Melting Ice: The Good, the Bad, and the Unbelievable

Marc Sheppard
Following years of warnings that melting ice will magnify global warming, perhaps to an irreversible "tipping point," scientists are now crediting melting ice with slowing the very same process.  Really.

Remember all the furor over trapped Carbon and Methane in the Arctic permafrost being released into the atmosphere as the planet warmed?  Back in 2006, Seth Borenstein reported the findings of a Nature study on the subject with these characteristically composed words:

"New research is raising concerns that global warming may be triggering a self-perpetuating climate time bomb trapped in once-frozen permafrost."

Yikes!

And just last week, Der Spiegel's Volker Mrasek borrowed a quote from NASA's uber-alarmist, James Hansen, in his article title -- Point of No Return for the Arctic Climate. Mrasek repeated the alarmist warning of "irreversible developments for eco-systems and humanity," brought on by a cycle of disappearing Arctic ice that would:

"further magnify global warming, due to the fact that bright white ice reflects sunlight back into the atmosphere whereas dark colored land and ocean absorbs heat."

So between all the nasty trapped greenhouse gases and the loss of solar radiation reflection, melting ice is a very bad thing, right?  Well, not always.

It now appears that something frozen in Antarctic ice -- the iron minerals Ferrihydrite and Schwertmannite -- might actually serve to remove atmospheric carbon.   

The same David Adam at the Guardian who wrote in 2005 that melting ice "would release vast stocks of carbon into the atmosphere, threaten ocean currents and wreck roads and buildings" now suggests in a Sunday article title that Melting ice may slow global warmingAdam relates the findings of University of Leeds geologist Rob Raiswell, who believes the dislodged minerals would vastly increase the number of CO2 gobbling photosynthetic plankton:

"Melting Antarctic icebergs already deposit up to 120,000 tonnes of this 'bioavailable' iron into the Southern Ocean each year, enough to grow sufficient plankton to remove some 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the annual carbon pollution of India and Japan."

Apparently ignoring the actual slight increase in Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979, the professor asserts that "as rising temperatures cause the ice sheets to break up faster, creating more icebergs, the amount of carbon dioxide removed will also rise."

So then, Global warming can cause global cooling, so we'll instead call it "climate change." And shifts in natural climate events such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Meridional Overturning Circulation or El Nino/La Nina phenomena can explain periods of cooling, but not those of warming. Ditto: Solar Cycles.  And now, not only can melting ice trigger cataclysmic cycles of doom when the planet is getting warmer, it can also take the heat as to why things have cooled down of late.

Heads -- alarmists win.  Tails -- reason loses.

Simply unbelievable.

Hat Tip: Marc Morano
Following years of warnings that melting ice will magnify global warming, perhaps to an irreversible "tipping point," scientists are now crediting melting ice with slowing the very same process.  Really.

Remember all the furor over trapped Carbon and Methane in the Arctic permafrost being released into the atmosphere as the planet warmed?  Back in 2006, Seth Borenstein reported the findings of a Nature study on the subject with these characteristically composed words:

"New research is raising concerns that global warming may be triggering a self-perpetuating climate time bomb trapped in once-frozen permafrost."

Yikes!

And just last week, Der Spiegel's Volker Mrasek borrowed a quote from NASA's uber-alarmist, James Hansen, in his article title -- Point of No Return for the Arctic Climate. Mrasek repeated the alarmist warning of "irreversible developments for eco-systems and humanity," brought on by a cycle of disappearing Arctic ice that would:

"further magnify global warming, due to the fact that bright white ice reflects sunlight back into the atmosphere whereas dark colored land and ocean absorbs heat."

So between all the nasty trapped greenhouse gases and the loss of solar radiation reflection, melting ice is a very bad thing, right?  Well, not always.

It now appears that something frozen in Antarctic ice -- the iron minerals Ferrihydrite and Schwertmannite -- might actually serve to remove atmospheric carbon.   

The same David Adam at the Guardian who wrote in 2005 that melting ice "would release vast stocks of carbon into the atmosphere, threaten ocean currents and wreck roads and buildings" now suggests in a Sunday article title that Melting ice may slow global warmingAdam relates the findings of University of Leeds geologist Rob Raiswell, who believes the dislodged minerals would vastly increase the number of CO2 gobbling photosynthetic plankton:

"Melting Antarctic icebergs already deposit up to 120,000 tonnes of this 'bioavailable' iron into the Southern Ocean each year, enough to grow sufficient plankton to remove some 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the annual carbon pollution of India and Japan."

Apparently ignoring the actual slight increase in Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979, the professor asserts that "as rising temperatures cause the ice sheets to break up faster, creating more icebergs, the amount of carbon dioxide removed will also rise."

So then, Global warming can cause global cooling, so we'll instead call it "climate change." And shifts in natural climate events such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Meridional Overturning Circulation or El Nino/La Nina phenomena can explain periods of cooling, but not those of warming. Ditto: Solar Cycles.  And now, not only can melting ice trigger cataclysmic cycles of doom when the planet is getting warmer, it can also take the heat as to why things have cooled down of late.

Heads -- alarmists win.  Tails -- reason loses.

Simply unbelievable.

Hat Tip: Marc Morano