Friday, 10 May 2013

Consequences of Greenland Ice Melt Trivial?

This was forwarded on 9th May 2013 by Philip Foster (see "SpotlightON - PSI and PSI Acumen Ltd" Section 3.8 Co-Founder and Compliance Officer Rev. Philip Foster -

QUOTE: .. 

Comment by Nils-Axel Mörner
on the paper just published in Nature (497: 235-238)
by Faezeh et al. on the Greenland ice melting and sea level rise

With very great pleasure did I consume the paper by Faezeh et al. (2013) just printed in Nature (May 9). After a careful study of four major marine-terminating outlet glaciers, collectively draining 22% of the Greenland Ice Sheet, they were able to estimate the annual dynamic losses at volumes corresponding to a mean global sea level rise of 0.01–0.06 mm per year. In 100 years this would only give a sea level rise on 1-6 mm, which is insignificant. By applying a hypothetical future warming or 2.8 oC they increase this value to 19–30 mm rise by year 2200 (or about 9-15 mm by year 2100). Even this value is so low that it poses no threat what so ever to humanity.

What was it I said, I may say referring to numerous previous papers of mine, but especially the paper on “Setting the frames of expected future sea level changes” (Mörner, 2011), where the problem of the contribution of glacial melting is specially addressed (Fig. 1).
During the Holocene Climatic Optimum with a temperature 2.5 oC higher than today, the Greenland ice cap seems to have been of roughly the same dimensions as today. The Little Ice Ages of the last 600 years with significantly larger glaciers had small to insignificant effects on mean global sea level. A sea level rise of today would never stay a chance to exceed that of the main melting phase at the end of the Last Ice Age which amounted to about 10 mm year-1 (i.e. 1.0 m in 100 years); on the contrary, it would have to be well within these frames.

Now, we can see that the present day melting of the Greenland Ice Cap provides sea level effects that are minute to negligible and fall well within the values of about 1 mm year-1 (Fig. 1) recorded during the last 300 years (Mörner, 2004).


Faezeh, M.N., Vieli, A., Andersen, M.L., Joughin, I., Payne, A., Edwards, T.L., Pattyn, F. & van de Wal, R.S.W., 2013. Future sea-level rise from Greenland’s main outlet glaciers in a warming climate. Nature, 497, 235-238.
Mörner, N.-A., 2004. Estimating future sea level changes. Global Planetary Change, 40, 49-54.
Mörner, N.-A., 2011. Setting the frames of expected future sea level changes. In: Evidence-based Climate Science, D.J. Easterbrook, Ed., Chapter 6, 197-209, Elsevier.

Fig. 1. Introduction of the new values on the Greenland ice melting contribution to global sea level by Fraezeh et al. (2013) into the figure by Mörner (2011) on rates and amplitudes of expected future changes in sea level with the frame of physically possible changes set at 10 ±1 mm year-1 or 1.0 ±0.1 m in a century, and with the observed rate of changes in the last 300 years of 1 mm year-1 or 10 cm in a century. 



  1. I believe that the current level of physics understanding clearly documents that, without feedbacks, the 3.6 W/sq M from a doubling of CO2 will cause a 1C rise in temps. Thus, the real argument is whether or not this little bit will cause feedback, or multiple feedback loops (such as warming caused methane releases causing more negative albedo, and vice versa, etc).
    Obviously, I tend to remain in the 'cautious/almost hyped' camp as it is better to be safe than sorry, concerning the science... and the apparent evidence seen from retreating glaciers and bark beetle infestations (it happened locally, in California).

    However, I am with the deniers when it comes to 'trusting' the governments that they will not use global warming as an excuse to impose the wrong 'solutions'.

    Therefore, due to 'human feedbacks', I always promote industrialism and machine automation of solar panels to a scale barely fathomable, that of hundreds of thousands of sq kilometers as the resulting install jobs would suffice the economy to be able to afford the other solutions (if needed).
    Using GW as an excuse to promote healthy industrialism is probably the ONLY way to escape an otherwise bleak energy future.
    I urge commenters ON ALL SIDES to promote the industrial solution because history proves that industrialism has solved many a problem... And because the (resulting) coming age of cheap, machine made solar will be just awesome!

  2. Hi,

    You say that "it is better to be safe than sorry, concerning the science" but there is no convincing evidence that there are any detrimental "human feedbacks" affecting average global temperatures arising from our continuing use o fossil fuels. On the other hand there is plenty evidence of the detrimental effects of wasting taxpayers' money on those useless wind turbines and solar panels. These have niche value only and cannot compete with fossil fuels or nuclear.

    You also refer to "an otherwise bleak energy future" but again there is no convincing evidence of this. There is a plethora of coal, oil and natural gas available and we have the technology for its extraction. Haven't you heard of shale and methane clathrate?

    You talk about "the (resulting) coming age of cheap, machine made solar will be just awesome!" but there is no prospect of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar becoming competitive with those fuels for decades or even centuries other than through artificially raising the costs of their use through unnecessary taxation.

    Promotion of propaganda in support of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change hypothesis by our politicians, the financial speculators, environmental activists and the renewable energy industry has nothing to do with taking over Nature's job of controlling the different global climates. It's more to do with the Club of Rome and Agenda 21 (, the desire for power over others and getting hands on some of that great pile of taxpayers money which could instead be spent doing something worthwhile.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley.


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