Unlike extremely doubtful human warming influence upon Antarctic glaciers, recent man-made cooling of the political climate is indisputable. Secretary of State John Kerry discovered this chilling reality during a visit to that frozen continent enroute to international climate meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, where he spoke last Wednesday on the dangers of a warming climate.
That around-the-world trip added to a 1.3-million-mile travel record that exceeded Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s 1.06 million and Hillary Clinton’s 1.1 million. His spokesman, John Kirby, reportedly bristled when asked if Kerry was just trying to knock Antarctica off his bucket list of visiting all seven continents before his term ended while U.S. taxpayers will still foot the bills.
Kirby stressed, “It’s important for him to see firsthand what we are learning about the environment down there on the South Pole.”
Perhaps appropriately, the timing of that trip coincided with an unexpected yet very dramatic meltdown of a different sort — one that landed all prospects for U.S. climate alarm-premised international funding on extremely thin ice. In a truly historic political climate change the nation elected a skeptical new President who believes that “There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of climate change.”
Rather than waste more financial resources [trying to prevent what has been occurring for billions of years], “We must decide on how best to proceed so that we can make lives better, safer and more prosperous.”
Regarding Antarctica, virtually all of the sensationalized melting we hear about occurs in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which lies directly above a 5,000-mile-long fault/rift system where deep earth geothermal heat — not global warming — produces melting from below. That region has been melting at about its current rate over thousands of years. It can be expected to continue to do so with no help from us either until it entirely disappears, or until the next scheduled 90,000-year-long Ice Age intervenes as estimated about 3,000 years from now.
And what net contribution to sea level rise will result if the current WAIS thinning rate continues unabated? It will amount to about 6 mm – the width of a paper clip — each century.
For additional perspective, consider that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet which has long experienced modest warming contains less than 10% of the continent’s ice mass. Satellite images taken since 1979 show that the extent of ice mass over the other 90% has increased. In fact even some of the WAIS glaciers have been growing.,
Some scientists have hypothesized that WAIS melting isn’t really due to warming air temperatures, but rather because warm ocean water is being pulled to the surface by the intensification of human-influenced stronger winds that encircle the continent. This theory doesn’t account for the fact that satellite records reveal that global temperatures have been flat over most of the past two decades despite higher atmospheric CO2 levels. The exceptions are logically attributable to major naturally-occurring El Ninos in 1998 and 2014-2016.
In 2012, a science team from the University of Aberdeen and British Antarctic Survey discovered a huge, 1-mile-deep, Grand Canyon-size rift valley beneath the WAIS that does connect directly to a warmer ocean containing an also recently discovered chain of 62 active and semi-active (“pulsing”) volcanoes. While not believed to be capable of penetrating the 1.2- to 2-kilometer-thick ice, such releases could generate enough warm water to influence some bottom melting.
Numerous research studies, including one conducted by scientists from the University of Texas, indicate that deep ocean geothermal heat flow has contributed to bottom melting of a much publicized Thwaites glacier. It is likely no coincidence that Mount Takahe, a high flat-top mountain 60 miles to the west, looks every bit like a volcano.
Upon arrival from his high profile photo-op Antarctic trip, Kerry assured emotionally overheated Marrakech audiences they could chill regarding climactic U.S. election results. Exhibiting climate change denial broadly attributed to others, he asserted that America is as just as committed as ever to keep the continent on ice.
Without specifically mentioning President-elect Trump’s pledge to cancel any U.S. acceptance of the U.N. Paris CO2 emission-cutting agreement adopted last year, he said: “I can tell you with confidence that the United States is right now today on our way to meeting all of the international targets we have set.”
Then, obviously referring to the Obama Administration’s costly and repressive energy regulatory policies already in place, Kerry added, “Because of the market decisions that are being made, I do not believe that that can or will be reversed.”
Kerry also intoned that, “No one has the right to make decisions that affect billions of people based solely on ideology or without proper input.”
Finally — that’s one welcome man-made climate change we might all embrace.