2012-02-11 07:35:35Satellites find over 500 billion tons of land ice melting worldwide every year, headlines focus on Himalayas (UPDATE)
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

Link.

UPDATE 13/02/2012: I've now updated it to a point where I'm happy with it. See reply below at this date.

2012-02-11 09:32:35
Neven

neven@spruitje...
178.191.40.152

Excellent first half, Mark!

2012-02-11 12:39:10
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
109.156.34.130

Very good so far.

Keep up the good work.

2012-02-11 15:42:02
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.109.172

"...the Earth getting fatter thanks to ice cap melt and the drying up of Texan groundwater."

You need a comma after "melt" unless you're saying the Earth got fatter because of the drying up of Texan groundwater.

Figure 2 - which IPCC report is that from, AR4?

As the others said, the post looks really good so far.

2012-02-11 15:45:14
Andy S

skucea@telus...
209.121.15.232

Looking very good. 

2012-02-11 17:55:44
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
124.176.160.80

Mark.

The last 2 paragraphs don't read right. Like you are speaking in HEADLINE speak. Rest of the article is good but they just don't parse right.

2012-02-11 18:07:55
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.109.172
That's the unfinished part, Glenn :-)
2012-02-11 18:11:10
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.7.15

Glenn's been into the whiskey again.

2012-02-12 01:17:53
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

First draft now complete. I'm not happy with it, it needs tidying and tuning quite a bit I think. Choosing which bits to cut out and which to concentrate on was very hard. There's a LOT of info to cram in when you're looking at all the world's big glacial regions and ice caps!

I also want to cut the length, it's over 1800 words right now. I'd prefer 1500... and maybe I'd drop the Greenland/Antarctica graph to make it look smaller, but I think it makes an important point.

2012-02-12 04:58:53
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
23.17.186.57

Hi Mark,

You could also use this postr as an opportunity to address this latest BS from Michaels.  He really doe sdeserve his own "button" like Christy and Spencer and Lindzen. One of th eposters on that Forbes thread (daviddelosangeles) really decimated his claims.

2012-02-12 05:18:04Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.203.214

I'm going to be honest. it's important to point out that this study is just one line of measurement with respect to detecting these changes, and one that has significant uncertainty. Nowmatter how well they're trying to account for GIA they nonetheless do not have a perfect picture of it so the numbers will be warped from reality nowmatter what. Direct measurements from Icesat, cryosat-2 and field measurements should always take precedence over grace numbers in my view.

Nuth et al (2010)
http://folk.uio.no/kaeaeb/publications/nuth_jgr.pdf

is an example of a study done on most of svalbard that shows greater losses than the Grace study we mentioned.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/part-2-how-do-we-measure-antarctic-ice-changes.html

I think it's just important for us to discuss the caveats thtat these numbers are not necessarily a refutation of other glacier studies... they are an estimate on the low end.

2012-02-12 06:22:24
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.93.222

"However, in the high mountains of Central Asia there was a surprise: they appear to have been stable for 8 years when old measurements would have expected 400 billion tons of ice loss."

The wording here doesn't accurately convey what's happened. The region has not been stable, it has shown remarkable short-term variability. The increasing number, and size, of melt lakes on the high plateau paint a very different picture too - stable it ain't.

"The new work includes some extra areas which Matsuo and Heki didn't, so if you do an apples-to-apples comparison then the old estimated loss is about 5 times bigger: 47 versus 11 billion tons"

Where does that number come from? Earlier you wrote: "Himalayas only lost about 4±20 bn tons of ice a year"

Maybe, in addition to Rob Way's comment that these new estimates are not the holy grail of ice loss measurements, the whole thing about the Himalayas should be looked at in another way. Favorable weather in 2005 & 2010 dumped a whole lotta snow on the high plateau, but ice mass seems to disappear very quickly too - indicating it's warm enough up there to get rid of ice quick smart. But it's getting warmer all the time, if favorable weather cannot halt ice loss, what happens with unfavorable weather?

 

2012-02-12 06:39:39
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

Robert: but combined with altimeters + ocean heat measurements the sea level budget is pretty consistent... which gives some confidence in these results.

If you could suggest some way of formatting this to fit in the extra stuff then let's see. It's already too long and I'm too busy to take a look at it properly until tomorrow!

2012-02-12 09:38:22
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.13.228

"but combined with altimeters + ocean heat measurements the sea level budget is pretty consistent"

There are enormous differences between the OHC data sets. They can't all be right.

2012-02-14 05:45:53
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
192.171.166.133

Shortened length from nearly 1850 to 1350 words (approx). I'm much happier with it now, I think I covered most of the points whilst carrying through the main double-pointed message.

I wanted to make it clear that these results suggest more ice loss than expected worldwide since '03, but that the Himalayas and surrounding area look more stable.

I've included comments on the uncertainty inherent in GRACE, and for the purpose fo this blog post I think they're sufficient. Rob, I looked at your paper and didn't see a point that would be (a) easy to insert, fitting with the article flow and (b) add to the information more than the comments I already have that highlight the uncertainty.

2012-02-14 10:12:58
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
121.218.74.26

Mark, small addition around Fig 5 might be good. Your showing heat change. What would the average temperature change of the atmosphere have been if that heat had gone into the atmosphere instead?

2012-02-14 19:05:23
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

Glenn: I did originally convert it into units of atmospheric temperature using an approximate atmospheric heat capacity. But that made the graph messy because it has to stand on its own and that led to reallllly long axis and legend labels. Do you think it would be better to just add a comment in the text saying that 'this is equivalent to a 2.3 C rise in atmospheric temperatures' or something like that?

2012-02-14 20:05:31
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

Oh and dana, the figure is from the Copenhagen diagnosis.

2012-02-15 09:30:01
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

Watts is on about very short term trends again – this time sea level rise. Should comment be made in post and this link added? Would be good timing.

"Sea level still not cooperating with predictions" – no it’s far worse!!

2012-02-15 09:44:32
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

This comment which puts more egg on Watts face about short term trends.

David A. Evans says

Typo! 60 Month should be 60 DAY smoothing.

DaveE.

2012-02-15 10:25:10
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

I don't know enough about ENVISAT differences to comment clearly on this right now.

 

That's a pretty interesting result, but we are in a La Nina so it's expected. Iirc they did the same thing around 2008 when there was a flat period thanks to the '07 La Nina. They shut up afterwards then we got the 2010 El Nino and record high sea levels, and now they're returning again. Would be interesting to regress an ENSO index versus sea level in a Foster & Rahmsorf style... or if we could somehow get better measurements of land based water storage to see if that's the cause.

What I suspect will happen is that we'll get another El Nino, record high sea levels, they'll shut up and then 2-3 years later after a La Nina they'll triumphantly report flat sea levels again.

2012-02-17 01:17:10
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
192.171.166.133

Any more feedback guys?

2012-02-17 03:17:22
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I think it looks good Mark.  Let me know when it's ready to go.

2012-02-17 05:22:24
Andy S

skucea@telus...
209.121.15.232

This is very good, some last-minute suggestions:

  • The link to supplementary material in the first figure caption doesn't work nor does the link in the second figure caption.
  • "skepticalscience" should be changed to "Skeptical Science" or SkepticalScience"
  • "It appears that North India has been using more groundwater than expected and this has now been better measured, explaining about 25 bn tons of the difference. The rest might be because of extra heavy snowfalls in 2010, data which wasn't available to Matsuo & Heki." I think that you need to spell out more clearly that the blue blob in Fig 1 is N India is due to groundwater removal (if it is).
  • "GRACE weighs everything and the scientists subtract the effect of changes in the Earth's crust or stored water, which introduces the possibility of error. The new study considers changes in melt lakes, plus underground water storage and erosion and conclude that they don't make a big difference. However, these are big sources of possible error and other measurements are needed to confirm these results, which is why other methods are considered more reliable than GRACE only measurements." I think (agreeing with Robert) that you should at least mention uncertainties in isostatic adjustment (tectonic and glacial) as Matsuo and Heki do.
  • "In Figure 5 we've worked out how much energy was needed to melt the ice that's gone since 2003 and wondered what would happen if that heat had been put into the atmosphere instead." Presumably, you have used the latent heat of ice-water and multiplied it by the ice loss. Perhaps, if this is what you have done, you should state that explicitly.
2012-02-17 10:07:50
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

I'll add Andy's suggested changes tomorrow. If no-one else piks anything else out, then it'll be ready to go then.

2012-02-17 20:31:44
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.225

Ok, links fixed, Skeptical Science cahnged, extra comment in crust adjustment added, figure 5 explained.

2012-02-17 21:06:29
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.133.202.150

Mark, this sentence just above the map:

 

Unfortunately the GRACE satellites can't measure in great detail so they miss any ice area smaller than 100 km2 (almost 40 square miles).

 

"can't measure in great detail" is denier-fodder! I take it this is a resolution issue: if so why not have:

 

It should be noted that, due to their resolution levels, the satellites do not record any area of ice smaller than 100 km2 (almost 40 square miles).

 

Cheers - John

2012-02-17 21:52:22
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
192.171.166.133

Ok John, changed.

 

I was trying to avoid the word 'resolution', because I thought it was too technical. In my experience most people have a gut feeling thanks to TVs and computer screens but they don't often understand the application to scientific measurements.

But I reckon you're also right about denier fodder, I regularly forget how low you have to go to think on their level.

 

2012-02-17 22:55:19
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
192.171.166.133

Andy S: as far as I can tell, the blue spot left has ACCOUNTED for groundwater and isostatic adjustment (caption reads: "b: same as a, but corrected for the effects of hydrology and glacial isostatic adjustment")

The 'growth' region in central Asia is widespread, but the growth is slow. So it doesn't look very red. Meanwhile the 'loss' region is more intense, but smaller. So on that graph it comes out as blue. That's what I think's going on there, anyway.

 

2012-02-17 22:59:39
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.133.202.150

You have to watch all the Monty Python "Gumby" clips on Youtube and then read your own post out loud in the same voice. If at any time you think you sound like a denier then it's time to hit the edit-button!

How about this, with an explanation popped-in?

It should be noted that, due to their resolution levels i.e. the smallest units they can measure, the satellites do not record any area of ice smaller than 100 km2 (almost 40 square miles).

Cheers - John

2012-02-18 00:57:12
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
192.171.166.133

I think the sentence now covers it:

"Unfortunately the resolution of the GRACE satellites means they can't reliably measure ice areas smaller than 100 km2 (almost 40 square miles), so these are not included in the study."

 

 

I'm happy with the post now.

2012-02-18 01:12:33
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.133.202.150

That sounds good, Mark. Thumbs up from me.

Cheers - John

2012-02-20 21:45:31Ask Mspelto his opinion
michael sweet

sweetdreamfiji@hotmail...
72.91.99.55

Mspelto said on the last post about this here http://www.skepticalscience.com/Melting-land-ice-GRACE_JPL.html#73910 that he thought the GRACE measurements were not very accurate in the Asian mountains.  I would ask him what he thinks about this post.  He might have a lot of data to add.  Mspelto is an expert in this field.