Moulin, not rouge

This Discovery Channel promotional clip shows scientists measuring the flow of water down a moulin on the Greenland ice sheet. Wonderful — scary — images. Asked to define the scale of the problem of ice sheet melt on a scale from 0 to 10, Jason Box, a glaciologist from Ohio State University answers: 11. More at the UK Telegraph.

For a different — winter — view of Greenland, NASA’s Earth Observatory has just published an article about scientists overwintering at Summit Camp, including a blog by remote-sensing glaciologist Lora Koenig. Great pictures. Love the polar bear…


29 thoughts on “Moulin, not rouge”

  1. Good link Steve. I particularly enjoyed the references to the scientist’s penchant for lighting the earth’s farts…

    (Not that the LA Times mentions the f word, of course)

  2. “Welcome to the epicentre of global warming”
    Man they crack me up.

    If the warming really is “global”, why to they need to go anywhere? Why not just look out the window? Oh yeah, no sexy footage, and too many regions inconveniently cooling.

    Catastrophe cancelled.

  3. OK, lets look at these claims:
    One moulin drains 42 million L/day
    There are “100s, possible 1000s” if them.
    Annually this is enough to cover Germany with a metre of water??

    OK I’ll be generous and assume 10,000 moulins will each melt at this rate for 200 days/year.

    42 million L = 42,000 cubic m
    42,000 cubic m x 200 days x 10,000 moulins =
    84 billion cub m = 84 cub km

    Area of Germany 357 023 sq km

    Depth of water covering Germany = 84/ 357 023 = 0.00024 km

    ie 0.24 m

    Less than a quarter of what these turkeys claim.

    Of course it won’t actually “cover Germany” but would raise the 361 million sq km of the world’s oceans by all of 0.23 mm: insignificant, unmeasurable, and simultaneously counteracted by the freezing of Southern Polar regions.

    Furthermore, at a rate of 84 cub km/year, the 2.85 million cub km of the Greenland ice cap would take 34,000 years to melt.

    This clip is a classic warmist propaganda: breathless, emotive footage, whose few “facts” are easily debunked by 5 minutes on a calculator.

  4. This clip is a classic warmist propaganda: breathless, emotive footage, whose few “facts” are easily debunked by 5 minutes on a calculator.

    …facts easily debunked by someone who isn’t a glaciologist? So, on the one hand we have a bunch of glaciologists taking substantial risks to gather data, and on the other we have, what, Wrathall with his calculator and a conspiracy theory?

    Stick to YouTube, Steve. Your viewers there might not notice your ignorance.

  5. So if you’re a “glaciologist taking substantial risks” its OK to say 1+1=3? And not expect someone to call you on it?

    Using THEIR OWN NUMBERS I have shown that their claims simply do not stack up. And your only come-back is this pathetic argument of authority.

    Please show where my mathematics is incorrect.

  6. Two things: moulins are not the only way that the Greenland ice sheet loses mass (think icebergs), and current estimates for annual mass loss run from 250 – 300 Gt. Not far short of a metre, on your calculation.

    A little understanding is useful thing.

  7. Direct quote from the doco: “In just one day, nearly 42 million litres of fresh water drain down this one Moulin alone, and Jason believes there are 100s, possible 1000s of them on the Greenland Ice cap. The data sends a chill up Basil’s spine, and it’s not from the cold. At this rate of melting, Greenland is losing enough water each year to cover Germany a metre deep.”

    Those are the claims I was testing. You seem to be implying that warmists don’t say what they mean or mean what they say. Couldn’t agree more.

    BTW, even at your rate of 300GT=300 cub km/year loss. The 2.85 million cub km of Greenland Ice would take 9500 years to melt.

    Catastrophe cancelled

  8. Indeed he is, Sam. Fact is that GrIS was probably in mass balance, perhaps growing slightly as recently as the 1970s. By the 1990s annual mass loss was of the order of 90Gt. That’s now tripled.

    Then there’s the question of how much sea level rise constitutes a “catastrophe”. You don’t need to melt all of Greenland to make life rather unpleasant in many parts of the world.

  9. Well, I checked Steve’s maths, hoping he had made a mistake…but I couldn’t find one.
    And, whilst all that you say is reasonable Gareth, it is disappointing that the reporting of this bit of research has left a chink for Steve to score a few points with.

    I also thought their method of measuring stream flow was more about dramatic effect than accuracy.

  10. There is no evidence whatsoever that polar melting rates are or will increase by the orders of magnitude required to produce catastrophic sea level rises on decades- or even centuries-long time scales.

    Sending 2 drama queens to Greenland to obtain “Wonderful — scary — images” is not evidence. They’d be more at home in a remake of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

    “Opinion surveys show that the public isn’t jumping on the global warming bandwagon despite a multi-million dollar marketing campaign and full-scale media hysteria. More broadly there are signs that “green fatigue” is setting in. Magazine publishers recently reported that their special Earth Day “green” issues generated the lowest newsstand sales of all issues published in 2008. “Suddenly Being Green Is Not Cool Any More,” read a London Times headline in August. ”

  11. No evidence whatsoever? Only for those wearing ideological blinkers or rose-tinted glasses. There’s plenty of evidence that a) ice melt is increasing (see current top post on the IPY), b) that the expected sea level rise will be greater than previously thought, and c) the amount of rise will be quite sufficient to cause a great deal of damage. The Asian megadeltas have hundreds of millions of inhabitants, all of whom will want to move out when sea level rise makes living there untenable. What will that take? 20cm and a big storm surge.

  12. AndrewH, incorrect assumptions are also mistakes. Just to list a few issues: Is 42M liters the average for all moulins? About how many moulins are there? Are there other forms of melt going on? Absent that type of information, Steve Wrathall’s “calculation” was an exercise in GIGO.

    You or Steve could email Box and ask him what the basis for his calculation was if you’re actually curious about it. Whinging is more fun, though.

  13. Gareth claims “plenty of evidence” that “that the expected sea level rise WILL (emphasis mine) be greater than previously thought”.
    Sorry. Predictions are not evidence. They are hypotheses that need to be tested against evidence.

    As for your crocodile tears about the poor deltaic Asians threatened by storm surges (which require no AGW). The reason that thousands of, say Myanmese die in a storm that would kill tens of e.g Florideans or Dutch , is precisely because of their lack of technology, vehicles, communications, etc. – ie. their small carbon footprint. Restrictions of their ability to economically develop will ensure ther remain vulnerable.

  14. Steve B, if you want to accuse me of “Garbage in” then it’s garbage supplied directly from the quote (post 8), from the fraudulently-titled “Discovery” Channel. Perhaps they should rename themselves the Revelation Channel.

  15. Steve: you can ignore the evidence if you want, but that disqualifies you from pontificating, as you are so want to do.

    Even modest increases in sea level will increase damage from storm surges. In the longer term, no amount of “development” will help if your land is under water. Unless of course, you’re proposing to build thousands of miles of sea walls…

  16. Steve W
    “Predictions are not evidence. They are hypotheses that need to be tested against evidence.”

    you’re right – but the evidence gathered in the last 20 years has largely exceeded the predictions by the models.

    “Faster than expected” is the mantra of the scientists gathering climate data these days, in all sorts of areas. Including the melting of the GIS – AND the WAIS (well, Wilkins anyway)… AND the Arctic Summer ice…

  17. Cindy, global temperatures have undershot the 1988 predictions of James Hansen for warming. Undershot even the scenarios that would have required huge post-2000 GHG reductions.

    “Faster than expected” is indeed the mantra. But only if you dishonestly retrospectively cherry-pick the regions that warm fastest and ignore the world as a whole.


  18. Steve, you were wrong about Hansen’s 1988 projections last time you brought them up, but setting that to one side they are completely irrelevant with respect to today’s observations: Arctic sea ice disappearing decades earlier than projected, rapid increases in the melt from Greenland and West Antarctica, and so on. It’s not fairies melting this stuff you know, it’s heat.

  19. So GW’s #1 pin-up boy Hansen’s 1988 projections are now “completely irrelevant with respect to today’s observations”??

    So I guess today’s breathless predictions will be “completely irrelevant” 20 years from now.

    Sounds like you’re losing the faith Gareth. Unsurprising when the rest of the planet is too.

  20. Today’s predictions will be overtaken by events, just as the IPCC’s view on sea ice retreat has been shown to be too conservative.

    No faith involved. Just a respect for science, and a healthy disdain for the ideology you espouse.

  21. Well, yes, of course. Crankdom is an ideology. Steve (and many other climate deniers) like to define the issue in terms of “belief”, and call GW a religion, but the behaviour of cranks (ignoring inconvenient facts, making stuff up to suit their arguments, denying basic science) is very reminiscent of the behaviour of creationists and religious fundamentalists. They also follow a catechism that’s lovingly prepared for them by Heartland, CEI and the others. Some irony there, perhaps.

    I couldn’t care less about his politics — but I would hazard a guess that he’s a run-of-the-mill anti-green libertarian in the Not PC mould, or perhaps that of Rodney Hide and Muriel Newman. It’s a loss to the real political debate — about what to do — because it means that views from that end of the spectrum get ignored.

  22. SteveB

    incorrect assumptions are also mistakes

    Fair call – I should have spotted that one.

    But, my whinge still stands….I made the assumption that the “1m flood over germany” was correct based on a bunch of other stuff that wasn’t mentioned.

    Steve W chose to take the GIGO approach and use the immediately available information to concoct a story that fits his “ideology”.

    I don’t think he should have been given the opportunity

  23. Anatomy of a crank response

    Make an assertion or challenge. Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense or has been refuted before. Use lots of big words to make it sound clever. Use charged rhetoric to appeal to the reader’s emotions rather than their reason. Don’t ever answer counter-challenges.

    Finish with some kind of attempt at ridicule, eh?

  24. It’s all good stuff, Sol. If you’re just coming to terms with climate issues, the top report at that site — Climate Literacy — is not a bad place to start.

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