The climatistas may need to put Emily Litella on speed dial. Remember that West Antarctic ice sheet whose melting we were told a few weeks ago was the sure harbinger of climate change doom? (Never mind that little detail that it would take 200-800 years to melt.) Well, according a study out in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (read the abstract here) the ice sheet’s retreat is attributable to a geothermal activity. (In other words, volcanic activity.) The abstract, not to mention the study itself, is typically jargon filled. Here’s a bit of the press release from the University of Texas, where the study’s authors work:
Researchers find major West Antarctic glacier melting from geothermal sources
AUSTIN, Texas — Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it’s being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.
The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts. . .
I wonder if those Antarctic geothermal vents have their proper permits from Obama’s EPA?
Also in climate news, Roger Pielke Jr. points out in USA Today that we’ve gone an awful long time now without a major hurricane making landfall:
In 1933, Richard Gray, a U.S. government weather forecaster, noted that Florida had been hit by at least 37 hurricanes over the 45 years ending in 1930. During this period, the longest stretch with no tropical storms was only two years.
When the 2014 hurricane season officially began on June 1, the Sunshine State had gone more than eight years without being struck by a hurricane. It was back on Oct. 24, 2005, when Hurricane Wilma emerged from the Gulf of Mexico and caused billions of dollars in damage in South Florida. In fact, Wilma was the last Category 3 or stronger storm to hit the USA.
The 3,151 days and counting with no Florida hurricane and no major U.S. hurricane shatters the previous records for hurricane “droughts,” at least back to the turn of the previous century. In fact, from 1900 through 2013, the United States experienced a decrease in hurricane landfalls of more than 20%, and the strength of each year’s landfalling storms has also decreased by more than 20%.
So instead of more frequent storms, as we were promised a while back, we seem to have become the Chicago Cubs of hurricane activity—overdue. Roger does go on to warn that our luck will run out someday, and a big hurricane hitting Florida will dwarf Katrina and Sandy in the cost of damages.
Who knows if it will be this year. Meanwhile, check out NOAA’s temperature series for the continental United States, and see if you can spot any warming trend:
(Hat tip: Anthony Watts.)