NASA downplays Antarctic snow record, blames ozone depletion, ocean dynamics
By Chelsea Schilling
Ice melt on the world’s coldest continent was the lowest in 30 years during the 2008-2009 melt season, according to new research.
The finding was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last month by Marco Tedesco, a research scientist at the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, cooperatively managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; and Andrew Monaghan, National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist.
“A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008–2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980-2009,” their abstract states. “Strong positive phases of both the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008–2009 melt season.”
World Climate Report posted the following line graph to illustrate the Antarctic snow melt index (October-January) from 1980-2009:
The report included a list of NASA stories that highlight record high amounts of ice melting across Greenland. In recent years, NASA has written extensively on increasing snow melt and published findings by scientist Marco Tedesco.
A May 2007 NASA report declared, “In 2006, Greenland experienced more days of melting snow and at higher altitudes than average over the past 18 years, according to a new NASA-funded project using satellite observations.”
On Sept. 25, 2007, NASA reported once again that Greenland snow melt hit record highs.
NASA also reported extensive snowmelt in Antarctica in 2007 and 2008.
“On the world’s coldest continent of Antarctica, the landscape is so vast and varied that only satellites can fully capture the extent of changes in the snow melting across its valleys, mountains, glaciers and ice shelves,” NASA reported. “In a new NASA study, researchers using 20 years of data from space-based sensors have confirmed that Antarctic snow is melting farther inland from the coast over time, melting at higher altitudes than ever and increasingly melting on Antarctica’s largest ice shelf.”
NASA warns that “Antarctica contains 90 percent of Earth’s fresh water, making it the largest potential source of sea level rise.”
In March 2008, NASA reported the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula disintegrated, something it said was “an indication of warming temperatures in the region.”
But now that Tadesco and Monaghan confirm a 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record, NASA has published research from scientists who claim increasing sea ice could be due to ozone depletion, changing ocean dynamics or the flooding of sea ice.
“Since the ozone hole began developing, researchers believe the Antarctic stratosphere has cooled between 2°C and 6°C (3.6°F and 10.8°F),” NASA reports. “Such cooling changes the dynamics between the stratosphere and lower layers of the atmosphere and strengthens Antarctica’s already fierce winds.”
The fierce winds are said to produce sustained periods of freezing temperatures unlike any other place in the world.
“The new model suggests that colder, stormier, and faster winds are rushing over the waters encircling Antarctic – especially the Ross Sea, where ice growth has been the most rapid,” NASA wrote in a September report. “The winds create areas of open water near the coast – known as polynyas – that promote sea ice production.”
According to the NASA report, changes in ocean circulation may also play a role.
“If global air temperatures warm, the model indicates that the amount of rain and snowfall could increase, and surface waters could freshen,” it states. “Since fresh water is less dense and less apt to mix with the heavier, saltier, and warmer water below, the layer at the ocean’s surface could become more stratified and mix less. This, in turn, would reduce the amount of heat flowing upward, allowing surface ice to expand.”
Another possibility, according to NASA, could be that accumulating snow is pressing down on the sea ice until it’s nearly submerged.
“When that happens, waves cause ocean water to spill on top of the ice and into the snow, forming a layer that eventually freezes and becomes ‘snow ice,’” NASA reported.
World Climate Report questioned why NASA wouldn’t report specifically on Tedesco and Monaghan’s findings concerning a 30-year record low for ice melt.
“[T]his time around, nothing, nada, zippo from NASA when their ice melt go-to guy Marco Tedesco reports that Antarctica has set a record for the lack of surface ice melt (even more interestingly coming on the heels of a near-record low ice-melt year last summer),” World Climate Report states. “So, seriously, NASA, what gives? If ice melt is an important enough topic to warrant annual updates of the goings-on across Greenland, it is not important enough to elucidate the history and recent behavior across Antarctica?”
Craters may hold evidence of Earth‘s history, and frozen ices at their floors could be valuable resources for lunar explorers.
There, 239,000 miles away in the permanently shadowed crater floors, “daytime” temperatures never rise above minus 396.67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to preliminary results from NASA‘s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
That’s potentially good news for human lunar exploration efforts.
Ices of water, methane, or ammonia from ancient comet collisions would be well-preserved at the bottom of these lunar freezers. Such ices could be valuable resources that human lunar explorers could use. And they would help answer questions about the arrival of such “volatiles” to the Earth-moon system – evidence that Earth’s geological processes have largely erased from its own surface.
“This is an exciting time for LRO,” says Richard Vondrak, who heads the solar-system exploration division at the Goddard Space Flight Institute in Greenbelt, Md.
The measurement is one of several initial intriguing results unveiled Sept. 17 during a briefing at Goddard. Launched in June, the orbiter officially began its mapping mission this week, orbiting the moon some 30 miles above the surface.
But during the LRO’s commissioning phase, which ended Tuesday, part of the craft’s highly elliptical orbit brought it much closer – within about 19 miles of the surface at the south pole region. Lunar-exploration planners have identified this area as the prime place to land US astronauts to begin exploring the moon, if the Obama administration and Congress give the nod.
The orbiter also has beamed back evidence that water or other hydrogen-bearing ices appear in more places than previous missions have suggested, largely because the orbiter’s instruments are more capable. In fact, evidence for ices is showing up not just on the floors of permanently shadowed craters. It’s also showing up beneath the moonscape between the craters.
Others saw a business opportunity: One travel agency in India scheduled a charter flight to watch the eclipse by air, with seats facing the sun selling at a premium.
Telltale signs are everywhere -from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.
Scientists have found other indications of global cooling. For one thing there has been a noticeable expansion of the great belt of dry, high-altitude polar winds -the so-called circumpolar vortex-that sweep from west to east around the top and bottom of the world. Indeed it is the widening of this cap of cold air that is the immediate cause of Africa’s drought. By blocking moisture-bearing equatorial winds and preventing them from bringing rainfall to the parched sub-Sahara region, as well as other drought-ridden areas stretching all the way from Central America to the Middle East and India, the polar winds have in effect caused the Sahara and other deserts to reach farther to the south. Paradoxically, the same vortex has created quite different weather quirks in the U.S. and other temperate zones. As the winds swirl around the globe, their southerly portions undulate like the bottom of a skirt. Cold air is pulled down across the Western U.S. and warm air is swept up to the Northeast. The collision of air masses of widely differing temperatures and humidity can create violent storms-the Midwest’s recent rash of disastrous tornadoes, for example.
Climatic Balance. Some scientists like Donald Oilman, chief of the National Weather Service’s long-range-prediction group, think that the cooling trend may be only temporary. But all agree that vastly more information is needed about the major influences on the earth’s climate. Indeed, it is to gain such knowledge that 38 ships and 13 aircraft, carrying scientists from almost 70 nations, are now assembling in the Atlantic and elsewhere for a massive 100-day study of the effects of the tropical seas and atmosphere on worldwide weather. The study itself is only part of an international scientific effort known acronymically as GARP (for Global Atmospheric Research Program).
Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climatic balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years.
The earth’s current climate is something of an anomaly; in the past 700,000 years, there have been at least seven major episodes of glaciers spreading over much of the planet. Temperatures have been as high as they are now only about 5% of the time. But there is a peril more immediate than the prospect of another ice age. Even if temperature and rainfall patterns change only slightly in the near future in one or more of the three major grain-exporting countries-the U.S., Canada and Australia -global food stores would be sharply reduced. University of Toronto Climatologist Kenneth Hare, a former president of the Royal Meteorological Society, believes that the continuing drought and the recent failure of the Russian harvest gave the world a grim premonition of what might happen. Warns Hare: “I don’t believe that the world’s present population is sustainable if there are more than three years like 1972 in a row.”
Can the United States of America as we know it crumble from within in just a few short years?
The stunning possibility is more than just a dream to some enemies of the greatest nation on Earth. It is a fast-becoming probability. “We all know about terrorism. This is the war you don’t know about,” declares “The Third Jihad,” an eye-opening movie now available on DVD.
“It’s an entire movement, and the idea of it is hatred for our way of life,” says former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.” Featured in the DVD are clips of Muslim leaders in the U.S., including Abdul Alim Musa, an imam in Washington D.C., who boldly states, “On our website we talk about the Islamic State of North America by 2050.”
“The Third Jihad,” narrated by devout Muslim American Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, opens with the following statement: “This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are radical. This film is about them.”
In contrast to the use of “violent jihad” and terror to instill fear in “non-believers,” “The Third Jihad” introduces the concept of “cultural jihad” as a means to infiltrate and undermine our society from within.
More than 600 events worldwide mark 200th birthday of father of evolution
An atheist group counts 649 events in 42 countries celebrating the 200th anniversary today of the birth of the father of modern evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin.
From an “Evolution Palooza” at the San Francisco Public Library to a book reading in India, the worldwide Darwin Day Celebration – administered by the Institute for Humanist Studies – is “part birthday bash, part thumb-in-the-eye to creationists, part opportunity for publishers rolling out Darwin books like sausages,” says USA Today.
At least one creationist, best-selling author and TV-host Ray Comfort, plans to return the favor by debating atheists on several national and international radio programs.
Comfort will debate David Silverman, national spokesman for the group American Atheists, on the Alan Colmes radio show from 11 p.m. to 11:20 p.m. Eastern Time tonight. On Canadian radio station CFMJ he takes on atheist Scott Campbell from 7:30 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. Eastern Time. Across the Atlantic, the BBC show “Paul Coletti World Update” will feature a debate with Comfort that was recorded earlier this week.
Comfort’s new title by WND Books, “You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can’t Make Him Think,” is scheduled for release today. Comfort is the author of 60 books and the co-host of “The Way of the Master,” a weekly television show about personal evangelism with actor Kirk Cameron, star of the hit movie “Fireproof.”
The official website of the Darwin Day Celebration says the event “provides a new global holiday that transcends separate nationalities and cultures.”
“Darwin Day can be celebrated in many different ways: civic ceremonies with official proclamations, educational symposia, birthday parties, art shows, book discussions, lobby days, games, protests, and dinner parties,” the organization says.
“In Darwin Day, we are able to recognize the diversity among us, while celebrating our common humanity and the universal understanding we share.”
A celebration at Charlie’s Playhouse studio in Pawtucket, R.I., promised a “fun and festive afternoon for kids and adults” featuring live music, “fun evolution games, door prizes, demonstrations of how we make our Giant Timelines, a champagne/sparkling cider toast, tasty food and yes, a cake with 200 candles.”
The “Evolutionpalooza!” – sponsored by San Francisco Atheists – invited “fellow primates” last weekend to come for a “great afternoon of fun, food, music, games and evolution” that included special guest Eugenie Scott of the Nation Center for Science Education, a leading activist against the teaching of creation theory and intelligent design in public schools.
At the Texas Natural Science Center in Austin, Texas, a Darwin Day celebration featured a sandbox with hidden fossils that children “excavated,” the Daily Texan reported.
“There are people with babies and young children here, and we have activities for them, but the event also focuses on current, relevant research,” said Christina Cid, the center’s director of education.
The non-profit group says the event was developed “in response to the growing repression of dissent about Darwinian dogma in science curricula at all levels of education.”
As an example, the group said, then-University of Idaho president Timothy P. White issued an edict in October 2005 declaring evolution is “the only curriculum that is appropriate to be taught in our bio-physical sciences.”
The Idaho group said the declaration essentially muzzled the voice of a leading advocate of intelligent design theory, Scott Minnich, an associate professor of microbiology at the university.
More than 750 Ph.D. scientists have signed a statement declaring their skepticism that random mutation and natural selection can explain the complexity of life and urging that Darwinian theory be carefully examined, the group noted.
Students with Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness clubs at three Idaho schools – Boise State University, Northwest Nazarene University and the College of Idaho – are sponsoring booths on campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today to discuss evolution and encourage the signing of a petition urging academic freedom.
As WND reported, in the run-up to Darwin Day the Madison, Wisc.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation posted billboards in at least 15 states with messages such as “Imagine no Religion” and “Praise Darwin – Evolve Beyond Belief.”
FFRF said it placed a billboard just outside Grand Junction, Colo., because town officials rejected a proposal by a local atheist to proclaim a day honoring Darwin.
“Charles Darwin gets a bad rap in America, and we want to counter that,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “It’s an intellectual blot on our country that more than 50 percent of Americans reject evolution. The Darwin bicentennial is a chance to celebrate reality, to move our nation forward, to return to the Enlightenment.”
Last summer, the Western Colorado Atheists challenged Grand Junction’s longstanding practice of starting City Council meetings with a prayer, leading city leaders to drop the invocation on the advice of an attorney, the Colorado Independent reported.
Gaylor wrote a letter in November demanding county commissioners do the same, according to the Independent, asserting prayers are unnecessary, inappropriate and divisive.
Democrats candidate plans to force environmental agenda
The following report is excerpted from Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert, the premium online newsletter published by the current No. 1 best-selling author, WND staff writer and columnist. Subscriptions are $99 a year or $9.95 per month for credit card users.
Sen. Barack Obama intends to classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that should be regulated should he win the presidential election on Nov. 4, according to a report published by Bloomberg.
Obama’s intent will be to instruct the Environmental Protection agency to make the designation under the 1990 Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers, Obama energy adviser Jason Grumet said.
President Bush declined to curb carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act, even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the government had the authority to do so.
Categorizing carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant will have wide-ranging political consequences, including imposing on power plants and manufactures fines and penalties that will amount to new taxes, unless they take government-mandated steps to curb their carbon dioxide output.
At the heart of this debate is a contention by global warming alarmists that carbon dioxide is a key “greenhouse gas” that functions as a dangerous pollutant because its presence in the atmosphere is a man-made cause of climate change.
The problem with the argument is that the science behind categorizing carbon dioxide as a noxious pollutant is not clear.
More than 31,000 scientists across the United States, including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s in fields including atmospheric science, climatology, Earth science, environment and dozens of other specialties, have signed a petition rejecting “global warming,” the assumption that the human production of greenhouse gases is damaging Earth’s climate.
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate,” the petition states. “Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
The Petition Project actually was launched nearly 10 years ago, when the first few thousand signatures were assembled. Then between 1999 and 2007, the list of signatures grew gradually without any special effort or campaign.
But now, a new effort has been conducted because of an “escalation of the claims of ‘consensus,’ release of the movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘ by Mr. Al Gore, and related events,” according to officials with the project.
“Mr. Gore’s movie, asserting a ‘consensus’ and ‘settled science’ in agreement about human-caused global warming, conveyed the claims about human-caused global warming to ordinary movie goers and to public school children, to whom the film was widely distributed. Unfortunately, Mr. Gore’s movie contains many very serious incorrect claims which no informed, honest scientist could endorse,” said project spokesman and founder Art Robinson.
WND submitted a request to Al Gore’s office for comment, but did not get a response.
Robinson said the dire warnings about “global warming” have gone far beyond semantics or scientific discussion now to the point they are actually endangering people.
“The campaign to severely ration hydrocarbon energy technology has now been markedly expanded,” he said. “In the course of this campaign, many scientifically invalid claims about impending climate emergencies are being made. Simultaneously, proposed political actions to severely reduce hydrocarbon use now threaten the prosperity of Americans and the very existence of hundreds of millions of people in poorer countries,” he said.
In just the past few weeks, there have been various allegations that both shark attacks and typhoons have been sparked by “global warming.”
The late Professor Frederick Seitz, the past president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and winner of the National Medal of Science, wrote in a letter promoting the petition, “The United States is very close to adopting an international agreement that would ration the use of energy and of technologies that depend upon coal, oil, and natural gas and some other organic compounds.”
“This treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is enviromentally helpful,” he wrote.
Accompanying the letter sent to scientists was a 12-page summary and review of research on “global warming,” officials said.
“The proposed agreement would have very negative effects upon the technology of nations throughout the world, especially those that are currently attempting to lift from poverty and provide opportunities to the over 4 billion people in technologically underdeveloped countries,” Seitz wrote.
Robinson said the project targets scientists because, “It is especially important for America to hear from its citizens who have the training necessary to evaluate the relevant data and offer sound advice.’
He said the “global warming agreement,” written in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, and other plans “would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.”
“Yet,” he said, “the United Nations and other vocal political interests say the U.S. must enact new laws that will sharply reduce domestic energy production and raise energy prices even higher.”
“The inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness include the right of access to life-giving and life-enhancing technology. This is especially true of access to the most basic of all technologies: energy. These human rights have been extensively and wrongly abridged,” he continued. “During the past two generations in the U.S., a system of high taxation, extensive regulation, and ubiquitous litigation has arisen that prevents the accumulation of sufficient capital and the exercise of sufficient freedom to build and preserve needed modern technology.
“These unfavorable political trends have severely damaged our energy production, where lack of industrial progress has left our country dependent upon foreign sources for 30 percent of the energy required to maintain our current level of prosperity,” he said. “Moreover, the transfer of other U.S. industries abroad as a result of these same trends has left U.S. citizens with too few goods and services to trade for the energy that they do not produce. A huge and unsustainable trade deficit and rapidly rising energy prices have been the result.”
“The necessary hydrocarbon and nuclear energy production technologies have been available to U.S. engineers for many decades. We can develop these resources without harm to people or the environment. There is absolutely no technical, resource, or environmental reason for the U.S. to be a net importer of energy. The U.S. should, in fact, be a net exporter of energy,” he said.
He told WND the issue has nothing to do with energy itself, but everything to do with power, control and money, which the United Nations is seeking. He accused the U.N. of violating human rights in its campaign to ban much energy research, exploration and development.
“In order to alleviate the current energy emergency and prevent future emergencies, we need to remove the governmental restrictions that have caused this problem. Fundamental human rights require that U.S. citizens and their industries be free to produce and use the low cost, abundant energy that they need. As the 31,000 signatories of this petition emphasize, environmental science supports this freedom,” he said.
The Petition Project website today said there actually are 31,072 scientists who have signed up, and Robinson said more names continue to come in.
In terms of PhD scientists alone, it already has 15 times more scientists than are seriously involved in the United Nations’ campaign to vilify hydrocarbons, officials told WND.
“The very large number of petition signers demonstrates that, if there is a consensus among American scientists, it is in opposition to the human-caused global warming hypothesis rather than in favor of it,” the organization noted.
The project was set up by a team of physicists and physical chemists who do research at several American institutions and collects signatures when donations provide the resources to mail out more letters.
“In a group of more than 30,000 people, there are many individuals with names similar or identical to other signatories, or to non-signatories – real or fictional. Opponents of the petition project sometimes use this statistical fact in efforts to discredit the project. For examples, Perry Mason and Michael Fox are scientists who have signed the petition – who happen also to have names identical to fictional or real non-scientists,” the website said.
The petition is needed, supporters said, simply because Gore and others “have claimed that the ‘science is settled’ – that an overwhelming ‘consensus’ of scientists agrees with the hypothesis of human-caused global warming, with only a handful of skeptical scientists in disagreement.”
The list of scientists includes 9,021 PhDs, 6,961 at the master’s level, 2,240 medical doctors, and 12,850 carrying a bachelor of science or equivalent academic degree.