melt water plume is formed by the melt water that mixes with ambient seawater as thermodynamic forces act upon the growing plume (Fig. 1 - Fig. 3). 

The glacial ice that has now become liquid is mixed with the ambient seawater, so the plume's salinity increases.

Another difference exists, in terms of the density of the melt water plume compared to the higher density of the ambient sea water, which is that "buoyancy" enters the picture.

Therefore, the plume's buoyancy (as a result of the lower density of the melt water plume compared to the greater density of the ambient seawater) causes the plume to flow toward the surface.

When there is an ice shelf at the surface of the tidewater area, the plume flows along the bottom of the ice shelf.

VI. Closing Comments

The melt cycle that produces tidewater glacier plumes automatically continues because the warmer ambient seawater will flow into the vacated plume space as the plume flows toward the surface.

The warmer ambient water that replaces the melt water plume has infrared photons in it, which can radiate into the newly exposed glacial ice.

Thus, the melt cycle repeats itself so long as there is ambient seawater and glacial ice for those infrared photons to radiate into.

When the melt cycle is done sea level in some places will have risen 263.5 feet or 80.32 meters (USGS).

UPDATE: A recent paper indicates that this Dredd Blog series is on to something:
"How fast does warm ocean water melt glaciers that terminate in the sea? That question is central to understanding how fast ice sheets may lose mass, and thus how fast sea level will rise, in response to global warming, but there are few data about the process. Sutherland et al. used repeat multibeam sonar surveys to observe an Alaskan subsurface tidewater glacier face to create a time series of its melting and calving patterns. They observed melt rates up to a hundred times larger than those predicted by theory, observations that compel us to reevaluate predictions of such ice loss."
(Science Mag, emphasis added. This type of research is sorely needed in Antarctica.

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

1 comment: