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A picture from satellite data highlights the increase in summer melts in Greenland's ice sheet over the decade between 1992 and 2002  (Source: CIRES and CU Boulder)
Greenland's melt is increasing and continues a series of record setting years

Yesterday, DailyTech covered shocking allegations by an esteemed sea-level expert that the IPCC modified climate data and committed other violations in an attempt to falsely portray accelerating sea level rising.  If true, perhaps the IPCC should have learned to be more patient.

Greenland's melt is accelerating, according to a new study published as part of long-ongoing research at the Colorado University at Boulder on climate change.  In 2007, the summer melt record was surpassed by 10%.  CU Boulder notes that record breaking melts are nothing new to Greenland; the last 20 years have brought 6 record melts, with record melts in 1987, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2007.

The base cause is clearly a surface air temperature rise.  Since 1991, extensive data shows that temperatures over Greenland's ice sheet increased approximately 7 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

The report by CU Boulder seemed objective and balanced in its observations.  It helpfully noted that the ice level actually had increased slightly at higher elevations due to increased snowfall over the past decade, however, it noted that this increase was not enough to offset the sharply escalating melting.

Professor Konrad Steffen, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences which headed the study, gave a presentation on his team's research to the American Geophysical Union held in San Francisco from Dec. 10 to Dec. 14.  The paper that the presentation is based on, titled "Melt season duration and ice layer formation on the Greenland ice sheet," was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysics Research and is available here (PDF).

At the presentation, Professor Steffen put the melt in context saying, "The amount of ice lost by Greenland over the last year is the equivalent of two times all the ice in the Alps, or a layer of water more than one-half mile deep covering Washington, D.C."

Professor Steffen explained how his team used Defense Meteorology Satellite Program's Special Sensor Microwave Imager aboard several military and weather satellites to map the melt.  Professor Steffen supplemented this data with polled data transmitted via satellite from 22 stations on the Greenland ice sheet known as the Greenland Climate Network, which he and the University personally maintain.

Lubrication from the melting is one important factor that is speeding up the melt, as explained in Professor Steffen's research.  He stated, "The more lubrication there is under the ice, the faster that ice moves to the coast.  Those glaciers with floating ice 'tongues' also will increase in iceberg production."

If global warming critics or believers hope to use the melt as a quick smoking gun to prove sea level change, they shouldn't hold their breath.  Greenland is slowly and steadily contributing 0.5 mm of world sea level in melt water a year.  If all of Greenland's ice sheet melted, it is estimated that it would raise the global sea levels 21 feet, but for now it is just gradually raising them with time. 

However, deep tunnels in the ice known as moulins are speeding the rate at which water is evacuated into the sea.  With record melts, glacier lubrication, and these tunneling phenomena Professor Stephen expects the current yearly sea level contribution of 0.5 mm/yr to quickly rise.

He thinks that IPCC may have missed the boat on both ends -- overestimating sea level rise now, and underestimating future sea rise for the remainder of the century.  Professor Steffens has publicly stated that based on his understanding of Greenland's current melting process that sea level rise will significantly beat the estimates for 21st century sea level rise made by the IPCC Panel held in 2007.

Professor Steffens works for CIRES, which is a joint venture of CU Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  He and his team will continue to provide a voice of scientific reason in the global debate over whether melting is increasing or decreasing, with his team's diligent analysis of melting in Greenland.



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The rest of the story...
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 12:19:44 PM , Rating: 5
> "the last 20 years have brought 6 record melts..."

But satellite record-keeping has only existed for Greenland since 1979. When you have only 28 years of recording, finding the six highest years in the last 20 years isn't terribly surprising.

Greenland's ice sheet is melting at the rate of 0.25% per century . It has been, with ups and downs, since the end of the last ice age. Even still, Greenland is colder and icier than it was during the Medieval Warm Period, less than 1000 years ago.

Furthermore, though the coastally-concentrated ice sheet mass is indeed decreasing, the amount of snow and ice in the high-altitude central regions is still *increasing*:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/111...




RE: The rest of the story...
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 12:32:35 PM , Rating: 3
Another bit of interesting research on Greenland. It demonstrates that, during a period of time in the Earth's past (the Palaeogene) which was up some 8 degrees warmer than present, and had atmospheric CO2 levels as much as 400% higher, Greenland itself still remained heavily glaciated.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v446/n7132/fu...


RE: The rest of the story...
By Murst on 12/12/2007 12:50:57 PM , Rating: 2
None of this changes the fact that it is still melting.

Sure, it may be something that is cyclical and it will most likely not harm our planet in any way, but if their predictions are accurate and the rate of melt will increase much faster than previously anticipated, it will certainly affect many people who live around water - so, basically, everyone.

Perhaps we have something to do w/ it... perhaps we don't... However, things like this cannot be ignored from a city planning point of view.

There are also many other ways this can influence us, such as the effect it will have on ocean currents and how that, in turn, will affect our climate, etc.


RE: The rest of the story...
By masher2 (blog) on 12/12/2007 12:57:20 PM , Rating: 2
> "None of this changes the fact that it is still melting."

But it does influence both the potential causes of that melting, as well as the probability of that melting causing serious problems. After all, if Greenland has been steadily melting for thousands of years, and isn't likely to melt enough to cause a major shift in MSL anyway-- why spend tens of trillions of dollars on a problem which doesn't exist?

By the way, Greenland aside, the total ice in the southern hemisphere is at record levels and increasing still:

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/cur...


RE: The rest of the story...
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 1:24:14 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
why spend tens of trillions of dollars on a problem which doesn't exist?


Because it is better than helping impoverished nations, lowering the number of AIDS infections in Africa, or generally trying to solve any problem which will not have a return on investment???

At least we will see new industries created from the need to find alternative sources of energy. So Global Warming is "good" problem which world leaders see as fruitful.


RE: The rest of the story...
By TomZ on 12/12/07, Rating: -1
RE: The rest of the story...
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 1:57:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
so that argument is a moot point


Who's arguing? Not I. But yes, "Practically all spending generates enconomic activities and business opportunities" at least until all the government money is spent and hopefully beyond. With all the buzz around alternative energy, it seems to be a good investment at least for the foreseeable future. It seems like a lot of tax dollars are going to be dumped into it for better or worse. Though, personally, I'd like to see my tax dollars going towards the federal debt before anything else. Why is it no one gives a damn about this?


RE: The rest of the story...
By TomZ on 12/12/2007 2:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
There are some people concerned about the debt, but the reality is that it is not so serious a problem as it seems. People think about the public debt in the same way they think about personal debt - as something that must be paid off at some point in time. But with the public debt, it doesn't actually have to get paid off. And both economic theory and reality have proven that the US public debt doesn't pose any threat to the US economy.


RE: The rest of the story...
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 4:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but the reality is that it is not so serious a problem as it seems


We agree that it seems serious, but I think that it IS as serious as it seems. Here's a good article on it. Pay attention to the foreign debt. China is very much entering into a situation where it may need to dump some of its dollars.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB111202112287190860...
We need to make are debt worth more to foreigners. None seem to want the dollar right now which makes problems not only for our economy but the world's.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Ringold on 12/12/2007 5:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that we can't make our debt (dollar) worth more to foreigners because economic conditions are currently forcing down our interest rates, and doing so without the ECB following in lock-step; the ECB's primary mandate is inflation-fighting, where as the Fed has a dual mandate of both inflation control *and* maximum employment.

From your own link:
"... The so-called twin-deficits hypothesis, that government budget deficits cause current-account deficits, does not account for the fact that the U.S. external deficit expanded by about $300 billion between 1996 and 2000, a period during which the federal budget was in surplus and projected to remain so. Nor, for that matter, does the twin-deficits hypothesis shed any light on why a number of major countries, including Germany and Japan, continue to run large current-account surpluses despite government budget deficits that are similar in size (as a share of GDP) to that of the United States. It seems unlikely, therefore, that changes in the U.S. government budget position can entirely explain the behavior of the U.S. current account over the past decade." - Ben Bernanke

Also in question is that the dollar drop thus far has been damaging. It's translated in to no significant core inflation, and yet it's been a huge boost to exports and our multinational firms that get income in foreign currencies. Perhaps a further slide would be damaging, but how much lower can it go? As Altig points out in your link, or at least hints at, the rest of the world has a huge vested interest in now allowing the most powerful economy on Earth to fall to pieces. At some point, foreign central banks would start to cut their own interest rates in unison to head off any potential economic calamity from the dollar because if they didn't it'd come back to hurt their own economy.

Additionally both our deficit and total outstanding debt is lower than *many* other OECD nations, including a lot of Europe, according to % of GDP (the relevant measure). Our deficit is also shrinking, expected to be balanced if the Bush tax cuts are maintained by 2012 or 2013, and surplus from there on for a while.

If debt and deficits were the determinant of the value of a currency, then the Euro would, thanks to countries like France, be more valueable as kindling for a fire -- and yet it's much more valuable then that.

Final note is that at this particular moment with the unpleasant part of the business cycle upon us it would be the worst possible time to hike taxes -- unless recession was the goal.


RE: The rest of the story...
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 6:44:19 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The problem is that we can't make our debt (dollar) worth more to foreigners because economic conditions are currently forcing down our interest rates,


Yes, we can make our debt more attractive to foreigners by simply having less of it! Then demand will be greater. It's for the best, both here, in the States, and abroad. The best senario for the world economy is a dollar-euro parity.

quote:
Final note is that at this particular moment with the unpleasant part of the business cycle upon us it would be the worst possible time to hike taxes -- unless recession was the goal.


Whoa, whoa, whoa. Who said anything about raising taxes? No, how about spending less? How about instead of throwing money at an imaginary global warming problem or Iraq, we put that money towards the federal debt?


RE: The rest of the story...
By Ringold on 12/13/2007 4:59:55 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
No, how about spending less?


Okay, now there we agree!

I still think perhaps 12 to 24 months would be a better time, but ultimately, sure, I agree. Politicians always love to think of Keynes' suggestion of increasing spending to help the economy, but never do they later remember what he said should come next -- spending cuts!


RE: The rest of the story...
By BMFPitt on 12/14/07, Rating: 0
RE: The rest of the story...
By Ringold on 12/12/2007 5:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I wasn't looking for it but just came across this:

http://www.seekingalpha.com/article/56514-stop-wri...

Also, from the WSJ (can't find a free link):
"The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development calculates that $1 converted into euros could buy a basket of goods and services in France that would cost only 80 cents in the U.S. A dollar converted to yen would buy things that would cost 82 cents in the U.S. Over time, markets are expected to narrow such gaps by pushing up the dollar and pulling down the euro and yen."

All much ado about nothing -- for a longer term investment horizon, anyway.


RE: The rest of the story...
By sweetsauce on 12/15/2007 2:55:59 PM , Rating: 1
I see, so i shouldn't care that the dollar isn't worth as much today as it was yesterday because i can still buy goods in europe? Next time i go grocery shopping, i'll just go to france and do it.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Murst on 12/12/2007 3:38:26 PM , Rating: 2
If the US actually decided to pay off its "debt", it would be an absolute disaster. Can you imagine the deflation that would cause?

The only issues w/ debt are if the deficit is rather large. And the reason this is important is not because of the actual debt, but the instability it brings into currency, financials, etc. That instability would be insignificant to the instability caused by basically throwing away trillions of dollars to pay off the debt.


RE: The rest of the story...
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 4:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
If I somehow implied that the US should have absolutely zero debt then I am sorry. I don't think there has ever once been a time when the United States of America was without any debt whatsoever. Maybe for a brief second during its founding it was debt free? LOL. I have no idea, but probably never.


RE: The rest of the story...
By onwisconsin on 12/12/2007 10:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
Close to zero ;)

"Debts incurred during the American Revolutionary War and under the Articles of Confederation led to the first yearly reported value of $75,463,476.52 on January 1, 1791. Over the following 45 years, the debt grew, briefly contracted to zero on January 8, 1835 under President Andrew Jackson but then quickly grew into the millions again."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_...


RE: The rest of the story...
By ziggo on 12/12/2007 11:54:22 PM , Rating: 2
Public debt is one of the mainstays of this country; figuring the people would have more of an interest in the operation and stability of the government if the government owed them money.

Seems pretty reasonable to me.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Ringold on 12/12/2007 1:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because it is better than helping impoverished nations, lowering the number of AIDS infections in Africa, or generally trying to solve any problem which will not have a return on investment ???


Was that sarcasm?

China is our quickest growing export market here in the United States, and American and Chinese investors both make large sums investing in each others economies. In return America has also enjoyed low inflation for a long time now thanks to shifting low-value labor to low unit labor cost China -- and the rest of South East Asia and India.

Helping an additional 2+ billion people join the global middle class would do infinitely more for America, for Europe, and for man kind than fuel efficiency standards or schemes to throttle Western economic output. That would be 2 billion new customers.

By that time, America would likely more resemble the UK; almost no industry to speak of compared to in the past, but loads of high-value jobs based on skill and knowledge. They've prospered, we could prosper.

The industries spawned by government-subsidized energy programs are also inherently therefore inefficient creations that could, without the helping hand of government, collapse. Industries that are created to service global prosperity would create wealth and be self-sustaining.

As a matter of preference, I prefer paths of growth that reward merit rather than who can get on their knees and beg (among other things) to politicians the fastest and with the most money. That's all alternative energy is, a content who can successfuly get a hold of the most tax-payer dollars to fund their business which couldn't hack it in the real world.


RE: The rest of the story...
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 2:18:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That would be 2 billion new customers.


And how could that happen if the world is going to throw money at a problem that scientists are not even sure exists? The answer doesn't matter. Like it or not, this is where money is going. May as well be on the bandwagon than off it... It seems to me there's nothing that reasonable people can do to stop it. Every single day that I turn on my television, there is at least one mention or dicussion concerning global warming and the environment. And it's ALWAYS doom and gloom. It seems the nutjobs (i.e. Al Gore) have really won this one.

I very much dislike Al Gore BTW. He could have the Internet and I hope he doesn't get the environment, either.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Ringold on 12/12/2007 4:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think the GW train is impossible to derail; it would just take time, and further public doubt to be created, enough to kill the most expensive of anti-GW projects.

I'm not sure what you mean by "how could that happen if the world is going to throw money at.." The worlds firms could, and still will, invest in developing countries -- but the money blown fighting an uncertain problem that sits 100 - 200 years in the future, I was trying to suggest, could be better kept in the private sector economy to speed the process along.

The first free-market reforms in China after Mao destroyed virtually everything came in 1978, allowing farmers to sell crop yields in excess of the quota for money, which they could do with as they please, rather than having to give their entire yields to the government. Less than 30 years later, China has gone from nothing to rising superstar.

30 years of focus on developing areas with focused investment and pressure for institution reform to raise 2 billion from poverty, or 100 years of focus on an flimsy concept of what the weather is up to?

All of which was responding to the idea that investment to these sorts of things create no return. They yield massive returns -- working on 11 trillion dollars worth of return in China, at the moment, growing to 37 times its size in 1978 by 2005. That to me seems a more noble and achievable short term goal for the international community, replicating that experience in different places. Pardon me for laughing if anyone suggests global warming research and government reforms will create 11 trillion in value over any 30 year period, plus double digit annual growth rates from there on out. ;)


RE: The rest of the story...
By TomZ on 12/12/2007 2:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's all alternative energy is, a content who can successfuly get a hold of the most tax-payer dollars to fund their business which couldn't hack it in the real world.

That's a pretty strong statement. There are some businesses in that category, but probably most are just normal reputable businesses pursuing any opportunities they see, whether they result from green funds or normal funds.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Ringold on 12/12/2007 4:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure many of them would be commercially viable, like producers of solar panels, to the degree that they are if not for heavy government hand-outs. I'm sure some of these people in the alternative energy field could still be doing some of what they are through university-based research, but the entire ethanol complex? Not at anywhere near these levels of oil prices. The huge run-up in the market cap of ag-related stocks? Wouldn't of happened either.

Perhaps at some point down the road they'd of advanced their technology to the point where a utility would really look at their technology with an eye to profitability, but if it that were the case today there wouldn't be so many traditional powerplants under construction globally. Seems to me the market has looked at its options and delivered its verdict: Coal is king, natural gas is good, and nuclear is the future, with a side-show of "green" energy to appease politicians here and there and in the occasion situations where it does make sense (hydro, for example).


RE: The rest of the story...
By BMFPitt on 12/14/2007 10:03:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm sure some of these people in the alternative energy field could still be doing some of what they are through university-based research, but the entire ethanol complex?
Ethanol has nothing to do with energy. It is a method of converting corn from Iowa into votes in primary elections.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Entropy42 on 12/15/2007 4:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
I LOL'ed.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Spivonious on 12/12/2007 3:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the Earth's axis angle is increasing? Wouldn't this cause longer summers in the northern hemisphere and longer winters in the southern hemisphere? That would explain the ice melting/expansion that we're seeing.


RE: The rest of the story...
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 4:23:17 PM , Rating: 1
Eureka! LOL.

I would hope that scientists would've/could've figured this out long ago, but whatever the reason, it all seems to be panning out. Yes, ice is melting in the north, but it's collecting in the south, so what. Now we have more oil available to us thanks to the greater access to the north pole. More oil for our cars to drink! All of the world wants a private taxi to and from work every day and evening. And that ain't gonna happen without oil and cars, at least not anytime soon.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Murst on 12/12/2007 6:02:45 PM , Rating: 5
Wait.. you're saying that the earth's axis has shifted and the only people to notice this are a couple people posting comments on a website?

If the above is correct, I would like to propose the alternative to that theory. It is not that the earth's axis has shifted, but the entire universe has slightly moved but the earth has remained still.


RE: The rest of the story...
By 16nm on 12/12/2007 6:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but the entire universe has slightly moved but the earth has remained still.


What do you mean "the" universe. Have you not been reading DailyTech? As it turns out, there are many universe (theorized).

universe
- noun
- everything that exists anywhere

So does this definition need to be redefined? ;)


RE: The rest of the story...
By DARGH on 12/13/2007 11:32:36 AM , Rating: 1
You are trying to make a point here, but I am uncertain what exactly it is...i'll venture an interpretation:
- global varming is not a problem, it is a natural phenomenon
- don't bother spending money on reducing CO2 emissions

And this can be derived from assembling scientific facts via a 3 sec. googling. You should not be on DT, you belong in the bush administration.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Hawkido on 12/14/2007 6:19:27 PM , Rating: 2
I sure hope everyone remembers to do their Math homework before listening to too much of this babble.

I have yet to hear any GW nut list all the know variables in any of their calculations... such as is the atmospheric temp increases to the point that the antartic cap melts, how much more water will be supported in the atmosphere? > Heat = > Humidity.

Also Pressure will cause Ice to melt faster than heat. So if the glacier is thickening in the center it would only make sense that it would begin to melt at the edges, as Ice can only melt at the edges, once the mass reached the point where the pressure lowered the melting point to current temps or below.

The best way to prove or disproove Human impact on global warming isn't to try and stop all CO2 production as that is absolutely impossible, but rather jack up and deliberately increase CO2 production to 3 or 4 times the rate it currently is all the while taking precise measurements all around the globe.

If then you can see a trend then stop the artificial CO2 production and see how much the values return to normal...
I would suggest a 10 year period of over production followed by a return to normal production for 10 years.

That should give us some solid data without wrecking the world economy, and it will also give us some scale as to what the rates need to be for proper balance.


RE: The rest of the story...
By TomZ on 12/14/2007 8:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
Your proposal has too much common sense and is too smart to ever be accepted by politicians.


RE: The rest of the story...
By Screwballl on 12/13/2007 10:32:05 AM , Rating: 2
what they are not saying or looking at is the hurricanes that are bringing the warmer air and water masses with them once they die off and head up that way. I bet if they look at 2007 and 2008, they will see that the numbers will match closer to what it did previously after a few years of low hurricane numbers.
1990: 14 named storms and only 3 headed in the direction that could affect Greenland.
1991: Hurricane Bob kept much of its strength all the way over to Europe which meant all sorts of cooler water was drawn south towards the storm allowing for less ice melting around greenland.
1992: not a single storm went above the 50ºN line meaning the ice was not impacted in any way by warmer hurricane air masses.

fast forward to 2002: there were 2 storms that were still tropical storm strength above the 60ºN line severely impacting the water and air temperatures during the summer as far north as the Arctic circle.

So comparing 1992 to 2002 is all propaganda for this bogus global warming crap

sources:
http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/


RE: The rest of the story...
By Rovemelt on 12/14/2007 12:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for explaining to us the fact that you can have increased snow during a warming period over glaciers. Scientists have known this for some time. Irrespective of that, the glaciers over Greenland are still losing mass, not gaining. And the publications you cite do nothing to change that argument--in fact they support what Mick blogs about above and AGW in general. It's nice to see that you're supporting the consensus view on this.


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