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A recent map of North Atlantic currents shows warm, subtropical water being ferried far into the northern latitudes. The increased water temperature has enabled fast sea ice and glacier melt in recent years.  (Source: Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Warmer ocean currents are driving Greenland's glacial melt.

It remains to be seen exactly how much mankind understands the science of climatology. While global climate models continue to be produced, disproved, corrected, and debated in the administration, there is still some solid research being done. And that research keeps showing that there's a possibility that climate science is missing large tracts of data it needs.

DailyTech reported on research concerning the Bering Strait and how this comparatively small geological formation might be responsible or at the least involved in the regulation of the North American temperature via ocean currents. Oceans have been understood to partially control temperatures and overall climate for years, but marine science has only recently been getting any media time with all the political hubbub over the global climate change debates.

A multi-institutional research team, led by Fiamma Straneo, a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution physical oceanographer, has been studying ice loss in Greenland, particularly in the Sermilik Fjord, which connects the Irminger Sea to the Helheim glacier. The last decade has seen accelerated ice loss in Greenland -- the Helheim glacier has already retreated by several kilometers.

Unfortunately, the area has not been monitored regularly for long enough to perfectly reconstruct the ice melts before the recent accelerated melt, but a combination of ship and moored survey data, combined with temperature and depth data taken from the radio collars of hooded seals in the area have allowed them to piece together just how quickly things can change.

They found that changes in the North Atlantic ocean currents have been bringing much warmer, subtropical water further and further north. Water as warm as four degrees celsius was found during the time data. That warm water combined with swift current propagation has enabled the massive uptake in Greenland's glacial ice. The warmer water quickly moves through the fjords, taking away with it the melted ice and keeping the temperatures relatively warm.

Straneo explains, "This is the first extensive survey of one of these fjords that shows us how these warm waters circulate and how vigorous the circulation is. Changes in the large-scale ocean circulation of the North Atlantic are propagating to the glaciers very quickly — not in a matter of years, but a matter of months. It's a very rapid communication."

She goes on to stress how little is known about ocean-glacier interactions and that continuous observation will be extremely important in coming to a full picture of how they affect each other and sea-level regulation. It is also likely that understanding how these entities cooperate will help understand how the ocean currents and sea ice as a whole may affect regional and global climates. A rapid influx of cool, fresh water could serve to disrupt the global ocean current system, known as the Ocean Conveyor even as the area appears to be warming.

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RE: Wha-wha-what?
By Grabo on 2/17/2010 1:58:32 PM , Rating: 2
Your first two sentences are ambiguous. They seem to say the researchers first thought something, then more research made them think natural variability, and then they changed their minds (again)?

Anyway, I suppose you mean that they first inclined towards man-affected, then natural variability?

Your statement is flawed because 1. In this news release (released Feb 2010) they say this area hasn't been studied much and needs to be studied further, they don't lay the root cause anywhere specifically.

2. This news release concerns studies conducted in 2008, ( ) , the MSNBC article is from Sept 2009 and refers to "..zigzagged between majestic icebergs in the Sermilik fjord last month".

3. Everyone has a reputation. Show some sort of substantial reference that MSNBC only listens to certain angles.

RE: Wha-wha-what?
By porkpie on 2/17/2010 2:10:35 PM , Rating: 2
1. The "need to be studied further" mantra is doublespeak for "give us more research funding". You won't ever find a scientist in ANY field who EVER says their field of interest doesn't need more study.

2. This news release is from data COLLECTED in 2008. The actual analysis and conclusions were just completed. This article lists actual scientific conclusions. Your MSNBC article is just an off-the-cuff comment from a minor project member who is also a well-known AGW activist:

Interestingly enough, the research LEADER in the MSNBC article said nothing whatsoever about human-induced change.

RE: Wha-wha-what?
By Grabo on 2/17/2010 2:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
1. Who would be a scientist that didn't want to pursue their subject? You are using caps, this does not reinforce your point. And science needs money, yes?

2. Where does it say she is "a minor project member"? Where does it say that others do not agree with her (why would they have her on the team, on the trip, if she saw things completely differently?)
"Well-known AGW activist"? Lol, isn't the whole institute suspect then? You are certainly a well-known caps-activist now.

The LEADER said nothing of 'result of natural variances' either, he said 'more research required'.

RE: Wha-wha-what?
By porkpie on 2/17/2010 3:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
You can shuck and jive all you want, but you can't hide the facts. This article highlights recent research findings. You cannot compare off-the-cuff quotes made without any scientific backing to actual study results.

RE: Wha-wha-what?
By Grabo on 2/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: Wha-wha-what?
By porkpie on 2/17/2010 4:02:20 PM , Rating: 3
Grabo, please try to think clearly. The statement "man is affecting climate" is a positive, not a negative. It requires support. That support can ONLY come by understanding a system well enough to eliminate natural variability.

Now (and here comes the part that requires more than a room temperature IQ, so follow closely) if a scientist says "we don't understand the system well enough to explain it", they ARE saying it could be natural variablity. It's the same thing.

They are NOT saying "it has to be anthropogenic". The'yre not even saying the obverse, which is "it has to be natural". They're saying "we don't understand, so it could be either".

Did you follow that this time, or should I rephrase it in smaller words?

RE: Wha-wha-what?
By jbartabas on 2/17/2010 4:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
Did you read the paper?

RE: Wha-wha-what?
By Grabo on 2/18/2010 5:34:56 AM , Rating: 1
They do, in fact, not seem to mention the word 'natural variability', or 'man-made' for that matter, in the news release.

They're saying "we don't understand, so it could be either

Almost. They're saying, "we don't entirely understand this, more research is required".

The only thing hinting either way is Curry's comment, for whatever it is worth (something we don't know as we haven't heard the outrage or agreeing murmur of any other team-member).

You seem seem stuck on "the changes could be due to natural variances" = "the changes are probably due to natural variances".
You don't write that outright, but phrases such as "well-known AGW activist" and "and then found out it could be due to natural variances" "not surprising they'd change their minds eh" and everything else you've written to this blog post suggests as much.

You still haven't backed up your claim that the MSNBC are biased.

I guess most readers predicted arguments such as ours :p

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