by M. Van Wyk De Vries et al., August 16, 2018 in Geol.Soc.London
Abstract: The West Antarctic Ice Sheet overlies the West Antarctic Rift System about which, due to the comprehensive ice cover, we have only limited and sporadic knowledge of volcanic activity and its extent. Improving our understanding of subglacial volcanic activity across the province is important both for helping to constrain how volcanism and rifting may have influenced ice-sheet growth and decay over previous glacial cycles, and in light of concerns over whether enhanced geo- thermal heat fluxes and subglacial melting may contribute to instability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Here, we use ice-sheet bed-elevation data to locate individual conical edifices protruding upwards into the ice across West Antarctica, and we propose that these edifices represent subglacial volcanoes. We used aeromagnetic, aerogravity, satellite imagery and databases of confirmed volca- noes to support this interpretation. The overall result presented here constitutes a first inventory of West Antarctica’s subglacial volcanism. We identified 138 volcanoes, 91 of which have not previously been identified, and which are widely distributed throughout the deep basins of West Antartica, but are especially concentrated and orientated along the >3000 km central axis of the West Antarctic Rift System.
by M. Roffet-Salque et al., August 13, 2018
This study reveals that animal fats preserved in pottery vessels from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site of Çatalhöyük recorded the abrupt 8.2-thousand years B.P. climatic event in their hydrogen isotopic compositions. In addition, significant changes are observed in the archaeology and faunal assemblage of the site, showing how the early farming community at Çatalhöyük had to adapt to climate change. Significantly, this contribution shows that individual biomolecules preserved in ancient animal fats can be used to reconstruct paleoclimate records and thus, provides a powerful tool for the detection of climatic events at well-dated onsite terrestrial locations (i.e., at the very settlements where human populations lived).
by Anthony Watts, August 13, 2018 in WUWT
The global body tasked with naming geological eras, the International Commission on Stratigraphy, has rejected the proposed Anthropocene epoch, the controversial ‘geological’ epoch in which mankind allegedly dominates natural processes. The international commission has now rejected the proposal and has instead split the Holocene Epoch into three different geological ages, all of which were primarily shaped by natural, not human factors.
See also here
by Anthony Watts, August 10, 2018 in WUWT
Syracuse University professor uses ancient marine sediment as benchmark for present, future climate models
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Researchers at Syracuse University are looking to the geologic past to make future projections about climate change.
Christopher K. Junium, assistant professor of Earth sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), is the lead author of a study that uses the nitrogen isotopic composition of sediments to understand changes in marine conditions during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)–a brief period of rapid global warming approximately 56 million years ago.
Junium’s team–which includes Benjamin T. Uveges G’17, a Ph.D. candidate in A&S, and Alexander J. Dickson, a lecturer in geochemistry at Royal Holloway at the University of London–has published an article on the subject in Nature Communications (Springer Nature, 2018).
by James E. Kamis, August 7, 2018 in ClimateChangeDisatch
In what amounts to dissension from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) climate change policy, a series of just-released studies by working-level scientists prove that geological and not atmospheric forces are responsible for melting of Earth’s polar ice sheets.
by A. Watts, July 23, 2018 in WUWT and NatureCommunications
From the University of Helsinki and the “no SUV’s needed” department comes this study which suggests big cold snaps occurred right in the middle of the warm Eemian period. My only concern is perhaps they over-rely on climate models. For reference (and not part of the study) here’s the Eemian graph in context. Data sources listed int he graph.
by Donna Laframboise, July 8, 2018 in BigPicNews
SPOTLIGHT: The most reputable publishers imaginable are misinforming the public about basic geology.
BIG PICTURE: Last September, a book titled The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Analysis and Commentary appeared. Five people are listed as editors, four of whom are lawyers. Two teach at universities. Another two are United Nations legal officers.
These people aren’t lightweights. You’d expect them to be in possession of elemental facts.
Nevertheless, not one of these editors objected to a blatant falsehood in the Foreword to this book. It’s hard to find a more distinguished publisher than Oxford University Press, but none of its editorial team caught it, either. …
by Donna Laframboise, July 2018, in BigPictureNews
SPOTLIGHT: Forget reporting facts. Journalists pick sides and spread false news.
BIG PICTURE: The Breakthrough Institute is known for its sensible approach to environmental questions. The current issue of its journal includes a tour de force titled “Welcome to the Narcisscene: Returning Humans to the Center of the Cosmos.”
Author Mark Sagoff spends 5,000 words discussing a topic that should appall anyone who worries about science being hijacked by politics. The short version is that there’s an international organization “responsible for naming and dating geologic periods, eras, and epochs.” Comprised of geologists, this organization has been under immense pressure to assert that planet Earth is no longer in the geological epoch known the Holocene.
For nearly 20 years, non-geologists such as Nobel-winning atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen, have been insisting that a new epoch should be officially declared – one that acknowledges humanity’s influence on the planet. They think it should be called the Anthropocene. (In ancient Greek, anthrop means ‘human’.)
by M. Bastach, June 28, 2018 in ClimateChangeDispatch
A group of scientists at the University of Rhode Island stumbled on something unexpected when analyzing data brought back from a 2014 expedition to western Antarctica.
Scientists found an abundance of the noble gas Helium-3, indicating there is a volcanic heat source beneath the Pine Island glacier — the fastest melting glacier in the South Pole. The findings were published in a study in the journal Nature Communications.
“When you find helium-3, it’s like a fingerprint for volcanism. We found that it is relatively abundant in the seawater at the Pine Island shelf,” chemical oceanographer Brice Loose, the study’s lead author, said in a statement.
See also here (National Science Foundation) and here
by Willis Eschenbach, June 25, 2018 in WUWT
As readers of my posts know, I’ve held for many years that there are a variety of emergent phenomena that regulate the earth’s temperature. See my posts The Thermostat Hypothesisand Emergent Climate Phenomena for an overview of my hypothesis.
One of the predictions derivable from my hypothesis is that the earth should be relatively insensitive to small changes in forcing. According to my hypothesis, if the total energy entering the system changes in such a manner that the global temperatures start to drop, inter alia the system responds through changes in the time and strength of the daily emergence of the tropical cumulus field and the associated thunderstorms. This allows more sunlight to enter the system and decreases the thunderstorm-caused surface heat losses, balancing out the energy lost elsewhere and maintaining the temperature.
by Anthony Watts, June 22, 2018 in WUWT
Antarctic ice sheet is melting, but rising bedrock below could slow it down
An international team, led by DTU Space at the Technical University of Denmark with Colorado State University, has found that the bedrock below the remote West Antarctic Ice Sheet is rising much more rapidly than previously thought, in response to ongoing ice melt.
The study, “Observed rapid bedrock uplift in the Amundsen Sea Embayment promotes ice-sheet stability,” reveals new insights on the geology of the region and its interaction with the ice sheet and is published in the journal Science. The authors noted that the findings have important implications in understanding and predicting the stability of the ice sheet and Earth’s rising sea levels.
by David Middleton, June 19, 2018 in WUWT
From ARS Technica, one of the most incoherent things I’ve ever read…
The shocking thing is that Howard Lee has a degree in geology. The fact that he makes his living as an “Earth Science writer” and not as a geologist might just be relevant.
Can the Miocene tell our future? I’ll let Bubba’s mom answer that question:
by Michael Bastach, June 15, 2018 in A. Watts WUWT
A new paper about to be in press, comes at the end of a flurry of papers and reports published this week that claims Antarctica was losing ice mass. Zwally says ice growth is anywhere from 50 gigatons to 200 gigatons a year. NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally says his new study will show, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.
by Wim Röst, June 15, 2018 in WUWT
Water, H2O, determines the ‘General Background Temperature’ for the Earth, resulting in Hothouse and Ice House Climate States. During geological periods the movement of continents changes the position of
continents, oceans and seas. Because of the different configurations, a dominant warm or a dominant cold deep-water production configuration ‘sets’ average temperatures for the deep oceans. Changing vertical oceanic circulation changes surface temperatures, especially in the higher latitudes. During a Hot House State, higher temperatures in the high latitudes result in a high water-vapor concentration that prevents a rapid loss of thermal energy by the Earth.
These three processes, plate tectonics (continental drift), vertical oceanic circulation variability and variations in atmospheric water vapor concentration and distribution, caused previous Hot House and Warm House Climate States. A change in the working of those mechanisms resulted in a transition from the previous Hot House Climate State to the very cold ‘Ice House State’ that we live in now. That change was set in motion by the changing configuration of continents, oceans and seas.