1979 : Columbia University Scientist Said That An Increase In Antarctic Sea Ice Could Lead To A New Ice Age

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Experts Tell How Antarctic’s Ice Could Cause Widespread Floods – Mushy Ice Beneath Sheet – View Article – NYTimes.com

Since he made that prediction in 1979, Antarctic sea ice has increased sharply

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5 Responses to 1979 : Columbia University Scientist Said That An Increase In Antarctic Sea Ice Could Lead To A New Ice Age

  1. Dmh says:

    The Antarctic and Arctic ices are two central indicators of the evolution of the climate.
    The Arctic ice is like a thermometer of the present conditions and Antarctica’s ice an indicator of future trends.
    The Antarctic anomalies have been positive for the last 2 years and 2 months and they are now very similar to 2013, when they reached the first positive 1 million Km2 at the beginning of April.

    I think I can identify 4 main periods in this graph of Cryosphere Today.
    /1/ The period from 1979 to the early 1990’s had stable maximums for the Antarctic ice, but increasing minimums (less negative), indicating a positive trend.
    2/ Between 1990 and 2006 the oscillations remained stable with maximums and minimums between ±1 million Km2 and no apparent trend.
    /3/ From the end of 2007 the maxima started to increase beyond the +1 million Km2 mark, another period of increasing anomalies started, but the minimums remained as low as –800,000 Km2 up to the end of 2011.
    /4/ Since 2011 the anomalies became only positive, while the positive maximums kept growing and reached the 2nd largest of recorded data at the end of 2013.

    The SH oceans are also getting colder systematically

    in a similar way.

    I find interesting to notice that the only year after 2007 that the maximum has not reached the +1 million Km2 mark is 2011. In fact, that is also the year when the anomalies were very negative, similar to the previous periods before 2007.
    It’s interesting because it’s only 2011 that has this characteristic and according to LSC evaluation of the evolution of the present solar cycle,

    2011 was also the year of the maximum intensity of solar radiations.
    On the other hand, 2012 and 2013 had lower intensity and similar (approximately mirror images around “month 60”) evolution of LSC, during which the present long span of months with positive anomalies was established.
    The present pause in the increasing trend of Antarctic ice anomalies since the end of last year, also coincides with the “2nd peak” of intensity of cycle #24 (also a kind of mirror image of the peak that happened at the end of 2011).

    This reasoning suggests that if cycle #24 start to decline more pronouncedly the increasing ice anomalies of Antarctica should continue at least until the beginning of the next cycle.

  2. Gail Combs says:

    At the present rate of sea ice increase for the last two years, Drake Passage will be iced over in a decade or so. That raises interesting questions as to what happens then. The Humboldt current originates as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current rounds Cape Horn heads up the coast of South America to influence ENSO. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is wind driven.

    Research on Drakes Passage today: http://climate.gmu.edu/research/drake.php

    …Significance

    The experiments address a fundamental question of how the circulation of the ocean works. Since the global overturning circulation is apparently sensitive to wind even in regions where the ocean has eastern and western boundaries, it may be influenced by wind outside the Drake Passage latitudes. However, our results indicate that the unique geometry of the Drake Passage latitudes does make the global circulation – and perhaps the climate of the North Atlantic – especially sensitive to wind there.

    • Dmh says:

      Before it closes a first “symptom” would be the increasing frequency of La Ninas, independently of the oscillations of the trade winds at the ENSO region of the Pacific.
      I believe this is already happening.
      I believe that the present La Nina trend is mostly caused by “Antarctica’s ice forcing”, so to speak, and I think it is already powerful enough to have been an important factor in the failure of the predicted El Nino of 2012. I think that 2013 could have been much warmer than it actually was, as a result of the “normal El Nino” forcing, but ENSO anomalies were negative during the entire 2013, I believe, due to the Antarctic ice.

      The UNISYS analysis,

      has been showing this very large area of negative anomalies in the region of the Drake Passage for many months.

      Compare, for example, the following two sst estimates (from http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/GLBhycom1-12/antarc.html) for the present peak of the summer at the SP,

      with the conditions at the end of 2013 when the ice was reaching last year’s highest anomalies,

      The conditions between Argentina and Antarctic continent are almost unchanged and very cold, but they are considerable colder than 2 years ago,

      This seems to indicate that the trend is real and the cooling is stable, i.e., the “potential” for turning the region into a big glacier (I’m not sure if it can actually close completely) already exists.

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