Ward Hunt Island: Unprecedented since 2005

Bernie draws our attention to an article in the Globe and Mail on another break-off of the Ellesmere Island ice shelf:

The Globe and Mail has an excellent map of the “collapse” of this ice sheet. Apparently its collapse has been proceeding for about 100 years.

Update- The break is said to be unprecedented since as long ago as 2005:

Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005 but still small when compared with others

This topic is in the news from time to time – there was another similar story in a couple of years ago. At the time, I looked into the matter and wrote several posts on the topic of Ellesmere Island ice shelves, which people interested in this topic may wish to re-visit.

Ellesmere Island Ice Shelves
Ellesmere Island Driftwood
Ayles Ice Shelf
Ward Hunt Ice Shelf Stratigraphy
Ice Island T-3

Bradley and England 2008 , “The Younger Dryas and the sea of ancient ice”, is a highly readable and interesting discussion of Ica Age climate, which, inter alia, contains an account of late 19th century descriptions of the Ellesmere Island ice shelves, which Bradley and England 2008 propose as an analogue for the much larger “paleocrystic ice” that they propose for the LGM. Their Figure 1 (Shown below) is an 1878 watercolor of an Ellesemere Island ice shelf about which they say (my bold):

We believe this painting provides an eye-witness view of some of the paleocrystic floes that formed during the Little Ice Age, but were breaking up by the end of the 19th century.

Here’s their Figure 1:
globea10.jpg

Reference:
Bradley, R.S. and J. H. England, 2008. . Quaternary Research (in press). doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2008.03.002 url

56 Comments

  1. John Lang
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 6:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I saved this Aqua satellite pic of the area a few days ago when I heard about this ice shelf break-up.

    I don’t know, you can’t really see the ice shelf versus the ordinary polar ice. All of the ice has shifted north off of Ellesmere Island over the past few weeks as winds have pushed the ice up against Siberia on the far side of the Arctic. I imagine this contributed to the break-off.

    The pic also shows these ice shelves are not being fed by the Ellesmere Island glaciers anymore. They are really stranded ice shelves which are destined to break-up if they are not fed by a land-based glacier.

    You can zoom in down to 250M resolution (on the left) if you want but you won’t be able to pick out the broken section of the shelf.

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2008211/crefl2_143.A2008211143001-2008211143500.4km.jpg

  2. Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I wonder if there’s a watercolour from the same period in the 19th Century showing a polar bear on a melting ice floe…

  3. bernie
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 8:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Given the period of time over which the breaking up of this ice shelf has occurred, I would be looking for more long term factors. If the wind is a factor has the prevailing wind shifted since the last century? Could be, but the recovery from the LIA is more likely.

  4. Jared
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 9:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    My favorite quote in the article

    Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005

    Wow the largest on record since 2005. I hope they are talking 2005 BC and not 2005 AD. Pretty silly to make a comment about being the largest on record when you are only going back to 2005 AD.

  5. Jon
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I can’t find the word “unprecedented” in the article. Am I missing something? The quoted phrase seems to be quite reasonable in placing this particular break- the largest in a few years, but not the largest.

    Why the use of the word not only in the post, but in the title as well?

    Steve:
    Is it or is it not correct to say, based on the information in the article, that the break is unprecedented since 2005?

  6. Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #4
    Jared, perhaps the BBC account puts it more clearly for you?

    “Nearly 20 sq km (eight sq miles) of ice from the Ward Hunt shelf has split away from Ellesmere Island, according to satellite pictures.
    It is thought to be the biggest piece of ice shed in the region since 60 sq km of the nearby Ayles ice shelf broke away in 2005.”

  7. Sean Houlihane
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 10:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So is this just a relic from the Little Ice Age, which is fading away year by year? What is the time-constant for the ice to respond to local temperature changes

  8. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re:#5,

    I can’t find the word “unprecedented” in the article. Am I missing something?

    Apparently you’re missing the ability to detect sarcasm. You’ll have to do a google search on ClimateAudit + unprecedented to learn the history of the word on this site. In this case the key words are “on record”. That term normally means some sort of “record” has been set If not they should have just been left out.

    One thing about it, however, there can’t be another “record since 2005″ as there isn’t enough of the ice shelf left.

  9. Carl Gullans
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #6: The terminology attempts to drum up excitement about something that doesn’t deserve it. Another way of putting this would be “The break in 2008 was larger than the breaks in 2007 and 2006″. Who cares? That information, left to stand on its own, is not in the least bit noteworthy.

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Reviewing the posts on the Dec 2007 stories = these stories reported that sat re-analysis identified a previous undetected breakup 16 months earlier in 2005, which had been unprecedented in 30 years.

  11. notanexpert
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve just heard from a very reliable source that tomorrow’s daily average temperatures all across the globe are very likely to be unpreceedented since at least today.

  12. bender
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As we continue to move out of the LIA I predict that lots of things “unprecedented” (at least since the last interglacial) are going to continue to happen. These events are meaningful markers of time and are neat to watch. But as isolated events, they aren’t interpretible. Data sets are interpretible. Yet I predict that people with no analytical skills whatsoever will continue to try to intepret individual events (daily temperatures, hurricanes, floods, plagues, etc.) as though they were whole data sets.

  13. bender
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The question* is a quantitative one: how to apportion blame for discrete events among competing causes such as GHG vs solar vs internal lags etc. The game the AAGW alarmists play is pick a discrete event and apportion 100% of the blame to GHGs (craftily using suggestive language, not saying so directly). If the true degree of GHG causality for an event is 10% or 50% or even 90% then the 100% attribution factor is incredibly biased.

    Biased attribution (the ‘blame game’) is a problem of our time. Everyone wants things black-and-white, so the media comply. Ergo poster-child Katrina. But that ain’t how nature works.

    A focus on events “unprecedented” tends to accentuate human attribution bias. Stop looking at signposts and start looking at the landscape between them. There’s a lot going on. Not just GHGs.

    [*Ok, that's the scientific question. The related policy question is to what degree theses causes can be mitigated by the schemes being proposed.]

  14. tetris
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 5
    Jon,
    What is unfortunately, par for the course for the Globe and Mail [and other mainstream media] is the relentless focus on “unprecedented” things like Ellesmere Island, instead of reporting that last year’s Arctic ice melt – which was neither “unprecedented” nor the irrefutable indicator of accelerating AGW it was made out to be- is nowhere near to be repeated in 2008.

  15. jryan
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I have very robust models that show that this ice loss is unprecidented on a very concise timeline..

  16. Dave Clarke
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Here is the from the G+M article.

  17. Dave Clarke
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 2:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oops, I meant the expanded map image from G+M, of course (typed too fast).

  18. Dave Clarke
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From the G+M:

    [Dr. Warwick Vincent] called the ice break “a significant event” that the shelf has been building toward since it began gradually thinning during the 1950s. Since then, over a 40-year period, the shelf thinned from 70 metres in the early 1950s to about 35 metres in the 1990s, Dr. Vincent said.

    That appears to be imply that the rate of ice loss in the Ward Island shelf was greater after 1950 than before.

  19. Hunter
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 2:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s sad I saw this “story” on the local “news channel” Every 10 mins tagline “Global warming causes…..” I just had to look into thank-you Steve for clearing the air about it, I smelled a rat as usual. I thought the msm said
    there would be no ice at all by this time!

  20. Leon Brozyna
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 5:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well, here’s shocking news for the greenies — ice melts. The planet is not a closed, climate controlled system. It is chaotic and any effect mankind has on it is minimal and local. At the bottom of the page at NSIDC are images that represent ice thickness. Now that the ice melt is failing to meet the hype, I’ve seen increasing references to ice thickness. This ignores the fact that the ice is thin this year because of last year’s high melt. Wonder what they’ll be saying next year (or the next) when the large amount of this year’s ‘new ice’ is still around and getting thicker.

    Oh well, the AGW generation’s had their fun. Time for a new generation, a new ice age generation, to come to the forefront and have their own panic attacks. And then, in thirty years or so, it’ll be another AGW generation with their own new prophets of doom and gloom, ad infinitum…

  21. Not sure
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 7:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hey Steve, I think your links are messed.

    “Ward Hunt Ice Shelf Stratigraphy” 404s.

    Should “Ellesmere Island Driftwood” link here: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1015 ?

    It currently links here: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1027

  22. Jeff Norman
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 9:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    I agree that the G&M did a good job of putting this latest calving into context. The front page coverage was somewhat alarming though.

  23. dejackson
    Posted Jul 30, 2008 at 11:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf Stratigraphy post is here: January 2007.

  24. Geoff
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 12:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It is interesting to note that Margaret Munro was given the AGU (American Geophysical Union) David Perlman Award for Excellence in Scientific Journalism two months ago, for a December 2006 article “Ice Shelf Collapse Sends Chill: Canada’s North Changing. Global Warming Suspected Cause of Huge Breakup on Ellesmere Island” which can be seen here.

    It seems it took over 16 months for anyone to notice the collapse. That one was unprecedented since the 80′s. I find myself becoming more forgiving of journalists who sensationalize or over-speculate when I see how scientists are encouraging them.

    I think I’ll try to nominate Steve for the Award for next year, but there are too many great stories to choose from. Or maybe we can get a new AGU award started for Excellence in Scientific Blogging!

  25. Nathan
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 1:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, are you suggesting that the Paleocrystic ice formed in the Little Ice Age?
    Because the authors aren’t.

    Opening line of the abstract:
    “We propose that prior to the Younger Dryas period, the Arctic Ocean supported extremely thick multi-year fast ice overlain by superimposed
    ice and firn. We re-introduce the historical term paleocrystic ice to describe this.”

    I think you are confusing “Paleocrystic ice” and “Paleocrystic floe”

    Steve: I’m not suggesting anything. I simply showed an illustration from the article and quoted without editorializing from the caption to the illustration.

  26. tty
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 7:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 25

    The authors suggest that prior to the Younger Dryas most of the arctic ocean was filled with paleocrystic ice. This undoubtedly disappeared, if not during YD, then during the Holocene optimum when there was significantly less sea-ice than now. It presumably re-formed on a limited scale in and immediately north of the northernmost parts of the Parry archipelago and in some northern Greenland fiords during the last few thousand years, and particularily during the LIA. It apparently had already begun to break up by the late 1800′s, a process which will probably be complete in another decade or two.

    From a historic point of view it is interesting that when Nansen proposed to drift across the Arctic Ocean in the 1890′s, it was suggested that Fram would be crushed by paleocrystic ice. However Nansen found none, neither out in the Arctic Ocean or on the north side of Frans Josephs land, and as far as I know, nothing like it has ever been reported anywhere on the Old World side of the Arctic Ocean.

  27. W Robichaud
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic36-3-289.pdf

    http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic39-1-15.pdf

  28. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 6:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I bet you the temperature tomorrow at noon will be unprecedented since tonight.

  29. Nathan
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 7:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, by posting it you suggested something. By highlighting text you suggest something.
    Why else would you take the time to post a picture? For fun?
    What point does it serve in the context of your post?
    Re 26
    The authors actually state in that paper that the Ellesmere Ice Shelf has existed for thousands of years.
    “They are also reminiscent of the exceptionally thick (40 m) sea-ice ice shelves of northern Ellesmere Island that have remained landfast for thousands of years (Lemmen et al., 1988).”

    What seems more likely from what they write is that the ice shelves on Ellesmere Island predate the LIA, and are rather composed (or were composed) of remnant sea ice from earllier periods.

    Steve:
    I have no personal knowledge or opinion of these ice floes. I quoted directly from Bradley and England 2008 which stated:

    We believe this painting provides an eye-witness view of some of the paleocrystic floes that formed during the Little Ice Age, but were breaking up by the end of the 19th century.

    If you think that this caption is incorrect or that it is inconsistent with statements elsewhere in the article, perhaps you could clarify this with Bradley and England and get back to me.

  30. Nathan
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 9:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, I asked you why you put the figure and quote there. You do not seem to know you pasted a figure and used bold text, which is unusual. So I’ll assume you randomly put it there and randomly highlighted text.
    Note that the figure caption is about ‘floes’ and the earlier quote is about ‘ice’ – I see no inconsistency.

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 9:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #29. Nathan, here is what I said:

    Bradley and England 2008 , “The Younger Dryas and the sea of ancient ice”, is a highly readable and interesting discussion of Ica Age climate, which, inter alia, contains an account of late 19th century descriptions of the Ellesmere Island ice shelves, which Bradley and England 2008 propose as an analogue for the much larger “paleocrystic ice” that they propose for the LGM. Their Figure 1 (Shown below) is an 1878 watercolor of an Ellesemere Island ice shelf about which they say (my bold):

    We believe this painting provides an eye-witness view of some of the paleocrystic floes that formed during the Little Ice Age, but were breaking up by the end of the 19th century.

    Here’s their Figure 1:

    Help me out here as I don’t get what your point is. I’m not saying that you don’t have a valid point. Just that I don’t get it. Let’s go through sentence by sentence and you tell me – TRUE or FALSE.

    Bradley and England 2008 , “The Younger Dryas and the sea of ancient ice”, is a highly readable and interesting discussion of Ice Age climate, which, inter alia, contains an account of late 19th century descriptions of the Ellesmere Island ice shelves, which Bradley and England 2008 propose as an analogue for the much larger “paleocrystic ice” that they propose for the LGM.

    True or false?

    Their Figure 1 (Shown below) is an 1878 watercolor of an Ellesemere Island ice shelf about which they say (my bold):
    We believe this painting provides an eye-witness view of some of the paleocrystic floes that formed during the Little Ice Age, but were breaking up by the end of the 19th century.

    True or false?

    Neither of these sentences say that the ice shelves themselves formed in the LIA. I’ve discussed Ellesmere Island ice shelves in other posts which were linked in this article and in particular, the delivery of driftwood to Ellesmere Island, which indicates that the shelves did not form in the LIA. You seem to have concluded that I said something that I didnt say and then are arguing about it.

  32. Nathan
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 10:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yes all those things are true.
    I’m not arguing, I am just asking why you put that figure in as it doesn’t really relate to the post. Initially I took a guess, I thought you were confusing ‘floes’ and ‘ice’. Then I asked why it relates to the post (as in what point you were making with the figure) however your answer suggested there was no point. I didn’t understand why you had include the picture if you weren’t making a point, so I assumed you thought the Ellesmere Ice Shelf formed in the LIA as that is what you had made bold in their text. A fair assumption I thought, but wrong it seems. I am relieved now to see you’re not suggesting the Ellesmere Ice Shelf formed in the LIA, but there are a lot of others in this blog who do seem to be under that impression.

  33. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 10:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #32. It does seem that the Ellesmere ice shelf expanded in the LIA. As I recall, Dyke said that the Ellesmere ice shelves in areas of driftwood delivery did not exist in the Holocene Optimum i.e. they are post-Holocene Optimum. See discussion in an earlier post. Perhaps you can clarify that.

  34. Nathan
    Posted Jul 31, 2008 at 11:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well, yes as the LIA was colder you’d certainly expect the Ice Shelf to grow larger. I certainly am no expert on the Ice Shelf so I can’t clarify anything.
    Sure the driftwood data may not be a smoking gun, perhaps you could examine other evidence of the extent of ice shelves in the area in the Holocene Optimum? This paper is pretty old, but you may be able to use it to increase the number of driftwood samples you had in those other posts http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic13-1-32.pdf
    Dyke did an interesting study on Bowheads too http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic49-3-235.pdf But that may not be so relevant – I didn’t have time to read it all but it may support the driftwood hypothesis. Seems to indicate that between 3000 and 5000 years BP the area was warmer than the present, but prior to that it was colder.
    So you can look at pollen, shells, bones, driftwood. Perhaps all these lines of evidence can be used to create a paleoclimate for the Arctic… Possibly it’s already been done.

  35. Raven
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 12:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #34- “So you can look at pollen, shells, bones, driftwood. Perhaps all these lines of evidence can be used to create a paleoclimate for the Arctic… Possibly it’s already been done.”

    Ice cores from Greenland show a really strong warming period around 3000 years ago.

  36. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 12:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The Holocene Optimum is considered to have been from 5,000 to 9,000 years before the present. The NGRIP core shows it clearly as well as the preceding Younger Dryas Dansgaard-Oescher event.

  37. PHE
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 4:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There’s an interesting take on breaking ice shelves in an Independent (UK daily) of 13 July 08.

    It says: “Scientists are warning that an Antarctic ice shelf the size of Northern Ireland is on the verge of disintegration, even though it is now the middle of the southern hemisphere’s winter… It provides further evidence that the planet is warming more quickly than predicted.”

    So instead of concluding that: ‘hey, ice shelves can fall off even when its not warming’, they have to dramatise it and link it to global warming. An explanation is given: “Scientits …believe that warm water is welling up from the ocean to attack it from underneath”.
    This sounds a plausible explanation (if you want to blame it on global warming), but is there any evidence for it?

    Classic!

    Link to article:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/antarctic-ice-shelf-collapse-imminent-866504.html

  38. PHE
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 4:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oops, I meant ‘scientists’, not ‘scientits’ – or maybe just my subconcious taking over.

  39. bender
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Scientists believe that warm water is welling up from the ocean to attack it from underneath

    Water warmed during the MWP? The HCO?
    Or do those not exist? :)

  40. Whaaa
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Nathan,

    You just don’t get it do you? Isn’t it clear that the bold type is there for no purpose whatsoever? Of course, an ‘unfortunate’ consequence of this bold type is that certain readers now believe the ice shelf formed in the LIA, and that they haven’t been stable for thousands of years.

  41. bender
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #40 Nathan got it alright. Tried his hand at playing authority, got burned, is now recovering in hospital. Won’t be back. CA sends flowers.

  42. Nathan
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 6:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #40 and 41

    No I actually got a response from Steve if you read them. He himself declared they were there for no reason. He declared
    “I have no personal knowledge or opinion of these ice floes. ”
    and
    “I’m not suggesting anything. I simply showed an illustration from the article and quoted without editorializing from the caption to the illustration.”

    So he didn’t post the figure for any reason. I highlighted that he had bolded text and that this would mislead people as in 40 above but he didn’t seem to mind.

    Dyke, the author Steve mentioned had another paper which contradicted the MWP between 9000 and 5000 (as I listed above) but no one seemed to notice.

    The problem here Bender is that people have a very one sided view, their perspective is skewed and it’s interesting for me as an observer.

    Don’t understand why you think I got burned… But thanks for the flowers. :)
    You’re an Aussie too, aren’t you Bender?

    Steve: Puh-leeze. Stop being annoying and please stop fabricating statements. I did not say:

    He himself declared they were there for no reason.

    It’s enough to quote what I said so please don’t make things up. There are dozens of posts every day and don’t assume that I have the time to respond personally to every post; nor can I pick every spitball off the wall. I am not going to argue with fabricated statements. I didn’t declare that the figure was there for no reason. I stated that the article included interesting accounts of 19th century trips and included an interesting water color from the 19th century trip. Jeez. Just because the reason may not be the one that you imagine doesn’t mean that there was no reason. So please stop making such extrapolations. And you’d better check out your MWP dates. 9000-5000 was back in the Stone Age. IF people aren’t arguing with someone who makes such statements, consider the possibility that, if you’re not getting things like this right, they may not wish to engage.

  43. Nathan
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 6:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #40
    Sorry Whaaa, I missed the sarcasm

  44. bender
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 7:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #42

    another paper which contradicted the MWP between 9000 and 5000

    Can’t wait for this one, Nathan. Whats your source? Or do you want to fix your numbers first?

    O the irony. Now where’s policeman Whaaa to correct the atrocious error?

  45. bender
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 7:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t understand why you think I got burned…

    You thought you were calling Steve on an error. Turned out you made an incorrect assumption about you thought he was saying. Ouch. You didn’t apologize, but that’s ok. You were injured.

    And now you’re so busy looking for devils you accuse other people here of bias. Instead of wasting time looking for the devil why don’t you invest it, reading climate science papers to beef up your credibility?

  46. Nathan
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 8:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #45
    Bender, crikey mate calm down… You’re fighting ghosts.
    Read the conversation we had, in full. You will see that I did make an assumption about what he blogged (why he made some text bold face), but ASKED him if that’s what he meant. This is atually a normal thing for rational people to do. If you think someone is suggesting a particular thing, you ask. Why would I apologise for asking a question? The reason the conversation continued was because he wouldn’t say why he did, in fact he said he had no reason. Which actually makes no sense. Why would you post a picture, and then select some of the figure caption, and then make that text bold… For no reason? If Steve chooses to not answer, or chooses to say he didn’t want to editorialise or whatever that’s fine, but it’s ridiculous.

    And yes when I wrote MWP, of course it was the Holocene optimum I was referring too – my error. I am sorry.

    Bender, I posted the paper at #34. Please, read the whole conversation again.


    Steve
    : Nathan, I’ve asked you to stop fabricating statements. I did not “say that I had no reason”. You said that. I said something different. It’s easy enough to quote, so there’s no need to paraphrase. It’s a far too common and very tiresome practice in climate science that seldom leads to any insight. Again, I don’t have time to pick spitballs off the wall or deal with every poster. If you have something to say about the MWP or Holocene Optimum, please do so.

  47. Nathan
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 8:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, you said “I’m not suggesting anything. I simply showed an illustration from the article and quoted without editorializing from the caption to the illustration.”

    So, you posted the figure, without the intention of editorializing, but make the following text bold “that formed during the Little Ice Age”. That is weird.
    The authors didn’t make it bold, so why did you? The only reason I can think of (and I have askd this question several times to no answe) is that you want people to see the text “that formed during the Little Ice Age”. The only reason I can think that you’d want this is to suggest that the ice shelves formed during the Little Ice. You don’t actually adress this. Instead addressing other side issues. And you DO keep addressing my posts, so I wonder why you keep not answering the question.

    Why did you make the text “that formed during the Little Ice Age” bold?

    Steve: Many readers here are interested in events of the past 1000 years. The title “The Younger Dryas and the sea of ancient ice” does not suggest a connection to events of the past 1000 years, so I highlighted a reference to recent events. This was a post on a newspaper article so please do not over-interpret.

    You fabricated statements that I did not make. You now call this a “side issue”. Well, I don’t regard such fabrications as a “side issue” and I tend to deal with them when I notice them.

  48. Nathan
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 8:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #48
    Oh, so you’re not Aussie Bender… My mistake. Saturday morning here in Australia – particularly cold… Must be AGW.
    Why don’t you review Dyke et al on the Bowhead whales? enlighten us.

    Steve: please stop picking fights. I’ve deleted the responses.

  49. bender
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 9:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve M: “The title “The Younger Dryas and the sea of ancient ice” does not suggest a connection to events of the past 1000 years, so I highlighted a reference to recent events.”

    Nathan, you’re quick with the keyboard, so now it is now your turn to thank Steve for answering your question, to admit you made a mistake while witch-hunting, to apologize for yet another mistake, and to make a graceful exit.

  50. icyman
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 9:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nathan,

    The quote says SOME (emphasis mine) of the paleocrystic floes that formed during the Little Ice Age. Are you saying that no paleocrystic floes formed during the little ice age? Cite Please?

  51. Nathan
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 9:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, you still don’t adress it. Why did you bold the text?
    If you look at the replies you got you can see people have misinterpreted what you meant, look at post #7.

    In regards to “fabricating” I merely mis-interpreted:

    “I’m not suggesting anything. I simply showed an illustration from the article and quoted without editorializing from the caption to the illustration.”

    For

    “I have no reason”

    which is understandable, especially seeing as I asked the question many times, without an answer to that question. Using the word fabrication to describe this is harsh.

    I also find it strange that you would post this figure (from an article that addresses events from a different time period to the 1000 years) as a reference to recent events.

    In the end though, this is boring and trivial. If you want to go around randomly making text bold in your blog that’s fine. I may suggest you don’t do it as it will lead to confusion. Sure, it’s my mistake (and the poster in 7) to think you were making a point, but hey we’re only Human.

  52. Nathan
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 10:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #50
    The paper is about Paleocrystic ice. There is a difference between ice and floe. So the answer to your question is “No”, I don’t actually know what quantity of Paleocrystic floe formed in the LIA. The paper by Dyke et al on bowhead whales attempts to give a regional interpretation of the ice in the area for the last 10 500 years. That may help answer your question.
    Perhaps the real question you should ask is “What is the relationship between the floe in the figure and the Ellesmere Island Ice shelves”
    The authors of that figure, Bradley and England 2008, say this in the paper “They are also reminiscent of the exceptionally thick (40 m) sea-ice ice shelves of northern Ellesmere Island that have remained landfast for thousands of years (Lemmen et al., 1988).”

    So I assume that means earlier than the LIA.

  53. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 11:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nathan, in all your arguing, did you read any of the linked posts discussing the age of the Ellesmere Ice Shelves? No? Didn’t think so. The citations indicate that they formed post-Holocene Optimum with one author suggesting that the Ward Hunt Ice Rise formed within the last 1500 years.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1010 stated:

    Vincent et al Polar Record 2001 stated:

    The original extent and age of Ellesmere Ice Shelf are also subjects of conjecture, although on the basis of driftwood analysis, it appears that ice shelfs along this section of the coastline began to develop during a period of cooling in the mid-Holocene about 4000 years ago (Evans and England 1992).

    Braun et al 2004 stated:

    The ice shelves along Ellesmere Island’s north coast formed initially some 3000″€œ4000 years ago [Evans and England, 1992; Jeffries, 1994] as climatic conditions in the High Arctic deteriorated from the early-middle Holocene warm phase [Bradley, 1990].

    However, Braun et al 2004 also says that Ward Hunt Ice Rise formed within the last 1500 years as follows:

    The Ward Hunt Ice Rise (Figure 2) is between 40 and 100 m thick and formed within the last 1500 years when the ice shelf thickened and grounded on the isostatically uplifted seafloor north of Ward Hunt Island [Lyons et al., 1972]

    Thus, the only evidence on the dating of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf comes from the driftwood, which has many points of interest and which I’ll discuss in my next post on this topic.

  54. Nathan
    Posted Aug 1, 2008 at 11:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, you still don’t answer the ACTUAL question I raised. All the info you just posted is very nice and interesting, but has nothing to do with the question I asked.

    In regards to the age of the Ice Shelf, I read some, and sent you a link to another I thought you might find interesting (on the Bowhead whales). I think we are actually in agreement with the age of the ice sheet. My concern is that you placing the text “that formed during the Little Ice Age” in bold will confuse people (see post 7). I asked why you made it bold and you never answer.

    Let’s leave it obviously we both have better things to do.

  55. bender
    Posted Aug 2, 2008 at 2:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #53

    I asked why you made it bold and you never answer.

    Nathan seems to have missed #49.

    The title “The Younger Dryas and the sea of ancient ice” does not suggest a connection to events of the past 1000 years, so I highlighted a reference to recent events

    Steve knows many of his readers are more interested in events 1000 years ago than 8000 years ago. Bolding is a way of drawing attention to something that might otherwise be overlooked. (bold mine)

    #53

    Let’s leave it obviously we both have better things to do

    It is customary to move on AFTER the error has been acknowledged. To an auditor, there’s always time for correctness.

    I self-snip my closing spitball.

  56. Leon Brozyna
    Posted Aug 3, 2008 at 1:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s a link to a paper even more engrossing than Bradley and England 2008:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/41/16016.full.pdf+html

    It examines the possibility of a comet/asteroid impact event in the northern part of North America as triggering the Younger Dryas cooling. While it doesn’t contradict the earlier study, it does offer a possible explanation for the surge of freshwater into the oceans.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Ice Ice Baby.  A lot of it in the arctic, despite the claims that it’s all melted or fallen into the sea. [...]

  2. [...] McIntyre brought up some interesting questions several years ago, and has raised the issue several other times. Other indirect evidence of less ice in the Holocene, and one of my favorites, [...]

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